Tourism minister Biel Barceló presented his case for the holiday rentals' legislation.

30-05-2017Teresa Ayuga

The Cursach affair
On Wednesday, we said that the Cursach affair surpasses anything else. The corruption cases of the past can seem tame compared with this one. It has everything, and the scale of the affair is reflected in almost daily developments.

Over the past week, we had the mayor of Calvia, Alfonso Rodríguez, facing a lawsuit for malfeasance brought by former anti-corruption prosecutor, Pedro Horrach; we had a university law professor challenging the legal basis for Calvia's closure of BCM; there was a tit-for-tat between Palma's prison director and Cursach lawyers; BCM were suggesting they would sue Calvia town hall for lost revenue; there were allegations of drugs and prostitutes having been made available to Palma police officers at Tito's nightclub; Horrach himself faced being removed from defending a former Calvia official because of incompatibility.

Where is this case heading? It is like nothing else, and investigating judge, Manuel Penalva, recognises what's at stake. He extended the period for court hearings to be held in secret, concerned at the possibilities of witnesses being got at and threatened. Lives were at risk, he suggested.


Illegal selling
Palma councillors have been at war over illegal street selling and now there was a battle over keeping the city's parks clean and tidy. The street selling issue has seen PSOE and Podemos councillors at loggerheads, while the parks involve Més and Podemos. Soon-to-be mayor, Antoni Noguera (Més), is due to step in and try and resolve the dispute between Emaya and the infrastructure department.  

Meanwhile the street selling problem in general was booted upstairs to the regional government. There was a meeting with retailers and town halls to try and work on solutions for all tourist resorts and not just Palma. Readers see this in pretty simple terms: if it's illegal, which it is, then deal with it an appropriate fashion. That, however, seems easier said than done. It's been a problem for decades.


Holiday rentals
Environmentalists Terraferida made a reappearance with data regarding Airbnb and HomeAway rentals. The organisation claimed that half of the holiday rentals advertised on Airbnb for Majorca are controlled by 99 owners. We put owners in inverted commas. Are these "owners" individuals? We suspect not.

Biel Barceló, the tourism minister, took part in a lengthy debate about his holiday rentals' legislation in parliament. The upshot of this was that amendments to the whole bill that had been put forward by opposition parties were rejected, which came as no surprise. The legislation should be approved by the end of the month or early July. Given how the government is proposing interpretations of the tenancy act in this legislation, we suggested that owners (apartment owners, for the most part) need to be very wary.


Another drugs operation
There was another drugs operation. This one was centred on Pollensa and Alcudia. Five people were arrested, though only three went to court. They were released on bail. Despite the amounts of cocaine that were being sold and the money being made, the court and the Guardia Civil were satisfied that the five sales points that were being used were not part of an organised gang or network. In Pollensa, the main alarm was about the fact that one of the "narcos" was plying his trade from a house right next to a primary school.


John Noakes
There was sad news. John Noakes, a Majorca resident for many years, passed away last Sunday. This inspired reflections from the many who had grown up with him, Val Singleton, Peter Purves, Shep and of course the famous Lulu the elephant.

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