PM Costa rides into ‘complicated’ Algarve

On an official visit to the Algarve today to inaugurate the first five-star hotel to be opened in the Portimão in 48 years, prime minister António Costa is in fact riding into a sea of complications.

Only last week, he announced in parliament that the Attorney General considered onshore oil contracts signed with untried ‘oil company’ Portfuel were completely valid, thus flying in the face of thousands of local people and every single mayor in the region’s 16 borough councils.

One of the most vociferous council bosses in the campaign José Amarelinho (Aljezur) told us today that “for now” mayors will not be responding to Costa’s news.

“We need to see what happens in the courts,” he said – referring to the injunctions taken out against exploration by AMAL, the association of borough councils.

Meantime, Algarve MP and Portimão councillor João Vasconcelos says he will be boycotting the visit this afternoon to Pestana’s Algarve Race hotel, alongside Portimão autodrome.

It is a form of protest, Vasconcelos posts on his Facebook page, “for the fact that the prime minister has not honoured his word to study the PPP contract and eliminate tolls on the Via do Infante which have provoked real tragedy within the Algarve”.

Vasconcelos also ‘advises’ Costa to travel along the EN125, which he almost certainly will not be doing in this whistle-stop visit that dodged the terrible blazes that have battered the Algarve this year by only one day.

Last night, just 24-hours before the official visit, a new fire broke out near land already consumed by flames in major fires that engulfed parts of Portimão and Monchique earlier this month.

The landscape around Pestana’s Algarve Race hotel still bears the vivid scars of the conflagration which presumably will condition celebratory photographs.

Pestana’s Algarve Race hotel boasts 75 rooms, two bars, one restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, turkish bath and massage facilities.

During the peak of the recent fires, it was evacuated and the guests rehoused in other establishments that exist along the coast.

Prime minister Costa’s visit is scheduled for 5.30pm today and also is designed to commemorate World Tourism Day.