Sunday, January 26, 2014
It is time that foreign investors realize the Sri Lankan psyche and be wary before deciding to do business with anyone. The unreliability and even worse the sick mentality of many in the business world who have ambitions beyond their station is what makes doing business so tricky. Who can you trust?
I have reported earlier how the convicted felon, Manilal Fernando would go to any lengths to try and clear his name after the bribery scandal, where he was exposed as a liar, a thief and a braggard, and would still stoop not to respect international independent findings of his guilt. He continues to deny the undeniable! It was ironic that the FA is based in Switzerland, upon whose rules and ethics this worm of an individual was convicted. So for him to remain the Chairman of Holcim subsidiary (a parent of a Swiss company) in Sri Lanka was an embarrassment to the Organization and got rid of him from that position. He was made Chairman earlier as he assisted in legal terms to help the company establish itself in Sri Lanka and received this sinecure as a reward, that he abused, when he went he went above his station.
It was then that the true extent of his duplicity was exposed, and to hide his guilt, he is behind the leaks to expose alleged wrongdoings on the part of Holcim, which is hurting its image in Sri Lanka and there is some talk of them exiting.
All subsidiaries of International Companies owe a primary responsibility to the parent and only a subsidiary responsibility to the host country. They are ALL engaged in practices that sometimes run counter to the intentions of the host country. This may be in transfers of funds around the group, transfer pricing and purchasing in a way that is done for the group benefit and not the country. Any mature person knows that and the recent scandal where it was discovered that some very prestigious companies did NOT pay taxes in the UK despite billions of turnover reflected the reality of what I noted above.
Countries for national reasons of employment and investment are willing to overlook a few contraventions of promises made, as the down side cost of the company leaving, is worse than the upside of it remaining.
For a scumbag like Manilal to expose a few of these inconsistent transactions, which he was privy to while he was chairman is downright disingenuous. He should have exposed them when he was chairman, so then when he was fired he would have real case against the company. After being fired, it is SOUR GRAPES.
He had better watch out as the dirt is about to be thrown back at him, during his watch. He was fired because of these and NOT made public and now it is about to haunt him big time. A crook is a crook is a crook, no matter if you are a chairman of a prestigious company, a senior politician, a respected lawyer or a underworld thug. In essence there is very little that distinguishes these types from one another.
Being paid a multi million rupee salary and perks did not appear to be enough to stop him from defrauding the company he worked for! So what gives with these people. They live in their belief of their self importance to hide their impotence.
Giving away millions of rupees worth of free bags of cement to friends, political upstarts, temples and other organizations without proper accountability and discussion of CSR is in itself, breaking any rules of a company. He is now using those political connections, and friends he made at the expense of the Company’s bottom line, and not his, and who he is now calling on to do the dirty work for him, by leaking the allegations, and putting the company on the spotlight.
I cannot predict the end of it at this point, and am watching this space to see how Holcim tackles the threat. He has taken advantage of an inexperienced CEO, an incapable current Chairman who has failed to identify the gravity of this threat and a new recruit PR spokesman to handle the fallout out.
It would do well for Holcim to recruit a dynamic person to handle the issue, and expose the duplicity of the whole sordid allegations, and ensure that they ricochet on the real culprit to a degree, that will prevent villains from blackmailing companies. Otherwise there will be NO foreign investor worth his salt who would wish to invest in Sri Lanka.
You can be assured that Packer will be watching the story with a keen eye to understand Sri Lankan revenge tactics. He is also open to be fleeced by Sri Lankan business partners, and will have a rethink of his investment, when he realizes that NO ONE can be trusted here, as all is NOT what it seems in this fair ISLE!!!!
To Conclude, it must be remembered that Integrity is important in longer term survival of businesses and if they can be toppled by fraudsters, then it is the Govt. responsibility to clean up its act and stop corruption first, as all these tin pot wanna bees take a cue from the top saying – if it is good for them, then it is good for mee!
SRI LANKA GOVT - the cement importers are looking at ways to cash in on this, please don't allow them to make hay at the expense of a local producer, if you really care about your country.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
The article appearing in the Island of January 22nd, is of such low quality and laced with a level of hate towards foreigners that even the Editor, should have rejected it. However the fact that it was permitted reflects the bigoted state of our journalists, and journalism.
They fail completely in being patriotic and nationalistic, picking out the Galle Fort for ridicule, blaming foreigners for ruining it! Where has he been all this time. I remember the time when the Fort was a ruin, and a lost place more like a slum!
