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lenseman
10-01-12, 15:32
Looking on Google Earth, 32° 40.813'N 017° 5.688'W this marina is completely empty, not one single, solitary yacht or motorboat! The following report says it is a white elephant? Is it too shallow or too dangerous to navigate through the entrance?? :confused:

No wonder the Euro is going down the tubes! :eek:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-10/madeira-s-missing-yachts-fall-victim-in-portugal-to-europe-s-debt-crisis.html

Full article here:

On the western shores of Madeira, waves crash onto the walls of the Marina do Lugar de Baixo, sending white spray into the air above the dock built for 291 of the world’s finest yachts. All the berths are empty eight years after the boat landing opened.

The European Union, which gives Portugal more handouts for development than Greece, partly funded the 44 million-euro ($56.1 million) marina. The site is currently closed and under further construction as the Atlantic surf on the Portuguese island has proved to be too dangerous for the yachts.

“This marina is probably the single-biggest white elephant project on the island and a hallmark of the government’s overspending spree,” Edgar Silva, leader of Madeira’s Coligacao Democratica Unitaria opposition party, said in a Jan. 4 interview. “A complete waste of everyone’s money.”

For politicians, policy makers and investors looking for a place that encapsulates the European debt crisis, few do it better than Madeira, where loans and subsidies turned the island into one of Portugal’s richest regions from its poorest. The local government spent money it didn’t have to build the trappings of an economic boom that never was.

Madeira’s debt was 6.33 billion euros as of June 30, or 123 percent of the island’s economy in 2009, according to the Ministry of Finance in Lisbon. While that ratio was less than Greece’s 162 percent, it compared with Portugal’s nationwide figure of 100 percent.
Glut of Money

Madeira received 323 million euros of EU funds and money transfers from the government in 2010, said a report by the court of auditors. The amount was more than three times the average of the country’s municipalities on the mainland.

Portugal is due to get 21.5 billion euros from the EU between 2007 and 2013, making it the biggest euro-region recipient after Germany and Italy, according to a list of pre- allocated EU Structural and Cohesion Funds compiled by Bruegel, a Brussels-based research company.

“It seemed there was no bottom to the EU funds coming in,” said Michael Blandy, chairman of the 200-year-old Blandy Group, a Madeira-based company with interests ranging from hotels to shipping and wine. “There was no plan in the work that was done to make the island sustainable.”

The Portuguese government said Sept. 30 that Madeira’s debt had ballooned to an unsustainable level and that the island’s semi-autonomous administration had hidden part of the debt from the government in Lisbon.
Deficit Revision

As a result, Portugal’s National Statistics Institute revised the country’s 2010 budget deficit to 9.8 percent of gross domestic product from 9.1 percent. Shut out by financial markets, Portugal, whose economy has grown by an average of less than 1 percent a year for the past decade, last year followed Greece and Ireland in asking for a bailout.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho is now cutting state salaries, increasing taxes and selling government-owned companies to comply with terms agreed in May of the 78 billion- euro rescue from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

The government is pushing for similar measures on Madeira. It has also signaled an end to a series of tax incentives for the island’s International Business Center, a kind of tax haven that has for decades attracted thousands of companies.

Hundreds of them left last year, according to Francisco Costa, president of Sociedade de Desenvolvimento da Madeira, the company that runs the business center. A subsidiary of Swatch Group was among the companies to leave the island, Beatrice Howald, a spokesman for the Swiss watchmaker said on Dec. 9.
Errant Behavior

In November, the IMF said in a report that the adjustment program for the “troubled autonomous region of Madeira will provide an opportunity to signal that errant fiscal behavior at the regional and local levels will no longer be tolerated.”

Madeira is run by Alberto Joao Jardim, the 68-year-old president of the semi-autonomous government since 1978, who said in an interview last month that hiding Madeira’s debt was necessary to develop the island.

“Madeira today is completely different,” said Jardim, speaking Dec. 6 on the sidelines of a parliamentary session in Madeira to discuss the region’s 2012 budget. “If I hadn’t done things during this period, they would never get done.”
Home of Ronaldo

Asked if he had any regrets about the state of Madeira’s finances, he said: “none.”

