Madeira wants to be “Singapore of the Atlantic”

… “but there will probably be some setbacks”, admits health chief

The Portuguese island of Madeira wants to be considered “the Singapore of the Atlantic”. Indeed, regional health secretary Pedro Ramos is reported to have said that he is “increasingly convinced” that it already is.

This story has appeared on the official State news website Lusa. But bearing in mind the date, and the ‘post-truth era’ the world is floundering about in, we cannot be sure that in repeating it we are not perpetuating a(nother) clever April Fool.

According to Lusa, Mr Ramos does not see this ambition in any way “unreasonable”.

Speaking at the “inauguration of the room equipped with 5G signal at Dr Nélio Mendonça Hospital in Funchal”, he admitted that Madeira has “about 250,000 inhabitants while Singapore has six million, but stressed that Madeira is larger in terms of geographical area and noted that those who knew Singapore 40/ 50 years ago, know that Singapore was not what it is now”, explains Lusa.

“So there is a whole journey”, Mr Ramos told his audience – and the ambition (to get there) “has to be realised by all of us.

“Madeira is a safe region for the whole world, healthy, where we also have the ambition to create scientific hubs, economic hubs, financial hubs and we want more people to come here”.

“Listing some of the phases the island has been through in its 600-year history*, Mr Ramos stressed that the region is currently in the digital transition phase, which will bring benefits to the health area.

The governor also pointed out that the new Madeira Central and University Hospital “will be a reality within five to six years” and will be equipped with the 5G network.

However, he admitted, “there will probably be some setbacks”, motivated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine”.

*The history of Madeira is arguably much longer than 600 years. It may only have been named Madeira in 1418, after being ‘discovered’  by two captains under service to Henry the Navigator, but, according to Plutarch in his Parallel Lives (Sertorius, 75 AD) military commander Quintus Sertorius (d. 72 BC), described meetings with sailors who spoke of idyllic Atlantic islands: “The islands are said to be two in number separated by a very narrow strait and lie 10,000 furlongs [2,000 km] from Africa. In those times, the islands were known as The Isles of the Blessed (Wikipedia).

Sources: Lusa and JM Madeira