Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Retreating from the silly season

The presidential retreat in Troodos

AS EVERYONE knows we have just been through the slowest week of the year for news. This is the week politicians go on holiday, party publicity departments close down, government offices operate with skeleton staff, state broadcaster CyBC replaces its morning current affairs show with music, Nicosia empties and Prez Nik moves to the summer residence on Troodos.

One of his small mercies, while on his Troodos break, is to generate some news on the August 15 public holiday when television stations are desperately searching for some serious-sounding local stories to put on their evening news show, which usually feature fluffy scoops about the scorching heat, empty capital and packed beaches.

On the morning of August 15, he takes the short trip from the residence to the Panayia Trikoukiotissa church close to Prodromos village, for the service after which he makes statements about the Cyprob to the gathered film crews and mingles with the faithful. Last Wednesday, however, he disappointed the TV film crews by not showing up and making the content of the evening news shows poorer.

All Tuesday, the government spokesman’s office was taking calls from the TV stations seeking confirmation of the prez’s attendance of the church service, not wanting to send crews all the way to Prodromos, first thing on a public holiday, for nothing. There was no confirmation, without the possibility being ruled out, but in the end we did not get to hear Nik underlining his eagerness to return to the peace talks on the Wednesday TV news. That would have been real news.


THE PREZ had no intention to stand up the film crews on a public holiday, but he did not want to commit to something he might not be in the mood to do when he woke up in the morning. He told his security detail, the night before to be ready for the morning trip to the Church, but in the morning he could not be bothered to go.

Can you blame him, for not being bothered? He was on holiday. The last thing you want to do on holiday is to put on a suit and tie first thing in the morning, in order to sit through a boring church service, followed by the obligatory handshakes, fakes smiles and small-talk with all the faithful present.

And to cap it all, having to face the TV film crews asking tedious questions about the Cyprob that have been answered a thousand times before. Nik has our establishment’s full sympathy for passing on the trip to Trikoukiotissa. If anything he showed his human side by saying to hell with the church service, the well-wishers and hacks – I am chilling today.


IN THE ABSENCE of news, much was made of the report about Turkish warships ordering a Greek Cypriot fishing boat, in international waters close to Turkey, to leave the area. The Turks threatened to arrest the crew if the captain did not follow the orders.

The owner of the fishing boat, Aristos Aristidou, who reported the incident to Tass news agency, has the company Ta Psarokaika that operates a fleet of fishing boats. Being a Disy stalwart, Aristidou was given the licence to operate a fleet of fishing boats, soon after Prez Nik’s election in 2013. All the state services, at the time, had argued against the issuing of the licence, because of the fast-depleting fish stocks in the eastern Mediterranean, but they were overruled by Nik, who put his environmental sensitivities aside, in order to satisfy a loyal supporter.

Aristidou’s company is now the island’s biggest supplier of fresh fish. His daughter Mariella Aristidou was elected a Disy deputy for Kyrenia in 2016, with a little help from her dad. During the election campaign, other Disy candidates complained about unfair competition because Aristos was arranging fish dinners for and giving out free fish to Kyrenia-registered voters. It could be said the fish got her elected.


AT THE beginning of July, Akel chief Andros Kyprianou felt unwell and went to the Nicosia General Hospital for a check-up. The doctors who examined him told him he had an aortic aneurism and would need an operation, but comrade Andros decided it would be better if he got a second opinion so he went to a private hospital, that specialises in cardiothoracic surgery.

After being examined, he was told that he had no aortic aneurism and told to go home; he did not need surgery. Being a committed commie, that has to show his total faith in public hospitals, he engaged in a little disinformation in his tweet thanking people for their support.

Andros [email protected] tweeted: “Thanks very much to all those who showed an interest about my health. All went well. I warmly thank the doctors of the Nicosia General Hospital and my cardiologist.” Party ideology did not permit him to mention the doctors of Nicosia General, whom he warmly thanked, got their diagnosis completely wrong, and that he was spared undergoing an operation he did not need by his (private) cardiologist.  He was never going to tweet, “thank heavens for private hospitals.”


AKELITE leaders champion public healthcare, but for their own healthcare they go private as the taxpayer picks up the bill anyway. Comrade Tof twice went to the UK for operations that could have been performed in Kyproulla.

First, he put aside his hatred for the imperialist Brits and had a heart bypass operation in the UK showing little faith in the Cypriot hospital surgeons trained at Soviet universities. A few years later he returned to duplicitous Albion for a kidney transplant, which could have easily been performed here and not by a Soviet-trained surgeon. This year, he reportedly flew to Cuba for some treatment, at last showing some faith in commie medics, while continuing distrusting Cypriot doctors.


