The term troika has been widely used in Greece and Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Spain to refer to the presence of the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund in these countries since 2010 and the financial measures that these institutions have taken. Basically, Portugal went with a begging bowl in hand to get out of the financial crisis, and now this threesome dictate the austerity programme that went along with the bailout.
The economic crisis struck Portugal around the same time that Madeleine McCann vanished and it has had a much bigger impact on the economy of both Portugal and the Algarve than the child’s disappearance.
The impact on Luz in general and the Ocean Club in particular is, I believe, quite different. There is no doubt whatsoever that the global downturn would have dented the tourist trade within Luz significantly. But the lay-offs in the Ocean Club have a significant component due to the Madeleine incident. That has had a ripple effect within Luz, as less money is spent locally, and several businesses have had to close. There has simply been more gloom in Luz because of the Madeleine effect.
And that is but one reason why many locals would like to leave 2007 behind and get on with a more pleasant life.
While the financial troika is also widely disliked in Portugal because of the restrictions it has imposed.
With the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance roughly 3 months away, it is time to form another troika.
Component 1 is native Portuguese media. Madeleine vanished in Portugal, and the McCann story has had an extremely stormy ride here over the past 10 years. I suspect this will be the toughest component to engage, due to the prevailing sentiment.
Component 2 is native UK media. There is a great deal that the UK media can do to advance the case. Whether they choose to exercise a bit of investigative journalism or prefer simply do a cheap and cheerful lash-up remains to be seen.
Component 3 is English speaking media based in the Algarve. The choice in this instance is limited, but Madeleine vanished in the Algarve, and beggars cannot be choosers, as Portugal has found with the financial troika.
There is a major element of this tale residing in the Republic of Ireland. I am of the opinion that with the correct approach to the Smiths, the possibility exists that Smithman can be identified. Being able to rule Smithman out of the equation would not mean we have a solution for Madeleine’s disappearance, but it would make the picture clearer. This of course assumes Smithman is innocent, but I cannot see why we should start with a presumption that Smithman is guilty. Perhaps the troika will have to evolve into a foursome along the way.
At the moment, I have lined up a candidate for each component of the Madeleine troika. Now I need to do a bit more preparation before issuing invitations to the task force.