Cypriot and Proud started as a Cyprus guide blog, focusing on where to go, what to eat, best places to visit, and generally talking about what we should be proud of. Even though it is not a blog that focuses on social, humanitarian or political issues I feel that I should address a very important issue that involves every single person who lives here. The main reason I need to do this is that, for the first time I am having a hard time finding ways to support the Cypriot and Proud name, and even I, the biggest proud Cypriot have started to have serious doubts.
I will not start discussing what I think about the solutions being proposed or how I feel about haircuts, tax increases, Troika loans, the Eurozone, Angela Merkel or Russia. I will not discuss the possibility of a bank run, an event we haven’t seen since the Great Depression in the 1930’s and the fact that banks have, since then been trying to create a system that will prevent that from happening again. I will not analyse the fact that we are the first country to have a deposit haircut, to punish innocent and conscientious people that have been saving their whole lives in order to have money for tomorrow. All I want to do is post questions that I feel we need answers to, questions of why, what and how. I feel the least that can be given to us are answers to questions which we deserve to know, answers that would have led to our salvation and not our suicide. I don’t think it is time to start pointing fingers but instead, unite to do what is best for our future, which might indeed be a haircut. Having said that I feel that as someone who was trying to prove non proud Cypriots wrong, I would like to express my anger and frustration. When writing this I am talking directly to the government, to Mr Christofias, Mr Anastasiades, Mr Orphanides, Mr Eliades, Mr Kypris, Mr Stylianides, Mr Kounnis and Mr Vgenopoulos of Cyprus Popular Bank, Mr Orphanides and Mr Demetriades of the Central Bank and to all of the ministers of Finance that have taken a part in all of this.
- How did we come so far?
- What was Mr Christofias who “walked away with his head up high” doing for the past 5 years except attending galas and saying it is not his fault but people who are responsible will pay?
- Why did the number of civil servants keep rising even though the work load and government money was decreasing?
- Why did the banks spend 2 years talking about solutions but yet have managed to come this far?
- Why do we have a lower income tax than most EU nations? Had you increased it 2 years ago wouldn’t we be in a better state by now? In this way at least we pay only if we make more. Something we would be aware of before starting up our company in Cyprus.
- Why didn’t the Cypriot banks and the government fire anyone? Surely having people that don’t work, that go home at 14:30, people that are redundant, and continue paying them fat salaries with benefits that the rest of us don’t have, is inefficient and unproductive. If you don’t work and don’t produce you get fired and you find another job or learn to work like everyone else. Why does the private sector have to pay? (I am only referring to people that are indeed redundant and do not in fact work as they were supposed to). This is coming from a person who worked in a front office sales role at Lehman Brothers in a 12-hour-per-day-job. It went bankrupt, I found another job and continued my life.
- How did you not see this coming? There has been a bank crisis since 2008 and a sovereign crisis since 2010. You know your reserves, you know your debt, you know your costs, what have you done to prevent it? I bet you thought you would get away with it like every other time…perhaps through corruption? Through help from the outside? Through natural gas? Did you ever think that it would be a good idea for a change to find a solution yourselves?
- I remember last year, as soon as we discovered that there was indeed natural gas in Cyprus a university professor went live and said that we should all be celebrating as we have found a source of wealth that would change our lives. What did we do about it? Why didn’t we take advantage of it earlier? A new resource of wealth has landed in our hands to save us and we have done nothing but fight over which politician will gain the most out of it. Losing some of our potential profits by selling early is nothing compared to what we have to lose if we go bankrupt.
- How is Mr Christofias paying for any of this? When you are the president of a nation, “I didn’t know about it” is not an answer, you SHOULD know about it, you SHOULD find a way to coordinate people, it is your job to handle it, and it is your job to make others inform you of what’s going on in your country! Claiming you have had 5 succesful years shows exactly how ignorant and guilty you are. What’s even more worrying about Cypriot people and our mentality is that Mr Christofias’s supporters demonstrate about how it is not his fault, but Mr Anastasiades’s fault who has created all this mess in merely 2 weeks.
- Why did Mr Anastasiades PROMISE on live television that he would not, under any circumstances agree to a deposit haircut? “We didn’t have a choice” or “I was threatened” is not an excuse.
- How are all of the ministers of Finance we have had over the past 5 years paying for all of this? How are they taking responsibility so that, perhaps the future ministers will at least see that if they don’t do their jobs properly there will be concequences?
- How is Mr Orphanides paying for all of this? Ok, he claims that the president didn’t inform him of X and Y, why didn’t he ask to be more involved? Why did he not speak up? What did he do to prevent this as the head of our Central Bank?
- Why are the CEOs of Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank walking out as millionaires? How is it possible that they have led our country to this tragic state, but yet have zero responsibility and punishment over what is happening.
- Most importantly, why do we, the loyal tax payers and hard working people, who found ways and reasons to be proud of our nation, who left our jobs abroad to come back and support our country, whose parents have been working and saving their whole lives to give us a better life, who supported our country and our politicians, who have been supporting our banks, have to pay for all of this?
- You know what is worse? If I had known this will be the end I would have paid, and I would be comfortable with giving my share to save my country, whether that is higher taxes or a deposit haircut even though it is not by fault. I would encourage other people to do the same instead of running to the banks and withdrawing their money (an action that will lead to definite bankruptcy in hours). But what I can’t accept is, why do the people that created this mess get to walk away clean while we suffer? Why can’t someone finally take responsibility for their mistakes?