"Torres looks like Sánchez's man, not the president"

The spokesman for the Canarian Coalition, José Miguel Barragán. / COVER AUDIOVISUAL SERVICES

Interview: José Miguel Barragán, spokesperson for the Canarian Coalition

The nationalist insists that the Government lacks management capacity to face the reality of the archipelago and firmness in its relationship with Madrid

B. Hernandez

B. HERNANDEZ The Gran Canarian palms

-The Canary Islands have been in continuous emergency situations since 2020. Has the government done everything it had to do?

-We understand that there are always two phases: one of emergency, both in the pandemic, the volcano... there the Government had a structure and has acted as it should. But once that first phase is over, you have to work to make things happen, and that's where we see a lazy government, which has a hard time getting started and making decisions. I don't know if it's a leadership problem from the president or a team problem, but the reality is that he's running late.

-You said last year in your speech at the Nationality Debate that the Executive had no management capacity or political leadership. Do you still think the same?

-Not only do I think the same, but I think it has gotten worse. And I refer to the tests. The Government continues to act in fits and starts. The crises have allowed him to pull a decree-law to govern, which by the way we have supported by 98%. So when you talk about dialogue, what do you mean? Where do you want the opposition to participate? How do you understand the consensus? In the tracking? It can't be, because we have the capacity to make proposals, but we find a government that comes out in a storm to criticize. We would have accepted it if the Government had produced, for example since the Ukraine crisis began, a document with its initiatives, but the surprise was at the Reactive Plan meeting when they said that they are going to wait to see what the State does and what it does Europe. The Canary Islands have borrowing capacity, the REF allows us to act, spending rules are more flexible... There are mechanisms to act. Why wait on what your competition is? That's where they're always late.

-Capacity is very limited

-Sure, but people can't wait. Inflation did not start the other day, but at the end of last year. We had to have foresight, because fuels had been rising steadily since October. Supplies were already causing problems in public and private works. These are situations that the Government must analyze and anticipate.

-Do you understand that the Government has been too optimistic by not doing this forecasting exercise?

-We told you in the 2020 and 2021 budgets: caution, because they are ringing the bells too soon. The accounts of 2021 were "those of the comeback", according to Torres. Now the war puts us back in uncertainty.

-The pending issues with Madrid have been accumulating...

-And in the face of that we see a submissive government with the State. My perception is that Torres behaves more like a Sánchez man in the Canary Islands than like the president of the Canary Islands. And that takes its toll: there is what the Canarian Government says about immigration and what the State does; how he requested an urgent meeting in 2020 for the transfers and in 2022, there is not one, the appeals of unconstitutionality by the REF were presented by Parliament... They announce, announce... the president's favorite words are "next week" , but they don't finish the job.

-Is there a lack of firmness? Faced with CC's confrontation, Torres opted for dialogue.

- Firmness is confused with a lack of dialogue. To be firm, to be forceful, is to let it be known that the State is not talking to the lesser comrade of the PSOE, but to the president of the Canary Islands, and Torres does not reflect that. Of course with dialogue and consensus, but firmly, because only with dialogue and consensus nothing is being achieved.

-The Government reiterates that it has more funds than ever. Are you confident that there will be better results than ever?

-We hope so. We insist that the decree law contemplate the mechanisms that allow agile and rapid decisions to be made. Despite the fact that we have supported the Government in this process, there are things that we do not like, such as the fact that in 2022 resources are allocated for the rehabilitation of public buildings. I'm not saying that we shouldn't invest in these improvements, but when setting priorities, we understand that these resources are more important in society or in essential services. What worries us is that the funds help, both publicly and privately, to achieve the objectives set by the EU and there the priorities should be different.

-You speak of a lack of government leadership but it has also been lacking in the opposition and in CC as head of that opposition

-There was a period of uncertainty when we left the Government, because it was also an attack on the entire waterline, thinking that we were going to disappear from all the institutions or that there would be a division in the project, but CC has proven to be solid enough not to reeling from the loss of power. Obviously it was a shock and we had to work to assume this new role, but we have been tremendously loyal to the Government. We may even be accused of being weak or weak, but the situation we have experienced required responsibility. In difficult times, we would have liked to have had the opposition as responsible as the one we have exercised. And we have not found reciprocity on the part of the Government to understand that the main opposition group wants to collaborate. We have presented 500 proposals and none have been accepted. We have not been submissive, but neither can they say that we have been slaughtered.

-After that shock, are you recovering to return to power in 2023?

-Now there is another leadership in the party and we are doing important work, we have not stopped having contact with all sectors, and from the organizational point of view, we are ready to face the next electoral processes reinforced and with the lesson learned.

-What does Vidina Espino contribute to the Canarian Coalition?

-Vidina Espino is not in CC. She collaborates on some issues and some of our proposals she will vote on and others she will not, because she is not under the Coalition directive.

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