By George Psyllides
Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos has asked the attorney-general for legal advice about regulations concerning the management of beaches that parliament approved in a bid to serve private interests, in violation of a European Union directive.
A statement issued on Monday said Hasikos has asked the attorney-general for advice on how to proceed after parties refused to pass the government-proposed regulations because they did not want to hurt the interests of (mostly) the owners of water sports facilities in the Famagusta area.
The crux of the matter is the MPs action to pass regulations that allowed current operators to keep their privileges in public beaches.
In a letter to the attorney-general, Hasikos said the parliament’s action, but especially the keenness displayed by certain MPs to protect specific interests “raises reasonable suspicion and questions.”
Instead of acting within the broader framework of legality, parliament apparently legislated under the pressure of specific private interests and not for the wider public interest and obligations as an EU member-state, Hasikos said.
The regulations were submitted by the government but parties amended them to facilitate current operators who have exploited public beaches for years.
The government had initially tabled a law in 2013 to do away with discrimination and allow free competition.
Parliament amended the law to serve vested interests but President Nicos Anastasiades refused to sign it and referred it to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled that the law passed by parliament was in violation of the EU directive.
The law only allowed operators with five years experience in the provision of the service in the area in question to take part in public tenders.
In November, the cabinet approved an amendment, reducing the experience from five to three years and allowed anyone to take part either from Cyprus or the EU.
The regulation was rejected by the parties on Thursday, parliament’s last session before Christmas.
Ruling DISY had tabled an amendment providing that anyone from Cyprus with five years experience could take part, but excluded the EU. It was rejected by the other parties.
The issue falls within the terms of reference of the House Interior Committee. During discussion of the matter earlier this month, the operators’ were represented by lawyer Aristofanis Georgiou, a former AKEL MP.
By George Psyllides