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Tales from the coffeeshop: Gesy lynch mob determined to protect sacred cow


MAYBE I have missed something or there is some ethical point I am not aware of but the Edek leader Dr Sizo’s campaign for changing Gesy is so shameless that it almost deserves our admiration.

The skin doctor has been arguing for changes to the national health system, claiming that these would “reinforce the philosophy of Gesy and help patients.” He wants private practitioners who are not in the scheme to be able write prescriptions that would be covered by Gesy.

This will help patients, as he claimed, but it will also help private doctors that have not joined the scheme, like Dr Sizo who has a thriving private practice, something he has omitted to mention during his impassioned pleas for reinforcing the philosophy of Gesy.

Of course, like Prez Nik and the law office, Dr Sizo may have cut his links with his medical practice since taking over as Edek’s dictatorial ruler, no longer examining warts and verrucae or practicing his unrivalled Botox skills. The practice is still open, however and from what I know is run by family members, so there is a teensy-weensy bit of conflict of interest in his campaign.

Then again you cannot expect him to declare that he wants Gesy changed in order to help his family medical practice recover some of the lost revenue. That would not only be untrue, it would also be politically unethical.


PERHAPS this was why the bulk of the campaigning has been staged by Edek, which has been operating as its leader’s personal vehicle issuing daily announcements backing selfless efforts to help private patients. Surely if patients can afford to pay the steep medical fees of private doctors they can also pay the full whack for drugs and tests.

Being a true socialist, Dr Sizo wants to offer an incentive to patients who pay the high private fees, by giving them access to the cheap Gesy medicine and medical tests. This improvement in Gesy would give more patients access to private practices, showing very clearly that Sizo’s proposal is exclusively for the benefit of patients, as he has argued.

In its announcements, Edek also claimed that it was the party that was behind the establishment of the scheme. “Edek is the party that through the initiatives of Marinos Sizopoulos and his many letters to the President since 2015 contributed to the voting of the updated Gesy bill in 2017. We are the inspirers of Gesy…”

It is bewildering how a prominent skin doctor, who passionately fought for the establishment of Gesy, has refused to join it and, as a true socialist, offer his undisputed medical expertise to impoverished proletarian patients who could not afford private medical fees. Was it because Botox is not covered by the scheme?


WHAT is even more irritating is hearing the champions of Gesy, who treat it as a sacred cow, completely oblivious to the fact that it is primarily a cash cow for doctors, private hospitals and medical labs, that could eventually make it unviable.

As soon as someone dares to say that improvements need to be made to the scheme to end the abuses and the waste of money they become a target of the sacred cow lynch mob that accuses them of wanting to change its “philosophy and architecture” by bringing in private insurance.

Disy deputy leader Harris Georgiades was vilified after mentioning that some changes needed to be made to Gesy so that money was accounted for and doctors were not paid for doing nothing other than registering patients.

The Gesy lynch mob must fear that stopping the sacred cow being a cash cow would change its philosophy and architecture.

Former Health Minister Yiorgos Pamborides

THE ROW allowed the former health minister Giorgos Pamborides, who likes to act as if he has ownership rights on Gesy because he had contributed to the drafting of the bill when he was at the ministry, some air time. Such was his commitment to Gesy that he gave up his ministerial post before it was put into practice, leaving his successor to do all the hard work.

Pamborides first castigated Dr Sizo’s proposal because it was “an architectural change that circumvents and dynamites the philosophy of Gesy.” He also had a dig at his Disy colleague Harris, warning: “If there is an attempt, either by you (Harris) or Sizopoulos (who praises you for your intentions) you will find all of us in front of you.”

Some cynics have suggested that Pamborides, who has always nursed presidential ambitions, has been riding the sacred cow in the hope of endearing himself to Akel that has still not found a candidate for 2023. The comrades are not that desperate yet, but who knows?


SPEAKING of the presidential elections, there seem to be fears at Disy that the campaigning by the closet candidate who in his free time works as the foreign minister is gathering momentum and the uppity Paphite needed to be cut down to size.

Harris Georgiades had a go, when asked about Christodoulides’ campaigning on a Rik TV show. “There is no issue of an independent candidacy of Nicos Christodoulides,” he said. “This would be considered – and I have no problem repeating it – unacceptable and undemocratic.”

If Christodoulides wanted to stand he should go through the Disy procedures, said Harris. He will not as he would have no chance of defeating the party boss Averof in such a procedure. The prim and proper Paphite said nothing, preferring to let his journalist friends at Phil write articles slamming Harris and Averof for their undemocratic behaviour.

Prez Nik has taken a back seat, happy to see the row heating up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses it as an excuse to stand for a third term – posing as the unifying candidacy that will heal Disy’s divisions. It will also allow him to win the war he is waging against corruption as it might not be finished by 2023.


I HAVE always wondered why the state broadcaster Rik always gives such prominence to everything Christodoulides says and does. His hot air statements regularly lead the news, every run of the mill meeting is reported in mind-numbing detail, every trip abroad, however inconsequential, is previewed and reviewed.

Not even Prez Nik is brown-nosed as much by state broadcaster, which it would be no exaggeration to say acts like Christodoulides’ organ. Ditto Tass news agency and of course Phil, but that is for another time.

A skettos drinking customer informed me that this totalitarian state-style flattering reporting of the foreign minister’s activities is because he had been instrumental in the appointment of Rik’s director of news – the deferential Panicos Hadjipanayis. He was quite clearly Christodoulides’ choice, the skettos drinker informed our establishment, but this had in no way influenced Hadjipanayis’ news values and judgment.


RUSSIA’S Ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchiy gets coverage on Rik and the local Tass news agency as soon as he opens his mouth regardless if what comes out has been said a thousand times before. For Christodoulides’ organs it is always newsworthy.

On Thursday Rik kept reporting that Osadchiy said Russia was in favour of the appointment of a UN special representative for the Cyprob. This was a statement of the bleeding obvious as there is no country that was opposed to such an appointment.

Osadchiy said as much, telling reporters that all five permanent members of the UN Security Council were discussing the issue of the special representative and trying to help the UN Secretary-General solve the matter as soon as possible, because the negotiations must continue.

Now if he said why it was taking the UNSG so long to appoint a wretched envoy – special or personal – it would be news but to inform us that Russia supports the appointment has about as much news value as a ‘dog bites man’ story.

Everyone knows that an appointment must be made because without a special envoy/representative the philosophy and architecture of the Cyprob would be destroyed.

cop26 in glasgow
Prez Nik speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow

WHO WOULD have thought that Prez Nik has genuine concerns about the climate crisis? Well he does as he proved at COP26 in Glasgow at which he spoke about Kyproulla’s ‘Regional Action Plan’ in which 240 scientists from the broader region were participating and preparing proposals, measures and specific solutions.

“We are seeking strengthening of regional cooperation, via coordinated synergies and exchange of best practices, bearing in mind that the Mediterranean and Middle East constitute the epicentre of world climate change.”

Who would have thought our Kyproulla would be upgraded from a regional centre to an epicentre of world climate change? A world epicentre is much more important than a regional centre, that we have been for many years. We have now joined the global centres category, thanks to the climate crisis.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency