Category: Government Delegate

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 31 March – 2 April 2023


 A glorious first weekend of April ahead and the beginning of the christian Holy Week “Semana Santa”, diligently observed in Spain. There will be many religious acts and processions throughout the week around the island, especially in the capital.  Don’t forget it’s also April fools’ on Saturday even though it isn’t a tradition in Spain, there will be those who will take the whimsical opportunity for some hilarity. The Mercado Inglés is on at The British Club of Las Palmas and there is also an authentic Canarian rural fair to visit this weekend in the traditional mountain market town of San Mateo.

Gran Canaria Weather: Yellow Warnings – Up to 36ºC, in the shade, expected on the south, high temperatures with strong winds and calima expected to affect all The Canary Islands this week

The Spanish State Meterological Agency, AEMET, has issued yellow warnings for heat, calima haze and strong winds this week on the Canary Islands forecasting high temperatures of up to 34ºC expected on several islands. An alert has been issued due to a risk of forest fires on Gran Canaria as the mix of dry weather, strong winds and high temperatures has led to concerns over coming days.

Wild fires Alert on Gran Canaria this Wednesday, with temperatures set to exceed 34ºC in the shade

Springtime has only just begun and already the temperatures, in the shade, on Gran Canaria have been repeatedly hitting the low to mid-thirties, which brings with it also a rising risk of Forest Fires and Wildfires.  Here in the Canary Islands forest fire crews are well versed in tackling an occasional mountain blaze, with alert levels often following the basic informal rule of thumb, the so-called 30/30/30 rule, putting the authorities on alert whenever the temperature is set to rise above 30ºC in the shade, the humidity levels drop below 30% and sustained winds are forecast at faster than 30kmph.  Common sense and preparation help the general population to avoid injury in the event of a fire taking hold.

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 24-26 March 2023

Plum tree blossoming in Tenteniguada March 2023
It’s the last weekend of March already and Spring is here; winter is behind us and the summer weather is already hotting up on Gran Canaria. The hillsides are in full bloom, particularly up in the mountain summits; it’s Carnival Weekend in Arguineguín and the last of the carnival festivities for this year are happening around the island. With summer just around the corner, clocks Spring forward this Saturday and Sunday night when 1am becomes 2am 🕐. On the north of the island, one of the biggest seasonal trade fairs is happening, gathering produce and people from 11 municipalities, ENORTE will be celebrated in the historic Rum capital of the island, Arucas, this weekend.


Gran Canaria and Tenerife continue with Level 3 Alert with a change to the curfew

The Canary Islands Government have announced that Gran Canaria is to continue on Level 3 Alert following the Governing Council session on Thursday, reviewing prevention measures during the continuing health crisis caused by COVID-19, though they have confirmed some slight changes to some restrictions. The BOC (Official Bulletin for Canary Islands) has been published so these modifications enter into force from today, April 23 and will be in affect until at least April 29.

Gran Canaria and Tenerife continue on Level 3 restrictions for now. El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Graciosa are all on Level 2, while La Palma and La Gomera on Level 1.

For the latest Canary Islands data on Covid-19, updated daily, check our Canary Islands dashboard

What’s new in level 3 alert
Limits on freedom of movement at night change to 23:00 – 06:00, instead of starting from 22:00, as before.
Hotels and restaurants can now also close at 23:00 and the pick-up services can be provided at the premises until that same time.

You can see the published BOC in Spanish here
Travel Restrictions
Islands on Alert Level 3 still maintain perimeter closures, with travel only allowed to or from those islands based on the rules restricting non-essential movement for high risk islands.

