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Formentera opens Municipal Office of Justice, 'a door to public services for islanders'

foto 2022xii oficina justiciaToday Ana Juan, president of the Consell de Formentera, together with Tontxu Rodríguez, secretary of state for justice (SEJ) and Francesc Miralles, general director of institutional relations of the Balearic Government, inaugurated the second pilot project of the Municipal Offices of Justice (OJM) to be implemented throughout Spain. The first OJM was launched in the province of Albacete, and Formentera's is the first in a territory that is characterised by insularity. The inauguration was attended by councillors of the local cabinet, Balearic and state law enforcement authorities and judicial representatives of Eivissa and Formentera.

At the presentation, President Juan asserted the new office will mean "public judicial services on the island are more agile and straightforward" and "simple judicial matters no longer require travel to Eivissa or Palma". Juan stressed that "this modernisation of justice is critical for territories like ours" and made assurances that "we will not lose access to any court of instruction and will continue working to improve public services for residents, just as this new office does".

Mr Rodríguez offered, "Justice affects every area of life - personal, family and employment. And as a public service, it too needs a structure that is close enough to meet citizens' demands with immediacy". Under the Organisational Efficiency Act, an OJM will be set up in every municipality where there is no Court of First Instance. "OJMs fulfil this need and are especially relevant in those smaller localities with communication difficulties", added Rodríguez. In the words of the SEJ, "with OJMs we can rethink the means available to local offices of justice, and tailor them to the social and technological reality on the ground", adding, "the benefits are particularly clear in island territories like Formentera".

The new OJM will mean islanders can attend trials by videoconference to which they have been summoned; local police officers won't have to spend an entire day travelling, or be dependent on weather conditions to travel to Eivissa. It will also make it easier to grant power of attorney apud acta; make it possible to avail oneself of the right to legal aid; validate degrees obtained overseas and more. Rodríguez traced the pilot project's coming to fruition to "intense collaboration" from the Government Chamber of the High Court of Justice, the Government Secretariat of the High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands (TSJIB), Courts of Eivissa, staff of the Justice of the Peace Court of Formentera, Civil Registry, and Territorial Management Office of the Ministry of Justice and its teams. To achieve it, the SEJ held up new technological equipment and reinforced personnel at the Justice of the Peace of Formentera. The additional staff will collaborate during roll-out of the OMJ so that the residents of the island do not need to travel to seats of the judiciaries of Eivissa or Palma to handle legal matters.

Project launch
During the presentation, attendees saw demonstrations of some of the services now available at the Justice Office of Formentera. Those present at the Justice of Peace of Formentera connected via videoconference with Pilar Llop, Minister of Justice at the Government Delegation in Palma, where the Minister is on an official visit. Later, one individual took a sworn nationality oath by video and a connection was established with the Office for the Care of Victims of Violent Crimes and Crimes against Sexual Freedom. As well, officers of the Guardia Civil tested the connection with an Eivissa courtroom. Fruit of an agreement with the Ministries of Justice and Interior, the new system means witness and defendant no longer need be in the courtroom together when charges are brought based on witness reports. Finally, presenters demoed a remote work station, which enabled an official of the Administration of Justice of the Court of First Instance number 5 of Eivissa to work from Formentera.

1 December 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Exhibition of eighth Eivissa-Formentera Architecture Awards

At 7.30pm, Friday 2 December, Centre Antoni Tur 'Gabrielet' will pull back the curtain on a display of works which the Official Architects' College of the Balearic Islands named winners of the eighth Eivissa-Formentera Architecture Awards (2016-2020). The exhibition will be on view 11.00am to 2.00pm and 4.00pm to 6.00pm, Monday to Saturday until 16 December. Monday mornings and Tuesday afternoons it will be closed.

1 December 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

cartell 2022xii arquitectura

Consell endorses fully subsidised bus fare in 2023 and presses health authority for Basic Health Unit in La Mola

foto 2022xi pleToday members of local government gathered for the November full-house assembly of the Consell de Formentera, securing backing for fully state-subsidised fare for seasonal and multi-journey bus tickets in 2023; a Basic Health Unit in El Pilar de la Mola; road upgrades, and a local astronomical observatory. On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, councillors issued an official proclamation and observed a minute of silence.

Subsidised bus transport
Councillors from all parties came together to back a proposal for fully state-subsidised seasonal and multi-trip bus tickets in 2023. "The central government's budgets already provide a line item to finance regular public bus transport", explained Rafael González, councillor of mobility, who presented the proposal, "hence, regular riders and holders of multi-journey tickets, whether residents or visitors, will be able to travel free of charge throughout 2023".

"In this way we hope to keep maximising sustainable mobility on our island, reducing our carbon footprint and helping families and individuals better cope with rising prices", he added. From 1 September to 31 December 2022, public transport on Formentera is free for residents thanks to funding from the Consell de Formentera (50%) and regional (30%) and central governments (20%), respectively. Tourists enjoy a 70% discount thanks to funding from the Consell (20%) and the central (30%) and regional governments (20%), respectively.

Basic Health Unit in El Pilar de la Mola
Cabinet councillors overcame opposition abstention to pass a compromise proposal urging the regional health authority to create a Basic Health Unit (UBS) in El Pilar de la Mola, and pressing the Consell de Formentera to review local regulations and determine its location. Rafael Ramírez, councillor of social welfare, pointed out that "our growing local population has created a need for more workers at our hospital and the increased accessibility of certain services for patients who live in remote areas".

The day's session also came with cross-party backing for a Sa Unió proposal to urge the Consell de Formentera to include an item in the 2023 budget for upgraded road surfaces, including at the main access points to tourist areas.

