Faro Câmara calls for resignation of Ria Formosa “demolition man”

In a packed council meeting in which no-one minced their words, Faro Câmara approved last night a motion calling for the immediate removal of Polis Litoral’s “universally-loathed” demolition man Sebastião Teixeira.

Coming out at almost the 11th hour in support of Ria Formosa islanders battling against Polis’ “possibly illegal” programme of home demolitions, the Câmara has agreed to stage its next meeting on the Hanagares nucleus of Culatra island, to show it is “on the side of its island populations”.

It was the kind of result you only get in feel-good movies. The moment when the “baddies” cave at last to pressure and Joe Public wins the day.

In this case it is all about Joe Public hanging on to his home, his livelihood and his way of life.

The meeting was crammed with islanders, many of them wearing the black “Je Suis Ilhéu” t-shirts that have become the signature of their hard-fought and emotion-filled campaign.

Algarve Press carried the complete text of the ‘motion of censure’ because of “the importance it could have in the way Polis functions after this vote” it explained.

The independent news service said it expected the three Socialist boroughs councils with minority holdings in Polis (Olhão, Tavira and Loulé) to support Faro and add their calls to the demand for Teixeira’s removal.

The PS text claimed that Teixeira had “taken the exercising of his public competences to a point in which he had lost all support of those involved, being universally loathed by everyone affected by his official actions”.

He had “overstepped the public powers vested in him” by “wanting to advance against the property of people who were protected by judicial embargos”.

He had “neglected what he had been legally meant to defend – the natural and environmental values of protected species” as well as the “fundamental regular de-silting” required on the Ria “to preserve its ecosystem”, in favour of “an eagerness to demolish”.

And he had wanted to use, to “benefit his wishes, the force of the Maritime Police, putting them in the end in a difficult situation in front of local people” who were protected by judicial embargos.

During the heated debate that saw councillors voting along party lines, Socialist Paulo Neves further accused Teixeira of trying to push through “State terrorism” while fellow councillor Luís Graça was “very critical” of Faro’s PSD Mayor Rogério Bacalhau who he accused of playing a “double game” over the demolition programme, never really showing whose side he was on.

Graça reminded Bacalhau that he “was elected by the people of Faro and not by the Government”.

And thus to the total delight of the audience – many of whom have suffered weeks of broken sleep and anxiety – the motion was passed with five votes in favour (PS and CDU) and four absentions (PSD/ CDS).

The “lack of care” shown by Sebastião Teixeira as the figurehead of Polis Litoral – Ria Formosa was such that now the number of embargos lined up against his programme “vastly outweigh” those that have been refused, showing clearly “the persecutory sentiment and injustice” he has been levelling against “the citizens involved”.

“Thus the Câmara Municipal of Faro has nothing more to do than to register its repudiation for the action exercised by the President of Sociedade Polis Ria Formosa, in which the municipality participates, for losing confidence in his capacity to continue with his functions with normality, asking for his immediate substitution from the society”.

The motion is now to be carried forwards to the council’s general assembly.

Meantime, this celebratory weekend which shows the tide at last turning in the islanders’ favour continues with local football club SC Olhanense promoting a solidarity match against Chaves on Saturday.

All players will be decked out in “Je Suis Ilhéu” t-shirts, in a clear message that it is not just the islanders that want Polis to back off, but the whole municipality of Olhão.

[email protected]