Tag: economic migrants

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 9-11 June 2023


A delightful second weekend of June ahead with all kinds of events to get involved with on Gran Canaria. The Harvest Fair arrives on the south, in El Tablero, patron saints’ fiestas in honour of San Antonio of Padua and San Pedro are happening around the island, Corpus Christi salt carpets and processions are held this Sunday, markets and music festivals as well as sporting events. Hopefully the weather will sustain all these wonderful festivities and happenings in the glorious outdoors, on which so much depends on this little island.

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

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

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

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

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.




Canary Islands demands a comprehensive response to growing migrant crisis

Spain’s Migration Minister, José Luis Escrivá, has decided to delay his trip scheduled for this week to the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands demands a comprehensive response to the growing migrant crisis.
The President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, in statements to journalists, said “powerful reasons” have prevented Escrivá’s visit this week, but that a “precise and immediate” solution was required to deal with the continuous arrival of migrants in boats, known as pateras or cayucos, and that, after learning that the trip was postponed, he has spoken this Monday with the First Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo.
The Canarian president says he insisted that Calvo respond to the problems arising from the continuous arrival of migrants, such as the need to set up adequate centers to accommodate them, increased surveillance and assistance, as well as their repatriation and transit.
The Government of the Canary Islands demands a comprehensive response “in a very short space of time” to this phenomenon, stressed Torres, who has made clear that in his opinion the short-term solution of accommodating migrants in tourist complexes must be an “exception.”
Torres has insisted that we do not play politics with a human drama such as migration, referring to those who encourage “more xenophobia, more hatred, more unreason and more injustice.”  He made clear his position, and that of The Canary Islands Government “These people who arrive are victims. You would not want to live in their neighborhoods, their towns in their country. They do so haunted by hunger, by war, even by the current pandemic situation.” he said.
Escrivá’s visit was set at the end of last July, in a telematic meeting that he held with the President and Spain’s Health Minister, Salvador Illa, to address the problems associated with COVID19
Torres has asked the central government to set up military spaces, detention centres for foreigners and other State infrastructures to accommodate those arriving by boat, because “the situation is desperate”, calling it “a drama.”
In a radio interview this Monday, Torres was asked about the saturation of the current reception network on the islands, in a year in which the arrivals of migrants have multiplied by six. This Sunday 332 people spent the night crowded into tents on the Arguineguín dock (Gran Canaria) while waiting for other resources to be made available.
The Canary Islands president emphasised that both his Government, as well as the island cabildos, and “some municipalities” have made spaces available for the reception of those arriving, despite not having competence in the matter, and has invited the rest of the consistories to collaborate.
Ángel Víctor Torres has said that he understands the controversial decision to temporarily adapt a tourist complex, in Maspalomas (Gran Canaria), not currently in use due to the decline in tourist numbers and the subsequent crisis that the sector has suffered because of the coronavirus, with more than 200 migrants having been relocated to a set of empty apartments, but he has stressed that this is just a “transitional” solution.
“Accommodation spaces have been enabled, although this is not a solution, because they are places for guests, but it has been done as a temporary measure and for a limited time. I believe that military spaces, CIE (Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros – Foreigner Interment Centres) and central government infrastructures have to be opened.” he said, calling the whole episode a “drama”.
Furthermore, Torres has explained that he has asked the Ministry of the Interior to reinforce surveillance of the Canary Islands coasts, and to ensure at least some of the migrants are transferred to other centres on the Peninsula “as happened in the past”.


The Canary News

Hoteliers on Gran Canaria offer temporary accommodation for irregular migrants

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

47 migrants rescued 10 miles south of Gran Canaria, all of sub-saharan origins

Another boat adrift in the Atlantic was rescued this morning south of Gran Canaria, report sources from Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo (Marine Rescue) and Red Cross .
The patera (open boat) with 47 migrants on board was rescued in the early hours of this morning, at sea to the south of Gran Canaria, by the Salvamento Marítimo and transferred to the south of the island, a spokesman for the emergency service reported.

The boat was located by the Guardia Civil’s Integrated External Surveillance System (SIVE) at around 02:20, about 10 miles south of the island.

