Paloma Hernández – Senator of Fuerteventura for the Socialist Party
"I will work to ensure that when the Canaries get money, Fuerteventura gets some as well"
We met with Paloma Hernández who has been elected senator at the CentralGovernment by the Spanish Workers' Socialist Party (PSOE). She has finished as Tourism and beaches’ councillor at the Ayuntamiento of Puerto del Rosario and is preparing for her new challenge as a senator for Fuerteventura. We wanted to salute her and give her the opportunity to speak to us about her concerns and evaluate how much she has accomplished.
How do you feel, just a few days after starting in your new rôle?
I am very excited about this new stage and I feel like getting to work. It is also happening at a stage during my municipal career as a councillor that was getting to an end after 4 years. The party gave me the opportunity to be a socialist candidate at the Senate, which I accepted with enthusiasm and as a challenge required in this political panorama because the PSOE has never had a senator in Fuerteventura and because social politics are more necessary than ever. I see it has a step further in my vision of politics on the island and of what can be done in politics.
You may be one of the youngest senators, how do you see the future?
I am aware that this is the highest level of national politics, where laws are voted for the autonomous communities and local administrations. I hope I can work to improve various laws and that they will have an impact on the island, such as for the housing sector, or for employment with the new status of employees, measures against sexist violence, agreements between the State and the Canaries, or for the infrastructures, etc. I will ensure that when the Canaries get money, Fuerteventura gets some as well. One of the objectives is to secure financial foundations specifically for the island. There are so many sectors that need to be updated in the law, that have to be sorted out, amongst others, the issue of the law required concerning underaged immigrants, etc.
Do you like fighting? You're going to need it...
Very much so, I am also persistent and curious. I have already requested a meeting in July with the Secretary for the Coasts, because it is incredible that there are so many things delayed because a procedure is missing, for example, the maritime agreement for Playa Blanca.
And what can you tell us about your work at the ayuntamiento?
It was an intense stage, hard, but good and fruitful. It allowed me to consolidate many personal contacts, to be close to people and discover what the population from Puerto del Rosario demands and what the necessities are. It was very interesting and productive because we initiated many projects that improve the municipality but the actual results may not show until a few months from now. The other day, I was taking a stroll on the seafront path of Puerto del Rosario and I was becoming aware of all those projects that are aimed at opening the town onto the sea and that will improve our quality of life: such as the Lime Ovens of El Charco, the accessible path in the area of la Herbania, which is being completed, the extension of the beach of Los Pozos, the leisure area and park that is being created behind Los Pozos and the opening of the municipal swimming-pool; they are all projects from this term, some are already completed and others will soon be completed.
Out of everything you have done, what are you most proud of?
There are many things, but it may be the organisation of the beaches (chiringuito, regulation of the surf schools, extension of the rescue services, improving accessibility, etc.) and the promotion of tourism in the capital. We are also promoting the sector of public health and we work a lot with health associations, by raising a new line of grants to develop health-related projects in the municipality; and we created another grant's line in order to help taxis adapt to people with reduced mobility.
Indeed, beaches that were improved during this termweren't one of Puerto del Rosario's strong points.
That is correct, but we have worked to put emphasis on them and added services for the population and the numerous tourists. Beaches are spaces of entertainment and wellbeing for many people all year round, this is why we have increased the rescue services from 4 to 8 months, we are updating the beaches' signs in three languages, we are regulating the surf schools that used to operate without control in Playa Blanca, we have improved the showers in Los Pozos, the chiringuito of Playa Blanca is up for tender, we are creating shaded areas for people with reduced mobility on the three beaches that have their Blue Flag as well as suncream dispensers. We have carried out intense and complete work. As for the complimentary Tourism sector, we have installed tourism information at the cruise ship harbour entrance, vertical signs at all the harbour exits and markings to guide tourists in the town. There is also a project in place to double the size of the Tourism Office with total accessibility. The project and funds are already in place, the only thing missing is the licence from the Harbour Authority, who we have been working closely with. We have done the same kind of work with the Business Association of the centre area, with a commitment to bring more dynamism for businesses and also open on Sundays. Another project that is still pending and that I hope will come through is the creation of a Tourism Bus that will bring more activity to the town and its villages. We also promoted the Market in Tetir in its different editions by emphasising gastronomy with exhibitors of wines, traditional beers, etc.
Considering the slowness of the administration, a lot of those projects you talk about are still pending.
In truth, you get experience fighting with the administration, which takes a while, this is why there are some projects that can't be completed within one term and they require a few more months before being completed. All that remains, is for us to wish for you to turn into reality all your objectives at the Senate.