Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine
Menas Case: Foundation Siglo XXI directors allegedly filed false invoices, unrealistic expenses and repeatedly drew funds from ATMs, meant for the care of migrant children, even charging botox facial treatments and posh restaurant bills to foundation debit cards
Jun, 2023 |
A comprehensive analysis conducted by Group I of the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police yielded scandalous results, writes Spanish language daily Canarias7, regarding the alleged irregular use of the public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied minors, by the suspected to have been perpetrated by centres managed by the Foundation Social Response Siglo XXI on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. In this case, driven by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, investigators discovered that the director of the Guiniguada centre charged the NGO responsible for €1,500 worth of beauty treatments and €1,113 for bills at top restaurants including Vinófilos, El Vasco de Vegueta, and Triciclo.
Centre-Right Pact Between Regionalists (CC) And Resident Conservatives (PPAV) Returns Marco Aurelio Perez As Southern Mayor
Jun, 2023 |
The conservative Partido Popular-Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) and the right of centre regionalist Coalición Canaria (CC) have this Thursday signed a local government pact that will shape the future of the southern Gran Canaria tourism municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The alliance, dubbed a “Pact for Stability and Socioeconomic Progress of San Bartolomé Tirajana”, represents 60% of the votes cast in the municipality’s recent local elections, emphasised the mayor-elect, Marco Aurelio Pérez (PP-AV), who returns for the third time to lead the local council responsible for some of the most important tourism areas on the island, including Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and San Agustín.
Local Government Coalition Agreement Maspalomas and the South of Gran Canaria
Jun, 2023 |
A governing coalition pact has been finalised in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The Popular Party–Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) conservative residents party is to join forces with regionalist centre-right Coalición Canaria (CC) to govern the main tourist municipality on Gran Canaria for the next four years. Marco Aurelio Pérez will serve as mayor for the entire four-year term, and the Popular Party will take charge of Employment, Sports, Roads and Infrastructure, and Human Resources, among other areas. The regionalists, led by Alejandro Marichal, will oversee Urban Planning, Economy and Finance, and Tourism as their main departments.
Storm Óscar Latest: Government of the Canary Islands Declares Rain Alert for Western Islands and Gran Canaria
Jun, 2023 |
A storm system, dubbed Óscar, has formed over the last few days over the mid-north Atlantic, unusual for this time of year, and has led to concern from meteorologists and journalists as it passes south of the Azores, its tail should reach The Canary Islands, before the system heads northeast towards mainland Spain. Advisory warnings have been issued in expectation of heavy rainfall, primarily in the Western Isles of the Canary Islands Archipelago, though some rainfall is also expected to reach Gran Canaria over the next couple of days. It seems unlikely that any major consequences will stem from the bad weather, however these things can be unpredictable and so every precaution is taken to ensure people are informed and kept safe.
Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors
Jun, 2023 |
The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.
At least 8 dead after migrant boat capsizes just off Lanzarote coast in the night
Nov, 2020 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, Transport, Transport
Emergency services have today recovered four more bodies from the water after a boat carrying a group of at least 35 people capsized last night just off the coast of La Condesa, on the north of Lanzarote, very close to the shore, bringing the total to 8 dead, all male.
The increased death toll was announced by the manager of the Lanzarote Emergency Consortium, Enrique Espinosa, who said that emergency services personnel were bringing the dead to shore.
At least 35 migrants were reported to be traveling on the open boat, according to Maritime Rescue sources, of whom 28 were rescued last night, with one of those sent for treatment to a local health centre.
The event occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening when the dinghy collided with the breakwater of the Órzola pier, explained Espinosa. It just so happened that two Asociación de Voluntarios en Emergencias y Rescate de Lanzarote Emerlan boats were transporting 30 migrants from La Graciosa, where they landed yesterday afternoon, headed to Lanzarote and were close to where the Órzola incident occurred “so they could act immediately” Espinosa added.
Emergency personnel in Órzola heard screams behind the jetty of the pier, which alerted them to the arrival of the boat, warning “They don’t know how to swim”.
