OUR ESTABLISHMENT would like to mention that today is its 33rd birthday. The first ever Coffeeshop appeared in 1991 on April 21 (admittedly an unfortunate day as it coincided with the day the Junta took power in Greece in 1967).

We had hoped to mark this historic day for Kyproulla with a church service, a military parade and a rave party with fireworks in the grounds of the presidential palace but our written requests were turned down. We decided instead to place 33 candles in a giant tashinopitta, made especially for the occasion, and invite customers to attend.

Invitation cards noted that this was “the only inconsequential social event that will not be attended by the president of republic” also warning that anybody who is anybody in Kyproulla will not be present.

 

SPEAKING of anniversaries, on Wednesday, April 24 we will be celebrating our greatest victory of the post invasion era. It will 20 years since the heroic rejection of the satanic Annan plan which the Turk-loving Yanks and Brits tried to impose through a referendum. It was triumphantly rejected by 76 per cent of Greek Cypriot population.

It was a remarkable show of unity forged by Ethnarch Tassos with the zealous support of the political parties (except Disy), all the television stations, most newspapers, big developers and all patriotic organisations. At the time you would see the slogan ‘OXI’ everywhere – billboards, shop windows, car bumpers, vans, house doors – in what became a political stampede.

There were endless discussions, scare-mongering and misinformation, but what it boiled down was that we were offered the return of Varosha, Morphou, the buffer zone some 60 villages, but we said ‘OXI’ we do not want them, the Turks can keep them. We were also offered the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and we said ‘OXI’ we want them to stay. The north would also have become EU territory, a week later because of accession to the EU and we said ‘OXI’ we would rather it stayed under Turkey’s control so it can one day become a province of Turkiye.

The wisdom of the people had spoken resoundingly.

 

THE DECISION was vindicated, because in the 20 years that followed we have recorded countless victories on paper. The latest materialised as recently as last Wednesday in Brussels, when Prezniktwo brought to fruition his stated objective of linking progress in the Cyprob to EU-Turkey relations.

Predictably he and Mini Me made a lot more out of the conclusions of the European Council than they merited, but it would be mean-spirited not to acknowledge his achievement which, even if it has no practical value, will have some nuisance value for the Turks who made no secret of their dissatisfaction. It was emphatic proof of our success.

“Last night we sent a positive message to Turkey and the transformation of this message into specific, positive developments in EU-Turkey relations depends on the progress on the Cyprus issue,” he said. The Turks thrive on such positive messages, and they will now beg Maria Angela Holguin for a resumption of the talks.

 

MINI ME had to repeat the slogan about the “positive message” in his briefing of hacks the next day when he moonlighted as spokesman of the European Commission.

The Cyprus Republic and the European Commission sent a “specific positive message” (‘specific’ is copy-pasted everywhere) to the Turkish side he said. “We are, we desire to be constructive and there can be progress on the points, on the chapters that interest Turkey, as long as there is corresponding progress in the Kypriako,” he said.

Considering there is no safer way of losing your money than betting on progress on the Kypriako, the positive message was that EU-Turkey relations were going in the deep freeze for the time being. The European Council will probably change its conclusions when its members realise that our Nik is as committed to progress in the Kypriako as the Turks.

 

I HAVE never been a worshipper of Odysseas because I tend to embrace the atheistic faith, admittedly not very fanatically, but you have to give him a pat on the back for the doggedness with which he pursues some things.

Last week he released his audit report on the foreign ministry for the 2021-22 period and could not resist mentioning the case of the diplomat who was unlawfully collecting an overseas posting allowance for three months after he had returned to Nicosia. This amounted to €16,514, which was never returned, the ministry violating all service rules so he could keep the money.

Odysseas did not mention the name of the diplomat, who is at present our Prez, but everyone knew who he was talking about. The scandal had been reported in the media in the past and Odysseas had raised it officially last year. Why had he included it in a report for 2021-22, when the scam had taken place in 2013 and declared a lawful illegality by the authorities?

 

PERHAPS he wanted to give some context and show there was a culture of milking the system among our self-regarding diplomats that went back many years. The scams in the latest report took place when the man who milked the system was in charge of the foreign ministry.

The most glaring involved the posting of a public school teacher to an embassy in Europe where her husband was serving. She was given duties, normally reserved for a diplomat, even though she was a teacher, as well as all the money perks afforded to diplomats posted abroad.

This was a blatant illegality, but foreign ministry staff do not care about local laws as their interest is international law when it is violated by Turkey.

 

MILKING the system is not something restricted to public parasites. Deputies are much worse, having voted perks for themselves over the years, privileges that nobody else enjoys. Who else is entitled to two grand a month tax free, a state pension from 60 after five years of service and a retirement bonus of about 80 grand for five years’ service and 180 grand for 10?

They are all united, however, in wanting to stop the injustice of the multiple pensions collected by a host of state officials. The government prepared two bills as a half-baked solution to the matter in order to appease the public, got the go-ahead from the Legal Service only to have Odysseas publicly opposing it, and concluding that the “government obviously does not want to solve the problem.” He is probably right.

He also gave his legal opinion, saying that the laws would be overturned by the court. It is only a matter of time before he suggests the auditor-general, with his proven knowledge of the law, takes on the duties of the attorney-general as well in order to save the taxpayer some money.

 

HAS THE chairman of Hellenic Bank Petros Christodoulou, decided to give in to the bank employees union, Etyk, over the renewal of the collective agreement which has been a point of dispute for years, and leave the prospective new owners Eurobank to pick up the pieces?

Although he accepted the mediation proposal by labour minister Red John, which is heavily weighted in favour of the union, admitting that he had crossed the bank’s previous red lines, Christodoulou said the proposal would have to be approved by the new board.

He also said he would work on its implementation and all the provisions would go into force retroactively, once the new board approves the mediation proposal. What if it does not?