Thursday, July 26, 2012
I pointed out the gossip that was being spread about Dayasiri’s impending switch over to the Government Benches and the plea for him to rethink his stand. Now we have another person, this time Mr Karu Jayasuriya, whose task lately seems to be to pontificate on every matter of the day, this time to intercede and tell the press that he is not switching.
For him to make this statement with confidence means he knows something we don’t , or does he really? This ‘know it all’ attitude has now replaced ‘the will he wont he?’ controversy. It then begs the question as to what motivated both him and Dayasiri to get entangled in a series of speculations?
When one feels insecure in one’s position one resorts to this sort of unreal or shall I say irrational behavior. It is part of trying to find one’s place. Now that Karu has had a dose of it in the recent past, and especially when his future was sacrificed, willfully by the young pretender, when the latter had bestowed various other titles within his purview to him, he is engaging in controversy. It then begs the question if this is what you do to your friends, I dread to think what he would do to those who is not too fond of!
This political chicanery is fun for those engaged in it but totally disenchanting and humiliating to the support base, who are being led a dance. It is them who should come out and seek an explanation as to why these so called people of standing in a political party engage in petty feuds and rumor mongering to get attention, that is if there is really no intention of being a jumper!
Sri Lankan politics is becoming a farce, where all the real issues of the day are suppressed and the intrigue of politicians becomes the headline news. It is grossly unfair on the electorate to engage in this behavior, as the main issues of the day must get an airing, debated and resolved one way or the other. That just does not happen. How can the people force their leaders to stop this intrigue, and concentrate on facts and real issues that are common to most of the people. It is the responsibility of elected officials to take cognizance of these issues and seriously attempt to solve them. It does not happen, because real solutions are often painful, and people just do not know how to take a tightening in the interests of the overall benefit for the country. Our own selfish desires emerge in this situation and take over the social and economic issues faced by the citizenry. Let us force our leaders to order!!!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Go to any area in the three Provinces that hold the Polls on 8th September and you will see that ‘Preference Wars’ have begun. It is currently the preserve of the Government candidates, because they are flushed with ill gotten gains and so have the funds to spend. However within their ranks a preference war is plain to see. One candidate’s posters are pasted in a line one day, and another in the same list is pasted overnight over the same ones, not below or above, the next day! My name only.
One asks why so many posters? The thinking is name recognition. The preference numbers will only be released by the Elections Secretariat today, but the first batch of posters has gone up before that. The idea is that from the beginning the voters should know the name and then the number to vote for. It is this number that goes into the ballot after crossing the party symbol of the ballot paper.
When one looks at the campaign proper, it is not about which party to vote for, as there is very little on that. It is which person to vote for!! So, youthful faces of aging politicos and serious faces of young upstarts are all rolled into the business. There are many rules with regard to what is permitted, however all the rules are flouted and due to pressure from the Govt. it is usually only when the opposition flouts any rules that the Police take action.
There is even a special squad of the police force created to remove posters! In a country where one set of people spend millions putting up posters and then you have another set of people removing them due to the illegal nature of some of them it becomes a huge waste of money. This kind of waste does not take place in Western Nations as both sides value the cost of their election publicity and do not want to get into a situation of self destruction, by tearing up a rival’s posters. Due to the illegal amassing of funds from nefarious activities, many of the candidates who spend millions on their campaigns seem to believe it is par of the course of the rough and tumble of preference vote politics and allocate funds accordingly.
We will shortly see numbers appearing with faces on the internet advertising, and then in newspapers even though it is only a local election! The issues! What issues. In SL Provincial Councils issues are about preferences. What the candidate will promise to do for his area once elected DOES NOT even get an airing. Let the games begin! Not the Olympics!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
To counter the rumors I reported in yesterday’s blog entry, the news has now come in the press, and whilst not mentioning names, it was obvious who they were talking about. It is interesting that DJ is denying that he met the President when he had in fact met him. Lying comes quite naturally to Politicians and he is no exception.
So all we do is wait and see if he is alone or he takes a bunch of PS members from Kurunegala with him. Either of which is a blow in the short term for the UNP and a good sign in the long term to separate the wood from the trees. The dead wood has to be expunged before a dedicated bunch is given a place in the sun. It is important to note that this gives all talented young ones in the UNP a chance to shine and become known, like no one in the PA has a chance due to the family and feudal rule. It is important then that people realize and know it is a better platform to begin with, if they have the patience to stay the course.
The spanner in the works here is if the Govt. holds on to power by hook or by crook and with a combination of buying people in distress it is going to make it more difficult for the UNP to make a stand just yet and will have to wait a while before they can get an upper hand, whilst waiting for people to realize that the option is only them who can change the current state of play.
It is not going to be easy to get this message to the grass roots that the Govt. game plan is to buy all potential threats, to their side, plain and simple. Doing this they believe they can stay in power forever. Until the voting public cotton on to this trick, there is not going to be much relief to counter!
It is important that this message is clearly delivered by the UNP to their grassroots by their new media team in every electorate set up to put their point of view that is not getting an airing in the press. This subtle message that all this is a calculated game that is being played with the people of the country as the pawns who are taken for fools, must be bared open to all.
I believe that in time the message will get through, but it will take a lot more issues of bad governance and unbearable policies favoring the clan and their supporters that will make people realize they have been had. We are suckers to punishment, as we cannot see a good thing when it faces us, and look for means to extend our misery. We believe misery is a significant part of life due to the belief system of most people in the country.
Monday, July 23, 2012
The supposed hush secret that no one is supposed to know but everyone is talking about is that Dayasiri Jayasekera the UNP Member of Parliament is about to jump over to the Government ranks for a shit load of money!