Up to 800 migrants will be transferred to military camp in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Nov, 2020 | #TheCanaryCoronaVirus, #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, Community, Government, Immigrants, Immigration, Las Palmas, Mogán, politics
The Spanish Army have constructed a transit camp at their old Barranco Seco facility, ready to start receiving migrants currently crowded onto the harbour pier in the port of Arguineguín. The army’s Twitter account was used to announce that the Canary Islands XVI Brigade has erected 23 tents (nine more than those available in Arguineguín) at the facilities assigned to the Ministry of the Interior, to which, once completed a total of up to 800 migrants will be transferred and accommodated and so help put an end to the deplorable situation that has continued for the several months on the south of the island.
La Brigada ‘Canarias’ XVI del @MCANA_ET monta un campamento de 200 plazas con 23 tiendas en el antiguo polvorín de ‘Barranco Seco’, en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.Instalaciones transferidas al Ministerio del Interior @interiorgob . pic.twitter.com/ZgLwAw0mxm
— @EjercitoTierra ?? (@EjercitoTierra) November 11, 2020
When, exactly, migrants will be transferred is still not yet known, with the first tents, containing 200 berths, having been completed today.Earlier this summer, the Spanish Red Cross had tried to set up an emergency camp, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), with tents and prefabricated modules to accommodate up to a thousand people, on land granted by the Spanish State Port Authority, in Arinaga, on the south east coast of Gran Canaria. The idea, then, was to anticipate a long expected rebound in migrant arrivals, which they had repeatedly warned could start to reach record numbers by the end of summer 202 and the first weeks of autumn, when Atlantic weather conditions in this area generally favour navigation in small boats.
However, weeks later they had to dismantle the reception camp due to the refusal of the Agüimes Town Hall, who would not give the necessary permits, which caused the UNHCR to remove the facilities and left the Red Cross to erect a makeshift camp at the Arguineguín dockside, which is the main Maritime Rescue landings base for the south of the island, and where several search and rescue vessels are maintained.
That camp opened on August 20, theoretically for a maximum capacity of about 400 people at a time, but has been repeatedly overwhelmed by the much higher than expected flow of migrants, reaching up to 1,400 people a day at times, to which Gran Canaria’s humanitarian reception network could not respond quickly enough, even after they expanded their available resources by placing migrants into tourist resort accommodation, that had been left empty due to the current health crisis.
At times more than 2,000 people have been crowded onto the Arguineguín port, without sufficient tents available for everyone, in all cases forced to sleep on the ground, their only protection from the elements a blanket, and in some cases having had to remain there up to two weeks at a time, when legally conditions such as these should not exceed 72 hours. The effort has been further complicated by needing to test every arrival for coronavirus, and wait at least 2 days for the results, while maintaining each group of arrivals separately from each other.
Spain’s Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, announced during his visit to the island, last Friday, that “in a few weeks” the Arguineguín camp would be closed and facilities provided by the Ministry of Defense would take over the reception protocols for new arrivals.
About bloody time.
That it has taken this long to confirm that migrants will be transferred from the Arguineguín port is pretty inexcusable. Particularly as it has allowed far-right anti-immigration rhetoric to publicly rear its ugly head on the south of the island, using a humanitarian crisis to prey on the fears and frustrations of a population already suffering from profound poverty, questionable leadership and the economic effects of the crisis generated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic response. Fascist ideologies thrive when falsely pitting one set of poor people against another, as has been seen time and time again.
By claiming concern over the treatment of migrant arrivals, local politicians too have insidiously sought to distract public attention from serious allegations levied against them, following multiple arrests in an ongoing electoral fraud investigation, and shielded them from scrutiny after the local town hall’s highly controversial decision to close the only food bank distribution point in the area.
With luck, the flow of migrants will be reduced over coming weeks as the weather becomes less favourable and the proper processing of those arriving on the islands can continue in an orderly manner, without racists pretending to be realists to further their own interests, and allow EU and Spanish governments to try to work more closely with migration experts and African countries from which many of these people try to escape in an effort to reduce the causes of these migratory flows which have lead more than 15,000 people to risk their lives in open boats to come here. We can hope too that proactive policies may start to reduce, too, the estimated thousand or more people who have died horribly in the attempt already so far this year.
More than 7,000 migrants have reportedly been transferred to mainland spain, into facilities set up by the Ministry of Migration, with those currently being temporarily accommodated in tourist resorts expected to be moved on too in coming weeks.
Arguineguín, in Gran Canaria’s southern tourist municipality of Mogán, can once again begin to return to the multitude of social issues that have been affecting the area, both before and since the pandemic wrought havoc on the local economy and poorest members of society.
