English Page

17-2-2012

Meeting of the Municipal Council of Antiparos, on Friday, 17 February 2012 at 19.00, in the Kalouda Hall—followed by a discussion related to a Petition lodged by our group

 

PLEASE NOTE: Following an understanding reached between our group, the Mayor and the head of the other Minority group, at the conclusion of Friday’s Meeting a discussion will be held related to the Petition (see below) that our group submitted to the Municipality on 3 February 2012 (Reg. No. 346/3-2-12). The text of the Petition reads as follows: ‘I would like to request, as a citizen of Antiparos and Municipal Councillor, and am lodging this Petition to this end, that you include in the Agenda of the next Meeting of the Municipal Council the issues of deficient policing and inadequate staffing of the police station, as well as proposals and measures that the Municipal Council is obliged to issue and take with reference to the above, and also the continuously growing sense of insecurity experienced by island residents and summer visitors. Sotiris Skourtis’.

 

HELLENIC REPUBLIC
DECENTRALIZED ADMINISTRATION OF THE AEGEAN

Date 13/02/2012

Reg. No. 446
MUNICIPALITY OF ANTIPAROS
Postcode 84007

 

Taking into account the provisions of Article 111 of Law 3463/2006 ‘concerning the Municipal and Community Code’ and Law 3852/2010, you are invited to the Meeting of the Municipal Council of Antiparos, on Friday 17-02-2012 at 19.00 in the Kalouda Hall, for the discussion and taking of decisions regarding the following Items on the Agenda:

1. Municipality of Antiparos Resolution concerning the abolition of the reduced VAT rate for the islands;
2. Nomination of members to the Board of Directors of the Public Benefit Enterprise of the Municipality of Antiparos, in accordance with Government Gazette 212 Β;
3. Nomination of Minority representative to the office of Vice-President of the Municipal Council, member of the Financial Committee and representative to the Inter-municipal Port Fund of Paros and Antiparos;
4. Nomination of members to committees to accept public projects and works, and procurements;
5. Committee to draft the annual Registry of Males;
6. Nomination of elected official to participate in committees to accept public projects and works;
7. Nomination of members to committee to resolve taxation disputes;
8. Establishment of overtime employment for civil employees;
9. Nomination of fund administrators;
10. Planning of hiring of personnel to address the needs of a public-benefit nature;
11. Nomination of a Commerce Committee and its members;
12. Nomination of Property Rental Committee and approval of terms of Notice for the rental of a property;
13. Conclusion of a Contract with the Certified Body for the withdrawal of vehicles from circulation for the Municipality of Antiparos; and,
14. Commitment of the sum of €400,000.00, at the National Bank of Greece.

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31-3-2011

PRESS RELEASE

Following the grandiose statements issued by the Mayor of Antiparos, in which he made a generous ‘opening’ towards citizens and expressed his desire to have a harmonious collaboration with the groups composing the Minority, one would have expected that the disharmonic relationship between the three political groups would have become duller over time. However, precisely at the moment when both cooperation and also criticism concerning the course taken by the Municipality must be intensified—as we find ourselves on the eve of the tourist season—and also taking into consideration the fact that the annual budget has been approved (which hitherto had been put forth as an alibi against any criticism), the Mayor made his most serious lapse to date: The Mayor considered it unnecessary to inform Panayotis Sfalagakos, municipal councillor and representative of our group, about yesterday’s meeting of the Financial Committee and did not invite him to its most important session to date, the result being that neither he nor any other member of ‘Menoume Antiparo’ was present at the meeting. It is without doubt that yesterday’s meeting was the most important so far: 1) It was the first following the approval of the budget; 2) Its agenda included 19 items; and, 3) Not only those who voted on the budget (as Mr Sfalagakos did) but any citizen who so desired had the right to attend and become informed first-hand concerning its proceedings.

The slip-up on the part of the Mayor is very serious and Mr Sfalagakos’ presence at the meetings of the Financial Committee is necessary, because:

– After the censurable exclusion of Mr Sfalagakos from all Municipal committees, the latter requested that he be able to attend all of the meetings of the Financial Committee, even if these in future were to take place behind closed doors. The Mayor agreed, making a public commitment to fulfilling this request. Furthermore, the public pleas and commitments issued periodically by the Mayor concerning the need for cooperation and goodwill on the part of the Opposition political groups are known to all; however, this positive climate must also work in the other direction. It seems that following the disdain shown towards the representative of our group by the other Opposition party ‘Enotiki Kinissi Proodou’ in the election of permanent members to the Financial Committee, Mr Sfalagakos now finds himself being the recipient of further disdain, this time coming from the Mayor himself.

– At this point we would like to remind everyone that Mr Sfalagakos, beyond serving as a municipal councillor, also bears an institutional role: He is the sole elected representative of a group that received 13% of the votes of the members of the local community, and consequently through his presence represents 114 citizens who through their vote demanded a new style of local authority and governance. At the same time, he has been designated the first alternative member of the Opposition in the Financial Committee, an office which, unfortunately, was deemed to be the highest that a new politician seeking the right to express his views on public affairs could be honoured with. It is inconceivable, then, for him not to be informed about meetings of the Financial Committee, at which very serious matters are discussed and respectable financial sums are at stake.

– Mr Sfalagakos had been informed about the previous two meetings of the Financial Committee in advance and in writing (through an invitation). As it turned out, despite being an alternative member, he ended up being given the right to vote, as on both occasions a permanent member from the larger Opposition party was absent. Consequently, the change in this practice—from informing our municipal councillor about meetings to not informing him—cannot be interpreted as being well-meaning.

– Any excuse on the part of the Mayor concerning this lapse is unjustifiable from the moment that Mr Sfalagakos has submitted a petition in writing (Reg. No. 93/12-01-2011, see illustration 1) to the Municipality requesting that he receive every invitation electronically, in addition to all decisions taken by Municipal councils and committees, which includes the Financial Committee. In practice, his petition has been accepted, as he received invitations to the two previous meetings, and, moreover, it should be noted that the Mayor himself had invited other members of our group to attend previous meetings. Absolutely nothing of the sort occurred yesterday, a fact that raises questions as to the operation of the committees and also concerns about the manner in which decisions are made; in excluding Mr Sfalagakos and other members of Menoume Antiparo from these meetings, the will of a significant segment of the local society is not only ignored, but circumvented. There is a fine line separating the pressures of time—which have been justified, on many occasions—from inexcusable off-handedness.

– We would also like to remind everyone that there are several matters that have been officially lodged by our group with the Municipality in the form of petitions, asking that these issues be discussed as items on the agenda, but none has been placed on any Council meeting agenda to date (the list includes disinsectization, the taking and analysing of water samples, the matter of the sewage vehicle and the area where this sewage is dumped, the state of the roof of the Primary School). One reasonably comes to wonder: Is there to be a general exclusion of our group from municipal affairs henceforth? If so, the current Mayor should perhaps keep in mind the strategies employed by the previous Community administration (closed Council meetings, lack of dissemination of information, the hiding of documents), which he himself with such grandiloquence at times reminds everyone of and denounces, every time that we remind him of the share of the responsibility that lies with him during the previous terms when he served as a Community councillor (and leader) of the only Opposition group.

We would like to refer those who consider yesterday’s meeting of the Financial Committee as being held according to the law, to Article 75 of Law 3852/2010 (‘Kallikratis’), which stipulates that ‘the invitation is published on the website of the municipality’ (our view is that a plain, three-day posting on a wall would have sufficed), and also that ‘the invitation is delivered or made know to its members at least three (3) full days before the day set for the meeting’ (see illustration 2). What we understand from the above is that alternative members are also included in this provision—especially in view of the fact that this set procedure had been followed for the two previous meetings of the Financial Committee; but it was ignored for the most important meeting to date.

