Time for politicians to go home
E DII TO RII A L
Confidence is returning to the banking sector, Central Bank chief Chrystalla Georghadji told an elite group of investors last week, with a number of large scale and infrastructure projects the highlight of the conference organised by the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency.
Some of the speakers also included the Finance Minister, who elaborated on what lies ahead and Cyprus’ obligations as part of the economic adjustment programme, while other officials, such as the privatisation czar, described what is for sale and what is not.
Fortunately, the politicians were absent from the speeches. Because judging from what continues to come to the fore and with the overwhelming evidence of parties and their leaders being involved in corruption, they would be the worst advertising ambassadors Cyprus could ever need.
With DISY President Averof Neophytou making public his personal statement ( why only now?) and suggesting that he was restructuring his personal loans (worth 1.7 mln euro) is an insult to the everyday worker who is struggling to make ends meet and personal fortunes are being investigated by debtor banks, demanding to find assets in order to recover their non-performing loan of just 3,500 euros.
Then again, Neophytou hails from the same political party that established the investment company called Revolution to take advantage of the 1999 stock exchange boom (and subsequent bust).
But let’s bedfellows.
‘Communist’ AKEL, whose favourable treatment of contractors has created a gaping hole in the heart of the capital Nicosia, is a party known for its diversification, with investments in all sort of companies, allegedly in the name of ‘members’, but profits still trickling back to the party coffers, or the party-aligned football clubs.
Then we have the party that has turned corruption into an art form, but of a different kind. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, DIKO was the place to go if you wanted to get a job in the civil service or any semigovernment organisation, which is why the party faces the same self-destructing fate as PASOK in Greece, that has dwindled in strength to a handful of MPs in parliament. DIKO’s success was to use the ‘old boy’ network to get people in and to get things done. As a result, the party remained tolerant to the antics of people in high places, such as the mayor of Paphos, and the municipal councilors who surrounded him.
The ‘socialist’ EDEK incorporates all of the above attributes, but on a smaller scale, the only exception being the party’s involvement in trade deals in the 1970s and 1980s for the sale of goods to Libya and similar ‘democracies’ in our region.
The smaller parties have not had the history or political clout to engage in such favouritism as their peers, but they seem to be headed in a similar direction. For now, the phrase related to Ceasar’s wife not just being honest, but seeming to be so, is irrelevant to our politicians, who after all have been dragging their feet on the foreclosures issue for reasons that even they have forgotten about.