However, Government spokesman Julio Pérez announced during the press conference that vacation travel, as well as travel for other reasons between Canary islands is allowed so long as the traveller presents a negative covid diagnostic test result for active infections (PCR or Antigen) just as was permitted during Easter week. This change will take a little longer to come into force because its procedure is more complicated so hopefully we will have good news over the coming days. 
Curfew limitations to freedom of movement at night.
Freedom of movement is now limited between 23:00 and 06:00 every day, except for essential activities such as the acquisition of medicines from a pharmacy; assistance getting to healthcare centres, services and establishments: assistance to veterinary care centres for urgent reasons; as well as compliance with work, professional, business, institutional or legal obligations; assistance and care for domestic animals or on livestock farms, among others.
Maximum capacity in public and private spaces.
Four people maximum, unless all are cohabitants.
Specific measures for hotels, restaurants and terraces, bars and cafes .
A maximum 50% of the authorised capacity on outdoor terraces. The use of interior spaces, and consumption inside bars is not allowed except the use of bathrooms and pick up service. Maximum occupancy per table or group of tables is 4 people outside. All establishments most be closed before 11 pm. Home delivery is allowed until midnight.
Sports practice
The practice of physical activity or sports is allowed in interior areas of sports facilities and centres with a maximum capacity of 33%, with masks and a safety distance of 2 meters.
Outdoor sports are allowed in groups of a maximum 4 people, including the monitor, if an interpersonal safety distance of 2 meters cannot be maintained at all times. No more than 50% capacity should be exceeded in any of the outdoor sports centres and spaces.
Hospital centres and health care centres.
Visits to and departures of residents are suspended except for necessary situations at the discretion of the physician or centre.
Public transport . The capacity remains 50% on regular urban and metropolitan land public transport.

#CGobCan El Gobierno aprueba cambios en algunas restricciones:
En nivel de alerta 3⤵️?La limitación de circulación de personas en horario nocturno pasa a ser de 23.00 a 6.00 horas?El cierre de hostelería y restauración se sitúa a las 23.00h
➕info ?
— Presidencia GobCan (@PresiCan) April 22, 2021


Slightly warmer winter than expected across the Canary Islands, but with some record lows and highs, say AEMET

AEMET, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency, on Thursday held a press conference to report on their findings over the winter, in regards to climate balance, and the forecast for spring 2021 on the Canary Islands. A slightly warmer winter, according to the meteorologists, that has been pretty “normal”, with average temperatures over the Canary Islands archipelago of 15.3ºC, that is 0.2ºC above the historical average for this season. Data provided by AEMET’s territorial delegate in the Canary Islands, David Suárez, accompanied by Spain’s Government Delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, suggest that a warm winter is coming to a close, in which we have seen relatively mild temperatures in the Canary Islands, averaging around 15.7ºC in December; 15.2ºC in January; and 14.9ºC on average for February.

On Saturday March 20 at 09:37 a.m., Spring official begins and it is expected to bring higher than average temperatures with some type rain. Of course, David Suárez pointed out, next week it may be “colder than usual” but temperatures are expected to recover average values for this time of year before easter.
There were warmer than average periods during this winter (2 in January and 2 in February) and colder too (1 in January and 2 in February). Between January 8 and 14, following storm Filomena, a marked cold episode took place. With temperatures as low as -6.2°C recorded on the 13th in Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre, on Tenerife, and -14.2°C at the Teide Cable Car station, on the 9th. Another cold spell occurred between February 3 and 7, caused by an Atlantic trough with a cold front passing the archipelago and a later cold discharge. It was this period when the absolute minimums for the month occurred at 90% of the weather stations, some, such as on the 5th in Tijarafe (5.5°C) and Las Mercedes (4.0°C), saw their lowest minimum temperatures in the last 10 years.
Next week will be colder than usual, but for Easter average temperatures are expected to recover
Of course there have also been episodes of winter heat on the islands, like the one between January 27 and February 1, which stands out. During this period, maximums of more than 28°C were recorded in Agulo, Antigua and Teror (reaching 28.7°, on the 28th). Likewise,  maximum temperatures in the shade reached record values ​​at several stations, among which the Los Rodeos weather station on Tenerife stands out, on January 29 they measured a winter record maximum of 25.9°C in the shade.
As for the rain, this winter has seen more than is usual, with an average rainfall on the islands of 135mm/m2. December was drier than usual, with half the expected average rainfall, January brought more wet weather than expected, with precipitation equivalent to 155% of the usual average values, with a fairly normal February, equivalent to 92% of expected historical average values. And of course there were various episodes of Calima, though nothing out of the ordinary.

