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Financial ruin for Cyprus is just a rip-off away

A retired Russian speaks out about “rip-off Cyprus” and the exploitation of the British and other foreigners by property developers and shopkeepers, and warns of the financial consequences to the island and its reputation abroad.

cyprus-rip-off I am from Russia and have long retired here, and have learnt to understand and speak a little Greek and English. When I go shopping, I hear the talk of local people, English tourists and retired residents. I am constantly surprised to hear that the locals have no respect for the English, and often see them charged much more – often double – for the same shopping items. Because I speak Greek and bargain, I am given the local prices.

Some of the English people shout about the prices and are told that ‘Cyprus is an Island’, and ‘these are the prices in Cyprus’, given with look of scorn. These prices are nonsense, because only in the last ten years have prices here been higher than England.

I just wonder what will happen to the local economy when the English do what the Cypriots want, and all go home? Who do the Cypriots expect to sustain their economy when 30% of people leave the island?

No one is buying the properties now, no one has any cash, the banks have no cash, my people have big problems, and the current scam of developers to get new customers from Iran has failed as they cannot get residence visas to live here, even though they were promised them by low government officials.

One Iranian who just bought a flat on my street has gone back now because he thought he would have all the benefits of living in the EU for him and his large family here. In the whole EU, you cannot come from outside without applying to Brussels for a visa, and Cyprus cannot give a permit alone It is EU law that applies, and no local Cypriot can make any decision beyond a tourist visa for 90 days twice a year, without residency, no matter what you buy or how large money you have.

The developers here have mostly sold their land twice, to the bank and customers and cannot issue title deeds because of the frauds – I don’t see any political solution, as these criminals have taken all the profit up front and not supplied the contracted goods. It’s simple theft. No wonder they just want the victims to leave the country. This is a financial, not political problem.

Do the Cypriots believe that the local economy can survive intact without 30 per cent of GDP? That tourists will come and spend twice the price for milk and bread when they have the choice to go somewhere else where prices are 50 per cent less than the local prices here? And that anyone will trust Cypriots again to buy any development without it being finished and with clear title deeds, like every other country in the EU?

I see these damages every day and this lovely country with so much potential for nice living and good economy, will take 20 years just to recover its reputation, before local people realise that visitors have had enough and have no reason to come here.

The whole economy is sustained on lies here and cash to support these lies is finished. The island is too small to ride out this storm, like stock market crash in 2001.

Property prices will collapse and there will be no cash or work anywhere. Shops will close. The infrastructure will break down, civil servants and pensioners will not be paid, because there is no cash to pay them.

In the end, 70 per cent of GDP will be lost, and Cyprus will be back 20 years. Houses that cost €200,000 will be selling for €60,000 and still no one will buy. Most of the Mercedes will be sent back to the UK for sale at 50 per cent losses.

What concerns me is that, none of this need happens. Why are the Cypriots throwing away their home to other countries? Why not just clean up this house, keep it clean, and give no man any chance to shout problem for any reason? Does the name Colonel Custer mean something to you?

My father would walk 2km to another shop to save two cents on bread. How far do you think people will go to save their livelihoods?

Alex Medhiedev,
Larnaca

© Cyprus Mail 2009

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