Update 18 May: Ciudadanos Por Arona (CXA) is concerned about what could be an accidental – or entirely cynical – “new party” which will be standing for election in Arona. Calling themselves just “Ciudadanos”, they started out as a right of centre Catalan party, and are entirely separate to the party of five years standing which is campaigning on an anti-corruption ticket.
Ciudadanos Por Arona (CXA) say that anyone thinking of voting against corruption in Arona, and of making a real change for the good for the people of Arona, needs to be aware when they vote that there are two parties with “Ciudadanos” in their name. The detail is HERE, but in a nutshell, if you’re voting for change in Arona and want the anti-corruption party, you need to be sure to vote for Ciudadanos POR ARONA (abbreviated to CXA) not just “Ciudadanos”.
Original post 9 May: In the last Small Society post HERE I looked at an example of a well-run and well-functioning ayuntamiento, Adeje, and said that it was the first of two pieces – and that its counterpart, the “bad” ayuntamiento piece would look at Arona. It seems like a reasonable choice given the plethora of posts concerned with bad and chaotic news in the borough.
Like the Adeje piece, this Arona post will be written from within the municipality itself, but as I said HERE, municipal election campaigning started properly yesterday, with activists ready at the stroke of midnight on Thursday with posters, buckets of paste, and brooms ready to plaster the various municipalities of Tenerife with their campaign publicity. Since campaigning has officially started, therefore, these posts can now have a political slant – indeed some might say this one needs a political slant!
The following is written by language teacher Chris Colles (photo below), a long-term British expat who is one of the candidates on the Ciudadanos X Arona party’s list (the “x” is a symbol always used for “por”, so the party is “Citizens for Arona”).
Arona doesn’t work.
The Arona council covers the coastline from Tenbel/Costa de Silencio and the fishing boats of Las Galletas, the rocky shore of El Fraile, the eternally unfinished sleepy hamlet of Palm Mar, the bustling tourist centre of Los Cristianos and the half of Las Americas that includes the “Golden Mile” with the Hard Rock café and the Veronicas.
Then, after the Veronicas . . . that’s Adeje . . . oh, and that is very different. Costa Adeje with well-run beaches, T3 Tenerife Top Training and Siam Park. That’s more like it, clean, efficient and it works.
The Arona coastline should be one of the smartest and richest of all Spain . . . it has 1.5 million visitors a year . . . so why is it so run down? Why is there no investment? Why is there so much administrative chaos and incompetence? We would all benefit from thriving tourism, wouldn’t we? Arona has a much larger population than Adeje, so where is all the money going?
Yes . . . Arona has a problem.
For a long time now corruption has been rife in the Arona council. We have the biggest corruption cases in Spain queuing up in the Arona courts. From peddling political influences to official misconduct, granting illegal building licences (131 illegal buildings in 5 years) and blatant embezzlement; they have just been in it for what they can get. The Mayor of Arona himself was banned from office last year for corrupt practices. Yes, the leader is banned . . . but they all just move up one, no democratic process, just the same people.
This shameful state of affairs has left an area that depends on a healthy tourism industry . . . our area . . . in a chaotic state with a deteriorating image. The British Government Foreign Office website actually issued a travel warning against the beaches in Arona as we were faced with the spectacle of the Arona lifeguards begging from the tourists because they hadn’t been paid for a whole year! This, and the absence of sun beds and umbrellas from the beaches as investigations start into the whereabouts of a missing 300,000 € and the management companies scarper. These are unfortunately only the more visible symptoms of the rot. There is so much more.
Anything good in Arona?
Racking my brain I can think few things to be proud of that survive in spite of the total administrative neglect – the music school and municipal band in the Los Cristianos culture centre is truly wonderful, send your kids there. However one does wonder what would happen if you counted all the pianos they’ve bought. Did they all arrive at the school? It really is rife.
The ruling Coalición Canaria (Nationalist) party has disintegrated, perhaps from the pressure of all the court cases mounting up against them, and the councillors responsible are just jumping ship and joining and forming other parties. The main opposition PSOE socialist party and the media are being controlled and silenced by powerful interests and all this could easily just carry on unopposed . . . . unless . . . .
Local Council elections on the 24th of May, you can vote.
There is one man leading the fight and he needs our support. He is the one responsible for presenting all of these corruption cases in the courts. He has been persecuted and hounded out of the council for being incorruptible. They couldn’t buy him so they got rid of him. You can read his story of bravery against adversity at www.colles.cc/arona . . . Please read it.
His name is Jose Antonio Reverón (not to be confused with Berto Reverón the ex-mayor banned from office by the judges for corrupt practices last year).
Jose Antonio has formed a new party of qualified, competent and decent citizens to fight the corruption and lead Arona into a new honest, legal and prosperous era. This party is called Ciudadanos X Arona and they are the David against the Goliaths.
I can vouch that this party is untainted . . . I see them, either in power or in coalition, as the only way to steer Arona back into the administrative service of its citizens, and that’s us . . . and that’s with our money. There is a popular reaction, people are more informed . . . there are the rather slow court cases, presented by Jose Antonio . . . he has some good people around him. I can see a glimmer of hope for the future.
Can I help?
Yes you must, we must try. All EU residents in Arona can vote. And one thing is clear – if your vote is ever going to make a difference to your neighbourhood then this will be the one that counts. If you are not sure where to vote please contact me, Christopher Colles, at www.colles.cc/contact or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can check the register and let you know which polling station to go to. Contact me anyway and we can arrange a meeting and show some support. Yes, let’s have a meeting in English.