Joan March Avenue. | Jason Moore


Santa Margalida’s mayor, Joan Monjo, has weighed into the arguments about the slowness of the vaccination programme and the changes to street names in Palma by observing that if Joan March were alive, “we would all be vaccinated”.

March was born in Santa Margalida. The avenue in Palma that was named after him has been changed to Gran i General Consell.

Palma town hall’s decision to change this street name as well as eleven others has generated a good deal of argument on two counts - now is not the time to bothering with such things, and some of the now former street names were for reasons unrelated to Franco, the Nationalists and the regime.

March, often referred to as Franco’s banker, is an illustrious son of Santa Margalida. For many years, this honour had been totally forgotten about. It was made in 1956.

March never actually accepted the title, which was why it came to be forgotten.

The record was discovered a few years ago, and Monjo has been determined to honour him, not because of the Francoist connections and smuggling but because of, for example, his charitable work and support for Santa Margalida.

In July last year, the town hall modified the order from 1956 and erased all references to Franco. By doing so, the town hall was compliant with the Balearic law on democratic memory, and there was no longer a reason to object to the portrait of March hanging in the council chamber.

With Palma town hall changing the name of the avenue, Monjo said: “That bunch in Palma just wants to resuscitate Franco. We need to talk less about street names and buy more vaccines.”

He added that although March would have found it difficult to have got everyone vaccinated, “he would surely have succeeded, with or without contraband”.

Monjo has been highly critical of the vaccination programme in Mallorca. Some while ago, he wrote to President Armengol, attacking a lack of planning and accusing the president of “hiding behind the headlines”.

He urged the Balearic government to buy its own supplies of vaccine.