“I find nothing more depressing than optimism” Paul Fussell
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Saturday 16 June 2012
LAN PARTY DEMAND ASTOUNDS ORGANISERS ◗The demand to take part in next month’s giant LAN Party in Tenerife has surprised even the organisers. Within minutes of the opening of registration for the on-line computer and video game jamboree, to be staged from 17-22 July at the Exhibition Centre in
Santa Cruz, 1600 people had signed up, more than the intended ceiling of 1500. LAN parties have become hugely popular across the country in recent years and Tenerife is no exception. Now in its 7th year, the Cabildosponsored party has grown to become the
biggest technology event anywhere in the Canaries and was voted the best of its type in Spain by LAN fans in 2009 and 2010. In addition to the registered participants, the event drew 24,000 day visitors last year, making it the most popular fair held in Tenerife in 2011.
24-hour ticket launched by tram company ◗The Santa Cruz-La Laguna tram is trialling a 1-day ticket which it hopes will encourage users to spend more time in the two cities. The ticket, which can be obtained from the ticket machines at stops, allows unlimited tram travel for a period of 24 hours for 4.50 euros, the equivalent of just over three single journeys. The tram company says the ticket has been launched in conjunction with shops and restaurants in the centres of both Santa Cruz and La Laguna.
Cheeky yacht thief caught leaving harbour ◗A man who cheekily tried to steal a yacht from the marina in Santa Cruz was prevented from making off by alert staff. Marina personnel spotted the 51-year-old stranger boarding the 8-metre yacht and setting off out to sea. They contacted the Port Authority to report the incident and help was dispatched immediately to ‘persuade’ the thief to return to port, where he was promptly arrested once back on dry land. Computer game addicts spend days on end in front of their screens at the LAN party in Santa Cruz. / DA
LA LAGUNA WOMAD SPECULATION GATHERS PACE
University ponders full holiday closure ◗La Laguna University is considering shutting entirely during holiday periods to save 400,000 euros on costs next year. The idea, one of several money-saving measures being examined, is to close down during Christmas, Easter and the month of August.
The Womad festival could be staged in La Laguna this year. / EFE
◗Speculation that La Laguna will host the massive Womad music and dance festival is gathering pace at present after the organisers confirmed that they are in
negotiations with the city to take over from Las Palmas, which pulled out for financial reasons. The event is expected to cost 350,000 euros.
2 The Supplement
Saturday 16 June 2012
PEDESTRIAN TRIAL GETS FROSTY RECEPTION IN LA OROTAVA Diario de Avisos Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Work to pedestrianise parts of La Orotava is under way despite what appears to be stiff resistance from local shops and residents. Aware of the mixed reception for the plans, the council has opted for a cautious approach and is testing the waters before sending in the diggers to tear up road surfaces to make way for walker-friendly ones. In the first big trial, the town’s Calle Carrera is being closed to traffic for a 6-month period to gauge the response by the street’s approximately 20 traders and the public. Initial reaction has not been entirely favourable: several shops have placed large ‘No Pedestrian Street’ banners in their windows and their protest has been replicated in neighbouring streets, where traders feel the Carrera closure is affecting their business also. A council source said the trial will be assessed at the end of the 6 months before a final decision on pedestrianising Carrera and other parts of the historic centre is taken. The plans have drawn criticism because of the failure to build car parks outside the centre to allow drivers to at least get near to the pedestrian areas. ‘The reason why local shoppers avoid La Orotava and flock to the big mall outside town is because they can park easily.
Call-centre to bring 1000 jobs to Canaries DA Santa Cruz de Tenerife
While pedestrianising the centre may make it more attractive in terms of pavement cafeterias, unless people can park somewhere they will continue to stay away’ complained one woman resident, who recalled the poor results obtained when Calle Calvario was closed to traffic. The pedestrianisation debate is a long-running and bitter one in Tenerife, where several towns
have made great efforts in past years to divert traffic away from their centres and encourage a constant flux of visitors and shoppers on foot. The short-term reaction by residents and shops is often hostile due to the inconvenience of building work on their doorstep and the restrictions on vehicle access to their homes and premises. However, the longer term bene-
fits, not least quieter and less polluted surroundings, not to mention more shoppers, can often mitigate the opposition, unless unpleasant surprises are in store , such as reckless skateboarders and cyclists or the frequent use of the pedestrian area for noisy late-night events (concerts etc), as residents of La Laguna’s Concepción district are finding to their cost.