We wish to hope that this will be the last time that a vibrant part of the local community is placed on the fringes through the extremely provocative treatment shown towards its institutional representative. We await corrective actions on the part of the Mayor, and demand that the Financial Committee be reconvened in order to discuss the exact same agenda items, in adherence with what has been set down by law.

The ‘Menoume Antiparo’ Group

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Panayotis Sfalagakos: Were neither green, nor out of it’ [*]

[*] This text is an English translation of a telephone interview given in Greek to journalist Dimitris Belegris of the local newspaper Tα Nea Parou-Antiparou (the Paros and Antiparos news). It appeared in the 26 February 2011 edition of that newspaper, on page 5.

The group ‘Menoume Antiparo’ came into existence just shortly before the local elections held last November. This came as a surprise, as, until then, many people did not believe that a third group could be created.

‘Menoume Antiparo’ gained 13% of the total valid votes cast, and, in doing so, was able to secure a seat on the municipal council for its leader, Mr Panayotis Sfalagakos. Mr Sfalagakos was raised in Canada (though born in Greece), and has two master’s degrees—one in political science, the other in translation studies—from British universities. He is a translator and instructor of the English language. He and his wife have lived permanently on Antiparos since 1998; they have two children, who are students at the local primary school.

What was the reason behind the creation of the group ‘Menoume Antiparo’?

P. Sfalagakos: We were a group of people who could not express ourselves through the groups that existed at the time. After many discussions, we decided to try to create something ourselves’.

Does your group have some kind of political ‘marking’? I don’t mean a political party ‘marking’

P. Sfalagakos: I wouldn’t say so. Each member in our group is free to do whatever s/he wishes, politically or with reference to parties.This issue has never been discussed. If you were to ask me about some member of our group, what that person believes politically, I would tell you that I don’t know’. Honestly, no such discussion has ever taken place. We move along based on what is best for the island and in its interest’.

If I understand correctly, you are telling me that the people who gathered around your group did not agree with the groups then in existence, and decided to create a third one.

P. Sfalagakos: Thats correct. We could not integrate ourselves into the mentality of the old political system. We wanted to start something new, something beyond parties and each individual’s personal political choices’.

The Elections

Whattastedid the election results leave your group with?

P. Sfalagakos: ‘A very good “taste”, because we did not try to hunt down voters, we did not knock on any doors, we did not promise anything to anyone. We let anyone who wanted to to come to us. That was the rationale. Any citizen would come to us only because s/he would believe in what we believed in and s/he too would try to help in this whole enterprise. It was difficult for us to manage to get into the municipal council. In small areas especially, family relations play a big role’.

All told, I wouldnt say that your group had big family relations

P. Sfalagakos: No! (laughs). We didn’t have any such support, and, more importantly, we didn’t care about that! We are freeon that account. We didnt say Lets go talk to so-and-so because s/he has relatives and will bring us 20 votes’. Not at all, nothing like that. Our first concern was to find 13 eligible people needed to set up a group to take part in the elections. This was our first challenge. You see, some people wanted to join us, but would say I can’t because, for example, my brother-in-law is a candidate with one of the other groups’. So, we had a problem forming a group in the first place. Our second goal was to elect some member to the council. Since we managed to do the above we are very pleased’.

Your first goal was to be represented on the Antiparos council?

P. Sfalagakos: No! Our first goal was to be able to submit our papers to the Court of First Instance and form a municipal group’.

Looking at the groups on Paros and Antiparos, which were seven in total, I see that only you had a non-Greek candidate, despite the fact that a very large number of non-Greeks live permanently on both islands.

P. Sfalagakos; We had Dutchman Bram van Spronsen with us. He is a board member of the Paros Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). He’s been coming to Antiparos for over 30 years now, and has lived here permanently since retiring. He is very concerned about many issues, and I personally asked him to participate in our group. We knew that not many people would vote for him, but we weren’t concerned about that because our selections were only in relation to what each person could offer. I have no way of knowing why the other groups did not have non-Greek candidates. Our group, after our big preelection gathering at the village square on 4 November, held a meeting on 5 November with the non-Greeks who live on Antiparos. For three hours we discussed the problems we are all facing. They want to participate. Many non-Greeks live on our islands. Through what they know and the people they know they can help in our development. On Paros, for example, there is the International Paros Art Circle (IPAC). All of this is good. Non-Greeks bring a lot of people to our islands and promote them culturally, etc’.

What does your group hope to do from here on in? Is it a group that was created just to run in the 2010 elections, or do you see it going further?

P. Sfalagakos: Many people came up to us and told us that, no matter what the result of the elections, we would absolutely have to continue after the elections. It was a major issue for them. We never planned to stop in the first place. So far, we haven’t run out of steam. We’ve dug in our heels even more. Being the number three group, I feel that we have helped a lot in issues being discussed, and that better work is being done than would have been otherwise’.

Recycling

What are the basic problems facing the Municipality of Antiparos?

P. Sfalagakos: First of all, the economic crisis has affected everything, everywhere. The other factor for us is the transition from Community to Municipality. In addition, there are more specific problems that have accumulated over the past few years. This, in fact, was one reason why we, too, wanted to get into the council—to try to help. For the time being, these problems remain unsolved. Our pre-election platform contained specific proposals that we had to offer. As a quick example of a problem I will mention now is recycling, which we want brought back. It was stopped, for some reason, we don’t know why…’

Just a second, just a second, Mr Sfalagakos. No recycling is taking place on Antiparos at the moment?

P. Sfalagakos: None’.

Refuse is not being separated?

P. Sfalagakos: No’.

There are no special bins?

P. Sfalagakos: ‘No’.

But…

P. Sfalagakos: There were binsThey ceased to exist after about a year of operation. I tried to find out why. In fact, the outgoing Community authority went as far as to tell us that “recycling has stopped on Paros as well”’.

No, Mr Sfalagakos, recycling is still going on on Paros!

P. Sfalagakos: That’s what they claimed! That’s what [former Community President] Mrs Maneta said at the public presentation of her administration’s statement of accounts, after I posed a question to her on the subject at the event. Thats what they replied, and, in fact, some Parian New Democracy candidates for the [South Aegean] regional authority were in attendance. They didnt react, didn’t say anything! They didn’t say “No! Recycling is still going on on Paros”’.

Just a minute. I have file photos showing bins at a special event held on Antiparos for [the introduction of] recycling. Do these bins exist?

P. Sfalagakos: They no longer exist’.

Did you say they no longer exist?

P. Sfalagakos: No, they don’t exist! Recycling has stopped. There is one blue bin on the road towards Ayios Yeorgios, but it is being used as a container for regular rubbish. I, and a few others, continue taking recyclable rubbish to Paros’.

It astounds me!

P. Sfalagakos: It astounds me too and that is why I asked the question at the public presentation of the statement of accounts. Mrs. Maneta told me it is expensive for it to go across the way” [to Paros] and that recycling doesn’t take place on Paros anyway, and they just throw the recyclable materials in with the regular rubbish”. That’s how she answered. However, no response or clarification was given by the Parians who were there. I suppose for political reasons. Afterwards, when I received confirmation that it hadnt stopped [on Paros], it rubbed me the wrong way that they, too, hadn’t said anything at the public event’.

The Problems

What about other problems on Antiparos?

