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Our View: Police apathy reflects society’s attitude towards foreign workers

Mitsero mine (Photo: CNA)

It is truly astonishing to hear police and their defenders partly blame the force’s apathy in investigating cases of foreign women reported missing on the House’s failure to approve legislation allowing police to monitor telephone conversations and phone-call records. This is beyond absurd, considering the police failed to properly investigate any of the cases reported to them, partly on the spurious grounds that the women had left Cyprus via the north. Would officers have monitored telephone conversations of the women after dismissing the cases as unworthy of a thorough investigation?

The reality is that anything the police do now – from inviting Scotland Yard detectives to assist investigations to the use of specialised equipment in the search of Mitsero lake – will be seen as a damage control exercise, but it will not change how they are being viewed by the public. The complete lack of professionalism, the absence of any sense of duty or responsibility, the sheer laziness and worst of all, the racist disregard for the well-being of foreign women trying to scrape a living in Cyprus were proved beyond reasonable doubt in the last couple of weeks.

The Romanian woman Livia Bunea and her daughter were reported missing in September 2016 by a friend and neighbour; her mother had heard nothing from her; a journalist took the case up, contacting the police who repeated the familiar tune that she had left Cyprus via the north. This claim, of escaping to the north, was the same when Filipina Mary Rose Tiburcio and her child were reported missing. What confidence can people have in a police force that makes claims they had not a shred of evidence to support in order to get out of doing their job? And there is no escaping the fact that had they done their job in the case of Bunea five lives could have been spared.

Perhaps the police’s utter disregard for the safety of poor foreign women, including single mothers, reflects the attitude of our society, which is not particularly concerned about protecting the weak, impoverished and disempowered foreigners working in Cyprus. Nothing illustrated this attitude better than Archbishop Chrysostomos’ Easter Sunday message, which was a recital in bigotry as he attacked the “moral deviation” exemplified by legalisation of abortions, gender choice and same sex cohabitation. This man of God could not bring himself to mention a single word about the heinous crimes committed against seven defenceless women by a member of his flock. He could not even express a little sympathy for the victims and their loved ones. Not a word.

According to our Archbishop the only threat to the moral fibre of our society comes from homosexuals and people that “do transactions with the occupation for fun,” but not from our police’s abject failure to offer basic protection to vulnerable foreign women and their children, making them easy prey for a serial killer.

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