OUR RULERS were collectively outraged last weekend seeing pictures of youngsters at the beachside Nava Bar in Protaras failing to observe social distancing rules and not wearing protective masks while they were dancing or holding a tape measure to ensure they were two metres away from other revellers.
It was the big political issue all last week. As soon as the concerned citizens and politicians returned to work on Tuesday from the long weekend break they started expressing their horror at the kids having fun with no regard to the coronavirus and warning of a possible surge in cases as result of their irresponsible behaviour.
Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides seized the opportunity to tell the parties they needed to approve his bill which will geometrically increase the fines on establishments that did not force their customers to observe social distancing rules, while the police were slammed for not closing down the bar which had violated the rules over three consecutive nights.
This gave rise to another row – the courts were not working at the weekend so the cops could not secure a court order for closing down the bar. Some went into conspiratorial mode claiming the owners of Nava Bar were well connected. The court ordered its closure on Tuesday until June 16, which means kids will have find another place to party this weekend.
Surprisingly, the only people to display some common sense were the cops who avoided fining all those in the bar for violating social distancing rules.
THE OUTRAGE by politicians and other responsible citizens, I suspect, may have been motivated by an element of envy, seeing the young partying like there is no tomorrow and treating distancing as a joke. I bet the prudent, middle-aged, responsible classes were outraged because they were reminded of their lost youth and a who cares attitude that has gone forever. I know I was.
Health minister Constantinos Ioannou, who is only 50, led the outrage hysteria. “The strategy for lifting restrictions is based on the responsibility of the public and not only on policing and issuing hefty fines,” he said on Tuesday. Assuming the public will act responsibly, especially the young, he may have realised, was a flaw in the strategy.
Professor Karayiannis, of the scientific team, older than Ioannou lambasted the “careless behaviour”, saying he found it “outrageous, after so much effort, so much expense and inconvenience, businesses that haven’t worked for so long , that some people behave like everything is OK.” For some people, especially the young, everything probably is OK.
The middle-aged love suppressing the young and the coronavirus has provided a perfect excuse. The decrees dictate that twenty- and thirty-somethings can no longer behave recklessly, stupidly and irresponsibly. God, I miss those years even if I am pushing 60 and have become a fully-fledged member of the boring old farts club.
But I can I still identify with the irresponsible and I fully sympathise with the young who are being denied their right to have fun.
THE CYPROB was back with a vengeance last week after the self-regarding, unlikable ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay and pseudo-PM Ersin Tatar decided to pull a fast one on poor old Mustafa Akinci, nullifying the deal he had reached with Prez Nik on the opening of the crossing points.
Tatar and Ozersay decided that anyone who crossed north from the republic, including Turkish Cypriots who worked in the south, would have to go into 14-day quarantine. Only eight TC workers crossed south on Tuesday, although there were thousands who had jobs to go to.
In order to embarrass Akinci and show him who was running the asylum, this horrible pair stopped the workers, who had not worked for three months, returning to their jobs. Ozersay, who is developing from shameless opportunist into a mini-dictator, was keen to take credit for his humanitarian intervention.
Ozersay was once a supporter of a settlement, but in recent years he decided his political ambitions would be better served if he re-invented himself as the new Denktash – a lightweight version – advocating the two-state solution and taking an adversarial approach in the Cyprob.
The only encouraging thing about him is that not even the TC voters like him – his electoral strength is below 10 per cent.
THE COUP by Ozersay and Tatar triggered a series of Cyprob non-developments. The failure of Unficyp to mildly criticise their rubbishing of the Akinci-Nik agreement caused our Prez to go ballistic, because when he decided to close four of the nine crossing point at the end of February, Unficyp issued a statement that was critical of the decision.
He protested back then, but this time he let rip at Unficyp and Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar, whom he accused of lacking objectivity and of expecting him to negotiate with the pseudo-government of the malignant duo despite this never being the practice.
After Nik’s outburst, his dutiful foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides took over Unficyp-bashing responsibilities, becoming untypically animated during a radio interview and displaying a passion we never thought he had. His non-confrontational style is designed not to offend (because he wants to be loved), but nobody ever lost votes by attacking and offending easy targets like UN officials.
I wonder if the heirs of the late great Spy Kyp will demand royalties from Nik and Nicos for use of his mega-successful mantra, ‘UN officials are Turk-supporting enemies of Cyprus’.
A CONSPIRACY-minded skettos drinker reckoned there was another reason for the two Niks attack on Spehar and Unficyp. He expects that the UN Security Council’s discussion on the renewal of the Unficyp mandate will not go the government’s way and the Niks decided they could use Spehar as the scapegoat. They have already set her up as enemy of the Republic so any unpopular decision by the council could be blamed on her.
How do they know things will not go our way? I heard on the grapevine the ambassador of Mother Russia in Kyproulla has informed local politicians not to expect Moscow to take its usual principled stand at the UN Security Council on the issue of Unficyp. This was because of some deal with Turkey which wants the withdrawal of Unficyp, a view that has been repeatedly promoted by the US.
If this happens our government could blame Spehar and of course the Brits, rather than Russia which will always maintain its principled stand on the Cyprob, even when it is selling ballistic missiles to Turkey.
THE MADNESS that has taken hold of the western world over statues of men that were racists has not yet reached our shores. While in one respect this is a good thing, in another it is not because we could do with dismantling a couple of statues of Makarios. Not because he was a racist – he christened many African children – but because some of his statues are aesthetically poor. We could start a trend of bringing down bad sculpture, regardless of whether the subject was a racist or not.
A COUPLE of years ago the government decided that it would increase the annual budget of the CyBC so it would stop taking commercial adverts. It would still be allowed to broadcast social advertising about drugs being bad for you, not driving under the influence of alcohol, not starting forest fires etc. However, Trito radio is still carrying adverts. In the last week I heard an advert for cars, for photovoltaics and another product which I cannot remember now that could not by any stretch of the imagination be classed as social advertising. Why is nobody protesting?
A COUPLE of websites – InBusiness and Offsite – have been protesting, however, about the state assistance given by Nik’s government to newspapers, claiming that whichever heads to the palace receives a cheque. They probably want a piece of the cake, which is no way as big as they misleadingly claimed in respective, moaning articles they published last weekend. The InBusiness article concludes that “auditor general Odyseas Michaelides is aware of these developments” and when asked for a comment he said, “he knew about them and would investigate.” When he investigates, I am sure he will send his report to the attorney-general for filing and then promptly leak his findings to Phil for publication.
ZERO confirmed case of coronavirus on Saturday, despite the irresponsibility displayed at Nava Bar a week ago. So, keep on partying. Just don’t get too close to anyone whether at a bar or supermarket.