Tuesday should have been a day for the Balearic government to shine in the spotlight of its pioneering tourism of excesses decree. Instead, parliamentary business was overshadowed by the ongoing political fallout from the child sexual exploitation cases. Social affairs minister Fina Santiago of Més was involved in an ill-tempered exchange with the Partido Popular's Marga Duran, who she described as "ignorant". Duran branded Santiago incompetent, and the PP benches were as one in calling for the minister to resign.
Absent from all this was President Armengol, who was in India visiting government-funded facilities run by the Fundación Vicente Ferrer. In her absence, Santiago told parliament that cases such as the recent ones involving minors from Council of Majorca care centres had existed since 2010. The minister appeared to have got her dates wrong, as she said that this was from when the PP were running the Council (and the government). In fact PSOE had been in charge in 2010, and she was minister for social affairs. But rather than a mistake with dates, it then seemed as if Santiago had thrown Armengol under the bus, as Armengol was president of the Council in 2010.
The excesses decree
The tourism excesses decree was nevertheless able to make its presence known, the government gaining parliament's approval. This was almost unanimous. Vox voted against, but the other opposition parties - the PP, Ciudadanos and El Pi - gave the government their support, albeit with reservations.
While general opinion within the tourism industry was that the decree represented a positive development, the one contentious area concerned the alcohol restrictions at all-inclusive hotels in the resorts covered by the decree - Arenal (Llucmajor), Magalluf, Playa de Palma and Sant Antoni. The hotel sector was clearly divided, with some hoteliers concerned that they will suffer losses and have to reduce staff because of the decree.
Meanwhile, it was reported that hotels in these resorts will be requiring guests to sign a "good conduct form". However, this wasn't that new; some hotels have already been doing this. For the most part, the decree isn't new, as much of its content reinforces existing bylaws.
Weather and tremors
There was some very warm weather for early February. On Sunday, Puerto Pollensa topped the temperature charts with 25.8C, and the following day Palma registered a record 26.6C. An anticyclone over northern Africa was the cause of the high temperatures, with breezes uncommonly warm for the time of year as they were bringing African air with them.
Warm weather of this kind in January and February is certainly not unknown, and nor are occasional earth tremors. Around 3am on Tuesday morning, residents in eastern areas of the island were woken by vibrations and barking dogs. A low-intensity earthquake at a point between Manacor and Petra, it registered between two and three on the Richter Scale; there was no damage.
The car-rental sector was highlighting flaws in the government's plans for the use of electric vehicles. As from this year, firms are required to have set percentages of their fleet which are electric. The presidents of the regional and national associations met the energy transition minister, Juan Pedro Yllanes, and told him that these targets were "impossible". The lack of charging infrastructure and of vehicles themselves were two reasons why. A request to delay the imposition of the electric vehicle quotas was met with a no from the minister.
El Terreno, the current reality
When Palma town hall paid homage to El Terreno at the recent Ciutat de Palma prizes gala, this reflection of the past did seem rather at variance with the current day. El Terreno was the happening place in Majorca in the sixties. The gloss has since gone, and residents have in recent times been making repeated complaints about noise, mess, drugs and fights. The late-night bars and clubs are said to be the source of all this.
The PP at the the town hall were calling for certain measures to be adopted, such as closing the steps that connect Plaza Mediterráneo and the Paseo Marítimo at night, while residents were again stressing the need for greater security at weekends.
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