P. Sfalagakos: There are a great many. The pedestrianised main road in the village. We have requested that the Community decisions [by-laws] that have designated the road a pedestrian precinct be enforced. [The new mayor] Mr. Leventakis has taken some action, and the number of offenders seems to have been reduced. But the phenomenon [of driving on it] continues to exist. The Community by-laws make mention of it applying for the whole year. Not just summer. There are specific hours in the morning when shops are permitted to receive deliveries. Another problem is the roof of the Primary School. There is a danger of it collapsing.The municipality must contribute to the cost of this repair. In addition, in spite of our raising the issue at a recent council sitting, the local authority has yet to work on a tourism plan for this year, even though we’re heading into March. Nor is the official municipal website on the internet in operation.Whoever visits it sees [a photo of] Mrs. Maneta and the most recent update goes back to 2005. A proper presence and presentation on the internet is necessary for any tourist area. Furthermore, we have suggested that the village look into offering wi-fi. In addition, back in the ‘80s the village was officially designated a “traditional settlement”, and we would like to pursue this more as well—that is, the aesthetic appearance of the village, the placing of cables and wires underground, which can gradually take place through the opportunity provided by the future construction of the sewage system. A coordinated effort must be made in this direction. Another problem is the area known as Akonitos. Boulders are being removed illegally [many years now]. Now that rumours have begun to circulate that this illegal quarrying will soon be halted, those involved are starting to pile boulders in various parts of the island so as to create a stockin the event that this practice is banned.Whatever taking place there is taking place without official permission. That’s where the raw sewage goes as well. This is another big issue. And, another thing going there—and to other areas as well, including to a former quarry—is every kind of rubble. These problems must be confronted.’

Some other issue?

P. Sfalagakos: An attempt must be made to lengthen the tourist period through [carefully designing and offering] attractive tourism packages that will include cultural and artistic events. Another issue that came to the fore a few days ago is the [illegal] closing of beaches. During the pre-election period, all three groups had committed themselves to trying to open up closed beaches. At a [recent] municipal council meeting, an official request was presented by a group of citizens who maintain that a specific beach has been closed by an adjacent property owner. We believe that this has to be carried out throughout the whole of the island, and all closed beaches must be opened. They mustn’t stop at a certain point. No exception, no exception!’

Why do you emphasise this phrase ‘no exception’?

P. Sfalagakos: Because we mustn’t look at whether the owner is an Antipariot or a Parian or an Athenian; this mustn’t play a role. This, because many times in small places we became a bit hesitant, saying that “this belongs to so-and-so”’.

How do you view developments concerning the biological sewage treatment project?

‘P. Sfalagakos: ‘The issue is a bit complicated at the moment with a court case to be heard in March. I believe, however, that the matter will take its proper course, because it must. We must press for it to happen as well. It has received approval and should have already been constructed. This hasnt happened for legal reasons. I think, however, that it is unacceptable to say that you are a tourist destination and, at the same time, have septic tanks. On the hand, you seek to have quality tourism, but on the other you have yet to solve such a fundamental issue. The same goes for [potable] water, through desalination or some other method. We don’t have potable water on Antiparos. Each family needs to spend from 500 to 1000 euros annually on drinking water alone. Finally, other issues are deinsectisization, the issue of the Psaralyki [marsh], the development of the Kastro [castle, in the village] which has yet to take place, as well as that of the Cave and Despotiko. There are a great many issues. And things are difficult because we have the transition from Community to Municipality, at a time that is very bad financially. For this reason all of us must help, either as volunteers or through any other way. And, of course, there must be sound management of public funds’.

The New Municipal Authority

How do you see the new municipal authority that took over on 1/1/2011?

P. Sfalagakos: Some good attempts have been made so far, especially in the area of rubbish collection and in creating a cleaner village. Everyone agrees that the village is much cleaner. For our part, we understand that it is a new municipality and, of course that we are in the midst of an economic crisis. That is why we are trying [to be understanding]. I wouldnt like to use the phrasegrace period”, but we don’t want to exert an unreasonable amount of pressure. We don’t expect everything to be done within two or three months’.

What is your view on how the major opposition group has acted thus far?

P. Sfalagakos: WellEvery group does what it thinks right. We disagree with some things that have occurred, such as on the subject of committee representation. But whatever happened, happened. We constantly try to look ahead. We are in favour of cooperating with everyone. We showed this at the council meeting the other day as concerned the Port Fund, where the issue could have dragged on further had we wanted it to, butWe don’t want to make things more unpleasant or more difficult than they need be. Time is valuable and the period difficult. We mustn’t fight over such things’.

The Blogs

I saw a few days ago on your internet website that you wrote an article and that Mr Leventakis sent in a reply to it. It seemed a bit strangeto me that an (official) reply be given in a blog. It felt a bit alien to me.

P. Sfalagakos: Yes, yes. It seemed a bit peculiar to us as well; but we felt we had to reply to his comment. But the discussion could have taken place in some other—better—way. Unfortunately, however, I think that the comments made by the mayor failed to provide answers to the questions I had originally raised’.

I don’t wish to go into detail as to whether his reply was correct or not. I did like the fact, however, that someone with an active role in local affairs felt adversely affected by a post and replied directly through the internet’.

P. Sfalagakos: Yes, the mayor has not done anything like this before. As all of us read the blogs and we know what answers have been given, and what comments have been made So this serves to show that he does take this medium seriously’.

How do you see the situation with the great number of blogs on Antiparos? There are local political group blogs, personal ones, etc. What I want to say is that blogs on Antiparos are somewhat more up there’, in the sense that those involved give them more weight than they should.

P. Sfalagakos: Antiparos is a small place. A lot of people consequently find a way out through blogs. They are local newspapers. People get the chance—which they otherwise might not have—to express themselves through them. But to tell you the truth, I don’t like anonymous blogs that just mudsling. I like it for them to express their views, signing their name, and basing these views on facts. That’s what I ask’.

I see that on your website, which is somewhat more open’, there seems to be an interest on the part of people who wish to communicate with you. You personally openly write your view there, saying I went there, I did that…’.

P. Sfalagakos: Wed said from the outset that we didn’t want what was happening in previous years to continue; namely, for the doors of the Community (now Municipality) to be shut, and for the citizen or resident not to have access to it. We are in favour of opening up”. It’s incredible what’s happening now at council meetings. Up until recently, there would be no citizens attending, and now, around 50 or 60 people show up. They seem to be greatly interested. For this reason, as well, I had said from the start that I would try to be a ‘bridge’ from the outside in and the other way around. This is the reason why I write that column on our blog. People must be informed, kept up to date. I should mention that we have received a great many positive comments, from abroad as well, and also through our facebook page, where one finds friends there, even members of the other local political groups’.

The 13% of the vote you received, without family connections as you said earlier, without a political past on the islanddoesn’t it frighten’ you? I mean, it’s a high percentage.

P. Sfalagakos: It is indeed a high percentage. We worked very hard. We started working on 18 September, until early November, which is not a great period of time. I think that we managed a lot, and have shown to date that we’re neither green nor out of it. We have people in our group who have a lot to offer. We have ideas. In the beginning we were accused of being inexperienced, and that is the reason I mention it. If you take a look at the council meetings, you will see that on many occasions we were the ones who discovered various issues or problems, and we’ve also asked many questions. At the penultimate council meeting, in reference to the poor state of the ring road, Mayor Leventakis had stated that the contractor was still owed 120,000 euros, which we would use as leverage to “pressure” him into returning to repair the road. However, at the last council meeting, after I posed a question asking for clarification, it was revealed that the contractor had indeed been paid the sum owed. Thus, we cannot accept any further talk concerning our alleged “inexperience”. We care, and we have a lot to offer’.


