While Queen Elizabeth was having her official birthday celebrated on the island, with the British Consul General to the Balearics, Andrew Gwatkin, presiding over the “glittering event” attended by more than a hundred people (photographs of whom appeared on Friday and yesterday), the Spanish Royal Family had less pleasing matters to attend to.
The council in Palma was quick to announce its “maximum respect” for the decision by King Felipe to strip his sister, Princess Cristina, of her title of Duchess of Palma. Yesterday, we reported on this decision and an apparent controversy which has arisen - not the removal of the title, but who made the decision. The announcement having been made by the royal household, it emerged that the princess had sent the king a letter in which she said that she would renounce her title. The implication was that it was she who had instigated the move, something which the royal household was at pains to deny. It had been the king’s decision, and the letter from his sister (dated 1 June in Geneva) had arrived after the announcement had been made and indeed after the king had informed her of the decision by telephone. The outcome is the same, however, and the princess is no longer the duchess, while her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, automatically loses his title of Duke of Palma.
While there has been much talk of policing - mainly to do with Magalluf and its new and so-called crackdown on anti-social behaviour - there was an alarming article on Thursday which highlighted the under-resourcing of the Guardia Civil on Majorca. This was a report which quoted the head of the United Association of Guardia Civil Officers - effectively a union - and he claimed, among other things, that there was a need for at least 500 more officers in the Balearics as a whole, that the force had not been added to for some twenty years, that vehicles were being driven well beyond when it was recommended that they should be (in terms of kilometres on the clock) and that some officers even have to pay for their own bullet-proof vests.
VOODOO AND HUMAN
The National Police, meanwhile, were reporting success in having broken up a human-trafficking network that supplies women as prostitutes in Playa de Palma. As with Magalluf, these women are more violent robbers than prostitutes, and one could begin to understand why they are as they are when the detail of the police operation was revealed.
Indebted at times by as much as 50,000 euros to the gang - which had offered them jobs in Europe - they had been taken to Lanzarote via Morocco from their homes in Nigeria and then sent on to locations such as Playa de Palma.
In addition to the debt, voodoo rituals and threats to their lives and to those of their families made them totally subordinate to the gang. The police haven’t ruled out there being further arrests and one was left to wonder if there might not be some similar intervention with the women who operate in Magalluf.
Following this news item on Tuesday, Frank Leavers on Wednesday observed that the women “are almost certainly as much sinned against as they are sinners themselves”, a point of view he accepted might not please some of those who have campaigned to rid the streets of the menace they pose.
THE RAIXA ESTATE
There was something of a coincidence in the columns of two of our excellent contributors last week. On Sunday, Andy Rawson, in his Majorca’s Days Out feature, profiled the Raixa estate in Bunyola, tracing its history from the thirteenth century and noting in passing that it had inspired Agatha Christie, who referred to it in her novel “Evil Under The Sun”.
On Thursday. Michael Montier, in his Wild Majorca column, looked at the bird life in and around the estate, highlighting the sight of three Black Vultures in the nearby Tramuntana mountains: “majestic birds of prey ... which also used to be a rare sight in Majorca but happily their numbers are now on the increase”.
BACK TO FOOTBALL
With the football season having concluded, Monro Bryce, under the heading “Season to forget for Real Mallorca”, looked at plans for the coming season, when the club will be celebrating its one-hundredth anniversary. The slogan “back to football” will be used to try and increase a fan base which, as Monro observed, is limited by “too many armchair fans in Majorca (supporting) the big two” (of Real Madrid and Barcelona). “It was very disappointing to see so many Barcelona jerseys on view last Sunday after their Champions’ League win.”
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