La Orotava’s Calle Carrera is being used for a no-traffic trial for 6 months. / MOISÉS PÉREZ
Spain’s biggest telecommunications operator is to open a giant customer service callcentre in the Canaries. Telefónica says it has yet to decide whether Santa Cruz or Las Palmas will be the location for the new centre, which will handle enquiries from over one million Canarian clients and, possibly, customers from several countries in Latin America also. The new facility is expected to create 1000 badly-needed jobs in the Canaries, almost half of them by the end of this year. The news was announced at a joint press conference by Telefónica chairman Luis Miguel Gilpérez and Canarian president Paulino Rivero, who has offered government support for training programmes for call-centre staff. ‘The prospect of a thousand stable jobs is wonderful news for the region at a time of widespread economic difficulty’ said Rivero, who encouraged other telecoms firms to follow Telefónica’s lead and open service-oriented facilities here.
Patience needed for La Laguna enquiries DA Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Mixed messages on teaching-hours increase
IGIC rate rise continues to draw criticism
Diario de Avisos Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Diario de Avisos Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The Canarian Department of Education has been criticised for sending out mixed messages to teachers in recent weeks regarding plans to increase their workloads as of September. Following the announcement by the Spanish government of a series of cost-cutting measures in education -including larger class sizes, fewer new teachers and more contact hours for existing staff-, the Canarian government said it would resist the moves and invoke its regional powers in education to try and keep the current conditions. ‘The measures do exactly the opposite of what is required in schools in the islands’ insisted regional educa-
tion minister José Miguel Pérez in May. However, education officials now admit that the government has ‘no choice’ but to add two hours to teacher workloads under the new legislation, although they insist that everything possible will be done to compensate the teachers in other areas, such as cutting the time they are expected to devote to preparation, exam marking and meetings. The news has met with swift reaction from teaching unions, who warn of ‘major disruption’ in September if jobs are lost due to the changes. One of the biggest unions, STEC, says 1500 posts may have to be cut as a result of the increased hours, a prospect they are ‘not prepared to tolerate’.
Criticism continues to grow at the controversial rise in the Canaries’ VAT-type IGIC tax which is due to come into effect in July. As reported here, the package of revenue-generating measures announced back in April by the regional government to compensate cuts in funding from Madrid includes an increase of two points in the standard rate of IGIC, bringing it up to 7% from the current 5%. The government calculates it will raise 120 million euros from the increase, which was defended by finance minister Javier González Ortiz as vital if key spending is to be maintained. ‘We either raise taxes or
close hospitals and schools’ insisted Ortiz at the time. The tourist industry has already warned that the increase will impact on business and could discourage holidaymakers from coming here as of the summer. The latest group to add its voice to the protests is the Association of Family Businesses (EFCA) which said this week that up to 35,000 jobs in small family-run firms could be lost over the next two years if the government does not change its mind. ‘Instead of this 40% rise in IGIC, which will hit retail sales badly, we would like to see the number of government departments trimmed to save the money needed for essential services’ said a spokesperson.
La Laguna council’s efforts to cut the time spent by city residents on formalities include the creation of a special section on its website for the submission of queries/suggestions. The Buzón del Ciudadano (literally, Citizens’ Mailbox) encourages users to send in comments, which it will be ‘delighted to receive’ and endeavor to respond to promptly. Some think it should be renamed the Patient Citizens’ Mailbox given the leisurely approach to dealing with enquiries. One woman tried to save herself the trouble of going to the Ayuntamiento to ask whether discounts on the IBI property tax were still available to households that install solar panels. One month later, not having received even a simple Yes or No response, she was forced to go in person and queue to speak to staff to get the answer directly.
Saturday 16 June 2012
Residency certificates back for travel
‘New priorities’ prompt changes at British Consulate
DA Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Opening hours cut by 60% Diario de Avisos Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The British Consulate is amending its opening times as of next month. Already hinted at during the visit by UK Ambassador Giles Paxman back in March, the revamped hours will see the offices in Santa Cruz and Las Palmas open on only two days a week (Tuesday and Thursday, 8.3013.30). The popular ‘surgery’ which has seen staff travel regularly to Playa de Las Américas to deal with enquiries in south Tenerife is to be discontinued and replaced with what the Consulate has called ‘outreach visits’. In a lengthy statement issued by the Press Office on Tuesday of this week, the Consulate explained that the changes were being introduced to free staff up to attend to urgent matters. Announcing the changes, Consul
Maria Leng said ‘the government has placed protecting our citizens abroad right at the top of our foreign policy agenda. In order to do this we need to adapt our opening hours for non-emergency enquiries to allow our staff the time to dedicate to those most in need. Up until now, the staff dealing with these cases could be interrupted at various stages by customers requiring certificates or making general enquiries. The new arrangements will allow consular staff to concentrate front line resources on outreach work, emergency assistance cases and victim support. With a more efficient delivery model in place and greater use of the media, stakeholders and partners to deliver regular and targeted preventative messaging, projects and campaigns, we hope to drive down avoidable, non-essential assistance work’.