If that was not enough, it is a coup the Govt. wants to strengthen their vote for the upcoming elections, by using this crossing. Another reason the opposition will be unable to grab power this year. This especially after the Chairman of the Embilipitiya Pradeshiya Sabha quit and joined UNP due to the disgust over the corruption taking place and which he was pressured to partake in. So incensed was the MR at this slap against state corruption, that he wants to take revenge by catching an even bigger fish into his side.
So what is Dayasiri? He is merely a pawn in the game of perpetual domination. Apparently he has financial problems, and they will all be solved when he crosses! He will lose all credibility as a human being, as he has let down all those people who trusted him by voting for him in the UNP.
If he wants to cross, then he must resign as an MP and seek election to Parliament at the next general election as a UPFA candidate and see where that gets him. For him to cross over and sling mud at the UNP for money is so unconscionable, especially at this stage when the Govt’s every action is called into question, but they survive due to the disorganized opposition, and not due to any popularity for any of their actions.
He who learned under his mentor, the turncoat GL Peiris, preceded him in this sad saga, and to emulate such behavior speaks volumes about the integrity of this excuse for a human being. There is nothing worse in politics than when you let down people who trusted and voted for you for values and principles which you then dump and shove back at their face. This very cussed act only deserves contempt, and if he actually does not heed sane advice and let greed guide his move then he is merely an opportunist politician and not even an acceptable, let alone respectable human being.
If that is his personality, the UNP is cleaner for it. It will take them longer, being the unrivalled largest party every year since inception to gather their forces and show that they are the cleanest and least corrupt of alternatives, and it is merely their poor marketing that keeps them from moving into the positions of power, and now have to wait for MR to self destruct.
It is not the particular incident itself that has got me riled up, it’s the level to which impunity and not taking responsibility for one’s actions, that has got my goat! First Rishad says he was never at the scene. Sure you do not have to be face to face to threaten. We know what Gotabaya R is capable of doing on the phone! Words you will not normally utter to your worst enemy.
Further the Govt. claims to know nothing about the incident as they have not been informed. Oh really so if the police have been informed, we must inform the Commander in Chief that his minions are behaving badly do we?
This goes to show the sense of impunity with which people in power today act. It is worthy to note that after a long delay the Ceylinco Celestial Hyatt Regency has started construction again. The Govt. put a compulsory purchase on the property and I understand that only Rs 4.2B was paid for it by the consortium led by Sri Lanka Insurance, while refusing a higher offer of US$60M or Rs7.2B. I understand that Rs 9.8B was the asking. Thereby the Govt. takeover has cheated the depositors of the Ceylinco Subsidiary in whose books it was and the banks in whose books the Mortgage was, out of a few billion rupees. That is daylight robbery and unethical. Who cares?
The depositors will find a hard trawl through the courts to obtain redress, which a Govt. appointed and govt. biased court will throw out as the Independence of the Judiciary mentioned in one of the articles today is in doubt. How much abuse of power can we take?
Everyday there are incidents reported of the abuse of power. Just think of the daily incidents that do not get reported. It all amounts to a mammoth problem the scale of which can only be imagined, and that too by just a few people. Most people cannot comprehend the veracity and the extent of the problem and so raise their hands in horror but are unable to react with disgust in a show of moral support for what is right and just.
It is time, before we have more continuing acts of aggression by the administration, knowing that no one is strong enough to go against them, to spontaneously protest. Only a mass protest that is not instigated by anyone, just the people rise up to say enough is enough. Let us show there is support out there to clean up the act, chase away the wrong doers, and take back the lost space and re-impose the rule of law with justice and fair play.
What is worse is that the President at an event says he is shocked that there are suspicions of the Independence of the Judiciary. Of course, he is the cause of the suspicions, when he appoints a clearly one sided Chief Justice. At that time her husband was a Chairman of a Bank and appointed by the State. He did not even resign when the wife became Chief Justice.
It is time we straighten things up in Sri Lanka before it gets too late. What kind of example are we showing our future? there will come a time when we will not have the power to protest at injustice as the system will overpower us, so it is time to put a halt to this unbridled feeling of omnipotence on the part of the Commander in Chief and call a spade a spade to the face and not try to be waffling or woolley
Sunday, July 22, 2012
It is time that pundits in Sri Lanka and overseas take cognizance of why it is Sri Lanka has this image of “ethnic strife”. If one takes the Mannar case already referred to in two earlier blog posts. as an example. Sinhala people have nothing to do with it, but it is a conflict between Muslims caused solely by the actions of a powerful Govt. Minister of the area, and the Tamil people, who are also trying to get their livelihood and lives back to normal after the ethnic conflict. Here in the North West a pact will be unthinkable, and to my knowledge the SLMC presence is also negligible due to the complete sweep by Rishad Bathiudeen as a monopoly player in the area.
This is a good opportunity to highlight that ethnic strife escalated due to political interference and not due to racial tension. After all the people in that area generally speak Tamil, so there itself there is a leveler, and if the jobs and land demarcation is fairly applied and divided there would be NO cause for this type of conflict.
I therefore believe the Eastern Provincial votes that will be divided along ethnic lines through ethnic parties is an added and unneeded distraction. There is an opinion that says that if the bulk of the Muslim vote goes to the SLMC, then they will be the king maker insisting on the Chief Minister post to go to an SLMC member. Whilst I am in principle opposed to the ethnic flavor of parties and believe the two main parties should fight it out fair and square at the battle, I believe only an act of parliament can prevent race based politics from raising its ugly head.
Only when there are parties such as the TNA determined to tow a hard line, do these problems arise. The ball is in their court now to come to the discussion table, rather than be prim donnas making demands that play to the gallery. We have had enough of passage of time. It is time to finish that stage and find a reason for the Diaspora to disappear from the radar.
