By The Seat Of Your Pants…

Recently I explained to a colleague just how the Irish are planning world domination. It’s not about rallies on the street, or stealthy assassinations of world leaders, coups or invasions.

It’s about pants.

Really and truly.

The Irish are not really concerned about who is sitting on the throne or seat of power, because the seat of their pants already probably belongs to Ireland, or the Irish, or at least the underwear was bought in a shop with Irish roots. And if the world is wearing your underpants you’re halfway to global dominations.

OK, maybe not. But if the people behind the opening of yesterday’s first Tenerife Primark shop get to run the next coup it will be fun and games all the way and a roaring success with the local public. And I bet loads of you didn’t’ know Primark was Irish. We like to just make ourselves comfortable without too much of a fuss. World domination is just an aside.

Santa Cruz mayor José Manuel Bermúdez said he had never ever been to an inauguration like it – and he even repeated it in a whisper to an aide after the official speeches, so we know he really meant it. Some of the credit, lots of it, goes to the people who run the huge and expanding chain of shops – now 39 in Spain, 269 world wide, with over 50,000 employees. But yesterday the star of the show was Breege O’Donoghue.

Breege has been working with Penneys/Primark for over thirty years, and still operates out of the Dublin headquarters. And rather than being a spring chicken she’s more of a mother hen, heralding all of her Primark chicks around, making sure old hands meet new, that all of the new team were well versed in the Primark philosophy, showing off her own perfectly appropriate three piece Primark trouser suit –“only €39”, dancing to the Carnaval sounds with vigour and energy that most of us could only envy, and then hopping up on stage to make the word-perfect opening address in Spanish, much to the delight of the hundreds attending the inauguration inside the shop as well as the Mayor who was infected by her enthusiasms and the delight of the crowds inside and outside that at last we have Primark in Tenerife.

Of course we’re never happy. English Time, almost by unspoken agreement with colleagues from other English language publications, were already laying down the ground work for Primark II in Tenerife, in the South if you please. We corralled whatever member of management we could find and gently bombarded them with 1,000+ reasons why the next shop has to be here in the South. Hopefully we got through. Certainly they were amazed to hear about the bus loads of shoppers who are booked to make the trip. Either way, we have our first Primark, and so the Irish campaign to rule the world through its underwear continues…

Local Administration Law “attacks citizen rights”

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The Mayor of Adeje held a press conference this morning (Monday February 24 2014) to announce that the Council will be using all the resources at their disposal to counter the effects of the 2013 ‘Ley de racionalización y sostenibilidad de la administración local’ or local administration rationalisation law. The mayor, who was joined at the press conference by councillors Andrés Pérez Ramos and Adolfo Alonso Ferrera, said the new law was one which worked to “distance citizens from their fundamental rights”.

The Mayor announced that he was calling an extraordinary council session for tomorrow (25/02/2014) to seek a united front on what he named a brutal attack on local self government. “This law limits the borough’s autonomy and will convert local administrations into monitoring institutions, while at the same time depriving citizens of a basic instrument which allows them access to the council and to participate in local affairs….” he said.
“In Spain”, he continued, “local administrations generate the lowest tax burden, have a good record on budgetary stability and only account for 4 % of the national debt.”. He added that given the relatively good turn out at local elections, it was clear that public dissatisfaction was lowest when it came to local councils.
The new law has already been heavily criticised by the Council for the State who have said there is a conflict with the Spanish constitution. The same accusation has been made at European level with the European Council stating that the new law deprives citizens of the kind of access to local government that is needed to resolve local problems. It would also appear to go against the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government which states that local bodies must be autonomous to properly serve their community.
The Mayor explained that there are currently more than 8,000 boroughs in Spain and one of the objectives is to collectively bring the law to the attention of the Constitutional Court. This can be done if there is a majority of councils in favour of the move. The petition will seek to have the implementation of the law suspended and its application annulled. According to Rodríguez Fraga there are already a host of political parties signed up to support the move to annul the law.

Upgrades At Costa Adeje Market

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The Costa Adeje Market/Mercado del Atlantico, opposite the El Duque Commercial Centre has upgraded its installations, benefitting traders and the public alike.

Recently the mayor of Adeje José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga called into the market to see the changes for himself, accompanied by the borough’s tourism councillor Rafael Dolado García. The upgrades have already been welcomed and praised by the commercial traders according to partners in the markets, Álvaro Luis Rodríguez y Jimmy Gómez, who met with the Adeje representatives during their visit.

Mayor Rodríguez Fraga said, “we are visiting a market that is very modern, one that has adapted to the needs and demands of today. The company responsible for the market have recognised that in the overall move to renovate the tourist destination every business in the sector has to been involved in the change. Congratulations are in order for the work carried out which, without doubt, will also bring positive results for the traders.”.

