Cifre has always favoured Can Bach rather than Can Conill | CCL

The last we heard about the building of the new health centre in Pollensa was that all was ready to go bar the raising and awarding of the tender. After all the arguments, not least those of the current mayor, Tomeu Cifre, about the siting of the centre - Cifre has always favoured Can Bach rather than Can Conill - the Balearic health ministry was ready to proceed.

The ministry had more than just the Pollensa health centre to be concerned about. In all, there are new centres in eight municipalities in the pipeline; Santa Margalida is another. The tender therefore was to be for all of them in one lot, a process to which the Pimem small to medium-sized businesses federation took such exception that it took the matter to the tribunal for contractual disputes in Madrid.

This tribunal has suspended the awarding of the tender for at least three months, Pimem having argued that the specification meant the exclusion of mostly all construction businesses of a small to medium-sized character in Mallorca and the Balearics. The scope of the tender was too great for these businesses to even contemplate bidding.

Pimem says that it is hopeful of arriving at an agreement with the health ministry that will “unblock the situation”. Meanwhile, there is considerable discontent in the affected municipalities. Tomeu Cifre reckons that “we have been deceived from the outset”, as the ministry had said that Pollensa’s would be the first to be built. “Now, we don’t know when the work will start.”

Cifre adds that “the left” have always been critical of mega-tenders but that they have now gone and raised one. “I just want them to build the PAC as soon as possible.” In Santa Margalida, Joan Monjo doesn’t distinguish between left and right. “The PP and PSOE have always done the same. Award work to large builders in Madrid, who then subcontract it.”

Back in Pollensa and one of the opposition parties, Unidas Podemos, has described the situation as “very bad news”. Expressing calmer criticism of the PSOE-run health ministry, they say that the tender formula was “not perhaps the best option, as it has made it difficult for local companies to bid”.