There is so much talk about training our foreign diplomats in confronting the Diaspora. All it takes is some courageous leadership decisions that will change the concepts built by an intransigent government to blow away their views of the country being somehow on a Sinhala racial stranglehold. It is important that we realize that if we are able to do so, the Diaspora voices will disappear into the woodwork before we can turn around.
It must be remembered that by this example it is the Govt. of Sri Lanka and not the people that need to learn and change, or be thrown out of office. The Country as a whole gets the rap, for the ignorance of the people who continue to vote in divisive Governments. Who can say that Mahinda Rajapakse united Sri Lanka? No he gave all of Sri Lanka to his party to his army and to himself. The people are completely divided everywhere.
We who are opposed to his regime don’t feel safe anywhere. Our ethnicity has nothing to do with it. We can prove our lines to the ancient kings of Sri Lanka but what good can that now. People must understand that problems have been created by those in power. When people in power create division in the country for their own survival, there is something seriously wrong with the electorate that put them there. I am willing to accept that the current lack of proper education of people who are taught to believe everything they read see and hear, instead of question the same, is the cause of the problem.
Our Govt. is bent on keeping the people in an ignorant state, so they can rule this way. The moment one gets educated the Govt. does its best to send them out of the country. That is why not much hue and cry is made of those who emigrate. That is because they will never vote for this type of administration. The most productive workforce leaves because they cannot do anything here, and are frustrated that the thinking cannot be changed for the better. None of the workers who live overseas has a vote, so they cannot express their democratic right, unlike overseas Americans!
It is time we have a far thinking administration which does not give jobs just for their yes men. Remember Ranil Wickremasinghe in his last government that cut the deficit and inflation, by cutting Govt. jobs and not giving manna to his supporters lost the election as his supporters deserted him for not giving them the unproductive jobs that got us into this mess. Why have we fooled people to believe the Govt. should give jobs only to their supporters?
It is a foolish thing to expect one sided support. It only breeds injustice and unfair policies, detrimental to unity. We must build a merit administration with equal chances to all. We can start with strengthening our education system that will improve the country’s productivity and bring knowledgeable people into power and positions of authority, not thugs and hooligans and yes men. There is an alternative proposal that is eminently more feasible for high sustainable growth, matched with a united nation. It is time to give them a chance. DO SO at your earliest please if you care.
This is a good example for people looking at Sri Lanka objectively to understand why we are in a perpetual war of attrition, caused by the over politisation of the Country. Following on from my previous entry on the lack of law and order in SL in the first instance, which lead to the event in Mannar of the Minister whose fiefdom is the Mannar district, threatened a magistrate, and is still roaming free, without at least being charged, let alone set for trial.
During the years of strife, 10,000 Muslims were summarily removed from their areas of habitation by the LTTE in the Northern Province and packed off. Most of them lived in refugee camps near Puttalam. It was ethnic cleansing by the Tigers, there is no other word one can use!
Now the LTTE has been soundly beaten, a politician from the local area, using the Muslims who have now multiplied in the past 30 years to about 40,000 are being re settled all the way from the borders of the Wilpattu National Park, clearing even the buffer zone, and being given land to cultivate. This migration and land settlement which can clearly be seen by anyone driving up the coastal road from Eluankulam, kala oya crossing towards Mannar, is upsetting the delicate balance, which was earlier in favor of the Tamil people. Rishad Bathiudeen, who was earlier a Minister for resettlement had an enormous budget which was used to resettle Muslims who were never in the Menik Farm camp, to lands even before the Menik Farm refugees could be moved back to their home villages.
Muslims who have thus benefitted from this largesse are now the power base that he has, which can prevent any other politician from gaining a foothold in the area. He is now misusing this power, to discriminate against Tamils in the whole of the Mannar District including the Peninsular. There is no Politician in Govt. which represents the Tamils in the area. The SL system is such that only Govt. ministers are allocated funds to direct to their areas, so they allocate it in this case to Muslims.
First you could say the MR was either a fool or opportunist to give the Resettlement Ministry job to a clearly biased person, but there is a longer term game ahead as he needs the Muslim vote more than the Tamil one which he also believes will be harder to get especially in Mannar.
The job in resettlement should have been given to someone who could be impartial in allocating funds to the needy and not just to one's own support base. Further when all jobs for development work, be it in building roads or buildings, goes primarily to one community, it is clearly going to incense those who are treated in a discriminatory way. Can you blame the charges made here as THEY ARE discriminatory and therefore requires interference to put right.
Bishop Rayappu Joseph a Catholic, whilst having a reputation as being a fair person, nonetheless due to his Tamil heritage, and living under the LTTE regime, is seen as being partial to the Tamil cause. He had come to some arrangement in the past with the LTTE, which was also fighting Tamil cast based elitism. He is now seen by the Tamils as their only line of defense.
The war has begun. Rayappu is fighting on behalf of his people many of whom are Christian Tamils, who have endured years of harrowing life under the LTTE, and who now have a new war over the bully boy tactics of Rishad. The latter being a consummate politician is building a power base of his own, by helping the Muslims who are his constituency, in the best way he can. The grant of land, and other favors, is likely to keep the voters toeing the line with Rishad, no matter who is in power. I also hear he has ordered some large extent of forest land to be cleared to give the Muslim landless, whilst the Tamil landless look idly by.
Rishad is key in the Mahinda Rajapakse strategy of ensuring all Muslims in Mannar are all permanently in Rishad’s palm, not allowing the votes into any of the other parties. The grant of land, even if it may have been taken from Tamils is part of this strategy. In fact Rishad is taking all the flack, but it is MR at the back of it who is conducting the orchestra.
No matter how much Rayappu cries, his people in Mannar are going to receive little if anything. All the development work assigned by the UN and other donors to that area will all go to these people, even though it was to technically go to those who were affected by the war.
