The mayor of Paphos has hit back at criticism concerning the recent intervention at Turkish Cypriot properties in Paphos old town, levelled by main opposition Akel.
The mayor, Phedonas Phedonos, issued a statement noting that, “all that he does is to apply the law and within the framework of legality to act for the equality of the citizens, in the fight against the illegalities and the tidiness of the city of Paphos”.
“From the first moment I became mayor, I fought to remove hundreds of illegal and irregular concessions of T/C property to non-refugees but also to refugees who were not beneficiaries. Some who speak today, whistled indifferently for decades or even participated in this phenomenon of rot and corruption,” he said.
Akel Paphos, and Paphos MP, Andreas Fakontis, expressed the position that the mayor has essentially substituted the service for the management of Turkish Cypriot properties, carrying out evictions of refugees and demolition of real estate without permits and without decisions of the municipal council.
However, the mayor countered that the management of such properties is where partisanship and bribery has grown in Paphos in the past and that the claims that he deprives refugees of the possibility of exploiting T/C property are completely unacceptable and unsubstantiated.
Instead, the mayor said that he feels vindicated, as with the substantial contribution of the competent ministry, Paphos has succeeded succeeded in creating a tidy and enjoyable environment.
“We are proud and everyone is talking about the beautiful city centre, free of mess and all kinds of illegal constructions and this is due to the determination we’ve shown, bearing huge costs and many reactions.”
He added that some instances served political party allies and that the Turkish Cypriot properties, in the past, were managed in the ‘most arbitrary way’.
“Scandalous tolerance made some people think that over, time they could legitimise any illegal construction and intervention,” he said.
The mayor added that for every change that takes place in Paphos, there is a need to fight ‘established and flimsy mentalities’ that have kept Paphos in misery and decline for decades.
Those accusing him of allegedly interfering in the properties held by refugees seem not to yet realise that the times of arbitrariness, illegality, convenience and party services have passed, and at the expense of the city and its residents.
Paphos is changing, stressed Phedonos, and those who insist on practices and mentalities of other times should finally understand this. The mayor said that he is optimistic as the vast majority understand that he serves the public interest and opposes illegalities and all kinds of vested interests.
“Those who lose their privileges resort to parties and politicians, while not reluctant to distort the truth and publicly appear to be persecuted. With this tactic, they are still trying to avoid demolitions and the removal of illegalities so as not to show the dirt they have been hiding for years.”