Tag: immigrants

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.




The Canary Islands appeal to the Spanish State and Europe allocate more resources to attend to migration

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.
Agreed proposals
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

Arguineguín pier disinfected following small number of migrants testing positive for corona virus

A crew from the Mogán town hall’s Street Cleaning team has disinfected the Arguineguín Pier, to where, in recent weeks, increasing numbers of migrant boats have been escorted by Salvamento Maritimo (Maritime Rescue).  Despite the small likelihood of infections in such an outdoors environment, Mogán decided last week that it would be best to ensure disinfection procedures, following the news that a small number of the rescued migrant travellers had tested positive for coronavirus.
The municipal personnel, equipped with PPE (Personal protective equipment), also removed a large number of items such as clothing and utensils that had belonged to the people traveling on board these open boats, on the basis that they had also received health and humanitarian care at the port itself, and in at least two cases had to remain in place on the harbour for several hours until they were transferred for quarantine.


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.

Disrupted: People trafficking network that brought hundreds of sub-Saharans to the Canary Islands

An investigation by the National Police initiated in 2014 has led to the dismantling of an active criminal organization dedicated to encouraging irregular immigration of sub-Saharan citizens from El Aaiún (Disputed Territory of Western Sahara) to the Canary Islands, by means of pateras (wooden open boats).
Two of the ringleaders have been arrested in Moroccan territory by the Gendarmerie of the Kingdom of Morocco under an International Order of Detention issued by Telde’s Court of Instruction number three in Las Palmas. More than 1,500 interviews with immigrants who arrived in boats and hundreds of hours of investigation have also led to the arrest and conviction of 30 people in Spanish territories, responsible for manning the various vessels in which immigrants were transferred. Several of those arrested have been charged with crimes of reckless homicide for the deaths of eight immigrants during one of the voyages.
§ Image: CC 2.0 By Rui Ornelas
Senegalese man at the helm of the organization in Western Sahara
The investigations began in 2014, when agents detected the setting up of a criminal organization in Laayoune (the Spanish name for the city) that little by little engaged exclusively in the illegal traffic of immigrants from that zone to the Canary Islands. With more than 1,500 illegal immigrants interviewed, agents collected evidence that, together with other information, allowed them to piece together a puzzle that took them to a man of Senegalese origin.
Taking advantage of his numerous administrative and police records on file in the El Aaiún, a picture built up of this individual’s organisation progressively absorbing the rest of the criminal networks that operated in the area, eventually control the illegal business almost exclusively.
In March 2015 a patera carrying 13 immigrants of sub-Saharan origin who had been adrift for five days, without food and water and with a broken engine, was rescued – a few miles to the southwest of Gran Canaria. After the first interviews with the survivors it was concluded that at least 8 people had died, whose bodies had to be thrown overboard. These statements confirmed that the man of Senegalese origin previously investigated had organised this boat.
Image: Patera CC2.0 by Diego López Román
Between €500 and €3,000 each to reach the Canarian coast
Progress in the investigation allowed the police to identify the most prominent members of the organisation, to specify their functions, locating ‘safe houses’ and vehicles used and to figure out the amounts paid by the immigrants, ranging from €500 to €3,000 each for the illegal trip.
In addition to this, it was possible to establish contact with people who travelled aboard the boats, managing to put them safely in coordination with the Salvamento Maritimo, Maritime Rescue, to act as informants. In other cases rescue was not possible: one of the pateras suffered an accident near the Moroccan coast, drowning several of the immigrants, some of them children. In the same way, at least 4 pateras have been documented by members of this organisation to have suffered some type of accident, with almost 150 people missing, including several minors.
Monopoly of illegal traffic in the area
At its beginnings, the criminal organization coexisted with other criminal groups dedicated to the same illegal activity although they barely managed to succeed in actually getting immigrants to the Canaries, sometimes due to the actions of the authorities in Western Sahara and other times due to altercations between the organised bands themselves. The effectiveness of this disarticulated organisation allowed them to acquire such fame that they ended up driving their competitors out of business, forcing them to disappear and thereby taking over and monopolising the business of illegal people trafficking in the area.
The organization’s reach even extended to sub-Saharan immigrants who traveled from northern Morocco to Laayoune after having already failed in previous attempts to reach the Andalusian coast or been stopped jumping the Melilla fence, offering passage and a further attempt to those victims of human trafficking.
With the arrest of 32 people, 30 of whom have already entered prison, this operation is being seen as the dismantling of one of the most important criminal organisation at this time dedicated to the promotion of illegal immigration to the Canary Islands.
Source: La Provincia