Astronomical observatory
Decision-makers again united in support of a Sa Unió proposal, expanded by the cabinet, to create a local astronomical observatory. Councillors urged the Consell de Formentera to continue with all audits and actions necessary to obtain StarLight certification from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and to use future audit reports to site construction or adaptation of a suitable space for the facility.

Department report from Alejandra Ferrer
Today Alejandra Ferrer, vice-president and councillor of tourism, appeared before assembly members. In tourism marketing, she highlighted 2020's Promoting and Reactivating Tourism Plan, updated annually, which sets basic guidelines like "promoting sustainable mobility, reviving rural areas and safeguarding culture and heritage" as well as guiding tenets like "social equilibrium, economic improvement and environmental protections". In marketing events, meanwhile, the Formentera Office of Tourism has attended domestic and international trade shows, workshops and presentations and focused on sustainability, local products, collaboration between administrations and the importance of reducing the seasonal nature of Formentera's economy, among other issues.

In planning, Ferrer highlighted her offices' work with the local tourism sector to tailor the Balearic administration's Tourism Act to the needs of Formentera. Vice President Ferrer held up an exception that was made to unlock 50 overnight permits on Formentera for families and small businesses that had already invested money and performed work. Ferrer noted that the Formentera Data Observatory opened in 2019 and in 2022 issued its first-ever "barometers" for residents, business and tourist satisfaction. "These data help improve not only our qualities as a destination and our visitors' degree of satisfaction, but also our residents' quality of life", she explained.

Official proclamation for 25 November
Lastly, Ana Juan, president and councillor of equality, read a declaration endorsed by the entire assembly that reaffirms the Consell de Formentera's commitment to feminism, gender equality and the war on gender violence: "Only a society in which women do not suffer gender-based violence can be considered completely free. Only a democracy free of male violence is a full democracy."

25 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

TSJB upholds regulation of Estany des Peix and rejects precautionary suspension requested by business group

The High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands (TSJB) has issued an order denying the injunction requested by an association of businesses and individuals that use Estany des Peix which would have involved suspending the initial approval of anchorage rules at the lake.

The order highlights the fact that the public has a particularly salient interest in ensuring the rules are enforced. As for the reasons for rejecting the requested precautionary measures, the TSJB states that "the defendant's safeguarding of the natural surroundings of Estany des Peix comes before the interests -clearly economic in nature- of parties which rent watercraft anchored in these waters".

The TSJB considers that "the general and public interest resides in the interests defended by the Administration, since the Natural Space Use and Management Plan (PRUG) prohibits the boat rental activities that the appellant association intends to continue in the event the requested precautionary measure were applied. As a matter of fact, the previously approved and presently challenged precautionary measure is designed to guarantee the environmental protection of Estany des Peix".

The court notes that "protection of areas in the EU's Natura 2000 Network has an unquestionable impact on general interests, because this means that what the Administration seeks to preserve in light of its ecological significance remains in jeopardy". "The private interests defended by the appellant association -for instance, adversity faced by owners of boats that anchor in these waters- do not have the same level or rank of the general and public interests in preserving this important environmental site", the text states.

25 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Remembrance of Francisco Solano and all victims of Franco's regime at La Savina penitentiary

foto 2022xi cementiriThis Monday, Ana Juan, president of the Consell de Formentera, and Francina Armengol, president of the Balearic Government, visited the Sant Francesc Cemetery, where excavations and exhumations by Aranzadi Science Society as part of the regional administration's third Mass Graves Plan (2021-2022), have made it possible to identify Francisco Solano Vera, the first person to perish at La Savina penal colony during the Franco regime. Also on hand for the visit were Alejandra Ferrer, vice president, and cabinet councillors of the Consell de Formentera; Jesús Jurado, director general of democratic memory in the Balearics, and Antonio J. Sanz, the provincial councillor for Formentera. Historian Antoni Ferrer Abárzuza also participated in the explanations.

President Juan remarked, "Eighty years have passed since Francisco Solano died in inhuman conditions at the Formentera prison; it is time for his remains to be buried in his home in Cartagena". Juan described the moment as one of reparation for memory and democratic justice, and praised the Govern balear, Consell de Formentera, researchers and associations that "fight and work to put to rights the memory of the victims of Franco's regime".

Last Thursday, the regional government identified remains recovered in April at the Sant Francesc Cemetery as those of Francisco Solano after having compared samples obtained in the exhumation with the DNA given by two of the deceased's daughters.

Solano is not only the first victim of Franco's repression to be identified on Formentera, but also the first victim identified in the Balearic Islands from outside the archipelago.

The identification of the Cartagena native also confirms that the bodies recovered in April during phase one of excavations and exhumations at Sant Francesc Cemetery, which presented characteristics compatible with six victims of the prison, belong to the other people who died in captivity in Franco's military camp.

As approved by the administration's mass graves and missing persons committee, the Balearic Government will commission a second intervention at Sant Francesc Cemetery as part of the fourth Mass Graves Plan (2022-2023) spearheaded by the Balearic Secretariat of Democratic Memory.

The goal is to pinpoint the remains of as many victims as possible. In a study conducted by Antoni Ferrer Abárzuza as part of the second Mass Graves Plan, the Ibizan historian concluded that as many as 58 individuals —most from Extremadura and Murcia, but also Madrid, Catalonia, the Canary Islands, Valencia and the Balearic Islands— perished at La Savina penitentiary due to food shortages and unsanitary conditions between 1940 and 1942.

Crews will focus on the back area of the cemetery esplanade –down row 6, where Solano's remains were found– because signs indicate it was there that the prison's dead were interred. Plots near the entrance were apparently reserved for ordinary burials.

21 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

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