Los gigantes.com was delighted to be asked By Councillor Stephen Gerald McKenna, the first British councillor in the Canary Islands, to write the true story of the recent political upheaval in our town hall.

In order to understand what has happened we need to look into the lead up to the current situation.
Councillor McKenna acknowledged that it depends on your perspective as to how you view the situation but this in the truth of the events that have changed the face of politics in our area.
In 2007 Santiago Del Teide re elected the Coalition Canaries, CC with the biggest majority for the CC in the Canary Islands, including the Mayor 11 elected members. The Mayor, a lifetime member of the CC had many promises made to him by the CC and the Cabildo (Island Government) and national levels. Without going into a blow by blow account in every occasion he was let down and left to look a fool by the party hierarchy.

Just a few of the projects for which he was promised funding, which never materialised, where resurfacing the road between Santiago del Teide and Tamaimo, the new Lido at Puerto Santiago (only 20 years in the waiting) and the motorway between Santiago del Teide and Icod – not now happening, the reason no money, but the CC are finding the money for a proposed railway etc. instead of completing the current projects. Over and over Santiago del Teide has been sidelined and abandoned whilst other municipalities had received funding for their projects.

The final straw for the Mayor was after the rock fall tragedy on the beach in Los Gigantes. Santiago del Teide received no support from Government (CC), or the Costas, (this is a non elected body which controls the coastal areas and have controversially has had houses demolished etc and are supposed to be helping the coastline, additionally they are based in Madrid – PP controlled). They rejected 2 projects for making the cliffs safe above the beach on the basis that they may spoil the look. Finally when Santiago del Teide got a project approved the hierarchy of CC finally arrived in Los Gigantes to claim the limelight. You will now understand why the Mayor Juan Gorrin resigned from his party in disgust.

Soon after the political jockeying began with the Party popular(PP) lead by Oliver Socas believing they could oust cope style the Mayor and the CC. To do this they needed 3 of the 10 CC councillors to sign a letter of no confidence. Councillor McKenna was himself approached by Oliver Socas but refused to sign, believing, as does the Major, they were elected to serve this area, and should continue to do so, until the next election.

Councillor McKenna and four other resigned from the CC in support of the Major. So the face of the Council has changed. In 2007 when elected the Council looked like this: – eleven CC, including the Mayor, three PP, two CCN and one socialist to continue. After a summons from the CC in Santa Cruz, three members of the CC left their position on the council and are now in effect part of the opposition. Two member of the CCN were sacked by their party for supporting the Major in his stand. So our Council now looks like this: – eight independents, including the Major and the two sacked CCN members, with the magic number on the council being nine, the balance of power is held by the socialist councillor, but he has already pledged his support to the Mayor, and although politically opposed believes that the Mayor has the best interests of Santiago del Teide at heart.
Councillor McKenna is now interim councillor for tourism as well as number three in the independents line up.

One can only hope that our independent Council don’t come up against the politically motivated roadblocks to funding as they experienced as members of the CC. I have no doubt as to the level of commitment from our Mayor or the Councillors who have chosen to be independent and believe that they are genuinely serving our community.

To end on a positive note, the beach works in Los Gigantes have been approved, budget allocated and the contractor selected. It is believed by Councillor McKenna that works should start within the month, weather permitting.

For losgigantes.com by Paul Marley