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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ We need to shake our climate of complacency ]

We need to shake our climate of complacency

BY MIRACLE, Nicosia’s Municipal Theatre was closed on Wednesday evening when its roof collapsed, crushing the entire seating area. Twenty-four hours later, the theatre would have hosted hundreds of children (it has a capacity of 1,200) attending end of year performances.

The extent of the tragedy that was avoided does not bear thinking about, dwarfing the scale of the damage and the cost and time now needed to repair the theatre. But the thought that Cyprus could have been plunged into mourning has raised the stakes for investigators trying to understand how the roof came to collapse, only three years after a major renovation project.

As has come to be expected, politicians of all colours have lined up to demand an inquiry, outbidding each other in the search for blame for the disaster. They did the same after the Helios tragedy, and have continued to do so, promising that heads would roll, even as the investigation showed a complex combination of factors – some human, some systemic, some technical – had led to disaster.

Indeed, the civil engineers of the Technical Chamber ETEK, who were the first on the scene, provided the only voice of caution on Thursday, underlining how difficult the inquiry would find it to unravel the chain of circumstances that caused the roof to cave in.

Where there is individual responsibility, there must of course be consequences, but the public needs to understand that such an inquiry is as much about learning from mistakes, identifying the multiple weaknesses in the system that contributed to the accident as it is about identifying a single ‘culprit’.

The irony is that it is the very politicians who are demanding that the truth should shine and heads should roll who are at the core of a system that is the very opposite of the transparency they are now proclaiming. They are the central cogs of a furtive machine that looks after its own, routinely bypassing regulations and covering up malpractice, a machine made up of overlapping layers of conflicting interest and showing minimal accountability.

Indeed, let us imagine that the inquiry were to point the finger at specific individuals, individuals who had benefited and grown complacent precisely because of this lack of accountability. Would the system deliver up its own?

This does not mean such inquiries are pointless, quite the contrary, and they must be robust and independent. But we should not expect it to deliver heads on a plate, rather to probe the climate of complacency that allows mistakes to pass unnoticed. As for the politicians, they should stop pointing fingers and begin to question their own responsibilities in contributing to such an endemic situation.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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