Hoy ha tenido lugar la rueda de prensa en la que se ha presentado el balance climático del invierno 20-21 en Canarias.
— AEMET_Canarias (@AEMET_Canarias) March 18, 2021


The Canary News

Bone age determination tests on hundreds of young migrants have shown that adults were being accommodated in juvenile facilities

Bone age determination tests are being carried out on hundreds of young migrants, and some results, as suspected, have shown that there were adults erroneously being accommodated in juvenile facilities. Upon arrival to the Canary Islands, unaccompanied minors, young people under 18 years of age, are protected under law by the Autonomous Community. The Regional Government has previously estimated that up to 600 of the migrants claiming to be children are in fact older and have chosen to enter the Canarian Executive’s child protection network erroneously, in an effort to evade deportation or other consequences.

This is a problem taken very seriously by the Ministry for Social Rights, who have been all but overwhelmed by the massive increased arrival of minors to the archipelago, having had to organise temporary accommodation for several hundred of them in hotels on the south of Gran Canaria. What’s more, the Canary Islands’ entire Community budget this year, for this work, has already been used up in just the first two months of the year.
The Ministry previously indicated that they currently care for 2,036 presumed minors, without documentation to assist with determination of age, although it is, in their opinion, only necessary to X-ray about 1,000 for whom there are reasonable doubts; as the rest are obvious minors. There are about 300 individuals, thought to be adults, who are according to the Ministry, clearly older and then up to another 300 approximately for whom it cannot be certain, as they are thought to be in the age group of between 17 and 20.  All will be subject to bone age determination tests to assess and record their age, at an accuracy rate of up to 95%.
The Ministry has now demonstrated that there are in fact adults who have to leave the centres accommodating minors. If they are adults, they become the responsibility of the Spanish State. In this context, the Immigration Prosecutor’s Office have determined 54 adults (26 on Tenerife and 28 on Gran Canaria) who were in juvenile centres but are not children, the Ministry of Social Rights reports.
On February 10, at the request of the Ministry, a meeting took place between the Government Delegation, National Police, Guardia Civil, The Immigration Prosecutor’s Office, the various collaborating organisations that have been delegated to take care of minors and the Ministry of Health, as well as the Institute of Legal Medicine to coordinate the bone age determination tests process and speed it up, especially on Gran Canaria due to the number of minors who have reached the island, because there has been no protocol to determine age from when they arrive and so if they declared that they are minors they were simply sent to the centres. The Covid-19 pandemic response and restrictions have also delayed these tests. Since the meeting, the processing of bone samples has been streamlined in a “remarkable way”, explained the Social Rights Ministry.
Nine autonomies will welcome just 177 of last year’s migrant children, of the 2,658 that are currently in the Canary Islands Child Protection system
The President of the Regional Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, made a loud call for help last Monday, in Brussels, making clear that the Canary Islands need solidarity and resources to care for these minors. The Canarian Executive has also asked the Spanish State and other autonomous communities to be jointly responsible for the care of these minors. Nine Spanish Regional Governments have responded but offering only 177 places to assist some of the 2,658 minors currently under Canary Islands guardianship. Referrals begin on March 10. Catalonia has been the most supportive, with the offer of 43 places; Castilla León and Extremadura have offered 25 each; Cantabria and Galicia 20; Valencia 18; Asturias 16; Navarra 10 and Aragón about 15. Meetings have continued with Castilla La Mancha and the Basque Country. Ceuta, Melilla, Murcia, Andalusia, Madrid, La Rioja and the Balearic Islands have not shown predisposition to assist in the matter.


