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The Facebook Group Cruise Ferry Madeira  (please join) has been a little quiet of late, and we still have no sign of the promised Ferry.

Peter Groen had just posted the following post on the group, and its already attracting many comments.

Any suggestions on what we can do to make this useless Government act instead of talk shit are welcome.

WE WANT OUR FERRY BACK…….

This Facebook Group has been a little quiet lately. A little too quiet, really. That is not surprising: In spite of many governmental and presidential promises of the contrary, there are no developments concerning the return of the ferry between Madeira and the continent. The regional president keeps ventilating promises he obviously does not intend to keep, as his interests lie with himself and certainly not with the people that elected him. Almost a year ago, we (that is, the leader of this platform Mr. Paulo Mehlich Farinha, Mr. Hernani Correia and myself) tried for an alternative route. Clearly, the regional government is not going to deal with its own nepotism and corruption,  seen that the almighty Group Sousa has been the main finance of their political party for a very long time. And the Sousas insist on payback: all their monopolies – illegal as they may be – have been maintained since the last elections. So therefore, the above mentioned had an appointment with one of Madeira’s members of the European Parliament, Mrs Liliana Rodrigues. The meeting, arranged by Mr. Paulo Mehlich Farinha, took place in april 2016.

Mrs. Rodrigues did not seem very convinced that Madeira needs a ferry. She said vague things like promising to look into the matter, and as a final excuse she told me, as a Dutch citizen, that even Dutch (and German) members of the European Parliament thought there was no need for a ferry between Madeira and the continent because there are air routes. When she said this, I really was gobsmacked and needed to think over what was the meaning of this. In any case, the collaboration of Mrs. Rodrigues did not look very promising.

After having returned to the Netherlands shortly after this meeting, I decided to get to the bottom of Mrs. Rodrigues’ remark about the Dutch and German members of the European Parliament opposing the ferry in question.  Clearly, Mrs. Rodrigues has no clue about the background of the ideas the Dutch and Germans have of island connections. Every Dutch and German island has a ferry service several times a day, anyone can take them at an affordable price, and anyone can take a car to the islands where cars are permitted. The ferries are a part of the mobility policy of the National Government, that allows islanders to commute to the mainland for work at an affordable rate. The distance is comparable to the route between Madeira and Porto Santo. And that goes for all transport to and from the islands: persons, private cars, cargo and mail. For emergencies, all these islands have a helicopter service to the mainland.

So Mrs. Rodrigues, before repeating something you may have heard, please inform yourself of the actual situation instead of just using it as an excuse to do nothing.

However, I wanted to check this information where it belongs: at the source. To do this, I needed to know who these MEP’s are, in order to address them personally . So I sent an email to Mrs. Rodrigues,  of which I informed this platform at the time, asking for their names. I received a polite answer of Mrs. Rodrigues’ assistant, who informed me that I would receive an answer as soon as possible.

My intention was to contact those Dutch and German MEP’s and tell them in their own language why having air connections  has nothing to do with the people of Madeira’s outcry for a ferry. I wanted to tell them that the people of Madeira is suffering from outrageous pricing for all maritime transport by the Group Sousa, and that they should look into the obvious corruption taking place, the regional government facilitating the continuous and suffocating monopoly by the Group Sousa. After keeping my hopes up to get a decent answer for a couple of months, I finally understood, that I was not going to get an answer at all from Mrs. Rodrigues. Like all Madeiran politicians, she seems to prefer secrecy instead of openness, and we seriously have to ask ourselves what her agenda is. With a salary of some 100.000 Euros plus a lot of expenses paid that we, ordinary citizens, need to pay ourselves, it should not be too much asked of Mrs. Rodrigues or indeed any MEP to defend the interests of the taxpaying people that pay her salary.

This arrogance is maddening. I asked you a polite question, Mrs Rodrigues. And apart from your duty of answering, you could at least have had the politeness to do so. But, no such luck. Mrs. Rodrigues seems to think she can quietly do what is best for her, and can go on ignoring the needs and wants of the people who elected her.

Mrs Rodrigues, if anyone is in a position to ask the European Commission to look into the the obvious corruption in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, that seems to be common practice for many politicians in this island,  it would have been you. But you chose to remain silent and ignore, yet again, the wish of the people. I now know you for whom you are. And the inhabitants of Madeira have to keep asking themselves what your interests are in this matter. Someone should look if there is any connection between you and the Sousas. I would not be surprised at all. Hopefully the electorate will remember your lack of interest in the people of Madeira when next there are elections for the European Parliament.