The Exodus Exit

  “There are boat parties and then there are SuperYacht parties” screamed the marketing campaign over the winter. A highly organized web campaign to showcase a new superyacht coming to San Antonio purely for boat parties but the dream has now turned into a nightmare for the island organizers and also the hundreds who have booked their tickets and ‘VIP table’ as Exodus has been cancelled indefinitely citing ‘island politics’. 

It’s always a little precarious launching a new product on the white isle but anything to do with the water is especially fraught with difficulty especially with docking restrictions and strict health and safety requirements. I spoke with the local organizers of Exodus in mid-May asking whether they had all the required permissions, licenses and health and safety in place and I was assured that they had. Having had many different Ibiza businesses over the years I know first hand that if you don’t have the right paperwork and permissions then it’s a complete non-starter with competitors more than ready to protect their patch and rightly so.

The official version is that they couldn’t secure a big enough mooring however I would have thought that this would have been organized BEFORE the big marketing campaign and promises to clients and promotors. 

As the Exodus organizers and promoters lick their wounds there are internet tales of clients chasing refunds and having to pay booking fees but I sincerely hope they get all their money back for something that was beyond their control plus it’s not great advertising for our town and Ibiza parties in general.

I saw the Exodus boat moored off the sunset strip on Sunday and it cut a sad figure before making its way to Valencia the following day. Maybe it will return in the future, maybe the owners & organizers were just unlucky or maybe it will go down as a guide on “how not to do things”.

Death and Pleasure on a Small Island

  2 young British men have died over the last 7 days in San Antonio at the same hotel in two separate, tragic incidents. Fraser Gillespie, 26, died after falling from from his 5th floor balcony whilst partying with up to 20 friends, his death is not being treated as suspicious. Then only a few days later Andrew Watson, 32, was found by a friend in his room, he was unresponsive and doctors were unable to revive him, drugs are the suspected cause.

It appears that these 2 young men have died during a relentless pursuit of pleasure.

Groups of young people arrive at their UK airport ready to party. They party in the departure lounge, they party on the plane and then they come through passport control screaming and shouting. The relevant authorities have already had 3 opportunities to firmly enforce standards but most have turned a blind eye, in fact the airport bar and the low cost airline have profited from this behaviour. Is it any wonder that these young people think they are in dreamland so who can blame them when they arrive at their holiday hotel or villa and want to carry on the party but as we have seen over the last week there can be serious consequences when you have a “but this is Ibiza, I can do anything” attitude.

Ibiza and its people have always been famous for their liberal nature and easygoing attitude but is this now the root of our problems? Imagine arriving at Dubai or Miami airport half cut, screaming and shouting, they wouldn’t tolerate it and those places are all the better for it, Ibiza has always turned a blind eye but how can we carry on doing that when our streets are being filled with over-zealous partygoers who have a complete personality transplant once they step foot on the island.

Isn’t it about time we said NO? Not all the time but just now and again? No you can’t act like hooligans on the plane. No you can’t scream & shout at all hours in your hotel. No you can’t do exactly what you want in Ibiza with no consideration for anyone else.  Getting the tone right is the key as we don’t want to become prissy head teachers tutting at everyone but there has to be a line otherwise everything becomes blurred. It’s imperative that Ibiza retains its magic but it’s also important that we send out a clear message otherwise more parents will be mourning their children over the coming months. 

There is no easy solution but as we enter a new political age it’s time for the authorities to tackle the problem head on in a open and honest way as to continue to ‘turn a blind eye’ would surely be very dangerous. Ibiza’s free spirit needs to be celebrated not abused otherwise we will devalue the one thing that defines us as an island.

Recent election manifestos promised change and a better touristic model for Ibiza and San Antonio so now it’s up to our new elected leaders to deliver on those promises.

The Juanjo Ferrer Dilemma

  Juan Jose Ferrer Martinez, head of the centre right PI party, now has a big weight on his shoulders. After 4 years of opposition at San Antonio town hall his party gained 3 seats in the recent municipal elections so he found himself in the unenvious position as kingmaker for the next administration. PP won 8 seats & PSOE/REINICIA won 6 & 4 respectively so his 3 seats were enough to give either side the 11 seats required for an overall majority, so it all came down to him & his party to decide who would be the next Mayor of San Antonio. 

