Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the coffeeshop: Show trials and martyrs Edek style

Marinos Sizopoulos spent all week appearing on radio and TV shows justifying the show trial

EDEK chief Dr Marinos Sizopoulos’ leadership style has always displayed mild Stalinist tendencies, but because he was born in the wrong place at the wrong time, conditions prevented them from fully blossoming. The fact that his commitment to dermatology overshadowed his commitment to ideology did not help either.

He nevertheless staged a show trial for the party’s renegade MEP Demetris Papadakis last Monday that resulted in an expulsion from the party rather than his execution. This was not the only difference. Stalin’s victims were present at their show trials whereas Papadakis was absent from his, refusing to attend or be represented by a lawyer in what he dismissed as a sham.

We live in gentler, more democratic times, which was why Dr Sizo spent all week appearing on radio and TV shows to justify the show trial and assure us – as if anyone was interested – that Edek followed all the correct procedures.

The disciplinary council unanimously found the MEP guilty in absentia of all six charges in proceedings in which the only prosecution witness was Dr Sizo. If any of the five members of the disciplinary council did not find Papadakis guilty, would they have been in danger of expulsion?

 

NOT EVERYTHING went according to plan, as the expulsion of a possible challenger to Dr Sizo’s leadership of a shrinking party was not the end of the story.

AG Costas Clerides, on learning that charges against Papadakis included misuse of European Parliament funds, wrote to the chief of police asking for an investigation into the possibility that criminal offences had been committed.

Dr Sizo declined to cooperate with the cops and suffer the indignity of having to go to police station to give a statement like some common plebeian, especially as justice had shone at his kangaroo court. Instead, the cops went to his office so he could tell them he would give them none of the documents and evidence that were submitted at the show trial as these had already been forwarded to the appropriate organs of the European Parliament.

Clerides timidly accepted this saying the accusations against Papadakis cannot be investigated as Sizo was refusing to hand over the information to the police. But if on Wednesday he saw a possibility that criminal offences had been committed, why on Friday had he decided there was no need for an investigation.

Was Clerides afraid to demand a statement, as he was entitled to do, in case there was a Stalin-like reaction by the great socialist leader?

 

THE CASE is not going away because Papadakis has decided to play the martyr. He reported, and was due to meet police on Saturday on the “reasonable suspicions of the establishing and operation of a criminal organisation, with the aim of his surveillance and violation of his and his associates’ right to privacy, with the motive being his political extermination.”

Incidentally, the victim of the criminal organisation was accused by Edek of having his MEP’s office in the premises that housed his ‘give up smoking’ business and allegedly getting the European Parliament (EP) to pay the rent; he was also accused of allegedly declaring an employee of the business as his support staff so the EP would pay the wage. These were two of the charges he faced.

Edek took a stand against alleged misuse of EP funds because Papadakis had not honoured the contract he signed as a candidate in the EP elections, that would have allowed the party to misuse EP funds. Edek planned to rent premises it would name its EP office paying with Papadakis’ rent allowance; it also wanted 50 per cent of the allowance for support staff to go to the party to pay for staff.

The candidate’s contract also stipulated the MEP had to surrender 10 per cent of his monthly salary from the EP to Edek (Papadakis criminally failed to do this regularly) a practice that has the party in the role of pimp or, to put it more politely, agent.

 

IT WOULD be unfair to refer to this practice without mentioning Akel, which invented it and has been using it since the establishment of the Republic. It takes more than 10 per cent of its MEPs’ salaries; a few years ago MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou had a row with the party over how much he should return to the party. It also takes a cut of a deputy’s salary and retirement bonus and when comrade Tof was prez it would take a cut from every minister’s salary as well. One wonders what arrangement it reached with its Turkish Cypriot MEP Niazi Kizilyurek who is not very generous with his moolah.

 

ON BEING elected president of the House of Representatives, Demetris Syllouris said he would shake up the House and among other things have a register to ensure deputies were showing up for committee meetings etc. He even threatened to cut the pay of those found skiving off regularly.

