NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION
with Madeleine McMullin
Should we change the name of the department?
Rather than concentrating on what seems to be a lost battle to change the name of the region from Occitanie Pyrénées Méditerranée, an alternative suggestion to try to change the name of the department has been floated. It’s not an easy or short process: it took Côtes du Nord 30 years to become Côtes d’Armor. The Vice-President of the region, Agnès Langevine, a P-O member, is for; she first mentioned it in April and is persisting. Bruno Delmas and his organisation “l’Olivier” are also for, and have the aim of getting funding to promote the department as the “Pays catalans” to create a distinctive brand to help businesses and train the young. Bernard Fourcade, the President of the CCI thinks that to rename the department as the “Pyrénées catalanes” or “Pyrénées Méditerranée” would be more intelligent but Renée Soum does not want to divert attention away from the fight for the name of the region.
So where is the border?
Last week we reported on a Moroccan illegal immigrant who was released because he was judged to have been arrested in Spain and not France. In reality the two countries have put in place zones, offices and procedures on each others’ territory around the border between French and Spanish Le Perthus (in reality actually a district of La Jonquera called Els Limits) where their agents are authorised to act. A convention signed between the two countries on 7th July 1965 established a zone of about 1,000m² on Spanish territory and this is where the Moroccan was arrested…
Collioure commandos on TV
From Monday 19th September NT1 has been showing a documentary about 17 elite soldiers going through commando training in Collioure.
14 restaurants in P-O take part in Tous Au Restaurant
14 restaurants around the department are taking part in a campaign to get people who would not normally eat out to do so. The restaurants will be offering two set menus for the price of one until the 2nd October. The participating establishments can be found on this map.
Accused accuses the police
A young man who was being tried for violent and insulting behaviour against 2 municipal policemen claimed that it was the policemen who attacked him. He was with a group of youths that the police decided to tackle because they had taken off their teeshirts and were talking nonsense, behaviour which they decided was against 2 byelaws: the first forbidding anyone to be bare chested in town and the second forbidding people to gather and block the passage or cause a general nuisance. The young lad claimed that the policemen had pushed him onto the ground and kicked him. The prosecution pointed out his history of challenging the forces of law and order. However the counsel for the defence pointed to the fact that 1 of the officers had 9 court cases ongoing as a civil party and the other 2; always for the same things and always in the same sector. The video surveillance footage showed nothing, there were no complaints about noise or disruption on the day and there were contradictions in the policemen’s statements. The court found in favour of the defendant and released him.
Teacher caught stealing
The head teacher of a collège in Perpignan caught the music teacher red handed when he set an elaborate trap for her. One day €40 went from a drawer in the Head Teacher’s living quarters and pupils denied any knowledge. Various items including money had also gone missing round the school. He set various traps to see if anyone was coming into his quarters without his knowledge and realised that someone was. CCTV confirmed that no one had come onto the premises so he knew it must be someone in the school. He made it known that he had put the money that had been collected for a colleague who was retiring in his flat, pretended to leave, hid his car and returned secretly. Later that evening the music teacher came in and tried to steal it. She was given 2 months’ suspended sentence and a €200 fine.
Skate Park opening delayed
The opening of the new skate park in Perpignan has been pushed back to 8th October from 16th September. Impatient skate boarders have caused damage to the park by climbing over the barriers and using the facilities before they were properly finished.
Flood tax in Perpignan Méditeranée
The community council voted in favour of a tax to pay for flood defences in Perpignan Méditerranée on Monday 19th September. There were 54 in favour, 15 against and 5 abstentions. The banks were refusing to lend to the community to cover the work as it is already too much in debt. Around €20 each will be added to the taxe foncière, taxe d’habitation and CFE (business rates), allowing €5.33 million to be raised.
181km/h in a 90km zone
A local vintner had his driving licence removed immediately when he was caught doing over double the speed limit on the D117 near Calce heading in the direction of Estagel.