Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Sajith Premadasa steps into the debate of the violations of the Flora and Fauna Act in Parliament yesterday.
Whilst in my earlier blog article I was castigating the President for a hasty decision to ban safari camps without notice, Sajith in Parliament seems to commend the President for this act, without looking at the whole issue more closely, and the underlying reasons for such action.
I suggested they look into the whole aspect of safaris and what is and isn’t within the law, and if the law needs to be amended to take account of certain types of camps that exist all over the world in similar situations to benefit from high value tourists, while keeping it expensive exclusive and therefore of limited spaces not to or at least minimal interference with the local wildlife balance. We know that most animals not seen during the day, come out only after 6pm when the parks are closed, and therefore a premium few at premium prices is the way to go to protect animal privacy, whilst obtaining needed tourists dollars for the country.
A public debate should have been held and a decision made thereafter, but now that licenses are given, fees collected and tourists attracted, a different sort of evaluation from a decree banning should have been made.
Further as Sajith rightly said, the lack of a Director General of Wildlife for the past 14 months is not helping matters. I pointed this out at the time the previous incumbent was removed, as it seemed to be done for some inexplicable incident.
It further seems strange to make ad hoc changes to the Acts without thinking through a series of aspects, and taking into account the objections and recommendations of environmentalists whose whole aim is to protect wildlife and not any personal agenda, whilst the Govt. is full of personal agendas bordering on greed in everything they do, and could not be further from the National Interest.
If we had a fool proof system of checks and balances, such incidents will not occur. It appears not part of the govt. to do set in place such a system, as its rampant corruption, and poor governance will be further emerge to haunt them. It is sadly the heavy price Sri Lanka has to pay for a complete breakdown in the application of the law, when such incidents occur. Let us hope our legislators have a conscience to make good decisions.