Cyprus Mail
Opinion

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Flooded with water and good news

An excited Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis at the overflowing Kouris dam on Wednesday

THE NEW decade could not have started any better for the good people of Kyproulla. The unprecedented, unrelenting downpours may have caused some flooding, damage to property and roads and destroyed the potato crop, but the reservoirs were full to overflowing three months ahead of schedule bringing great joy to anyone not planning on going for a picnic.

For the more patriotic among us there was another reason to be cheerful that it rained cats and dogs for days. The pseudo rains that fell on the occupied areas caused much more damage than in the free areas, which have superior infrastructure to cope with downpours.

Kouris dam, our biggest, overflowed on Wednesday and the minister of agriculture rushed down there to have his picture taken. The Trito radio reporter was there first to give live coverage of the event. She did this, not by any colourful commentary, but by holding out her microphone and asking listeners whether they could hear the gushing water?

People lucky enough to have tuned in will be able to tell their grandchildren that in January 2020 they heard the Kouris dam overflowing. In the more immediate future, however, we can look forward to a year of hosing down the pavements, verandahs and patios every day in the hot summer months without a guilty conscience.

Things just keep getting better every year for the residents of the sunshine isle under the far-sighted and enlightened rule of Prez Nik.

 

WE WERE flooded with good news last week. Not only will we have water to waste in 2020, but Unficyp will stay on the island, at least until the end of July. The UNSG Antonio Guterres recommended to the UN Security Council the extension of the peace mission’s mandate until July 31.

This was not the only positive news for us. In the draft report released on Thursday night, Guterres said that after his meeting with the two leaders in November in Berlin, “I continue to hold out hope that a durable settlement to the Cyprus problem can be achieved.”

If anyone other than the UNSG came out with such a statement we would be convinced he had a screw loose, but Guterres may know something we do not know and does not want to share. For hope to be kept alive, Guterres urged “the two leaders, the guarantor powers and other interested parties to make productive use of the coming period.”

His optimism is admirable. If there is one certainty in the Cyprob saga, it is that the leaders can be relied on to make unproductive use of all periods at all times. The Cyprob would not have been kept alive for 50 plus years if they were able to make productive use of time.

Perhaps things will be different this year as Pope Francis expressed his support for Cyprus reunification talks in his State of the World address.

 

RUSSIA’S foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to visit the rain-soaked island soon, our formidable foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides announced on CyBC television on Thursday. This was not the only good news he had – Prez Nik will also be visiting Moscow in April or May at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

Was this our way of punishing the Yanks for cancelling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit, scheduled for last Tuesday, or was it a message to Washington not to take Kyproulla for granted? We may have made openings to the US, but this does not mean we will abandon Mother Russia. Washington should note that we want to be a strategic ally of both as part of Christodoulides’ multi-dimensional, multi-level foreign policy.

Perhaps the crafty Christodoulides wanted to deflect attention away from the previous day’s meeting in Turkey between Putin and Erdogan to inaugurate the TurkStream pipeline, which some in Kyproulla may have taken to mean that Mother Russia was on Turkey’s side.

There was no reason to worry. Despite Putin’s friendly relations with Erdogan, Moscow’s close ties with Nicosia were unaffected. Regarding Libya, Nicosia’s contacts with Moscow were continuous on a diplomatic level, Christodoulides told the CyBC, assuring viewers that Russia did not identify with Turkey’s positions. Nicosia would never give its approval to this.

Odysseas: the infallible judge of everyone

SOME information about the auditor-general’s investigation into Prez Nik’s private jet travels was given on Tuesday, when the infallible judge of everyone, Odysseas, delivered his 2018 report to the prez. It was three months ago that the story broke and it was not as if this were a complicated investigation.

All that was required was for Odysseas to establish where Prez had flown on a private jet and what the state was charged. If proper records were held it should not have taken longer than a couple of weeks to prepare the report. During Tuesday’s meeting at the presidential palace we learnt that it was ready, but Prez Nik had not submitted his observations.

A person under investigation is required to give their views before the final report is issued and the Prez apologised for the delay in giving his response. Although he had thoroughly studied the report about his private jet travel, his busy schedule had not allowed him to submit his observations, but he promised to do so by January 15.

Does the prez not have enough flunkeys employed at the palace to respond to the auditor-general that he needs to do this trivial job himself?

All will be revealed – to be more precise, all that Odysseas decides to reveal – at the end of January when the report is scheduled to be released.

 

THE STATE’S Vet services were on the defensive after reading the auditor-general’s latest report, which said that sheep and goats registered in the government-controlled areas as dead were found miraculously alive in the north. This was not a discovery by the auditor, but by the Episkopi police station which informed the Limassol district vet services.

Apparently, 43 Greek Cypriot sheep and goats were found in the north, 31 of which had been registered as dead. The big question is how did the pseudo authorities in the north find the Greek Cypriot sheep and goats? Were they caught speeding, were they fishing without a licence or had they wandered into their grandparents’ village that was now a military zone?

Regardless of how the pseudo police found the sheep and goats, how did our police know about it? If the information was passed on by the pseudo police, wasn’t accepting the information tantamount to recognition of the pseudo state, or at least upgrading it?

 

A LAW-ABIDING citizen who decided to renew his road tax on January 6 was in for a surprise when he entered the JCC website. A message came up telling him that he could not do this and had to wait until the following day. Monday was Epiphany day, but it did not cross his mind that computer systems also stop working on public holidays.

Or do they? It is entirely possible that the state had not made the necessary preparations for payments to be received before January 7, even though cars without road tax on January 1 are technically speaking uninsured. Logically, a person should have been able to renew their road tax in December as well, and this may have been the case.

Had the driver had a car crash on January 6, his insurance would not have covered him because he had no valid road tax. Would the state have been liable for the damages because it had not accepted payment for the renewal of the road tax before the crash? Or perhaps it does not matter if you have not paid your road tax on January 1 because our caring deputies traditionally extend the payment deadline to mid-February.

 

SPEAKING of state services I have a word of advice for the central telephone centre that the government now operates to help its citizens.

The minimalist music played when you are on hold could qualify as torture. It consists of the same piano note being hit repeatedly, something that could be just about tolerated for 10 to 20 seconds but is likely to turn you into a nervous wreck after minutes on hold.

In any case, it is not much a call centre in the strict sense of the word. After I made my enquiry about a letter I had received from the labour office, I was told by the very polite person on the line that he did not have access to the necessary information to help me and I would have to visit the labour office in person to get an answer.

 

Apology

On 22 December 2013, the Cyprus Mail disputed a piece by Stockwatch, which had reported that the Bank of Cyprus is in need of fresh capital. We alleged falsely that the said article had been withdrawn following a commercial intervention by the Bank. Cyprus Mail apologises to Stockwatch and states that neither were there commercial interventions, nor was the article withdrawn.

 


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