Ria Formosa islanders’ ‘champion’ to join new brooms at Sociedade Polis

For years the very name Sociedade Polis Litoral struck fear into the hearts of Ria Formosa islanders, but this week it looks like “that’s all going to change”.

Along with the two ‘new brooms’ announced last month (click here), Polis ‘administrative board’ is to be completed by the arrival of Olhão mayor António Pina – the man who islanders say has “moved mountains” for their cause (click here).

Expresso has presented the news, saying Polis is “now in the hands of local councils”. But environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes disagrees.

“The nomination of a council representative is made by municipalities on a rotative basis”, he explained. “This year it fell to the mayor of Olhão” but this does not “alter the relation of capital at Sociedade Polis” nor the fact that the other two administrators “are nominated by the State, and represent it”.

Pina’s confirmation on Polis’ new board should be ratified at a meeting of the general assembly on Thursday.

Needless to say, a source has told Expresso that there are those who think he “should not take up this new appointment” due to the fact that he has been so involved in court actions designed to thwart the last administration’s demolition plans.

Of course, other sources will say quite the opposite – suggesting it is marvellous at last to have a friendly face at Polis: one that perfectly understands the position of the people who have lived and work on Ria Formosa for generations.

What is interesting is that Expresso explains this will be one of four Polis coastal entities to do away with representatives from APA (Portugal’s environment ministry) and the ICNF (institute for nature and forestry conservation), in favour of council appointments.

Polis’ former boss, Sebastião Teixeira – dubbed demolition man for his determination to cleanse the islands of their human residents – remains a director at APA, but no longer holds any power at Sociedade Polis Ria Formosa.

Meantime, the 81 demolitions due to go ahead this year remain “without a date” since Teixeira’s shock resignation in October (click here).

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