Tourism minister and vice-president Biel Barceló, who has already faced pressure from the opposition and Podemos over the Més contracts affair, is now under renewed pressure over a trip he made to the Dominican Republic last week.
Barceló, who for the past ten years has been a contributor to a television sports programme, Fora de Joc, was invited by the programme's producers to go Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic where a special edition was to be filmed, but in which he didn't in fact appear. The trip was apparently paid for by Globalia - the flight with Air Europa and the accommodation at the Be Live hotel in Punta Cana.
The minister has sought to justify the trip by saying that he went in a private capacity and not as a minister. However, even members of his own party have rounded on him. Fina Santiago, seen by many as a likely presidential candidate for Més in 2019, has described the trip as "indefensible".
He missed a crucial debate in parliament to do with the new law on urban planning and development as a result of the trip. But as important if not more is the fact that he is now accused of having violated the Més and government ethical code on the receipt of gifts and potential conflicts of interest.
The Partido Popular's Marga Prohens yesterday wanted to know if President Armengol had been given any explanation by Barceló. "You have a problem with Biel Barceló, and you know it."
A meeting between government and Podemos representatives is scheduled for today (Wednesday). Alberto Jarabo of Podemos says that his party will study the situation and then decide what position it will take.
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