Bureaucracy has been blamed for the delay in promoting the creation of a new cemetery in Paphos, but accusations are also falling on Paphos municipal officials.
Chrysanthos Savvides, who heads Diko municipal councillors at the Municipality of Paphos, has written to Mayor Savvas Vergas about what he described as unexplained delays and bizarre processes in promoting the new cemetery and recommended the responsibilities of municipal officials in this matter should be probed.
In his letter to the mayor, Savvides explicitly reveals that some municipality officials do not attach sufficient importance to the promotion of works for the cemetery and asked for clarification as to why this is so. He said officials of Paphos had ‘hastened’ to design the project. Now that procedures should be initiated at relevant government departments, some have abandoned the matter and are indifferent about when and how to proceed.
The magnitude of the problem was acknowledged r by the Bishop of Paphos, Georgios, who said that the Paphos Cemetery was effectively full and unable to accept new burials. “There isn’t even a single burial site and the only reason it is still used is due to the incapacity of officials to find a new space,” he said.
“We are forced to perform burials in corridors because there is no other space to bury our dead.”
The bishop stressed that the Church is now forced to encourage bereaved families to take their dead to neighbouring communities of Paphos where there is space, after the funeral service has taken place.
“Unfortunately, we have reached this stage because the cemetery of Paphos has no space. If some do not want to be dragged into such sad situations where they have to arrange burials in corridors and try, in vain, to agree on procedures in a crowded space, we as a Church can only urge them to bury their people in a community cemetery”.
He also pointed out that the responsibility for this unfortunate situation lies both with the relevant government departments and the Municipality of Paphos, which could not promote the process of creating a new cemetery in time, since the problems in the existing one have been known for years.
Burial site problems in Peyia
British residents of Peyia say there is discrimination between locals and foreign residents, even with regards to the matter of burial sites.
Representatives of the large British community of the Municipality of Peyia complained specifically that they are charged a more to buy grave sites and pay higher cemetery fees than Cypriot residents of the municipality. Their complaints however, have been rejected by the Mayor of Peyia, Neophytos Akoursiotis, who said this was dictated by law and was the result of actions of the local authority.
Akoursiotis explained that the reason non-Cypriot residents of Peyia pay the highest fee for their own cemetery, lies in the fact that the space for the creation of the cemetery was bought by the municipality recently and thus has a higher price, as opposed to the existing cemetery of Peyia.
“Therefore, the municipality must have the necessary income to pay loan instalments for the purchase of the land for the church cemetery,” he said. “The problem is that under the new legislation, they do not fall into those religious groups that can create and manage their own cemeteries, such as the Latins. Therefore, this responsibility has been undertaken by the municipal authority which, at its own expense and by taking out loans created this space.”
Neophytos Akoursiotis rejected, however, the complaints of British citizens that they pay exorbitant amounts for their cemetery. Instead, he supported that Peyia Municipality fees, in this case are comparatively, one of the lowest in Cyprus. Problems also faced in Yeroskipou
Following the Municipality of Paphos, Yeroskipou Municipality is also beginning to face problems with the lack of burial space, as the cemetery is becoming overcrowded.
The issue has already preoccupied the Yeroskipou municipal council which decided to appoint a five-member committee that will be entrusted with the task of examining new areas in which a new cemetery could be created, but also to initiate contacts with the municipality Paphos to try and merge the Yeroskipou cemetery with the new area cemetery of Paphos and create it in “Morokampos” in Acheleia.
The Mayor of Yeroskipou, Michalis Pavlides said the problem is beginning to become more acute, while the existing area of the cemetery cannot be expanded. According to informed sources however, the municipal authority considers it most appropriate to be included in the plans for the new regional cemetery in Acheleia.
It is understood that the development and town planning in Yeroskipou prevent them from having sufficient space to serve the burial needs of the municipality in the coming decades. However, the unwarranted delay in promoting procedures for the creation of a new cemetery has prompted the Yeroskipou Municipality to seek its own solution.