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The Menoume Antiparo Group attends the 16 February Protest Rally in Paros calling for Improved Health Care Services

Antiparos Municipal Councillor Panayotis Sfalagakos and a number of members of the Menoume Antiparo group took part in the protest demonstration held in Paros on 16 February, organised by the Association of Merchants and Professionals of Paros and Antiparos and aimed at drawing attention to the major problems facing the public health care service system on our two islands.

Our group supports such attempts aimed at highlighting what we believe to be absolutely just and self-evident demands—as is the case concerning better health care services—within the framework of a peaceful social reaction to mounting and pressing problems. We support the official decision passed recently by the Municipal Council of Paros on the issue of health care on our islands, as well as the rally held on 16 February in Paros and also the concerted efforts that have been planned for the near future concerning health care.

At the same time, faithful to our pre-election pledges and attentive to health care needs on Antiparos, we demand the following:

-The construction of a modern medical office building on Antiparos, as promised and approved by the higher health authority. The solution of enlarging the existing medical office area by extending it into the area of the present city (and formerly community) hall area when this becomes vacant is, at best, a medium-term solution, but not the most ideal of the choices that are available;

-The regular (weekly or fortnightly) visitation by a paediatrician to the island to carry out preventive medical examinations at local schools and vaccinations, as well as to examine children that are ill;

-The call for doctors to fill two positions as part of their required service in rural areas, so as to better staff the Antiparos medical unit. The recent reduction in duty service by doctors at the Antiparos unit means that serious problems will most likely arise, as every month there will be many days when there will no be a doctor on call; this is extremely distressing in light of the upcoming tourist season and the increased demands that will be placed on both doctors and health-related services;

-The appointment of a second nurse on a permanent contract at the Antiparos health unit;

-The acquisition of a new and modern ambulance by the Antiparos medical unit, which will cover the needs of the transfer of patients of the island without there being the fear of engine failure and mechanical problems, as has been the case to date;

-The supplying of the Antiparos medical unit with a complete range of consumable goods necessary for its biochemical analyser, as well as materials and hospital / pharmaceutical products to cover its daily needs, and also the installation of modern medical equipment; all of these needs have regularly been expressed by staff at the medical unit;

-The safeguarding of public health on Antiparos, through participation in every kind of mobilisation effort aimed at preventing a repetition of unpleasant past experiences of doctors stationed in Antiparos being temporarily relocated to the Paros Health Centre. This practice has been widely criticised by members of the public, political leaders and members of the medical service itself, as, in the attempt to tend to gaps in duty doctor shifts at the Paros Health Centre caused by systemic deficiencies, the problem is often passed down to Antiparos. The result is that more problems are created than those solved; and,

-The organizing of regularly held blood drives on our island, a practice that has been abandoned for the past two years and looks to stay that way, if action is not taken.

Following the protest gathering, the head of Menoume Antiparo, councillor Panayotis Sfalagakos, and Dr Sotiris Skourtis, also a member of Menoume Antiparo and one of the two public physicians stationed on Antiparos, gave separate brief statements to the Paros radio station Echo FM, outside the Paros Health Centre where the rally had been held. Their comments were broadcast by the station later that day.

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The «Menoume Antiparo» group supports the positions expressed by the Merchants Association of Paros and Antiparos and will be attending the protest demonstration organised by the association, to take place in Paros outside the Public Health Centre on Wednesday 16 February 2011 at 12.30pm.

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SOCIETY OF ANTIPARIOTES AND FRIENDS OF ANTIPAROS

Halkokondyli 37 (8th floor), Athens 104 32

Dear fellow Antipariotes and Friends,

It is with great joy that we announce that our Society’s annual dance will be taking place on Friday, 18 February at the FAROS entertainment hall (Dekeleias 201, Nea Philadelphia, tel 210-2531019 and 210-2585884).

Following requests made by many of our members, we decided this year to hold our dance on a Friday evening instead of a Sunday afternoon, as had been the case for a number of years.

Thus, we will all be getting together at the FAROS, a dance hall dedicated to Greek island music, and will be entertained by well-known artists of the island music scene, namely:

LETA KORRE – POLYCHRONIS KORRES – MANOLIS BARBERAKIS

who will be accompanied by DIMITRIS AGRAFIOTIS (traditional folk song) and SOTIRIA (popular music repertoire).

We have put together a programme that includes almost every music genre, and hope that you will be able to honour us by attending our special event.

We firmly believe that there should be not limit when it comes to personal entertainment, even in times of economic crisis. For this reason, we have ensured that the entry price of €30.00 per person include not only a full and rich meal, but also unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks. A ticket draw will also be taking place.

It is always a true joy for our Society whenever we have a big turnout.

We only ask that you inform us, as soon as possible, if you are interested in attending the event, so that we be able to plan the seating arrangement and organise our reservations.

The event begins at 21.30.

For reservations call:

Landline Mobile

Michalis Viazis                      210-9931003           6977244630

Dimitris Kastanias                210-8049696

Themos Marinatos                210-9244969

Maria Thanou                        210-5027354

Chryssoula Faroupou           210-2473577

Vaggelis Faroupos                                                   6937217633

Maria Voussoula                                                      6975515438

Pantelis Triantaphyllos         210-9615654          6973513496

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A Municipality is Born

Calendar of upcoming events:

– Swearing-in ceremony of new mayor and municipal councillors to take place on Friday 31 December 2010 at 1.30pm at the Kalouda hall of the primary school.

– New Year’s municipal Vassilopita-cutting event scheduled for Saturday 1 January 2011 at the Community offices (next to the doctors’ surgery), following the Divine Liturgy church service that morning.

– First session of the new municipal council set for Sunday 2 January 2011 at 10.00am at the Kalouda hall of the primary school; this first meeting will see the election of councillors to various committees.

Our sincerest wishes that the New Year – and the new council – get off to the finest start possible!

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Honouring the Heroes of the World War Two Resistance Movement at the Monument in Ayios Yeorgios Our group decided to honour the local heroes of the World War Two Resistance movement by making a symbolic gesture at the modest annual event held in the courtyard of the chapel of Ayios Yeorgios on Sunday 28 November.

Instead of laying a wreath to honour their memory, we decided to donate 50 euros to the student council of the Antiparos Junior High School, and to place a few carnations at the monument of the fallen heroes, who had, in any case, lived very modest lives themselves.

Our goal now—and that of all of us, together—is to systematically record the personal experiences and first-hand events as recalled by those heroes who are still alive, in the aim of printing these recollections in a special album dedicated to the people involved in the local Resistance movement.

see more photos of the event here: photos

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AHEAD OF THE SECOND SUNDAY


In view of the upcoming second round of municipal elections to be held on our island this Sunday, we would like to call upon those who supported us to act according to conscience.
For us, every vote is a matter of personal choice, and thus cannot – and should not – be manipulated.
We hope that the tranquil political climate that prevailed during the first round will be maintained this time as well.

From the Menoume Antiparo
Group of Candidates

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On Strange Foreigners

We received the letter below a few days ago, via e-mail.

In keeping with the sender’s wish, we are posting it now, now that the elections are over (for us at least):

Dear fellow residents,

Now that the (first round of the) electoral contest is over, and, consequently, what is to follow in this letter cannot possibly be construed as pre-election mudslinging or anything of that nature, I would like to place some of my thoughts before some of us Antipariotes, concerning our stance when it comes to our ‘non-fellow citizens’, or ‘non-locals’—in other words concerning ‘foreigners,’ those who, as someone has been heard to have said without thinking, ‘came to our island, moved here, and filled up their stomachs…’

But have we ever sat down to think about why these ‘foreigners’ left their hellish cities, either alone, with their families or after marrying some local resident? Why they decided to make a fresh start and go on with their lives on our island, leaving behind jobs, friends, old habits? Why they chose to live in this place, with their children, with all those problems of not being accepted by the local community, and with all of those difficulties that arise that they’ve never before encountered in their lives?

