ON THIS Christmas Day, all Christians of Kyproulla, including the non-believers, have been given the best possible present they could have prayed for, even though they would not have found it under their Christmas tree – a brand new Archbishop.
A brand new, gift-wrapped, spiritual guide to help us negotiate the difficulties and moral dilemmas of life, to give us direction on the Cyprob now that we most need it, to provide affordable housing to our entitled students and charity to those in need.
I would like to publicly offer my insincere congratulations to Bishop Georgios of Paphos, but originally from Athienou, for his election and express my sincere wish that he will not use his new post to spout his uber-nationalist views and assist the rise of Elam, to which he has always been very ideologically close.
In the end there had been very little episcopal horsetrading, the charmless Bishop Georgios having sewn up his election quite easily, having secured the backing of 11 of the 16 members of the Holy Synod. The unsmiling Bishop Athanasios of Limassol, who won the public vote last Sunday, was left with good reason to carry on never smiling, having taken four Holy Synod votes (one bishop cast a blank vote).
THIS was the second time Athanasios has been stitched up by his brothers in the Synod. He took the most votes from the public in 2006 as well, but was somehow edged out by the unpopular Chrys of Paphos.
In last Sunday’s elections, in which a meagre 30 per cent of the registered voters turned up to vote, Athanasios won comfortably with a 35.68 per cent, almost as big a share as the votes of second and third put together. He was the undisputed popular choice.
On Friday, fearing the worst, Athanasios told CyBC radio “the people would be scandalised if the Holy Synod does not respect the verdict of the people.” For someone as devoted to God as Athanasios, it was a true mystery how he could not see that his failure to be elected Archbishop may have been God’s will.
Unless he believes the people’s opinion should take precedence over God’s will in archiepiscopal elections. According to very reliable sources up above, the Almighty had heard him say, a little before the elections were called, that “I do not want to be elected”, and granted his wish. He was not to know the bishop did not mean it and was indulging in a bit of Christian false humility.
MEANWHILE Prez Nik has been engaging in a manic legacy building campaign, laying foundation stones for new projects, inspecting those in progress, attending opening ceremonies and lavishly praising his presidency every time he appears in public. He possesses enough false modesty not to declare himself a deity like Roman emperors used to do.
His unwavering commitment to his self-promotion and self-aggrandisement is admirable. On Monday he told the Chamber of Commerce AGM that he would deliver an economy built on strong foundations and a state machinery ready to face all unforeseen crises.
On Thursday he addressed the third conference for the appraisal of the 10-year government (it sounds like something a ruling Communist Party would have staged) and declared that the ‘Cyprus- Tomorrow’ Plan was his legacy, the legacy of his government.
And everywhere he goes, he feels duty bound to repeat his Cyprob narrative (fairytale) in which he was blameless, defeated by Turkish intransigence, like everyone before him. First, he told us he did everything humanly possible, subsequently upgraded to super-human efforts, for a settlement, but could not allow Turkey to turn Kyproulla into its protectorate.
The Cyprob piss-taking reached its climax on Monday when he gave assurances that even after he left office he would continue fighting for the creation of conditions for the resumption of talks for a settlement. Pull the other one Nik.
IN THE LAST six days Prez Nik did the following: On Monday he laid the foundation stone of the Maronite Sporting Centre in Pano Deftera.
On Wednesday he toured Nicosia, laying the foundation stone of the first phase of the Athalassa Mental Health Centre, inspecting the works at the site of the old GSP stadium, opening Information and Training Centre for strengthening employment and entrepreneurship, opening the refurbished building of the supreme court that would house the administrative court and inaugurating the works for the restoration of the Pancyprian Gymnasium.
In the evening he did not rest, but inaugurated the regeneration project for commercial triangle in the centre of the capital. During his tour he gave the cost of every project, as if the money had come out of his own pocket and we had to be grateful for his astounding generosity.
On Thursday, he was indoors addressing the third conference on the 10 years of his achievements, but on Friday he inaugurated the National Guard Officers’ Mess at Costakis Pantelides army camp.