The Canary News
The Canary Islands appeal to the Spanish State and Europe allocate more resources to attend to migration
Sep, 2020 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, Immigration, News
The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres chaired the inaugural session of the Canary Immigration Forum, to appeal to the Spanish State and the EU, from the Presidency headquarters in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria earlier in September, with participation from the Secretary of State for Migration, Hana Jalloul, the President the Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, the Minister of Social Rights, Noemí Santana, Spain’s Government delegate to the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, representatives of the island and local administrations, socio-economic agents of the archipelago and ONGs (via telematics) to discuss the need urgent to open existing public spaces in the Canary Islands “to serve migrants with dignity, in addition to expediting their transit urgently to the European continent,” said the president. In this sense, he remarked that from the Canary Islands up to seven school residences have been assigned to house migrants of legal age, whose competence is the Government of Spain.
Ángel Víctor Torres said the Forum had been productive and, “not being a simple situation, I trust that the meetings that are going to be held immediately between ministries so that the pertinent measures are arbitrated, will bear fruit”. The president of the Canary Islands insisted that, in addition to having adequate facilities that are owned by the State and which are currently free, external surveillance must be reinforced. This Forum is an advisory and consultation body of the Government of the Canary Islands on immigration matters appealling to the Spanish State and “it is the most appropriate area to seek solutions among all those involved,” said Torres.
The president, as well as voicing his appeal to the Spanish State, sent a message to the European institutions, so that solidarity mechanisms are activated “because we cannot wait any longer. It cannot be that there are hundreds of people in tents in the Port of Arguineguín”, he pointed out. Given the current situation, with people fleeing their countries due to extreme poverty, famines, persecution, or coups, – circumstances that are aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic-, “the migratory phenomenon reaching the southern border cannot end here. Europe cannot turn its back on this situation because we will be failing in the concept of the European Union, of which the Canary Islands are part as an outermost region, ”Torres remarked.
Noemí Santana, indicated that “we must have a network of stable resources in the Canary Islands and an open regime and that is why we ask the Spanish Government for more and better means, not only human but material, and Europe, to remember its border South is the Canary Islands ”. In this regard, Santana demanded a coordinated and joint work between Europe, the State and the Canary Islands, which makes it essential that “the Canary Islands participate on a state level in the areas in which the issue of immigration is addressed.”
Regarding the reception and care of unaccompanied foreign minors, the Minister of Social Rights demanded “a specific fund for the regions with the greatest pressure to care for minors” and recalled that, while in August 2019, the Canary Islands had a protection network with 328 sheltered foreign minors, the figure is currently more than 730, “a figure that will continue to increase with the continued arrival of boats to our shores.”
“The Canary Islands today have fewer resources than ten years ago, with which we must carry out a self-criticism and make more resources available for the care of this population,” said the counsellor, who clarified that the current Canary Islands Government has done their duty and has enabled in recent months a total of nine emergency resources for the reception of unaccompanied foreign minors, a matter in which the regional Executive is competent.
The representatives of the Forum worked on a document of conclusions to appeal to the Spanish State that contemplates, among other measures, the establishment of a Fund for the Reception and Integration of Immigrants, as it existed until 2011, within the General State Budgets, with a significant increase in the allocation of funds for migration management and the improvement of the Integrated External Surveillance System (SIVE), as well as the establishment of stable accommodation resources for the care of migrants, and the need to develop periodic Canary Islands coordination meetings -State and renewal of the Africa Plan with special emphasis on the economic and social development of the countries of the African Atlantic front, are just some of the measures that the Canary Immigration Forum agreed at the meeting in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in order to refer the matter to the Spanish State.
In addition, the urgent renewal of the Action Plan on unaccompanied minors (2010-2014) was proposed, as well as the provision of a specific item of funds for regions that, such as the Canary Islands, receive a greater number of unaccompanied foreign minors so as to be able to offer concrete answers to the challenges posed by their arrival in the EU.
