Peter Droussiotis’s last speech as President of the Federation at the organisation’s AGM and electoral convention on 18th June 2015 in which he calls for unity and renewal:
I will endeavour to be brief because the work of the Federation in the last 2 years and in the last 8 years that I have had the honour to serve as President is on the record and is well known to all of you.
• It has been an enormous privilege for me to have served the Federation and all of you, the organisations of the UK Cypriot community, for the last eight years as President and for the last 15 years as a member of the Executive and the Secretariat.
• During my period in office I did my best, often under very difficult circumstances, to inject a professional outlook to the Federation’s work and gradually to transform the organisation into a much more proactive and outward-looking body.
• My priority at all times had been to maintain the unity of the Federation, which, as I keep repeating at every opportunity, is its greatest strength, and to remain completely dedicated to the core purpose of the organisation: to see the beautiful island of our origin, our beloved Cyprus, free and united once again.
• My paramount objective at all times had been to work with all of our parliamentary friends and to cultivate new ones from across the political spectrum, acting above party politics, in the interests of our community and the cause of a free, united Cyprus which is the Federation’s main purpose.
• We need to differentiate the Federation, as an institution, from the role that can be performed by its constituent parts. I am broadly satisfied that my colleagues and I on the Secretariat of the Federation have been able to utilise and develop political links and alliances with all of the main parties in the British Parliament , always mindful of the vital importance of cross-party support for the Federation’s strategic objectives.
• My very strong advice to my successor is that this policy must continue without any deviation. The Federation cannot be effective unless it remains a non-party political organisation. At the same time, the Federation’s member organisations are best placed to extract maximum value from their own party political affiliations in a way that confers an advantage on the Federation’s collective actions.
• I want to take the opportunity tonight to thank all of my colleagues on the Federation’s Executive and Secretariat and those on the Central Council of POMAK, the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots, with whom I served in the last fifteen years, as well as the organisation’s long-serving Executive Secretary, Andreas Karaolis, our many volunteers, our advisors and our sponsors. I want to thank all of you for your engagement and support.
• Our achievements have been realised due to our collective efforts.
• I would also like to pay tribute to the many British parliamentarians from all parties who have worked closely with me and my colleagues, often in difficult circumstances. Their unstinting cross-party support has been of great value to our political work in the UK Parliament.
• I would also like to extend my thanks to successive Cyprus High Commissioners in London, in particular to Alexandros Zenon and, of course, to our current Ambassador Euripides Evriviades and all of the other representatives of the High Commission for the valuable co-operation we have enjoyed throughout my tenure as President of the Federation.
• For the same reasons, my thanks also go to His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain and to successive Ambassadors of Greece to the United Kingdom, in particular to the current Ambassador my good friend Constantinos Bikas whose engagement with the Federation and out community has been absolutely outstanding.
• Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to Presidents of the Republic of Cyprus, the late President Tassos Papadopoulos, former President Demetris Christofias and the current President Nicos Anastasiades, and to the entire political leadership of the island, for their moral support and the collaborative relationship we have had throughout.
• I am convinced that over the coming months and years, the Federation needs to take vitally important and imaginative steps to renew and strengthen its structure and organisation and to become more representative of the British Cypriot communities it serves. Renewal has to be driven, not by personal or party political agendas, but by principles and values and has to be based on a vision to create an outward-looking organisation that reflects the broad talent and diversity of our community and the organised groups and associations which represent it today.
• We must also be receptive to new ideas and new community institutions which may need to be developed in order to meet the needs and aspirations of the broader British Cypriot diaspora, not least in relation to a more effective engagement in the political life of this country and to the much talked about emergence of elected politicians of Cypriot origin in the United Kingdom. I hope that all of you and all of the organisations you represent will participate actively in such strategic initiatives in the future.
• Speaking for myself, although I stand down from the Presidency and the Secretariat of the Federation, I will remain at the disposal of the organisation and the overseas Cypriots’ movement and will continue to serve both our community as well as the just cause of Cyprus from whatever platforms are available to me.
• From the bottom of my heart – thank you for all your support and your friendship over the last 15 years.