Too many consultants spoil the broth

3 mins read

Truth, justice and fairness are not concepts we should expect from governments; it is what they aspire to become when they grow up but never quite make the transition.

Whatever our beliefs of what an equal society should look like and the political ideals we carry with us, the reflection in the mirror we see from the government is an ugly distortion.

We know the game is rigged; the rules are made by the wealthy for the poor to follow, and power is only one short pitstop from greed and excess.

Obviously, we would prefer to be the ones breathing the rarified privileged air of indulgence, indifference and immunity from common sense.

Standing outside the system is a hostile and foreboding place where we must follow the rules, endure low-paid jobs and be overqualified for the ones that do come around.

Unlike the “consultants” recruited for lucrative government posts, there are standards of attainment that must be met and a gruelling interview process where you pretend it’s wonderful to work for a company that takes you for granted.

This government was supposed to wipe the slate clean of the sleaze tarnishing the previous shameless administration that delivered the passport scandal.

Newcomer President Nikos Christodoulides wanted to change all that – he was the self-acclaimed incorruptible anti-corruption crusader unlocking meritocracy from the dungeons of nepotism.

Everyone would be given the opportunity to shine – talented academics and scientists would be the spark driving the new administration.

No stone would be unturned in the zeal to find the best qualified and able individuals to shake up the cronies running the establishment.

There would be a level playing field; it didn’t matter about your background, gender, age or political affiliation if you could shine.

Although the government treats the public as morons, Cypriots were not expecting the dawn of a new age.

They know corruption is ingrained in the establishment; it’s who you know; if you can write your name on the paycheque, it’s a bonus.

Maybe what’s less forgivable is that the new government has done an amateur job hiding its disdain for standards in public office.

Back door

At least the previous lot picked their chosen candidates for the government who at least had qualifications, even if they were let in through the back door without a transparent recruitment process.

Under normal circumstances, what government ministers have been up to are resignation offences if politicians had a moral compass as reference.

Hiring an unqualified 19-year-old student as a ‘consultant’ to do social media work at the tourism ministry was a shoddy business.

Worse than being found out, the tourism minister seemed to feel nothing was wrong because it wasn’t illegal.

A girl who worked for the Christodoulides election campaign team given a well-paid job in government without so much as an interview is not the kind of optics you want to broadcast.

And especially when hundreds of qualified people can’t get a government job because political friends and family have taken up all the spots.

Certainly, nothing wrong there — create the job opening, don’t advertise it, have no job description or criteria and give it to your mates. Why would anyone complain?

Ironically, it was the teenager herself who walked away.

But this wasn’t an isolated incident.

Not wanting to be the odd one out, the culture ministry thought they would also hire someone totally unsuitable.

A woman convicted of selling fake concert tickets was apparently hired to do the ministry’s social media after a non-existent recruitment process.

First, the culture ministry denied she worked for them but said it was temporary because the previous government messed things up, and her conviction was later wiped clean.

It also raised the question of how many ‘advisors’ work for the government. At least this time, it was jobs for the girls.

If things couldn’t get any worse, it was revealed that a beautician had also gotten a cushy job at the Presidential Palace as a secretary of unknown description.

The administrative assistant was hired after her sterling contribution to the Christodoulides election campaign.

There’s no need to panic because the President has acknowledged that mistakes were made, but we should stop asking awkward questions because people with fake jobs have feelings too.

So be warned, whatever the government tells you, take it with a pinch of salt and throw it over your shoulder.

You are being taken for a ride on an insincerity rollercoaster where everyone’s task is to deceive and obfuscate.