I must admit I was not surprised to see that the many Majorcan youngsters don't believe that it is dangerous to drink and drive. The report out this week suggested that only 16 percent of the 16 to 25 age bracket felt that driving under the influence was dangerous. I also don't really believe that it is their fault because there is no real drink-driving campaign in Spain. How many times have you seen someone have a large lunch or dinner and then they get in their car and drive away? I think I see it every weekend. The government, the police and the traffic authorities must start getting tough and push the message home. In other words, if you have two glasses of wine then you should take a taxi home. Majorcan roads claim more than 200 lives every year and the time has come to start educating people on road safety and also on the dangers of being at the wheel. In Britain the police have successfully clamped down on drink driving and there is that necessary awareness. But Spain still has a long way to go.

The Traffic Department should start visiting schools, targetting youngsters from a very early age and making sure that they realise that your actions and your reflexes aren't as fast even if you've had one glass of beer. It is not a question of whether you can take your drink or not, it is just a question of safety. I remember reading in Britain that some pubs were planning to scrap their car parks. This is a very radical measure but perhaps people here could take note on how the rest of Europe is thinking.

Jason Moore

24 hour shopping would be a real nightmare

Dear Sir,
What a sad sad day it will be when your vision of Palma's shopping days and hours come to pass (Viewpoint Tuesday 22 October ). On that day Majorca and the Mediterranean culture it is a part of will be all the poorer and there will never be sufficient profit from cruise ship tourism to compensate for the impact widespread Sunday trading will have on this island's culture. You should know better. Opening shops on a Sunday is not a solution to this island's summer trading problems, they are a little more deep seated than that.

I have spent the last two and a half years working here with upmarket high spending tourists like those you describe in your article. They visit the island to experience its natural beauty and Mediterranean lifestyle and culture where the family, tradition and special days of rest and celebration are all very much part of the community. A community in which people actively participate when not at work and one that is sadly missing in the UK. Pick up any UK newspaper, listen to and watch any current affairs programme on UK radio or TV and you will hear countless people talk about the disintegration of UK family life, the lack of cohesion in society, the loss of identity. One of the biggest contributors to this is the growth of the twenty four shopping culture that Sunday trading is just the start of and what you seem to be advocating. If you conducted market research amongst these high spending tourists I know you would find that they are probably not great exponents of the 24/7 shopping culture and certainly don't come on holiday to indulge in it if they were. Moreover, I think you would find that they rather enjoy experiencing what Sundays used to be like in the UK ..............but here in Majorca. But I will leave you with an alternative solution. Rather than change trading days and affect a culture that has huge tourist appeal and attraction, why not change the cruise ships itineraries? Surely this must be simpler and less destructive. As cruise ship managers know that Palma's shops are closed on Sundays, why don't they plan to be at sea between ports that particular day. Their shopaholic passengers can then indulge their passion in the cruise ship shops, purchasing countless souvenirs which enterprising Majorcan shopkeepers will have already sold to the cruise liners! Then everybody would be happy. And everyone would profit.

Andy. Calvia

No tourists...

I am about to visit the island for the 3rd time this year as we have owned an apartment for 20+ years and have read with interest the ongoing arguments regarding tourism in the Balearics. I am sure I read that Mr Antich and Ms Munar have stated that they only want wealthy tourists visiting Majorca but what is their criteria -those earning 50'000 pounds or 500'000 pounds a year? In my experience the rich stay that way because they hang on to what they've got. They stay in a hotel or villa which will give them the two things that are most important to them – privacy and seclusion. They are not to be found walking along the Paseo Maritimo clutching a Bacardi Breezer on a pub crawl or buying tacky souvenirs! Some of them stay on a yacht two kilometres off the coast until they fly home. But how do they (the local government) dissuade the rest of the tourists from coming to the island? I know, build an airport that is anything but passenger friendly, then have strikes that mean the tourists have to spend three nights on the floor in the airport. Hit them with a tourist tax when they arrive at the hotel then put up parking metres in the local lingo so their hire cars get towed away with a hefty fine. Rip the visitors off even more by hiking up prices with the euro, don't clean the beaches and leave them full of stinking seaweed. Finally, be as rude as possible –that should put them off!!

Carole Giffen

Unaware of facts

Dear Sir,
Your letter writer Hugh Ash belittles Kofi Annan and debunks the killings in Jenin. He seems unaware on both points. There is no evidence of widespread killings in Jenin because Israel bulldozed over the evidence and refused to allow the UN to look. It is unverified whether or not a massacre took place. Numbers are impossible to come by because the Israelis destroyed all the Palestinian Authority's records and computers. Lack of information is proof of nothing. He also fails to understand why Kofi Annan is Secretary General. After the Israelis slaughtered over 100 civilians in a UN compound at Qana the UN investigated. The US tried to suppress the report. When Boutros Boutros Ghali published, he was damned. He was a shoo–in for reelection. Within 10 days the US ditched him, bringing about the election of Kofi Annan, a man who knows he got his job to suppress any evidence of Israeli atrocities.

Eric Henderson. Weymouth, MA. USA

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