I refer to your front page coverage of November 28, 2004 under the title “Above the Law – Deputies won’t pay their parking fines”. Please note the following:

1. Members of the House of Representatives are not above the Law as you wrongly conclude. They enjoy, as Members of the House, Immunity during their term from Criminal Prosecution. This is a constitutional principle enacted to protect MPs from going about their duties unhindered in the Public Interest. In serious cases the Supreme Court may lift their immunity. Obviously parking offences are not serious cases to warrant the departure from the above fundamental constitutional rule.

2. All parking tickets in my case involve parking at St. Helen’s Street, Nicosia where my office is situated. Persistently over the past years and although the traffic wardens know very well that I sometimes park my car outside my offices, in most cases before going to the House, they loose no opportunity to endow me with a ticket. This is a classic case of showing no understanding at all to the pressing needs of a Deputy and amounts, in my mind, to an abuse of authority and a show of strength. Such attitude prevents deputies from performing their duties unhindered and shows no understanding for their limited time and pressing needs.

3. Incidentally, to prove my point that I am not abusing my privileges, you may be interested to note that I am probably the only MP who has not and will not make use of the tax free benefit allowed to MPs for buying a duty free car. Finally as far as the sum of some CYP 500 in parking fines is concerned, as usual I will make a donation of this sum to charity this Christmas. At least they know how to spend their money!

Dr. Christos Clerides