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Bills on volunteer firefighters, Green Line guards to reach plenum before summer break

screengrab from alpha news report

Bills to employ volunteer forest firefighters and 300 guards to monitor the Green Line for migrant crossings could be voted through before parliament closes for the summer, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Wednesday.

After the meeting of the House legal affairs committee, chairman Disy MP Nicos Tornaritis said positions have been taken on the bill on volunteer firefighters, with the aim of getting it to the plenum before the break.

“Fire is a very serious danger to people and the environment and we believe the introduction of the institution of forest firefighters will be an important element in stopping the fires that threaten our country,” he added.

Tornaritis said the bill on the recruitment of 300 Green Line guards to will monitor parts of the line where migrants cross from non-governemnt-controlled areas to the Republic will also be in voted before the summer.

“Although there is a doubt from Akel… the rest of the political forces seem to be in favour of the proposal,” he said.

“I am optimistic that it will be passed into law and we are taking the first important step in a direction where a lot needs to be done, as we also need the support and assistance of the EU through Europol,” Tornaritis added.

Cyprus has to take measures, he said, as the fact that Turkey is sending migrants to the island “is now a clear reality”.

Meanwhile, the committee will meet next Wednesday to table amendments to the bills on the reform of the justice system, which will be brought for voting on June 30.

Referring to the results of international surveys, he said that our justice system has “hit rock bottom”. According to Tornaritis, Cypriots no longer find justice, “because if a case that is before the court is finalised after four to five years, it is no longer justice”.

Appealing to all parties to overcome any doubts on the reform, he said this “has been discussed dozens of times before” and that June 30 is the final date for their approval.

“The President has convened a meeting on the issue, with all the stakeholders and parties involved, and no objections were raised there by others, apart from Diko,” he said, expressing hope that MPs would “overcome any doubts and put the public interest first”.

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