One out of every three residents in the municipality of Orihuela is of foreign origin, the vast majority of course are living on the Orihuela Costa, so bearing in mind the track record of the Orihuela City Council when it comes to their consideration for the residents of the coast, it came as no surprise that the Councillor for Social Welfare, Equality and Immigration, Sabina Goretti Galindo, decided to hold the area’s Intercultural Fair in the heart of Orihuela City, 40 km away from the hub of the foreign population.
With no public transport between the coast and the city and with little publicity given to the event anywhere other than Orihuela, it came as no surprise to note that the city fair was only sparsely attended, despite the hype issued by the councillor following the event.
“Knowing their culture we can get closer and better welcome our new neighbors,” she said as she addressed a small crowd of people last weekend, many of them Spanish, at the Glorieta ‘Gabriel Miró’.
The largest foreign nationality settled in Orihuela is the British with 10,000 registered voters, where on the coast they actually outnumber the Spanish, but the councillor’s reasoning for holding the event in Orihuela City was that “the British group living on the coast is older and they have other preferences”, while the foreigners who settle in town and districts have come in search of jobs in the hope of improving their economy.”
Quite obviously Dña Galindo seems completely unaware of the many thousands of British expats who live and work on the coast, many in their own businesses, providing much needed employment and contributing both their skills and their taxes to the well-being of the municipality. Why else would she ignore them and the important contribution that they make?
“The celebration transformed Orihuela into an all-encompassing and diverse city,” she said, “demonstrating to the immigrant population that they have total acceptance.”
What a pity that in spreading her message she failed to include the largest group of foreign dwellers in the municipality, the many thousands who are resident on the Orihuela Costa, who pay her wages and who contribute significantly to the financial well-being of the city and of the municipal government.