Cyprus Mail

KEVE accused of impeding Famagusta development

Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos

By Andria Kades

PROTARAS mayor Theodoros Pyrillis has accused the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (KEVE) of accommodating business circles which are interfering with state services on purpose to quash development of the Famagusta district.

“KEVE, the board of directors and the Famugusta Chamber of Commerce (EVEA) are fighting us and withholding our right to be fairly represented,” Pyrillis said amid accusations that conflicts of interest between competing cities were the reason the marinas in Protaras and Ayia Napa were not moving forward.

He accused EVEA of having a board of directors that was comprised of people from Famagusta but who lived and owned businesses in other cities such as Limassol and therefore did not want Protaras to develop.

“Let’s face it. Cities are competing with each other,” Pyrillis said.

EVEA general secretary Iakovos Hadjivarnavas dismissed the accusations calling them “ridiculous, unacceptable and outrageous”.

“Of course there are businessmen on the board of directors that live and work in Famagusta,” he said, adding that those in other cities were not there by choice but had been forced out of the area by the invasion.

EVEA had in fact been the pioneers of creating a marina not only across the country but even in Famagusta discussing the idea over 10 years ago and creating a company to promote the works he said. The dispute is simply a result of a long standing effort by Pyrillis to create a separate district Chamber of Commerce, Hadjivarnavas told the Cyprus Mail.

Pyrillis agreed that was his plan but stressed it was because of the conflict of interests currently existing in EVEA, which has an office in both Limassol and Famagusta.

The mayors of Protaras and Ayia Napa told the House commerce committee on Tuesday that developments for the marinas were not moving forward because of the “vested interests of some business circles that interfere with state services”.

Pyrillis referred to a 16 page document sitting at the attorney-general’s office for over three months waiting for a legal opinion on the tender documents. On Wednesday he said he was informed by the ministry of commerce he would have an answer within three days.

Had they responded in adequate time, the tenders could have finished by now, he said.

“I want to be clear that the current government has supported us and we have no complaints,” ruling out the possibility that the problem could have been caused by anything other than his cited “business circles”.

“We are tired of something new coming up every now and then stopping us from moving forward (with the marina),” Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos told the Cyprus Mail.

He said “some people” wanted the area’s development postponed as long as possible “because of competition”. He cited the antiquities department as an example of the delays. It had asked for a study to determine whether there were any antiquities on the sea floor in the area just before the town planning permit was to be issued.

“Why did they not ask for it much earlier to save time?” he said, adding how he had been kept running back and forth to bring different departments – which he would not name – different documents to no end and no final result.

“Every week they find something else.”

Hadjivarnava said this was nothing out of the ordinary and standard technocratic procedures that had to be followed.

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