One of the four bills comprising the recently passed legislative package creating a junior ministry for culture has yet to be sent by parliament to the relevant government departments so that the law can be implemented, it was revealed on Monday.
Two weeks ago, and after much haggling, the House passed four bills relating to the establishment of a junior ministry for culture. The main bone of contention was the status of the antiquities department – so far under the transport ministry – which under the new law would be folded into the fledgling culture ministry.
Under the law as passed, the new junior ministry will begin operating by July 1 at the latest.
Regarding the relocation of the antiquities department and their staff to the new junior ministry, it was decided that the transfer will take place one year after the culture ministry has started operating.
But at the House education committee on Monday, MPs learned that one of the four bills has still to be proofread and sent to the relevant government departments, so that the latter can start implementing it.
The law has also not been signed by the president and not published in the government gazette – which is when any law takes effect.
The proofreading of a law and its conveying to the relevant government departments is routine. This task is undertaken by the parliament’s administrative services.
In this case, however, the parliament’s administrative services have yet to forward one of the four bills onto the government departments – raising suspicions of shenanigans.
“The committee was informed by the education ministry that the fourth bill has not been sent yet,” committee chair Pavlos Mylonas (Diko) later told reporters.
“We hope there are serious reasons for this 15-day delay,” he said, “and we hope that it will reach the competent services and go public today or tomorrow, so we can compare what was voted with what we will see at the end of the day.”
Dipa MP Alecos Tryfonides said passing the legislation 15 days ago was a huge struggle, and that the committee would “stand against anyone delaying or impeding the course of its implementation.”
The lawmakers added that the committee expects the legislation to be made public and signed soon by the president, so the cultural services can assume their new form.
“We are committed to the idea that the establishment of a junior ministry of culture is absolutely necessary, and we will report any laxness so that it becomes known to both the cultural community and the Cypriot public.”