FOLLOWING a shock decision made at an emergency meeting between the Algarve Regional Conservatory (CRA) and the Pedro Ruivo Foundation (FPR), the organisations have issued a joint statement declaring their withdrawal from any event or initiative directly linked to the ‘Faro Capital of Culture 2005’ Project, “without prejudice, however, to a general re-evaluation of the project, even if this means delaying or postponing it”.
Among the reasons behind the decision, the organisations state the following: delay of key “emblematic” works in Faro, the lack of renovation of cultural spaces in the Algarve, the fact that cultural institutions have been kept in the dark over the planning of the project, the replacement of the project’s commissioner and the “manifest incompetence” of the directive structure. In consequence, both the CRA and the FPR believe that the Capital of Culture celebrations will be “a mere vanity fair”.
In expressing his surprise at the decision, António Rosa Mendes, commissioner of Faro 2005, said that, in view of the difficulties that the proposed event is already encountering, “attitudes like this are deplorable”. He also expressed the view that, in his opinion, the real reasons behind the decision were political and lamented the fact that Faro 2005 should be used as a “political football”.
However, Maria José Bispo, director of the FPR, pointed out that “it would do nobody any harm to delay the event until 2006” as, in her view, it is now “very late” to get the event on track for this year. She said: “You don’t make good business with last-minute agreements.”
Although clearly disappointed by the organisations’ statement, Mendes showed himself open to the suggestion of postponing the event. “This does not displease me at all and it is certainly a hypothesis to study,” he said, adding that, under the circumstances, it was “logical” and would give him more time to plan and schedule the event. He also asserted that he would “stretch the cord to the limit” to make sure that the Algarve did not “miss out on this historic opportunity”, and promised to make a statement “to the people of the Algarve” very shortly to clarify the situation.