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‘Only special help from Madrid can solve the dilemma of Formentera’s triple insularity’

foto-reunio---vicenc---vidalpdConsell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer met with Vicenç Vidal today at local government offices, thanking the Balearic senator for the chance to meet and taking the opportunity to impress on the senator the island’s principal appeals in the hope Vidal convey them to the government in Madrid.

Among the issues raised was the “Special Balearic Regime” (Règim Especial de les Balears, or REB) to unlock extra funding for islands like Formentera in a situation of triple insularity. Ferrer placed rubbish transport costs among other financial costs deserving of consideration. She also appealed to the senator to seek Madrid’s help for the autonomous regions and individual municipalities in efforts to reach 2030 Agenda goals, fight climate change and assist in the energy transition.

The Balearic senator pledged “particular care for Formentera, particularly because the island lacks its own senator”, and noted the latter point featured in discussion as well. He insisted the island deserved “special sensitivity on issues related to our national coasts”, calling for “a more careful handling in view of their acute impact on the island”.

President Ferrer described “a new challenge that requires new solutions”: foreign unaccompanied minors. If, as Ferrer insisted, Madrid’s involvement is crucial to the autonomous regions and island councils obtaining needed measures and resources, “they also need to be working to solve this problem at its source”. The senator agreed on the need for unity around the issue of migrants, calling it “a new challenge, and one we need to move forward on”, while also asserting that “guarantees will be necessary”.

The officials also spoke about the importance of investment in the next 12 months in mature tourism areas, as well as reductions in air and maritime travel costs and, according to President Ferrer, “the very specific needs of Formentera residents, as a people—including enjoying the same ability of movement as our fellow islanders and countrywomen and men”.

14 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

A look back at summer '19 lifeguard service

foto 2019 socorristes 1The interior department of the Consell de Formentera, whose remit includes the island's beach lifeguard and rescue service, reports that the service's annual halt in summer operations took place last week. The team worked from May 1 to October 31. For six months, a team that numbered as many as 23 lifeguards worked to assure the safety of Formentera's beaches and swimming areas. Department head Josep Marí applauded lifeguards’ efforts, underscoring the “dedication and professionalism” of the team.

Incidents in summer 2019
Lifeguards responded to 2,753 cases involving everything sun burns to spills, cuts, scrapes and bumps. They also assisted in stings by greater weever (a poisonous fish), sea urchins and jellyfish—at 2,264, this last group was the largest.

Thirty-nine individuals were rescued from potentially dangerous situations in the water, a type of rescue most common when the yellow flag flies, which means beachgoers can still swim but are encouraged to apply caution, something some fail to take into account. Likewise, a total of 24 people were taken to hospital in ambulance.

The interior office is saddened to report on loss of life—the victim was struck by a moving vehicle—near Cavall d’en Borràs beach this July. Red-flag days, when swimmers are expressly banned from entering the water, made up for 46 days this summer.

Formentera beaches: accessible and equipped for heart-attack response
Arenals and Es Pujols beaches feature accessible-swimming options for individuals with reduced mobility. The service, available from 12 noon to 5.00pm when the green flag flies, was requested this year by 36 people. All lifeguard posts without exception are fitted with defibrilators to assist in cases of possible cardiopulmonary arrest.

6 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Maritime transport decree, better housing and sustainable mobility on agenda in meeting with Marc Pons

foto-reunio---marc-ponsvj1This morning at the offices of Consell de Formentera, Alejandra Ferrer, Ana Juan and Rafael González, the island’s president, housing councillor and mobility councillor, sat down with Marc Pons, the Balearic minister of mobility and housing, and Jaume Mateu, the director general of the regional mobility section. A first among the five officials, the gathering served to spotlight questions such as maritime transport, sustainable mobility and housing.

President Ferrer framed work on the maritime transport decree as crucial, tracing the legislation’s significance—and the importance of guaranteeing early-bird and late-night passages—to the fact that “ferry connections with Eivissa are the only way on and off the island”.

Councillor Pons asserted “local and regional governments’ priorities are one and the same”, and said a closely coordinated effort was now under way to achieve those goals. In fact, the officials penciled in a work session prior to the discussion on maritime transport that is set for Monday 25 November.

As both Ms Ferrer and Mr Pons pointed out, the same mutually beneficial solutions that made progress possible on legislation for Formentera’s environmental and financial sustainability could be sought in the present effort. Speaking about the maritime transport decree, Ferrer insisted that “solutions will be forthcoming—and our residents’ needs met—if we work together, particularly on something of such basic importance for Formentera”.

Sustainable mobility
Pons pointed out that this year the Govern balear has chipped in €350,000 to ensure the project to track and cap vehicles brought onto Formentera is accompanied by upgrades to public transport and sustainable mobility. The funds will be invested in service improvements, expanding the rollout of e-vehicle recharge points and swapping certain municipal vehicles for more sustainable hybrid or electric models.

As for housing policy, President Ferrer pointed out that the Consell “has a plot of land ready for the Balearic housing authority, Ibavi, to build low-cost public housing”. Ferrer said collaboration between the two administrations aimed at “expanding the scope of Ibavi to include a dedicated Formentera office”.

For his part, Pons pointed out that assistance from the regional government —non-existent just four years ago— totaled €125,000 in 2018 and benefitted 44 Formentera families. The Balearic minister assured the deadline on applications for those benefits was still open, and said “the Govern will build low-cost housing on any land the Consell makes available for that purpose”. He pointed to the planned announcement of a “wide array of housing measures for the whole archipelago” in early 2020, saying “the problem isn't temporary; it's structural”.

