Cyprus Mail

Hungry recruits leave nothing for the needy

By Maria Gregoriou

A PROPOSAL mooted earlier in the year to offer leftover food from army camps to the poor has come to nothing as it turns out the army appears to be as needy as everyone else.

This was established yesterday during a visit to the Limassol (KEN) boot camp by members of the House Defence Committee.

When asked whether the National Guard was considering the suggestion of giving leftovers to the needy, Committee chairman Giorgos Varnavas said there were none.

“I do not disagree with the suggestion [for the poor] but it is very difficult for this suggestion to be realised, especially at the boot camps and especially this year when our country is facing serious economic problems,” he said.

“The vast majority of recruits eat the food and leftovers are few,” Varnavas said. He did not comment on reports that boot-camp recruits were being sent home on the weekends because they army could not afford to feed them past Fridays.

Varnavas said the reason there were no leftovers was partly because soldiers are no longer allowed to order takeaways or call their parents to bring them food as used to happen in the past.

Asked about outsourcing, Varnavas said it would be more expensive than cooking in-house at the camps.

In addition to finding no leftovers at the camp, Defence Committee members, found that a good number of the soldiers were lining up to see a doctor.

The cause of their sickness, according to Varnavas, was not physical but psychological.

“The soldiers are sick because of the abrupt change in living conditions and the inability of some new recruits to adjust and adapt to their surroundings,” Varnavas said.

Speaking about draft dodging, he said: “It is a challenge to the state and to those soldiers who complete their military service with honour.”

He said those who have avoided their mandatory two-year military service on psychological grounds would be called in and their reasons for dodging service re-examined.

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