Cypriot authorities have a duty to reply

2 mins read

A recent law passed on the obligation of Authorities/Government to furnish a reply to an enquiry by the public within 30 days is a development in the right direction.

What a citizen of this country should expect is a reply to their query.

Hopefully, this law will wake up the sleeping civil service and alert its staff on the consequences, which is a penalty up to €5,000 and possibly 1-year imprisonment for failure to reply.

Of course, those who will pay the penalty/fine is the rest of us and not the person who has failed to comply with the law.

Having said that in Greece a postman was fined €500 for failing to timely deliver a letter.

If we, in this country, dare to take on the employees of the civil service and others, then we will have hope for improvement.

Alas, we do not have the guts to do so – see teacher unions action which ended in firing the Education Minister and now demands to “work from home”.

Our own experience on the failure to reply has been reported previously in detail, giving facts and data with available full correspondence between our Office and the Authorities.

The Government has appointed yet another commissioner in charge of timely responding to people’s enquiries and we hope that this one is indeed one of the best.

Our favourite subject on the failure to reply is that of Paralimni Municipality.

It “gave permission” to convert a kiosk into a grill bar without water supply and electricity (supplied free of charge by the Municipality), no permit to sell food, no vehicle access, parking, no health certificates, no toilets.

Yet this grill bar is in existence and operating as such for the last 18 months.

To indicate the magnitude of indifference we went to the Council of Ministers Secretariat on the subject, which reported the matter to the Lands Registry, despite two reminders to the Land Registry (over one year), they are still expecting a reply!!

On another occasion of fraud in business, bounced cheques (a criminal offence) and notwithstanding our report to the Police (1½ years ago), we are still waiting for a reply.

We reported this to the Attorney General who wrote to the Chief of Police for a response with two reminders.

No reply.

He (the AG) gave up and told us we should remind the Police ourselves.  We did – yet no reply.

We highlighted the Passport issue well before the Al-Jazeera report came out, we suggested penalties for misleading foreign investors.

Yet it took a foreign TV channel to turn everything upside down.  Indifference in all its glory!

That encourages people to turn to political parties for help, that indifference ends up in corruption and exchange of favours.

How do we expect foreign investors to be attracted to Cyprus and what sort of confidence will they have to invest in our island?

Investigative reporters are the answer. Independent journalists who can take on such sickening behaviour must be independent of political parties and not fear for their jobs.

One political party announced it appointed a senior official for the public to air their views on government wrongdoings.

We thought that we should approach this person in charge of complaints, about Paralimni Municipality, then we realised that the Council was of their party.

On another case concerning a District Officer who fails to issue title deeds, we were warned not to push it because our application will be placed last in their “overloaded” application files!!

The favourite subject nowadays is corruption/indifference, which gets daily reported in the media.

As an Office involved in real estate for the last 40 years, we have frustrations on non-replies.

We remind you of the UK High Court decision on the halloumi trademark with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry not responding.

Those civil servants at fault are still there, we suspect that they got promoted since promotion in the civil service depends on the years of service and not on performance!!