Blas Acosta – Deputy President of Fuerteventura's Cabildo
"The need for housing is an important subject in Fuerteventura "
Considering the next elections, we met the candidate for the presidency of the Cabildo for the socialist party PSOE, Blas Acosta.
How are the elections looking from your point of view?
For the first time, the votes will be measured according to the newly updated statutes of the Canaries, approved a few months ago by the PSOE at the parliament of Spain, in order to represent better each vote. People will be able to vote for a political option that they know will get to the end. For example, in El Hierro with 3.000 votes, Coalición Canaria had two deputies, PSOE had one and 50.000 people did not have a political representative. I believe that Coalición Canaria this time will not be in the centre of the table. We have the possibility to increase from 60 to 70 deputies and as the minimum limits of the percentages will be lowered for the Canaries, there will be more diversity in the parliament. We have been fighting for this for eight years against Coalición Canaria.
Do you think this will affect the usual majority party?
It wouldn't affect them if they had worked properly, as this socialist government, for the past eight years, has had enough budget to improve the infrastructures and given the slow pace of the required procedures to carry out the improvements, they could have progressed on those projects and got the administrative authorisations in order to execute them. For Fuerteventura, because of the 13 natural spaces, procedures are more complicated because of environmental matters. I regret that so much time was wasted because of this. There is an enormous delay in the health sector with a hospital that has been undergoing renovations for the past 20 years. Like never before in history, most of the money has been diverted towards the private health sector. People want to be treated and they are using this ambiguity, by diverting to private establishments what should be done in our centres. The Canaries are behind regarding professionals, delays in appointments and treatments. There are good measures, such as having a permanent helicopter to transfer patients to main hospitals on other islands. We should not forget that, on a daily basis, the health sector in the Canaries costs 9,000.000 Euros and despite what has been transmitted, nothing has been solved. The education sector is also suffering from delays despite the fact that the schools of Villaverde and Morro Jable are being built now, but for the rest, it has been more like patching up in some cases or even less than that for the others. Over the past five years, 42 million Euros have been received to create schools and it hasn't been done. There are schools in Las Palmas that are closed, built without any planning or permits. Public bilingual schools are needed, in addition to what has been agreed, which has already been done on other islands. This is an effort that has to be done step by step in order to turn it into reality in a few years time.
Apparently, those elections will be very important...
This is true, by reducing the limits, there will be more political parties that will represent votes. Another important matter in Fuerteventura is the need for housing.
We are 1.800 homes short and the Canarian Government is asking for the land to be made available in order to start building. Everyone knows that it takes at least 2 years to build a block of 80 or 90 homes and that it would be a lot more expensive to build them rather ask the banks to sell them. Only the Azaña Tenerife promotion has been bought, but it was to refurbish it, not for people to go and live there. In Fuerteventura, there hasn't been a social housing politic, indeed, the last 250 social protection homes were built in Pájara and I was the one who built them when it was very expensive to build and I got them at 500€ per metre when the price was at 800€.
What other matter did you want to comment on?
Our greatest effort has been concentrated on getting the licences for the renovation of hotels and we are a model in the Canaries. This wasn't done to benefit the hotels but this had an impact on various trades that took part in those renovations and the employment that those renovations generated. Over 400 million Euros were invested in those renovations. It also helped reduce unemployment considerably, there is even full employment in some municipalities. The Cabildo must take the initiative, not just wait for the ayuntamientos to request the projects. For example, regarding human water consumption, we must point out that the Cabildo isn't the sole owner of The Water Board, the six ayuntamientos also own part of it, although the Cabildo covers all the costs. Water management must be managed by professionals. The price hasn't gone up for the past twenty years, which is very well, but how long is the Cabildo going to be able to bear those costs without help from the municipalities. Furthermore, with more professional management, with the same prices, we will be able to eliminate many of the losses.