Spanish Interior Minister opens Las Palmas police station and visits the Policia Nacional in Maspalomas
Traffic was halted along the GC500 old national road through Playa del Inglés this afternoon for the arrival, and departure, of a Spanish Government Minister, Government Delegate and the Police Director, in a security operation including officers with fully automatic weaponry, helicopters, cordons and restrictions on mobility.
The Spanish Minister of The Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, along with Madrid’s Government Delegate to The Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, and National Police director, Francisco Pardo, visited the Maspalomas Policia Nacional station this afteroon after inaugurating a new police station in the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Fernando Grande-Marlaska this Friday morning defended the “solidity” of infrastructures contained within the controversial Canarias Plan in the face of a likely new wave of migrants arriving to the Islands during the coming months of calm seas -September, October and November- as happened last year. The minister emphasised that the important thing this year is that with the Canarias Plan, the Islands have been more properly prepared and equipped with important infrastructures to face an ” extraordinary” rebound in migration, which includes 7,000 places in different spaces, many of them former barracks, provided for, in the most part, with tents for the reception of inbound migrants “with dignity.”
For the minister, the Police and the Guardia Civil have done an “extraordinary” job during last year’s migration crisis. 23,023 people arrived in 2020 and more than 7,000, have arrived so far this year, although there are only about 2,000 left on the islands, primarily in state camps.
Marlaska attributed the massive arrival of migrants to the island’s coasts over the last year and in recent months of 2021 to the pandemic. “It was an exceptional and extraordinary migration crisis as a consequence of the pandemic,” Marlaska stressed. “Many times it is forgotten that the pandemic modified many circumstances as well as migratory movement and irregular migration,” the minister stressed, though in Spain and Europe efforts have been made to alleviate the socio-economic crisis, “in other weaker countries, the greater economic pandemic caused irregular migration to increase,” he emphasised.
In his opinion, the Government of Spain responded with “very reasonable solvency” despite the fact that Canary Islands society and administrations blamed the Executive of Pedro Sánchez and Marlaska, specifically, on numerous occasions and for months, because of their slow speed in responding to the migratory crisis in the Canary Islands, in addition to denouncing overcrowding and the harsh conditions that greeted migrants on the Arguineguín dock, dubbed by some the dock of shame, and criticising the State with claims that they wanted to turn the islands into some sort of ghetto for migrants, with the Police preventing, under orders of the Interior Ministry, transfers to the Peninsula.
In the end, Interior Ministry had to open its hand for a judicial sentence regarding these trips and many migrants have been able to continue their migratory journey to the Peninsula. Regarding the return of migrants to their countries of origin and their transfer from the Canary Islands to other autonomous communities, Grande-Marlaska said that the Government has a policy of “joint” responses, with return policies for those people who do not have the right to asylum, back to their countries of origin and referrals are made in the case of vulnerable migrants. Others, the majority, travel with resources sent to them by their own relatives or with help from NGOs.
According to the Minister, “it is always guaranteed that there is no undue pressure anywhere in Spain.”
According to Marlaska, the Government of Pedro Sánchez has not only provided the Islands with much more solid infrastructures to be able to face any extraordinary crisis in the matter of migration, but, at the same time, is working on “the fight against illegal networks in a decisive way and has increased the number of agents both in the fight against the networks and in the assessment of all the migratory phenomena.” He also highlighted conditions at the Temporary Attention Center for migrants (Cate) in Barranco Seco, after visiting it yesterday, Thursday “We have infrastructures worthy of a strong and solid state, such as Spain,” he said.
Regarding relations with Morocco , after a recent storming of the Melilla fence, where more than 200 sub-Saharan migrants managed to cross, he considered the Alawite Kingdom (Morocco) to be an “extraordinary, exceptional and important” partner.”
“We have a relationship of friendship consolidated over time and guaranteed in terms of cooperation and security.” He stressed that the Spanish Government has carried out important repair and restructuring work on the fences both in Ceuta and Melilla over the last two years, spending more than €12 million.
However, at the Melilla fence there is still a part that needs to be reinforced, that will be completed soon, already having the project prepared.
Central District Police Station
The minister made these assessments at an inauguration ceremony this Friday for the new Policia Nacional Central District Police Station in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This comerseria will cover a population of about 100,000 people in the downtown district.
At the opening ceremony, Marlaska was accompanied by the President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres ; the Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana ; the mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Augusto Hidalgo; and the general director of the Police, Francisco Pardo, among others.
To build the new police station, which has been in service since the first week of June, the Interior Ministry has invested €3.1 million and a staff of 73 officials. It is part of a €600 million national police infrastructure plan.