Of course we haven’t.

Lawyers have come, as have doctors, chemists, teachers, architects, labourers, shopowners, booksellers, divers and many others. They’ve rented our shops, our houses, they’ve ‘upgraded’ our island, they’ve set up nice-looking shops. Some of them are by our side, they stay up with us when we are ill and celebrate our every joy with us, accepting all our quirks and peculiarities. These are people who turned their concern and sensitivity about cultural, social, environmental issues into something tangible, people who spread their love for the cinema, music and sport to many of us. They are at our side, they love us dearly, they greet us every day, they support us on whatever we decide for the good of our island. And, in many instances, whatever they’ve created has become a point of reference for many visitors / tourists and a pole of attraction that keeps bringing them back to the island. Is it coincidence? No. Are we fortunate? Yes.

And we, instead of embracing these people, instead of listening to them, or, if you will, accepting them as active members of our society, turn them around, with their face to the wall.

Have you perchance thought why these ‘foreigners’ decided to live here, to raise their children here, to continue their professional careers here? Of course you haven’t. Who here would concern themselves with other people’s situations or cases—we care about other things, and, above all, about our pockets and our outdated ‘family-cratic’ political perceptions. How truly terrible it must be for these people to feel like unwelcome immigrants in the place they’ve chosen to live—it’s inhuman.

If, then, we no longer want them here, let’s educate our children so that they can take their place one day. Let’s all become them, then, and suffocate them. But can we really do this? If we could, we would’ve done it years ago.

So, let’s keep letting disrespect for our common man, our petty fascism and our sterile view of some people win the day. Let’s remain in our wretched situation and close our eyes to the current state of affairs. Let’s stay stuck in the ‘70s. Let’s let, then, our children grow up with all those medieval perceptions. It’s very likely that this is what we deserve.

An Antipariotissa who chose a ‘foreigner’ as her lifelong companion and the father of her children, and of whom she feels very proud.

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Election Day and its Aftermath

E lection Day may have come and go ne, but has left behind so much for all of us to think about, and, more importantly, to feel happy about.

When the results first started coming out, yes, we were disappointed—not because it soon became apparent that we were lagging behind the other two groups, but because we had believed so intensely and deeply in what we were doing and saying. All of us—and that includes so many of you, we’re sure—had secretly dreamed that we could actually win, take charge of the island and turn it into a paradise for all. We’d even gone as far as to think that’d be easy for us, because we all cared about it so much. Thus, when the electoral reality arrived, naturally we felt a bit let down.

But that sadness did not last long. We may be optimists and dreamers, but we are also realists. We then began to feel the weight and significance of what we had actually achieved…

We were born on 18 September, and sent a representative to City Hall on 7 November. During that short, unforgettable time span we worked long and hard discussing our ideas, debating amongst ourselves and others, scrambling to find like-minded and politically-independent people to fill up and submit our group of candidates, made and maintained a blog, a facebook page, drew up, printed and distributed our programme, took part in a meeting of leaders in Athens, gave a two-hour public presentation at the square, spoke to groups like the friends from abroad who live on Antiparos… We managed to do so much, in so little time. Our will and faith in what we believed and what we were doing led us to forsake our families, friends, jobs and free time, but even though they said nothing our families and friends understood that all of this was happening for all of us, that this thing was perhaps bigger, better, truer and more important than anything we had ever done or felt before.

We started from zero, and reached the stars. Getting one person into the council had been our dream. And we made it. WE made it. We fought against the current, and not only managed not to drown, not only were able to stay afloat, but in the end splashed our arms ever harder against the pounding waves. So much so that during the last few days—including on Election Day itself both within and outside the polling stations—we had become the talk of the town; everywhere we went we heard how we had drawn up the best programme of all, had given the best presentation, had the best and most-qualified list of candidates, had transformed these elections into an interesting—but, more importantly tranquil—affair, during which a lot of big issues were finally being discussed, that we had put an end to the mudslinging, had ‘raised the bar’; we even heard that ‘if things were fair and based on ability, and not on family or other connections, you guys would have been the clear winners, hands down’—and that’s worth its weight in gold when coming from a friendly candidate councillor in one of the other groups.

We issued no pleas to anyone to vote for us, we harassed no one, we attacked no opponent verbally, we made no promises to ‘clients.’ We were the only ones not to do these things, unfortunately.

When we started out we had been mocked, scorned, unfairly attacked verbally, and even threatened. We were taken lightly by all, both on Antiparos and Paros, including in the local media. However, by Election Day we had turned these views on their head; we had suddenly become respected, a ‘political force’ worthy of mention, notice and respect.

Thus, it becomes clear why today we are overjoyed, elated. We gathered 13% of the votes on our first try, without big parties or any other sponsors behind us, and, more importantly, without losing our independence, our principles, our selves along the way. Our initial goal had been to form a group, our second to get our foot in the door—but this without compromising on any principle. That’s where we are now, and we love it. As soon as reality set in and we realized the magnitude of our accomplishment, we felt we as though had won the elections. In a sense, we had.

That one person elected has vowed that he will do his utmost to represent, with a sense of duty and respect, the hundreds of people who have joined hands to fight for a better life—for everyone, and for the place where they live.

This victory is dedicated to all those who have believed in us, and to all those who will support us in the days to come.

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THANK YOU!!!

Press Release

8-11-2010

We would like to warmly thank all those who believed in us and supported us by voting for our group, and, by doing so, have given us the opportunity and right to have a voice in the soon-to-be established municipality through an elected seat on the municipal council.

During this difficult election run, we did not try to hunt down votes, did not make any personal promises under any table, did not go door-to-door to canvass and try to pick up votes. We believe that every vote is unique, a personal matter of choice for each voter honouring both the voter and the group selected, and this gives us the strength to move forward.

We pledge to work side-by-side with whatever municipal council is elected, with the exact same principles and values that have brought us this far acting as our foundation.

From the Members of the
‘Menoume Antiparo’ Group

Good luck to all!

On Thursday, our group of candidates held its main pre-election rally at the village square. The head of the group, candidate mayor Panayotis Sfalagakos, welcomed fellow residents and, after giving a brief introduction which focused on how and why the group came to be, followed up with the first part of the presentation of the group’s policy platform. He outlined the group’s policies concerning “Everyday Life,” “Local Self-Government,” and “Infrastructure Projects / Development Prospects / Environment.” During the course of his presentation he passed the microphone to candidate councillor Vicky Kyriakopoulou, who explained in greater detail the possible locations of a floating marina in the port area. After the candidate mayor had finished presenting a large section of the policy programme, candidate councillor Mara Loufa presented and expanded upon issues related to the first part of the “Education / Youth” section, specifically “School Issues.”

At that point Vicky took the floor again to talk about the Sailing Club, bringing to the surface the problems facing the club, and proposed a series of possible solutions to those problems.

Following this, candidate councillor Yiannis Pantelakis presented proposals related to the “Multiplex,” “Sports,” and the programme “Agoni Grammi,” which is aimed at helping islands improve conditions at a more cultural level, particularly in the slower months of winter.

Candidate councillor Sotiris Skourtis, after making a personal statement, expanded upon the theme of “Health” and “Animal Welfare,” and also presented the first two sub-entities falling under the “Culture” tag: He spoke about the island of Despotiko, and also the Cave, and what needs to be done concerning these treasures.

As a resident of the Kastro—the medieval Venetian castle just off the square—it was only natural that candidate councillor Yiannis Filolias would be the one to present the related subsection of the programme. Before talking about the Kastro, however, Yiannis proceeded to make an important statement, which, though of a personal nature, concerned all of the residents of the island.

