AMAL has already hired a lawyer to fight against oil prospecting in the Algarve

The Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL) has already approved, at its meeting this week, the hiring of a jurist to give […]

AMAL Intermunicipal Council Meeting_2
AMAL Intermunicipal Council Meeting (file photo)

The Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL) has already approved, at its meeting this week, the hiring of a jurist to give substance to the struggle of Algarve mayors against oil prospecting and exploration concession contracts on shore, in the region.

The jurist who is now being hired is João Almeida Vidal, from Faro, who belongs to the office of Álvaro Pedro Café – Sociedade de Advogados, and is a person closely linked to civic movements and legal issues related to tourism. "We wanted to hire a very experienced lawyer from Algarve", explained Jorge Botelho, president of AMAL, to Sul Informação.

"Our expectation is that within two to three weeks an injunction can be entered into to suspend the actions on the ground, which will then be followed by a main action, requesting the nullity of the contracts", added the also president of the Chamber of Tavira.

And the leader of the Algarve mayors guarantees that the fight in the courts by AMAL will continue, even after it is known that the Government has requested an opinion from the advisory council of the Attorney General's Office (PGR) on land concession contracts and that , according to the Público newspaper, there are even "arguments to terminate the concession contracts with Portfuel for breach of contractual obligations".

"We know how long these things take, the advances and setbacks they suffer, so we will also keep pressure on our side," said Jorge Botelho.

Jorge BotelhoAt its Monday meeting, despite having discussed the matter, AMAL decided not to react to the statements by former Environment Minister Jorge Moreira da Silva, which, during a hearing at the Assembly of the Republic on the attribution of oil concessions, accused the mayors, as well as deputies, NGO leaders and political leaders, of “frightening the population” with the oil issue.

Jorge Botelho considered the statements of the current deputy and vice president of the PSD as "aparvalhadas" and a "gratuitous offense to the Algarve".

«Coming insinuating that the Algarvians are all sticks and that the opposition to oil exploration is an action promoted by half a dozen “retired foreigners” is also an offense to the foreign community that we cherish and that is part of our heritage. So Algarvian are those who, like me, were born here, as those who chose this land to live, to work or to spend their retirement years here», added the president of the Intermunicipal Community of Algarve, which represents the 16 municipalities of the region. .

Taking all this into account, AMAL “decided not to make any statement about the statements of the person who validated a process that is being contested by all the Algarveans with one voice, because we believe that we do not respond to statements that are at the sub-basement level. ».

More uncomfortable are the Algarve deputies elected by the PSD, the independent José Carlos Barros, who was head of the list for the region, and Cristóvão Norte.

It's just that, in the joint parliamentary hearing of the Committees on Economy and Environment, former minister Moreira da Silva announced that he is even interested in coming to the Algarve, with the Social Democratic deputies, to explain to the population his position on the process. “I am very interested in having a discussion [in the Algarve] identical to the one I had here today, directly with the populations”, he said.

However, in the hearing itself, José Carlos Barros underlined his opposition and that of his colleague Cristóvão Norte to oil exploration in the Algarve region, since this is an activity that, he argued, has no place in the development model of Region, which is necessarily based on tourism and the relationships it establishes, and should strengthen – among other domains – with agriculture, fishing, heritage and the landscape».

Jose Carlos BarrosIn statements to the Sul Informação, deputy José Carlos Barros admitted that Jorge Moreira da Silva discussed with the two Algarve parliamentarians the possibility of coming to the region to talk about the matter. “But we are still evaluating whether it is in fact justified and whether or not such a session would be useful to enlighten people. It's always worth talking about the subject, answering all the questions about the acts performed, but we fear that such a session could result in a huge confusion," he admitted.

Who is convinced that the visit of the former minister of the Environment to the Algarve to explain the contours of "at least nebulous contracts" will be of no use is José Amarelinho, mayor of Aljezur and the biggest opponent, among the mayors, to the concessions of prospecting and exploration on land, attributed to the company Portfuel, owned by the Algarve businessman José Sousa Cintra.

«It was not in vain that the current Government sent these contracts to the PGR, it was because it has doubts about their legality and about the company's own suitability», Amarelinho told our newspaper.

“The arrival of the current deputy Moreira da Silva can only be useful if the former minister wants to apologize to the Algarve, particularly to the foreign Algarve, whom he deeply offended,” said the Aljezurense mayor.

«The former minister, apparently, did not, with all secrecy, negotiate contracts with a certain company, behind the shoulders of the Algarve's mayors and the entire civil society of the Algarve, as if we were nothing, as if we had nothing to do with an issue that directly affects the region where we live».

What Amarelinho doesn't forgive Moreira da Silva is his "flight" accusation that the opposition is made by "reformed foreigners" to keep the Algarve as a "land of Indians": "so he thinks there is no critical mass in the Algarve , that no one thinks through your head?»

«Here in the Algarve there has always been this mobility of people from all over, of people who come from far away, but this is what gave us our identity, which formed our matrix. Offending a foreign community that has been here for many years and that has helped to develop the region, to create jobs and wealth, which has helped to preserve and make it grow, is unqualified!».