The Government of the Canary Islands, the Cabildo de Tenerife and the City Council of La Laguna, when the three institutions were still controlled by the Canarian Coalition (CC) before the 2019 elections, granted various grants totaling almost 3 million euros to the entity private Brotherhood of Slavery of the Holy Christ of La Laguna, a religious organization that excludes women in its statutes. For this reason, said organization was denounced in 2018 before the Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The Supreme Court endorses the exclusion of women from the brotherhood of the Slavery of Christ of La Laguna
Although the judge Gabriela Reverón, head of the Court of First Instance number 2 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, annulled in judgment of March 2020 the exclusion of women for violation of fundamental rights equality, non-discrimination based on sex and association (decision endorsed subsequently by the Provincial Court) finally, the Supreme Court upheld just ten days ago the appeal filed by Slavery and endorsed that it could exclude women. The argument given was that “it is not a dominant association”, and its activities and purposes “are strictly and exclusively religious”, alien to any economic, professional or labor connotation.
According to Cadena SER, the largest of the subsidies, of 1.8 million, was granted by the Government of the Canary Islands, then directed by Fernando Clavijo (CC), directly and through an advance payment. The current Deputy Minister of Culture, Juan Márquez, explained to this newspaper that the order to give that amount was signed by the then Area Minister, Isaac Castellano (CC), just three days before the 2019 elections. “They draw attention the date and the form, before elections and by advancing the money, which sounds like electoralism,” he explains.
The process, moreover, was resolved in less than two weeks. According to the order, to which this newspaper has had access, on May 10, 2019, the request was received from the Brotherhood to rehabilitate the annexed buildings and restore the movable property and others of the Royal Sanctuary of the Holy Christ of La Laguna. . Only 12 days later, the Governing Council agrees at its weekly meeting to grant said amount and do so directly because, the document adds, “reasons of public, social, economic or humanitarian interest or other duly justified reasons that make the call difficult” are proven. .
Márquez explains that the current procedure is that the Government acts directly in the intervention that it wants to do, not that the money is advanced without it having been duly justified.
Now, explains the deputy minister, the justification file for the entire project is being processed, since in order to receive a subsidy of 1.8 million the total works had to amount to 3.2 million, so that amount of expenses must be accredited. If the Brotherhood cannot justify these expenses, “a request will have to be made for the return of the remaining money”, something that will be resolved “in the next few days”.
Cadena SER adds that the Brotherhood received, in addition to money from the Government, other subsidies with the same objective: to restore and preserve objects from the Sanctuary of Cristo de La Laguna. Specifically, he explains, he received in 2017 and 2018 “money deliveries without consideration” of 55,000 and 80,000 euros from the Laguna City Council, then directed by José Alberto Díaz (CC); Another 25,000 euros came from the Cabildo de Tenerife, directed at that time by Carlos Alonso (CC), for the restoration of the tabernacle altar.