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Occupation of Santa Maria islet: Praia mayor challenges government to exert state authority and clear land 06 Agosto 2015

Praia mayor Ulisses Correia e Silva considers the criticism leveled by the group Korrenti di Ativista “baseless.” The group is occupying Santa Maria islet in Praia harbor in an effort to prevent the construction of the tourist enterprise Cape Verde Resort & Casino planned for Gambpoa beach and the islet. Correia e Silva challenged the government to exert state authority and clear this public space, and expressed his disapproval of the actions of the activist movement. The government has yet to react.

Occupation of Santa Maria islet: Praia mayor challenges government to exert state authority and clear land

The Praia mayor defended Macanese investor David Chow, arguing that “a negativistic framework should not be created” at the risk of scaring away potential investors. “There is no intention of creating any phenomenon of sex- or drug-based tourism that could lead to situations of crime for the country. This is a perception that’s been created by these people engaged in this movement. We shouldn’t create contexts that scare away investors from the country,” affirmed the mayor, adding that the group of protestors is not even familiar with the project.

The Praia mayor made a point of clarifying that his position in favor of the construction of the enterprise is a result of the gains the project can bring to the capital city and the country. “We always are in favor of investments that bring opportunities to create wealth to Cabo Verde. You can’t just take positions that are neither confirmed nor identified at the outset,” he stressed, saying that the protest movement has no reason for existing.

Budgeted at more than 19 billion escudos, the equivalent of 15% of Cape Verde’s gross domestic product, the enterprise will occupy Santa Maria islet and Gamboa beach in the capital city. The plans also call for the construction of an artificial island between the islet and the beach, on which the casino will be erected. The islet will also feature other infrastructures such as stores, a cultural center, a convention center and a Catholic church, as well as a marina, tennis courts, offices, parking and apartments.

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