The arrest of Tolo Cursach
There was little doubt as to what the big story of last week was. The arrest of Tolo Cursach, owner of clubs such as BCM, as well as a hotel, gym and other businesses, may well prove to be the biggest story of the year. The interest in the Bulletin's reports was such that the website had rarely been as busy with views, and these reports also found their way on to TripAdvisor.
As we suggested on Friday, this latest affair goes beyond the corruption cases involving the likes of Jaume Matas and Iñaki Urdangarin. The arrest of Cursach and two senior executives with the Cursach Group comes as part of the lengthy and ongoing investigations into allegations of police corruption, and these investigations have already pointed to a web that embraces politicians, police and businesspeople. The investigating judge, Manuel Penalva, has made reference to the existence of an organised criminal network. He and the chief prosecutor have felt it necessary to ask permission to carry guns. The investigation therefore has a different and more sinister complexion than others.
Of initial reaction to the arrests on Tuesday there was a view that Cursach would be released quickly enough. But as we also said, things aren't quite as they were. Prosecutors, judges and, yes, even politicians have acquired greater strength and determination in pursuing cases that they might once have preferred to avoid. Cursach and Tolo Sbert were ordered to prison, while the third person arrested, Antoni Bergas, a one-time inspector with Palma police, was charged but released. The charges being levelled at Cursach are wide, and they include homicide for a death (or possibly two) in "suspicious" circumstances.
The gentrification of Palma
Palma and holiday rentals were the focus of two reports. One concerned a study by the Palma XXI group into "gentrification in Palma". This wasn't only to do with holiday rentals as its main focus was a concern about the increase in property purchasing by foreigners. The foreign population of the city could rise by fourteen per cent to 40% by 2030, it was suggested. The effect of increased property prices and foreign purchases, in addition to holiday rentals, will create an "ever more perverse" situation, the group argued. Finding decent and affordable property to rent will become more and more difficult for local people.
The second report was about a petition launched by the federation of residents associations. When the draft text for the holiday rentals legislation was published some time ago, the federation expressed grave concerns about the possible impact. It believes that the wishes and interests of residents are being ignored by the tourism ministry, and so the petition is calling for there to be no holiday rentals in any apartment building anywhere in Palma.
The regional government has a stellar project. It is the redevelopment of the old Son Dureta Hospital. The initial announcement of this project was made only a short time ago, yet senior figures in the government found it necessary to make a further one. The only additional information of real consequence to come from this latest announcement concerned the number of places - 570 in all. Otherwise, why was the announcement being made, we wondered. Moreover, where is the funding going to come from? The government hasn't said other than to suggest that there will be funding - all 119 million euros of it.
It's an excellent project, but there is one big question that requires a clear answer.
Goats, bulls and cockerels
Animal welfare cropped up in different ways last week. Calvia town hall was being taken to task for still not having made clear the circumstances surrounding the cull of goats at the Galatzo finca.
Animal-rights groups issued an ultimatum to the government: either set out measures for banning the Fornalutx bull-run or the matter will be taken to court. This followed the government's announcement that it intends new legislation solely aimed at making bullfighting impossible. It can't actually ban bullfighting, because of the recent Constitutional Court ruling. The bull-run will not be covered by this legislation.
And the mayor of Pollensa said that there will be no more cockerels for the Sant Antoni pine climb in January. As we pointed out yesterday, traditionalists aren't happy with the mayor.
The arrest of Tolo Cursach
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