Councillor Santiago

Councillor Fina Santiago.

28-01-2020Ultima Hora

The Balearic Minister for Social Services, Fina Santiago, has defended her actions in relation to the management of minors at Government Centres, amid resignation demands from PP and Vox.

Four women and one man have been fired from Government Boarding Centres for Minors for inappropriate sexual behaviour since 2016, but according to Fina Santiago none of the instances involved consummation of the sexual act.

The Head of Social Services insists the department has acted with the "utmost diligence and forcefulness" in relation to this type of behaviour and says these immediate dismissals have sent a “clear message”.

But PP MP Margalida Durán claims “no help was available for the minors when they needed it most and that as the person with the maximum responsible, Fina Santiago is obliged to resign.”

Vox Deputy, Sergio Rodríguez was adamant that Fina Santiago “should have left from day one,” saying, “these cases are a shame that implies us all and makes the Balearic Islands look like “a moral dumping ground.”

The President of the Mallorcan Institute of Social Affairs, or IMAS, Javier de Juan, will appear at the Consell de Mallorca on Friday, in connection with the revelation that 16 minors - 15 girls and 1 boy at Government Centres were sexually exploited as well as allegations of the group rape of a minor on Christmas Eve.

The Counsellor has explained that only one of the seven people involved in the alleged gang rape lives in the Government Centre, Es Pinaret.

The 19-year-old boy had permission to leave the Centre for Christmas and was released on bail after claiming that he had nothing to do with the sexual attack on the girl. The case is still under investigation.

The Counsellor has clarified that the Government does not manage the Centres of the Consell de Mallorca, “nor will it invade its powers", so it cannot speak of the 16 minors who have been sexually abused.

He described in detail the "absolutely inappropriate behaviour" of the five workers who were dismissed and explained that his department was implementing protocols to protect minors and young inmates at their centres.

The Counsellor said that a politician should resign if he does not adopt solutions to a problem, but that in this case the decisions of his department have been "absolutely conclusive".

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