THE PUBLIC Service Commission (PSC), which appoints and promotes public employees, according to the diktats of the government and political parties, is one of Kyproulla’s most ludicrous institutions.
While it exists, supposedly, to ensure, among other things, fairness and meritocracy in the promotions of public parasites, it does the exact opposite. It completely ignores rules on promotion criteria and gives senior posts to the people chosen by the government or the parties, which take turns of nominate their own. This lack of professional integrity is very well-rewarded with the five members of the PSC on higher pay than government ministers.
The latest shenanigans by the PSC, that came to light a few days ago, would not have been out of place in a Kafka novel. On May 12 the PSC promoted to director of the Mechanical/Electrical Engineering Service a man who retired from the public service at the end of 2021. His promotion was retroactive, taking place in April 2015, which means he would receive the pay of director of the engineering service for the six-and-a-half years he did not do the job of director. The difference in what he should have been paid as director, that he never was, and what he was paid will be given to him now.
Meanwhile, during the six-and-a-half years someone else was being paid the director’s salary, but he will not return the money even though he was a pseudo-director, in the post unlawfully.
THIS ABSURDITY is the direct result of the PSC’s shameless rusfetological practices. In 2015 it appointed as director of the service, a Loucas Timotheou on the strength of the personal interview. In all the objective criteria, set out by the law, the second candidate, Nikos Mateou was superior and should have got the job.
He did not so he took the case to the administrative court and won. Timotheou’s appointment was declared null and void, but the PSC appealed and in February of this year the supreme court rejected the appeal. Rather than appoint Mateou who was entitled to the job by law, the PSC came up with idea getting round the law by appointing the retiree retroactively, which meant that after he vacated the post he never held or had been a candidate for, a new appointment procedure would have to be set in motion.
Now if the highly paid members of the PSC were picking up the bill for their inept, rusfetological machinations, they could do what they like, but we are paying for the salary supplements, legal fees and lost court cases.
A SIMILAR case unfolded at the state’s Press and Information Office (PIO). The PSC appointed a candidate with strong party connections as director in 2017, on the strength of the personal interview, while ignoring all the objective criteria in which another candidate was superior.
The other candidate was the Central Bank’s spokesperson, Aliki Stylianou, who sued and was vindicated by court decision in 2020. The director had to step down because her appointment was null and void and the PIO has been headless since then. Again there was an appeal against the court decision and again it was rejected by the supreme court earlier this year.
Ten days ago, it was announced that Stylianou was appointed director of the PIO, retroactively, on March 1, 2017 and of course she will be entitled to the director’s pay and benefits that she did not receive in the last five years. She is due to assume the post she was appointed to five years ago on June 1, the PSC wheeler-dealers, finally accepting defeat in this case.
IT WAS not a good week for the pretty boy candidate from Paphos his Mr Perfect image taking a heavy blow from the revelations that big chunks of the speech he made to announce his candidacy were copied from the speech made by foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides in 2008, announcing his decision to stand in the presidential elections.
Promises and assertions were stolen word for word from Kasoulides’ speech (there is a video on social media with all the 47 instances of plagiarism), the only difference being that Kasoulides delivered them with much more passion and conviction than the independent candidate.
The wide-scale plagiarism explained Christodoulides’ insipid delivery of the 25-minute speech – he was using another man’s words and vision for Kyproulla, because he has no convictions or beliefs of his own, the only thing he feels passionate about is becoming president. So, he just said what his communications advisor told him to say to impress the voters; not even his dreams were his own.
Flessas, the big-shot communications advisor from Greece, hired by Christodoulides, was sacked, as soon as the news of the stolen speech emerged. He had served as Kasoulides’ advisor in 2007 and, presumably could not be bothered to write another speech for his new client, who had no ideas or dreams of his own anyway.
Interviewers might consider when asking Christodoulides a question to urge him to “tell us in your own words.”