Presidential inaugurations such as the above have taken place in all towns over the last few weeks, the prez on a noble mission to ensure we never forget the Golden Age of Nik the Great.
THEN YOU have Odysseas ruining the Golden Age picture by exposing decisions by the council of ministers that smack of corruption. His latest report on public education, covered by his mouthpiece Phil, highlighted how a teacher was seconded to a Cyprus embassy abroad in which her husband was working as a diplomat.
She assumed diplomatic duties at the embassy, which was unlawful. The state carried on paying her teacher’s salary (although she was not working as a teacher), plus the General Allowance for foreign postings, which amounts to €44,136 and was more than her annual salary, said the audit report. The audit office said, “this constitutes a provocative waste of public money, which is unlawful and an abuse of power.”
The Authority Against Corruption set up during the Golden Age will soon be investigating this scandal at the request of the Prez who will want his name cleared of any link to the unlawful decision taken by the council of ministers. It was after all the result of Turkish intransigence.
FEELING unloved and ignored by all the attention the other darling of the media, prison director Anna Aristotelous caught up in receiving after the AG’s decision not to prosecute the chief of the drug squad Katsounotos, Odysseas found a way to become part of the story and draw a little of the publicity to himself.
After it was reported that Aristotelous and her deputy, outraged by the decision, had asked to be transferred to another post, Odysseas tweeted: “The audit service is looking for capable and conscientious workers. If the two in charge of the prisons insist on a transfer, we are of the views they can contribute to our work if they desire their transfer to our service.”
Offering jobs via Twitter to draw attention to yourself cannot be the correct procedure for the transfer of staff in the civil service, but Odysseas will not make an issue out of it, this time.
THE FESTIVE season many be here but there is a small group Russians living in Kyproulla who have not been touched by the spirit of goodwill. These people have been doing everything they can to force Larnaca district court to impose the toughest possible sentence on a 55-year-old Ukrainian woman who, back in August, had allegedly attempted to attack a group of 20 Russians brandishing a kitchen knife.
How an inebriated woman with a kitchen knife could be a threat to 20 strong men I do not know but the Russian ambassador at the time made sure charges were brought against her, brandishing her a terrorist. And the small group of Russians are campaigning for maximum penalty.
On Wednesday they gathered outside the court waving Russian flags and holding placards saying “No to terrorism in Cyprus” and “Attack with a knife is attempted murder”. They also sat in the court room to pressure the judge to show no mercy to the woman. The Cyprus authorities have charged her with everything possible to appease these bullies, including the criminal charge of racism.
Under normal circumstance this hapless woman would have been sent home by the police with a caution, as nobody was hurt, but Russians are demanding ‘justice’ so there has to be a show trial for their benefit.
SPARE a thought for the unfortunate bank employees who took early retirement but will be deprived of scrounging unemployment benefit from the state. After a decision of the administrative court, it appears like an end will be put to this lawful method of stealing from state.
Bank employees who have been paid two years’ salaries in compensation – some took as much as 200 grand – for voluntary retirement, could not claim to be unemployed and collect unemployment pay for six months after leaving their job, the court ruled. This legalised stealing had been standard practice in the past.
A final decision by the labour minister depends on the AG’s opinion, which is reportedly unfavourable to the bank employees. I would not be surprised, however, if the cunningly devious Etyk chief does not pull some political strings to ensure the law is violated one last time, for humanitarian reasons.
I STILL remember the time when the public parasites shamelessly claimed unemployment benefit for six months after their retirement, despite receiving a hefty, monthly, state pension. They raised a big fuss when the government tried to stop this theft, claiming it was a worker’s conquest that had to be respected.
In the end, the thieving was stopped, as it will in the case of the bank workers, whose Christmas dinner table will not be any poorer as result.
I AVOIDED mentioning the presidential elections, but normal services will resume next year. Happy Christmas and I hope you over-eat, over-drink, overindulge because the Golden Age of the Great Nik is drawing to an end and we may never have it so good ever again.