This was followed by a presentation of the group’s ideas concerning “A Clean Island,” as outlined by candidate councillor Nektarios Faroupos, who was succeeded by candidate councillor Spyros Tsibidis, who spoke on the broad issue of “Tourism.”

The microphone returned to Panayotis, who brought the presentation to a close with the promising subject of “Volunteerism,” an activity hoped and expected to play a fundamental role on many levels in the years to come, and which, moreover, may provide the opportunity to bring us all closer together.

Immediately after the presentation, the floor was opened to a long round of questions and answers, and a free and open dialogue with the audience ensued—something very rare for main pre-election rallies. This also provided an indication on the group’s part that it does sincerely seek the contribution and participation of all island residents regarding issues that are of concern to everyone. All of the members of the group have views on the issues being discussed, so whichever member so desired was free to provide an answer to any question raised by members of the audience.

The very lovely and warm evening drew to a close with a spontaneous gesture on the part of those who had come to listen to the group’s presentation, as many members of the audience approached the area where all of the candidates stood and greeted the members of the group one-by-one with much warmth and emotion, thanking them for their efforts to date and wishing them every success in the elections. This too was something never before witnessed in the political history of the island, and a message of hope that we are entering into a new phase, far from dissension and bipolarity, which, unfortunately, still exist to this day, to a great degree.

We would like to thank all those who came to hear us and speak with us that evening, a night that was wonderful for us all, and also those who were unable to attend but have supported us and boosted our morale so much to this very day—and who continue to give us strength—from many parts of Greece, as well as from abroad.

We would like to take this opportunity to renew the vow we have made to you—and to ourselves, first and foremost—that irrespective of the electoral result, we will keep on with our efforts for a better and more just Antiparos for all—with no exception.

You can hear the entire presentation that evening (in Greek) by following the link below:

http://rapidshare.com/files/428937533/MIC-2009-11-25_03h41m04s.mp3

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On Friday afternoon, the head of the group and many candidate councillors met with friends and acquaintances, who, despite coming from other lands, certainly love Antiparos at least as much as everyone else does, having selected our island as their permanent place of residence. The two-hour discussion, held exclusively in English, took place in a very pleasant, warm and positive atmosphere. A great many issues that concern all of us were discussed, and we hope that these residents and friends too came to feel as valued and valuable members of the local community of Antipariotes.

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Friday night also saw the final pre-election rallies of the two other groups of candidates.

We do have views on their gatherings and what was said at these—just as you surely do as well—and everyone’s opinions are always respected, in our books.

What we have come to sense, however, from many of the island’s residents, regardless of their political beliefs, is that though we had been deemed “inexperienced” by some, we were in practice the only ones to present detailed positions and proposals, in contrast to Friday’s gatherings, where the other groups limited their activities to simple whipping up their own political morale and that of their “troops.”

In contrast, we believe that we were somewhat like “pioneers” on quite a number of fronts: Through the interactive and detailed presentation of our programme; through our decision that as many members as possible present policy issues; through our giving the floor to the audience, whose members we invited to place whatever questions they so desired; and, through our decision that any one of our members who wished to reply to any question could do so freely.

The atmosphere that prevailed at our event was warm, friendly, and, above all “civilised.” At long last, some of the many issues that concern us all were discussed in public. It was not a simple speech / presentation; it was a spontaneous and constructive dialogue, which so many of our fellow residents and citizens have a great thirst for.

At this point, we would prefer not to respond to some inaccurate and unamiable comments that have been made about us, from the moment of our inception up to the closing speeches of the other candidate groups. Responding to such statements and rumours simply would not be consistent with the course we have charted to date, which, according to many, has contributed immensely to a return to a more “civilized” political climate, to important discussions concerning issues, big and small, that determine the quality of our lives. Many have gone as far as to say that our group has “raised the standard”; and that, it must be said at this point, is exactly where we want to be—this already is a first victory for us.

We would like to thank you for the love and support you have expressed for us thus far. If we have indeed “raised the standard,” we have done it together. Let’s all try to keep it there, high up, and why not even try to raise it even higher, since it is certain that this is something we can achieve together.

We will be here after the elections as well, irrespective of the result, fighting for our beliefs and our principles, to the benefit of all.

We will be here, because we live here – Menoume Antiparo.

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INVITATION

The MENOUME ANTIPARO group
of candidates invites citizens and friends of the island to its main pre-election gathering,
where its policy platform will also be presented.

The event—which will be in Greek—will be taking place at the square on

Thursday 4 November,
at 6:30pm.

We look forward to seeing you there.

We would also like to invite you to a special, informal gathering for

English-language speakers, to be held at the

Café Navayio (Shipwreck) on

Friday 5 November, at 3:00pm

where we will be discussing our programme in English.

We hope to see you at both events.

THE FIFTEEN CANDIDATES

PANAYOTIS SFALAGAKOS

My family and I were first-generation Greek immigrants to Canada, where I was raised and lived until graduating from university with a BA in Political Science. This was followed by an MA in Political Science from a British university. I have lived permanently in Greece for the past 20 years. My main areas of professional activity are EFL teaching and Greek-English translation. I have also worked as a newspaper journalist and editor, as well as civil service employee, at the KEP in Antiparos. A few years ago I was awarded another MA, in Translation Studies, and am presently studying for a PhD in Modern Greek Studies on a scholarship. I have lived in Antiparos permanently with my wife since 1998, and we have two young children currently attending the island’s primary school.

KATERINA APOKOTOU

I was born and raised in Athens. As a child, I spent all of my Easter and summer holidays on Antiparos, as my father hailed from the island. For many years afterwards I worked in tourist businesses on Antiparos, spending six months of the year on the island. My husband and I relocated permanently to Antiparos in 1998. I am a high school graduate, and hold the University of Cambridge FCE (lower). I have owned and operated a retail business in Antiparos since 2004. I have two children, who are students at the local primary school. My hope is that we be able to pass down to all of the children of Antiparos an island even more beautiful than the one we inherited, got to know and to love.

BRAM VAN SPRONSEN

I was born in the Netherlands, and grew up in The Hague. From the day I could talk I wanted to go to sea. So, upon finishing secondary school, I went to nautical college. After graduating, I worked for Shell Tankers and Royal Interocean Lines. From 1975 until 1980, one of my brothers and I operated our own company, a yacht service business. During the last three summers of that period I also ran a windsurfing school. But I could no longer resist the longing to go back to sea, so in 1980 I left the yacht business. I was employed by an offshore construction company for 25 years, until my retirement in 2005. My first encounter with Antiparos was during a summer holiday in 1978. It was a very positive and exciting experience. From 1980 I became a very frequent visitor to the island, eventually buying a piece of land and then building a home in 1995. I moved to Antiparos in 2001, and have been a permanent resident ever since. I hardly ever leave the island since my retirement. In 2006, I adopted my first stray dog on Antiparos, a long cherished wish was fulfilled, and six more dogs followed suit. My involvement with strays got me into contact with PAWS (Paros Animal Welfare Society), and I am currently its vice-president. My involvement with strays was one of the reasons behind my decision to take part in local politics. There is a great deal of work to be done in the area of animal welfare, but I am sure that we will be successful, through everyone’s participation and help. I hope to spend many more years on Antiparos, an island that has become my home. Someone once said: You live where you want to die. Well, I hope to die on Antiparos.

