IF HE DID not have the golden passports to bang on about every day or his public hero-worship of Odysseas to signal his virtue, Ethnarch Junior would have nothing to fool people into voting for Diko in the next month’s parliamentary elections.
The technique is working if Antenna TV opinion poll, which placed Diko as third party in the preference of voters, is anything to go by. But this was conducted before Junior committed his latest blunder in one of his traditional fits of vindictiveness.
He decided to block the government bill for state-guaranteed bank loans that would provide liquidity to cash-strapped small businesses and the self-employed. The thinking was that such a bill would help Disy win votes in May’s elections and it would therefore be better left for the next parliament to approve.
Diko chairwoman of the House finance committee, Christiana Erotokritou did not put the bill on the agenda of last Monday’s final committee meeting which meant it would not go to plenum for approval. Her justification for the decision was that the bill had not been marked as ‘urgent’ by the finance ministry when it was submitted.
Erotokritou said she would have been violating House procedure if she included on the committee’s agenda a bill submitted just a few days before the scheduled meeting, without it being marked ‘urgent’. This was such a pathetically lame excuse it probably came directly from the party leader.
THIS dastardly plot to harm the government and take votes away from Disy exploded in Junior’s handsome face as he became the target of a barrage of criticism from the chamber of commerce, the employers’ federation, small business associations, the self-employed and even the media as he would be depriving them too of much-needed liquidity.
He tried to shift the blame on to the government for its procedural mistake, but it didn’t wash. Then he said the government had not consulted Diko when drafting the bill, prompting Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides to say he was lying. The ministry had twice written to Diko asking for its views on the draft, Petrides said, and received no reply. All other parties wrote back with their suggestions.
He finally bowed to the pressure. Erotokritou announced the House finance committee will be convened on Monday to discuss the bill despite it not being marked ‘urgent’. The violation of procedural rules is de rigueur when Diko is under attack.
Of course, Diko will have more opportunities to block the bill. I suspect on Monday it will submit an amendment which provides for the auditor-general to sit on the committee supervising the guaranteed loans by the banks. If Disy objects, it will vote against it because without Odysseas supervising, corruption would be rife.
SOME €300 million that would be guaranteed by the state would be allocated to very small businesses and the self-employed, Petrides said. The big question nobody is asking is whether these loans would be repaid.
The safeguard, cited by Petrides, is that a bank would decide whether to grant a loan and because it could take a 30 per cent hit from non-repayment it will be careful who it gives its money to. Some of those who would be eligible have given an indication of their intentions by seeking a grace period on repayments.
In a couple of years, I can see loads of people refusing to repay their liquidity loans and the political parties attacking the evil banks and uncaring government for wanting their money back and squeezing very small businesses. Diko, Akel et al could even pass a law stopping the banks from trying to get their money back.
This would be in line with their ideology that borrowers who refuse to repay their loans are victims of the banks and must be protected by law.
PREZ NIK had to send all his ministers to the State Fair on Thursday to have the AstraZeneca jab, accompanied by the media in the hope their example will dispel the fear many people have of the vaccine.
This is what happens when you tell people they can choose what vaccine they want. Some get everyone they know to log into the appointments portal the second it opens in the hope that one of them would secure the allegedly safer Pfizer vaccine for the one and only.
This resulted in the portal crashing twice in eight days. On Thursday, when the portal opened there were 120,000 users, even though the number in the eligible age group was estimated to be about 26,000. The lengths people go to in order get the Pfizer or Moderna jab is a hilarious example of the ‘me’ times in which we live.
What is worse is that the vaccine you have been injected with has become something of a status symbol for a lot of people, who think they belong to an exclusive club of the elite. The arrogant and boastful way in which they announce that they had the Pfizer jab never ceases to amaze.
They are patronisingly implying they are smarter, more resourceful, better and safer than the stupid plebs who put their lives at risk by having the AZ jab.
OUTGOING Greens deputy Giorgos Perdikis gave out this aura at the House last Monday when he was chatting with some people and told them both he and his wife would be getting the Pfizer jab. His wife had booked an appointment online, but this was beneath the great Green, who said his doctor hooked him up with the Pfizer jab.
I know this may sound nasty, but it would be divine providence if the Pfizer jab turned out to cause a small horn to grow out of the smug faces of all those vaccinated with it. This would be an exclusive club many of them would deservedly to belong to.
NEW ZEALAND’S government said on Friday it has agreed to give Amazon extra rebates on its expenses for the filming of “The Lord of the Rings” TV series in the country, hoping to reap multi-year economic and tourism benefits, Reuters reported.
Amazon will get an extra 5 per cent from New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant in addition to the 20 per cent grant the production already qualifies for. In figures, Amazon, which is spending $465 million filming the first season of the show, will be eligible for a rebate of about $116 million, the New Zealand government said.
This is because New Zealand does not have an auditor-general as capable as our Odysseas to stop the government spending this money and to question the aesthetic quality of the series. The news from New Zealand came a day after the producers of Jiu-Jitsu, who were planning to shoot two more films in Kyproulla, announced they were pulling out and taking legal action against the government for non-payment of €8 million they are owed.
The rebate should have been paid a year ago, but Odysseas prevented it from happening, claiming alleged irregularities in the report he prepared and recently released. He even gave his views on the aesthetic quality of the film, prompting one of the producers to label him, ‘film critic-general’.
The plan to bring film production companies to Kyproulla through the offer of cash incentives, which took years to formulate, has collapsed just after it started, thanks to our film critic-general. No film producer will set foot in Kyproulla again, knowing that the government does not honour its financial obligations.
THE CELEBRATIONS about the halloumi PDO that will supposedly create huge opportunities continued on Monday when the registering of the PDO was finally published in the EU journal. It is now irreversible. One metrios drinker with links to the halloumi producing industry was less than jubilant over the news.
As he sipped his metrios, he said: “The politicians say the PDO has created big opportunities, the civil servants say there are big opportunities, the media say there are big opportunities, the political parties are claiming credit for the mega success, but the halloumi producers say the PDO is a catastrophe. Why do we believe those who know nothing about the industry and ignore what the actual producers of halloumi are saying?”
He went to ask: “If the halloumi producers were telling politicians what tactics to use in the Cyprus talks, would anyone listen? So why does it work the other way round?”
I WANTED to write something about the 80 years of Akel, which unlike the PDO of halloumi is no cause for celebration, but I am running out of time. There is an anxious editor waiting for the copy so she can go home. I hope to celebrate 80 years of Akel’s indisputable influence on Kyproulla’s stunted political growth next week.