The Bishop, being an outspoken critic of MR and the policies currently being imposed, is not going to find any friends at Temple Trees. This means that there is further evidence of Rishad getting everything he wants. Mahinda does not want to upset him as he feels Rishad is the key to getting more of the Muslim vote nationwide, if Rishad can be shown by Muslims to have helped them. In Muslim politics, anyone who can show he has directly helped the community, is held in high regard in the community, and therefore has a lot of goodwill. This appears to be the game plan and key to the UPFA Muslim vote. People like Fowzie have lost their traditional support and are merely warming their chairs until they keep over as their sell by date has long expired and MR knows how he milked the system in the past for his own ends.
This leads to the conclusion, that all the Tamil’s have is resorting to the legal system, and Courts to address their grievances. Due to the question with regards to the Independence of the Judiciary, they are likely to get very little redress. The fear of being overwhelmed with Muslims in Mannar is a very real one, the Tamil population is declining there and the Muslim population is increasing in leaps and bounds as their natural increase is also higher. The powder keg of racial politics can erupt any moment, and in it all is MR who is knowingly allowing it to happen or even perhaps conducting it!!
The alleged incident where a Cabinet Minister is said to have threatened a judge in a small court in a faraway place, and which has now gone viral is actually as a result of a much bigger issue that MUST be resolved first.
It is called the ‘independence of the judiciary’. As long as there is NO respect for our judiciary AS WELL as NO respect for our Police because we DO NOT have faith that they will be impartial, and every one equal under the law, we EFFECTIVELY live in a state where LAW and ORDER is a joke. There is NO law and order until people in power stop abusing their positions in interfering with due process.
The extent to which due process is being flouted by the thugs and politicians of the Governing coalition, does not merit the Mannar incident getting so much publicity and angst from the BASL ( Bar Association of Sri Lanka) when they should first concentrate on the main areas of interference, namely of the President in appointing Shirani Bandaranayake as the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. I said it then when she was appointed and I say it now, these are purely yes (wo)men of the government who do their bidding.
Shame on the BASL for not pursuing this first! If they had we may not have the Mannar incident now. No one would dare interfere like was alleged if we knew the judiciary was truly independent. Interference of the judiciary is a daily practice and this made news because the magistrate lodged a complaint regarding the threats made to him. Most magistrates do not lodge complaints as they know if they do not do the bidding they will lose their positions and be transferred somewhere else, like to our equivalent of Siberia, wherever that may be in our sunny Isle.
Let this be another forerunner to further dissatisfaction in future with the way things are done here. We do not have an independent police commission. We have biased Police Commission appointed by the President.
Unfortunately civil society is weak in Sri Lanka. We are too dependent on INGO’s who have lost credibility. We have not replaced them with effective concerned citizens who are willing to stretch their necks out when they see injustice. The wealthy and educated in Colombo, do not have ANY sense of public consciousness, when it does not affect them directly. This selfish behavior will be their eventual downfall. How long can we wait?
When the dictatorship decides they want your homes and your possessions there will be no one to fight for you as the justice system IS NOT INDEPENDENT
Saturday, July 21, 2012
What could be more clear and definite as a statement by the General Secretary of the SLFP, namely Health Minister, Maithripala Sirisena. He stated that they WILL NOT nominate immediate relatives of existing Ministers of either the Central Govt. or of the Provincial Governments for the forthcoming elections. I was surprised that people believed the statements, especially as they were in all the national newspapers, mainly the Sinhala ones or should I say despite!!
Now the nominations are in and we know the depth and spread of family bandiism in politics. We are heading for a period of going back to the past where feudal lords ruled their own areas, and for being loyal to the king received certain benefits, like the ability to tax their charges or run taverns or have a monopoly of certain trades. Is there a difference to that now? NO. Again I think it is the desire of the administration to obtain the same sort of deference from the people, by promoting certain families to positions of power and to use them, as they will also have access using their political patronage to making money out of their appointments.
There is a quid pro quo and that will continue as long as the loyalty and fealty is not compromised. This is a method of ensuring the longevity of the administration using the power of the local lords, a classic return to ancient times.
What is the spoke in the wheel? It is Education. Until our people are truly educated the government can keep this trance and this feudal system going. The moment our population is truly educated, then the people will see the truth. The JVP used some of these tactics but as their whole plank was on sharing equally, with little ability to compete and rise by effort and greed, it was a political philosophy that was not practical in the Sri Lankan context.
In Sri Lanka we all want to be millionaires. We want to do as little as possible to get there. We will chose devious and illegal means to do so. We will try to belittle our neighbor, and rat on them as well and we will sell our mothers for a few rupees. (I am making a gross generalization as there are always exceptions to the rule)
Getting back to the main theme in order to reduce the incidence of family bandiism in Sri Lanka, the voter of Sri Lanka must decide who they would rather have in power over them. The bandit king or the benevolent king – take your pick!
Friday, July 20, 2012
We will see later today, another attempt by the President to do what he is best at micro manage every aspect of life in Sri Lanka. In simple words, interference in something he knows nothing about.
He has called a meeting of Stock Brokers and High Networth Investors today, to see what he can do to bring life back to a dead market. Who killed the market? The very selfish people who will be present round the table. They have been the ones affected recently due to their selfishness, and so it is only in their interests to again run circles round the national busybody to get what they want. Not what the country wants nor what is best for the Country. These are the financial backers of the administration, as they have profited greatly so far from the administration. It is another case of I scratch your back you scratch mine.
The fact is that the majority of the small investors who were lured into the Stock Market by stories of riches, but who really did not know about valuations, were hoodwinked by greedy brokers who only make money when they either buy or sell our shares, into investing their hard earned savings. They have all lost all their money and are in deep shit. Nothing is going to revive them. So the President, in not meeting any of them is clearly sending a message to the Nation, I am going to screw you further by helping my rich friends to do it for me! Well my friends these investors have no money to put in the market.
