As British television networks once again descend on Praia da Luz in the run-up to the seventh anniversary since Madeleine McCann went missing, a local resident has come out fighting.
“It’s time to turn things round,” she told us. “Every year it is the same … British journalists arrive and dredge up more nonsense about Luz. We are meant to be overrun with child molesters, burglars, homosexuals, Eastern European child-snatchers ... Whatever next? Will it be the Taliban?
“They are back again now and this time they have interviewed a homeless person and a ‘prophet’,” the long-term resident told us on Saturday. “They have paid for these interviews. Now, they are apparently looking for a well-known gay man.
“These are the stories the British newspapers are looking for! They are not interested in the views of the real people of Luz - all of whom are fed up to the back teeth with the village being shown in such a bad light.”
The "homeless person" - a "perfectly pleasant man, but never sober" - is not a representational figure of local residents, explained the woman, and the “prophet” is someone who wears a turban and “walks around with a pole with a light on the top of it”.
"Neither can be considered typical Luz residents, but nor are they in any way threats to the community," she added.
The expat woman, who asked not to be named as she has “no wish to be a hero”, said: "It is time Luz had a voice."
“Last year, when the news people were asking questions as they do every year, I went up to the interviewer and said I would like to say a word or two.
“I said I wanted to know why they weren’t interviewing the McCanns for gross negligence that had led to a fatal result. He just dropped me because they don’t want to hear anything like that. They only want to report about people they can label as "weirdos".
“Quite honestly, I feel it is time Luz turned round and sued the McCanns for slander.
“I would like to stand as a voice for Luz. Who will want to come here after all the negative publicity? The British newspapers paint the village as one full of terrible people. This is grotesquely unfair. It has got to stop!”
A high-ranking staff member at Luz Ocean Club told the Resident earlier this year: “Luz has taken such a battering over the last seven years. It really is time to do something for this community - help it rally round.” But, like the anonymous "voice of Luz", the man asked not to be identified.
Meantime, the Ocean Club is one of the prime movers behind a community triathlon event planned later this month precisely to promote the picturesque village “before the holiday season gets underway”.
For more information see www.algarvetriathlons.com
By NATASHA DONN