Puerto Calma owner’s dismay over ‘completely inaccurate’ media reports on housing illegal immigrants
Long time Holiday Club member Marina Starkey blasts ‘greedy and self-serving’ Holiday Club boss and wife for ‘profiteering at the expense of timeshare owners,’ by renting out their paid-for weeks to house illegal, economic migrants who Marina says are almost exclusively healthy young males.
The BBC and ITV channels in the UK have both reported flatteringly about British/Norwegian couple Calvin Lucock and Unn Tove Saetran “helping migrants” by giving them accommodation and feeding them. The reports generated a wave of media referring to Calvin as a hotel director and Unn Tove as a former teacher. Calvin and Unn Tove are pictured variously playing chess with illegal immigrants, hugging North African men and taking selfies with groups of them on the beach, smiling in modest bonhomie.
Unn Tove, who apparently the illegal immigrants call ‘Mama Africa,’ talks about ‘the boys’ in a loving and familiar way throughout the media coverage. Unn Tove and Calvin are adamant that the members of Puerto Calma would be ‘lucky to meet’ the migrants if any are still there when they return to use their luxury apartments
Marina Starkey has been watching this media coverage in bewilderment. “Like the other Holiday Club timeshare owners I have spoken to, I was amazed to see this coverage. It’s like a parallel universe. It bears no similarity to our experience of what’s been happening. I speak for a large amount of owners when I say this”
Marina has been a member of Puerto Calma, an exclusive Gran Canaria timeshare resort for 12 years, and visiting with her sister for even longer than that. She was that increasingly rare creature: a happy timeshare owner. At the moment she is far from content though. “Calvin and Unn Tove are being portrayed as humanitarians and heroes. To us owners it seems more like they are profiteering at our expense and treating our beloved resort as an illegal immigrant camp.
“These people who arrived illegally with the help of human traffickers are overwhelmingly young fit males, with few or no women and children. And many of us members object, not only because of our club being used without asking us, but because we believe this is incentivising illegal, economic migrants to make a dangerous sea crossing. They are being rewarded for putting themselves in danger. Lives are being put at risk because of these actions by Lucock, who is not a hotel director but a career timeshare boss.”
“The owners have been forced to pay maintenance for weeks they can’t use during the pandemic,” says Marina. “Up until just before the decision to give our weeks to the illegal immigrants there was an option to sell your week back to Holiday Club in exchange and have your maintenance fees returned. This option was cancelled just before Lucock made the decision to sell our paid-for weeks to the Red Cross to house illegals. Even when this option was offered, no members actually received a full maintenance refund, just insulting partial refund offers of less than a third.
“When the owners finally became aware of what was happening, the totalitarian response from Calvin was: ‘we have decided, we are doing it, we have done it, accept it.’
“The interviews were all about Calvin and Unn Tove. The Holiday Club members whose paid for weeks were taken from them and resold to the Red Cross were not mentioned at all.
Marina claims that Calvin has said, “owners are more trouble than the migrants.”. She finds this doubly objectionable because she believes that Holiday Club are now being paid twice. “Unlike most businesses, Holiday Club made extra money during the pandemic,” she says.
“Holiday Club were being paid as usual, in full by the owners for weeks they couldn’t use. On top of this income, they were also being paid money by the Red Cross for housing these illegal immigrants in the apartments paid for by club members.
“Calvin’s wife Unn Tove also holds the franchises for the Aqui restaurants within the Holiday Club resorts. When the contracts for these restaurants came up for renewal, she was fortunate enough that the company her husband runs awarded her the franchise.
“These restaurants have the Red Cross contracts for feeding the illegal immigrants. So this couple has an enviable personal income stream supplying food to up to 3000 illegals, at a time when other restaurants in the town are struggling.”
“How Calvin and Unn Tove managed to sell this exploitation as benevolence is baffling to us Holiday Club members. We feel as though we have been slapped in the face.”
Holiday Club members had enough
Daniel Keating from the Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) adds: “We have been reporting on this situation at Puerto Calma and the other Holiday Club resorts since November last year. Many members are not happy with the way they have been treated, and feel that their wishes have been ignored.
“Claims may be possible in some cases but along with relinquishments, timeshare owners should be very careful who they pay for these types of service. Research is essential and there is a website timesharetrust.co.uk who explain what to look for in a claims firm.
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First published on MyNewsDesk July 2021