The Government of the Canary Islands sanctions the promoter of Cuna del Alma with 600,000 euros for destroying Guanche sites

The Tegüico Heritage Association advanced this Friday on its social networks the resolution of the Government of the Canary Islands against the construction company of the Cuna del Alma tourism macroproject. The General Directorate of Patrimony initiated a sanction file against the promoter company for destroying archaeological sites during the works. The value of the sanction amounts to 600,000 euros. The Canarian Executive has described the events as a “unanswerable gravity” and of “unfortunate irreversible loss”. However, if the company acknowledges the infraction and voluntarily pays the fine, it could reduce the amount by 40%.

The general director of Cultural Heritage of the Government of the Canary Islands, Nona Perera, met with Tegüico this Thursday to report that the “maximum penalty stipulated by law”according to the Patrimonial Association.

The resolution of the competent area agreed to initiate a sanctioning file for the infractions committed on the Canarian heritage. The significant alteration and destruction of an archaeological site, not having adopted the necessary protection measures, not having the corresponding favorable report from the Cabildo de Tenerife, nor with the supervision of an archaeologist on siteas well as ignoring the warnings of the archaeological report commissioned by the company itself are some of the reasons behind this sanction.

The document signed on August 31, against which Allegations are possible within a period of 15 days, resolves an official letter sent by the Cabildo de Tenerife on June 1, as reported by Canarias Now. The insular institution had then paralyzed the works of Cuna del Alma, a project that seeks to convert Canarian land and a ravine into luxury villas. There, the presence of settlements from the Guanche period and rock carvings set off the alarms of some archeology enthusiasts.

a complaint that started by WhatsApp and with the altruistic field work of members of Tegüico It is the same that now leads to a sanction that, if confirmed, will amount to 600,000 euros. From the initial complaint, Tegüico was able to demonstrate the presence of these settlements and the destruction of part of them by the works of Cuna del Alma. The tourism project that had begun the earthmoving work with heavy machinery was paralyzed and the specialized technicians corroborated Tegüico’s complaint.

Already in the reports of the Cabildo, the technicians classified as “very serious” the destruction of the archaeological remains. Now apply the highest possible fine for violations of this type. To quantify the damages, the law collects different prisms: the degree of culpability or intentionality, the continuity or persistence of the offending conduct or the nature of the damage, among others.

The Directorate of Historical Heritage of the Government of the Canary Islands resolves that there was intentionality in the destruction of the site, “since the interested company carried out the works without the mandatory report of the Cabildo de Tenerife,” the text collects. Also, the promoter was aware of the existence of these deposits since they were collected in the archaeological document commissioned by Segunda Casa Adeje SL to Archeocanaria in May 2019. In that report the archaeological zones that “disappeared” due to the works were already collected. In this way, the entity “cannot allege ignorance of the existence of the deposit because it was included in the study”.

The promoter of Cuna del Alma will not only have to face the sanction, pending the allegations, but will also have to defray “the cost of the actions that must be carried out to protect those assets belonging to our cultural heritage have been saved from destruction”.

Works started with two unfavorable reports

Before the stoppage of the works, the technicians began to review all the available documentation of the project after the citizen pressure to stop it. On June 18, as this wording advanced, it was discovered that the works had started with two unfavorable reports in archaeological matters issued by the insular body. Between 2014 and 2017, the Cabildo de Tenerife discarded the reports presented by the developer. No remedy was ever received. “To date, the mandatory report of the Cabildo de Tenerife has not been issued,” according to the resolution signed by the director of Heritage.

From Cuna del Alma they defend since then that the resolution of the Cabildo is not necessary in these cases, and that the competence lies with the City Council of Adeje and the Government of the Canary Islands. Now, the resolution of the Government of the Canary Islands qualifies as “serious” the facts. Well, in addition to the destruction of a site, “two engravings are identified that were not included in the Insular Inventory of Patrimonial Assets.”

Another of the most controversial points is the banana packing plant that is located on the beach. This was described in the environmental report as the cause of “strangling” the beach. However, both the Cabildo de Tenerife and the Government of the Canary Islands have recognized the industrial heritage value of this infrastructure for representing part of the economic history of the islands, the period in which it was dedicated to the export of bananas and tomatoes.

From Cuna del Alma they confirm that “they have received the communication of the beginning of a sanctioning file, which must pass all the corresponding procedures and allegations.” At the same time it defends itself against the sanction, “in no case can it be considered a firm sanction”, defends the promoter company.

Meanwhile, from Podemos Adeje request the resignation of the Councilor for Ecological Transition, Manuel Luis Méndez, after the sanctioning file of Patrimony to the tourist project. From the local group they point out that the City Council has carried out in recent years a chain of “legal outrages” which stemmed from the Monkey Beach scandal for which “part of the municipal body is being investigated,” including Mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga.

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