Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

National Guard bugging case in a joke state

General Andreas Papapavlou

By Loucas Charalambous

I HAVE written many times about our lack of seriousness as a state. This is illustrated regularly through the activities of officials and representatives of this country on all levels.

I hear people every day saying: ‘nothing works properly in this country, there is no state and we are lamentable.’ I would say that we are joke. In reality we do not have a normal state but an imitation of a state. And we should at some point ask ourselves whether we are more of a pseudo-state than that in the north. I have little doubt that we are and I do not think we should be ashamed to admit it.

To an extent, President Nicos Anastasiades has admitted this. In his effort to persuade us of the need to establish positions of deputy ministers so that he can distribute them among his cronies, he said a few days ago that the ministries were full of kingdoms, duchies, princes and dukes.

What he refuses to admit is that his actions contribute to cementing this situation instead of fighting it. Two more illustrations of this behaviour were provided recently.

On July 17, it was revealed that the deputy chief of the National Guard, General Andreas Papapavlou, showing an incredible level of irresponsibility, invited two Greek Cypriot security officers from the British bases to investigate whether bugs and secret cameras had been placed in his office, because he suspected that he was under surveillance. Other officers alerted the police who arrested the bases officers in the ground of the National Guard HQ and took them in for questioning.

This was a serious issue, the president was informed and on his orders the two men were released because there was a possibility of a diplomatic incident with the British. Papapavlou tendered his resignation over what happened, but on August 11 it was announced that Anastasiades “had not accepted the resignation”.

The explanation given for this bizarre decision was that the attorney general had come to the conclusion that no criminal offence had been committed and “despite the fact that the action was undoubtedly mistaken, in regard to which very strict recommendations had been made, the President of the Republic, considers that the priority at this time was the preservation of a climate of calm and unity within the ranks the National Guard.”

Now, what kind of calm is likely to prevail now the hero of this comical story has been kept in his place, only Anastasiades can explain. Is it really possible for the deputy head of the army of a state to call in officers working for an army of another state to search for possible bugs placed in his office by his colleagues, and for the president that appointed him, instead of sacking him, leaving him in his position by arguing idiotically that, in this way, unity will be preserved? When the last private of the National Guard is having a laugh about his deputy chief’s antics, what “climate of calm” is the president talking about? And who does he think he is kidding?

Two weeks later, on August 27, the chairman of Cyprus Airways (another appointed mate of the president) Tony Antoniou, who had been investigated in connection with financial irregularities, submitted his resignation on “on grounds of sensitivity”.

Even though the investigation had not found any criminal offence had been committed, in this case, the president accepted the resignation. Presumably he decided that the “climate of unity” at the bankrupt company was not in danger from Antoniou’s resignation.

These are the kind of things that are happening in our ridiculous state. And nobody protests about them or seem in the least bothered. This could be because we have come to consider these bizarre happenings simply part of daily life in our joke of a state.

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