Interview: Vassilis Bonios | Photo: Stavros Niflis
Ιt is too early for justification, although that’s not what
I am interested in
Mr. Panteleos, last summer you took the initiative of reconstructing the open-air theatre of Lefkes. Tell us something about its history.
It was Fragkiskos Perakis’ idea to transform the small theatre into a big one. Fragkiskos Perakis was the president of the Progressive Association of the Lefkians in Athens in 2003. Previously there was no thought of holding events like concerts and plays in the theatre. I decided to do it myself with the vision to create a venue for various events. This was done for practical reasons because events we had in the community rarely had the appropriate space; we needed a bigger theatre.
Tell us what was needed to realize this project.
At the start I asked for help from the association in Athens in which I have been an active member for many years and they agreed to support the project financially. The quarry of Riga AE volunteered to help without pay, so with the volunteer work, the help of Giannis Kontos, president of the local association “Iria Lefkon”, as well as the help of association members we proceeded with the reconstruction. We also built public toilets that were not available in the community, resolving another big problem.
Did you get help from the municipality of Paros for the realization of the project or was it an exclusively private initiative?
The municipality gave its moral support, but the initiative was exclusively private. It was a moment of compulsion on my part, wanting to create for the community a cultural centre, as well as an attraction to bring in more visitors.
What do you think is the role of private initiative today for the growth of tourism and culture?
As I said before I was the one who initiated most of the action so of course I approve private initiatives. The reconstruction was completed with volunteer work from all of us and this proves that every citizen can help to make our hometowns better and more productive in every sector. It is most important for a country to have all its powers united without individual interests in a common goal to make good things happen. And we achieved this to the maximum.
Do you think you were justified by the result? What did it offer to Lefkes and in general to Paros?
It is too early for justification, although that’s not what I am interested in. Don’t forget that the theatre just reopened on the 1st of August 2013, so every cultural event that takes place there will be a step towards civilization, art, and entertainment for all of us. Every step forward justifies all of our efforts.
Last year we watched some very interesting plays and concerts. What will the program be this year?
This year’s program will be rich in events. The two associations of the community and the whole island will be able to see worthy plays. Some of them will be published by your magazine, but it will be a full program I assure you!
Your professional background has to do with construction. What happened with construction and real estate in Paros and what did this mean for Paros’ society and tourism?
The recession in construction affected not only Paros but Greece in general. Paros wasn’t an exception. We hope that there will be a recovery in construction and development as well as in every personal and professional area so that our island can prosper.
In the elections last May you were a candidate for the municipality council of Paros. What was your experience from this effort?
It was a strong experience for me, another step towards my goal to help my island. I also found out a lot about myself. At this point I would like to wish to those elected a good and profitable term, for the development of the island. I also want to stress that voting should not be influenced by friendships and relations . We have to vote for the skills, the dynamic, and the passion a candidate offers and create better conditions for the future of our island.
What advice would you give to the new mayor?
I would have a lot of advice to give because I am also a citizen of this island. But before anything else I would tell him to give his best and not stop listening to the people who trusted him.