Story: BFC Media Ops
Last week, Commander British Forces Cyprus, Air Vice Marshal Michael Wigston welcomed local farmers and community leaders to Episkopi Garrison for its annual supper.
The event, now in its third year, provides Bases officials and members of the local farming community the opportunity to get together to in a more informal environment.
Speaking shortly after the event, AVM Wigston explained why it is so important for him and other members of his command to meet the farming community whom BFC works so closely with during the year.
He said: “I was pleased to welcome so many of our local community leaders and farmers to Episkopi Garrison. It is important that we have the best possible relations with the local community and by getting together in a relaxed environment we were able to have open, frank and enjoyable discussions about the common issues we face.”
One of those common issues relates to BFC troops training on the farmers land, an issue which CBF was quick to thank them for.
He went on: “I am grateful for the support of our local farmers on many issues, especially the training we do on their land. The terrain and climate in Cyprus makes for tough training and prepares our soldiers extremely well for the challenges they could face in battle.
“It was great to meet our local farmers and community representatives and express my personal appreciation for their support and understanding.”
CBF was also delighted to hear that one of Cyprus’ most famous exports is also produced by the farmers: “I was very proud to hear that our neighbours produce the finest halloumi in Cyprus, I am a big fan!"
Andros Demetriou, a farmer from Pissouri, was quick to praise the efforts of CBF and his team and welcomed the opportunity to meet on a regular basis, he said: “It’s nice to get together and build on the good relations that we have.
“During the evening we are able to discuss any issues we have and find solutions where possible. We’ve enjoyed this evening and we should get together more often.”
Kantou community leader Sofoklis Georgiou was also happy to have been invited: “We want to thank the CBF for inviting us tonight. It’s always good and important to have good relations with each other.”
And like CBF himself, he also pointed to the issue of training as a matter which was worth discussing: “We help where we can, sometimes some of the residents are concerned when there is training going on but we talk to them and explain the situation and then they are ok. The training has to take place, we understand that and the troops are not doing anything wrong and it does not bother us.”