The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, stressed the need to open new public spaces for the reception of migrants and speed up their transit to the European continent
The Minister of Social Rights, Noemí Santana, recalled that the Canary Islands have opened in recent months a total of nine emergency centres for the reception of foreign minors, an area in which the Canary Islands Government holds competence
The Canary News
Gran Canaria President wants migrants quickly moved on to mainland Europe
Sep, 2020 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, Cabildo, Government, Health, Immigrants, Immigration, Mogán, politics, Tourism, Transport, Transport
The president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria island Government, Antonio Morales, this Saturday urgently requested that migrants arriving on the island be transferred to mainland Spain and to Europe as quickly as possible, because, in his words, The Canary Islands “should not become a prison” for people who reach its shores in boats or pateras, saying that he wants migrants quickly moved on.
He was visiting the Arguineguín harbour wall (in the southwestern municipality of Mogán), where 222 migrants remained still, and Morales reaffirmed his view that the solution is not to transfer these people temporarily to different facilities around the island, but instead to facilitate their leaving the Canary Islands, to head for the peninsula and Europe.
More hotels can be enabled, to accommodate arriving migrants but when the winter season begins “what do we do?”
“We can continue searching and hosting, but until when?” the president asked himself rhetorically.
For Morales, that “the transfer of these people be made possible,” is of the highest priority, because “it is what they themselves also demand, to reach Europe, work and reach places where they have family and friends.”
The 222 migrants at the Arguineguín dock are waiting for PCR tests and results so as to verify their covid-19 coronavirus status.
“We do not want Gran Canaria to be a prison for them,” Morales said, adding that it is because Europe has quite successfully “closed the Mediterranean corridor, that only this route remains, the most dangerous, but right now the only one.”
It is likely that migrants “will continue to arrive”, he warned, for which he has asked that “the detection systems for these vessels be improved because there is a part of the island where it does not work” saying he thinks it to be “absolutely necessary” that there is full coordination between the ministries of the central government.
Of the highest importance is that measures are taken “to transfer these people to the European continent” and thereby avoid repeating the drama of Moria (Greece), where 13,000 people are crowded in to camps. “This drama cannot be reproduced” on this island, he stressed, making clear that he wants migrants quickly moved on elsewhere.
He demanded from the various administrations “more coordination, transparency and information to row in the same direction”, with a “shared” workload that facilitates the de-escalation of “rejection, social alarm and fear”, division which lead to “xenophobic groups and racism by far-right groups.”
For her part, the mayor of Mogán, agreed on the need to allow migrants to continue on their way because “her expectation” is that they should not try to stay in Spain.
The Canary News
The Spanish Secretary of State undertakes to transfer migrants to Government run centres asap
Sep, 2020 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, #Tourism0, Government, Immigrants, Immigration, politics
Hana Jalloul, Spain’s Secretary of State for migration participated this morning in an Immigration Forum, organised by the Canarian Government, in which the main migrant challenges facing the islands were discussed. She gave a firm undertaking to start to transfer migrants as soon as possible to State run facilities and said she appreciated the coordination between the administrations involved in the matter, and made clear that the situation to which the islands are currently exposed “is a priority for the Ministry led by José Luis Escrivá.”
Regarding the deployment of reception resources in recent weeks, Hana Jalloul stated: ” The Government of Spain responds. And no, it does not do so spontaneously or [in an] improvised way. There is an emergency plan in place since we arrived in this Administration. We set up our own migration centre in Tenerife, and we are working on two other self-managed centres on different islands in the Canary Islands, [for] which we have been searching [for sites] and installing for several months”. The Secretary of State for Migration pointed out that the archipelago has never deployed its own resources like this, despite the fact that the islands have experienced episodes of migratory pressure over the last three decades.”I have visited the Canary Islands twice, the first time, two weeks after arriving at this Secretariat of State and, at the beginning of August, I attended, together with the Ministers Escrivá and Darias, a telematic meeting with the Canary Islands president, Ángel Víctor Torres, focused in the migratory phenomenon”, explained Hana Jalloul, who recalled that the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration still has a visit to the islands on his agenda. “This visit has never been canceled and I want to emphasise that the minister makes a personal and exhaustive follow-up of these advances in reception matters”.
In the opening session of the forum, in addition to the Secretary of State for Migration, were the President of the Government of the Canary Islands, the Canarian Minister for Social Rights, Equality, Diversity and Youth, Noemí Santana Perera, and the president of The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Juan Fernando López Aguilar. Víctor Torres explained the current situation that the Canary Islands are experiencing with regard to exposure to irregular migrant arrivals, and urged action in a coordinated manner to provide a quick and effective response and a plan to transfer migrants to more appropriate facilities.
