Thursday, 29 December 2016

Year End 2016

Well, as many will agree, the year 2016 has been very interesting.
My wife and I are now living in the UK.
Way back at the start of the year when we were still in Cyprus, I became convinced that the UK would be voting to leave the EU. Following the news and usual media sources plus the wonders of sharing information quickly via social media, I knew that BREXIT would be a strong possibility.

In February 2016, we decided to move from Cyprus to the UK. Our travel route was influenced by our two cats. Namely, that travelling back to the UK by air was not allowed, due to the age old system of British airline operators refusing to allow pets to travel in the cabin of any aircraft flying into the UK. Outdated British law with its best intentions of protecting the island from rabies proved a barrier, plus a ridiculous price quote from all air carriers to move the cats as hold luggage. How on earth can it cost four times more to move two cats than two humans?

After some research, it was discovered that pets can fly as cabin luggage with the majority of airlines across the EU except the UK. So, we booked a flight from Cyprus to Paris and carried the cats with us as hand luggage for just EUR40 per cat. On arrival in Paris we then travelled by train to Calais and onwards to the UK via Eurotunnel, being processed by both the Pet Travel Centre and UK Border Service on the French side.

Later we discovered a whole pet travel industry revolves around the problem of pets not being allowed into the UK via air routes as cabin passengers. American tourists and visitors coming to the UK with their pets were flying across the Atlantic into Paris first and then going on to the UK via the Eurotunnel. Many travelling onwards by special taxis coming across or under the channel and being processed by specialist pet travel companies who knew how to get around the problem.

Anyhow, more later. I think I will bring life back into this blog for the year ahead.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

UKRAINE – 25th Anniversary of Independence – The Divorce Dispute.(An analogy)

My thoughts as the anniversary approaches.

On 24th August we will celebrate the 25 years since Ukraine decided to seek a divorce from the old USSR/Russia. In 1991, Ukraine filed for divorce and it was granted by a vote from the people and was recognised as legal by the international legal community. The divorce was later confirmed by a ‘Decree Absolute’. Ukraine was now a divorcee.  Unfortunately the old spouse refused to recognise the divorce and assumed that the marriage was still on going and continued to proclaim to the rest of the world that the two countries were still married. 

The old former spouse continued to cause problems for the divorcee. In 2013 the Ukraine divorcee decided that she had had enough of all this crap and once again clearly demonstrated to the old spouse that is was OVER once and for all. Unfortunately the old former spouse turned violent and grabbed some of the property belonging to the divorcee. This was illegal in the eyes of the international legal community, but the old spouse has never been charged or appeared in a court of law. Since 2014 to this day, the old former spouse has killed thousands of the divorcee family and injured countless others. 

The divorcee has often wondered why the international police and the legal system have not come to her rescue, like in any other divorce dispute around the world. The old former spouse becomes even more violent on a daily basis, yet nothing is being done to stop him. We all know that in most divorce cases, if the former spouse continues to be a problem, the brothers and uncles of the divorcee usually decide to ‘take care of things’ and persuade the old former spouse to ‘move on’ or ‘face the consequences’. As the 25th anniversary of her divorce approaches the divorcee is expecting a further increase in violence from the old spouse. Who will protect her? When will the old spouse be taken to court? Who will deal with the old spouse once and for all?

Monday, 16 November 2015

Cyprus - 2 Years On

How time appears to go so quickly. After arriving in Cyprus on 16 November 2013 I have witnessed and created many changes.

The problems in Ukraine were just kicking off in November 2013 and with that wonderful thing called hindsight, I know I made the right decision to move to Cyprus. The situation in Ukraine quickly deteriorated and continues today.

But in those early days it was great to manage our business back in Ukraine remotely. Skype, and
e-mail is all that is required for remote management these days. Some could disagree.

So, after surviving that first Cyprus winter (I had no idea it could get so cold, as for the previous years I had grown use to the comfort of avoiding winters by escaping to Sri Lanka) 2014 proved to be interesting. After deciding to settle in Paphos district among the thousands of other British expats I realised it was such a massive change to life back in Ukraine.

Initially I thought Cyprus would be just a 'rest period' for about 6 months until the situation in Ukraine improved, but I was to be proved wrong. So after 3 months in Cyprus I registered as a resident and recently my wife also did the same. We even formed a new Cyprus registered company.

The really great thing about living in Cyprus is the relaxed atmosphere in both private and business life. Maybe that is why so many British people decide to retire here. Plus the almost constant good weather is a bonus. Everyday business activities are SO EASY compared to life back in Ukraine. In Ukraine the emphasis was always from people trying to stop you from doing something. Conducting any business transaction in Ukraine was always a very lengthy and drawn out process. But like everything you got use to it. So, in comparison Cyprus really is a breath of fresh air. Even when dealing with government organisations life is so easy.

However, the British community will always complain about everything. One of the things that annoys me is when I hear British people who live here complaining about how Cypriots do things.
Banking hours, standards of service, legal system, police, parking, manners and on and on go the moans. THIS REALLY GETS MY GOAT.  British people need to understand that this is CYPRUS and not the UK. Cypriots have control over their own country and it is they who decide how their culture develops and evolves and NOT some foreigners. Brits don't like it when 'foreigners' come to settle in the UK and start making demands, so PLEASE stop doing the same in Cyprus. End of rant.

Admittedly, many Cypriots still fail to remember that since they joined the EU, all residents in Cyprus must be treated equally and favour cannot be  shown to one group of people over another under EU equality laws.

