Cyprus Mail

Hasikos amends watersport licensing bill

CM archive photo

By Andria Kades

INTERIOR Minister Socrates Hasikos has submitted a bill to parliament to amend what he calls corrupt regulations over water sport tenders.

Officially submitted on Thursday, he slammed MPs for serving “private interests” of existing business owners that run water sports across different cities on the island.

As the regulations stand at the moment, anyone who wants to bid must have five years of experience in that specific area essentially “painting a picture” of who is allowed to express interest and thus allowing existing business owners to continue operation.

This contradicts EU directives that allow for a free and open competition.

Hasikos’ proposal – which has long been known – is that the number of years in experience is reduced to three but the bidder can have experience from anywhere in the EU.

“We hope this will be discussed in the relevant house committee as soon as possible, as summer is soon approaching and we need the water sports,” interior ministry spokesman Michalis Michalaki said.

Previously, the Attorney-general issued a ruling advising all municipalities to sideline the current regulations and abide with the EU directives, outlining that any tender losing the bid could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Across the country, mayors were conflicted as they were torn between the existing parliament regulation and rulings by the AG.

The legal dispute left Ayia Napa without water sports, while Limassol mayor Andreas Christou came under fire last month when he received a letter from the AG saying his actions over water sports tenders were illegal. Christou abided with the five year experience in the specific area regulation.

Appearing defiant, he said “if the government considers we are wrong it should find a solution with parliament,” stressing they were following a parliamentary decision and although the government’s opinion was of course respected, “we are not obliged to follow it.”

“The Auditor-general says one thing, parliament says another… only the court can decide if we acted unlawfully.”

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