Property: Misguided heroes for investments in Cyprus?

28 July, 2017 | Posted By: Antonis Loizou

By Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates Ltd – Real Estate Valuers & Estate Agents

Among the many innovative positions we now have in Cyprus, after joining the E.U., is to have amongst others a commissioner for the environment. Lovely, so far, since the environment is of a prime importance for all countries in the E.U. and the rest of the world.

Yet we have the government-appointed commissioner writing letters, etc. accusing our country that we, as Cyprus, do not abide by the rules. We have one of the few “Doers” in Cyprus who will invest anything between EUR 200 and 300 mln to build two golf courses, hotels, etc. in the poorest regions of Polis-Argaka, etc., who will provide jobs for the locals and of course assist towards the Cyprus economy during these difficult times.
For this “Limni” project, following the commissioner’s report, the E.U. has called for the project more or less to stop, because of the turtles’ nests in this area and all these after the development company had submitted environmental studies prepared by international consultants on the subject, indicating how the project could be developed, but with due care for the turtles. The same company has cleared the nearby mountain of copper mine tailings (cancerous, with rain leading the deposits to the sea) filled a crater with the tailings, planted thousands of trees, improving the environment and making it safer to the public. Yet we are stuck now on this subject. The rehabilitation must have cost so far approximately EUR 100 mln but this is not taken into account.
Is the environment ahead in priority when it comes to unemployed people, people’s health and the economy, or is the environment to follow these very serious social and economic circumstances of our country, thus providing a cohabitation between jobs/economy and the environment. For those of us with jobs, we do not practically care about this theoretical question, but how about the unemployed? Has anybody asked them what they think of such ideas?
In my opinion, the environment is there to help the people and not the environment to go against the major needs of the unemployed and the economy, especially at these difficult financial times.
The question everyone wonders about is that should such commissioners who cause the country such problems and to whom we pay handsome wages, be kept in their post or get them fired?
A similar situation came up in the case of the Anassa Hotel, when the very same people insisted its demolition, only now to become a jet set (best hotel in the world) resort destination. Do we want to keep the poorest part of Cyprus still on donkeys?
In addition to the local economy (sales of agricultural produce, etc.), the younger/older generation will have jobs and instead of abandoning this area they will now have a reason to stay and encourage those who have left to return.
The very same people raised objections on the improvement of Athalassa park, which has now become an oasis for Nicosia, full of young people and families, especially those of young children, sports, etc. A big fuss has been made about the water snake at Paralimni (a project which the Cyprus economy could not afford – be it there are many less costly alternatives) at the same time the 28 years old Akamas project is still pending as it has been deemed not feasible and not affordable, yet the E.U. reported that mild development can be allowed. As well as so many other projects which are beyond our means and capabilities to implement.
Reporting one’s country to the E.U., because one has a different idea and approach, must not be taken lightly, especially when the accusers are paid handsomely by the taxpayers, including the unemployed. Their income amounts to thousand of euros per month, plus the various fringe benefits including a chauffeur-driven limo, paid holidays abroad (a different name for “attending conferences”), etc.
I do not exclude the incumbent president, Nicos Anastasiades, who accused the government for not carrying out elections in the proper way (ten years ago) and then having changed his mind withdrew the accusation.
So, light-hearted accusations are beyond me. I wrote in the past in this paper under the heading “Theory and Practice” and we must learn to take a position when considering all the side affects, including employment and the economy. Are such matters so important, so that a commissioner or otherwise can report our country to the E.U., having no inhibitions to the Cyprus tax payers? Shall we also report a certain commissioner who attended a social event in Paphos (a posh wedding) with the official limousine waiting for the party to be finished, so that the person can return to Nicosia at 12.30 am? Is this sort of behaviour acceptable?
So, my question is, are those who accuse any government, misguided for their own country or heroes for trying to do things regardless? My own answer is clear but evidently there are others who think otherwise.