The Contentious Administrative Court number 4 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has ordered the unauthorised Maspalomas Carnival chiringuitos to be closed once again, ahead of the main weekend of festivities. The court dismissed the very precautionary measures requested by the company Poppy Garden Terraza SL, one of the companies that installed chiringuito beach bars in two parking areas on the outer perimeter of the Yumbo Shopping Centre, which had reversed the decision to close them made by the Town Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana last Thursday, June 9, as these premises did not have the necessary authorisation from the Department of Public Works for the sale of beverages. The chiringuitos will now not be allowed to reopen during the main weekend of the carnival. San Bartolomé de Tirajana Policia Local are to proceed to close and seal these facilities at once, confirmed sources within the town hall.
In an order issued this Friday, Judge María del Carmen Monte Blanco has agreed to lift the interim suspension of the closures, obtained in another temporary order of June 10, the day after the town hall closed them down, on the basis that administrative silence invoked by the companies who installed the 25 chiringuitos without proper authorisation does not correspond to a well ordered approach to municipal management of such major events. “The knowledge of a de facto situation by the municipal administration, and even the tolerance that a passive attitude of it may imply in the case in question, is not equivalent to the granting of the corresponding municipal authorisations legalising the activity,” the order states. The magistrate also recalls that the municipal resolution challenged by the appellant companies includes an unfavourable technical report regarding their originally requested authorisation.
The town council’s urban planning department closed these businesses due to their lacking authorisations, and for not having the required safety and security plans, extremes that the owners of these beach bars have denied from the beginning by claiming that they do in fact have “all the documentation in order”. The town hall accused them of trying to organise “a parallel carnival”, since the only chiringuitos that were authorised were the ones owned by the municipality, 13 kiosks selling drinks, five food-trucks and three others which, as they should be, this year were put out to public tender in a sealed bidding process.
After that first order to close, issued by the council, the businessmen affected requested urgent precautionary measures that were provisionally accepted, in principle, but have now been rejected on further consideration. In their objections and allegations, the promoters had put forward an appearance of good law, having obtained enabling title for administrative silence, as well as claiming the likelihood of serious economic damage that the municipal ordinance would cause them, claiming that the placement of these chiringuito bars would cause no harm to the general interest or to public order.
However, in her order, issued this Friday, the judge enters into no debate on whether or not the administrative silence is valid having obtained the authorisation, since there is already an unfavourable municipal technical report, preceding the claims of these businessmen. She also maintains that the economic damage argument does not apply. “Even when economic damages are derived from the execution of the contested resolution, for the suspension to be appropriate, it is necessary that such damages be impossible or difficult to repair, which does not happen in the present case, given that they, insofar as is financially assessable, would always be subject to compensation in the event that a resolution approving the claims of the party is issued,” the order states.
The head of the court also explains that the general interest must prevail, in this case the need to guarantee citizen security in a multi-person mass event such as the Maspalomas Carnival, as opposed to the particular interest of the appellants. “It must be taken into account, in this regard, that the chiringuitos are located outside the area expressly authorised by the Municipal Security Plan and that they hinder the exit of emergency vehicles, as stated in the Policia Local report provided by the Town Council”, she points out.
Upon hearing the confirmation of the closures of these unauthorised chiringuitos, the businesses who were awarded the official municipal kiosks have celebrated the judicial decision, undoing a situation which had produced “unfair and illegal competition” throughout this week, but they have also said that “it is late because this is the last weekend that we have to earn when they have done so for a week without authorisation”, explained a spokeswoman, who has also advanced that they will no longer pursue legal action against the Town Council to reclaim their money from the concessions, as they had announced earlier this week, because the Corporation “acted well “, but their lawyers will now study what responsibilities do exist and from whom they might seek damages, taking into account that the initial municipal precinct was lifted by a judicial decision.
An appeal can be lodged against this latest court order within a period of 15 days. Nonetheless, the illegal party bars will not profit from the most important events of this years carnival, with at least 30,000 people expected to join the main day of parades this Saturday, followed by the ceremonial Funeral of the Sardine on Sunday, on Playa del Ingles, where fireworks and the symbolic cremation of carnival sins will restore the town to its quiet summer normality.