It is a reflection of the journalist's credentials that fails to mention, that until the Foreigners could spot a winner, the whole place would have gone unnoticed as WE fail to identify our own treasures. The mention that the removal of the 100% tax gave them the Fort is utter rubbish, as the locals who are now buying into the Fort have done so only after the foreigners gentrified it. If they had a vision they could have bought into fort at a fraction, when the property was going cheap. Mr Harischandra Guneratne you are a disgrace to your eminent profession. Even with the 100% the Fort would have been bought up by foreigners!
The foreigners in NO way prevented the locals from buying, as there were enough locals with a lot of money, but they could not see a future and did not have a vision, so they did not gamble their money. It is sour grapes that thanks to them they have raised the value of the place, and they can now benefit from selling to the locals at a profit and move elsewhere to do the same, as our still tunnel visioned people cannot see the level of beauty in our country and buy up the remaining land, and instead buy a Rs100M Benz.
To blame Dobbs who was able to see an opportunity, which other people have copied, and made money, is very silly and insular. Also to say that Ratnayake was the first of the Boutiques is wrong. I stayed at Saman Villas on opening and it was not boutique! Don’t go around fooling your readers on half truths.
If there are patriots they will buy up the other 150,000 beauty spots in Sri Lanka, as they have the money. Instead they are in the process of further destroying the 250,000 archeological sites, by digging for treasure. Until we clean up our own act, don’t blame foreigners who have profited from our foolishness and lack of common sense and vision, as eminently reflected in the ridiculous article.
Thank the foreigners for their faith in Sri Lanka to invest here, whilst our politicians are socking their money in foreign bank accounts, when they could be safeguarding our treasures from pillage from our own citizens, and buying up the available land.
It is time we learned how much potential we have in our country, that we can preserve, instead of selling anything just to make money, as greed will eventually destroy Sri Lanka. Just to highlight one example, the Yala Park is too overcrowded, and now there is talk of opening up all the Zones. What a travesty? We MUST limit entry to preserve its purity NOT open up more areas for traffic jams.
This race for 2.5M tourists IS GOING to kill the Goose that has laid the golden eggs. We can earn more if we know how to value the tourists and make ten times per tourist, in the way that Geoffrey Dobbs has, and many more foreigners at the expense of our blind tourist industry investors and professionals. If we still have not been able to take a cue from Dobbs, then we will never, as we have perceptions like that of the journalist to forever damn this country with a vision of a bat.
Patriot you are not a Traitor maybe!
It is NO secret that Sri Lankan women who form the majority of eligible voters, will yet again pull the rabbit out of the hat in electoral politics at the forthcoming Provincial Elections. Young women don’t like other young women to climb the ladder and will do what it takes to destroy and drag them down or at least pile the road with obstacles. It is called jealousy and so Hirunika Premachandra’s Achilles Heel are the young women voters.
She has become a media darling, showering her with so much coverage that NO amount of money can buy! It is a made for TV event, to the photogenic image of the product. It appeals to readers and viewers, and after all it is a package that is on the market for a preference!
Of course the UPFA will hope they will vote for the other candidates if they don’t want to vote for HP, however it is an opportunity for the UNP Youth, the young team of guys who are seeking election at the PC level for the first time to target them. After all they are votes that would otherwise not fall to the UNP anyway, and in this fashion parade for preferences, it is NOT policy or manifesto (there are NONE) that the voters will be confronted with just that of the Same O or a change or a wasted vote by being disgusted by the two main parties!
I suggest that for example, Anuradha, Dharshana, and Udara, pool their resources and work as a team in say Colombo Central and Kolonnawa the two hotspots from where the HP vote is likely to be most concentrated. This is not to say they forget the others, but they can just work together here as a youth team, with a new platform of youth to the fore, NOT dissing HP as that does not curry favor, but highlighting the good looks, with a photogenic, threesome that would appeal to the under 35 age group female especially from the UPFA ranks, and those who have NEVER voted in their lives, and are apathetic to vote anyway.
This strategy will not compromise the respective Organizers who would otherwise be very wary of interlopers into their turf, but as it is in the PARTY interest and not personal everything to increase the vote bank MUST be regarded as CRITICAL if the UNP can make any in roads into the current myth of the Govt.’s invincibility through lies and propaganda courtesy of the media that seems to pervade this political space of the day.
