Cyprus Mail

Former MP says turtle fracas exaggerated, event brought millions

Photograph posted by Conservationist group Terra Cypria showing preparation works at Anassa hotel underway for Thursday's wedding

Former Akel MP Kyriakos Tyrimos on Friday criticised environmentalists whose actions upset the wedding plans of a Russian family, saying millions were spent on the three-day affair held at the luxurious Anassa hotel in Paphos.

As part of the wedding reception, the hotel used heavy excavators to flatten the beach and build a platform.

Singer Christina Aguilera had been booked to perform for the Russian newlyweds and their guests on Wednesday evening.

The hotel had secured a permit from the local authorities, revoked after concerned people flooded social media protesting that the party preparations were endangering turtles on the beach, which is a protected area. The reception was eventually held inside.

Crews were working on Friday to restore the beach without using heavy machinery.

The former MP, who attended the wedding, said the reactions of the environmentalists were exaggerated.

“Why did they not have the same sensitivity when the Argaka forest burnt?” he said, in a written statement. “Is the exposure that our island received abroad negligible? I think some things that will benefit our country must be dealt with more seriously.”

He raised the question why environmentalists have not reacted to the many violations which have taken place in the area, where houses, villas, and apartment blocks have been built illegally.

The wedding lasted three days, millions of euros were spent, and some of the foreign guests expressed their desire to invest in Cyprus, he added.

He also noted the platform was built in an area where there are sunbeds and umbrellas every day anyway, so no environmental disaster took place.

Tyrimos said the Russian businessman and his family lived in Limassol until 2012 and this is where his daughters grew up. In recent years, they have been living in Switzerland and the family is active internationally and has offices in Cyprus as well as in England, Switzerland, Russia and elsewhere.

According to Tyrimos, the family knows the Akamas area where they spent their holidays when they lived in Cyprus and had visited the island earlier this summer for discussions with the hotel during which they made some requests that were accepted.

The permit for the beach party had been issued by the Paphos district office.

It’s understood it was granted on condition that any works carried out at the site would not cause any damage to the environment – especially the rare species of turtles that nests there – and that any installations would be dismantled once the event was over.

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