PCP wants to know if there is money in the State Budget to fight «abandonment» of Rîbat da Arrifana

Minister of Culture, in the discussion of the OE in the specialty, did not provide "nothing concrete"

The PCP wants to know if the Government has funds inscribed in the State Budget to intervene at Rîbat da Arrifana,  on the coast of the municipality of Aljezur, a national monument that is «completely abandoned and in need of cleaning, deforestation, consolidation and restoration work».

The questions of the parliamentary group of the PCP were made to the Ministry of Culture, after the minister, in the debate on the 2019 State Budget, did not say "anything concrete" about the plans for that location.

The communists recall that, in July 2017, following a meeting with the Association for the Defense of the Historical and Archaeological Heritage of Aljezur, they questioned the Ministry of Culture about the Rîbat da Arrifana.

In that question, the PCP "denounced the state of abandonment to which the Rîbat da Arrifana was voted" and questioned the Ministry of Culture about the acquisition or expropriation of the land where this national monument is located, about the support channeled by the State for the works archeological studies, about the schedule of these works and also about the musealization of the space.

In its response, regarding the acquisition or expropriation of the land, the Ministry of Culture explained at the time, according to the communists, «that the Regional Directorate of Culture of the Algarve had proposed, in 2014, the acquisition for the Portuguese State of the entire property (held by individuals in the part not covered by the Public Maritime Domain) and that, in 2017, this Regional Directorate had obtained from the Land Registry Office of Aljezur the identification of the owners of the buildings corresponding to the matrix articles, and that it had been requested to Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente the recognition of private property or the strict delimitation of that cartography, with indication of the areas of private property and Public Maritime Domain».

These steps were taken “with a view to triggering the acquisition procedure by private law (and, if necessary, a subsequent expropriation procedure)”.

However, the PCP says that, "while the process described above was developing in an exasperatingly slow way, the Rîbat of Arrifana was degrading". This summer and in the past, contrary to what had been the custom, there were no archaeological works on that site.

Regarding the archaeological work, the Government reported "what was already known", that is, that "several campaigns of archaeological work were carried out in Rîbat da Arrifana, with financial support from various national and international entities and the logistical support of the Defense Association of the Historical and Archaeological Heritage of Aljezur”, but “didn't say anything about future archaeological work”.

With regard to the musealization of the space, the Government said that “the creation of infrastructures that enable the public enjoyment of the archaeological site faces the constraints that come from the ownership of the property, which is private property and also of the
its location in the heart of the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina, which restricts solutions to combat vegetation […] and the construction on site of protection structures and visiting trails».

In other words, complains the PCP, "the Government, instead of finding solutions to overcome the obstacles, lamented the existence of these obstacles."

A year later, the communists, who cite the Association for the Defense of the Historical and Archaeological Heritage of Aljezur, emphasize that the Rîbat is “completely abandoned and in need of cleaning, deforesting, consolidation and restoration work, creation and renovation of the structures of existing protection, posting information on the archaeological site'.

«Unfortunately, this National Monument, visited by many curious and interested in History and Archeology, is being the target of constant attacks, which in no way dignify its historical and touristic importance».

After the specialist discussion on the State Budget has revealed "nothing concrete", the PCP now wants to know "what measures will be taken, as a matter of urgency, for the cleaning and deforestation of the archaeological site of Ribat da Arrifana, as well as for its consolidation and restoration, and also for the renovation of the existing protection structures", that "support will be channeled by the Ministry of Culture, in 2019, for the continuation of the archaeological work in the Ribat da Arrifana" and "what is the schedule of these works in the near future'.

The communists also want to know "what concrete measures were taken to overcome the obstacles to public enjoyment of the Rîbat da Arrifana, referred to by the Ministry of Culture", in 2017, that "structures will be built on the site as part of the musealization of the Rîbat da Arrifana" and “when the Government foresees the completion of these structures and their opening to the public”.

In the summer of 2016, then Minister of Culture Luís Castro Mendes had visited the monument, accompanied by Commander Nazim Ahmad, representative in Portugal of the Aga Khan Foundation for Development. This foundation proved to be available to help the Portuguese State to value the Rîbat. But the process ran aground on issues surrounding land ownership and, since then, little or no progress has been made.

Last October, the Algarve deputies of the PSD had defended the need for an urgent intervention in that national monument.