The Canary News

Spain’s Ministry of Migration Cautiously Trumpet “Canary Islands Plan” To Accommodate Migrants In Camps For Processing

Spain’s Ministry for Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations have announced the opening of a warehouse, ceded temporarily by Bankia to the central government, in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria industrial estate of El Sebadal, next week, offering 500 places to accommodate migrant arrivals, to be managed by the Fundación Cruz Blanca. Several camps were announced in November, within the framework of what is known as the Canary Islands Plan, which is to be able to offer 7,000 bed spaces to accommodate migrant arrivals awaiting processing, on three islands: Gran Canaria (three camps), Tenerife (with two) and Fuerteventura (one), following the arrival of more than 23,000 individuals via the Atlantic Canary Route, throughout 2020.

This Friday a second camp for migrants on Tenerife has begun to operate, at the old Las Canteras military barracks, in La Laguna, providing 1,642 places, and managed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The use of the space has been unblocked following months of wrangling with the City Council of La Laguna, which ordered a stoppage of the works because “they did not comply with urban law.” These obstacles have now been overcome.
The Canarias Plan camps and places (*expandable places in Las Raíces). Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration
The Migration Ministry have confirmed that the provision of these places now allows for the freeing up other accommodation facilities, such as hotels, “which temporarily served as an emergency reception resource.” And, “as the schedule is fulfilled, for referrals to all resources already operational within the Canary Islands Plan” so they will proceed “to the definitive closure of these temporary sites.”
In a statement, the Migrations ministry explained that up until February 15, 761 workers (437 direct care workers and 323 basic and auxiliary services employees) have been hired to manage the camps, a figure that will increase with the opening of the new sites. Specifically, they indicate that, on Tenerife, the public company Tragsa has hired 250 people and has required the services of a total of 65 companies to carry out the works at the Las Raices and Las Canteras sites.
On Tenerife, the Las Raíces macrocamp, 1,000m above sea level, began to receive migrants on February 5, when a hundred people were transferred, during a snow alert, when temperatures had dropped to just 8ºC. This led to initial refusals to enter. Since then, however, more than 600 people are now staying at this space with each of the tents sleeping at least a dozen people. There is a general lack of information about their future and the conditions at some of the reception centres have led migrants to organise protests outside this old army barracks.
Demonstrations have also taken place at a camp located in the old León school, in the capital of Gran Canaria, in a neighbourhood known as El Lasso, where migrants at one point held up banners to protest against the de facto blockade, and their fear of deportation. At the old Canarias 50 Regiment’s barracks, in the original neighbourhood of La Isleta, in the capital, heavy rains at one point caused sewage to flow right through accommodations and some of the people inside threatened to start a hunger strike. There have also been transfers to the El Matorral camp, on Fuerteventura, a space located on a plot of the old CIE Foreigners Internment Centre, which has capacity for a further 700 people.
The Ministry say they have ensured that all operations have been overseen by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), “which has supervised strict compliance with international reception standards.” In addition, in November they provided “a unit dedicated exclusively to migration coordination on the islands, in order to carry out continuous monitoring.”
During this last week of February, the General Director for Inclusion and Humanitarian Attention, María Teresa Pacheco, visited Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Fuerteventura, and held meetings with Spain’s Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, with local entities, NGO managers of resources and neighbourhood associations.


The Canary News

Spain’s Government Delegate is committed to processing irregular migrants legally and correctly

Spain’s Government Delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, on Friday strongly refuted Cabildo de Gran Canaria President Antonio Morales’s suggestion that the Spanish State might be trying to turn Gran Canaria into a “prison so that migrants do not reach the continent”.
Pestana repeated his commitment to prioritise repatriations, returns and expulsion for all irregular arrivals who cause problems, or are involved in any type of criminality or violence. He also, once again, made clear that organisers of illegal protest gatherings, such as those that have occurred, or been attempted, over recent days and weeks on the island, will lead to fines or other enforcement measures.