Hirunika’s preferences are likely to be in the 300K level, unless the UNP strategy as pointed out can make heavy inroads as the counter to her popularity as the media darling and obtain the contrarian vote of the UPFA female youth to persuade them that it is only them who can prevent a Frankenstein’s monster in the making!!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The Ratings organization RAM, the others being the likes of Fitch and Moody’s are used by companies to get a rating that is recognized by those who use them for purposes such as evaluating a company’s credibility, especially when it comes to doing business with them and in the case of banks and other lenders, when it comes to provision of working capital and loans.
The ownership of RAM has just changed, where the owner from Malaysia, has disposed of it to the local management! That in itself should raise alarm bells on the credibility of the issue of any reports by them.
Secondly, I would question the role of banks to finance such a management buyout as that is what it seems to be to have happened. I believe there MUST be clear separation of ownership from management of a rating agency. Otherwise, unorthodox and questionable ratings can be given to clients of RAM, and don’t forget, the payment (sometimes quite hefty) is made by the company that is receiving a rating in the first place, another cause for major concern, when the agency’s credibility is called to question! This is normal practice in the industry.
For the good of the Agency, I would say that the financing partners insist that a credible independent Board own the Agency for it to retain an element of credibility that will ensure its financial longevity, and another completely independent set of managers run it on sound principles of evaluating companies that come to it to be rated. Integrity, integrity and integrity of the owners!
While it is admirable to have a wholly locally owned agency, it must start with credibility and seen to be credible, otherwise no amount of PR is going to change facts. The principals of this initiative MUST look in the mirror and ask themselves, what their track record is and the credibility that they bring to the table.
They must honestly ask that question, as otherwise like this Government whose only credibility is electoral, to continue in power for ever, but it is limited to that. No one in their right minds, except loan sharks like China’s Exim Bank, would lend to them, as they have no intention of repaying their loans, except to re finance them at ever higher rates of interest, taking the Country down the precipice or the proverbial greasy pole to its destruction.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Govt. has clearly NOT lost its winning streak and the forthcoming elections are likely to be a whitewash victory for the Govt. as the Opposition has NOT been able to regroup and field candidates of electoral appeal or winning message to win!
The Govt. knows that, and is ensuring that only ONE clear message is given to the public as part of the main election winning bullet! And that is that the foreign forces are gathering their guns ‘again’ in Geneva to try to destabilize Sri Lanka and go even as far as to try and divide the Country. The Govt. WILL NOT give into international pressure, which the Opposition are party to as well.
The people will understand this message as the papers and TV will be full of LTTE Diaspora agitation against the Govt. and this will be sufficient for them to draw the vote in defense of the Country, no matter what the domestic realities are.
What a fortunate position to be in? All thanks to a concerted effort of purposely NOT solving the Ethnic issue, as MR will continue to maintain what he said on his opening Victory Day Speech, “There are NO MORE MINORITIES” only patriots and traitors. The people in their infinite wisdom have dubbed the Govt. the patriots and the opposition and the TNA the traitors, and so I rest my case.
I of course have maintained right throughout this blog that I am only concerned about Sri Lanka, and not about jokers in power. I have therefore dubbed the Govt. traitors, and the opposition patriots and the TNA opportunists!
Until the International Community understands that everything they do merely strengthens the Govt. NOT weakens it, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the opposition to make headway in appealing to the people to understand the canard, and act responsibly in the overall interests of the Nation, and that the canard ironically is only going to lead to the eventual division of the Nation, instead of the opposite picture painted by the Govt.
IN a country where there are ethnicities and one minority is sufficiently vociferous especially internationally and noisy Tamil Nadu plays politics with this minority for their own ends, there MUST be a solution. We cannot ignore it by believing there are NO minorities.
So why can’t the Govt. solve the issue. They CAN, but they will then just LOSE POWER. So can you blame the status quo!!
The opposition stick in the catch 22 situation is gasping for air at this moment. The intelligentsia knowing this dynamic is doing nothing to correct the misperceptions, knowing that no amount of money can change the thinking of the electorate, when such a powerful electoral point has been handed to the Govt. on a plate .
So they may as well join the sycophantic band, and enrich themselves. in the process.
In this Sri Lanka is the loser, and so those who contribute to the loss are the traitors!
Monday, January 20, 2014
Participatory democracy would be an ideal we should attempt to achieve one day, so that everyone has a chance of exercising a degree of power, not seen in any form of decision making today on the Island.
People will say why bother? I say we owe it as a bequest for the future. The future is changing so rapidly, that future generations will have to deal with faster, and juggle a lot more than the previous lifetimes put together, and while on the one hand I envy their access to technology, with it comes an information overload, where discipline in making choices, determines what to immerse oneself in, what to ignore and how to sift cleanly and without delay.