Hana Jalloul restated the Government of Spain’s commitment to managing the flows of irregular immigration that arrive on the Canary Islands. “The emergency reception sites that are currently being used in the Canary Islands did not exist in October 2019. Various reception resources have been sought and conditioned throughout 2020”, explained the Secretary of State, who recalled that in The Canary Islands, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration has created 700 spaces in just the last two weeks to respond effectively to the arrivals to which the islands are exposed. “The Government of Spain responds and adapts to the flow of arrivals and the needs arising from Covid-19. At the end of 2019 there were no more than 100 reception places on the islands and today we have more than 1,700. She made clear that they would begin to transfer migrants as soon as physically possible.
“I want to call for calm and responsibility. The Canary Islands have proven to be a people of solidarity, and it deeply saddens me to see how some minorities, for partisan purposes, fill social networks with hoaxes and false images that only fuel the hatred of migrants, “said Hana Jalloul. “These people do not represent the Canarian people, and we are very aware of this.”
During her speech, the Secretary of State for Migration reiterated her sincere gratitude to the Canarian people for their attitude of solidarity in the face of the complexity of the situation, and stated that the Canary Islands have shown themselves to be capable of turning challenges into opportunities. “Proof of this is the way in which your society has turned this situation around. In recent weeks we have welcomed people who arrived after [enduring] crossings long and hard, people who were only looking for a friendly land on the other side. By temporarily deploying hotel rooms we have contributed to activating a sector hit by the COVID-19 crisis “. The Secretary of State pointed out that the hotels deployed for temporary reception of migrants were closed.
“I want to underline the role played by all the ministries involved in immigration matters, as well as the work of the Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana,” she concluded.
The Canary News
More than 400 migrants in Arguineguín crowded on to a dockside in a heatwave
Sep, 2020 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, Government, Health, Immigrants, Immigration, investigation, SUC
A man died while trying to reach the Canary Islands by sea aboard one of the eight boats that reached the Archipelago yesterday with more than 200 people on board. The deceased was part of a group of 58 migrants who were rescued by Salvamento Marítimo (Marine rescue) five kilometres south of Tenerife. Six boats arrived on Gran Canaria, the occupants of which were added to those already on the Arguineguín dockside, on the south-west of the island, detained and for several days on asphalt with more than 400 migrants in Arguineguín now sleeping under canvas, according to the Red Cross.
On Tenerife, a pleasure boat reporte the sighting of a patera, in the early afternoon, five kilometres from the coast of Las Galletas, in southern municipality of Arona, close to Varadero beach. A SAR Helimer 202 helicopter headed to the scene, to oversee the rescue operation, according to reports from Europa Press.
On board the boat were 58 people, including several women and children, who were transferred to the Port of Los Cristianos by the Salvamar Alpheratz marine rescue vessel. One of its occupants died before reaching Tenerife and others had to be transferred to health centres on the island once on land.
A patera arrives at Los Cristianos, Tenerife
Hours later a second boat arrived on Tenerife, at a beach located between Granadilla de Abona and Arico, carrying 43 people on board.
Rescue operations on Gran Canaria started before sunrise. During the early morning, Maritime Rescue personnel aboard the Guardamar Talía transferred 27 people to Arguineguín who were intercepted sailing towards Gran Canaria in two boats. On the first, located by a Civil Guard patrol about six kilometres from Maspalomas, were eight migrants. On the second, detected two nautical miles away, were another 19. All appeared to be in good health upon arrival at the harbour, according to the the Canary Islands Government’s 112 Coordinating Centre for Emergencies and Security (Cecoes).
Two boats landed on the south coast of Gran Canaria by their own means early in the morning. The first made landfall at Castillo del Romeral at around 9:30 am with ten people on board. The second was in Maspalomas, where the Police were deployed to locate its occupants, who had dispersed along the beach.
During the morning, the Salvamar Menkalinan Maritime Rescue vessel had to participate in two consecutive rescue operations to the south of Gran Canaria. At around 11:00 a.m. arriving in Arguineguín after helping 54 people who were about eleven kilometres from the Mogán coast. After leaving these migrants on the dockside, she set out again to pick up fourteen more people of Maghrebi origin who were approaching Gran Canaria in another boat.
