By Humphrey Carter

IF the Partido Popular win, British resident Kate Mentink will have an important role as one of the new councillors. “We've had a very positive response on the streets, we've been campaigning in three languages and the general opinion is it is time for change, they've had enough of the socialist council,” Mentink says. “One of the biggest concerns is over the local council's huge debt. Few people realised just how much the council is in debt until just recently, they were always under the impression that Calvia was a very wealthy council and municipality, especially when you consider that everybody's paying nearly twice as much in taxes as any other municipality. “The big question we're being asked is where's all our money gone?” she says. “Our answer will be to slash taxes by 20 percent, do away with ORA meter parking, so there'll be free parking, and reduce the cost of child care, waste collection, sports centres and all municipal installations. “But, before anything, we'll have to carry out a full council audit to establish just how serious the council's debt is. “Then, to raise extra money, we'll do away with all the very highly paid commercial advisors, consultants, spin doctors and outside contractors on the town hall's books while reinforcing the town hall, putting the responsibility for Calvia back were it belongs - with the council,” Mentink says. “People are obviously also very concerned about tourism, or rather the lack of it. “Nearly everybody in Calvia lives off tourism, but this year the council has set aside just 1.7 percent of its budget to promote tourism. “People are no longer fooled by Antich, Alomar and Najera claiming that the downturn is caused by September 11, European recessions and the Iraq War, not only is Calvia watching tourism continue to flourish on the mainland, the local community is also well aware that other resorts in Majorca, such as Alcudia, are busy. The root problem is in Calvia itself. “We are planning major overseas tourism promotion campaigns. It has to be put back at the top of the agenda, it's what keeps Calvia alive,” she says.
The PP is planning a complete overhaul of all-things related to tourism from policing, to street lighting, public facilities and commercial restrictions. “We are going to recruit more police, get back to basics and put the bobby back on the street. The strain on the police is far too great, hence the laws on ticket touts, bar public relations people and pub crawls are not enforced. “We believe in fair trading, that businessess, providing they open within the norms, can do what they want. “We want to end all unlawful competition while also setting up a small business institute, a consumer rights board and consumer information office.
The PP also plans to bridge the divide between Spanish and non-Spanish residents in Calvia “it's become very them and us, we plan to bring Calvia's European community together and make it function as one integrated society,” Mentink says. “We will be setting up an office for European and non-EU residents which will be staffed by multi-lingual people able to provide all non-Spanish speaking residents with all they need to know and do living in Calvia and Spain and this will be complemented by a chain of one-stop information offices across Calvia. “An integration forum will also be set up bringing together all the various European organisations, associations etc, so that we can get together and the council can listen to the concerns, opinions and needs of foreign residents. “Furthermore, all courses organised by the council will be in both Catalan and Castellano, as will all information given out by the town hall, as opposed to just in Catalan. “Calvia is a very European community with a large number of Europeans paying taxes and, as they say, there's no taxation without representation.” Mentink is confident that the PP will “just” win the absolute majority on Sunday with the Majorca Union party retaining its single seat and another left-wing party picking up a seat, leaving the present governing party, the PSOE, with eight seats. What ever the outcome, the alleged Calvia “foreign vote blocking” scandal is going to blow up again with the European Union planning a full investigation into numerous complaints from foreign voters that their attempts to register in the electoral role were blocked and unnecessarily complicated by the town hall.

Mentink said that the investigation has nothing to do with either the PP in Calvia or her personally, as the initial complaint was sent directly to a Euro MP in Brussels, and that there are a number of European residents, including a former French politician, prepared to speak out and take their complaints to Brussels once the elections are over. “Both PP and PSOE socialist European MPs in Brussels agreed to hold up the investigation until after the elections so as not to turn, what the European parliament considers to be a very serious matter, into an election issue,” Mentink says, adding that the town hall and Margarita Najera denied the claims without making any effort to find out what was really going. “She accused Calvia's European citizens of lying,” says Mentink. “So, most people I have encountered believe that it is time for change in Calvia and that enough is enough.”