A faux pas or a picture from the near future? Stage II of Greek government plans to tackle the Migration problem? Will Greece set up closed pre-departure or detentions center for migrants on uninhabited islands? Maybe intention and a trick to scare off future arrivals from Turkey? Or just a simple, plain gaffe?
During the presentation of the government plan on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of National Defense and coordination for refugees & migrants, Alkiviadis Stefanis, showed to reporters a picture of with a plan of a future closed pre-departure center.
Everything was nicely designed: here the accommodation area, there the facilities for catering, recreation, places for religious worship and schools. And of course, the accommodation facilities for the staff running the center. A bit further away, the facilities for the water and heating oil supplies, the biological disposal of waste.
The pre-departure center was surrounded by fairly nothing: low vegetation and rocky soil. A waste land.
Reporters of daily efimerida ton syntakton took the picture under the magnifying glass and found out that the example pre-detention center was designed on an uninhabited island, Levitha in the center of the Aegean Sea.
Does this mean that conservative New Democracy accepted the proposal of far-right Elliniki Lysi (Greek Solution)? ELysi leader, Kyriakos Velopoulos, has not left out neither a small nor a big TV channel through which he insisted that Greece can solve the Migration issue “if it sends all refugees and migrants to uninhabited islands.”
After the revelation by efsyn, another daily asked the relevant departments in the Ministries of Defense and of Citizen Protection. Newspaper ethnos sought clarification. It has received no response so far.
Levitha is located between Amorgos in the West and the islands Patmos and Leros in the East. It has been inhabited by the Cambosou who said she knew nothing about a refugee center on the island.
Also Michalis Kollias, the mayor of Leros to which Levitha belongs administratively, stated he was not aware of any such plans. He said he considers it as very difficult to build such an infrastructure on the island that has neither water nor electricity.
A small unit provides electricity for the needs of the family, a small tavern operates only in summer. The water needs are covered by a tank that is filled with aquifers twice a year.
“There is no port, just for small fishing boats. How will migrants be transported? I haven’t heard anything about it, but I find it very difficult to do that there,” Kollias told ethnos.
So, what happened? How comes Levitha and the designed center in the hands of the deputy defense minister, when the government said that pre-departure centers will open only on the five islands that already receive the highest inflow of migrants and another ten on the mainland?
“Does this also confirm yesterday’s report by ta nea, in which the newspaper stated that the government has not rejected the thought of exploiting smaller, more sparsely populated islands?” asks efsyn.
PS To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t be surprise either if it turns out a sloppy, uneducated and indifferent assistant just downloaded a picture from the internet that would fit well to the proportions of the planned center. In this country, we can claim “we’ve seen it all” and yet there is away space for surprises.
UPDATE: On Saturday, General Secretary for Migration at the Ministry for Citizen protection, Manos Logothetis, told Skai TV, that there will be no enclosed center on Levitha. Journalists did not ask why the picture in Stefanis’ hands then and Logothetis did not bother to explain the issue or even whether other uninhabited islands would be considered.