28 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera salutes service of 5 local police officers

image11Today, Saturday 26 October, came with an event organised by the Consell de Formentera in celebration of the day to honour local law enforcement. Five agents received distinctive medals for particularly outstanding career paths.  

In her address to the crowd, Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer praised the honourees for their shared “spirit of service”. She gave an overview of the many tasks the law enforcement agents are called on to perform while on duty. Beyond the traditional role of ensuring safety, their remit extends to traffic and road safety in schools, acting as a police liaison and working to prevent gender violence among youth.

In the words of President Ferrer, the local law enforcement agents “dedicate their lives to making ours easier; their work makes organising events possible; they collaborate with not just the Guardia Civil —the other law enforcement agency on the island— but also the rest of agencies employed in emergency response and efforts to make our lives safer and easier”.

Speaking to attendees of the ceremony, interior councillor Josep Marí saluted “Herculean efforts this summer to cover every beat with professionalism”. Even police chief Ramos had words of praise for the force he has overseen for the last eighteen months, encouraging them to “continue working for Formentera’s safety, just like you’ve done till now”.

Vicente Aguilar Caballero won the Second Service award for his more than fifteen years of outstanding service in local law enforcement.

Police chief Félix Ramos Pérez won the First Service award for more than twenty-five years of outstanding service in local law enforcement.

José Yern Ferrer obtained the Cross for Police Merit for thirty years of outstanding service in local law enforcement.

Andrés Torres Quetglas obtained the Cross for Police Merit for thirty years of outstanding service in local law enforcement. Torres received a second Cross for Police Merit for service, perseverance, determination, prestige and fulfilment of duty in elevation of the Formentera Local Police.

Lastly,  Genoveva Hernández García obtained the Cross for Police Merit for thirty years of outstanding service in local law enforcement. Torres received a second Cross for Police Merit for service, perseverance, determination, prestige and fulfilment of duty in elevation of the Formentera Local Police.

Members of the National Police attended the ceremony as well, not to mention agents of the Guardia Civil, regional Balearic ministers and members of the opposition, plus family, friends and the remainder of Formentera’s local law enforcement.

26 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell calls on Govern balear to fix sewage pipe, remove roadblocks to planned regulation on Formentera’s shoreline

ple-d-octubrev3Officeholders met today for the full-house October assembly of the Consell de Formentera. The session brought cross-party support for a measure petitioning the Govern balear to allocate funding in its 2020 budget for “upgrades and repairs of the sewage pipe servicing the island of Formentera, including work to ensure proper depth and routing provisions”.

In the plea, assembly members urge the Balearic government to “test the functioning—and possible malfunctioning—of Formentera’s water purifying plant”. Assembly members ask the administration in Palma to use the results of the probe to “articulate and share with the Formentera government a timetable for reconditioning the plant”.

Antonio J Sanz, Formentera’s environment chief, held up the consensus among local political parties that “effects of the problem are wide ranging and proper working order of Formentera’s water treatment facilities is fundamental”.

The session also came with the GxF-PSOE governing team’s backing of an appeal to the Govern balear to move forward the project to regulate ships which anchor on Formentera’s coastline. The text calls for “regulation that balances standards of environmental sustainability with socio-economic considerations, taking into account the absorption capacity of underwater ecosystems and technical studies already commissioned by the Consell de Formentera”.

“We believe this is a huge issue for the whole island, and one in which progress is essential”, said Sanz, who described “the vast numbers of anchoring watercraft on local shores and the serious impact on posidonia meadows”. The councillor also pointed out that the appeal mentions expanding the scope of education and patrol efforts until regulation takes effect.

Support for teachers
Assembly members handed cross-party support to a proposal to reject “attempts to cast doubt on the work of teachers and school administrations in the Balearics”. Brought by the governing team, the proposal makes explicit the Consell’s “recognition of and support for the quality and professionalism of teachers and school administrations”.

As the measure makes clear, the Consell de Formentera believes “scrutiny of instruction in schools, and whether it meets the standards set by legislators, is the remit of the regional education ministry’s inspection service”. According to Formentera’s education councillor, Susana Labrador, the statement is a response to one political party’s appeal to the Balearic Parlament that visits be paid to schools—among them Formentera’s secondary school, IES Marc Ferrer. “We think this reaffirmation of our teachers, not to mention educational inspectors, is necessary following the attempt to cast doubt on the job that they’re doing”.

Honouring local police
The assembly likewise brought unanimous support to award six different distinctions to the following local law enforcement officers: Genoveva Hernández (Cross for Police Merit [green badge]), Andrés Torres (Cross for Police Merit [white badge] and Cross for Police Merit [green badge]), José Yern (Cross for Police Merit [white badge]), Félix Ramos (first prize for length of service) and Vicente Aguilar (second prize for length of service).

In fact, tomorrow, Saturday 26 October, the agents will receive their distinctions in a ceremony organised by the Consell. The event will take place at 12 noon in the conference hall (Sala de Plens) of the Centre de Dia.

Consell proclamation
Lastly, assembly members were united in support of a proclamation for International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization. Presented by equality and LGTBI councillor Vanessa Parellada, the measure seeks to “spotlight the Consell’s commitment to normalising the full breadth of sexual and gender identities”. “This is why once again we’ll be hosting activities aimed at raising social awareness around issues that affect trans people”, said Parellada, “just as we’ve done with the LGTBIQ+ community, just as we’ve done with feminist causes and just as we’ve backed any position in support of social justice”.

Since International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization was started in 2009 by Stop Trans Depathologization, every October the day helps raise awareness about the need to remove gender dysphoria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases. It also serves to remind the world of the importance of healthcare access for trans individuals and of terms to address intersex people not based in binary concepts of "normal".

25 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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