SPEAKING of hypocrisy, I am informed that the Filos Fylaktou, the head of the primary teachers union Poed, is so committed to public education, which is under threat from the government, he sent his kids to a private primary school in Nicosia. This was back when Highgate was still located in Nicosia’s Ayios Andreas district and may have been before Filios became the Poed boss.

As regards the teaching dispute, Prez Nik is sticking to his resolute stand, telling his associates he has no intention of backing down. Another set of proposals was sent to the teaching unions last week, which I will not bore you with, because I just could not force myself to read them. I did come across a sound idea for resolving the dispute, uttered some time ago by American satirist P.J. O’Rourke.

He said: “Let’s re-introduce corporal punishment in the schools – and use it on the teachers.”


HAPPY to see that not even attorney-general Costas Clerides took seriously the findings of the investigation into the Pentakomo waste treatment plant, prepared by the three-man committee. Our establishment had written three weeks ago that the investigation into the Pentakomo fiasco that will cost the taxpayer at least €70 million, was a sham, primarily concerned with showing us that auditor-general Odysseas was blameless.

He was anything but blameless having championed all the bad decisions that resulted in having a waste treatment plant that was supposed to produce fuel now producing sludge that has no use and still has to be buried. So Pentakomo is now operating as just another landfill, the only difference from the Vati landfill it replaced being that household waste is being treated before it is buried. We took €70m from the EU to close the Vati landfill, but ended up opening another in Pentakomo thanks to Odysseas’ misguided decisions, which were contained in a report sent to the committee but not mentioned in the mockery of an investigation.

Clerides has now written to the interior and agriculture ministers, suggesting he was unhappy with the findings of the investigation and advised them to carry out administrative and disciplinary investigations at their ministries. Odysseas might even allow these to take place in the hope that a couple of lowly ministry technocrats could be used as the fall guys.


A COUPLE of weeks ago Simerini published an opinion poll that aimed to introduce the idea of foreign policy by public demand. Among the idiotic questions asked was about our foreign policy orientation in which the preferred option (25 per cent of respondents) was a combination of countries that included the EU, US, Russia and Israel. The EU on its own came second with 23 per cent, while the US on its own got only nine per cent.

As regards potential strategic allies of Kyproulla, top of the hit parade is Greece with Mother Russia in second place with a 39 per cent backing; the US was in fifth with only 22 per cent. Analysing these findings in last week’s Simerini, unrepentant Stalinist and out of favour Akelite, Nicos Katsourides, gloatingly, attributed the low ranking of the US to it stand on the Cyprob.

Kats, who learned the fine arts of disinformation and propaganda from the KGB, was surprised by the low ranking of the US. “And this, despite the intense propaganda in favour of the US that is systematically taking place in the last few years in our country,” he wrote.  Who is carrying out this pro-US propaganda that only Kats the anti-West propagandist has noticed?

The US is the country we blame for all our ills from the time of the Cold War to this day, thanks to Akel’s KGB –trained propagandists.


KATS’ disinformation did not end there. He felt Mother Russia could have got a higher score, because “it always stood by us on the Cyprus problem” but this was affected negatively by the “development of Russia-Turkey relations on the one hand and, on the other, by the systematic polemic against Russia by two or three media and a specific political party.”

In Kyproulla, Russia is championed as the most virtuous power in the world by the majority of newspapers, including the biggest circulation Phil, the state broadcaster, the state news agency and all the political parties, none of which utter a negative word against her – not even when Russia is annexing parts of other countries – but Kats makes out that it is the victim of hostile propaganda. And all the above-mentioned systematically attack the US, but otherwise there is intense propaganda in favour of the US. Nobody can twist the truth better than a Stalinist and Kats deserves our respect.


SO FAREWELL Kofi Annan, but unfortunately you will not be getting any eulogies in Kyproulla on your passing. You drafted the only comprehensive settlement plan in the history of the Cyprob and were hated and reviled for it. Your plan sparked mass patriotic hysteria among three quarters of the Greek Cypriots even if it envisaged the return of big chunks of Turkish-held territory to the Greek Cypriots, including Famagusta and Morphou. We not only voted for the Turks to keep the territory, so Morphites and Famagustans can carry on holding indignant protest marches for the return of their towns, we labelled your plan Satanic, Turk-inspired, fascistic and biased among other things. Worst of all, your hideous plan turned Tassos Papadopoulos into a national hero, but this establishment forgives you.

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