So, here we are on 16 November 2015 and still wearing shorts and sandals and just t-shirts in the warm sunny weather. But I am not ready for retirement yet. I know I still have another 10-15 years of work to do. The future looks bright. Difficult maybe, but still bright and we live in hope.

PS: I/we will always miss our wonderful friends and associates back in Ukraine. But life must move on. We still own property in Ukraine, so we will be going back on visits

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The British public don't know the half of it.

We have all seen the daily reports on TV about the immigration crisis in Europe.

We have been reminded that many Arab/Muslim countries are failing to accept any Syrian refugees. In fact ZERO have moved to the wealthy Arab states.

I doubt if the British public really know the true situation with many of the Middle East countries.

For example do they know that citizens from UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait are provided with FREE access into the UK at any time. The British government provided this unique opportunity to these countries back in 2014 and continues today.

Yet, these same countries have failed to welcome any refugees from Syria.

While I am on the subject, please spare a thought for those British citizens living and working in the Middle East (or anywhere outside the UK for that matter) who have a Non-EU spouse and family.
They cannot bring their spouse/family to the UK unless they go through the lengthy and costly process of visa applications each time they want to visit relatives in the UK or take a holiday.

So...think about it. For example a British citizen and his Non-EU wife working and living in Dubai must get in the queue at the nearest British Visa Centre and wait to see if the UK Home Office will allow them to travel to the UK, even if its just a short holiday back home to visit relatives.

At the same time in Dubai, citizens from the UAE can simply log onto a web site and quickly obtain a 'Visa Waiver Document', print it off and use it to enter the UK. They do NOT need any visa.

I'm sure the British public will have no idea this is going on.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

The British Labour Party from 12 September 2015

Now that the Labour party has elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader, some would claim that the Conservatives will be celebrating as they will remain in power for a very long time to come.

Many Labour MP’s have been quick to condemn and are forecasting a dim future for the party under Corbyn but some are expecting it to be a short run leadership.

Corbyn appears to stand against just about everything including his own party. He has always been a non-conformist. Never held a seat of responsibility and at the age of 66 it might be a bit late to develop new found leadership skills. He has always been an odd ball.

But perhaps it provides comfort for many in the Labour party with Corbyn at the helm, as it will lead to a permanent position of being in opposition; where many would claim Labour belong. They can then continue in the Corbyn tradition of just opposing everything put forward by the government.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Remember British Citizens

During the past few days we have all been amazed by the media coverage relating to Syrian Migrants/Refugees.

Most of us have sympathy with people fleeing from war zones.

It is interesting to see the different ways that EU countries are welcoming refugees (or not as the case may be) into Europe.

The British government announced they would welcome 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.

But.........I cannot help think about the thousands of BRITISH CITIZENS with a Non-Spouse/family who are not allowed to enter the UK. These are the many British Citizens who have been working and living overseas and have entered into a marriage with a foreign citizen, who is not from an EU country. Many of these British citizens have been working all around the world in jobs relating to international development, aid work, education, oil and gas industry, banking, and other industries.

Unfortunately in 2012, the British government introduced a law which restricts the entry of British citizens and their Non-EU spouses/families to the UK, unless the British citizen can show they are in employment in the UK, with an minimum income of GBP 18,600 or GBP 22,400 if they have one child and much more with other children. They must show they have earned this in the UK during the past six months.  The fact that they may have significant income from businesses in other countries is ignored. Moreover, if their spouse is a professional or business owner with significant income, this fact is also ignored and will not be considered by the British government.

Therefore......when these same British citizens, who are sitting watching British TV channels in another country, see the British government making preparations to welcome illegal migrants/refugees (The BBC tell us the language is getting confusing between the words migrants, refugees, people and asylums seekers), they are angry.

Migrants are walking into Europe and choosing where they want to stay. Many want to get to Germany and Sweden and some want to reach the UK. Well, 4,000 will reach the UK each year during the next five years, although the British government claims they will only accept refugees directly from the special camps.

After arrival in the UK these migrants will be given housing, education for their children, free medical treatment and opportunities to improve their lives. Well we all understand this and British people will always help those in need as much as they can. But............

How do you think BRITISH CITIZENS and their families as mentioned above will react to this?

I can recommend a Facebook page that tries to help and explain this situation.

How many of these British citizens are in this situation? I have seen figures around 18,000 per year.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Sale of the British Business Club in Ukraine (BBCU)

This week I sold the BBCU.

I wrote my last blog post on the BBCU blogspot. The new owner will be re-launching the BBCU sometime before the end of this year. I'm happy because the new owner is British and has lived in Ukraine for many years and has many business interests.

It brings to an end my Ukraine adventure. It was an exciting and interesting 12 years. During that time I witnessed many developments. From 2002 Ukraine was already launched along a boom period and there was a vibrant business community in Kyiv. I met some very interesting people.

I witnessed the Orange Revolution in 2004/5. I worked with some great people. I saw both the good and the bad about living and working in Ukraine. I met a very special woman called Alina Soloshenkova and we were married in 2007.

Unfortunately, I witnessed the country going from boom to bust. The state of the economy in Ukraine is now the worst is has ever been since independence and we all know its due to the actions of the Russian Federation and President Putin.

I sincerely hope that the people of Ukraine begin to see some recovery in 2016 as they continue along the path towards greater integration with Western Europe and one day become a member of the EU and NATO.

I'm sure we will be going back on visits.