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Las Palmas Prosecutor’s Office file for shanty town eviction near El Pajar banana plantation

Las Palmas Prosecutor’s Office file for shanty town eviction near El Pajar banana plantation

The Las Palmas Provincial Prosecutor’s Office has urged Court of Instruction Number 3 of San Bartolomé de Tirajana to demand the preventive eviction of a shanty town which has arisen over the last year at the old campsite area between El Pajar and Arguineguín on the south west coast of Gran Canaria.

Images: Bård Ove Myhr

According to news portal MaspalomasAhora the prosecutor is responding to an appeal for reform filed by the owner of the land, Pedro del Castillo, against an order of August 13 by which he agreed to reject precautionary measures and the eviction of the more than 200 people who have spent the night in the area since the summer of 2020, as published today by La Provincia [Verification Link Pending].

The owner notes that the first people who settled on this plot arrived in June 2020 and that in just a few weeks the word had spread and many more had appeared.

This is claimed despite the known fact that many of the initial residents had been living on the site long term for many years.

It could be assumed that this action may not apply to everyone living at the site, however there will probably need to be some verification of long term residents, as compared to those newly arrived who have suddenly constructed an eye-sore at the boundary line between Gran Canaria’s most important tourist municipalities.

That said, people need a place to live.  There is likely to be more on this issue over the coming weeks and months.

Del Castillo reportedly points out that although there may be people who have stayed in makeshift buildings here after being left homeless due to the ravages caused by the Covid pandemic, “many of those who have been installed [just] use them as weekend apartments.”

That is why, we are told, the owner now claims preventive eviction as they all lack property titles.

El Pajar campsite © 2019, Bård Ove Myhr

The site was operating as a campsite until 2018, however when it closed a previously hidden community of people living in tents and small shacks, with nowhere else to live, was revealed.  Many stayed all the way through until the pandemic began and beyond.

Their names were recorded by National Police with the collaboration of the local San Bartolomé de Tirajana town hall.

During the summer of 2020 several shacks made of shipping pallets were erected, and an apparently new wave of individuals moved on to the site creating an extended shanty town.  Though several have claimed destitution, due to Covid-19, there are a large number who are also suspected to be simply taking advantage of the situation, to claim a little summer space on the south of the island, rather than having to rely on sleeping in a van or trailer.

At the moment there is no real way to know for sure who is who, however the land remains private property owned by the aristocratic and influential Del Castillo family, and so all those who can not show a clear claim are likely to be made to feel rather unwelcome

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