surinenglish

A miraculous coincidence

However firm one's convictions, and however well trained one is to look at the world from the viewpoint of agnosticism, when a true miracle situation occurs, one still feels the urge to join a procession to give thanks to Providence.

One might be radically sceptical and look down condescendingly at those who believe in miracles, but what has happened this week in Marbella is enough to convince, for once and for all, the most incredulous.

Here's the story: ten years ago it was decided that the hospital needed to be extended because in Marbella, where as everyone knows there are only wealthy residents and tourists, people also have a habit of falling ill. As it's not the thing to do to invest public funds in a place where everyone is rolling in it, someone at the Junta had the bright idea that the extension could be built without any public spending. All they had to do was to offer the contractor the right to manage the underground car park in exchange for the work.

For the idea to be successful they had to remove any possibility of cars parking above ground, so that the use of the underground car park would be obligatory. When the works were half finished, the plan started to fall apart. The town council didn't like the idea of hospital users being forced to pay to park their cars, and someone even went so far as to suggest that having to pay for the car park was the same as having to pay to go to hospital. The issue flared up and the work stopped. And it stayed that way for not one, not two, but eight years.

The situation, according to explanations from the regional Health Department, was infernal. There were two authorities and a private contractor involved, lawsuits going backwards and forwards in the court and the same contractor was in liquidation after going bankrupt, all resulting in total despair at a situation that could only be saved, as with all problems of this kind, by putting a sum of public funds on the table of a size that Marbella hasn't seen for a long time.

And it just so happened that suddenly, after eight years in an impasse, the money appeared and the Junta promised to spend it on finishing the work, as if Marbella were a town just like any other and not a haven for the wealthy.

And all this on the same day that regional president Susana Díaz and prime minister Pedro Sánchez were right here in the town, leading a political rally, which allowed a local socialist leader to point out five days before the elections that "when Susana comes to Marbella she comes bearing gifts".

I hope no unbeliever from the Electoral Commission thinks they can see a crude demogogic manoeuvre in this planetary alignment. It's just that coincidences do happen. And miracles, apparently, too.