Massive thanks to everyone who has viewed and shared my column and blog from last week. It’s been seen in Spain, Uk, USA, Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Pakistán, Italy, Switzerland, Philippines, Mexico, Austria, Australia, Germany, Malta, Qatar, Estonia, Belgium, Serbia, Canada, Andorra, New Zealand & Norway, UAE, Hong Kong, Slovakia, Thailand, Portugal, Hungary and Egypt,
I said you couldn’t make it up but sometimes I think this Government are. Last week the President Pedro Sanchez said he couldn’t see the tourist industry returning before the end of the summer season. That was hastily followed by the Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto saying that actually the country would be open by the Spring. Well spring is from March 20th to June the 21st, so any chance of a more accurate date Minister? A name of a month will do.
Then came our own Baleares President Francina Armengol or Armageddon as I’m told she’s now known. She actually did give us that month when she said that “normal life” could return to the Balearics by June as long as the mass vaccination programme is successful. However this was followed by the front page headline in the Spanish newspaper Ultima Hora the following day which read “The Government have slowed down the vaccinations because there aren’t enough doses! All this within a space of a week
I’m sorry to keep banging on about it but these people are running our lives. Actually I’ll change that running to ruining because that’s how a lot of people feel right now. I’ll give them last Summer, although mistakes were made, everyone was taken by surprise at the severity of the pandemic. But since we knew that the last Summer season wasn’t going to happen the plan should have been put in place to make sure that summer 2021 was a starter. Unfortunately we’ve stumbled from one mistake to another and in my opinion they should have stopped arrivals from the beginning of December. That would have meant stopping the beginning of December holidays, Christmas, New Year and Three Kings. Difficult and very unpopular decisions I know but the rise in numbers weren’t down to the bars, restaurants, gyms etc they were down to those celebrations. No Government wants to ban things people enjoy especially in a lockdown but that decision should have been made.
Look at New Zealand, their Prime Minister Jacinda Arden won immense praise last year for her leadership. She instituted a mandatory quarantine for all travellers on March 15th, when the nation had recorded just 6 cases. The alert level has just been lowered to 1, and virus measures such as social-distancing are at a minimum as a result, in a country that has only had 25 fatalities since the start of the pandemic, and just 2,246 positive cases. Compare that to the Balearics as a whole that has had just over 51,000 cases and 579 deaths. Remembering also that their population is 4 times the size of ours. And yes I realise that land mass and population density are different but it shows what can be achieved on islands with a clear plan.
If we were in that position now we would be gearing up for the summer and people would not be in such a desperate situation. I’m not sure the authorities realise the problem out there.
I’ve detected since we finished the Christmas celebrations and restrictions have become tighter that there is a change in the attitude of the authorities to start clawing back the money it’s losing. If I look for an anology, It’s a bit of a Robin Hood attitude, robbing the rich(and not so rich)to pay the poor. A few people I know have been subject to work inspections the like of which they’ve never had before. Fines have been increased. I know to my cost as my Wife was stopped by an unmarked Police car after the Genova tunnel this week for not having her lights on. Her side lights were on but not the main ones. The fine? 200 euros!
The “help” of 1500€ by the Government to the bars and restaurants that were made to close actually isn’t all it seems. If you owe any tax or social security right now they say you’re not entitled to it. What business that either hasn’t opened for 10 months or has but at a reduced capacity doesn’t owe some money to the tax man? One business owner was actually told you have to pay us before your employees. No negotiation. It’s wrong and as always it’s all about the spin while the substance reveals another story.
I’ll leave you with a Feelgood story this week. Despite the desperation of some right now there are some good things happening with the help of good people. I was alerted by the charity SOS Calvia to a single Spanish lady with a child who was struggling to fix her washing machine. There were lots of offers of help from money donations to offers of a second hand one. A guy called Kevin Pellowe offered to go round and fix the machine so I arranged for him to go on Saturday morning. He went and told me it was unfixable. I contacted a guy called Damo who lived in Son Dureta who had offered for free a second hand one and Kevin agreed to pick it up and it was fitted in on Sunday. All this was done free of charge and I just want to say a massive thanks to both the guys who have stepped up at a time of need. Human kindness at its best.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
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