Three weeks later, under threat from the government in Lisbon to come up with an austerity plan for Madeira or lose regional subsidies, Jardim announced a plan to cut public workers salaries and raise taxes in what he said was the only way “possible” to guarantee the future of the island’s autonomy from the mainland.

Madeira, known for its fortified wine and as the birth place for Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, runs an independent budget and has its own government and parliament, though the region cannot override the authority of the government in Lisbon.

Jardim, a populist who has often clashed with the government, has transformed Madeira into the second-wealthiest region after Lisbon in terms of GDP (GDDBPORT) per capita from one of the poorest, according to the National Statistics Institute. He used the island’s ultra-peripheral status within the EU to tap into billions of euros in EU funds and subsidies from Lisbon.
Jardim’s Tenacity

“In some ways, one has to admire the tenacity of Alberto Joao Jardim in that he has known how to access those funds,” said Blandy, whose company was founded by his forebear John Blandy in 1811.

In addition to the marina, the so-called white elephants on Madeira include an abandoned heliport, deemed too dangerous for landings, shopping malls and industrial parks, according to Silva, 49, who wrote a report in 2011 on spending on the island. He estimates the Marina do Lugar de Baixo cost 100 million euros, more than twice the sum claimed by Jardim’s government.

While locals can see the fruits of Madeira’s development, they are also aware of the consequences as Portugal grapples with its part in Europe’s debt crisis.

“Austerity is a very risky recipe, but the alternative is not sustainable and puts the country’s credibility into question,” said Jose Berardo, 67, who left Madeira at the age of 18 to work in South Africa. He later set up an office in Lisbon to buy stakes in some of Portugal’s biggest publicly traded companies, including Banco Comercial Portugues. (BCP)
Island Roads

When Portugal joined the European Community in 1986, a trip from Madeira’s airport to the island’s capital of Funchal took almost an hour through a narrow and winding road, said Tito Cantado, 62, a taxi driver for the past three decades. Drivers now cover the 12-kilometer stretch of modern highway that cuts through a handful of hills through an extensive network of tunnels in less than 15 minutes.

“The road was so narrow that traffic would come to a standstill if a truck happened to come in the opposite direction,” Cantado said. “We have lived above our means ever since we joined the EU. Now we must pay the price.”

Tourism accounts for about 30 percent of the island’s GDP, while the Madeira International Business Center makes up 20 percent, according to Miguel Albuquerque, the mayor of Funchal.

A few miles up the coast from the capital, a handful of poles in the water is all that remains of the docking system designed to accommodate yachts that stop in Madeira on their way from Europe to America, or vice versa. The regional government is planning to spend another 20 million euros on the failed marina, Diario de Noticias da Madeira, which is partly owned by the Blandy Group, reported on Dec. 30.

“Madeira clearly shows that despite the fact that Portugal is a unitary and small state, it still has a tough time controlling costs,” said Antonio Barroso, an analyst at New York-based Eurasia Group. “In the end, this is about regaining investor credibility.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at halmeida5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rodney Jefferson at r.jefferson@bloomberg.net

Sandyman
10-01-12, 16:11
Portpatrick ring any bells ????

ccscott49
10-01-12, 16:28
There are literally dozens of marinas in Greece in exactly the same mess, all built with EU money but never finished as the bit from ther greek government never arrived, most of it disappeared! as usual, to Cyprus and Switzerland.

Sandyman
10-01-12, 16:30
Another fine example of the disaster Europe has become.

ccscott49
10-01-12, 16:36
It beggars belief, how could these crooks get away with nit, no financiaql controls over any of the money handed out from brussels and still eto this day, no audited accounts avai;lable for the EU, how is that possible?? If you had a business the accountants would close you down! they know the money left Brussels? (I guess) but what happened to it after that is a mystery, especially in Greece, 258 billiuon euros, left greek mainland banks and went into cyprus and other havens, they know that, how come they cant get it back? Just downright effin theft! By the politicians and their lackeys. makes my blood boil, along with all the civil servants, having to be bribed to get stuff done, the lawyers, doctors, tax officials the list goes on and its just the tip of the iceberrg in all these countries.

jaba
10-01-12, 17:34
To the OP: this video explains everything.

would you leave your boat there?
;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7p8d8pHkiQ

rivonia
10-01-12, 19:19
To the OP: this video explains everything.

would you leave your boat there?
;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7p8d8pHkiQ

Certainly not, thanks for the video.

