The president of Meliá, Gabriel Escarrer Julià, took issue with the tourist tax. | Jaume Morey

The official opening of Palma's Palacio de Congresos was, as we noted in the Bulletin yesterday, an occasion for some controversy, not least because of remarks by the president of Meliá, Gabriel Escarrer Julià.

The government and Podemos took particular exception to Escarrer's observations about the tourist tax - "it is not the way" - and about its management of public money. Yesterday there was reaction. Tourism minister Biel Barceló said that he wasn't surprised but felt that Escarrer had gone over the top. "It wasn't the time or the place."

President Armengol and PSOE were avoiding saying anything, other than for a statement issued by the ministry for the presidency which noted that the government didn't agree with what was said. Armengol preferred to add "nothing new" to what she had said on Monday night regarding the tourist tax and the wider distribution of benefits generated by tourism.

David Abril of Més, not a minister but a co-spokesperson for the party, attacked Escarrer, saying that he wasn't someone to be giving lessons to the government on tax policy. He added that there is to be a parliamentary motion for accelerating procedures related to the tax amnesty that affected various business people, one of them having been the president of Meliá.

Laura Camargo of Podemos, not in the government as such, insisted that Escarrer should "apologise for the spectacle he offered during his inaugural speech, believing that his approach was better because he is one of the richest people in these islands". She was outraged because Escarrer had demonstrated that he was unaware that the large hoteliers "do not dictate the laws in the islands".   

The government was also unhappy about some of the entertainment that was served up on Monday night, especially the performance of comedian Agustín "El Casta". It was felt that he had ridiculed the government and Palma town hall.