Despite the speed with which this technology is changing the way we live and work, the politics is still stuck in the dark ages, and needs a new jolt of lightening. If we can with experience and knowledge of what worked and not, set out the guidelines of people’s government, it will enable a more fulfilling participatory democracy at local level, in much the same way that the village headman made decisions in concert with his leadership council, allowing a level of empowerment and control that will satisfy the elector to extent hitherto thought of as impossible.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution that effectively created the Provincial Councils must be repealed, and NOT amended. It should be replaced by District Councils more like the revised Pradeshiya Sabas except for the highly populated districts such as Colombo, Kurunegala and Gampaha, that may require a split into two or three for the purposes of efficient government. This will create perhaps a total of 30 districts with autonomy equivalent to the combination of Pradeshiya and Provincial have now. The next level of Government, is the equivalent of the newly created ward system, as part of the overhaul of the future Pradeshiya Sabas. This ward will have its own elections every 3 years, which is a sufficiently long period to test the effectiveness of the elected representatives. The latest revision will just a rep in each ward at the PS.
This method I believe is a far superior approach at local involvement in affairs and the district system will by experience and vote bank project those that can contest the Parliamentary elections. I don’t want to comment on a reversion to the old first part the post system for the Parliament to avoid the fashion parade we now have, but something similar is preferable to our current preference system of General Elections.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
and then your electors and yourself only after them – You can then never go wrong. Learn from the lessons of lost vanity of your predecesrors if you want proof.
I blogged last night about the fight for nominations, even though only a few get elected and billions will be waged on the fashion parade, of why me! I was just informed this morning of a real life incident, that culminated yesterday, the details of which I will now set out.
An Organizer we shall call Anal, as put forward Banal as his choice bypassing Canal, who is by any measure of integrity, the most suitable. The organizer has been advised that he can nominate 3 people from his electorate to contest in the Provincial Council Elections for the Western Provincial Council. He also happens to be an MP.
Up to this point, Canal had organized his whole campaign strategy, set aside the initial 25% of the expected cost, and had a fund raising plan for the remaining 75% using his trusted aides dedicated just for that role. He realized that during the campaign if he had to personally stress himself about this aspect also that would damage his prospects.
As a relatively young member who is also the seniormost member of his Pradeshiya Sabha, he already had a base, a reputation as a worker to start with and the ability to muster a team of 100 dedicated full time volunteers for his campaign. He studied the district and determined how many votes he must target from each of the electorates including his, to aim for at least twice the required votes he would need to get in.
In this game it is important NOT just to battle for the same voter base from one’s own party, the classic, incorrect and shortsighted goal of most seeking election, but from outside the traditional base, if one is to increase one’s chances, as well as the party’s chances to increase the total vote and increase the numbers of Members that could get elected, helping all those candidates to improve upon their chances. As a young member appealing to youth and who has helped numerous youth clubs with obtaining playing fields, a very tough search in the highly populated Western Province, makes him a darling of young people irrespective of party affiliation, and includes women voters.
It must be said that just the votes of those who have never before cast a vote at an election, can make the difference for a party from winning or losing he Western Provincial Council, reitierating the importance of the first time voter as well as an effective strategy to target that vote, and make headway with that population alone. Further he has a plan to convert the vote of his opposing parties to him, due to his ability to offer a more digestible alternative to the current status quo.
This has not been and will never be a priority of the person who instead has received the nomination. This person who got the nod, in fact was one who has lost the same Pradeshiya Sabha badly and is clearly the less suitable candidate who is bound to lose badly, no matter how he perceives his chances.
So why has this asinine choice been made? One thing is certain that Anal fears competition in the future for his own longevity in parliament. After all if he wins the Provincial Council and with a good result, he would definitely be a contender for the next parliamentary election and is bound to take some preference votes that would go to Anal. The alternative person with no chance of winning is NOT going to be so privileged!
A further consideration is, the youth vote can be directed at younger contender in the Parliamentary Election, if he does not contest, or is not given the ticket due to the fear of competition. These two fears together means that he is intent on putting a loser with NO chance lest his future ambitions are checked!
The result of this action is that his party will get fewer votes, possibly even mean the loss of a provincial council member or two due to this personal goals taking precedence, and the party loses a god chance of winning the election as a whole. The latter because there are about 5 people doing the same thing when multiplied five times can add up to a lot of missed votes.