After 4 years of being battered by the absolute majority of the Pepita Gutierrez regime it wasn’t a big surprise that he eventually decided to form a Tri-party coalition with PSOE/REINICIA and make Pep Tur ‘Cires’ the 1st socialist mayor of Ibiza’s 2nd largest town however on paper & character PI have much more things in common with PP so his decision is sure to cause some conflict within his own party but his desire to change San Antonio means that he is now part of a 3 party coalition with those who may not always be on the same page as him.

He was offered the Deputy Mayors job if he sided with the PP but a personality clash between the hierarchy of the 2 parties ensured that this was never really an option.

At yesterday’s inauguration his mood was very upbeat and as we chatted afterwards he told me that he knows that there will be challenging times ahead but he was happy that the people of San Antonio had given him & his coalition a chance to govern and a chance to change San Antonio.

I have known Juanjo since he was a teenage receptionist at a local hotel and he has worked tirelessly over the last 4 years on the opposing side trying to make San Antonio a better place. He now has his desired chance and also the extra responsibility due to his decision to side with PSOE/REINICIA. I wish him well and look forward to seeing the changes that he, Pep Cires and Pablo Valdes have promised for our town. MM

Pep Tur ‘Cires’ is Elected Mayor of San Antonio

This is the moment when Pep Tur ‘Cires’ was elected the Mayor of San Antonio by 13 votes to 8. All 21 councillors have 1 vote and as anticipated the Tri-party coalition of PSOE, REINICIA & PI joined forces to elect a socialist mayor for the first time in San Antonio’ s history. 

The atmosphere was electric with most councillors receiving whoops & applause when entering the chamber. The biggest cheer was for REINICIA’s 4 councillors who’s supporters were euphoric that this little known party had now become the holder of the Deputy Mayors office. The scenes were quite extraordinary with the socialists pumping fists and high giving after so many years of opposition. Especially animated was Pep Marge who has worked very hard for the socialists in San Antonio and now sees his sister Neus sit in one of the elected seats.  

All councillors were sworn in one by one dressed in their Sunday best apart from new Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdes who looked like he was from an indie rock band with ripped jeans, vest and tight jacket. 

The audience boasted at least 4 previous San Antonio mayors plus all the political heavyweights from PSOE such as Vicent Torres, Xicu Tarres and Pilar Costa. 

The PP showed great humility in what was a difficult day for them especially Pepe Sala who will spend the foreseeable future sitting in the chair of the leader of the opposition. 

I managed to talk to nearly everyone of the new local government congratulating them on their coalition pact but also reminding them that of their election promises and their underlying message that they intend to ‘change’ San Antonio for the better. 

So on Monday Mayor Pep Cires, Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdes and 2nd deputy Mayor Juanjo Ferrer will take up their new positions and embark on a new chapter for San Antonio. The campaign has now finished and its time put their words into actions and follow through with their election promises. There is no hiding place, San Antonio and especially myself will be watching. MM

Cristina Ribas Mountford – from Stoke on Trent to San Antonio

  I have to be honest and say I really wanted to become the 1st British councillor for San Antonio however I’ve been beaten to it and it’s almost gone unnoticed. I’m slightly jealous however I’m also happy that it’s somebody I’ve known and respected for over 20 years. CRISTINA RIBAS from the centre right political party ‘PI’ is actually CRISTINA RIBAS MOUNTFORD born in Newcastle-under -Lyme to an English mother and Ibicenco father and very proud of her British heritage even though she moved permanently to the white isle aged 3. Her mother Doris first came to Ibiza with a friend in the early 60’s at a time when travel agents didn’t even know that the island existed and it took them 3 planes to get here (a bit like the winter then!). Cristina tells a great story of how it was fate that her mother came to Ibiza as she and her friend chose their holidays blindfolded with a map and a pin. On that ‘blind’ holiday her mother met her father Toni and romance blossomed and over the next few summers Doris made the trip back accompanied by different family members with Toni visiting England whenever possible. Her parents finally married in England in 1965 and the rest, as they say, is history. Cristina grew up in Ibiza, studied tourism and has always worked within the tourist sector, firstly as a hotel receptionist and then at the airport for the last 25 years. This is where I first met her as an airline representative helping me out especially on long delays and flight cancellations. She still works at the airport but now handles private jets and their passengers – how times have changed. Cristina is married to Evelio who is also from the island and they have two daughters and they all share the same love of Ibicenco culture and tradition and even perform the Ibicenco folklore dance. 

