By Loucas Charalambous
OVER the years I have probably dealt with the national scourge of the semi-governmental organisations more than anyone else.
Citing indisputable facts and figures, on numerous occasions over the last two decades, I have highlighted the horrific consequences of their being maintained by the state on borrowed money and have persistently highlighted the need to end the way they drain the economy.
The CyBC and Cyprus Airways are the two worst cases. Their desperate situation that was related at the House in the last week exposed, more than anything else, the astounding guilt of our political demagogues who created the whole fiasco.
It is inevitable that the situation should incur the wrath of tax-paying citizens who are called on to pay the bill for the hundreds of millions of losses. More infuriating than anything else is the audacity and callousness of the guilty – our political wizards who created and for so many years maintained these gangrenes which they used to offer employment to their voters.
Even now, faced with the disaster zone caused by their recklessness they persist with their hypocrisy and populism.
And worst of the lot, as usual, are the political opportunists of the AKEL leadership. Their nerve is astounding.
“The government does not have the political will to save Cyprus Airways,” declared AKEL deputy Stavros Evagorou on Tuesday and added: “We call on the government to re-consider its policy immediately and act, even now, to save our national carrier.”
The rest of the demagogues were on the same wavelength. Nicolas Papadopoulos also called on the government to save the company, while Giorgos Lillikas asked it “to consider the damage that would be caused to the economy and tourism industry”.
It makes you wonder whether these people know what they are talking about. For so many decades, and while enjoying monopolistic status, this company was making losses. How is it possible for it to be saved and survive in conditions of open competition? Our economy has nothing to lose from the closing of the company. In fact it would gain from it as it would no longer have to pay the cost of keeping it afloat.
Of course, neither Evagorou nor the others are unaware of the truth – that the company has died. In reality it died many years ago. It was kept on a life-support machine, with the state spending millions of the taxpayer’s money on it, so as to serve the needs of the parties.
They are continuing their demagoguery on saving the company simply to win the votes of the airline’s employees. This is the only thing that interests them. When they say that the company must be saved, they mean that the state should carry on funding it with borrowed money that the taxpayer would be burdened with just so the overpaid employees could carry on being paid their big wages.
We should carry on doing what we have been doing for years. This is the insane demand of the politicians. It is as insane as the slogan on the placards held by the airline’s protesting employees which said “the country needs a national carrier.” This national carrier turned out to be a national Minotaur that was fed for 60 years with the blood of the taxpayer; the same taxpayer who will pick up the €10 million bill for compensating the airline’s workers.
Cyprus Airways workers should not forget that they are as much to blame for the state of their company. I still remember the audacity with which a union boss responded in 2005 after a journalist observed that their pay was unreasonably high. “When employees demand and are given what they demanded why should they not accept this?”
Perhaps they will realise that apart from the unforgivable sins of the politicians, today they are also paying for their own.