Government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis on Thursday responded to University of Cyprus valedictorian Lambros Dionisiou, who said he would leave Cyprus not knowing if and when he would ever return.

In his speech at the graduation ceremony on Wednesday, Dionisiou alluded to the fact that Cyprus pushes its young people away, due to the corrupt political system, which does not allow the youth to flourish.

“Unfortunately, we live in a society in decline,” he said. “Institutions are collapsing, people are indignant, and corruption is thriving. We live in a country in which we see one scandal after another, in a country that is vilified internationally.

“We live in a country where, despite all this, no one is punished, and nothing changes. We live on an island that remains divided, with open wounds.

 “All these pushes people abroad, hoping that they will find something better out there. I am among those people. I leave without knowing if and when I will return. Because if I stay in Cyprus, there will come a time when someone will be considered better not because of knowledge, skills and experience, but because of his party identity and family connections.

“I am leaving because this country over time, all it manages to do is disappoint and clip the wings of its young people,” Dionisiou said in his speech that went viral.

In his response on Thursday, Letymbiotis said Dionisiou and all people like him should stay and try to make the country better.

“I understand the indignation of young people, we all went through that age. Let me tell you that I personally returned from our studies in America in 2012,” he said.

“My first salary as an architect back then was €400 and I considered myself to have succeeded, at least in those circumstances. In 2013 I was looking for work in the middle of the haircut,” Letymbiotis said, speaking of his own personal experience as a young person in Cyprus.

He called on young people like Lambros and others to stay and fight, “because these young people are the future of our country”.

According to what Letymbiotis told Alpha News, Cyprus is in a better place than ten years ago. He said that there has been progress, as now the minimum wage has risen to €1000, and there are consistent upgrades to the economy.

In response to comments on corruption and decadence, he replied that “Cyprus is the country that brought in a team from the FBI for investigations, the country that receives congratulations from the world for the life it gives to Gaza, for the decisions taken on energy inflation”.

“I want Lambros and everyone like Lambros, to turn his anger into constructive criticism, to fight, to criticise us from morning till night from his country. Instead of brain drain, I prefer brain gain,” he said.