11-08-2015Enrique Calvo

The bobbies of Magalluf
So there they were on Tuesday’s front page, PC Martina Anderson and Sgt. Brett Williams. After all the talk and usually the rejection of the idea, British bobbies were finally in Magalluf, albeit only for a week-long pilot scheme. We went into overdrive, the media everywhere went overboard in its desire to have its say and, in some quarters, mock. British holidaymakers in the resort seemed to think it was a good idea and they welcomed the appearance of the two officers. And they were welcomed also by the local authorities and Guardia Civil. The colonel-in-chief of the force in the Balearics, reported in Friday’s edition, said that the work of the two officers was extremely important in the context of what the British Ambassador, Simon Manley, explained was a wish for there to be a reduction in the number of young British holidaymakers who get into some trouble and need consular assistance. One question that was being asked, though, was whether there was quite the same need for British police as had been the case. On the same day as we covered the Ambassador’s visit to speak about the work of the two officers, there was also a report about the lowering of crime and incidents in Magalluf, along with a fall also in the number of young British holidaymakers coming to the resort. Was and is Magalluf undergoing a change? Maybe so.

Playa de Palma takes over
But the types of behaviour that have led to a negative reputation are still very much with us, even if the emphasis seems to have shifted from Magalluf to Arenal and Playa de Palma. On Wednesday, it was noted that the El Pi party in Palma was calling for there to be joint action between the town halls of Palma and Llucmajor in order to address “serious problems.” A joint and special police force was being advocated.

By Friday, we were reporting on a meeting of residents at which a similar request was made. The response was swift. Police numbers are to be increased, said a report yesterday, with Humphrey Carter’s Viewpoint suggesting that the focus of bad behaviour had indeed moved along the coast to Arenal.

Tourist tax confusion
The regional government’s plan for a tourist tax continued to be a dominating news subject, but on Saturday we suggested that there was confusion as to when it might be implemented. The minister responsible for the tax, Biel Barceló, appeared to be insisting that it will be introduced next year, but as the tourism industry has been asking for a delay until 2017 in order that the tax will not have repercussions for packages sold for 2016, Barceló indicated that the government might accept a delay.

The strains of summer
The minister was also concerning himself with the “strain of high summer” in the Balearics and the ways in which services and infrastructure are stretched to the limits by the number of people. “We are facing a problem of quantity,” he remarked, and the following day, Andrew Ede in “The Week in Tourism” column was wondering if this August might represent a watershed for Majorca’s tourism because of strains being placed on it. One  of  these is being caused by the explosion in the number of private apartments being made available for holiday rental. While we at “The Bulletin” have been in favour of a change to legislation that makes life easier for owners to commercialise their apartments, it has to be accepted that control needs to be put in place as the sheer availability of accommodation - much of it unregulated - is having the potential to overwhelm the island.

Too much rubbish
A service which does appear to be at its limits, in some parts of the island, is street cleaning, something exacerbated by fly-tipping.  On Sunday, we featured the efforts of Dutch resident Elisabeth Ceulen and her family in Andratx who are cleaning up rubbish themselves, some of it from beaches. The problem with waste getting onto or near Majorca’s beaches is especially critical this summer. A report on Tuesday said that the volume of waste that the vessels which remove it have had to contend with is over double the average, most of it being plastic. A great deal of it, or so it would seem, comes from Algerian landfill sites that are located right by the coast.

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