Life is being made a misery for residents of the Chayofita complex in Costa del Silencio. The whole area has had less than a salubrious reputation in the past but of recent years, things had improved considerably apart from in a few specific points. One of them is this complex, whose residents are despairing, saying that it is “inundated with squatters”.
Marjorie Barnaby runs the complex’ rental cleaning office, and says that several of her customers have been burgled. “We have had apartments broken into and squatters taking up residence” she says, and in some cases, “apartments broken into and everything stolen, all within the past month”. Ms Barnaby says that the community is finding the police unhelpful when burglaries are reported because “when you ring them you are told to make a denuncia before they will attend, but by then, the squatters have changed the locks, and reconnected the electricity and water illegally”.
Owners are frustrated that police advice is to engage a lawyer and take legal action, but this is neither a quick nor easy solution, and even when judgments are achieved, squatters frequently abandon properties in a desolate condition. One resident who wanted to remain anonymous said that residents feared to speak out because “they are dangerous people”: she said that “residents want the press and politicians to get involved”.
This should not be such a tall order. With a completely new ruling party in Arona after the electoral earthquake earlier this year, and on a day, today, in which the previous mayor was in Court admitting that he had permitted renovations to be carried out without licence on the Sir Anthony hotel in Playa de las Américas – in return it is said for unlimited and free use of hotel accommodation – the Ayuntamiento can surely get some results! After all, it has been achieved before …
At the beginning of the year, the San Rafael complex near the Verónicas was taken back by its owners with backing from both police and council from the squatters, drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes who had overrun it. It can be done. It just needs some political will, some co-ordinated policing, and some joined-up thinking. And if “San Raf” can be regained even before Arona’s “political earthquake”, it must be possible elsewhere in the municipality now.
The Ayuntamiento has spent money on doing up Silencio, on starting to try to reclaim its reputation. It is time now to ask why that expenditure should be wasted … or is the council going to make an absolute statement that Silencio is a lost cause? That, surely, is more unthinkable than the current hell the owners in Urb. Chayofita are living through. They are calling on the politicians to hear and help them. Will they listen?