Cristina says “Although my heart is mainly Ibicenco I feel as much English as I do Spanish, I’m proud of my English blood and although my parents and grandparents are no longer with us I like to visit family and friends in England as often as possible and keep the ties. I’ve decided to go into politics because I love San Antonio and I think there’s so much to be done and why not do my share. To all British residents: I will be pleased to assist you with anything in any way I can”. 

From 13 June 2015 Cristina will have a lot more work on her plate as she embarks on this new chapter in her life, she will be involved in various jobs at San Antonio Town Hall: Trade, Agriculture and Fishing, Fiestas for the villages, Ibicenco culture and traditions and in charge of the Buscastell, Santa Ines and San Mateo areas. 

Having personally known Cristina for over 20 years I am delighted that someone who understands the British culture and mentality is now occupying a seat in the town hall as this can only be a positive for our town. MM

New San Antonio Council to be Sworn In

  
At 1.15pm on Saturday 13 June 2015 a new local government will be sworn in to lead San Antonio for the next 4 years. PSOE, PI and REINICIA have formed a coalition pact to force out PP for the first time in 35 years. PSOE are socialists, Reinicia err towards the left and PI are centre right so on paper this pact looks like a disaster waiting to happen but island politics is a strange animal where most politicians are close personal friends and where family members run against each other for different political parties. The end result is that most parties have similar issues and objectives so really it’s all down to personalities. On paper PP & PI look like perfect bedfellows, mainly local business people with centre right beliefs, however scratch away at the surface and you hear rumours of personality clashes and broken promises between the 2 parties. PI with local lawyer Juanjo Ferrer as their leader have had 2 seats over the last 4 years and have to endure being consistently thwarted by the majority PP party in everything they have proposed so now is payback time. Memories can be very long in local politics.

PSOE led by Pep Tur ‘Cires’ will now lead the local chamber. Cires has done a fantastic job as the president of Es Nautic Sant Antoni so let’s hope he can bring this philosophy over to the town hall with his new inexperienced team He has consistently said that San Antonio needs to ‘change’ its touristic model which will be a major challenge but he now has 4 years to make his mark.

This just leaves REINICIA who are the newbies at the table. They have reached out to the 18-40’s and through social media they have been constantly banging the drum about how San Antonio has got to change – now they will get their chance to lead rather than criticise. Their undoubted enthusiasm will have to be tempered with the realization that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ however with their passion for San Antonio they should be able to make a difference. Whether they can work with the other parties remains to be seen as they will be like the hyperactive kid in the classroom who wants to do everything NOW so their charismatic leader Pablo Valdes will have his work cut out to keep the wheels moving and everything calm. 

For local residents & businesses it is going to be an interesting ride, the overall feeling is that San Antonio has to change but only time will tell whether a Tri-party coalition is the best way forward. I sincerely wish Sres Tur, Valdes and Ferrer all the very best for the next 4 years and sincerely hope that they have a positive effect on our town and if they get it right they will get my vote in 4 years time. But if they don’t………

No one said it was going to be easy. Watch this space. MM

San Antonio or Sant Antoni?

 Believe it or not this is a question that has troubled me for some time. We have a name that is known the world over yet the locals don’t seem to want to use it. I’ve always detested the use of ‘Sant Antoni’ however I have started to change my mind. Why? The simple reason is when you type San Antonio into the search engines it comes up with San Antonio Texas and never San Antonio Ibiza but when you type in Sant Antoni…..voila! In this day and age its all about standing out from the norm and being a unique product and the Catalan version of the name gives us that. To most it will always be San Antonio or even San An but for the cyber world it might just be better to be Sant Antoni.