Both groups were also directed to the provisional makeshift camp set up in Arguineguín by the Red Cross, where yesterday more than 400 people remained, according to sources, cited by the Spanish news agency Efe, from the emergency services that attend this facility. This number is similar to the total number of migrants arriving in the Archipelago throughout all of 2019 (418) via the Atlantic route. The volume of arrivals led the Red Cross yesterday to call on volunteers from all over the island to join and assist their deployment in the South.
The situation which now sees more than 400 migrants in Arguineguín, in Red Cross tents for several days, exposed to temperatures exceeding 30ºC in the shade for much of the day, generated a lot of tension yesterday. During the morning there were protests from the migrants themselves, in which the National Police had to intervene to try to keep calm. According to sources from the Government Delegation in the Canary Islands, 28 people were transferred from Arguineguín to relocate them to another point on the island, although they did not specify where.
The Canary News
#CanaryIslandsMigrantCrisis: Five more migrant boats arrived on Saturday, there are many more to come
Sep, 2020 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, Health, Immigrants, Immigration, Mogán, Transport, Transport
Five “Pateras” (open boats) arrived to the archipelago this Saturday carrying a total of 62 African migrants. 2020 has seen growing numbers risk their lives to try to reach European shores, via this, one of the most dangerous routes in the world. Four boats landed on Gran Canaria and one on Fuerteventura, according to information provided by the Spanish Marine Rescue, Salvamento Marítimo, the Red Cross and the main 112 emergency coordination centre.
Friday brought three boats; another three had come on Thursday totalling about 50 occupants; and on Wednesday five boats arrived carrying about 78 occupants. More and more people are attempting to cross from the coasts of Africa. Several deaths have been recently recorded, and there are likely to have been many that went undetected.
The first boat on Saturday was picked up in the early morning by a Maritime Rescue vessel south of Gran Canaria, with 12 Maghrebi people on board.
The second of the day managed to get all the way to Veneguera beach, on the west coast of Gran Canaria, at around 6.15 pm, A large numbers of locals watched as eight more Maghrebi men came ashore, and almost at the same time a third boat, with two men on board, was detected off the coast of Fuerteventura, disembarking in Caleta de Fuste. The men were detained as soon as they landed, after having sailed parallel to the coast for several kilometers, seemingly trying to evade emergency teams who were calling to them from the coast.
Back on Gran Canaria 14 Maghrebi men disembarked at the popular tourist resort Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, on the south west coast of Mogán, while reports of another vessel allegedly sighted on the nearby Amadores beach ultimately turned out to be a false alarm.
Last of all, around 10:40 p.m., Salvamento Marítimo reported that the Red Cross had helped a boat carrying 26 sub-Saharan migrants, picked up in waters near the south of Gran Canaria, with 16 men, 7 women and 3 children transferred to the port of Arguineguín.
A spokeswoman for the NGO Caminando Fronteras has told Spanish News Agency Efe that this boat coincides with a dinghy known to have left Dakhla (Western Sahara) on Thursday morning, a city located some 450 kilometers from the Canary Islands.
As well as these five known arrivals, more may be confirmed through the night, following the return of the rescue vessel Salvamar Menkalinan which spent the afternoon at sea, south of Gran Canaria in search of another boat thought to be heading towards the El Berriel aerodrome and the San Agustín beach, where Security forces have been monitoring the coast.
On Friday tensions grew as news of empty tourist apartments being used to temporarily accommodate migrants who had been sleeping on the Arguineguín dockside. Elsewhere on Gran Canaria a group of angry canarians threw stones at a facility for migrant children who are being cared for by the State.
Meanwhile racists, xenophobes and worried citizens, facing ever growing economic hardships in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, continue to ignorantly share completely baseless imagery and videos, that tend to promote outrage among many more of their kind, often falsely reporting on the conduct and activities of migrants taken into the care of the Spanish state here on the islands.
Disgusting and disappointing statements continue to be spread, simply put, promoting murder and heartlessness, and too often pretending that those arriving here are running amuck, when the actuality is that all migrants are held in controlled environments as soon as they arrive to these shores.
That all said, the continuing increase in people, who risk everything to try to make the journey to these islands in inadequate boats, is bound to raise tensions across society as citizens battle with job losses, uncertainty, tourism declines and closing businesses.
The situation is in danger of fast becoming a tinderbox. We all need to calmly call out lies and deceit when we see it, and clearly say #NoBulo whenever people try to incite hatred and division among us. Everything right now is already hard enough, without liars trying to feed us fear as well.