AMBASSADOR of Mother Russia, Stanislav Osadchiy, after an unusually long absence from the local media, made a comeback on Friday with an article in Phil, in which he argued that he had been proved correct when he warned that Cyprus was shooting itself in the foot by supporting the EU sanctions against Russia.
This was one of the few things he wrote that was factually accurate, as was his assertion that sanctions against Russia were harming Europe as well as Kyproulla which had been hit by high fuels costs and grain shortages, as well as loss tourism revenue.
He said “the conflict in Ukraine constitutes only a part of the big war, the war of the West against Russia. And this war was being prepared a long time ago, in every detail.” The US and its European partners wanted to eliminate the Russian people and for this purpose “decided to bring into a bloody conflict two fraternal peoples, supplying Kiev with guns and billions of dollars, leading them to a ‘war’.”
Stan the man then revealed the extent of the conspiracy. “We knew that Ukraine, the US and Nato were preparing an invasion of Donbas on 8 March, 2022 (the documents that later fell into our hands simply confirmed this) and subsequently they planned to invade the southern areas of Russia.”
THE IMMINENT invasion of Donbas and subsequently the southern areas of Russia, confirmed by the documents, mailed to Russia by Nato, was the reason “we undertook action to save the Russian speakers that live in the Ukraine.”
And the punchline: “In this way we averted mass bloodshed and a mass slaughter of civilians by the Ukrainian nationalists.”
The article may have been the swan song of the doyen of the diplomatic corps, who is scheduled to leave the island in the near future; the Cyprus government, I hear, has already been informed the identity of his successor. Talk that he has got a job in a Russian troll factory is just gossip.
Has he fallen out of favour with Moscow, because only 50 per cent of Cypriots believe that Russia was the victim of the war in Ukraine, attacked by the West for its efforts to avert mass bloodshed and mass slaughter of civilians in Ukraine?
OUR POLITICIANS have been collectively beating their breasts, protesting about the latest Turkish provocation in the fenced off area of Varosha and urging the hypocritical international community to put an end to its odious double standards, in its treatment of Kyproulla.
They are demanding sanctions are imposed on Turkey, as has been done to Russia for its war in Ukraine, even though the latest Varosha provocation pales by comparison. Is the international community going to impose sanctions on Turkey because it cleared a 150-metre stretch of beachfront and put sunbeds on it?
Foreigners might not see the placing of sunbeds on a beach, as a war crime, a threat to lives, or to European security. The Turks are violating UN resolutions on Varosha, but protesting about sunbeds on a disputed beach is not going to advance our victimhood narrative. The sunbed provocation will not even elicit a verbal condemnation from anyone, so the expectation of sanctions being imposed might be a bit unrealistic.
PRESIDENTIAL candidate Giorgos Colocassides, in a written statement said every Cypriot felt “sadness and rage” and it was “infuriating” that the reactions were so weak, even though the provocations in Varosha started in October 2020. As regards the sunbed saga, he asked: “What actions were taken so that the new illegal intervention on the beach could have been avoided?”
A presidential candidate should be giving answers instead of asking questions, which is the prerogative of people with the thankless task of writing columns. What would Colocassides have done, if he were president, to prevent the illegal intervention on the beach? Send tourists who use the sunbeds to the International Crimes Tribunal?
How are we going to vote for him if he has no answers? Perhaps he should hire a communications advisor to provide the answers.
A SKETTOS drinker who had passed outside the presidential palace on his way to our establishment on Friday was not impressed with the stink of milk gone bad that remained in the air long after the sheep and goat farmers had gone home. The aroma of the sheep and goat farmers’ message will remain in the palace area for days as a reminder to Prez Nik of the promises of cash he made to protesters.
THE SHRINKING tashinopitta saga took a new twist on Saturday. The tashinopitta I bought had, at the same price as last week had not shrunk any further but it was not as moist as usual. I suspected that maybe the baker decided to cut costs further by using less tahini, although it is entirely possible that I just picked the one bad tashinopitta from the shelf. If it happens again next week I will try another baker.