2018 The promised fight against corruption has become a joke

first_imgBy George PsyllidesAt the end of 2014, in a piece just like this one, I asked whether it had been the year when the political corruption abscess had finally burst.It wasn’t that the answer to the question was not known to me deep down, but rather that I wanted to voice hope that after all the suffering this place had gone through down the years, people had developed a genuine desire to change.I was writing not long after the island had suffered its economic collapse mainly because of the woeful decisions of politicians and the corrupt relationship between them and money.It was however, genuine hope. Politicians and other prominent figures had started going to jail. Mayors, councillors, a deputy attorney-general, lawyers, they all ended up behind bars. A rare if not unprecedented phenomenon in Cyprus, where the biggest scandals are swept under the carpet with the greatest ease.Apart from the imprisonments, there were also a plethora of ongoing investigations that could put more people in jail.Fast forward four years later and my bubble is well and truly burst.None of the people who went to jail for corruption did the time they were given by the courts courtesy of the political establishment. A couple of presidential pardons here, a law allowing early release there, and everything was back to normal.Throw in the release of several convicted paedophiles in the meantime and you suddenly realise that this place will never change. For the better, that is.Are we to blame the politicians? No. We can only blame ourselves and no one else.Forget the early release of all the corrupt politicians. In other countries the early release of paedophiles supposedly because President Nicos Anastasiades granted wholesale pardons (one-quarter of a sentence deducted) upon election and re-election, would have brought down a government.That is, in countries where politicians have a sense of responsibility and voters demand from them to have one.Not here.In fact, after the fracas caused by the revelation that pardons were indiscriminate and the criteria set by the justice ministry only concerned those convicted for sexual offences against minors up to 13 years old, or against minors up to the third degree of kinship, the president attended a ceremony of the council for the implementation of the national strategy to fight sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography.He apologised and he was applauded. All is now forgotten.This is the guy who had pledged to turn Cyprus into a modern European state, to fight corruption, nepotism, to introduce reforms, and so on.Six years on, and I can say the only important reform was the introduction of the guaranteed minimum income. There was also the reduction of the military service to 14 months and the recruitment of professional soldiers but it’s doubtful that it will work.The education system needs an urgent overhaul and is only functioning because of the selfless efforts of a small number of educators. Health system? Hope you don’t fall ill or if you do that you can afford private healthcare.Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou is doing his best, like his predecessor, but it is an uphill battle. I’m all for a national health scheme but I’m afraid we will just end up paying the contributions without real coverage. Just like the transport system. But it’s hard to fight the healthcare establishment when you don’t really have any support.The same goes for the reform of the civil service, with politicians choosing to pander to the unions. Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides is also fighting a difficult battle to reform local authority. The reform entails shutting down at least half of the 30 municipalities and is already meeting stiff resistance.A number of bills supposedly designed to fight corruption have been gathering dust for years in parliament, which also cannot sort out the issue of former state officials receiving more than one pensions.Since the 2013 collapse the only sectors that are booming are the sale of citizenships – and yes, politicians are involved — and the construction of towers in Limassol, which is now plagued by exorbitant rents. But we are assured this time that the development boom is not accompanied by credit expansion so banks will not be affected when everything comes crumbling down. Again.You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img

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