Peter

lenseman
10-01-12, 19:30
To the OP: this video explains everything.

would you leave your boat there?
;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7p8d8pHkiQ

BLIMEY !!!! :eek:

It looks like Brighton during a southerly Force 6

No thanks! :(

ps: thanks for the heads up re the wx. ;)

JonJon
11-01-12, 16:17
Looks bad enough in the marina office let alone the pontoons!

TQA
11-01-12, 20:29
WOW

No wonder it is empty!

BobnLesley
12-01-12, 08:19
"this video explains everything."

Methinks that the marina might've been better, located elsewhere on the island?

25931
12-01-12, 10:51
To the OP: this video explains everything.

would you leave your boat there?
;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7p8d8pHkiQ

Only if she needed a good wash.

little_roundtop
12-01-12, 12:18
There are literally dozens of marinas in Greece in exactly the same mess, all built with EU money but never finished as the bit from ther greek government never arrived, most of it disappeared! as usual, to Cyprus and Switzerland.

Don't blame the Greeks (or the Portuguese for Maderia) blame instead the EU.

As I understand it the "marinas" in Greece were built with an EU loan which becomes repayable when the marina opens for business. The canny Greeks realised that they'd never get EU funding for a fishing harbour so instead they apply for funding for a leisure marina. The EU shells out, the Greeks build the basic structure - which is good enough for the fishing harbour they wanted - and then they stop work. The "marina" never opens and the loan is never repaid.

We'd call that "working the system". The fault lies with the EU for not checking first whether a leisure marina is really needed at that location and secondly for not following up 3 or 5 years later to find out why the "marina" is not operational. The EU seems happy to shell out large amounts of our money but they then seem to "forget" where it's gone!

Sandyman
12-01-12, 12:58
And in the meantime we carry on paying billions of tax payers money into this crazy corrupt
system. Beyond belief.

duncan99210
13-01-12, 13:31
Don't blame the Greeks (or the Portuguese for Maderia) blame instead the EU.

As I understand it the "marinas" in Greece were built with an EU loan which becomes repayable when the marina opens for business. The canny Greeks realised that they'd never get EU funding for a fishing harbour so instead they apply for funding for a leisure marina. The EU shells out, the Greeks build the basic structure - which is good enough for the fishing harbour they wanted - and then they stop work. The "marina" never opens and the loan is never repaid.

We'd call that "working the system". The fault lies with the EU for not checking first whether a leisure marina is really needed at that location and secondly for not following up 3 or 5 years later to find out why the "marina" is not operational. The EU seems happy to shell out large amounts of our money but they then seem to "forget" where it's gone!

You're right of course but the other part of the equation from the local point of view is that the money has generated lots of jobs whilst being built, all to the benefit of the local politicians. They can then say "look how well we did for you, new harbour, jobs etc" and then the local vote for them again. They then move on to the next village and repeat the process all over again...... Eventually, the bubble bursts and you have fun and games as seen at present.

artemis07
13-01-12, 13:57
Don't blame the Greeks for working the system. Have a look at the marinas at Wick, Stromness and Kirkwall!

macd
13-01-12, 14:18
local politicians....can then say "look how well we did for you, new harbour, jobs etc" and then the local vote for them again. They then move on to the next village and repeat the process all over again......

...not to mention lots of lucrative work for their mates in the construction industry and a flow of fat brown envelopes in the opposite direction.

ccscott49
13-01-12, 15:53
...not to mention lots of lucrative work for their mates in the construction industry and a flow of fat brown envelopes in the opposite direction.

