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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-10

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Sunday, March 10, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Paphos hoteliers up in arms over road works
  • [02] Police raid club and fine smoking tourists
  • [03] Customs hold up removal of toxic container
  • [04] Hasikos implies leniency in new army law
  • [05] Police search for missing man

  • [01] Paphos hoteliers up in arms over road works

    By Alexia Saoulli

    IF THE government does not take action in the Paphos tourist area now, there will be dire political and economic consequences, hotelier Andreas Constantinou warned yesterday.

    A 1.5 kilometre strip of the coastal road on Poseidon Avenue is currently being widened, and work was to have finished by April 30 - the start of the summer season.

    But George P. Zachariades, the Limassol-based company working on the project, has had its contract repeatedly extended by the Communication Ministry, Constantinou said.

    Now the end date has been set for July 12, a fact that has already led tour operators to inform them that they should “expect massive cancellations”.

    Constantinou, a majority shareholder of Constantinou Bros Ltd hotels group and operator of three of the hotels involved, named the Phaethon Hotel, Pioneer Beach Hotel, Paphian Bay Hotel, Cypria Maris Beach Hotel, Ledra Beach Hotel, Athina Beach Hotel and the Aliathon Village as the seven hotels affected by the road works.

    He told the Sunday Mail that Olympic Holidays, the TUI Group, Thomas Cook, Sunhouse-Travel and Thomson tour operators had been in contact with the hotels, the Tourism Ministry and Paphos Mayor asking about the extent of the construction work and how long it will last.

    The tour operators have warned the hotels that if they are not told the project's deadline they would take the necessary steps to protect their own reputations. Some said they would “have to stop our business in that area immediately in order to avoid any conflicts with our clients” while another said: “You should then expect massive cancellations.”

    Because of this reaction Constantinou said the hoteliers need an end date to the project.

    “We have to be able to inform the tour operators, so they in turn can inform their clients. The situation cannot just be left open-ended like this. We've tried approaching the Communications Minister but he hasn't so far responded. Now we're hearing stories that the contractor has demanded £1,900,000 to have the project complete by July and that if he isn't paid, the road works will carry on through to October or November.”

    Constantinou said that this move would involve at least a 50 per cent drop in clients to the area, and that it would have dire effects on the tourism industry in general.

    “The government should think long and hard of the implications,” he said. “The place is a complete mess and looks like the Sahara desert. Our clients are complaining about the noise, the dust, and the fact that it is hazardous entering and leaving the hotels.”

    This was an extremely serious matter that was giving the island, particularly Paphos, a bad name, he said.

    In an effort to be heard, Constantinou said that on Thursday, in collaboration with the unions SEK and PEO, all the hotels' employees would stop work for an hour at 11am.

    “This demonstration is our way of showing people that the situation cannot go on,” he said, adding that a preliminary look at the figures for the summer season had indicated 250-300 people could lose their jobs.

    “Without the business we won't have the money to pay our employees,” he said, “so unfortunately a large portion of them will have to go.”

    This latest blow comes as the industry is struggling to overcome the effects on tourism of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Police raid club and fine smoking tourists

    By Alexia Saoulli

    POLICE raided a popular Limassol night-spot early yesterday and handed out fines of £20 to people smoking -- many of them tourists. They also fined the owner the same amount.

    Two weeks ago Health Minister Frixos Savvides warned that smoking would be banned from all public buildings, including banks, restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs.

    But at the time House Health Committee Chairman, DISY deputy Antonis Karas, agreed that if a nightclub wanted to be classed as a smoking establishment it probably could be, although this was something that had not yet been examined in detail.

    But yesterday, Stavros Christophorou, owner of Rosie O'Grady's, a popular nightclub at the Arsinoe Hotel in Limassol's tourist strip, found himself forced to pay a £20 fine for allowing smoking on his premises.

    “Three policemen from the crime prevention unit entered at around 1.30am,” he told the Sunday Mail. “They started handing out £20 fines to my clients for smoking and told me that I had to pay one as well. I couldn't believe it.”

    Christophorou said he had not been told that the law had been amended to ban smoking in public places.

    “Last night was the first I'd heard of this law, but the officers told me it had been passed a month ago,” he said, adding that his club was fully ventilated.

    But for Christophorou, the problem lay not with him being fined, but with his customers being targeted.

    “They went around giving out £20 fines to tourists which resulted in them getting up to leave,” he said. “Who wants to go on holiday, only to find themselves fined for smoking in a nightclub that is supposed to be smoker- friendly?”

    “It's ridiculous. The government should really examine this law because it will have negative effects on tourism and the image we project abroad. And how are establishments like mine supposed to make money if customers refuse to enter because there is a risk of getting a fine?”

    Christophorou said his customers had been very angry, but that most would probably not end up paying because he had told them to throw them away since they were going back home.

    The fine is written on a slip of paper and the person has to go to the nearest police station to pay, he said.

    Limassol police could not confirm yesterday that the raid on Rosie O'Grady's had taken place and said that no one at the crime prevention unit was available for comment.

    But a Nicosia police spokesman expressed shock at the incident.

    “I knew a law had been passed,” he said, “but I had no idea they were going to enforce it. It just doesn't make sense to fine tourists, and I will have to mention it to someone so that it can be assessed because it isn't logical.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Customs hold up removal of toxic container

    By Rita Kyriakides

    A CONTAINER full of potentially dangerous toxic materials has not been removed from the Limassol port because the customs department is demanding duties to be paid.

    A port employee told the Sunday Mail yesterday that there had been a company willing to move the container to Greece, but it pulled out when the customs department wanted it to pay duty.

    “The container is still in the port. In my opinion the customs department should forget about the duties and let the container be removed so everyone can calm down,” the port employee said.

    The container has been at Limassol port since 1997, and its presence has caused concern among port workers and state officials.

    The hazardous toxic material in the container is used for making detergents, and has been dumped in the port's storage facility for five years.

    The container is being stored under a special shelter, which was built to prevent any accidents, until its fate is decided.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Hasikos implies leniency in new army law

    THE CABINET will examine a proposal by the Defence Ministry to assess the retroactive nature of the amended citizenship law, Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos said yesterday.

    The amendment, approved by the House at the end of last year, caused widespread concern after it emerged that people born on or after August 16, 1960 to a Cypriot mother and foreign father would now have to serve in the National Guard.

    Before the amendment was passed, only children born to a Cypriot father automatically became citizens and completed the compulsory military service.

    But yesterday Hasikos said leniency would apply to certain cases and age would be taken into account as far exemption from military service is concerned.

    However 18-year-old boys included in the amendment would not be exempt from the National Guard and would be obliged to join the rest of the summer conscripts this year, he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Police search for missing man

    A 47-year-old man has been missing since last week, police said yesterday.

    Panayiotis Kyriakou left the Nicosia hostel where he had been staying last Monday and never returned, they said.

    He is 1.70 metres tall, and has a moustache, short black hair and brown eyes. Police said he walks with a slouch, looks unkempt and has an irregular gait.

    Kyriakou was last seen wearing beige trousers, a brown striped jumper and a grey jacket.

    Anyone who knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact Nicosia CID or the nearest police station.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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