Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

We should be grateful we have not suffered much worse

EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou

By Loucas Charalambous

PRESIDENT of the House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou last Wednesday had an article published in Politis about the rottenness of our political system.

This article alone provides emphatic proof of the correctness of the position often expressed by this column that the main cause for Cyprus’ woes is its politicians and that with these people deciding our fate it was not only impossible to hope for better things but we should be grateful that we have not suffered much worse.

Omirou admits the huge responsibility of our political establishment but at the same time he tries to absolve himself and his party, claiming ‘smaller’ responsibility in comparison to the others.

The EDEK leader refers to the funding of political parties by Focus Maritime Corporation, noting that the revelations were “followed by a deathly silence”, bemoaning the fact that this cast a shadow over all the parties, “recipients” and “non-recipients”. He demands that “abundant light is shed on the corruption that existed in public life.”

I fully agree that abundant light should be shed on political corruption and that we need to know who received the €2 million from Focus. But this is not the only money that has gone to political party coffers. The corruption did not appear yesterday, but has existed for as long there have been political parties in Cyprus.

Consequently, that abundant light should be shed on all the corruption and all the scoundrels. I suggest that Omirou sets the example by starting with his own party. DISY has done this with the public admission that in 2008 it received €800,000 from a group of ship-owners, an amount that could have come from Focus’ €2m.

Why doesn’t Omirou start by revealing how much corruption was funded by the company CyproLibyan, which was linked to EDEK? Or how much his party received from businessmen? It is well-known that for many years one of the biggest companies of Cyprus funded both DISY and EDEK. One of the partners would deliver money to the DISY offices and another partner to the offices of EDEK. I am not saying that these contributions were illegal, but if Omirou wants “abundant light” he should not opt for “deathly silence” in the case of his own party’s funding.

Elsewhere in his article, the EDEK chief calls for an end to “purchased populism” and “ruthless demagoguery” and for courageous changes to be made that “would crush the distortions and interest groups of every kind.”

He really surpasses himself when he asks for “progressive modernisation aimed at social cohesion and the scrapping of the privileges for the few.” Omirou is shamelessly taking us for a ride, when we consider that the worst populism and the most ruthless demagoguery is expressed by his own party.

How will the distortions and the privileges of the few be eliminated when he and EDEK support the most horrible distortions that exist in this country, protecting all the privileged and all the provocative super-privileges they enjoy in the civil service and the semi-governmental organisations in which the “small kingdoms” still operate?

Is it not Omirou and EDEK who have been passionately campaigning every day for the preservation of the fiefdoms of CyTA, EAC, the ports and CyBC so that their scandalously privileged employees would continue to enjoy the privileges of extortionate wages, free pensions and free retirement bonuses? Where does Omirou find this audacity and who does he think he is fooling?

I do not need to repeat what I have always said, now that no lesser person than the President of the House has come clean. With these politicians deciding our fate we must thank the Lord that we have not suffered much worse.

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