Exactly, its the whole bloody system in Greece from the top to the bottom.

lenseman
13-01-12, 16:13
Exactly, its the whole bloody system in Greece from the top to the bottom.

but isn't that the reason you sail in these waters apart from the sunshine? :p

If it was run correctly with taxes paid and no 'brown envelopes' the costs would shoot up and you would be paying Marina fees on a par with western Europe. Look at the costs of berthing in Monaco and other such places. Those costs are a lot higher because they pay the correct dues and have to pass these on to yachts who use the facilities. :mad:

Eight months ago one of the British mainstream TV programs (Panorama or BBC News24) ran a program about the corruption inside the Greek economy. One of the points which I remembered is that the main Hospital in Athens 'employed' seventeen full-time gardeners to maintain the 'grounds'. They don't even have any grounds to maintain as it is inside the city and just have a few pot plants. :confused:

Tranona
13-01-12, 16:30
"this video explains everything."

Methinks that the marina might've been better, located elsewhere on the island?

No 'cos there really isn't anywhere else that is better! Yacht traffic to Madeira is only ever going to transitory as there is nowhere to cruise to if you base a boat there. Funchal harbour and marina is however congested as it is the only place where any form of shelter is available.

Spectacular place for a land based holiday though, particularly as the fabulous EU funded road that now goes almost all the way round is open - and you like your rugged places accessible so you can go back to your nice comfortable hotel every night.

Chris_Robb
13-01-12, 17:08
but isn't that the reason you sail in these waters apart from the sunshine? :p

If it was run correctly with taxes paid and no 'brown envelopes' the costs would shoot up and you would be paying Marina fees on a par with western Europe. Look at the costs of berthing in Monaco and other such places. Those costs are a lot higher because they pay the correct dues and have to pass these on to yachts who use the facilities. :mad:

Eight months ago one of the British mainstream TV programs (Panorama or BBC News24) ran a program about the corruption inside the Greek economy. One of the points which I remembered is that the main Hospital in Athens 'employed' seventeen full-time gardeners to maintain the 'grounds'. They don't even have any grounds to maintain as it is inside the city and just have a few pot plants. :confused:

Absolutely the reason for sailing in these waters. I think I paid about 2 nights dues last year in total (2x8 euros). Heaven forbid they get their act together!

However the inflated prices of groceries on the islands (and mainland?) makes up for it! Roll on the drachma!

macd
13-01-12, 21:44
but isn't that the reason you sail in these waters apart from the sunshine? :p
...you would be paying Marina fees on a par with western Europe.

Doubt it, unless they tax anchors. Seriously, surely one of the reasons Greece is such a delight is the wealth of brilliant anchorages?


Look at the costs of berthing in Monaco and other such places. Those costs are a lot higher because they pay the correct dues and have to pass these on to yachts who use the facilities. :mad:

I'm not sure Monaco is a relevant comparison with anywhere, certainly in Greece. The charges are huge because people with more money than sense are prepared to pay them. To a large degree they're not buying facilities but what they regard as kudos.


Eight months ago one of the British mainstream TV programs (Panorama or BBC News24) ran a program about the corruption inside the Greek economy. One of the points which I remembered is that the main Hospital in Athens 'employed' seventeen full-time gardeners to maintain the 'grounds'. They don't even have any grounds to maintain as it is inside the city and just have a few pot plants. :confused:

I don't doubt it. The place is a mess. But lovely. Oddly, the only staff at the 'marina' at Mitylina is the gardener who wanders in periodically (but actually does some gardening...obviously a different union from the Panorama blokes). The incentive in noticing him is that he turns on the water for his sprinklers, so you know it's also time to fill your tanks.

ccscott49
14-01-12, 05:42
I agree with your comments and I dont really understand what he was getting at, how can you compare Monaco to the Ionian?
I am in Greece for the cruising, I dont expect to pay nothing for services (if there was any). Amazing how the defence of the greek way is in the forefront of many minds on here. If you wish to support a corrupt system, go ahead be my guest, but it will all end in tears yet.