VASSILIS GERMANOPOULOS

I was born in Athens in 1977. I am married and have a three-month-old baby boy. My involvement with Antiparos dates back to 1978, when I enjoyed my first summer holidays in Ayios Yeorgios, thanks to my grandfather Leonidas Kalfoglou. As President of the Building Society of the Goldsmiths and Watchmakers of Athens, he was behind the creation of the settlement of Ayios Yeorgios, and took the first steps towards its realisation in 1965. I have been visiting Antiparos every summer since 1981, the year that construction of our house was completed. I studied International Tourism and Hotel Management at the IHTTI college in Switzerland, and also hold a BA from the University of Bournemouth In the UK. My professional experience includes working at 4- and 5-star hotels in Greece and in France. I am very happy to have taken the torch and to be running the hotel ‘Oliaros,’ our family business, in Ayios Yeorgios. I speak three other languages in addition to Greek: English, French and Spanish. In my travels to numerous destinations in Europe and to a few in Africa and Asia, I have come into contact with many people involved in tourism; I have yet to understand, however, why for so many years now in Antiparos we have wanted to handle tourism and its development in such an amateurish way. I would like for Antiparos to enjoy a ‘mild’ and ‘responsible’ form of development and become a place where people will be able to want to live year-round.

SPYROS KAMBASIS

I was born in Vartholomio, in the prefecture of Ileia. I have lived permanently in Antiparos with my wife, Anna Triantaphyllou, since 1983. I have two children. I am actively involved in public affairs in Antiparos. I have served for four-year terms as President and Vice-President of the executive council of the Parents and Guardians Association of Antiparos Junior High School. In addition, I have also served as Treasurer of the Professional Association for a number of years. I have owned and operated businesses on the island since 1983.

DIMITRIS KASTANIAS

I was born in Athens in 1961, my parents being Agapitos Kastanias and Zambio Vousoula (daughter of Father Michalis Vousoulas), through whom I have derived my Antipariote lineage. I studied at the Economic University of Athens and currently run my own Taxation and Accounting Office in Athens. I am married and have three children, and have taken much care to pass on to all the members of my family my love for my place of origin. I am an active member of the Society of Antipariotes and Friends of Antiparos, serving the aims of the organization through the executive council and in whatever other capacity has been asked of me. My involvement with this society has allowed me to obtain knowledge concerning – and to have a view on – all of the developments and problems confronting both the permanent residents of our island and those who spend shorter periods of time living there.

ISAVELLA KOUSTOUBEKI

I was born in 1970 in Athens, where I also completed my studies. I work as an instructor of the French language. My acquaintance and contact with Antiparos stretches back to the ’70s and ‘80s, owing to family and professional reasons. I have lived on the island as a permanent resident for eight years now, along with my husband, who is Irish. I have two children, who attend the Antiparos Primary and Kindergarten schools respectively. I am a member of the Parents and Guardians Association of Antiparos Primary School, and also of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage. These are the first local elections in which I have decided to move to the ‘other side’ of the ballot box and run as a candidate, owing to the impasse created by past political practices on our island. I look forward to seeing another kind of reasoning and way of thinking take shape, one that ideally will lead to the substantial and real development of our island.

VASSILIKI KYRIAKOPOULOU (VICKY)

I was born and raised in Athens. My family comes from Antiparos, where I also holidayed as child and young person. In 2004, my husband and I decided to make Antiparos our permanent home, in the search for better living conditions for both us and our children. We have two children, and they are students at the Kindergarten and Primary schools in Antiparos. I served as Treasurer of the Parents and Guardians Association of Antiparos Primary School for two years. I am a high school graduate and also hold a degree from St George college in Public Relations and Marketing. Since 1993, I have owned and operated a business on the island, which I expanded in 2007 by adding another shop. If there is one thing I have regretted since coming to the island, it is that I did not do this earlier.

MARA LOUFA

I was born in Larissa in 1972. Three years later, my family and I moved to Athens, where I lived until 2005. That was the year when we decided to change our way of life and move to Antiparos. I am the mother of a seven-year-old child. I studied at the American Deree College and graduated with a Βachelor degree in Business Administration, with a major in Management. During the same period, I was awarded the Proficiency in English and the Zertifikat Deutsch in German. For the three years that followed I worked in a maritime office, during which time I decided to complete my Music studies, eventually receiving a degree in Piano. At the same time, I took a year-long course at the Moraitis School on the subject of ‘Musical Movement Education for Pre-School and First-Grade Children via the Orff System.’ Since then, I have devoted my efforts to musical education, teaching at conservatories, schools and children’s pre-schools. For the past three years, I have been employed as an hourly instructor at primary schools in Paros, as well as at the primary school in Antiparos. During this period, I have organized and run – on a volunteer basis – the ‘Musicland’ musical movement education programme at the Antiparos Kindergarten school, which aims at fostering a pleasant and creative first encounter for the island’s children with the world of music. Since last year I have served as Secretary of the executive council of the Parents and Guardians Association of Antiparos Primary School. In whatever way I can, I would like to offer whatever I can to the place where we live, thus reciprocating – even if just a bit – of all that Antiparos has offered us.

YIANNIS PANTELAKIS

I was born in Athens in 1971. I am a graduate of the Leonteios High School of Patissia, a graduate of the Law School of Athens and have been awarded certificates in three languages—English, French and German. My first encounter with the island dates to 1993, when I arrived for the first time on holiday. I immediately felt that Antiparos for me was to become a lot more than a simple holiday destination. Thus, in 2000 I successfully re-opened the summer cinema, a place that quickly evolved into a cultural ‘nucleus’ of the island, as, in addition to film screenings, the cinema hosts exhibitions, special tributes and concerts, as well as charity events. I have also owned and operated a retail shop in our main road since 2004. I have served as Vice-President of the local committee of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, and am also a member of the Antiparos Sailing Club.

SOTIRIS SKOURTIS

I was born in 1971 and was raised in Athens. I studied at the Medical School of Athens, which I graduated from in 1996, having served as a member of the executive council of the Athens Medical School Students Society. I did my rural doctor service at the Antiparos medical office in 1996 and 1997. Following my military service, for four years (1999-2003) I specialized in General Medicine at the State Hospital in Nikaia, at the same time building up my CV through writing many articles and studies that were published in Greek and foreign journals, as well as papers presented and addresses delivered at both Greek and international medical conferences. Upon receiving my specialty, I was given the position of Junior Registrar at the staffed medical office of Antiparos, preferring it to other positions offering a higher rank, more prestige and greater financial rewards. Thus, I consciously chose Antiparos as my place to settle and work, and have been on the island working as a permanent doctor for some six-and-a-half years now. I recently gained specialist knowledge in diabetology, and have already started offering related services to the local population. In recent years, I served as President of the local committee of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage for a two-year period, during which time I took part in a variety of cultural and environmental actions and projects. I am also a member of the executive council of the Antiparos sailing club. I hold the Certificate of Proficiency in English and the Grundstuffe/Zertifikat in German. I compose and perform music, having also participated in charity events both in Antiparos and Paros. This year as well, three other athletes and I will be unofficially representing Antiparos as participants in the Athens Classic Marathon.

SPYROS TSIBIDIS

I was born in Athens in 1975. I have a seven-year-old son who is in the second grade at the local primary school, and who takes part in sporting activities at the Antiparos sailing club. I am a graduate of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Pharmacy. Whilst studying on that degree programme, I completed my final period of academic study at the Louis Pasteur II University in Strasbourg, France within the framework of the Erasmus student exchange programme. I hold the Certificate of Proficiency in English, speak some French and am currently taking Italian lessons. I have taken part in programmes offered by the not-for-profit centre for the mobility and guidance of people with visual impairments (KE.KI.PRO). From a young age and up to my graduation from university, I helped my mother out every summer at a tourist shop she operates in the Platamonas area. Following that, for four years I was employed by the pharmaceutical firm Pharmaserve Lilly as a scientific collaborator. In 2005, we decided to leave Athens in search of a better and higher quality way of life, and we chose to live in Antiparos. Since then I have operated the pharmacy on the island. Having lived for almost six years on Antiparos, my wish is to contribute in every way possible to the sincere effort being made by all of us for the prosperity of the place we have chosen to live in.

