President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday expressed deep frustration and shame over the hideous crimes of a Cypriot army officer convicted of murdering seven women and children.
“These hideous crimes do not reflect the moral values of our multicultural society, our sense of compassion and our inherent respect to all those people who have searched for a better future in our country and have become an integral and valuable part of our lives,” he told an event to mark the anniversary of the independence of the Philippines at Saint Catherine Catholic Church in Limassol.
“We feel deeply frustrated, but, above all, ashamed that the acts of a person and the disregard of human life that he showed have cast a shadow over the above-mentioned,” the president said.
“What is most frustrating is the stance of all those responsible as regards exercising their duties in investigating the reports for missing persons, which was one of sheer negligence and inefficiency and definitely not guided by any racist motives,” he added.
“To this end, we stand ready to hear any suggestions you might have that might prove useful in improving internal procedures within the police, particularly in adopting preventive measures and improving procedures that will allow us not to have a repetition of adopting this casual and careless approach,” he said.
The president spoke nearly two weeks after Nicos Metaxas was handed down seven life sentences for the brutal murders of five women and two children — all non-Cypriots.
Nearly all the victims had been reported missing and an inquiry is underway as to how police handled their disappearance.
Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou resigned and police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou was sacked amid fierce criticism.
The new police chief has pledged any police officer found guilty of dereliction of duty will be punished, but critics counter that this is too little, too late.
In his address, read out by First Lady Andri Anastasiadou as the president is still recovering from an operation, Anastasiades noted that although the day was one of celebration, he wanted once more to express the deepest condolences, both his and of the Government and the people of Cyprus, to the families, relatives and friends of the victims of the recent appalling crimes whose country of origins, amongst others, was the Philippines.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, who, needless to say, have our full support during these extremely difficult times,” he said.
The president also paid tribute to the active Filipino Community in Cyprus, one of the largest overseas communities on the island, numbering more than 10,000 members, and expressed the government’s satisfaction with the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.