Tales from New York

2 mins read

This week, the government came to a standstill as attention focused on the President’s New York shuffle to get the international community re-engaged in the Cyprus problem.

There was little much going on at home apart from the government ducking and weaving allegations about an overtime scam to bolster the pockets of public officials while most Cypriots struggled to make ends meet.

The administration has shown no sensitivity over the issue but finds it rational to pay people to attend concerts, cocktail parties, funerals and public ceremonies.

It is what they get paid to do that makes officials so lovable and humble in their public duty to a grateful society.

What it boils down to is an expenses scandal that the elite believe they are entitled to for doing such a top job in running the country.

Of course, they are so much better than us and deserve to squeeze every penny out of a compliant system that is custom-made for them.

In a true democracy, checks and balances usually keep the fraudsters from abusing the system.

However, the Cypriot political establishment has grown accustomed to bending the rules like an Olympic gymnast.

Politicians aren’t worried about trust issues or being accountable; they are above all that like absolute monarchs throwing a few breadcrumbs to the peasants and demanding their loyalty.

People in government deserve to get paid because they are there on the merit of a nod and a wink and handshakes in secret meetings.

The rest of the lumpen masses are advised to get a good education, study hard, and, when acquiring the skills and qualifications, they will be offered low-paying jobs without overtime pay.

At the bottom of the government’s list of priorities is creating a level playing field where people are given equal opportunity to work in the public sector.

An illusion is created that the best qualified will get the top jobs in politics or the civil service; the results and public dissatisfaction suggest otherwise.

Pieces of the pie are already sliced and distributed before you can get to the table, assuming you know where to look.

No matter what, the government will ride the crisis, pretend to have an investigation to blame somebody nobody can find and then carry on as usual.

Master magician

On second thoughts, the investigation will be given to a master magician who makes such embarrassments disappear into the fog of subterfuge.

Presidential staff filling their pockets with dodgy overtime pay was of no consequence because the real business of the government was happening in New York.

Our courageous President was undertaking a punishing schedule of meetings to get his message across that Cyprus was being neglected by the international community and something had to give.

When not promoting his Cyprus problem initiatives, Christodoulides met influential business leaders and diplomats to show he was respected on the world stage.

Cyprus was punching above its weight in its ambition to become a regional player that couldn’t be pushed around without consequence.

Everything was geared toward the President’s every move in New York because if he could make it there, he could make it anywhere (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Then, his big moment came at the UN General Assembly to lecture the world about how it’s going to be from now on.

He gave a soft elbow to the ribs of the UN, telling them to wake up and smell the burden of time that has entrenched Cyprus’ division.

If this wasn’t enough to get the sparse audience going, he did his best Mandela impression in urging Turkish President Erdogan to walk the peace path with him down the yellow brick road of reunification.

Although immediately forgettable once it was done, Christodoulides played his part in keeping positive about the prospects of resuming dormant Cyprus talks.

The test of his resolve and ability to manoeuvre will come if face-to-face talks ever get off the ground.

Christodoulides knows that expectations are low, so he won’t be judged harshly until he gets to the negotiation table, where painful decisions are required.

Most Cypriots feel they should want a solution but have no idea what it should look like in a reality where slogans don’t work, and the status quo feels safer.

The government will undoubtedly return from New York, hailing it a great success like so many before them, but the barbed wire is still there.