NEKTARIOS FAROUPOS

I was born and raised in Athens. I was admitted to the Democritus University Law School in Komotini and graduated from there in 2004. After fulfilling my military obligations in 2004, I did my articling in 2005-2006, specializing in general law at a law firm in Athens. Parallel to my studies, I concentrated on efforts to learn foreign languages (English, German, French and Italian). Having decided to relocate to Antiparos (where, as my surname betrays, I come from), in late 2006 I proceeded to register with the bar association of Syros and permanently moved to Antiparos, where I opened a legal practice (the first in the history of the island). My desire for a higher quality of life and the search for better professional working conditions were factors that influenced this decision. Antiparos has not disappointed me, and my next step now is to become more involved in local affairs, in the aim of helping improve everyday life for all.

CHRISTOS FAROUPOS

I was born in 1981 and grew up in Antiparos, where I come from. I graduated from high school in Paros and studied Refrigeration at a professional college. After my studies I permanently returned to Antiparos, and have since become active in the field of paints and house painting. I am member of the Hunting Club of Paros and Antiparos, and have walked the island inch-by-inch, many times over. I have taken part in volunteer environmental activities (clearing footpaths, cleaning beaches, etc). I believe that the time has come for citizens to meet their responsibilities.

YIANNIS FILOLIAS

I was born and raised in Antiparos. I am married with two children, one of them in high school. After finishing high school in Paros, I attended the Sivitanideios School of Arts and Professions and graduated from the Refrigeration department. For some periods of time, my family and I lived in Norway, where my wife is from, and I worked there at an all-day primary school coaching children whilst learning the Norwegian language. We have lived permanently in Antiparos for many years now. I own and run a small hotel called the ‘Korali,’ and my wife and I also own and operate a retail shop selling decorative items for the home. Like most young people on the island, I would like for us and our children to be able to enjoy a better quality of life, with an emphasis sporting and cultural activities.

Press Release

These days, Antiparos finds itself in the midst of great change. As our island makes its transition towards a new and important phase in its administrative history, we are all being called upon to join the battle to preserve and improve on the quality of life we now enjoy. It is everyone’s responsibility to become involved in this great undertaking. This new era, which will be ushered in with the implementation of the so-called ‘Kallikratis’ law on administrative reform, will be particularly demanding, and will also be fraught with innumerable challenges.

Following the failed attempt to create a single, unified ballot—which could have marked the end of one era and the beginning of another on our island—it quickly became apparent that political life inevitably would be sliding back onto the road leading to fruitless confrontation and political party rivalries—a course that has been extremely costly to the island to this day. The need for the creation of a new political entity thus became imperative and pressing for all. Such a vehicle would be one that would steer clear of political party dependencies and personal considerations and aims, and instead would show respect towards variety, actively seeking and encouraging as many voices to be heard as possible.

Our Syndyasmos (group of candidates) does not aim to create further division on the island by entering into confrontation with the other political groups; after all, we do not make any claims whatsoever to be the most competent group or to love the island more than anyone else does. Rather, what we do seek is to bring together opinions and create consent, our sole guiding principles and aims being the prosperity of the island, and being reliable, trustworthy, sincere and transparent. The island’s political history has demonstrated two things: Firstly, that administrative experience in no way constitutes a guarantee for development; and, secondly, that more citizens must participate more actively in local administration.

Thus, it was through this prism that the citizens’ group Menoume Antiparo (we live / are staying in Antiparos) came to be, created by people with knowledge and skills, ideas and the will to offer the best they can to their island. The group aspires to gain the trust and confidence of the residents of Antiparos and become their voice on all those matters, big and small, that determine the quality of life that all of us enjoy.

Our group is open to all who share our concerns and have proposals to make, have ideas and a vision for the island, and have the will to be present and participate in public life after the elections as well—a period it is hoped that will witness the birth of a more active group of citizens in Antiparos.

 

Panayotis Sfalagakos

 

Head of the Menoume Antiparo

Group of Candidates

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4 Responses to English Page

  1. Ο/Η Ian Mc entee λέει:

    I am wishing you and all the candidates the very best on election day and i’m very proud of your effords to make change for our island. Good Luck to you all………

  2. Ο/Η Pete Sheppard λέει:

    I edit a newsletter The Bridge here in Apokoronas Crete ! Our platform is Accountability , Transparency and Equal Treatment for all.
    Despite our support given to the winning faction we appear to be experiencing some obstruction to the full inclusion of the english-speaking community in the processes of development of the new Municipality. The latest example is a reluctance to invite a representative to sit on the Migrant Inclusion Council on the grounds that it is only for non-EU immigrants (sic). Do you have any experience to share on this ( or anything else !)
    Very best wishes
    Pete

    • Ο/Η menoumeantiparo λέει:

      Hello down there! Great to hear from you! We hope you are well.
      Definitely one of the top positive points of today’s technology is that one can (unexpectedly) communicate with so many others, so quickly, in so many places, something that otherwise would’ve been (next to) impossible.
      Your comment raises a number of important points. As I’m sure you already know very well by now, to call involvement in local Greek politics ‘difficult’ or ‘trying’ would be a candidate for understatement of the year.
      Article 78 of (the infamous by now) Law 3852/2010 (a.k.a. ‘Kallikratis’) states that a five-to-eleven member Migrant Inclusion (or Integration) Council may be set up in a municipality, following a decision by the Municipal Council. As far as I can see, it doesn’t make any distinction between EU and non-EU; it uses the word ‘(im)migrant.’ If what I say is correct, then it is a matter of interpretation of that Article. Your local authority’s argument for not including you guys might be that EU citizens, because of their status and their right to vote and stand for election, are not considered (im)migrants. I am speculating, because we have not come across this issue here, as no such council has been created to date.
      For me, however, what it comes down to is not the interpretation of the law, but rather the local authority’s determination to include everyone living within the local society in the decision-making process and, even more so, in day-to-day life. The local authority has to want it, and then seriously make it a part of its policy and practice, irrespective of whether it’s enshrined in some law or not. If it is the case that, throughout Greece, this Migrant Council does not include EU citizens, then, in my opinion, local authorities should look to include these people through the creation of an EU citizens council, or, better yet, again in my opinion, to just include these people in the everyday workings of local government and society. For me, there is no reason for the creation of countless councils and committees that meet rarely and do little. Integration can only take place in practice, and not in theory alone, and local government should sincerely seek this and facilitate it.
      I know just how much EU citizens want to take part and help in their local societies. They have so much to offer but are blocked out. Unfortunately, very few local people stop to think that these people have chosen to live in this country, over any other country in the world (including their native lands), and this out of plain love for the place. They have made sacrifices, and all they want to do is to help and become more active in their ‘new homes.’
      As for your specific case, as far as I know all council / committee meetings (including those of the Migrant Inclusion Council) are supposed to be open to the public, so perhaps you might think about attending as members of the public. This would show that you are keen to take part, and are genuinely interested in the workings and proceedings of that council on this very important issue.
      If we here on our island do move to the stage of creating such a council, I’ll post something concerning our experience here.
      If ever in the area, be sure to give us a ring!
      All the best, and keep the newsletter going – I’m sure many people rely on and appreciate your work!
      Kind regards,
      Panayotis

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