Cyprus Mail
CM Regular Columnist

Next year will see the make or break of Cyprus

By Hermes Solomon

Last week’s lowering of unemployment and increase in company registrations should give us hope of an economic upturn no matter how slight.

But without giving us comparative levels of income and equivalent number of business closures, we are really still none the wiser. Statisticians rigging numbers during times of recession has become widespread; streetwalkers with an open eye and mind are better judges of the true state of any economy.

Is the Icelandic way forward the only way; or maybe Argentina, which 12 years after defaulting is still at the mercy of the IMF? And neither of those countries has a neighbouring predator intimidating us to ‘play’ with them.

Can Cyprus still claim to be ignorant of the ‘charitable trust’ ways of the IMF?

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit-man wrote, “Major western nations use financial warfare to get what they want and gain influence over other countries – the IMF being one of the tools with which they do this.”

Did the IMF give us enough rope by which to hang ourselves and is recent Turkish naval intimidation simply another of their tools?
That 10 billion euro Emergency Liquidity Loan cannot be repaid without laying the country to waste and losing our income stream. The squeals of the Vouli make things worse. Cyprus should never have got into this position. Or as an Irish politician might say, “To get there I would not start from here.”

DISY did its obsequious best to avert confrontation over the Bank of Cyprus devaluation of Russian board member interests by soliciting Russian patience at the recent Russia-Cyprus 8th Charity Gala at the Presidential Palace Gardens, attended by ministers, ambassadors and official guests from both countries. But Russian disaffection will not be easily mollified.

And last week, in yet another attempt to part the inscrutable Chinese (who we failed to fool over an Aristo development in Paphos as well as the leasing of the old Larnaca Airport) from their money, ‘dignitaries’ indulged a Cyprus-China cultural exchange with a public performance by China Wuxi Performing Arts Group held at the ‘Royal Hall’ (who has ever heard of it?) preceded the evening before by a Chinese-Cypriot photographic exhibition, cocktails and speeches at the Famagusta Gate in Nicosia.

During his Sino-Cypriot friendship discours, DISY’s Prodromos Prodromou called them ‘his communist (rather than Chinese) friends’, the Chinese ambassador responding that the Democratic Republic of China and Cyprus were drawing ever closer by the day.

Strangely, representations from other political parties, AKEL in particular, were noticeable by their absence. Is DISY running its own ‘keep loving Cyprus whatever’ show?

Zheng Kai, a Nicosia oriental foodstuffs importer, claimed that the Wuxi collection of photographs showed how a town (near Shanghai) of over six million inhabitants had successfully combined its ancient ‘Garden City’ with modern skyscrapers, whereas the Cyprus collection could only display photographs of ancient Greek, Roman, Frankish and Venetian ruins dotted loosely about the island, and nothing new of late to be proud of.

When will we stop living in another marauding nation’s past?

Almost all present were photographed at different times posing clustered about a tired looking President Anastasiades (London, New York, Brussels all in a few days, plus Russian and Chinese diplomacy immediately on his return home, proving he is a 68-year-old-man of extraordinary stamina but few solutions) his fixed smile/grimace observing the lithe and gorgeous Chinese artistes, while weakly pampering those adorable looking children born of Sino-Cypriot marriages.

What can we offer in exchange for Chinese culture, and hopefully, investment; ancient ruins and concrete jungles? Old Nicosia is a public disgrace – dirty, humiliating and slum-like.

Yes, self-deprecating Nicosia mayor, Constantinos Yiorkadjis was present and ignored by all. Unlike Averof Neophytou, Nicos’ lap dog, spotlight seeking and ubiquitous, gloating like a vulture waiting to ‘snatch the crown’.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But we have been spoilt rotten since independence and there are no tough-guys left – only slum dog, self-ingratiating millionaires.

And as if to undermine DISY’s recent hard work in securing ‘excellent’ diplomatic relations with the ‘Big Three’, the Greek foreign ministry issued ultimatums to Turkey last week redolent of the psychotic build up to the Greek regime’s 1974 coup d’état.

Push Turkey into another confrontation and they’ll take the rest of the island.

Turkish opposition to Cyprus gas exploration requires we settle the Cyprob post haste. And we won’t settle it by wasting time dancing to the tune of the ‘Big Three’. Bums must be glued to chairs until the Cyprob is resolved.

And that’s exactly what our politicians are afraid of – glue and resolution! Any excuse will suffice to play away…
These are extremely dangerous times and I would not like to predict the outcome of our fossil fuel games with China, Russia or the US to the exclusion of Turkey.

Whether Christian or Muslim, who cares when oil is at stake? Drilling rigs are today’s cathedrals/mosques and oil corporations today’s bishops/imams. We, the congregation, will be massacred if we step outside the church/mosque door.

Think I’ll take up fishing. The trouble is there’s no fish in our seas worth exploiting anymore. Cyprus has already wasted its few meagre resources, and fossil fuel wealth (if ever) is at least a decade away, whereas resolution of our bankrupt banks and the Cyprob are inescapably written into tomorrow’s agenda.

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