McCanns links to government as the origin for the heightened media coverage of the case
CMTV, October 14, 2013
Voice over - From the news of the alleged abduction until the English police landed in Portugal was a matter of few hours. The proximity of the girl's father with the English government made it easier to give priority to the case and mobilize the necessary means. Gerry McCann worked in a committee* for the Government which analysed the impact of Nuclear plants in the environment, at a time when Tony Blair was the prime minister. As a doctor, a cardiologist by profession, the "McCann father" wished to go further and everything suggested that he aspired to have a political office in the government, namely as health minister. The way in which he asked for help when Maddie disappeared also indicates the proximity with the British government. Gerry McCann would have called one of Tony Blair's aides, at the time an university professor. It is this man who takes the first steps in order to help the McCann family. Another name that appears is Clarence Mitchell, he came to Portugal to advise the McCann couple and to liaise with the media. In his CV was his role as the director of a department that monitored the press and all the news for the British government. He was also the head of the Comms Cabinet Office of Gordon Brown. Connections that succeed in sending to the Algarve dogs, experts, police, and various resources from the United Kingdom.
Andreia Vale [AV] - João Mira Godinho is a journalist at Correio da Manhã. At the time João, you were one of the Portuguese journalists that followed more closely this case, after six years and after the case was archived here in Portugal, does this new information deserve any credibility?
João Mira Godinho [JMG] - Good afternoon Andreia. The credibility, that is something for the authorities to decide. I recall that about six years ago there was a series of statements, of sightings, of a series of people that appeared with information; not so long ago there was the story of a cab driver from Vila Real de Santo António that said that he picked up two adults with a child that looked like Maddie, that lead was investigated at the time by the Judiciary Police and came to nothing. In relation to this specific case, I've been following the news, we're not sure where the e-fit comes from, it's not well understood what the data is, what is this new information that the English police has, that will allow them to arrive to a different conclusion from the one that we have now as to the girl's whereabouts, which is unknown.
AV - João, in which way has the Algarve reacted to this news - six years later we speak of this disappearance again - when Portuguese and foreign TV's and journalists have once again returned to Praia da Luz.
JMG - Err.. The reaction, well, the reaction is never positive at least in Praia da Luz, in the Aldeia da Luz actually. In Aldeia da Luz people are very tired, they are extremely fed up with this case; over the years we've returned regularly to report, on the one year anniversary of the disappearance, one the second year, we returned to report and the reaction is always negative. People often tell us: "Drop this case. We're fed up. We don't want to hear about Maddie's disappearance anymore." People just don't want to hear about this case in Aldeia da Luz. In Algarve, at the time, we spoke with the 'Algarve Tourism Board' about the eventual repercussions that the case could have on tourism. There were fears that there could be a decline in demand, mainly from English tourists, there were fears that somehow the case would affect the way in which Portugal is perceived abroad. Portugal is seen as a safe country, the Algarve is seen as a very safe area, it's one of its major assets, so there were fears that that would have some impact. It turned out that it didn't. The current year has been very positive for tourism, there is a growth in the number of tourists who are in the area relatively to 2012 and 2011, and that growth is partially due to the British. Therefore, the case ended up not having any negative impact on tourism in the Algarve.
AV - João Mira Godinho, one of the journalists from Correio da Manhã that followed very closely the Madeleine McCann case, at the time of her disappearance in Praia da Luz in 2007.
Clip from Anatomy of a Mystery, broadcast by RTP in November 2007
Formers British Ambassador John Buck and Algarve Consul Bill Henderson media conference May 4 2007, Sky News
* Ref. Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) 2007, Medical Practices Subcommittee, Dr G McCann BSc MB ChB MRCP MD, Glenfield General Hospital, Leicester PDF, page. 79