The delegate, who represents Spanish Central Government here on the islands, makes clear that referrals to other regions of Spain have been hindered due to the current restrictions in place to deal with the pandemic response. Now, he pointed out, with improving control of the epidemiological situation “little by little capacities will be increased.”
After meeting separately with the mayors of both of Gran Canaria’s main southern tourism zones last week, where he announced increased deployments of police and Guardia Civil to help reassure the resident populations, Pestana has focused not only on perceptions of crime, but lamented the various increases in expressions of hatred and xenophobic outbursts that have been taking place in some sections of Canarian society. The Government Delegate stressed the importance the Spanish Government has placed on correctly processing migrant arrivals because “the more repatriation capacity we have, the sooner we will advance toward normality and [reduce] the pressure on the island, which has always been a welcoming land”.
Spain’s Government Delegate emphasised that migrants who misbehave will be repatriated, whether it is due to problems in the reception centres, or any type of criminality such as robbery or violence. In direct reference to deportations and detentions in Foreigner Interment Centres (Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros) Pestana makes clear “Some have been directly repatriated and others have been transferred to the CIEs” facing charges or pending expulsion.
Pestana rejected the spread of “hoaxes and false accusations” pointing out that there are clearly some people who seem to be interested “in hate speech.”
As for the claims of a de facto blockade, made this week by some migrants, and their legal representatives, encountered by those who try to fly to the peninsula using their own resources, Pestana says that “the figures deny it,” given the fact that, of 17,600 migrants who have arrived in the last six months, just 11,500 currently remain on the Islands.
“Gran Canaria is not a prison, that is false” and “we are going to continue working for better management of immigration, with more resources and improvements” said the delegate referring to works planned on the grounds and around the foundations of the CIE immigrant processing centre in Barranco Seco, in Las Palmas, which he described as having “a modular structure that creates stable capacity”, in addition to planned new spaces.
With regard to protests rejecting immigration, he indicated that one had been requested for this Saturday in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, which has had prior and legal communication, reiterating that the leaders or organisers of illegal acts and gatherings are being located and that punishments for illegality will be “forceful”.
Pestana, concluded by reconfirming there will be a “de-escalation in the occupancy of hotel accommodation” as the new spaces are opened.

Editor’s Comment:
In fairness, for most residents on Gran Canaria, it’s been pretty quiet all round, despite occasional disturbances, some isolated cases of clear criminality, and all the noise that has been made by some, who live near to those few hotels who have been providing temporary accommodation, who are fearful of so many strangers.
There is a section of the population who are vehemently against migrants having ever been temporarily accommodated in otherwise empty complexes, and there are some lost souls who would have us believe that there are burning cars in the streets and armed gangs roaming the lawless neighbourhoods, but that simply is not true.
Not at all wishing to belittle anyone’s feelings, which of course must be addressed, and occasionally there have indeed been valid concerns, but there has also been a lot of agitation, mixed messaging and out-and-out fear mongering, sometimes fuelled by questionable local politics. The Spanish Government clearly misread and mishandled much of the last few months, despite all the advanced warnings, let’s hope lessons have been learned.
It is ironic, however, that despite all the demands for migrants to be moved elsewhere, without ever suggesting a valid alternative, and the falsely equating our lack of tourists with empty hotels assisting the Government in ensuring thousands irregular migrants are kept together and not left on the streets without resource, that the security forces felt they needed to deploy extra police not simply to monitor paperless strangers, but in a concerted effort to reassure fearful residents and indeed protect migrants themselves from xenophobic violence.
Let’s hope everything calms down a little now.  But we should expect the likelihood of more arrivals, as Winter turns to Spring and the impossibility of trying to monitor thousands and thousands of kilometres of open ocean leads more individuals to attempt the crossing in open boats on Europe’s most dangerous migration route


The Canary News


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The Canary News, Views & Sunshine - Est. 2009

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