You can­not be se­ri­ous?

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

I can­not stop won­der­ing if, as a coun­try, we have our heads placed cor­rectly on our shoul­ders. Be­ing iso­lated is­lan­ders and with more than our fair share of at­ten­tion (be it good or bad) and hav­ing been spoiled with money (up to re­cently), I do not feel that our think­ing, as a coun­try, is ra­tio­nal based on the big opin­ion that we have for our­selves.

Politi­cians, in an ef­fort to please vot­ers, are no bet­ter (re­gard­ing their big head­ed­ness) and we have all sorts of grandiose schemes pro­posed which are not pos­si­ble to ac­com­plish.

Ni­cosia’s old foot­ball sta­dium (GSP):

We must have spent over EUR 1 mln in stud­ies so far. No one was in­ter­ested and now a new pro­posal is of­fered as an in­cen­tive to a would-be in­vestor, to al­low a ho­tel de­vel­op­ment. Are we se­ri­ous? In Ni­cosia where the ho­tels are strug­gling, and one has just been taken over by a bank. We pro­pose to build a new one? Are we se­ri­ous?

Notwith­stand­ing that we sub­sidise the public bus ser­vice by over EUR 30 mln p.a. and notwith­stand­ing that other than the for­eign work­ers and re­tirees use the ser­vice for free (oth­er­wise they are empty), we have spent over EUR 200,000 in re­search to have a

The Ni­cosia tram:

Ni­cosia tram ser­vice. But with an in­vest­ment cost of EUR 216 mln (as the gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates) who has this sort of money to in­vest in such fi­nan­cially los­ing trans­port? It will be a B.T.O., pro­ject we were told – are we se­ri­ous?

The prime real es­tate plots which be­long to the gov­ern­ment (lo­cally known as the “fil­let” of real es­tate) has been ex­am­ined by for­eign con­sul­tants at a cost of over EUR 200,000 who came up to tell us what? That we should build a ho­tel in Ni­cosia (disas­ter), to abol­ish the pro­posed na­tional Mu­seum site and in its place to build a mall (an­other one is now un­der con­struc­tion), to di­vide the var­i­ous beach and other plots of land into build­ing plots (over sup­ply ex­ist­ing) and that of­fice build­ings should be de­vel­oped in some ar­eas (over sup­ply) in Ni­cosia’s cen­tre. Are we se­ri­ous?

Prime Real Es­tate:

The Pen­takomo

Lar­naca Port:

fi­asco:

What a fi­asco to de­velop a tech­no­log­i­cal park where in­ter­na­tional high-tech firms will be queue­ing to de­velop. Af­ter Bill Gates got in­ter­ested and be­cause of the in­ex­cus­able de­lays, he ended up in Malta. We are just not up to it, to fight our red tape, the civil ser­vice and our own at­ti­tude. We spend sev­eral years in study­ing and study­ing, again spend mil­lions in com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tion and in­fra­struc­ture and we are now look­ing at empty land.

Af­ter stud­ies and stud­ies to at­tract the prospec­tive in­vestor for over EUR 0.5 bln, we seem to be reach­ing the end (limited in­ter­est) but over the last 10 years we were quar­relling amongst our­selves over how much more we could de­mand from the pos­si­ble in­vestor (prime rea­son of fail­ure are the Lar­naca peo­ple them­selves – they just do not know what they want). We are not se­ri­ous.

Multi-Mil­lion Projects:

The dis­ap­point­ment of the var­i­ous multi-mil­lion projects pro­posed by for­eign in­vestors - rang­ing from the Yeroskipou one, to an­other three in Lar­naca, as well as re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ters - pro­pos­als are all on hold. All wait­ing for an­swers from the public ser­vice like noth­ing is ur­gent.

The Troo­dos prop­er­ties:

Stud­ies and more stud­ies again. Save the gov­ern­ment houses at Troo­dos (in a derelict state), the in­stal­la­tion of a tele­feric (ca­ble car), the man­age­ment of the camp sites etc (all run­down) we be­lieve that in­vestors will throw their money away. Save the aged houses which have some po­ten­tial value, the rest is just the­ory. We are not se­ri­ous.

The Aka­mas Park:

Af­ter 30 years and hav­ing spent over EUR 500,000 in stud­ies, we are back to square one – i.e. yet an­other study for a cost of EUR 2 mln re­strict­ing the park only within the gov­ern­ment owned land. As it was pro­posed 27 years ago by our­selves.

Rent or Build – Gov­ern­men­tal of­fices:

Again, a lot of talk for noth­ing. It sim­ply pays to rent gov­ern­ment build­ings as op­posed to the gov­ern­ment build­ing its own. Sim­ple arith­metic shows that gov­ern­ment build­ings should be hired from the pri­vate sec­tor and not de­vel­oped. Full re­port pro­vided 8 years ago and re­peated yearly.

Oth­ers: The list is end­less, and this col­umn does not have enough space. The ex­am­ples given proves that our big heads just can­not com­pre­hend the real­i­ties of life to ac­com­mo­date “imag­i­na­tive” pro­pos­als/projects, self-in­ter­ests and back­handed deals in ad­di­tion.

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