Time for politi­cians to go home

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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