Not another Mykonos

Not another Mykonos

In the bruised face of archaeologist Manolis Psarros, who was beaten by unidentified men in northern Athens a few weeks ago, we saw the Mykonos of gangs, thugs, rackets and dirty money. This is an early and rather superficial interpretation of the case. Now, after a little time has passed and the initial shock has somewhat subsided, we must think more seriously and examine all the mistakes and omissions that have enabled such practices.

The answer must come from the authorities, and it must be forceful in terms of investigating the crime and, most importantly, dealing with the failings of the state, which do not prevent and, in fact, often facilitate all kinds of illegal activities.

To mention some of these failings: There is an absence of systematic controls, a reluctance to impose fines – or, when they are, they are too lenient for businesses that make millions and have no problem paying tens of thousands of euros – understaffed services (the Syros City Planning Department has only five engineers for four islands, with Mykonos taking up 70% of the workload), staff shortages at the Mykonos Police Department, measures announced by the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection that are not implemented, such as the installation and use of an extensive security camera network, the creation of an autonomous operations center in the area, and the use of drones. There are also trials that drag on for years from one adjournment to the next.

Some veteran visitors to Mykonos say: ‘It is a lost cause. Let’s watch out for the other islands’

According to a report by Kathimerini, Psarros had filed five complaints from 2017 to 2022 over archaeological violations by the parties responsible for some of the largest beach bars on Mykonos. These reports have been shared, among others, with the Prosecutor’s Office and the City Planning Department on Syros. What was the follow-up? Was there any follow-up?

Some veteran visitors to Mykonos, who experienced the island when it had a different character and a more human scale, say that “Mykonos is a lost cause. Let’s watch out for the other islands.”

Thus, Mykonos serves as a counter-example for other islands at risk of the Mykonos model. Only the state can put a halt to overtourism and lawlessness by closing loopholes and abolishing exceptions, conducting systematic checks, imposing strict fines, and consistently enforcing the law. That is enough.

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