The company behind the market, Mercadillo del Atlántico S.L., invested over half a million euro in the upgrade. Work included a completely new tarmac for the area and 200 new marquees of 2×2 metres each. These marquees were ordered specially for the market from Germany and are of the highest quality. The perimeter of the market was also regulated to increase security and improve the management of the zone.

This market is open on Thursdays and Saturdays, from 9am to 2pm. Up to 4,000 visit the market daily, and it enjoyed by both tourists and residents.

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Improvements in El Puertito

Work includes the improvement of the pavements and a possible relocation of the dry dock

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In recent weeks councillors Epifanio Díaz Hernández and Andrés Pérez Ramos, along with a town planner, met with residents of El Puertito de Adeje to let them know about the plan to improve this part of the Adeje coastline. The councillors explained that “we are talking about changes to an emblematic part of our borough taking its characteristics and particular features into account”.
The representatives of the Council added that “any changes will, of course, respect all of the existing regulations. What we are hoping to do with this work is offer the people who live in the area an improvement in all the communal areas, areas which form an integral part of the zone”.
Among the works listed for El Puertito are: installation of hand railings along the pedestrian path; bringing the pathways that link to the houses into line with normal standards, and improvement of communal areas. Also in the plan is an overall facelift for the zone, with the planting of vegetation appropriate for the coastal setting. They are also studying the possibility of limiting vehicle access into the area, but that is still very much in the planning stage according to the councillors.
Another matter raised during the meeting with residents was the possibility of changing the location of the slipway to a more protected part of El Puertito, taking advantage of existing natural conditions to more easily launch boats and at the same time increasing the part of the beach available to bathers.

A Destination With Know-How!

The FIT Canarias, the Canarian Tourism Innovation Factory,  hostedADEJE-SMART ISLAND-FIT CANARIAS-CDTCA (8) the Smart Island II forum on Thursday in the HQ in Adeje’s Centre for Tourism Development.
The Cabildo president Carlos Alonso, Adeje mayor José Miguel Rdoríguez Fraga and the public negotiations, health and transport director for Atos, Mercedes Payá, opened the event which focussed on ‘intelligent tourism’ innovations. The mayor said it was important to remember that “an intelligent destination had to be an emotional destination and the local population have to be aware that tourism is a benefit”. The Atos repesentative told the conference that her company is “the number one in Spain and second in Europe in the promotion of technological projects and view tourism as a strategic sector of huge importance.
For his part, Carlos Alonso spoke of a quality destination with the ability to meet the real and modern demands of today’s tourists and with this in mind underlined the need for good connections such as a working Wifi system in tourism zones via the WiMAX ( (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) platform. Alonso said “a productive debate on the tourism model that we want in the Canary Islands must be centred around a product that is linked to the quality and spending in a destination and not to the number of stars above the hotel doors.”
The Cabildo president said the forum had, as its aim, the advancement of Tenerife as an “intelligent tourist destination”, that is to say an innovative destination with an advanced technological infrastructure, and one which can guarantee territorial sustainable development, accessible to all. Furthermore an intelligent destination works to constantly increase the quality of the offer.
These three key strategic lines, technology, sustainability and accessibility formed the focus for the Smart Island II forum with many business people attending to discover how they too can benefit from the emerging intelligent destination.
Manuel Muñoz, director of transport and tourism with Atos headed up the first intervention titled “Development of an intelligent destination London 2012/Sochi 2014”. Atos was the company responsible for the technological input in both Olympic cities. Following this Juan Arturo Carreter, director general of IER España, spoke on an Atos car-sharing project in Paris. That was followed by a talk from Víctor Alvarado, channel manager with Motorola, who presented various prototypes for use in the hotel sector. Íñigo García, marketing director with Amadeus, an company the provides technological solutions to the travel industry also presented his experiences of building intelligent destinations, and the day ended with a round table on the main topic chaired by the director of the department of tourism in the University of La Laguna, Eduardo Parra.
FIT Canarias operates under the auspicies of the Adeje Council, the Tenerife Cabildo via Turismo de Tenerife and the Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Tenerife, the Chamber of Commerce and Ashotel.

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Good News for Adeje’s Abandoned Animals

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Adeje Council has signed an agreement with two animal protections agencies regarding adoption of abandoned animals.

The Adeje Council has signed an agreement this week to work in conjunction with the animal protection association MADAT, the Dogs Welfare Trust and the veterinarian Nahum García del Río to promote and advance the adoption of abandoned animals that are cared for in the Adeje Animal Refuge. The associations will have preference when it comes to adopting dogs from the centre who have stayed beyond the normal legal limit, with no financial benefit to either side in this regard.

