Tension is building, especially after the regional government announced that the 2019 ferry prices and schedules will only be made available in June. Reacting to the news, Paulino Ascenção of the Bloco Esquerda declared that the ferry contract is not even a test, it is a mockery. Filled with horror at the news he reiterated that the ferry service was a three year commitment and that Empresa de Navegação Madeirense (ENM – Sousa Group) was under contractual obligations to provide a service. And If not, would the government demand that the company provide a summer ferry service or request compensation for breach of contract? Finally he questioned whether the winning of the public tender guaranteed the availability of a vessel and if not, how was it possible to grant an award to a company who was unable to fulfill its contractual obligations
Condemning the government for not acting in good faith or seeking to defend public interest, Paulino insists that the governments claims that they can only charter a ship for three months of the year and then only in the high season as rhetorical. We already know that he stated, and have done so for a long time and that knowing this difficultly, shouldn’t the government have created a proviso in the tender agreement or offered the tender to a company that could provide a regular scheduled service.
When our office contacted ENM we were told that there was still some confusion about which vessel would be operating the route and as yet no dates or prices could be given.