So we come to the master manipulation of history. Shall we use the EPF money to give the market a push? After all the SL Market is small and illiquid. All it takes is a few bucks to liven it, raise it and go in for another pump and dump exercise this time at the expense again of the EPF only as there will be no more life in the rest of the country to join in the craze, as people are struggling to make ends meet, let alone invest in the market.
I do not know what game is planned by the likes of the master manipulators. I just wish the people are now wise to the antics of the cabal that rules this place. NOTHING in their past has indicated any confidence in their actions for the future. Therefore it is hard to accept that this time it will be different.
Leopards do not change their spots, they just become hungrier and angrier and fiercer and nastier and it is time we threw them all out!!!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The Island newspaper headline of July 16th about the Norwegians trying to forge alliances between the TNA and SLMC was a little bit of mischievous reporting on the part of newspaper to stir a hornet’s nest. After all the paper takes a dim view of NGO’s and foreign interference and this is exposed as just another aspect of the interference of a foreign power in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
Norwegians for their part immediately refuted the statement, which the Govt. of Sri Lanka also disputes, despite the absence of the Norwegian Ambassador. The real story is that some minor diplomats of the Norwegian Embassy who are also on friendly terms with TNA and SLMC politicians, including politicians of all parties including government, had suggested in passing that it may be a better strategy to join together if they have any hope of being a counter to the weight and might of the government which will no doubt be able somehow to win if the SLMC joins with them.
It now looks like the SLMC is bent on being the king maker, by fielding candidates on their own for the main districts where they have a formidable force. This will no doubt alter the balance of power to them, and due to the recent incidents they may be able to gain or keep their support together without falling to other parties. However if they join forces with the Govt. parties to form a coalition after the election, it is with a chief ministerial candidate they will insist on.
Getting back to the main topic of the ‘Norwegian Interference’, it must be stated in no uncertain terms that Norway is helping the Government of Sri Lanka in numerous ways even today with funding for various projects. So it is very mischievous for them to use the Island Newspaper to substantiate allegations of Norway being directly involved in trying to change the political landscape in Sri Lanka, a serious allegation.
If there was any truth in it, Wimal Weerawansa would be the first person to pounce on a strip of evidence to sound his anti imperialist, anti NGO horn.
If that was not proof enough of the Island trying to be sensational based on flimsy evidence what is? I would respectfully request that a newspaper such as the Island which has high editorial standards stop mudslinging and try to approach the issues of the day in a rational and responsible manner.
The reason is Education! While we think we are a highly educated nation, we are really a nation of incredible fools. I took the heading of my last blog entry, namely “We are contemplating a program to educate parents and society with regard to rape and protection of children, RATHER than imposing punishment by law.” From yesterday’s Island paper and I gave the corresponding link to the article on the net.
There were some people who read the article and asked me what was wrong with that? When an MP elected with a huge number of preferences to our Parliament makes a statement such as that and readers DO NOT find anything wrong with that, IS IT ANY WONDER WE HAVE HE LEADERS WE DO? We obviously do not deserve any better!!!!
Simply put, when a person says that instead of (not in addition to) putting child rapists in jail, we must educate parents to protect their children from predators, and we find nothing wrong with it! Give me a break!
There is a saying “the Country deserves the leaders they have elected”. I suppose I will have to agree with that statement when we are unable to rationalize a simple statement made by a representative of the people. That is why we are struggling with such leaders, and why they get away with MURDER. No one seems to think there is anything wrong with it. We have just resolved to accept it and our leaders know it and carry on regardless.
Just look at the story of Julampitiya Amare, who was after a lot of public outcry taken in to remand on numerous warrants only after agitation. Until then the public were aware of his background, and also aware that he was operating freely as a local thug, under the protection of the police and the rulers. In fact a buddy of the President. Now he along with the Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabhas who either accused of murder, or child rape are all NOT LANGUISHING but enjoying super luxury treatment in jails.
Still no hue and cry about it! Where are our investigative journalists? It is obvious that they are in fear of their lives. So they do not make any statements in the newspapers regarding inconsistent statements like the one above, nor do they raise the public’s notice to the unwarranted, treatment of the big name suspects on high profile cases who are in remand in airconditioned jail cells with jailors acting as their servants. REPORT THAT.
There is a long way for us to go to understand that there is more to education. We have a state that prefers to keep our citizens in this state of pretended education, where people are not give the powers to think for themselves. So they accept what is told, without even being able to analyze simple inconsistencies in statements. It is therefore impossible under the present political conditions to expect our country to throw out the deception and put people of integrity and merit, as that does not mean anything to the mass of the people!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
“We are contemplating a program to educate parents and society with regard to rape and protection of children, RATHER than imposing punishment by law.”
So said Namal Rajapkse, Attorney at Law, and Member of Parliament for the Hambantota District! As reported in today’s English Language Island
This was told to the Mahanayake Theras in Kandy yesterday, when a group of young Parliamentarians met with the Chief Prelates of the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters. They had announced to the press the building of a grand SLFP HQ on 7 floors with an auditorium for 2,500 people. (Remember the enormous Nelum Pokuna in Colombo only has seats for 1600 people)
Who am I to take the first shot at? Namal! Does he even deserve a mention? The problem is he is the first Son, and therefore wields power, to an extent not seen by any in the country’s history. People of Sri Lanka, you have a supposed Attorney at Law which 95% of the legal profession laugh about the way he was given it, considering he cannot pass even O level maths in a competitive exam! Can he walk around with any dignity left in him? No.
To make such an asinine, crass statement and be able to get away with it without one comment in any media about the absurdity of the statement, one can only raise our hands in horror as to what we have done to deserve such abominable people in power, to rule, yes rule over us with a fearful media.
I just hope our electorate will in time realize that it is time that we throw nepotism out of the window as our style of nepotism is not replace people with a modicum of knowledge with people who are better, but the reverse, with people who will not qualify for garbage disposal workers!
