by Rui Pando Gomes
On the day that Gerry McCann arrived in Portugal to record the private reconstitution about what happened to his daughter Maddie on the 3rd of May 2007, 21 workers from the Ocean Club, the resort where the little four year old girl disappeared from, were dismissed. The justification, apart from the global crisis’ effects: “As a result of the unfortunate Maddie McCann event”, which has forever damaged the image of the resort in Praia da Luz and sent tourism away.
On the side of these problems, and despite the fact that neither he nor his group of friends collaborated with the police in a reconstitution of what happened that night, it was a smiling Gerry who presented himself in Praia da Luz yesterday – to record a documentary about the day when he mysteriously lost his daughter.
On the day that this media show took place, Greentrust, the company that runs the resort, advanced a collective dismissal action, which in a first phase includes 21 of the 48 Algarvian employees. The dismissal note mentions that the company’s financial problems are serious and “the perspectives for 2009 render the firm inviable”. The main fault is placed on the bad publicity that has been caused by the Maddie case. According to the firm, “the bad results of 2007 were caused by the abovementioned McCann case”.
In May 2007, the firm had 130 employees. During the following year, several were discharged and only 60 remained. This year 48 has been left, and after the most recent collective dismissal, 27 are left, who “are also at risk”, according to a source at the firm.
“I have a family and children to raise and now I’m out of work. We ask this McCann couple to leave us at peace, please”, one of the workers told Correio da Manhã.
Daughter of McCanns’ friends plays Madeleine
The reconstitution, which is being produced for British ‘Channel 4’, is being recorded with 15 actors. One of them represents Maddie, whose role will be played by “a child from a couple that is friends with Gerry and Kate”, Clarence Mitchell, the couple’s spokesman, revealed to the journalists.
Apart from Maddie, the rest of the cast plays the nine couple’s friends, known as ‘Tapas 9’, and an alleged abduction suspect, tourists and residents of Praia da Luz, and Ocean Club employees.
“Let us live in peace”
“Go home” and “let us live in peace” were some of the sentences that some residents of Praia da Luz shouted at Gerry and the team that is producing the documentary, which will be broadcast worldwide. “What are they doing here? They didn’t help the police when they should have, and now they put on this show to ruin our lives even further”, an upset resident who didn’t wish to be identified told Correio da Manhã, fearing reprisals, because she realises that the couple “is very powerful”.
“Police didn’t accept reconstitution for tv”
The Polícia Judiciária tried twice to carry out a reconstitution of the night of the disappearance, but at no time did the couple and its friends show themselves available. Clarence Mitchell, the couple’s spokesman, justified that the reconstitution was not made at an earlier time because back then “the police refused to broadcast it on television”.
Now that the investigation process has been archived, the couple believes: “This documentary may generate new information to help find Madeleine”, Mitchell referred.
The reconstitution will be available on the www.findmadeleine website, while the Channel 4 documentary is being negotiated with several European countries, including Portugal.
“They want to broadcast lies into the world” (Gonçalo Amaral, former Polícia Judiciária coordinator)
Correio da Manhã – The PJ wanted to carry out a reconstitution of Maddie’s disappearance. The McCann couple and their friends didn’t accept. What relevance does this media-exposed reconstitution have?
Gonçalo Amaral – None. It may be interesting to register the lies that these persons want to broadcast into the world. It’s another marketing operation.
- Are the Judiciária and the Public Ministry being ridiculed?
- I believe so. It’s regrettable that the Portuguese authorities failed to force these persons to come to Portugal to carry out a judicial reconstitution, for the truth to be discovered.
- Only two of the friends are taking part in the reconstitution. Aren’t the others important for the truth to be discovered?
- It would be interesting to know the reason why Mr David Payne is not taking part in the reconstitution. He might explain for how long he bathed the children and at what time. They’re not interested in explaining that.
GNR security – The documentary’s production hired the security services of four members of the GNR [local police force]. Yesterday, two guards were in location until 6 p.m. They were substituted by a new team, that followed the recordings until midnight.
Two days of filming – The filming will stretch over two days. Gerry McCann was interviewed yesterday, and scenes were recorded at the Tapas restaurant, where the couple dined on the evening that their daughter disappeared. Today, filming will take place near the church of Praia da Luz.
Scene with suspect – One of the scenes that were recorded yesterday involved a man that one of the couple’s friends, Jane Turner, says she saw walking by, carrying a child on the night when Maddie disappeared from the apartment.
Murat: No role in the movie – Anglo-Portuguese Robert Murat, who was one of the arguidos in the case, over suspicion of being linked to an abduction, is not taking part in the reconstitution movie, spokesman Clarence Mitchell revealed.
Gerry: Team consultant – Maddie’s father, Gerry McCann, does not take part in the filming but is a team consultant, just like Jane Tanner and Matthew Oldfield, friends who were on holiday with the couple.
Kate: “Not ready” – Kate McCann, the missing girl’s mother, “is not ready to return to Portugal yet”, according to what Clarence Mitchell, the couple’s spokesman, told the journalists.
source: Correio da Manhã, 05.04.2009