The changes aim to allow Consulate staff to focus on needy cases. / DA
The British Consulate dealt with 1,345 assistance cases in the Canaries in 2011, with a significant rise seen in cases involving deaths (20%) mental health (67%), missing persons (11%) and hospitalisation (39%). ‘Every day, residents and tourists find themselves in truly dis-
tressing circumstances such as suffering a serious accident, bereaving the death of a loved one, or becoming a victim of rape or another violent crime. Our primary role is to offer support and assistance to those British nationals in need and their families’ the statement concludes.
The Spanish authorities have confirmed this week that the requirement for Canarians and EU nationals living here to obtain local residency certificates to be able to take advtange of travel discounts takes effect on 1 September. The much-criticised move means that Spanish ID cards and EU citizens’ residency papers will no longer be valid as proof of eligibility for reduced-fare air and sea travel between the islands or to the mainland. The Ministry of Transport asked for the certificates to be reinstated to curb what it says is widespread misuse of the subsidies by airlines and passengers, which has cost the country millions of euros in recent years. Initially planned to take effect on 1 July, the empadronamiento obligation has been delayed until after the summer season following pressure from the Canarian authorities and the tourist industry. Transport minister Ana Pastor has promised to explore ways for the certificates to be issued electronically, including by airlines.
4 The Supplement ◗BASKETBALL
ACB dream collapses for Canarias
One last hurdle for Tenerife Play-off victory will see the side win promotion
DA Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Diario de Avisos Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Premiership basketball will not be coming to Tenerife next season after all. La Laguna club Iberostar Canarias have been forced to give up the bid to take up their place among the elite of Spanish basketball after failing to raise the 4.5 million euros needed to the play in the ACB league. Late efforts to secure a bank loan to pay the massive fee proved unsuccessful and the final nail in the coffin was inserted by a big insurance firm, which refused to underwrite the operation. Canarias were unable to meet the payment deadline of Thursday night set by the ACB and now have to get accustomed to the idea of turning out once again in the LEB division, despite winning both the championship and cup last season. The disappointing outcome is certain to lead to an inquest as to why the merger between Canarias and Tenerife Basketball Club, which would have exempted the promotionwinners from paying the fee, failed to materialise last year.
Crunch time arrives for Tenerife this week-end and next in the shape of the crucial final play-off to determine who wins promotion to the 2nd Division. After safely negotiating the previous hurdle by defeating Linense 4-2 on aggregate, spirits are very high among the players that the next opponents, Ponferradina, can be beaten and an end put to the embarrassing stay this year in the lowly ranks of Division 2B, where many of the teams are semi-professional. The second leg against Linense proved far from comfortable for Quique Medina’s men, who could have gone out if the referee had not ignored a blatant penalty by full-back Sergio Rodriguez in the 89th minute. As play was waved on, Tenerife scored almost immediately through Kike López to put the game beyond Linense’s reach, although not before some ugly scenes on the pitch saw two Linense players and the manager sent off in the space of seconds, prompting the visiting chairman to accuse the Football Federation of ‘rigging
best of 14,329. The tie sees the return to Tenerife of Acorán Barrera, who made his 1st Division debut with the side a decade ago but has since become something of a journeyman, turning out for a host of junior clubs after being deemed surplus to requirements by Tenerife. The versatile midfielder was linked with a move here in the summer but opted to stay in Ponferrada. Tenerife and Ponferradina were relegated last season and the games between the two were dour affairs, ending on both occaTenerife are 180 minutes from glory. / DA sions in a 1-1 draw. Only three current the tie’ to ensure Tenerife pro- Tenerife players (Kitoko, Sicilia and Aragoneses) played in the gressed. Ponferradina are likely to pose fixtures. Chairman Miguel Concepción a tougher challenge, although the islanders at least have the said this week that he was very advantage of playing the return confident the team would seize leg at home before what is sure the opportunity ‘to make a lot of to be a massive crowd, even big- people very happy’ and win proger than last Sunday’s seasonal motion back to the 2nd Division.
Saturday 16 June 2012
Villa de Granadilla road rally attracts 62 teams ◗One of the most eagerly-awaited road racing events in the calendar takes place this weekend. The Villa de Granadilla rally, which is the second race in the Tenerife Rally Championship, promises to be as spectacular as ever, with 62 teams signed up for the event, which is now in its 21st year. The cars taking part this year range from Ford Fiestas to powerful BMW M-3s.
Tenerife’s Cebrián makes Spain Olympic team ◗Tenerife’s Alicia Cebrián clinched a place in the Spain sailing team for the London Olympics with a solid performance in the final qualifying event in her Laser Radial class in Weymouth. Cebrián recovered well from a bad start to the competition to secure her place by finishing in the top 10. She joins her Tenerife Yacht Club colleague Javiér Hernández in the team for the Games.