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27° Nicosia,
13 November, 2019
 
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The highest price to pay

Restoring faith in institutions is a difficult and painstaking process

Andreas Paraschos

Andreas Paraschos

I apologize for writing in first person but when something so self-evident ends up being ignored even by our very own institutions, then allow me to hark back to the three flaws that keep this place miserable, which are lack of accountability, impunity, and imprudence.

When I write about these things, I tend to bring up local, tragic examples from the recent past, with those responsible always going unpunished and folks remaining patient and unmoved as the price to pay goes higher.

I will once again set out those cases of crime that have gone unpunished, which I feel they are wounds from asymmetric warfare: the military coup, the CSE scandal, the Helios air disaster, the Mari explosion, the financial crisis, and now the credit unions. The institution of cooperative banking drew its last breath very recently, leaving its birth certificate as an imprint on the historical conscience of this country, dating back to 1909 where it got started in Lefkoniko.

I am talking about a peculiar financial credit institution that served as a life vest for Cypriot farmers who had to deal with loan sharks for the first half of the century, while it helped the vast majority of Cypriots in the second half to putting a roof over their heads by becoming homeowners.

Because today the highest price we are paying is not the cost of non-performing loans that will follow us to the grave

And now, along with a funeral service, an independent investigative committee appointed by the attorney general has completed a special probe and delivered its findings.

This finding, just like other findings in the past, started a civil war between the government administration and the political opposition.

This came at a convenient time for the opposition right at the start of an election campaign where the stakes could not be higher. And this is because more folks are now holding political parties in such low regard that vote abstention is expected to hit a record high. This is especially true for all parties losing voters except rightwing ELAM, which benefits from a toxic environment as it garners support from the lower echelons of society where the disenfranchised falling victim to scandals and corruption by conventional parties.

So many players have been telling folks so many lies for so many years that now they have no words or oxygen left to mix together and utter anything else. They have been sharing the spoils from the credit unions for years and years as if they got an inheritance. And when they saw the decay at the foundation of the cooperative institution they screamed with a “holy indignation” so righteously that to “leave no stone unturned.” These were the same people that today see their names exposed one after the other on debt forgiven lists with amounts counting seven digits.

On this very topic of lists having to do with names of political figures, the president of the Republic responded to a journalist’s question last Thursday.

“As a result of our own doing, I speak in general terms, citizens have a lower level of trust and unfortunately every day this lack of confidence is growing, either by calling institutions into question, institutions clashing with one another, or even by the very actions of people in politics. We all have to take a hard look at this and see how we may handle situations that evidently push people away from getting involved or keep them away because of contempt,” he said.

There is no magic pill

There is no magic pill for birth defects Mr president. You know this very well as a father figure yourself to many “excelling” individuals who came out following some kind of innate malformation. These happenings, president, which bring down entire bank cooperatives and weaken societies, are handled by restoring faith and validity back into state and political institutions. It is a very difficult and painstaking process not unlike an attempt to clean an entire landfill by hand.

It takes young, brave people who are honest and with vision to bring down parties and build new ones. Or at least they can open doors and windows in the current ones, so that fresh air can go inside and take out the mold, engineer a stream channel towards a river of scientific knowledge, ideas, visions for the homeland they want to leave behind for their children.

Because today the highest price we are paying is not the cost of non-performing loans that will follow us to the grave, president. We are paying for the disastrous pieces of advice that we are forced to give to our children to stay overseas where they study, because there is no future for them here…

 

The article was first published by Kathimerini Cyprus on 17 March 2019

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Paraschos  |  credit union  |  cooperative  |  scandal  |  politics  |  corruption  |  institution  |  economy  |  reform

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