Larnaca vote highlights sheer scale of political irresponsibility
February 21st, 2016 Loucas Charalambous
Larnaca workers demanding Total and ENI return to the port
By Loucas Charalambous – Cyprus Mail
Larnaca municipal council’s recent decision to reject the request of ENI and Total oil companies to extend their use of
Larnaca port, and the response that followed, has shown the wretchedness of our political life in which uncontrollable
The vile behaviour of the political parties is enough for any rational person to understand who was responsible for the
bankruptcy of the state. One also gets an idea of why – with these people deciding and shaping our fate – we will keep on
going from bad to worse.
The consequences of telling the companies, which had only asked for a few months’ extension, to move out were so obvious
that none of those who took the decision can claim they were unaware of them. But the astounding irresponsibility of the
opposition parties, as usual, triumphed over common sense. And taking into account current conditions, their decision was
tantamount to a national crime.
The extent of the prevailing irresponsibility was defined by the behaviour of the mayor Andreas Louroutziatis. In order not to
displease the few who had made a noise before the first vote, and when there was a good chance for a positive decision, he
voted against the extension. In the second vote, when it was clear that the decision would be negative, he voted in favour of
the companies staying. He thought that by being so crafty he would fool both camps into thinking he was on their side. With
such a prudent mayor, Larnaca has a bright future.
After the vote, our political parties were quick to give a triumphant show of demagoguery. When the workers at the facilities
in Larnaca started protesting because they are about to lose their jobs, the parties had the audacity to voice support, when in
fact the workers are their victims. After the parties decided to kick out the companies offering employment to these workers,
they loaded those same workers onto buses – as the DISY chief said – and brought them to Nicosia to protest against the
We should also note the embarrassingly submissive behaviour of the victims. Instead of having a go at those who have left
them jobless, they followed their orders like obedient lap-dogs in the hope the parties would help them. Unfortunately, this is
what the Cypriot people are like. And yet we expect them to take important decisions like the solution of the Cyprus problem.
The man who stole the show yet again was DIKO chief Nicolas Papadopoulos whose audacity is of Olympic proportions.
Instead of keeping quiet, given the vile behaviour of his party’s councillors when they voted against granting an extension to
the oil companies, he took the moral high ground, saying: “All the blame belongs to the government. Unfortunately what we
have established was that the government was behind the Larnaca municipal council because it does not want drilling to go
His nerve is beyond belief. This is the leader of the party which voted against extending the companies’ stay in Larnaca and is
the same man who, displaying the same level of seriousness, is on television and radio shows morning until night rabidly
trying to kill all hope of an agreement on the Cyprus issue.
In a real country such behaviour would have been the subject of public ridicule. The nonsense he utters every day would have
been reported only for people to have a laugh. But in Cyprus he will be elected a deputy within a few months and will be
voted for even by some of those in Larnaca who will lose their jobs. Then again, the Larnaca port workers will also vote for
the other parties that voted to terminate their employment before putting them on buses and bringing them to Nicosia to
protest outside ministries.
Sadly this is our level, this is our political culture, and this is the reason why demagogues will carry on shaping our lives and
fate. And as I have written on countless occasions in the past, we should count ourselves lucky that we have suffered far less
than our notoriously bad choices merit.