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Madeirans resist mayor’s claim

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MANY Madeirans living in Jersey have questioned the wisdom of a statement by the mayor of the capital, who said his fellow islanders ‘longed’ to return home.

Joao Carlos Nunes from the Funchal-St Helier Twinning Committee, Deputy Carina Alves and Funchal mayor Paulo Cafôfo

Paulo Cafôfo, the mayor of Funchal, visited Jersey this week to meet Madeirans and attend the annual Portuguese Spring Festival held at Jardins de la Mer.

Speaking to Portuguese media while in Jersey, Mr Cafôfo said: ‘What you notice is the longing, the desire to return – no one wants to be here forever.’

However, Ricardo Bettencourt (55), who owns Restaurant Do Porto in Minden Street, said: ‘I do not agree with the mayor – I don’t think most people want to go back to Madeira.

‘Sometimes I think to myself, “How do people survive in Madeira” because apart from jobs which pay peanuts, there are practically no jobs.’

St Helier resident Ricardina Nunes (29), who is a housekeeper at the Hospital, said: ‘I don’t agree with what the Funchal mayor said – I would never go back to Madeira.

‘I moved to Jersey with my mum 14 years ago. My mother used to work as a chef in Madeira and she couldn’t afford to pay for our uniforms.

‘In Jersey, you can save money for things like holidays, but almost no one who lives in Madeira goes on holiday anywhere.’

David Antunes (31), who arrived in Jersey 13 years ago and works as a car mechanic at First Tower, said: ‘Among the young people here I don’t think there is a desire to return. It is very hard living in Madeira and even if you want a job sweeping the roads, you need to have a certain score in your studies at school.’

Mr Bettencourt, who has owned Restaurant Do Porto for seven years, added: ‘Life in Madeira is so tough, but in Jersey you can earn a living.’

David Edbrooke

By David Edbrooke
Journalist

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