It is time that our country seriously looks inwards and decides which direction we wish to go in. If we continue in this destructive pattern, where the majority of young parliamentarians are close relatives of those who have gone before them, we will not have a democratic government, but one merely filled by a lowering of quality and of standards of people with no other reason for their position, but of being a scion of a person in government. It is time that people of reason take over the commentary without being afraid of a backlash by ruthless opportunists to take the country in the right path back to accountability and meritocracy.
The impunity with which the law is broken is such, people now don’t even seem to care. Once Provincial Councils are dissolved, all assets in the hands of the Councilors and Chief Minister, that DO NOT belong to them, including the fleets of state vehicles, MUST be handed over to the Council. However NO bureaucrat wishes to enforce these regulations, as he will be out of office, once the councilors return elected. It is this behavior that prevents State officials, not the elected representatives, from doing their job.
The benefit from this lack of exercise of the law, and lack of notifying the police that the law has been broken, will be with the ruling party, as the power of office is one the opposition will find difficult to match. Hence the need for transparency and governance! The opposition campaign has to be very clever, smart and with a maximum bang for their buck to meet this.
I am unable to make a change in practice, and can only appeal to the reader to make the voter aware. There is no media that simple folk like me can appeal to which will go to the grass roots to explain what the real facts and are. The voter must realize that they are only seeing one side of the debate with the party with clear advantage to make a noise, have the funds for stage and singalongs. (the famous sangeethas that Sri Lankan election campaigns have now become famous for) and generally hoodwink the electorate.
If there is no fraud at the counting point of the votes, there still is every breach of election law up until that point. The power will saturate the airwaves and make promises. Contracts will be made with people to offer them what they want, but only after the elections, after they have won. The opposition cannot engage in this rhetoric, as they are devoid of the funds even to engage in the basic house to house campaigning. They must resort to volunteers to approach as many people as possible to patiently make the case that other costly publicity could do but is not available.
I wish there was a fairer way to approach the elections. In the long term an improvement to education which can train people to be rational and consider the pros and cons fairly, will only enable the voter to judge elections for their true purpose. The Govt. has clearly stated that this election is merely to assess the mood of the electorate. So it is not about improving the governance and productivity of the Provincial Councils!! To waste billions for this endorsement whilst there are crying needs is selfish at best and must be seen for its true intent. I hope the voter can judge.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the umbrella organization of the Chambers of Commerce in the Country, represents the interests of thousands of businesses in the Sri Lanka Private Sector, and is a body that technically has the clout to make changes in public policy and the way business is conducted. Its remit should include promoting business ethics as well as facilitating business to business contacts between its members and with other chambers across the world as well as assisting its members in a whole host of business related transactions to enhance the ease of doing business in Sri Lanka, especially of its members. Educating its members into improving their knowledge and exposing them to a good network also goes without saying.
The just concluded Sri Lanka Economic Summit last week, was very costly for participants, and I really do not believe anyone left the event, with any more knowledge than when they came in. I do believe there was a chance to renew old acquaintances and make new friends and contacts amongst the participants, but that does not need such an elaborate affair at such cost to accomplish.
While I am not criticizing the speakers and topics and panel discussions, I would ask the attendees what they got out of it? There was not even a questionnaire for the attendees as to what they thought of the whole thing. I hope the Chamber at least has the presence of mind to write a specific questionnaire for them to fill in anonymously, so that frank exchange of views could be made without prejudice!
There was nothing startling that came out of the event. The topic was “bull shit” (positioning Sri Lanka in the Global Economy) a typical excuse for a harmless subject. Come on Chamber, for one of the most important employers organizations in the Private Sector in Sri Lanka you can do better. Just look back, look inward, have an honest discussion amongst your board and team, if it was useful to ANYONE!!
It is important that we do not become slaves to conferences and think we gain anything out of it. After all no one paid the fee from their pockets, they got it as a tax deductable charge from their companies or employers to attend the event. It was in short a junket! Of the worst kind. I agree it is nice to see some well known names as speakers, and panelists, but really who are they? Just the run of the mill Sri Lankan businessmen and no doubt very successful in their own fields, but really, did they inspire the audience to something bigger and better in their lives and companies? Did they honestly change the thinking of the attendees in how they should go and develop their organizations to better cope with the Global marketplace? I rather think not, just a little bit of P... envy created. Where were the women panelists? That is apart from the speaker on the first day and she was foreign!
It is vital that there is a post mortem, to which all the attendees are invited for a breakfast meeting FREE OF CHARGE, to discuss the positives and negatives of the event. How these should be conducted in the future? How they could make it better and even an open forum, permitting anyone who attended to comment on the event.
Think about it! No Sri Lankan seminar worth their rupees, ever really has a post mortem. It does not even have a list of action points, or a summary of the main issues discussed with the main suggestions, (hopefully printed and circulated in the form of a book after the event to the attendees) so that a useful aide memoire can be kept on ones office desk to refer to in the future.
For a conference to be successful, the attendee who pays the fee, MUST get a benefit at least as much as its cost and the opportunity cost of lost productivity at the office, which could run into millions for some. This last concept is lost on many Sri Lankans. Why is that? That is because most of the attendees are not of a suitable caliber to do the jobs they are at. So their opportunity cost of lost productivity is zilch, nada, zero!! How about negative, so it is better for the Company to send them to the Seminar rather than they muck up a business strategy or deal!
I wish to provoke comment and an outburst from some of the very impotent attendees who seem to be walking in a daze or not really woken up even after the two and an evening’s bit of the seminar. So sleepwalkers can have a more productive life than some of the sleep deprived attendees!!
