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TALES FROM THE COFFEESHOP: COST-CUTTING: INCREASING THE TAXPAYER’S COSTS

ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ (GREEK) TÜRKÇE (TURKISH)

ONLY our political parties, in their infinite wisdom, could have engaged in a cost-cutting reform that will increase the cost to the taxpayer.

The reform of local government, on which parties worked for years with the sole objective of creating more public jobs to share out among their unemployable members, will be more costly with 20 municipalities than it had been with 30.

Nothing illustrates this better than the position of ‘deputy mayor’ that they came up with. Every municipality that has been merged with a bigger municipality will elect a deputy mayor, so Nicosia will have four such officials without anything to do as authority rests with the mayor and the municipal council.

A deputy mayor, who will have nothing to do apart from arranging the odd rusfeti for his party, will be paid €3,000 a month to perform this non-job. It is questionable if they will have to go to work at all to collect their three grand every month.

Many candidates for deputy mayorships have put up billboards in Nicosia, but none of them gives a reason for seeking our vote. I suppose it would be too crude to say, ‘I am only standing for the money,’ or, more subtly, ‘Who can turn down 3 grand for doing nothing.’

 

THIS IS not the only totally unnecessary post our politicians came up with in the reform of local government. We will also elect a ‘district governor’ who will supposedly oversee the municipalities of the district.

It is unclear if the governor will give orders to the mayor or will collect six grand a month for doing as little as the deputy mayor. There is, after all, an appointed district chief in the state machinery, who is responsible for the district.

Ethnarch Junior has taken the credit for the brilliant idea for a district governor; government’s bill had no such provision. By sheer coincidence, Junior’s much more likeable brother, the outgoing mayor of Nicosia, will be standing for the post of Nicosia district governor.

My respect for Junior would increase geometrically, if he changed the local government bill for the sake of his bro, who probably did not want a third term as mayor, which is quite a demanding job.

 

THE CONTEST for the Nicosia mayorship, if the polls are to be believed, appears to be tilting in favour of lawyer Charalambos Prountzos who is standing as an independent against Disy deputy Nicos Tornaritis.

Tornaritis is not very popular among Disy supporters because of his two-faced role in the last presidential elections when he secretly backed the winner and was undermining his own party’s candidate Averof. His lack of popularity could also be attributed to his uninspiring personality. The only advantage he seems to have over Prountzos is that he does not have a moustache.

I see Prountzos’ billboard every morning on the way to work, and each time I ask myself, what is it with the Clark Gable moustache? It may have been fashionable in Hollywood in the forties, but it is not very cool nowadays, even if Nicosia’s longest-serving mayor Lellos Demetriades had a moustache.

 

PANIC has gripped the patriots of Diko whose party is trailing behind the more patriotic Elam in opinion polls, with the latter looking like it will be the third party in the elections for the European Parliament.

The party has directed its fire at the Elamites accusing them of abusing the church and Christianity. “The Greek Christian faith has as its epicentre love and solidarity, not the fascist and nazi symbols,” said the party in a statement criticizing Elam for having bikers lined up and holding up their helmets as ‘holy light’ was taken to Makarios hospital by their spokesman Geadis Geadis.

“Elam is desecrating the holy light with symbols of Nazism, the holocaust and intolerance,” declared Diko, exhibiting its own politically correct intolerance.

 

DIKO DESPAIR has inspired some ridiculous political adverts, featuring Makarios and our establishment’s all-time hero Spy Kyp. The party must be beyond desperate if it is going for the Makarios vote, considering he departed Kyproulla politics for good, 47 years ago. As for Spy Kyp, the founding father of rampant rusfeti, he gave us a lot of laughs in his time, but bringing up his name is unlikely to stop the party’s slide. After all, Elam is more patriotic, more nationalistic, more anti-settlement and more anti-immigration than Diko. If Spy Kyp were still alive he would probably have voted for Elam.

 

THE GOVERNMENT is still waiting for Kition Ocean Holdings to pay the cut-price Operation and Management guarantee of €4.2m it had agreed to pay at a meeting at the presidential palace last month. It is also waiting for advice from the Legal Service as regards terminating the contract that was signed in 2020.

In the four years Kition has been in charge of the Larnaca port and marina, it has done very little apart from increasing docking fees and charges for pleasure boats. It has also been very successful in securing one extension after another. The project should be completed by next year, but hardly any work has been done in last four years.

Kition has been successful in turning the marina into a venue for pop concerts. On July 18 Tom Jones will be performing at the marina with the cheapest ticket at €149. Two days later, Bonnie Tyler will be performing there. I am sure holding pop concerts was not a contractual obligation, but Kition is honouring it anyway, as a show of goodwill.

 

LABOUR minister, Red John surpassed himself, in his relentless efforts to show union bosses that he is their most trusted and loyal servant. Some days ago, he sent 30 police and inspectors to raid a hotel in Paphos to check if it was employing foreign workers illegally.

It was not the best advertisement for Cyprus tourism, as these police state tactics took place in front of the hotel guests, who may have thought they were holidaying in North Korea rather than Paphos. The police tried to patch things up when reports about the raid surfaced, while Red John said nothing.

If this guy stays in his post for much longer the dictatorship of the proletariat will be unavoidable.

 

SOME claim Red John is slavishly following the diktats of the union bosses because he has presidential ambitions – he could be Akel’s candidate – but it is difficult to believe his blatant pro-union bias does not have the Prez’ approval.

Sek had publicly backed his candidacy and he has attended the annual conference of bank employees’ union Etyk, immediately after his election. It is in this context that the labour minister’s mediation proposal in the dispute between Etyk and Hellenic Bank, which was unresolved for years, should be seen.

His mediation proposal gave Etyk everything it demanded, inflicting a huge embarrassment on the Hellenic head honchos, who went to mediation like lambs to slaughter.

 

THE CYPRUS problem has become a European problem, declared Prezniktwo during celebrations of European Day. Did he ask the European Commission or the European Council whether they were willing to adopt the Cyprob as their problem?

It was a rhetorical flourish, not dissimilar to the post-referendum promise of the ‘European solution’ that never materialized. Will the Cyprus problem now be renamed the European problem, ‘the Kypriako’ becoming ‘the Evropaiko’?

 

YOU HAD to feel some sympathy for the UNSG’s personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin, who is nowhere near finding the common ground she was sent to find. Before arriving in Kyproulla she visited several capitals, including Moscow.

This was a very strange decision, considering Russia has never supported a settlement and has always encouraged the forces that opposed it. It would be the last place to go to, for any envoy seeking to find common ground between the two sides.

Even if it existed, the Russian government would make sure it magically disappeared.

Source: TALES FROM THE COFFEESHOP: COST-CUTTING: INCREASING THE TAXPAYER’S COSTS

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PATROCLOS | CYPRUS MAIL
Patroclos is the pen-name of Kyriacos Iacovides, who has maintained his sanity despite writing this column for more than 30 years. Tales from the Coffeeshop first appeared in April 1991 with the objective of offering some light reading in the Sunday Mail. Its target audience was the people who do not take life and Cyprus politics, too seriously.

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