Anger After Council Gives Free Electricity to Roma

The small village of Zehra, which lies between Poprad and Presov in the east of the country, is drawing attention to itself as the local elected councillors of this predominantly Roma-inhabited municipality, have given the thumbs up to free electricity to the Roma settlement there called Drevenik.

According to an article from daily SME yesterday, many of the councillors voting in favour of the move also come from the settlement, but the conflict of interests has infuriated other taxpayers in Zehra who will have to foot the bill to provide free power to the settlement residents.

A Roma inhabited settlement (c) Margoz

A local civic association called Nova Zehra (literally New Zehra), which is also campaigning for the separation of the town from the settlement, did not take the news well, with association head Milos Pacovsky underlining how they were being discriminated against by a minority, which will live off the communal budget.

The idea of free electricity was put forward by energy distributor Vychodoslovenska Distribucna, but it was only supposed to relate to a complex of 24 new council flats that had been built and handed over to the Roma inhabitants of the settlement. The councillors eventually expanded on this idea and so now the whole settlement of over 110 dwellings will enjoy free electricity.

Roma residents also have huge rent arrears of over EUR 140,000, which are proving almost impossible to collect. “How long will society put up with these kinds of practices?” Pacovsky appealed.


  1. More Roma families evicted in Presov and upto 800 facing eviction in Kosice – as reprted on JOJ last night.
    Still no one asking the searching questions.
    How long are the tax payers going to continue to fund this circus?

  2. Rather than waste the valuable time of the ECHR, the non Roma population should go to the Sk Onbudsman, stop voting people into power who’s only agenda is to line their own pockets and demand that local officials do the job their paid to do.
    I don’t think being expected to pay rent or utility bills is a human rights issue, however, here in Slovakia it would appear that, rather than manage public property in a correct and professional manner, something that is beyond the skill set of those employed or elected, those charges with the stewardship of OUR property allow situations to get “out of hand” and then employ methods to rectify their failings which result in human rights abuse.
    The Roma do what they do because non-Roma non-jobs allow them to. The article cites 110 dwellings and rent arears of 140K – how many months of non payment does that equate to? How many months of inaction by those paid to manage?
    A far too common excuse wielded by Sk officials is fear of being accused of racial discrimination if they take action against the Roma – RUBBISH – a convenient excuse for doing nothing yet still drawing a pay packet. Maybe if councils stopped employing their maiden aunts and grannies and appointed some staff with a backbone the situation might improve – fat chance!

  3. When the authorities try to impose the law, as they do so vehemently against the general population, then the Roma population cry foul claiming discrimination and racism in the knowledge that the do good er NGO’s, missionaries and EU gods will take their sides. The non Roma population of this village should take their case to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg s since they are being actively discriminated against.

  4. Dr. P. “When are these Roma going to do something back for society in stead of take take take?” a good question with a simple answer – when local, regional and national officials stop taking the easy way out and make them do something.
    As for VSE and your wait for a power connection – welcome to Slowvakia!

  5. First of all, the geographical inaccuracy: between Poprad and Presov. Could it be a little bit more specific, this is like saying between Bratislava and Nitra, it’s not like there is nothing but this village between these two cities.

    Second, how the hell can VSE propose this but let us wait for almost 2 years before they’re coming to connect our electricity? Best is to not pay anyone at all and everything will be done for you. When are these Roma going to do something back for society in stead of take take take?

  6. Unbelievable! but it explains much. This story no doubt made the news because it involves Roma but it also raises other issues – if “local” representatives have the power to vote on such issues what other, unreported, decisions have been made on other councils?
    Why are there not clear rules on what councillors can or can not vote on? Does the Sk have a Public Auditor to oversee how “officials” spend public money? As for the arrears of rent – once again, why have the arrears been allowed to accumulate? Miss one week – fine, two weeks – a visit, week three- formal notice, week four – eviction. Another example of people not doing the job they are paid to do. The “normal” residents have every right to be angry and the “officials” should be removed from office for abusing their “powers” for self interest but it would appear that the same could be said about the majority of local government.
    On a related note, last night JOJ reported on the eviction of Roma from public housing in Presov. Usual story, property trashed and arrears of rent. It was quite clear from the footage shown that the housing officials – all middle-aged women carrying reams of files and papers – who, judging by their shocked expressions, had never set foot on the estate since it was built. Where were they on the first day property was damaged? or rent wasn’t paid? The press in this country should grow some gonads and start asking questions like – Why has this been allowed?, Where were the staff responsible? Why was no action taken earlier? Instead we just get repeated images of crap being loaded into lorries with a juvenille voice-over and our local mayor, who will attend the opening of a packet of crisps if he thinks he’ll be photographed, allowed to make a rather apathetic statement, but not asked to explain why the situation was allowed to develop. It is quite clear from this, and other examples recently reported, that there are large numbers of Local Government staff who enjoy all the benefits of their employment but who do jack in return. Its time everyone in this country was made responsible for their actions or, more commonly, lack of actions. By all means evict people who don’t respect public property BUT also sack the people who were employed to manage the property and allowed these situations to occur. It is quite obvious that, given the choice of inaction and allowing these residents to do as they like to public property or being pro-active, getting on the ground and actually doing some work, LG staff opt for the easy option with little or no penalty and the tax payer picks up the bill for the damage, legal costs and wages for wasters and non-jobs.

  7. This is yet another reason so many Slovaks are angry with the Roma Community. This is just adding fule to the fire when it comes to discrimination!

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