Cyprus Mail
Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Bad loans and non-performing MPs

House President Demetris Syllouris (third from right) has taken a very keen interest in the PEP list and has been working closely with Zacharias Koulias (second from right) to stop the PEP list being discussed at the committee

MALE chauvinism may be in decline in this remote corner of the EU, but the House of Representatives still flies the flag, from time to time, as illustrated during Thursday’s watchdog committee meeting, which was debating the list of infamous PEPs with bad debts.

Disy’s Neanderthal Paphite deputy, Costakis Constantinou, could not control his sexist impulses after hearing Akel deputy Irini Charalambidou acting and behaving as if she were his equal and, to make matters worse, answering him back when he tried to put her in her place.

All Charalambidou had done was ask the financial ombudsman Pavlos Ioannou which deputies apart from her comrade Skevi Koukouma (she had owned up), had appealed to him for arbitration in disputes with banks over NPLs.

At this point, Constantinou, presumably feeling she was referring to him, banged his hand on the table like a real man and told her: “You are too small to judge others and you should stop this cannibalism against your colleagues; you are a cannibal and I am sad you are a deputy.”

Irini the cannibal responded that he only felt offended because he had reason to be, which was more than his wounded manhood could take. “I will open so many issues for people to find out about your morality,” said the hurt, hysterical horkatos, also referring to her allegedly visiting hotels in secret. In Paphos women respect and obey their men, in contrast to the commie cannibals of the capital who buy the myth about the equality of the sexes.


CONSTANTINOU’S sexist outburst could be attributed to his horkatos attitude, but what was the excuse for House President Demetris Syllouris, who was chairing the meeting, saying nothing about the offensive behaviour. When Charalambidou asked him why he had not intervened to restore civil behaviour, Syllouris told her “it is your fault for asking the question.”

This is how the House president safeguards free speech in the temple of democracy – don’t exercise your right if there is a risk it will infuriate a socially backward deputy from the sticks and spark aggressively sexist behaviour.

Ethical behaviour by deputies, generally is not high on his list of priorities either, considering his relaxed approach to conflict of interest. The committee chairman Zacharias Koulias had been doing everything in his power, for months, to prevent discussion of the PEPs’ bad debts list at his committee, but only on Thursday did he finally admit he had NPLs, and therefore a personal interest in suppressing the information.

Syllouris has taken a very keen interest in the list and has been working closely with Koulias to stop it being discussed at the committee, raising big questions about his own motives. Having failed to prevent its discussion, because of deputies’ opposition, he instead wrote to the Central Bank Governor, who finally appeared before the committee last Thursday, to tell him not to submit the list. He did not.

Transparency, like freedom of speech, are democratic principles the House President champions with as much zeal as Costakis Constantinou defends women’s rights.


I WOULD be extremely disappointed if, when the PEPs’ list is finally made public, Syllouris is not on it. It would have made all his obstruction tactics and cunning tricks pretty meaningless. I find it difficult to believe that he did everything in order to protect the dozen deputies that were reportedly on the list, including bringing Constantinou to Thursday’s committee meeting (he is not a member) to act as his muscle and intimidate irritating women asking stupid questions. The funny thing was that the Paphos sexist was not on the PEPs list in the governor’s possession because this referred only to customers of the Bank of Cyprus. From what we hear Constantinou’s NPLs are with the co-op bank.


AT THE RISK of violating the decree issued by government spokesman KK, by which he declared the matter closed, I will mention a couple of things about Prez Nik’s free travel on the Saudi investor’s private jet.

First I would like to offer my congratulations and admiration to the government’s spin doctors that managed to present our Prez’s freeloading into a smart act that benefited the taxpayer. The measure of its success was that most hacks, commentators and parties commended the money-saving arrangement, ignoring that in more politically advanced countries, it would be viewed as a form of bribery. But as we do not fall in this category of country it was OK.

On the minus side, shortly before declaring the matter closed KK gave information that turned out to be grossly inaccurate (less respectful people called it a lie). He said Nik had met the Saudi investor at an event organised by CIPA in January 2015, but within hours reports from June 2014, in which the investor thanked the Prez for his hospitality were posted. Was this another KK cock-up or had his boss given him misleading information? Whatever the case, the latest KK cock-up could not be attributed to a slip of the tongue, as he had done in the past, because the matter was closed.


