Despite questions in the Spanish Senate, the exact location and type of a new centre for migrants on Lanzarote remains unclear, while rumours that Güime may be the proposed location have caused opposition among residents and opposition councillors.
Last September, the Spanish government made a request to San Bartolomé’s Ayuntamiento for planning information about a 12,000 square-metre plot of land near the El Polvorín area south of Güime.
The Ayuntamiento informed the government that the plot in question was protected from development by environmental laws. However, when measurements appeared to be being taken on the plot, suspicions once again arose that the government might be planning an accommodation centre for newly arrived migrants.
San Bartolomé Mayor Isidro Pérez claims that he has refused permission for the construction of a centre in the El Polvorín zone of Güime, although he has no objection to the building of a migrant centre on Lanzarote. Peréz pointed out that San Bartolomé already has a centre for migrants at the foot of Montaña Mina (pictured), with room for 400 migrants.
Anselmo Pestana, the Spanish Government’s Delegate for Lanzarote, has confirmed that a centre is being planned on Lanzarote. He stated that it would be a transit centre to accommodate migrants until they are transferred to mainland Spain and denied that it would be a “macrocentre” but would be the same size as other installations on the Canaries, such as the Montaña Mina centre.
Pestana did not confirm the location of the centre, and said that until now, no agreement had been reached with San Bartolomé.
Pestana’s comments suggest that the centre will be a temporary accommodation centre, possibly operated by a charity. However, Senator Pedro San Ginés, who has raised the issue in the Spanish Senate, has referred to the centre as an “internment centre” (CIE), where migrants are effectively imprisoned until they can be deported.
Currently, most newly arrived migrants are processed at the CATE behind Arrecife’s police station. Within 72 hours they are relocated to accommodation centres or internment centres off the island. The accommodation centre in Montaña Mina currently holds women and families, while many unaccompanied minors are in a hostel at Tinajo.
The Coalicion Canaria party has convened a meeting this afternoon at 5pm in Güime Civic Centre “to express rejection of the plans”.