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Tales from the Coffeeshop: More oppressive than our colonial rulers

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The health minister Michalis Hadjipantelas

VERY little attention has been given by the media to the government’s dictatorship law also known as the Infectious Diseases Law of 2021, which was tabled in the House last November in the hope that it would be passed with minimal debate.

Ironically, the only party that is offering resistance and trying to make an issue out of this scandalous attempt by the government to give itself the power to impose martial law is Akel, which for many years had been the cheerleader of totalitarian regimes.

In a nutshell, this law would give the power to the cabinet to declare a state of emergency, once it decides there is a pandemic, suspend all civil liberties and the rule of law. The health minister will have the power to rule by decree, like any tin-pot dictator, and be accountable to no-one.

The government wants to impose martial law without the approval of parliament and keep it in place for as long as it wishes. The bill has been through its fourth reading with the government stubbornly ignoring deputies’ pleas to include a provision for parliamentary approval of the state of emergency and its extension.

Our deputies might not be the brightest members of our society, but they could still function as an unwitting safeguard against dictatorship. They must be given the power to stop the government suspending democracy indefinitely on the grounds that 200 people catching flu in the same week constitutes a pandemic.

 

THE dictatorship law has been drafted in order to replace the 1932 Quarantine Law in existence since colonial times.

What more powers does the executive require than those afforded to it by the 1932 law, under which it placed us under house arrest for weeks, imposed curfews, closed down businesses for months, forced people to seek state permission to leave their house, banned the unvaccinated from restaurants, cafes and bars, banned dancing and made us wear face masks outdoors?

The government had more than enough fascistic powers to take away our liberties with the old law. Now we have democracy and freedom, our government wants to impose a law that will enable it to be more oppressive than our colonial rulers.

 

THE relaxation of the restrictions that was being predicted at the start of the week turned out to be a joke. In the end the, the merchants of doom of the scientific dream team advised ultra-caution, so they could maintain their celebrity status for a few more weeks, appearing on TV and radio spreading their message of fear.

From last Friday, unvaccinated kids, aged between 12 and 17 would be allowed to go to the cinema, theatre, restaurant, café etc as long as they are accompanied by a vaccinated parent or guardian. Do our scientists live such a sheltered life they do not know that teenagers would rather stay at home doing homework than be seen at the cinema or a cafe with a parent?

They will go to a restaurant with their parents, but that’s about it. It was unclear whether, to enter the restaurant, the parent will have to show the waiter a birth certificate or a DNA test proving he or she is the parent of the unvaccinated kid.

And what constitutes a guardian? Was the government referring to a legal guardian, or just any vaccinated adult a kid can hire to accompany to them to cinema and leave once the ticket is bought. The decree did not clarify whether the parent/guardian would have to watch the movie with the unvaccinated kid, to ensure they do not infect anyone.

 

PREZ NIK is staging a lot of theatre with regard to the construction of the Vassiliko LNG import terminal, the contract for which, worth €300 million, was signed at the end of 2019 with a consortium headed by China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering.

The terminal was supposed to be ready later this year, with a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) moored at Vassiliko sending gas to power plants for electricity production, but the latest word is that it will not be ready until 2023.

Last Sunday, writing in this paper energy expert Charles Ellinas suggested the cost could rise by another €100 million. You can read about the mess the project has turned into in an article published today so I will not go into details.

Sensing that things are going badly our Prez has been calling meetings at the palace, telling off people involved, demanding prompt action and expressing big concerns for the delays, everything geared towards shifting all responsibility away from his person. With these theatrics he hopes nobody will remember the key role he played in the contract being given to the Chinese company that had no experience in FSRUs. The tragedy is that Nik will not be able to blame Turkish intransigence for the latest mess he has got us into.

 

PHIL’S campaigning for Nicos Christodoulides continues with unwavering zeal.

On Friday it carried a speculative report, saying what emerged in the last few days, “is a scenario for the support of Christodoulides by Diko, within the framework of a cooperation with Edek to which they (?) consider would be added, if not officially, unofficially the base of Dipa, creating a strong alternative proposal for the presidential elections.”

This scenario “some (?) view could be victorious even without the support of one of the two big parties.” Nowhere in this article does the Phil reporter identify who are the ‘some’ and ‘they’ that are marketing the Christodoulides’ candidacy as part of scenario.

The real giveaway is the writer’s assertion that Diko was in a win-win situation by backing Christodoulides. Even if he does not get into the second round, “Diko will have another opportunity, with its choice (of candidate), to achieve its target of becoming either government or co-government.”

This is what ‘they’ say, according to the writer, who also informed us that the unnamed “supporters of this scenario” claim the Paphite “has an inexplicably big acceptance in the bases of all three parties.” The ‘Christodoulides for president’ scenario supporters also believe he will attract “a significant proportion” of votes from Disy and collects votes of Akelites and the broader Left.

We can all guess who the author of this scenario is. In the next scenario it will be argued that Christodoulides’ is so popular he should president without elections.

 

GIORGOS Pamborides’ independent candidacy, meanwhile, has ceased being an option for Akel, according to a Saturday report in Phil. Following the strong reaction of members of the party, Pamborides was struck off the list of possible candidates the paper said.

According to the paper, which seems to carry out opinion polls of Dikheads on a daily basis, there were also strong reactions to Pamborides in Diko, which jeopardised the possibility of an electoral cooperation between Akel and Diko. As the paper reported a day earlier, there is an inexplicably big acceptance of Christodoulides among the base of Diko.

This, presumably, was shown by the same opinion poll that revealed Dikheads did not want Pamborides, who is now free to stand without having to sell his soul to Akel.

 

I WOULD like to inform readers that, in the last few weeks, many friends, acquaintances and customers of this disreputable establishment have been urging me, at every opportunity, to stand in the 2023 presidential elections.

Initially, I thought they were joking and having a good laugh at my expense, but gradually it dawned on me that they were being entirely serious and sincerely believed that I could make a very good president and owed it to our country to have a shot.

“Is Andreas Theophanous, any better than you, and he is considering running,” said a hungover skettos drinker. “You could liberate the occupied territory, get rid of the Turkish troops and secure the return of all refugees to their homes, without a drop of blood being shed” said an acquaintance I bumped into at a fashionable bar in the capital.

This kind of pressure has been mounting in the last few days, even though the number of people that have been urging me – a couple of dozen – could not get me elected mukhtar of a small-sized Paphos village let alone Presidente de la Republica de Kyproulla.

 

A SUPPORT base is no obstacle, according to a scenario that emerged this week. On the contrary, it would be beneficial to my independent candidacy.

If I decide to run, I will run as an uncompromising independent candidate and even if a political party urges its supporters to vote for me, I will refuse to accept their vote so as to preserve my independence.

I would rather not get elected than win with the votes of Diko, which is certain to love my Cyprob policy, and deprive Christodoulides of its votes.

I implore members of the public not to put any more pressure on me to stand, because I need time to make up my mind and write my Patroclos for President scenarios for the press.

My decision will be announced in the autumn, by which time I expect all the parties will have decided to vote for Christodoulides and will not be tempted to back me and undermine my independent candidacy.

 

CONGRATULATIONS to Edek for coming up with a sure-fire method of solve the Cypob. It said in announcement issued on Thursday: “We insist that the government must submit a proposal for the calling of an international conference for the Cyprus issue, as is envisaged by resolution 37/253 (1983) of the UN General Assembly, which as a priority should discuss the international aspect that is the essence of the problem.”

And then what?

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