IT WAS an inexcusable blunder, unless Prez Nik’s memory is playing nasty tricks on him. The investor was brought to his office, long before the CIPA dinner, by Pantelis Solomis, the man he had appointed Special Envoy of the Cyprus Republic to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to the Gulf Cooperation Council for investments in projects relating to energy, shipping, tourism, infrastructure and real-estate. Solomis, who was appointed at the start of 2014, is under the direct authority of the Prez of the Rep, an endorsement that must open many doors in the Saudi Kingdom.


WITHIN a few days of closing the matter of the private-jet freeloading, a new matter was opened for the Prez and KK – information that he had instructed one of his associates to draw up plans for the division of our EEZ with the Turkish Cypriots. This was cleverly introduced into the public domain by a question put to the Akel chief during the Andros v Averof televised debate on Thursday.

Asked by a hack if information had reached him about dividing the EEZ, comrade Andros said ‘yes’. Within hours KK issued a written statement describing the information “a figment of the imagination”, while Nik, speaking to hacks the next day dismissed it as a “joke.” He also issued a written statement, in case anyone was not in on the joke. Was Nik’s memory playing tricks on him again?

To jolt his memory, the presidential associate that had been asked to draw the plans, according to unconfirmed reports, was our negotiator and permanent representative at the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis, who had complained to several people about it at the time. We do not know whether he had also spoken directly to comrade Andros or it was a third party that passed on the info.

Nobody expects Mavroyiannis to confirm the report, as he has been dutifully economical with the actualite, on many occasions, for the good of the Prez.


THERE was a similar incident, after Nik’s re-election, which has been doing the rounds but has never entered political debate. Nik invited Junior to his office and asked him to back his domestic programme as he planned to move full-steam ahead for a two-state solution. He felt this would have secured the full support of the Diko chief, but Junior said he still supported a federal settlement.

Junior subsequently had a meeting with comrade Andros whom he informed about the Prez’s plan, but nothing has been heard ever since. Of course, it is entirely possible that the comrade, who discussed this info with others had misunderstood what Junior had said, or that Junior made this up in order curry favour with the commies. Nobody knows, even though Junior would not have been the first person to whom Nik, privately expressed his strong preference for the settlement, which nobody dares speak its name in public.


FOREIGN minister Nicos Christodoulides must have been devastated that the visit of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, Francis Fannon had not provided a public condemnation of Turkey’s illegalities in the Cypriot EEZ. All Fannon was prepared to say was that the US supported Cyprus’ efforts “to develop its resources in its EEZ.”

To add insult to injury, he also spoke of the need for a settlement that would allow hydrocarbon revenues to be shared by both communities. Much more was expected from our strategic ally, but failing to secure it, Christodoulides resorted to his real expertise – self-promoting publicity.

He met Fannon before his departure to Turkey, and according to the “Cyprus News Agency’s information, the exclusive focus of the Christodoulides-Fannon discussion were the illegal activities of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and how these, among other things, also affect the interests of the Americans.”

I love the idea of Christodoulides informing Fannon that Turkey’s actions affected US interests, because the dumb Yanks were unable to see what their interests were and needed to be told by Kyproulla’s super-smart foreign minister.


CONGRATULATIONS to the head teachers of the two public schools that banned their students from taking part in the pathetically ridiculous referendum organised by the teenagers’ union Psem. The referendum asked kids whether they should boycott classes on Wednesday in protest against four-monthly exams at lyceums. The majority of those that voted backed the boycott.

Do-gooder Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Despo Michaelidou censured the head teachers because their action was a “blow to the state’s efforts to promote and protect children’s rights and in particular the right to freedom of expression.”

It was not surprising that the great democrats of Akel fully backed the Commissioner’s nonsense and tabled for discussion the House education committee the undemocratic behaviour of the head teachers. It was the duty of the education ministry “to protect the rights of students and their union organ,” said the commies, who in the space of 30 years have been transformed from defenders of police states to zealots of democracy and freedom even for kids.


I WILL finish off with a quote by the great, proto-feminist, Zsa Zsa Gabor, as a tribute to the Disy deputy Costakis Constantinou. “Macho does not prove mucho.”


Related posts

Our View: The education ministry should be the champion of freedom of expression

CM: Our View

A landmark opportunity for peace, stability and prosperity

CM Guest Columnist

History and facts cannot be changed

CM Reader's View

Our View: President’s need to solve everyone’s problems makes things worse

CM: Our View

The cult of woke

CM Guest Columnist

Our View: Cypriot civil servants show further evidence of greed

CM: Our View