Central Government is preparing two military bases for newly arrived migrants

2020/10/21 10:03:40 Written by Canarian Weekly Gran Canaria

The President of the Canary Islands Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, said yesterday that the Ministry del Interior is preparing two military bases and a warehouse in Gran Canaria, to accommodate migrants for the first 72 hours after their arrival, instead of them having to stay on Arguineguín dock in tents, where yesterday there were about 1,000 people. Again it was a busy day for the Maritime Rescue with 375 people arriving to the Islands.

With the Arguineguín Pier full of people, including three children under the age of five, Torres made this announcement after meeting the general director of the Guardia Civil, María Gámez, the first woman to hold this position, whom she thanked for the work that her agents carry out in the Archipelago. Especially now, with the migration crisis, which has already led to the arrival of more than 9,000 people so far this year.

In full political tension over the situation, with some parties accusing the central government of apathy, Torres said that the situation is getting similar to that of 2006, the epicenter of the ‘Crisis of the Cayucos’, when more than 30,000 irregular migrants arrived. According to the Canarian president, “at that time there were also dramatic and embarrassing images, and political attacks." However, as he pointed out, “the coronavirus pandemic amplifies the situation making it more difficult for everyone.”

The migration to the Canary Islands looking for opportunities does not stop. Among the 375 people yesterday were the migrants from a cayuco with 11 passengers rescued the day before, 400 kilometres southwest of Gran Canaria, with a deceased person on board, by the merchant ship Wadowice II flying the Bahamas flag, which met the Guardamar Talía 150 kilometres from Gran Canaria to take care of the 10 survivors. They then went to the Port of Las Palmas and handed over the body of the deceased for an autopsy to be carried out.

Among the surprises of the day was the arrival of a dinghy that entered the Arguineguín port directly with 24 people onboard at 9:30am, before the astonished gaze of the hundreds of migrants who crowded the Pier and the different volunteers and Emergency and Maritime Rescue workers. It has been years since a boat of this type has entered the port in this way, by its own means.

Yesterday it also came to light that there are ten cases of immigrant children separated from their mothers in the province of Las Palmas while they were undergoing DNA tests to make sure they were family, according to Canarias Ahora. The superior prosecutor of the Canary Islands, Luis del Río, explained that the protocol is being reviewed. “We are studying why it is done in Las Palmas and if this is the most appropriate way. The test takes time, and if they really are a mother and a child, this separation for so long can be counterproductive,” he stressed.

The Ministry of Social Rights has shown its rejection of these separations as it’s not done in Tenerife. They also confirmed that as of now they 1,200 migrant minors (under 18s) under their supervision in the Canary Islands, and have asked the Prosecutor's Office for Minors of the province of Las Palmas, for a clear and written criterion.