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Prime Minister’s Visit No Easy Ride

The Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa’s visit has been met with criticism and veiled contempt. During a meeting the CDS-PP Santa Cruz candidate, Margarida Pocinho stated that although the Prime Minister was welcome to the island his visit was little more than a sticking plaster on the political wounds of his party. Exasperated, the candidate stated that António Costa’s visits were primarily to deal with party political issues and ‘nothing to do with the problems faced by Madeira. And that he should remember that he is the Prime Minister of all the Portuguese people, including Madeirans.’

She further criticised the mainland governments lack of compliance over issues such as the ferry service, the non-revision of the social mobility allowance and expensive flights to and from Madeira.  Finally, she categorically stated that the Prime Minister has the skills to help Madeira, but that he seemed unwilling to help and that to survive Madeira had to do everything it could to reduce costs, mainly as the island is classed as an ‘outermost region.’ Furthermore, the island needed production and mobility support, both in terms of freight and general air travel.

Further fuel was added to the political fire when Madeiran Prime Minister, Miguel Albuquerque opted to attend the annual Onion Festival in the town of Caniço rather than spend time with his mainland opposite. Giving his reasons, Miguel Albuquerque stated that attending community programmes was essential and that António Costa’s visit was more akin to party political campaign.

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly