By Hermes Solomon
It is not the troika’s job to eliminate corruption in Cyprus but to ensure that the republic pay high interest on ECB & IMF loans; anyone who professes otherwise must be on the take.
The destruction of Cyprus began in the mid-fifties when the church financed further education for many Cypriots in Athens and Salonika.
The church had consciously instilled e Megáli Idéa into this generation via state schools and church sermons. Back then, the way to a man’s heart was through his head and not his pocket. Today, and ever since 1974, the ‘pocket’ rules supreme.
On their return home most joined EOKA and fought valiantly.
When, after 1960, the valiant were ‘demobbed’, most were directed into menial government posts or to teach at local schools and colleges, where they continued spouting what little they’d learnt in Greece.
But at the time incomes and the standard of living was Third World by comparison to most of Europe, so it was decided by those in power to increase the size of the cake for some at the expense of Turkish Cypriots. And by 1963 serious troubles erupted between the two communities. Inter-communal strife worsened and climaxed in 1974, when ‘those malevolent ignoramuses’ partitioned the island.
Thereafter, Cypriots became solely self-interested and were tempted down the path of bribery, greed and corruption, not realising that a return to a Third World country was waiting for them at the end of that path.
Bribery might have begun with a leg of smoked ham delivered in 1960 by a farmer to a naïve civil servant in return for services rendered. But it grew by 2004 to contractors paying millions to savvy civil servants, mayors and politicians to secure lucrative contracts, contractors agreeing among themselves what price (above the government estimate) they would tender at and who would get the job. The ‘winner’ then paid ‘losing’ contractors and certain officials a share of the excess of the actual cost of the work.
Between 2004 and 2014 many billions went missing from our banks and government treasury; man’s greed, like ignorance, knowing no bounds. Bribery had become an accepted evil industry and integral to the island’s culture.
Yet political parties now say (after ‘tidying up’), “Ransack our party accounts in search of fraud, embezzlement, accepting bribes and misdemeanours.”
The sheer audacity of them, when we already know about the Vgenopoulos hand-outs to both AKEL and DISY.
Not one politician has said, “The Inland Revenue is free to inspect all of my many on and offshore bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, etc. and assess the value of my personal and close family’s assets. And if anything seems amiss, insist I justify my wealth.”
Add to that investigations into the assets of top civil servants, all mayors, past and present, the professions, major constructors/developers and our handful of industrialists, etc. and this would probably, if such a gargantuan task was ever undertaken, lead to tax demands plus penalties enough to buy off the troika – directing not hundreds of fraudsters into the dock, but thousands.
Political parties and the church scapegoating Savvas Vergas et Cie with cries of ‘crucify the lot of ‘em, but our houses are in order’ should not put the hounds off the scent. If anything, I smell the blood of many who claim to be as white as snow turning as red as beetroot when (and if) further auditor-general exposés trickle up to ‘top dogs’ involved in all sorts of past and present chicanery.
I wouldn’t give two hoots if all Cypriots benefited by this manner of doing business. But as the cost of living rises and wages fall, there is a mounting groundswell of anger aimed at all political parties and more especially at those fraudsters caught, tried and lightly convicted.
When, if ever, will we see justice meted out to these criminals? Wanting and getting in Cyprus are never the same.
I want to see an end to the foreclosures bill. I want to see reliable banks and former ‘banksters’ jailed. I want to see a crematorium built and not just talked about. I want to see those that were robbed by the bail-in reimbursed. I want to see equal burial and voting rights for all residents. I want to see fair and just assessments of IPT and local taxes. I want to see an end to favouritism in law, taxes and business for the locals at the expense of ‘foreigners’. I want see an end to the title deeds saga. I want to see an end to the Cyprob talks and unsubstantiated promises of gas wealth. I want to see a viable national health service. I want to see lower electricity and fuel prices, a lowering of VAT and a rise in taxes on the rich – fair probate charges by greedy lawyers or the return of inheritance tax, which would favour small estates, solar rather than wind power generation, proper pavements, parking, policing, and above all, a government that makes decisions and enforces the laws equally for all citizens.
But I can see, and will get, none of the above if bribery and corruption is not seriously curtailed; la nostra causa instead of la Cosa Nostra…
Stop this favouritism. Cyprus is no longer just Cypriot. It claims to be a part of the EU yet we Cypriots cling ‘religiously’ to a backhander philosophy at the expense of the taxpayer.
There are hundreds of ‘Paphosgates’ hidden in the dry rot of this banana republic. The island reeks of them. And would that all fungi were finally fumigated by Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides, the judiciary and corrupt social structure would collapse under the strain, and the island return to where it began in 1960 – a chaotic and disorganised Third World joke – not that we’re not back there already!