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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Where was the ‘ordinary man’ when Christofias went on this spending spree? ]

Where was the ‘ordinary man’ when Christofias went on this spending spree?

IN AN unexpected turn, President Christofias recently re-confirmed what had been proved 20 years ago when the communist regimes of eastern Europe collapsed: ruling communist parties are the most corrupt of all.

The incredible scandal, involving the doubling and tripling of the monthly tax-free ‘expense allowances’ paid to ministry permanent secretaries, top judges, Supreme Court judges and other top state officials (48 in all) revealed the true face of Christofias and AKEL. Under present circumstances, this is no ordinary scandal. It is a vile transaction that could be described as criminal. (How the transaction between the government and legislature operates, will be the subject of a future column).

At a time of economic recession, when hundreds of poor workers – members of the AKEL-run union federation PEO – are losing their jobs or being forced to accept pay cuts to stay in work, Christofias (the champion of the working people who supposedly fights night and day to raise their living standards) has sanctioned provocative pay rises for the highest-paid state officials.

He has used the taxes paid by the poor working people to give out tax-free ‘expense allowances’ of €12,000, which if it were taxable income would amount to €17,000. On its own, this allowance is the equivalent of the annual salary of the better-paid PEO members. And this generosity was displayed by the president, who is supposedly fighting for the interests of working people, the president who never tires of telling us that ‘the ordinary man’ is always at the centre of his thoughts and his policies.

It is time ordinary members of AKEL and PEO – all these honest and poor citizens – realised what ruthless demagogues their leaders are.

The scandal is not restricted to the level of the rises, which were in the region of 200 per cent. A second aspect of the scandal is that this money is tax-free, which in effect means the real amounts are even higher. But the most provocative aspect of this scam is that the ‘expense allowances’ will be incorporated into the calculation of pensions – and the extra amount that beneficiaries will receive every month will also be tax-free.

In the case of employees of private companies, even the travel expenses they receive from their employer when they use their car for work purposes is added on to their salary and taxed. In the case of the public sector mandarins, not only is the amount not taxed, but it is also added as untaxed income on their pensions when they retire. For all other pensioners, their pension is added to any other income or allowance they may have – and if the total exceeds €19,500, they are taxed.

One would have expected a ‘people-friendly’ regime like Christofias’ to have put an end to these provocative privileges of a small clique of people, which were established by the governments of the capitalists. Instead of doing this, it has increased and extended the privileges. This is the ugly face of the supposedly communist AKEL and Christofias.

The sooner ordinary left-wingers realise that they are victims of ruthless demagogues who treat them like sheep, the better it will be for them and for our society.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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