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These were the key messages presented in a PP-CLARO Press Conference in a downstairs corner of the Playa Flamenca office of Town Hall on 8 May by Monica Lorente and Pepa Ferrando of the Popular Party and Bob Houliston of C.L.A.R.O.
Popular Party and C…




These were the key messages presented in a PP-CLARO Press Conference in a downstairs corner of the Playa Flamenca office of Town Hall on 8 May by Monica Lorente and Pepa Ferrando of the Popular Party and Bob Houliston of C.L.A.R.O.

Popular Party and C.L.A.R.O. representatives recalled that the present Socialist and Green party government was governing undemocratically in that together they command only 9 of the total 25 votes in the full Orihuela Council. If the normal democratic rules prevailed, they ought to have resigned long ago and allowed the actual majority of the Popular Party and C.L.A.R.O. (13 votes) to assume responsibility for the government of Oriheula. The normal democratic rules do not apply as a result of a legal manipulation carried out by the CLR party of Pedro Mancebo and condoned by the Socialist and Green parties. By expelling councillors from the CLR-CLARO group (Bob Houliston and Asuncion Mayoral), they were deprived of the right to vote for a change of government and hence the minority government is legally able to continue in office.

Not only does the present government govern undemocratically, they behave undemocratically. This was illustrated in the Press Conference by, first of all, the attempts to block a meeting of the legally established Committee for Orihuela Costa and subsequently, when a meeting was convened on 29 April, Martina Scheurer, the Councillor for the Coast, did not attend and government representatives present systematically refused to provide information to the Committee and to answer questions by members. Non-cooperation, which is the minority government’s policy in regard to the work of all these legitimate committees, which correspond to the committees which exist in all legislatures to hold the government to account (for example House of Commons Select Committees in the U.K.) is serious and contravenes the established rules of procedure of the government of Orihuela. It is a policy which could lead to members of the government being taken to court.

In regard to the Committee for Orihuela Costa it results in lack of transparency and complete lack of official information in important areas such as Investments, Contracts, Staff and Cala Mosca. The government presented no figures to show what funds they have had for Investments in Orihuela Costa since 2011. Various press announcements are made such as the share of Orihuela Costa in proceeds for the sale of land in Orihuela Costa but no official figures have been presented. Important contracts such as the contract for Maintenance on the coast are the subject of furious public arguments between Pedro Mancebo, the former Councillor for the Coast and the Socialist Party leader Antonia Moreno. She states that Pedro Mancebo, when in government, deliberately blocked the payment of the contractor for reasons which he has not explained and that when she took over these responsibilities, after his expulsion from the government, she authorised payment for work which had been duly carried out. No documents were presented in the Committee so that these issues concerning an important area of work could be officially controlled. The contract for security and first aid on the Orihuela Costa beaches was on the agenda of the meeting of 29 April when the opposition intended to press the government to award responsibility for this service to the Red Cross, the internationally reputed, non-profit making organisation which has carried out the work for the last 20 years. Instead, on the day of the Press Conference, it was decided to contract this service to a little known private company for the next two years. On Cala Mosca, no information was provided on the follow up to the 1,000 questionnaires submitted during the public consultation showing enormous interest in the future of Cala Mosca.

Bob Houliston and Monica Lorente also denounced the minority government for its deliberate policy of political confrontation with the elected regional government in Valencia. Considering that it was a potential vote winner, the Socialist leader, Antonia Moreno has been conducting a policy of confrontation with the Popular Party government in Valencia over compensation for the construction by Orihuela Town Hall of new law courts. So obsessed is she with this issue that other projects, financed by the Valencia regional government and of great importance for Orihuela Costa, such as the new Emergency Services Centre and the new Secondary School, have been consistently ignored and have got nowhere in the last two years.

Finally, it was stressed by Bob Houliston that credit would be given to the government when it did do something of benefit to the coast such as the announced opening of the coastal walk (paseo maritime) at Aguamarina, closed for many years, for which C.L.A.R.O. campaigned in opposition before the elections in 2011 and when in government. However, C.L.A.R.O. would speak out against misleading and opportunistic initiatives such as Pedro Mancebo’s petition to abolish toll charges on the AP-7 motorway or the demand that Orihuela Town Hall should finance the building of new schools in Orihuela Costa. These so-called initiatives, as he knows, stand no chance of success. If they had, why did he not present them when in government as he was until 2-3 months ago.

The present minority government, governing undemocratically and behaving undemocratically by withholding information on important issues and subordinating other issues of importance to the coast to their party political interests, is punishing Orihuela Costa. The examples provided in the Press Conference are just the latest in what amounts to systematic discrimination and hostility to the interests of Orihuela Costa being demonstrated by a government whose main purpose is hanging on to power for power’s sake and doing favours to those they hope will vote for them in 2015.

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