THE SERVILITY so generously shown to the visiting Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hammad Al Thani by awe-struck Prezniktwo was truly impressive. It was, after all, the first ever visit of the Emir of Qatar to the centre of the universe.

He even went to the airport to personally greet the Emir on his arrival, when the usual practice is to send a minister and officially welcome the state guest at the presidential palace. It was all rather weird but it appears the presidency has not changed our Niktwo and he remains humble when rubbing shoulders with the ultra-rich and powerful.

As Brutus said in Julius Caesar, “lowliness is young ambition’s ladder” – an idea that our prez had made his own and largely explains his meteoric rise from an unknown Paphite civil servant to head of state. Even though he has reached the top, he is unable to discard this pretence of lowliness.

He glowed in the presence of the Emir, offering the Cyprus Republic’s ambassadorial services at the EU. “You can consider Cyprus, a member-state of the EU, your ambassador in Brussels,” he proudly told the Emir.

Since losing the custom of Mother Russia, the Republic has been looking to promote the interests of another state with inexhaustible funds at the EU. It is not clear whether the Emir accepted our prez’s kind offer and appointed us as Qatar’s ambassador to the EU.

I AM SURPRISED that none of the bash-patriotic brigade questioned this cosying up to Qatar, which is Turkey’s closest ally, has Turkish troops stationed on its territory and has repeatedly bailed out its floundering economy with billions of bucks.

Not a single Phil columnist commented on the Republic’s love-in with Qatar, nor did anyone ask what is happening with block 10 of our EEZ which is licensed to the Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil consortium, but nothing has been done since 2019, when natural gas deposits estimated to be between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet were found. The consortium also signed an exploration licence for Block 5 at the end of 2021.

Phil, however, reported that Qatar showed an interest in taking over development of the Larnaca port and marina development after the termination of the contract with Kition Ocean Holdings. The source was the presidential palace and was repeated, a few days later, by Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades.

Taking on an unviable €1.2 billion project that the contractor abandoned is a small price to pay for having an ambassador in Brussels.

‘MAMMOTH investment that turned to mammoth fiasco’ was the inspired headline Politis used for its report about the termination of Kition’s contract, which was a cause of major embarrassment for the government even though it was not to blame for what happened.

It was the previous government that had awarded the contract to a company that had no previous experience in the development of ports and marinas. The search for a company to take over the development of the port and marina had gone on unsuccessfully for 25 years.

When a company was finally found and signed on the dotted line in 2020 it was cause for celebration. Only later did Kition realise that the project, valued at €1.2bn, was unviable and avoided committing any money to major work; it said last week that it had spent €30m, which was a tiny fraction of the overall cost.

The real problem is that lack of perspective is in our DNA and we always entertain grandiose plans out of line with our country’s size. Of course, a €1.2bn port and marina project in a tiny country that already has a port and three marinas would be unviable. Our DNA does not allow us to understand that mammoth projects are not for midget countries.    

Preznikone with Juncker

STATE news agency Tass lived up to its nickname with its shabby treatment of the former president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker, who it interviewed to mark the 20th anniversary of Kyproulla’s accession to the EU.

Juncker was interviewed by Brussels-based journalist Giorgos Kakouris and squarely blamed Preznikone for the failure to reach a Cyprob deal at Crans Montana in 2017. He said: “I think the main problem was not Erdogan, and it was not Akinci, but the south of the island, because it was not ready to make the leap.”

This was his view, but Tass, as a true state propagandist, could not allow it to stand. In the story it filed, it had a ‘special note’ which was a huge chunk of text with the explanations given by Preznikone, Prezniktwo (government spokesman at the time) and negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis for the collapse of the talks. They had all blamed the Turkish side, although nobody outside Cyprus believed a word.

Tass even mentioned the UNSG’s comments in its pitiful debunking of Juncker’s view, omitting, however, to mention that Antonio Guterres had thanked Turkey and Greece after the conference for their positive contribution to the talks.

Instead of going to all this trouble, Tass should have just headlined its interview ‘Juncker is a Turk-loving liar – it’s official.’

FED UP of denying corruption allegations, for relief Preznikone has decided to take part in the campaign for the European elections. He made an appearance at a campaign gathering for Disy MEP Loukas Fourlas, who is seeking re-election, and heaped lavish praise on him.

Fourlas, who is renowned for his unremarkable brain power and for saying nothing, is way ahead of the other Disy candidates in opinion polls, but Nikone still felt obliged to offer him his public backing. He told the audience that Fourlas “literally honoured Cyprus, in the previous five years, with his presence, his actions, his interventions at the European Parliament.” It was “our obligation and duty to use all our powers” for him to be elected, he said with a straight face.

There could be no more compelling reason not to vote for Fourlas than Nik’s endorsement. As recent experience has shown, when Nik supports a candidate for office, he is conclusively unfit for the job.

Prezniktwo was caught in a rather unstatesmanlike pose during a charity basketball match he took part in on Saturday. Statesmen occasionally scratch their balls, but they make sure this is done in private.

He has made a habit of acting in an unstatesmanlike way. A couple of weeks ago he was on the pitch in a Paphos shirt, embracing fans and players, rolling on the grass, celebrating Paphos’ cup win. Last Wednesday he was on the terrace of the Aek stadium for the Olympiakos-Fiorentina Europa Conference League final, taking selfies of himself and his daughter. His political father, Nikone was more statesmanlike, watching the match from an executive box with the Olympiakos president.  

A COMPULSIVE, attention-seeker from Peristerona, or a nearby village, has been making quite a stir in the election campaign. Twentysomething fruitcake Youtuber Fidias Panayiotou is standing as an independent candidate in the European elections and polls suggest he could take an astonishing 4 per cent of the vote.

The son of a priest, who would go to school in his pyjamas as one of his attention-grabbing gimmicks, Fidias is a natural communicator. He is the star of his six-hour live streams in which he chats with callers, without saying anything. He has no politics, no ideas, no opinions, but he can talk endlessly about nothing.

With such a gift he could be the next president even if he fails to become an MEP.

THE COURT battle between the auditor-general and the attorney-general, which has been billed the “mother of all battles” by the media, turned out to be something of an anti-climax.

You had to admire Philenews’ efforts to make a drama out of last Wednesday’s proceedings in which it had a live feed from the courtroom informing us what every lawyer said. It was mind-numbingly boring as live feeds are usually done for football matches, or wars – certainly not for legal arguments that are more likely to put you to sleep than excite you.

This Wednesday’s hearing may justify the live feed as the judges will decide whether the AG has the locus standi to have Odysseas removed from his post. There could even be crowd trouble if the judges rule in favour of the AG.