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OpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Tears and tantrums as Dikhead losers shown the door

A forlorn-looking Nik having had to oust the Dikhead ministers

By Patroclos

THIS ESTABLISHMENT will not follow the example of Prez Nik and speak graciously of the penny-pinching Professor Panicos, because he decided to do us all a big favour resign as Governor of the Central Bank. We speak kindly only of people that pass away and as Panicos is in rude good health we see no reason to say anything nice about him.

The Professor collected close to 300 grand in order to step down, “mainly for personal and family reasons” which would not have existed if the pay-off offer was 50 grand. The only real surprise was that he settled for such a small amount, considering last October, in order to quit “mainly, for personal and family reasons,” he was demanding in a excess of a million euro – €1.6m was his starting position to be precise.

Why did he offer us such a big discount now? The amount covers only two of the three years remaining on his contract. The speculation was that he cut a deal, at a drastically discounted price, because he was afraid of facing charges. When he had discussed this possibility last year, there was no investigation in progress, so he could name his price.

Even the amount he settled for was 300 grand too much for someone that performed his duties so inadequately. But in the state sector professional inadequacy and failure has always been very well rewarded and it would have been grossly unfair if the professor left without a generous reward for the destruction of the banking sector, towards which he made a significant contribution. Not everyone could have done it.

Perhaps Bank of Piraeus could reimburse the state as it was the only bank that benefited from Panicos’ stint as Governor. He was literally its saviour, selling the operations of the Cypriot banks in Greece at a fifth of the value of their assets, thus making Piraeus a viable bank again. Paying the 300 grand for such a gift is the least the bank should do.

 

HACKS and politicians, who have a talent for making a big issue out of irrelevant details and minor technicalities, after decades of dealing with the Cyprob, were concerned about what fund the money came from.

Why had it not been paid by the Central Bank they asked? And why had he been paid such compensation when there was no provision for it in his contract?

The truth is that 300 grand was a small price to pay for getting rid of this disaster-wreaking governor. Had he stayed his position for another three years, his decisions could have cost the economy a few hundred millions and that was the best-case scenario.

In the worst case we could have been left with no banking system, so paying him to go – even if the money came from the state fund for widows and orphans or for refugee single mothers – was the best thing the government could have done.

 

IN A BRIEF statement he made about his resignation, the professor said “my actions were always aimed at ensuring confidence and stability in our financial system.” This was an unintentional admission of his dismal failure.

Had his actions been successful he would not have insisted that his compensation money was deposited in a bank account abroad. Whichever way you look at it, making the payment abroad one of the conditions of the resignation deal was not exactly a vote of confidence by the Governor in our financial system.

Had he left the money in a bank in Cyprus, we may even have believed his boast that “I have always acted in the best interests of our country.” The transfer of the money abroad was also a violation of the capital controls imposed by the Central Bank, but who cares.

 

THE NEWS of Panicos’ exit brought joy and jubilation to some sections of the Central Bank staff viewing his departure as signalling an end to the reign of terror and intimidation he had imposed, with the help of his inner circle and Security Service.

The members of the inner circle, according to our mole, were not too happy. His PA and AKEL appartchik, Eleni Markadji, also known as Cruella de Village, was in tears when she heard the news, aware that her days as the acting governor, barking orders at everyone, were over. It is back to secretarial duties for her, in some pokey little office, answering the phone, typing letters and reminiscing about her glorious past.

Meanwhile, the head of the Governor’s Office and Communications, the gormless GG packed his bags and went home as soon as he heard the news. The distraught communications chief was incommunicado on the day the governor resigned.

 

LITTLE is known, outside the Central Bank, about Panicos’ personal security team that was hired on his initiative as soon as he took over and was paid directly from the Governor’s budget that is checked by nobody. It gave the bank the image of a mini-police state, Panicos’ heavies roaming the premises checking on people.

Four of the heavies were hired as chauffeurs – of the two chauffeurs already employed one retired and the other was put in charge of the flower-pots – and in charge of the team was a former frogman hired as a security consultant. There were another two – a former National Guard commando and one woman who was hired as the chauffeur of the governor’s wife who decided to stay in England.

Despite the fact that Mrs Demetriades did not live in Kyproulla, the Central Bank carried on paying her chauffeur. It is amazing that the Central Bank pays for a chauffeur for the governor’s wife, not to mention the seven-member security detail for Panicos who obviously likes to pose as a tribal warlord.

 

IF ONLY Prez Nik could have paid the three DIKO ministers he was forced to sack by Averof, a small compensation, he would not have felt so guilty about his decision. Such was his guilt that he cried during his speech at Friday’s swearing-in ceremony for the new ministers at the presidential palace.

It was a shock to see him cry over such a trivial issue. Honestly, were the departures of Fotiou, Kenevezos and Petrides from the cabinet something worth crying in public about? Would they be such a loss to the government? The prez should have been overjoyed to get rid of those losers.

We have never seen Nik in tears before, but it seems the late Ethnarch set a trend in 2004 (he cried for the Republic), that was also followed by the comrade who wept in public for AKEL. What is it that makes these guys so embarrassingly emotional? Why do they all see themselves as benevolent grandfathers who want to be good to everyone?

We wanted the Nik that threw ashtrays at people that crossed him, as president, and not some sentimental softy that wants to be loved.

 

HIS GUILT was justified as he had stitched up the three Dikheads. He had assured them that he would keep them in the government despite Ethnarch Junior’s demand that he sacked them. All three quit the party so they could keep their ministerial posts, which pay much better than DIKO membership, and subsequently were told by Nik they would be axed.

The reason for this was that DISY chief Averof, had threatened to withdraw his party’s support for the government if the three stayed at their ministries. The wily Averof probably did this as a favour to his good buddy Junior, sparing him the public humiliation of being so provocatively snubbed by the prez.

Nik may have given in to Averof, but he could not resist the temptation to ridicule the spoilt brat Junior. Two of the three new ministers he appointed were also DIKO members, causing Junior to carry on his public moaning and moralising.

Interestingly, Junior only complained about one of the Dikheads appointed. He said nothing about the appointment as education minister of Costas Kadis, who had served as minister for his father and had been appointed chairman of the CTO in December on his suggestion.

This was because Kadis’ appointment had the blessing of the Archbishop and Junior did not want to make any more enemies this week. Having half of DIKO bad-mouthing him for pulling out of the government was enough.

The Archbishop was on radio on Friday singing the praises of the regular church-goer Kadis, who looks like a preacher that fasts for much longer than the regulation 40 days.

Why do presidents ask for the Archbishop’s approval (even Tof did it) before appointing an education minister? Chrys is no expert on educational matters and that is putting it mildly.

 

POOR old Junior has been made to look like a complete novice. His claims that Nik was behaving like a party boss, hell-bent on undermining DIKO was just too ridiculous for words. It was not as if Nik had put a gun to the heads of DIKO members to force them to become ministers.

As everyone knows, people join DIKO in order to get promotion at work, in order to get themselves or kids appointed to a state or SGO job, to get a seat on the board of the SGO, to land a government contract or to become a minister. Fotiou, Kenevezos, Petrides, Lakkotrypis and the newly appointed ministers behaved in the true DIKO spirit, in snubbing their party for the sake of a ministry.

But Junior is too immature, selfish and spoilt to understand that ‘greater love hath no Dikhead than this: to sacrifice his party membership for a ministerial post’. The knowledge of this was enough to bring tears to Nik’s eyes.

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