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Our View: Green party support for illegal camper beggars belief

Zenon Neophytou's caravan is being held outside the community leader's office

The Green Party should have congratulated the community leader of Neo Chorio for enforcing the long-overdue decision to clear caravans illegally using a protected area at the Baths of Aphrodite in the Akamas for years instead of criticising the council. On Friday, Neo Chorio council workers forcibly removed the last camper in the area, who reportedly had several caravans parked illegally there for years, inviting the criticism of the Greens’ local representative.

The owner of the caravans that were illegally using the protected area reported their forcible removal by the council workers to the police, prompting the Greens’ district secretary for Paphos Andreas Evlavis to issue a statement that defied belief. He said: “We are not examining the fact whether Mr Neophytou (the owner of the caravans) was using the area for the last 30 years as his permanent residence, legally or illegally. What was significant was the way the operation for his removal was carried out which was violent and illegal.”

Rationality is always a casualty of the type of cheap populism used by Girogos Perdikis and his sidekicks. How did the Greens propose that the caravans, the presence of which at the Baths of Aphrodite was a clear violation of the law were removed? The owner obviously ignored the deadline of September 15 for the removal of all caravans from the area set by the Neo Chorio community leader. Some 42 illegally parked caravans were forcibly removed on September 21, but Mr Neophytou’s caravans were spared until last Friday.

Any party that respected the law would have congratulated Neo Chorio council for finally enforcing it in the area. The caravans and tents were a blight on an area of natural beauty, the source of pollution and unsanitary conditions. We would have expected people that like to call themselves environmentalists to have been calling for clearing of the area, instead of protesting because one of the long-term law breakers had been removed by force. When a citizen refuses to obey the law, the use of some force is justified.

In fact the Greens and the other parties should have been criticising the authorities for turning a blind eye to this illegality for years. Force should have been used to clear the area many years ago, when people parked their caravans there as if they owned the land. Yet this did not stop Evlavis from demanding that the police “investigate the complaints filed by Neophytou in depth, otherwise the law of the jungle will prevail in the area.” He should be informed, perhaps by his party leader, that the law of the jungle would have prevailed if the caravans were allowed to stay in the protected area.

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