Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

In ignorance we trust

Market stallholders had little time for a visit from those on high

By Hermes Solomon

Last Saturday week, the DISY MEP elections ‘circus’ bus arrived outside the entry to the Nicosia Oxi fruit and veg market, whereupon politicians and the party gratefully faithful, bodyguards and hugging media disembarked.
DISY leader, Averof Neophytou sallied forth into the market (real world) with DISY MEP, Eleni Theocharos hanging erectly onto his left shoulder and DISY deputy leader, Lefteris Christoforou loosely onto the right. Bodyguards and party faithful brought up the rear as cameramen and reporters flitted about like bees around a honey pot.

But to DISY’s dismay nobody took a blind bit of notice of the ensuing pantomime; not a single stallholder, shopper or market café backgammon player flickered an eyelid.
And just what did the EU election canvassers expect, stallholders having endured a year of rising costs, increased taxation and reduced income with Averof smiling condescendingly along the aisles as if he’d just popped down from heaven in answer to their prayers with promises to pay their bills? Promises, yet more promises!

You know how it is, you walk by a public figure and only after having done so do you realise who he was. It happened to me that morning and I was suddenly struck by how politicians’ physiques/personas fail to match their public images. Averof didn’t strike me as other than insignificant while Eleni towered above him like a tight-lipped giraffe, upright in bright sunlight. Lefteris seemed embarrassed and out of his depth as party faithful looked on vacuously.
Was there a single ‘fine’ brain among the lot of ‘em, I wondered?

And a myriad of questions crossed my mind as I and my wife put distance between us and the pantomime. I should like to have asked Eleni in French whether she preferred living in Brussels to Nicosia and what she had accomplished in the interests of Cyprus during her past five MEP years. Would she have been dumbfounded or fluently responsive?

I would also have asked Averof whether he was plain mad or just pretending to be when responding to irate stallholders by requesting they temper their language, blushing behind interminable pauses and weird and wonderful facial expressions.

And just what was Lefteris doing there that morning. He certainly didn’t seem comfortable playing second fiddle to a speechless Eleni and increasingly ruffled Averof.

So many questions flitted across my mind as I exited the market only to be confronted by the House Ethics Committee chairman, EVROKO leader, Demetris Syllouris, with whom I exchanged ‘bonjours’, his regard hitting his heels as soon as he realised the contempt directed at him in mine.

How can DISY present this man as their MEP candidate for the forthcoming EP elections – he who has spent this past 18 months ‘investigating’ banking theft and the illegal movement of capital, refusing to name ‘blatantly indictable’ names and concluding that only those who moved capital during the two weeks when banks were closed would be named – and that only after the new Central Bank governor, Chrystalla Georkadji, recently produced ‘a list’?

Didn’t Syllouris know at the outset of the investigation that nobody’s interested in those who moved money during the year preceding the collapse of our banks? What is anyone expected to do with eleven thousand names anyway?
The House Ethics Committee’s investigation should first have identified those who moved huge chunks of capital out immediately prior to the collapse, (former board members and executives of our “major lenders” who, according to Stockwatch, helped themselves to over one billion euros in loans at low-interest without collateral) and not just those who moved capital during the two week bank closure.

And to cap it all, the House Ethics Committee decided last Wednesday not to publish any names, claiming the committee wanted to give time to the Central Bank governor to process the data and decide by the end of June.
Talk about devious diversions! Never ending nonsense it all is, isn’t it?
Syllouris ‘had’ done a great job of hushing things up for the blatantly guilty until Chrystalla opened her mouth, putting the cat among the pigeons and giving Averof a genuine reason for raving madly! It is clear that the political clowns of this political circus are seeking to protect their own skins.

Then is Syllouris the sort of man we want to represent our interests in Europe? Like Judas, he sold his party, EVROKO to DISY in exchange for a seat in Brussels. I expect to see him hanging by his neck from a cercis siliquastrum as soon as DISY ‘money movers’ are indicted – if ever!

It is more than simply rumoured that all moneyed politicians moved their dosh out immediately prior to bank closures, apart, that is, from MEP, Kyriacos Triantafyllides, whose surname translates as Roseleaf and not Rosebud!
Triantaphyllides (Progressive Party of Working People, which I’ve never heard of) is not standing for a second term at the forthcoming MEP elections for the simple reason that his savings were ‘stolen’ by the bail-in and he is now stony broke.

Nobody warned him to move his dosh out in time he says, claiming he is not a member of the elite. Understandable, since Roseleaf spent much of his life teaching the gentle art of social sciences in New Zealand. He was educated to put ‘the people’ before self, whereas the opposite is true of our ill-educated elite.

I overheard a stallholder telling Averof where to get off, saying that the state was rotten to its very core and until the rot was cut out, her unsold fruit and veg would continue decomposing in keeping with the island’s economy.
Recession harms the populace from the poor up whereas growth benefits the populace from the rich down.’

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