Ironically, if there is one person spending a minimum amount of time in the legislature it is Syllouris, who seems to be using his position to travel to faraway places ostensibly on parliamentary business. In November he was in China for some 10 days, while currently he is Down Under. He also takes a posse of deputies with him on his junkets, unconcerned that they are absent from the meetings of committees they sit on.

Friday’s plenum was cancelled because the speaker and another eight deputies were in Oz, where Syllouris said the contacts he had exceeded all expectations and he would be briefing Prez Nik about these on Monday. So important is Syllouris’ globe-trotting at the taxpayers’ expense that he always takes a Tass journalist with him to send reports back home of the groundbreaking meetings he has.

The House president also collects a per diem of €204 plus allowance for being abroad overnight. Is it because of Syllouris’ love for travelling to exotic places that the budget of the House for trips abroad has been doubled?

 

WHO WOULD have thought that Prez Nik would have issued a statement expressing mild contrition about the use of the Saudi Arab businessman’s jet to take his family on holiday to the Seychelles? “The use of the of plane for him and his family to go to the Seychelles could have been avoided,” said an official statement.

In the same statement though, he also had to say he was wronged. “It is the first time since the establishment of the Cyprus Republic that a state official is subject to criticism, not because he wasted public money but because he saved public money.” He was making a big sacrifice for the people, travelling on a private jet, saving money that could be given to the poor and needy.

If only Syllouris also had a Saudi friend with a private jet the money saved would have made poverty a thing of the past in Kyproulla.

 

GOVERNMENT spokesman KK either committed another slip of the tongue speaking to Politis radio on Saturday, or he is following the example set by his boss of being economical with the truth, an economy that unfortunately does not benefit the taxpayer like the use of a private jet does.

KK said Nik had not used the private jet, of the Cyprus taxpayer’s benefactor, to travel to the Seychelles in 2015, a few months after the Saudi businessman was granted Cyprus citizenship. Yet it is no secret that Nik had taken his extended family to the Seychelles on the Saudi’s personal Jumbo jet in 2015. Had nobody informed KK there had been two family trips to the Seychelles?

Perhaps the use of the Saudi jet could not have been avoided in 2015, so it did not count.

 

I COULD not believe that Nik has used all the fuss about corruption in football to justify the creation of yet another deputy ministry. The deputy ministry of youth, sport and culture is one of the proposals Nik came up with to combat football corruption. Hiring more civil servants to shuffle papers, sit in committee meetings and pretend to work is a surefire way of eliminating football corruption.

 

THE RECTOR of Cyprus’ European University, Costas Gouliamos, wrote an article in Thursday’s Phil describing China as a “model in the administration of crises”, with reference to how the country was dealing with the corona virus. This, of course, had nothing to do with the fact that three Chinese universities have awarded him the “highest academic recognition”, declaring him an “honorary professor”. One of the three universities that bestowed on him an honorary professorship was Wuhan Business University, based in the birthplace of the Corona virus.

 

WE OFTEN laugh at the Brits about their obsession with the weather, but we seem to have become as bad if not worse. In the last couple of months, the weather has been dominating the news and most people’s conversations. I am no exception, I have been moaning to anyone that will listen about the five days of depressing, dull grey skies.

“Cyprus in the deep freeze,” was the cliché repeated ad nauseam all day Monday after a night of low temperatures that fell to zero inland and -10 on the highest mountains. We were only in the deep freeze for a few hours, but it was big news on Monday morning on Trito radio show, the presenter of which called the Troodos police station chief at 7.15am to ask how cold it was and about ice on the roads. The chief said it was about -9 degrees on Troodos square and there was ice everywhere.

The next guest on the show was the director of the Met service, Kleanthis Nicolaides, who had taken exception to a policeman being asked what the temperature was on Troodos. “The competent authority for measuring the temperature is the Met Department which has an abundance of automated met stations all over Cyprus,” he said. “At this moment the temperature on Troodos square is -8.1 degrees.”

The presenter pointed out that she asked the policeman what the temperature was out of interest and the Met Service boss, explained why he took issue. “We do not want the police stations’ phones keep on ringing with people asking what the temperature is… and it is a matter of order that everyone does his job.”

We will try to find out Nicolaides’ mobile telephone number so people can call him to find out the temperature next time we are in the deep freeze.

 



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