The councillor with responsibility for Municipal Services, Gonzalo Delgado Díaz, says “we have been working on this initiative for some time, and in recent months met with all the animal protection agencies on the island who had shown an interest in the Council coming to an agreement with one or more of them to speed up and assist the adoption of animals, mostly dogs, who have been abandoned by their owners. From the Council’s point of view we see these agencies are the ones who can help to promote the adoption of these animals”·.
Under the agreement MADAT (Manos Amigas de los Animales en Tenerife / Friends of animals in Tenerife) commit to taking, over a period of 15 days, all the dogs who can be adopted, and who have passed the 20 days they need to have stayed in the centre, under the municpal by-law, so that owners my reclaim them. The by-law states that once that period has passed the Council is allowed to seek a new owner for the animal, or pass it on to an animal protection agency.

The Dogs Welfare Trust Tenerife will meet the costs of the vet who is also a part of the agreement, and who will include a health report, check for worms, and carry out any other treatment required by the animals such as vaccinations and microchipping.

The current agreement will last for a year and will be overseeen by a committee made up of representatives from each of the involved associations and the Council. An abandoned animal, under the Adeje Council Municicpal Ordenance Regulating The Ownership of Animals, is one wearing no identification, whose owner is unknown to the authorities and is not registered on the census. The Council identifies the animal if it has a micro-chip and lets the owner know he or she has ten days to collect the animal. Once this period of time has passed the Council and the protection agencies who are named in this agreement may offer the dog for adoption.
The Adeje Animal Refuge was created in 2012 at a cost of 120.000 euro financed under the Plan E of the central government. The Centre has individual spaces for up to almost 100 animals depending on their size and whether they are considered dangerour or not. There is also an office and a veterinary zone. The animals are fed different foods according to their age and size and are visited by a qualified vet who attendts to any medical needs they may have.

Councillor Delgado Díaz added that “since October we have been running a wide-spread consiousness raising campaign making people in Adeje more aware of the responsibility that goes with pet ownership. We have placed particular attention on sending out the message to anyone who is thinking about getting a dog to come along to the Refuge first and consider adoption. At the same time, as part of the camaign, we outline both the rights and duties that having a pet involves, such as vaccinations, care and hygiene and particularly the need to be aware of your pet’s behaviour in public spaces, with one of the biggest complaints from the local population being the amount of dog droppings left on the street. To drive the message home the Council, along with the borough’s sanitation company Ascan Torrabonaf, have undertaken a number of wide-ranging initiatives including public meetings, dog exhibitions, workshops in schools, competitions, etc. “

Mapping Adeje!

Francis Ortiz, project director and self-confessed geolocalisation fanatic!

Francis Ortiz, project director and self-confessed geolocalisation fanatic!

Adeje will host the Canary Islands first ‘mapping party’ this Saturday, Febraury 15th, which will see up to 45 people in groups of three virtually mapping Adeje town, creating an online data base which will be used tp allow visitors and residents in Adeje access places to see and go to online with ease and accuracy.
Each group of three will be made up of experts in geo-localisation (i.e pinpointing your location) social networks fans and in fact anyone who would like to sign up to the project – there are still places available for this event – and will work from about 11am to 1pm on Saturday February mapping the town, using a number of specialised online applications. They will work from the ground up so to speak to provide new geo-references for Adeje’s businesses, from the small to the large, building a much more complete virtual picture of the town. They will visit the businesses, confirm addresses, webpages, phone numbers, take photographs, etc creating an invaluable data base. To add an extra incentive, the winning group will win a hotel stay for two each, donated by Iberostar. There will also be other events taking place in and around the CDTCA, the Centre for Tourism Development, Costa Adeje, where the project is based.
The group behind the mapping party say that once this project has been evaluated the project will be expanding into other boroughs. But for now Las Torres, El Galeon, Los Olivos y La Postura will be the first zones to be mapped, according to councillor for economic development Ermitas Moreira García, who added that businesses in the area are fully behind the project, and given the importance of the internet today in every aspect of life, for residents and more so in this case for visitors, they can only benefit.
According to the event director, Francis Ortiz, a geolocalisation and geomarketing expert, a staggering 98 per cent of Canarian companies are not mapped in Google Places, and many that are, including hotels and tourist businesses, are incorrectly located, or contact details are wrong or out of date. If a visitor is looking for the nearest hairdresser to their hotel in Costa Adeje online, given the lack of information, they could well be sent to Puerto de la Cruz, he said. These days, he added, Google Maps is the most used application on mobile phones world wide, underling the importance of the use of geolocalisation. The information gathered at the mapping party will be shared by the Council with OpenStreetMaps to incorporate all the new data from the centre of Adeje, businesses, cultural and special interest places, all accessible online, and for free.