If Sri Lanka is to truly develop its potential to take on the world, as I am sure it can, it must first develop the caliber of the manager. His time keeping and time management in prioritizing and his organizational skills are a few of a whole selection of shortcomings that have to be worked on. I know that there is no shortage of courses that he or she can attend. They cover all manner of ills or wells, and they still fail to produce the manager or administrator that we need. The quality is just NOT THERE. We are so SHORT of capable people. No wonder we have such dick heads who run our top corporations. They would not be seen dead getting someone better than them to take their place. Where are the boards of directors? Another bunch of Yes men, with retirees and not youth with vision.
Contemplate what I say in this challenge, evaluate the seminar, each session by session, and note what you are able to remember and I bet you will not be able to write one page on it. Need I say more? So I appeal to the Chamber to do your Country a favor and do not just schedule a seminar each year to clear your conscience. Do it if you believe it benefits the attendee immeasurably.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Dr Harsha de Silva’s contribution to the debate was not in keeping his with his usual fiery self. I believe he made a conscious effort not to hog the limelight in coming out with too many outrageous statements.
What he did say was though the total National Debt to GDP ratios were not off the charts, what were we borrowing for and at what rates. Any person with any common sense will tell you that the Govt. is in the wrong direction, if it is borrowing to pay its recurrent bills, such as wages. That is the case today, which means in a short time the debt will be out of control. We must only borrow for sound investments which have a measurable return in either return on investment or a return on public policy that does not always have a measurable but nevertheless a real return.
The next issue is why are we borrowing from the Chinese at high rates of interest? After all the Chinese lend to the US Govt. by way of investing in US treasuries at 1% and they lend to us at 8%. So it is 8 times greater return to lend to us. Are we planning on paying the Chinese for all this high interest borrowing? I hope not as we will mortgage the future of our children to the Chinese as the investments we are borrowing for at these rates are for those of dubious returns and which mean we are being further ruined!!
The real reason for this high rate borrowing is the commissions earned, or kickbacks paid into overseas bank accounts when the Govt. agrees to borrow at such high rates. The power brokers of the land are engaged in feasting on these kickbacks that are paid to sign us up to these interest rates!! There are no kickbacks in signing on to a 2% loan after all as there is not enough slack for this, but hey with the Chinese high interest borrowings the sky is the limit.
In short the people in Sri Lanka are fleeced. No ifs and buts. When he noted that the five hub concept was good in theory it is not practiced as it should, because to have a 5 hubs the things like CEPA have to be signed. It has not been for 5 years, so the 5 hub is just a name and not a reality as going with the 5 hubs is the legal and infrastructural framework to make it work. With these constraints as well as the impossibility of planning ahead when shocks such as the Expropriation Act can be thrust on us at a whim and fancy there is no hope of SL being positioned to meet the challenges in the Global Economy, and it the Govt. which is primarily at fault in this not the Private Sector
Friday, July 13, 2012
Navin Dissanayake MP – Talking about the lack of a meritocracy in the UNP, while clearly forgetting he is in a Govt. of a family cabal!
Speaking at the last session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit sponsored by the umbrella Chamber, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, at the Cinnamon Grand on Thursday 12th July, Navin Dissanayake a junior minister in the governement was given time to address the audience as the first panelist of the 7 politicians present at the event.
He waffled on about what he felt were the critical elements, he was insincere in his comments, stressing the need for Governance. It was obvious he was uncomfortable in defending the govt’s record, and given a chance would bolt. The ‘perks of office’ has him stuck to his chair unable to get out!!
While mentioning the time of JRJ with fondness and his father, Gamini Dissanayake’s time in power, he amazingly said that the UNP was a meritocratic party then, and now has veered under the present leadership to be anything but. He failed to say that after leaving the UNP he has jumped from the frying pan into the fire! He represents a Govt. where all the power and decision making rests with just one family of brothers.
Waffling on the Govt. indefensible record and using the obvious issue of the lack of governance, did not endear himself to the audience as he had nothing new to offer those who were looking for something concrete from a Government spokesman. He was the only Minister present, the others representing the UPFA were Udith Lokubandara MP from Badulla and Udaya Gamanpila from the Hela Urumaya.
As there was nothing memorable to offer to an audience of the ‘Captains of Industry’, responsible for the Country’s growth, it will be nice to see what the main papers covering the event would have to say about it this morning.
Sri Lankans are ace bullshiters when it comes to seminars, and they love to waste money attending these tamashas at the expense of their companies. Whether they take anything out of it is a matter of conjecture, and to see so many well respected people and pundits in the audience, I wonder if they just go round the merry-go-round, in churning the same ideas without anyone adding any new thinking to the audience.
While Sumanthiran MP said that FUTA bundling requests for higher educational spending to their demands should be noted, and therefore backed it was left to Ruwan Wijewardene MP to stress the real importance of Education to all ills.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
MP Ruwan Wijewardene was the only one of the MPs panel at the concluding session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2012, today, to elicit instant applause from the audience. He stole the show unequivocally when as the final round, at the end of the session, Mano Tittawella the moderator asked all the panelists what would be the first thing they would do if they were given the chance to rule, and the first response was asked from Ruwan, who said without hesitation, “Education, Education and Education.”
His earlier position was that Sri Lanka must develop her ‘Human Capital’ if she is to be able to position herself in the Global Economy, as that is the country’s strength, but it has to be done immediately as the population will start declining, and the youth of the future would be burdened by the weight of looking after the elderly in addition to their competitive knowledge. We must educate our youth to meet the challenges in fields that are in demand and he stressed the need of a link language of English that was a basic requirement if we are to send our people overseas to provide short term services to the rest of the world.
He also noted that he was ashamed of being an MP to the extent that it has been elected representatives who have been accused of crimes including but not limited to murder and rape, especially of underage girls. He noted that these government PS chairman and members were not suspended pending enquiry as others such as policemen are subjected to when interdicted.