The Canary News
Hoteliers on Gran Canaria offer temporary accommodation for irregular migrants
Sep, 2020 | #TheCanaryCoronaVirus, #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, #Tourism0, Economy, Government, Health, Local Council, Police, Tourism
In a shrewd master stroke of resources management and public collaboration, at a time of real crisis, it has come to light this Friday morning that hoteliers, on the south of Gran Canaria, have stepped forward and shown willingness to allow their empty, closed establishments to be utilised as emergency temporary accommodation for irregular migrants, who have arrived in open boats over recent weeks, and for whom the central government has not been able to provide any suitable accommodation or resources.
It took until Wednesday, with more than 200 people crammed into a half dozen tents on the port of Arguineguín, Gran Canaria, before the Spanish Government Delegation thought to contact the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs (FEHT) to ask for their collaboration. The businessmen expressed their intention to collaborate, quickly making their facilities available to accommodate the rescued people from a situation that has on occasion threatened to overwhelm local administrations, at a time when resources are stretched and local services already steeped in hardship and uncertainty.
These are simple apartments that offer basic accomodation to help resolve an important issue about which many have been warning for some time, and to which the Spanish state government have not been able to supply a solution until now. These “Modest but dignified” apartments will serve for the moment to address the stark lack of facilities which the rise in irregular migration over the last year has exposed.
Taking into account the general current state of affairs and harsh economic climate, the president of the FEHT, José María Mañaricua, said yesterday “how can it be otherwise”, beleaguered hoteliers and property managers will of course be in a position to offer accommodation for irregular migrants and work to help the Government. First, to address the appalling situation of people having to live for days on end, under canvas in the port of Arguineguín, many of whom had by Wednesday been there, forcibly encamped, for more than five days on a concrete pier that does not meet even the minimum health and safety conditions; and second because “we have an obligation not to allow anyone to be on the streets.” Mañaricua recalled images of homeless people at the airports of Gran Canaria or Tenerife South and stressed that hoteliers are not going to stay out of the problem. “We have responded immediately, we have provided the necessary information and we have stated that we are ready to help;”
Spanish Minister for Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, is to visit the Canary Islands next week to analyse the systems for detecting boats and the reception conditions for migrants. This was announced at a press conference by Regional Government spokesman, Julio Pérez, who pointed out that the situation with the increase in vessels arriving over recent days and weeks is to be addressed, and in particular the fact that several vessels arrived to the islands this week almost completely undetected.
Pérez went on to say that the Regional Executive has demanded that the Spanish State improve detection and surveillance on the frontiers to achieve greater control on the movement of migrants “who want to get to Europe”.
More than 100 migrants, according to the first calculations, arrived on Thursday to add to the more than 1,400 people who have arrived by boat and have been staying at various accommodations on Gran Canaria, some in the port of Arguineguín tents, and up to a hundred crowded into inadequate facilities in the town of Arinaga. More than 4,000 people are known to have arrived to the islands in open boats since the beginning of this year, representing an increase of nearly 580% compared to the same period in 2019, when just 584 made landfall.
Racists, conspiracy theorists and outraged xenophobes trying to stir up trouble
In a somewhat sickening display of ignorance and negativity, today, several videos began to circulate on social networks, purportedly depicting the people transferred to accommodation for irregular migrants on the south of Gran Canaria, where they are supposedly seen enjoying pools or sunbeds. These images in pretty much every case do not reflect the reality of the situation, using mislabeled images, and outright lies, seeking to sow xenophobia and discontent among a population already trying to navigate the serious economic consequences of the health crisis.
From what we understand, the only accurate image published all day was the one at the top of this report showing those unfortunate and confused migrants lining up to enter the apartment complexes assigned by FEHT itself in response to the emergency request for help in resolving the situation generated by the increases in boats carrying more people than the reception system can functionally accommodate.
Following the news earlier today that some migrants had begun to be housed in empty tourist apartment complexes in the South, videos claiming to show these migrants relaxing and bathing in swimming pools began to circulate across the internet, yet these videos, to the best of our knowledge are completely false. The apartments in questions are being managed by the Red Cross and, for security reasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, all leisure and common use areas, swimming pools, solariums and sports fields are closed. The migrants are being accommodated in these apartments temporarily.
The Canary News