Recent developments have proven that decisions and projects about the future of Mani are made or cancelled without consulting its inhabitants. The following three incidents prove this observation:
1) At a meeting of the Economic Committee of the Region of Peloponnesus, councillors voted against the proposal for public tender of the road that would join the village of Milea in Western Mani to the Monastery of Panagia Giatrissa on the ridge of Taygetos and from there to the road network of Eastern Mani. This particular road is the second provincial road of the Messinia Prefecture and according to a royal decree was designated as a “first priority” road already in 1955! The Peloponnese Region politicians who have been elected since 2010, instead of apologising to the Maniots for the 60-year state delay in proceeding with the construction of the road, which will finally connect Western to Eastern Mani through theTaygetos mountain range, they have tried to cancel this project! Even worse, some “minority” councillors tried to change the designation of this road as a “first priority” road, and they proposed the transfer of the funds, which since 2013 had been deposited by the Ministry of Development to the Regional Peloponnese Fund, to another project! On the other hand, the “majority” councillors, instead of apologising for the four-year delay between the assignment of the state credit and the approval of the tendering documents , they presented the bringing forward of the project as a great achievement.
2) In 2005 the Ministry of Infrastructure ordered the study of the national road Sparta-Gytheion. This study has not yet been completed, although since then, the road Scoura-Pyri, which bypasses Sparta, has been completed and therefore the scope of the study has been reduced. We believe that this project should be given a “first priority” status, as it is beneficial for the whole area of Mani, and particularly the eastern part of the region. We believe that it is crucial that this study gets completed as soon as possible, so that this project can then be incorporated into in the current Community Support Framework. This has still not happened, although almost fifteen years have passed since the decision for commissioning the above study. Since then, five or six different governments have been elected, and Maniots could have voted for the ones that would have moved the above project forward. Maniots might be few, but still, when they act in solidarity, they can get results!
3) Recently the forest maps for the region of Mani were partially approved. During the first six months of 2017 we reported on many injustices caused by these maps, as compiled by the Forest Registry, and the protests of many Maniot landowners who were negatively affected. We reported on meetings of the landowners with those responsible, and we also reported that protests by local municipalities would be submitted. Then, during the last six months of 2017 there was no further action. What happened? Those of us who believe that it is ethical and legal to declare the truth about the status of private properties that had become forested because they had not been cultivated, were we wrong? Why was this proposal not considered? Were Maniots not able to defend this proposal or once again were they divided and could not come up with a clear statement?
Under the present circumstances, the trend for development, which is supported by the specific climatic, geophysical and cultural characteristics of our area, will always be halted because of the lack of state funding. A low index of development in Mani will also mean weak development in the private sector similar to the mid-term development of our country and stagnation, disappointment and frustration on the part of local business people. Low development will negatively affect entrepreneurship, labour market, real estate and our everyday life in general, and it will crush the hopes of the new generations. If all Maniots do not mobilise and do not commit themselves to unite and demand what is rightfully due to them, the stagnation of public funding in our area, which has been going on for the past twenty years, will continue. Only common action can bring a development proportionate to the potential of our region. The crucial question is: are we going to internalise this reality or are we going to continue acting according to narrow-mindedness and short-term personal interest?