Heroine Marian Stokes – RIP
By Bertil Wedin…….
The founding leader of the North Cyprus HomeBuyers’ Pressure Group (HBPG), Marian Stokes, of Lapta, has left this earthly life.
In September 2005, when thousands of foreigners, mainly Britons, had been tricked and cheated by dishonest construction firms, estate agents and lawyers in the TRNC, Marian Stokes and Deborah Stewart started the HBPG that soon became a vibrant centre for legal advice and campaigns against crime within the property business sector.
Marian, sharply intelligent but also mild mannered, soon managed to make the HBPG prestigious and respected. At one of the organisation’s first meetings none less than the Founding President Rauf Denktas was present. He praised the work that Ms Stokes had started.
Many business organisations in and outside the TRNC had for some time wrongly expected that both Turkish and Greek Cypriots would vote yes to the so-called Annan Plan and that the TRNC, as result, would become EU territory with considerably higher property prices.
This false expectation created an unhealthy property boom. Vast areas of beautiful farmland and nature were bulldozed and replaced by stretches with rapidly built villas and blocks of flats. As these were advertised internationally, many thousands of Britons and Europeans came to northern Cyprus to buy favourably priced homes for holidays or retirement.
But many of these homes were badly constructed, or built on land that was mortgaged, or had been sold by people who were not the legal owners. Some moved into their homes and soon learnt that a bank had auctioned away the properties. Some lost everything they had and became homeless. The TRNC, which had been created to lift the Turkish Cypriots from their tragedy, now had made a tragedy for others.
An easy solution to this mess could have been to view the fraudsters as thieves. Theft is a straightforward police matter. People who had paid for something they never received should have their money back.
However, the CTP government took the view that the robbed home-buyers had committed a crime when they bought property. There was a law saying that if you wish to buy a property, you must first get the government’s permission to buy. As this could take many years, it was a law that could not be observed.
To say that Marian Stokes worked hard to help the badly affected homebuyers would be an understatement. She gave her life to help the victims of perhaps the darkest page of the TRNC’s history. She became deeply involved in numerous individual cases, but she also offered the relevant TRNC authorities to cooperate with the HBPG so that the Republic’s international image could benefit from solutions that would give the homebuyers justice.
She loved the TRNC and served the Republic with her fight against crime. She fought hard to help and comfort the victims of crime. Marian Stokes will always be remembered here as the great heroine with a sharp mind, a big heart and great Irish charm.
Marian Stokes, founder member of the Homebuyers Pressure Group, died peacefully at home on December 19th 2015.
The funeral will take place at Lapta Cemetery on December 24th at 11 o’clock.
No flowers but donations to Tulips cancer charity would be gratefully appreciated.