Minister Naveen Dissanayake for the Government side, meekly tried to say that until they are convicted there is no case, and that they had not been convicted yet. He is so off base as one does not have to wait for conviction, which under the speed of Sri Lanka legal system can last as long as 10 years and the accused is still conducting Pradeshiya Sabha meetings while in remand! The Govt. should have at least suspended him from office until the inquiries were over. It does appear that even the murderer will not receive justice as plans are afoot to quietly release them through the back door courtesy of the “Maharajanani”. Naveen had earlier cited the lengthening of the sentence on young Jayamaha who had been convicted of murder in a 2006 killing, and had only been given a 12 year sentence by the High Court which yesterday on appeal at the Appeal Court resulted in a death sentence. Naveen used this as an example of the great working of the justice system in Sri Lanka. A poor selection if ever there was one!!
Getting back to MP Ruwan stressing the need for Education over any other, one must consider that only when our population is educated will they be able to make informed choices. Currently the uneducated citizenry vote for irrational reason or for being unable to evaluate truth from lies of what they see on the Government TV channels and the Media. The fact that Media is stifled and effectively censored where journalists use self restraint for fear of attack and intimidation and god forbid, white vans and death!
Further only when our population is educated will they be able to value education in our elected representatives and dump the goons out of office.
Only education will enhance the knowledge economy, where our citizens will make choices that are best for them, and do not have to rely on uneducated people telling them what to do and how to improve their lives.
Only education will ensure that people will be able to see through politicians and determine who are the true patriots? and who are the wolves in Sheep’s clothing?
Only education will remove the grip the politicians have on people, where the populace is enslaved by them for a job or other favor, and thereby deprive the economy of productive workforce.
Only education will be able to remove a dictatorship, because the voter will be able to judge who should lead them and why, not just base it on rhetoric, but on sound judgment, comment, evaluation and example.
Only education will ensure we have a workforce ready to face the Global Economy head on and have the skills to fill the jobs in demand wherever they may be.
Only education will be able to improve the quality of life of our people, as they will be able to choose the employment best suited for their skills, and these skills will be used in the most productive mix to first enhance the value and income of the person and secondly that of the state which will get a return on investment, that is a multiple times more than the wasteful investments currently carried out.
Education will enable the country to maximize its growth rate, using its most important skill, and asset its Human Capital. Thanks Ruwan for the answer!!
He was citing that Government entities were profitable, mentioning only Bank of Ceylon and People's Bank, in defending the record of the Government as a super manager of enterprises!!
The young 27yr old MP can be forgiven for thinking that all Government companies are profitable, when he sighted the only two that had been able to run under Govt. patronage for a long time, Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank. It is true that both these humongously big Banks were able to make profits, but that is after years of pumping funds into them, which no private entity would have been able to do. No wonder they are now profitable.
Under private ownership one could argue it could be far more profitable, so that was totally lost on him. Does he not know that despite the tremendous efforts to get rid of the dead wood these two banks still carry a very unproductive workforce when compared with their private competitors? The private banks love to have these two because they can have a hugely profitable spread (difference between borrowing and lending rates) as the banks need to keep it that way to be highly profitable.
In reality for Sri Lanka’s companies to be more competitive they need a much thinner spread, which can be imposed only when these two banks become more efficient, however as bankers they are not concerned about the country only about their profits so the private and public banks live very happily together at the expense of business and the higher growth of the economy.
This comment was made as a panelist at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit held at the Cinnamon Grand held earlier today, in the concluding sessions. I do not wish to insult the poor man by going through the list of unprofitable government companies, suffice to say that Harsha de Silva MP noted that after the Appropriation Act, Parliament had just released a further Rs550M to both Sevenagala and Pallewatte Sugar companies as they were running at a loss. This would not have to be paid if they were still under private ownership, making poor Udith a the jonah in the pack and not the joker, as that would be too kind.
It is nice to have a young MP, but he should I hope decide that backing this horse of a UPFA is not his future and he came into parliament purely as a result of his father and not as a result of any of his personal accomplishments. In order for him to have an after-life he may as well join the UNP as otherwise he will be shortly consigned to history.
The Sri Lanka Economic Summit concluded a few hours ago at the Cinnamon Grand sponsored by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Sunil Handunetti MP age 40 representing the DNA but effectively from the JVP addressed a panel discussion of young MPs.
One principal reason he blamed for the state of the country including the violence and the crimes committed daily by the elected members of the UPFA government be they Pradeshiya Sabha, Palath Sabha or Parliament, is the Executive President who gives them sanctuary. The power of the Executive is so much that no one dare contradict him, even if it means breaking the law. Effectively those tasked with enforcing the law are themselves subject to losing their jobs if they uphold the law when it comes to miscreants who hide behind the Presidents coat tails and get him to intervene on their behalf.
While other MPs bemoaned the lack of law and order and the government goons who take the law into their own hands, he blamed all this fare and square on the powers of the Executive Presidency. Only this government with two thirds majority can do so. Ironically it was mentioned that both Mahinda Chinthana and Idiri Dakma which is the part two specifically talk about he abolition of the Executive Presidency and not just curtail its powers.
The irony was not lost on the audience where other panelist like Uditha Lokubandara and Navin Dissanayake along with Udaya Gammanpila tried to defend the record of the Government but in this crucial area could not touch the Sinhala speaking MP from scoring the goal, which is clearly on the agenda of the JVP which they will never be able to adopt as they do not appear to ever be able to form a government on their own.
It was interesting how he put in a lot of English words into his discussion to assist the listeners whose usual language would be English and so instead of using words that were difficult for the audience to understand he very correctly switched to the English so he could be better understood. To that I commend him as his message did get through to them. Just as a matter of debate it would be nice if he could change his ideas and move in with a party where he can play a major role in governing! A level headed JVPer.