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Formentera's rescue and lifeguard service conclude summer operations

foto socorristes 2016The president's office of the Formentera Council, the administration in charge of the island's rescue and lifeguard service, has announced that last week marked the end of active summer supervision, which runs May 1 to October 31.

During the service's six-month period of operations, fifteen lifeguards, three beach supervisors, one area supervisor and one service coordinator were tasked with keeping Formentera's beaches safe. Department chair Bartomeu Escandell thanked the service's team for its “immense dedication and professionalism”.

The service logged 1,255 cases in which assistance was given, 488 more than in 2015, due in part to an extended season, and also to an increased presence of beachgoers in May and October — “when lifeguard interventions doubled,” according to supervisor Sergi Martín. Another 1,321 individuals were treated for jellyfish stings, 267 fewer than the previous year.

A total of 49 people were rescued from dangerous situations in the water. “Such assistance,” Martín pointed out, “is normally necessary at yellow flag times when swimming is allowed but caution is advised.” Ambulances took 34 individuals to hospital, one individual suffered a stroke and still another died on a beach between Es Ministre and Es Trucadors.

Accessible beaches
Councillor Escandell highlighted the beaches at Arenals and es Pujols which are adapted for people with reduced mobility. This year 37 beachgoers used the service. The Council's adapted swim service at these beaches is available not only to visitors but to any Formentera residents who might require it.

In 2017 promoting tourism will become responsibility of island councils

foto roda de premsa conferencia presidentsThis morning, Balearic Islands president Francina Armengol chaired a meeting of the island council presidents —dubbed la Conferència de Presidents (“the Presidents' Conference”)— which was held on Formentera. Besides Armengol, the conference was attended by Gabriel Barceló, the Govern's vice president and minister of innovation, research and tourism, and the presidents of the island councils: Jaume Ferrer, of Formentera, Miquel Ensenyat, of Mallorca, Maite Salord, of Menorca and Vicente Torres of Eivissa. The gathering took place at 10.30am in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council (CiF). Other Govern Balear officials in attendance included Pilar Costa, the minister of the president's office in Palma, and Josep Enric Claverol, head of administrative relations.

Afterward President Armengol spoke about one of the agreements made during the morning talks — “over the course of 2017 authority on issues affecting tourism promotion will be transferred to the island councils”. Speaking about the change, CiF president Ferrer said “the sooner the better”, while still insisting that the transfer of authority should be accompanied by “the greatest amount of funding possible”. Ferrer also expressed his hope that the mistakes made during the last legislative session —which ultimately meant an earlier attempt at a similar overhaul was rejected by every council but Eivissa's— not be repeated.

Budgets
Armengol clarified her stance that “with regard to island residents, the money that comes to the Balearics from the central government is wholly insufficient” and said that the regional government had yet to receive information about the spending cap or the deficit. Armengol said a budget would be drawn up supposing a 0.5% deficit and pledged to continue funding “priority areas like healthcare, education and social services”. As well, she vowed to “try to improve funding received by the island councils in 2017”. In the words of President Ferrer, “knowing what the regional budgets are going to look like is extremely important to drafting each individual island's budget”. He also called the Govern president's announcement a good thing, saying it would allow the island councils to increase their own spending in turn.

The Presidents' Conference is convened on a rotational basis on each of the islands. Today's was the third of this legislative sitting and the first this term to be held in Formentera.

Formentera salutes local police force

foto diada policia localEarlier today, Formentera's local law enforcement paid tribute to its patron saint, the guardian angel. At 12 noon, the entire police force attended mass at the Sant Francesc church. CiF president Jaume Ferrer, Bartomeu Escandell, the councillor to the president's office, as well as other local figures like Formentera's parliamentary representative in Palma, Sílvia Tur, and representatives of emergency response services like the Guardia Civil and civil protection services, were all present at the ceremony.

Near 1.00pm hors-d'oeuvres were served at Hotel Es Marès to show appreciation for the work of the local police. President Ferrer highlighted the force's hard work ethic in what he called “an especially difficult year”, referring to the Govern Balear's blocking of new recruits. “Our forces of law and order have made every effort to maintain safety and tranquility on the island”, he said.

Councillor Escandell, who is also head of Formentera's local police, spoke about the creation of a patrol crew by the CiF. Escandell said the Council's additional patrol staff “helped complement the work that until now had been left entirely to the police”. Thanks to the police and the inspection service, he added, a change has occurred in the types of tourists that visit Formentera, which Escandell said displayed “increasingly respectful behaviour”.

Pitiüsa law enforcement blasts obstacles to new hires

coord policiaAt 12 noon today the Formentera Council (CiF) hosted the second of two yearly meetings scheduled for 2016 by the coordinating body for local police in the Pitiüsas. The entity was created to facilitate information exchange and policy changes among different arms of the local police, as well as to allow the forces of law and order to calibrate their priority areas.

Chaired by CiF president Jaume Ferrer and the head of the Govern Balear's department of interior, Pere Perelló, the meeting served to align the authorities' stance on what they call deliberate attempts to interfere with new recruits to local forces by the Govern's Eivissa and Formentera delegation.

The call for applicants to the 39th course of basic police training —the deadline is October 5— was seen as an opportunity to bolster Pitiüsa police forces.

The gathering also served to bring attendants in tune on Llei 4/2013, a law dated July 17 that is aimed at coordinating local police in the Balearics. Participants also spoke about harmonising local law enforcement's approach to issues such as rural area police patrols.

Minute of silence

minut silenci 1909Today, Monday September 19 at 12 noon on plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc, a minute of silence was observed in condemnation of the murder of Ada Benítez last Saturday on Eivissa.

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