The association of coastal vessels on Tuesday in a strongly worded letter appealed to the mayor of Paralimni to not to create unnecessary problems for coastal tourism.

The letter addressed to Paralimni Mayor Theodoros Pyrillis expressed outrage at the handling of the matter of licensing and warned they would mobilise in protest should the decision of the municipality to impose a licence fee for the operation of a pleasure boat be enforced.

The association stated in its letter that the decision came in concert with the [municipality’s] refusal to provide keys to offices adjacent to the Nisiotis dock, which its members have been renting since 2011.

The letter accuses the mayor of behaving “illegally and arbitrarily” and “blackmailing” pleasure boat operators that if they do not submit signed applications sent out to all for the issuance of a licence, they will not have access to ticket offices for the 2023 tourist season, and these will be given to other businesses.

The association stated that making the function of the offices contingent on “the acceptance of a so-called license to operate a pleasure boat is illegal and arbitrary.”

“Without any decision of the municipal council, the locks of the offices were changed, preventing our members from having any access, while their assets are locked inside,” the letter states.

The association argued that the licensing procedure—an amendment to Municipal Laws 52(I)/2022—does not concern them.

“The [municipality] forwarded a form for licence to operate a coastal ferry while the Law provides for pleasure craft,” the letter continues, stating, “we regret the attitude of the parliamentary interior committee, there was no consultation, and the amendment of the above Law was done behind closed doors.”

In addition, the pleasure boat union requested from the auditor general to check the legality of the office rental collections made by Pyrillis for years 2018 and 2019, the amendment of Law 52(I)/2022, as well as the issuance of the contentious licensing form.