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12° Nicosia,
26 June, 2024
 
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Cyprus bids farewell to Jho Low, its lost ''diamond''

A poignant story of a controversial benefactor losing citizenship and lessons from a local hero's legal struggles

Onasagoras

Onasagoras

Jho Low is no longer our fellow citizen, no longer a Cypriot. I must confess, upon hearing the news, I almost burst into tears. I promise—in my next column—to feature Jho’s classmates and those who served with him in the military to share their thoughts on our most famous compatriot and how he feels now that Cyprus has renounced him.

Jho Low lost his Cypriot passport, which he had acquired with blood, sweat, and tears. We lost a—albeit unpolished—diamond. A pious man and faithful Christian who donated hundreds of thousands of euros to the Church of Cyprus to absolve his sins. A young Cypriot who, in his early days as a struggling worker, shared bread and olives with Nikaros. Unforgettable times, in the years of innocence.

"...the decision was received with smiles at the Presidential Palace, where there’s optimism that Philippa can soon move to the second phase of renovating the Presidential bedroom without stress."

Let’s not forget, however, that yesterday also brought significant developments for another local hero, our very own Odysseas, with a decision that many—except for him and his support team, obviously—saw coming.

The Attorney General now has the power to request the dismissal of any other institutional figure, including the Auditor General, without needing the President’s approval. Although this sounds a bit derogatory towards the President, the decision was received with smiles at the Presidential Palace, where there’s optimism that Philippa can soon move to the second phase of renovating the Presidential bedroom without stress. Some say she might even change the curtains now.

Jokes aside, the rejection of Odysseas’s objection yesterday, and the wording of the decision—aligning with the Attorney General’s position—was undoubtedly a shocking development for the Auditor and his legal team, who are already preparing for the upcoming battle of battles, on the substance of the case, starting next week.

The reason yesterday’s verdict was a cold shower for the cunning Odysseas and his supporters—and of course, a cold shower on a hot day isn’t necessarily a bad thing—was that they were all swayed by popularity polls, forgetting that popularity does not legitimize actions beyond one’s mandate, nor does it alter the relationship between institutions in the Cypriot Constitution, which centers on the Attorney General’s office, not the Audit Office.

Now that this is clear, whatever the substantive decision may be, Odysseas will need to be particularly cautious in his future actions. If he is ultimately removed from his duties, a large share of the blame should fall on his entourage, especially those whose fanatical support fed an overgrown ego with obsessive and narcissistic behavior instead of prudent and public-interest-oriented conduct. And this is a shame for everyone, including Odysseas, who could have been less popular but more beneficial.

Let’s hope that at the end of this unprecedented and painful conflict for our country, we all—President, Attorney General, and Auditor included—come out wiser and more useful for the nation. Hallelujah.

[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original and edited for clarity]

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Cyprus  |  politics  |  opinion

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