Three years after the disappearence of Madeleine McCann, a RTP media team returned to Praia da Luz to assess the social-economical effects of the case. After becoming world-wide famous, the small Algarvian villa plunged in a profound crisis. This reportage shows unheard statements of the Ocean Club workers, local shopkeepers and members of the English community living in the area. “After Maddie”, is a reportage of the journalist Jorge Almeida, image by Vitor Amorim, image editing by Paulo Nunes and production by Amélia Gomes Ferreira.
Linha da Frente “Depois de Maddie”, uma reportagem do jornalista Jorge Almeida
Três anos depois do desaparecimento de Madeleine McCann, uma equipa de reportagem da RTP regressou à Praia da Luz para constatar os efeitos socioeconómicos do caso. Depois de ter ficado mundialmente conhecida, a pequena vila algarvia mergulhou numa crise profunda. Esta Grande Reportagem conta com depoimentos inéditos de trabalhadoras despedidas do Ocean Club, comerciantes locais e de membros da comunidade inglesa residente na região. “Depois de Maddie”, é uma Grande Reportagem da autoria do jornalista Jorge Almeida com imagem de Vitor Amorim, edição de imagem de Paulo Nunes e produção de Amélia Gomes Ferreira.
Video time 26'11'' RTP 2010
Translation/transcript Front Line “After Maddie” – RTP 1/5/2010
Kate McCann – «Por favor devolva a nossa menina» [Please return our daughter.] [Archive Video footage May 2007]
Voice Over: Tonight, on Front Line the social economic consequences in Praia da Luz, three years after Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
Former Ocean Club employee: «What has happened here, in that house, where I worked, that has troubled me a lot.»
English ex Pat – «Please come to the Algarve, but if you are coming as a family holiday, treat it as a family holiday and do things together. Don’t leave the kids.»
Portuguese man - «What is in the minds of people is a huge uncertainty; some say that they are convinced that it was an abduction, others say that the child was murdered inside the apartment and her cadaver was concealed.»
English ex Pat 2 - « I think that if she was still alive, I think by now, somebody would have found something about it. That’s just my opinion and my friend’s, we came to think that Madeleine is dead.»
Voice Over: In this night, at the end of April, Praia da Luz is practically deserted. Spring has not yet arrived, rain persists to fall. The strength of the pound as also weakened, but another event continues to hound this place. [Cut to church of Luz clock, showing the time 22:09] It was round about this time that Madeleine McCann disappeared.
Enters production credits and title ‘After Maddie’
Gerry McCann (reading from a script) - «Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling, as the parents of our beautiful daughter, Madeleine. We request to anyone that may have any information related to Madeleine’s disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese police, and help us get her back safely. Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister». [Archive Video footage May 2007]
Voice Over: It was from one day to the other, that Madeleine McCann’s disappearance caused Praia da Luz to become worldwide renowned. For weeks, hundreds of journalists placed the small Algarvian villa at the top of the news alignment of the international TV stations.
Cut to Sky News video footage with Martin Brunt reporting live from Praia da Luz in 2008 - News anchor: «Let’s go back to Martin Brunt, our crime correspondent in Praia da Luz, where this sad story started back in May of last year.»
Voice Over: In the UK, 800 children were reported missing in the six months after Madeleine’s disappearance. Every day, hundreds of children disappear in the world, but until today only Maddie deserved such a huge magnitude from the media. Three years after, the mystery continues to be unsolved. The same difficulty appears also in establishing what was the impact in Praia da Luz after the disappearance. The events stage, the Ocean Club, suffered great financial consequences: in April 2009, 21 of the 49 workers were sacked. In 2007, the year of the disappearance, the company had 130 employees. Dora Silva was one of the cleaners who has lost her job. In the dismissal letter, there were two arguments.
Dora Silva (former Ocean Club employee) - The crisis, worldwide and in consequence of the girl’s disappearance.
Voice Over: The drama has afflicted the whole family. Her sister, who had worked for 11 years at the Ocean Club was also fired at the same time. Today, she is convinced there was an exploitation of the tragedy, since she never felt a collapse in the holiday’s bookings.
Fátima Espada (former Ocean Club employee) – I do not think so [referring to the arguments used in the dismissal letter], because we kept on working as normal, after the girls’ disappearance. We did not feel any fall down, with apartments being booked, and daily admission of clients. Then the other motive they have alleged besides the crisis, I don’t know…
Voice Over: Maria Júlia, the mother of the two sacked employees, ended up asking recently the dismissal from the Ocean Club, after 16 years of working there. It was her who cleaned for the last time the McCann family apartment, just the day before to the girls disappearance.
Maria Júlia (former Ocean Club employee) – When I went there on Wednesday [2nd May 2007], they were there. It was they who opened the door for me, they told me to get in and then they told me that they were leaving. They even told me something about the balcony… yes… I understood that they were going to the balcony, and even thought they were going to the balcony. But no, they really left. They went out from that door, that door…the door that gives access to the garden [the balcony double glazed door] and that was it, they went out, never again… It was the only time that I was with them.
Voice Over: Just like her two daughters, Maria Júlia was also heard by the Judiciary Police. Madeleine’s disappearance will accompany her for the remaining of her days. One of the main reasons to stop working [at the Ocean Club] was the fact of being psychologically distressed.
Maria Júlia - Very, very much. It was something that disturbed me a lot, because I was aggrieved, I had just lost my husband a few months before, and then that happened, in that house were I worked… and that troubled me. I had a good supervisor, the supervisor that was then there, she knew how I felt and she was very supportive for me.
Voice Over: The Ocean Club administration refused a request for an interview by RTP. In off, they explain delicately that they do not wish to revive the case and are afraid of the exploitation that the UK media might do of any statement they give.
translation/transcript continues [stopped at 7'30'']
Broadcast by RTP on Saturday, 1st May 2010 at 21:00pm