Salvamar Maritime Rescue vessel, The Talia, was deployed and reached the small boat about an hour later, moving the occupants on board to safety and towed the boat to the port of Arguineguín where they arrived at around 4:30 a.m.
Once there, they were treated by the Red Cross and one of them had to be transferred to a hospital centre, say sources from the NGO.
After being treated and assessed, the migrants are handed over to the National Police, who will ensure their quarantine as a result of the coronavirus risk,  Red Cross sources have reported.

This adds to the more than 2,200 migrants to have been rescued so far in 2020, representing a more than 8 fold increase in the total, reaching The Canary Islands, over this time last year.  As the mediterranean routes have all but shut down, so the Canary Islands Atlantic routes appear this year to have become a primary target for the people smuggling gangs operating out of West Africa and Western Sahara.  Calls for a serious increase in resources have been made on the Spanish government as the crises continue to grow, in parallel with the continuing State of Emergency declared over Corona Virus.
We need more resources available to help people on the ground here, and more efforts need to be made to support community development in countries of origin, and to discourage and stem the flow of migrants risking their lives and what little they have in these desperate attempts to escape abject poverty. How many do not get rescued at all? These are indeed difficult days.

The Canary News


Two boatloads of migrants rescued on the south of Gran Canaria

Spanish Marine Rescue (Salvamento Marítimo) on Monday night, May 25, transferred 51 people located adrift in an open boat (patera), just 1 nautical mile south of Gran Canaria, to the south west coastal port of Arguineguín.
The patera, all male, were sighted at sea, not far from Arguineguín around midnight, according to sources at the 112 Canary Islands Emergency and Security Coordination Centre.
Staff from the SUC Emergency Services, the main Maspalomas Health Centre and members of the Red Cross helped the group of migrants, who all appear to be in good health, so have had to be transferred to medical centers.
A second arrival
A fishing boat this morning also sighted a second patera, at around 07:45, very close to Las Carpinteras beach, off the southern coast of Gran Canaria, not far from Maspalomas, leading to the deployment of rescue vessel the “Salvamar Menkalinan”, which, upon arrival at the scene, confirmed that its occupants were already ashore.
35 people, initially described by the Red Cross as all males, but later stated by 112 to be 30 males, one female and four minors, again all appear in good health, with none having had to be referred for further medical attention.
All of them are being attended to at the Arguineguín harbour by medical staff, Red Cross, Mogán Civil Protection personnel and members of the Local and National Police.
Red Cross say they were kept waiting there in Arguineguín until they could be safely relocated to a facility where they can comply with the mandated 14 days of quarantine required by law under the current State of Emergency in Spain due to COVID-19.
3 migrants who arrived in a similar manner last week have previously tested positive for corona virus, so every possible precaution is being taken.


152 migrants rescued 200 nautical miles south of Maspalomas

photo : salvamento maritimo
The Salvamento Maritimo (maritime rescue) vessel Guardamar Talía rescued the occupants of an open boat, some 200 nautical miles (370.4km) south of Maspalomas de Gran Canaria over the weekend and set course for the island, according to the Maritime rescue twitter account, after the free floating vessel was located by the Sasemar 103 Search and Rescue plane, based out of Gando air base.
In total 152 people were rescued from the boat, of them 3 were women and 3 children. All are in apparent good health. The Guardamar Talía arrived at Arguineguín harbour with those rescued on Monday morning.
The port of origin is still unknown. This is the first time in a decade that a single boat with so many occupants has arrived to the Canary Islands.
Rescue teams are also looking for another boat with about twenty migrants on board, who disappeared on the high seas south of the archipelago after leaving Mauritania. If found it would become the third such vessel to arrive on the Canary coasts in less than a week, after this Saturday another boat also arrived at Tías, Lanzarote, with a score of occupants on board.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of subsaharan Africans attempt the perilous journey across the 160km or so that separate these islands from our nearest continental neighbours.  They are often brought some of the way by ship and then launched into the open ocean, in a haphazard, and clearly desperate bid to try and reach this archipelago, and thereby the most southerly shores of Europe.  It is not known how many poor unfortunate souls never make landfall… the lucky ones are spotted and rescued, the others are left to the unrelenting currents of the Atlantic.