Adeje’s Sporting Stars

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It was a very busy sporting weekend here in Adeje and as well as concentrated efforts on the pitches there was fun off the pitches too.
On Saturday the Club Ademi Tenerife were in action against a team from the Spanish peninsula. This wheelchair team showed their true form and were winning from the first basket against BSR Cocemfe Puertallano and never let up the pressure. This was a first division game and the home side showed why there are one of the toughest side in the division. The match was played at the Costa Adeje school, with cheerleading from the Tenerife Tigers.
The Tigers were in action the next day too at Tijoco, where they train. They were invited to cheer for local baseball side Halcones de Adeje – and this could be a ‘match’ made in heaven. The two teams sport the same colours and there was a real unity between the two groups, with some great performances by the Halcones and a sparkling after-match show by the Tigers. Against teams from Granadilla and Gran Canaria, the Halcones were triumphant too, but there was much applause and medals for all the players.
Amanda Lambert, the Tigers coach and owner, was also surprised and delighted to be presented with an award by the Adeje councillor for sports Adolfo Afonso Ferrera for the troupe’s support of Adeje teams, and local Tijoco councillor Esther Rivero was also on hand to cheer on her local sides.
Great to see such a multicultural sporting selection in our borough, and there will be more baseball and cheerleading action in two weeks in Tijoco.

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Check Sexism

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The Adeje councillor for equality, Juan Desiderio Afonso Ruiz, has launched a new campaign called “Jaque al Sexismo” or “Check Sexism”. The aim of this initiative is to increase awareness of sexism among the population and work to prevent sexual discrimination and promote equal opportunities.
Afonso Ruiz says, “we want to up the awareness levels to make people aware of how limiting sexism can be for those affected”. Those, he adds, who use sexual discrimination are attempting to halt the development of others and therefore their growth as individuals.
The councillor feels that “a vital tool for the healthy growth of equality is the eradication of sexism in our society and the construction of the kind of world we want to live in, and of course stamp out domestic violence too. To achieve this it is important to include the fight against sexual discrimination”.
Sexism refers to all those practises and attitudes that promote different forms of treatment of individuals depending on their sexual orientation and which assumes characteristics and traditional behaviour patterns from men and women. To eliminate them they must first be identified in different situations.
For that reason the Adeje department of equality is organising a series of monthly activities including workshops, exhibitions and debates with will try to look at the nature of this phenomeon, the many and complex causes, and the contexts and levels at which it occurs.
The sessions will be designed with the help of expert Patricia G. Ojeda, who, through Radio Sur Adeje, will frame a series of alternative proposals (non sexist, non violent), at all levels that discrimination appears today (within relationships, with other people, language, media, etc)., The radio has been chosen as a tool for getting the message out there as it is a borough communications tool, and those who cannot listen directly will also be able to find the programmes online.
There will also be actual workshops and talks, and social networks will also play an important part in the campaign says the councillor in charge. The Check Sexism campaign will have an active Facebook page, and while people are more than welcome to participate, those who comment will be asked to be aware of the language they use when doing so!
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Juan Desiderio Afonso Ruiz reminds people that sexual discrimination affects men as well as women, although there are many more cases against women given old cultural beliefs and habits “when women were considered inferior to men”. Sexism is present in different creeds and attitudes, but must be stopped as soon as possible, he adds. “The belief that one sex is superior or inferior to another is sexist as is misogyny (hatred of women) or misandry (hatred of men)”.

He concludes “we must get to the point where the traditional imposed notions of masculine macho men and feminine delicate women are eliminated”.

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DESIDERIO AFONSO RUIZ

British Ambassador in Tenerife

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Simon Manley CMG, the recently appointed British Ambassador to Spain made his first official visit to the Canary Islands this week, calling into Lanzarote, Gran Canary and Tenerife.
He met with consular staff, members of many of the voluntary groups such as Age Concern, The Living Room, She helpline and others during his two day “flying visit” and also found time to talk to members of the local English language press, including English Time. The Ambassador explained that he was spending time visiting all the consulates in Spain, spoke of the importance of social media in the work of embassy and consular staff, “digital diplomacy” too, and how he had become a Twitter convert. He was also amusingly frank about his own intensive Spanish course before he took up the post, emphasising the huge difference learning the language can make to anyone who does decide to come and live in Spain, and how it can really enhance your experience of life in Spain.
Ambassador Manley spoke of the important work he and the diplomatic teams can play in preventing problems for tourists and residents by keeping people properly informed about, for instance, the legal ins and outs of property buying and in general promote a “know before you go” mentality among people looking to move to Spain from the UK. He was also enthusiastic about the healthy commercial relationship between Spain and the UK and particularly interested in the kind of up and coming businesses he saw here in the Canary Islands and the investment opportunities that could be beneficial to those companies in the UK.
Next week we will broadcast the interview with the Ambassador on Radio Sur Adeje on English Time.

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