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Polis residents slam auditor-general’s criticism of new road (Updated)

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides’ views and arguments on why a government decision to build a new road connecting Paphos and Polis Chrysochous should be reversed are unacceptable, various area officials and stakeholders said in a joint statement on Friday.

“No-one, no government or independent service, should ever cite such arguments to oppose such projects,” the statement said.

The Polis residents were protesting Michaelides’ argument that the planned four-lane motorway is “economically unviable” and should be scrapped in favour of a new two-lane road.

“Using the same criteria, there should be no roads in any villages, there should be no power or water supply, and no schools and kindergartens, since they are economically unviable,” the statement said.

The mayor of Polis Chrysochous, local community leaders and other stakeholders asked whether the Polis hospital should also be closed down on the same grounds.

“The state has a responsibility to undertake infrastructure projects, so that they can have the opportunity to develop and survive in the future,” they said.

Additionally, they wondered why these views were not aired over similar public projects in the past, or others planned for the future, noting that “there are likely other reasons”.

They called on the government to ignore the auditor-general’s views and press ahead with building the road as planned, and on political parties to back the project unanimously when it is put to a vote in parliament.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades declined comment on Michaelides’ objections but noted that the government budget “will not change”.

“I don’t comment on remarks by the Auditor General in public,” he said.

“There has been a written response.”

The government budget, the minister added, as approved by the cabinet, “includes this project, just as it includes a series of other very important projects”.

“The 2018 budget is a development-focused budget and it includes the Paphos district, with its existing needs and the important growth potential that this project will create,” Georgiades said.

“The budget will be forwarded to parliament in the coming days, and it will make final decisions on the budget as a whole, and of course for this project as well.”

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