In a democracy dear readers, one has to use process and procedures and the voting system in order to get things done. One would have hoped that with so many process and procedures our House of Representatives (and with our elected MPs) we would have had a better governance. Alas, the results and what it comes out from the public to know the results do not support this.
What is most worrying is the small politics which prevail, the under the table dealings, the “tit for tat” which wounds the republic, with little care what is good for the public interest. Most of our MPs seem to look after their own personal and party’s interests and we often wonder in this column Who loves Cyprus(!!).
There are many examples of this unacceptable and provocative behavior and we just concentrate on some, since the extent of the column cannot accommodate all of them!!
- Deputy Ministries – Our proposal for the Government to create a Deputy Ministry for the Ministry of Interior, was not approved because the various political parties did not wish this Government to “accommodate” more jobs for the “party boys” notwithstanding that such a Ministry would have done wonders, especially if its job would have been to look after the Lands Office matters (titles/common expenses/non-paying tenants etc) that of the town planning matters (timely issue permits, deviation procedures, innovative ideas regarding the use of the building density, the crazy limitations on the residential unit sizes, the speed of replies and information required by the public etc etc).
We point out that notwithstanding the initial objections by the opposing parties, the only two Deputy Ministries approved by the House, that of the Tourist Industry and the one of Shipping, have done wonders for the economy, streamlining the first and doubling the income for the second. These young people (Deputy Ministers) in their 40’s, eager to work and with no prior political commitments have produced a phenomenal success, despite their short operation period – Be that as it may, this success can go wrong if for such political positions, the “jobs for the boys” take priority.
- The unacceptable stand of a House member who was part of a committee to examine the Non-Performing Loans and with his offer to the Chairman of the NPL pressure group, to cooperate for mutual financial benefits. Although reported nothing came out of it (to this end we blame the press for not following up).
- Concerned by the fear that next time it will be their term to be investigated, by the self-promoting Auditor General (he is good mind you), they compete amongst themselves who will be the first to explore such exposures – see the recent dispute between the Attorney General and that of the Commissioner of Personal Data Protection. (For which some members jumped on the bang-wagon of self-promotion as if they have nothing else to do).
- What has happened to the Bulgarian Insurance Co scam for which the Cyprus Government may be called upon to pay millions in compensation to the insured? No interest since it will not come with any similar political gains (we blame the press again).
- If we are to go higher up in the hierarchy of the House, we note that its Chairman has 16 private consultants to advise him on various matters, that he is dealing with (notwithstanding his constant travelling abroad of a most doubtful value).
- The non-attendance by MPs of the various House committees is simply not on and this, even when E.U. guests are invited and attending.
- We are still waiting the list on those members who are involved in the committee to discuss the NPL’s of their own eight months ago and this has not as yet happened (neither it will do).
- The recent rοw of the passports issue is another case for concern on our MPs quality and non- love of Cyprus. Instead of coming up with corrective ideas, they compete with each other how to damage the Cyprus investment plan notwithstanding the widely acceptable beneficial effects on the Cyprus economy (see also the recent poll that 70% of the public support it).
We should introduce a system of penalties, not only for stupidity (which Is subjective) but those who place their own interest-political or otherwise, the Cyprus economy should pay a penalty.
In Greece, at this point of time, there is a proposal under way in order to make responsible both the ministers and House members. If and when this is approved by the Hellenic House, it will be an example for us to follow (doubtful for Cyprus mind you).
This matter could have been reduced to an extent, if we were to have truly independent journalists, who would investigate such matters and keep on/follow up the issues. We have suggested in the past that depending on their quality of journalism they should be subsidized by the state based on recommendations by the University of Cyprus – it is a fact that the low paid journalists to a great extent are governed by political parties and public media owners. Bearing in mind their very low pay, they cannot act truly independently for the benefit of the public service. For this reason we have suggested, based on the University of Cyprus decision, to subsidize to 2-3 journalists per year with a similar recommendation for an award as that of Pulitzer.
It is no wonder dear readers why the voters in Cyprus do not turn up to vote and the polls show exactly this (40% voting only).
Our column is a real estate one and we place a major interest to the building industry how to correct the wrong situation that we have at present and for the previous 20 years at least. The non- adoption of the Deputy Ministries is a major issue for Cyprus and unless we do this, the problems will continue with no/little chance for improvement. With the delays and inefficiency that the real estate procedures that exist it is no wonder how corruption is on the increase (in desperation the public turn to the political parties, who have in Cyprus their influence promoting political exchange for favors and so on).
Winston Churchill said that “democracy is not the best system, but it is the best until we find something else to replace it”.
Any hope to improve the situation? We doubt it.