Gran Canaria’s second most important tourism municipality, Mogán on the south west coast of the island, are understood to be engaged in the process of endowing themselves with a new set of local bylaws which, among various other things, will prohibit and penalise anyone found sleeping, day or night, in public spaces.
Prohibited too, in some of Gran Canaria’s favourite resorts, will be the leaving of clothing or towels on balconies. The apparently deeply conservative Mogán town hall, led by the now infamous Alcaldesa, Mayor Onalia Bueno, and her CIUCA party, also plan to hand out fines to anyone leaving advertising brochures on cars, throwing firecrackers that produce noise, (both moves that should be welcomed) as well as those caught consuming alcohol or drugs in the streets or deemed to be naked or semi naked on public roads.
Pouring water on a public street could be punishable with a hefty fine.
The new local laws will also seek to punish behaviours that might be judged to be forms of begging in public spaces, like, for example, offering to clean car windshields, according to what is stated verbatim in the proposed new legislation, as reported by Spanish language daily Canarias7. And street prostitution is also to be specifically targeted.
The odd thing is that residents of Mogán don’t seem to be aware that any of these issues have ever been a problem in the area. Not in Arguineguín, nor Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, nor Taurito, nor Puerto de Mogán.
In fact, it appears that the only issue that visitors and residents have continually complained about on social media, that of their being continually harassed by individuals openly dealing drugs in the late night shopping centres, unhindered by police or security personnel, has in no way been tackled by this newly proposed set of police powers, which has led some to question what it is, exactly, that is being done to reduce that sort of nuisance which has had a clear and negative impact on tourism in the area?
Why would a town hall tackle nuisances that do not appear to be a problem, while completely ignoring the most obvious and high profile street dealers who appear to act with impunity? It is almost as though, ahead of next years local elections, that the incumbent wants to appear tough, without really having to do much… curious.
There is hope though. In a rather roundabout way the text of the new proposed ordinance seeks also to ban any behaviour that “violates the dignity of a person”, which in itself should lead to sanctions of fines for anybody harassing others in an unsolicited manner and in particular could lead to denuncias (complaints to police) against anyone shown to have been racist, sexist of homophobic in a public place. We have to wonder how effective that will be in Mogán, especially as all these rights are already enshrined within the national laws of Spain.
This new ordinance, referred to as being for “Coexistence and Citizen Security”, was provisionally approved in the town council’s November plenary session and, will now be presented for public consultation over the next 30 days. It consists of 163 articles distributed across six titles and more than twenty chapters and aims to regulate almost everything that has to do with behaviour on public roads.
The new regulations are so varied, comments Canarias7 journalist Gaumet Florido that, along with a chapter that prohibits any conduct that violates the dignity of people and any type of discrimination, whether racist, sexist or homophobic; and there are other regulations that seem to be very specific, determining the prohibition of unsecured pots being placed on balconies, spitting, spilling water on public roads (a custom of the past) or keeping your car engine running while stopped without being about to leave.
The new local laws with also empower the Mogán Council to decides at what point the leaving of an animal in a home, unsupervised, becomes intolerable, with the owners being obliged to proceed with the animal’s removal, and parents may face a fine up to €750 when there is deemed to be a fault or negligence leading to children not attending class. The new bylaws will establish three types of infractions: minor (up to €750), serious (from €751 to €1,500) and very serious (from €1,501 to €3,000).
It will be interesting to discover if everyone is behind these new regulations, who will be those who defend them, and who, if any, might have concerns or objections, prior to this legislation being rubber stamped into local law, like so many others over this last 8 years under Mogán’s suspiciously one-party system.
Edward Timon .:.