By this selfish action, Anal has prevented his party from winning the elections, thereby costing both his party and moreover his country a chance at an improved environment all around, and his community of being served more diligently, by a local boy who has already proved he can help his community.
Due to party rules giving Anal overriding control over who he permits, the rejected candidate has no choice but to accept the decision, and bite his tongue. This is why the country as a whole cannot have a visionary future, as those with a future are prevented by one living in the past.
Steps must be taken to prevent this formula from destroying the future of a political party, and lessens the desire of the electorate to vote, when they see NO appealing candidates in the fray. It is a tragic end to democracy when such behavior is condoned.
To repeat the subject, If you put country first and then your party, your tangible benefit will automatically flow to you, as spoils of war, and not just as a reallocation of the losers crumbs, from which you may not even be able to survive.
We must identify these frightened reactionaries and consign them to the dustbin of history from whence they can never emerge. Amen
Lets face it, whatever one says, this Country is still vested in the two party system, the UNP and the UPFA as the latter now seem intent to be permanently in the Coalition where partners within make noises, but no one leaves, as those parties only want permanent butter on their bread and the UPFA is supplying that for the foreseeable future.
So to get the nomination from either of them, there is a lot of intrigue and even promises and money changing hands in order to secure it. In both parties about half the nominations for the Districts are up for grabs as the other half are already secured. Is it the word Manthri that people spend millions for?
There are about 2 people contending for each candidate vacancy, and there are a lot of calls coming to politicians to try to help these seekers, and many are in the process of avoiding taking them, as some don’t like to lie to them.
There are some sure losers, who due to some mental and ego problem of theirs cannot seem to grasp that they have NO chance and still demand the ticket, though they (everyone other than the candidate) know they don’t have a cat in hells chance of getting in. The problem becomes, when a one who feels he has a large enough war chest to win, is denied due to the former getting the ticket.
I believe that any idiot with money can win, if he knows how to campaign, or at least hires the right people to run his campaign. These elections are only about name recognition, and not about a platform, character or manifesto. Therein lies the idiocy of the whole Provincial Council system. It is used by most of the successful candidates, as a platform to parliament. This adds to its wastefulness. Sure winners don’t want moneyed people in the fray, lest they lose their chance.
The nomination boards really have a tough time, as they have to weed out more than half the candidates, and they don’t know how to balance the game in the long term interests of the party. Often there are threats and this time is NO exception. They go as follows, if you give so and so the nomination, I am leaving the party and will contest under the other party and so on.
Imagine if you honestly felt you could win, and you were denied candidacy, what would you do? Your reaction determines how you have played the game so far, and how you expect to play it in the future. In a business where there are large sums involved in getting elected, People do not wish to enter for the short term, but which to be lifers, that itself is what is wrong with the system. I believe it should be for a short period, where you can work honestly for your constituents, and if you are honest, you cannot make money in that job, as you area a servant of the people.
You should gracefully leave after a spell, and parlay that into another job, where you may be successful from the contacts and procedures you learned while you were in politics. In this way the system will gain respect, many more will get a chance at elected office, and sons and daughters of elected officials will not necessarily enter the fray, though many will be tempted, as they will feel they don't have to spend as much to get elected due to the established brand!
Those not receiving nominations have nothing to lose, so they will play hard done by and let down their own party, reflecting their true loyalties, not to the party but to themselves only. Latter day politics is only of the individual and NOT the party. Time to put party first, and single out those whose permanently loyalty is assured, a challenging task, but worth a long term gamble.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
The difficulty to distinguish right from wrong – The guilty finding excuses
The sad history of Sri Lanka since independence has been the need for politics to set aside what is good for the Country, and instead do what is electorally beneficial. One may pontificate that, in a true democracy, the electoral winners will do what is best for the Country. The voters will determine by a majority what is best, hence we need not fear a wrong detour in the path of progress.
IN Sri Lanka’s case, the Colonial grip, of divide and rule, has prevented a truly national patriotism from forming, and instead polarized ALL communities into ONLY considering their interests over and above the interests of the Nation State as a whole. I presume that the democracy that was bequeathed was good, but the practitioners, leaders of the communities, misused it for their own ends and self preservation of themselves and their narrow quarters.
Its worst manifestation was when Mahinda Rajapakse ascended the Presidency. The fog of right and wrong has completely engulfed the Country, thanks to a very benign and sycophantic media, which I blame for most of the ills of today, and wrong has for the most part engulfed and suppressed the right!!
The Media is NO longer independent. Most of the Editors are nothing but slaves of rhetoric. Some are downright bigoted, hostile, and full of chips on their shoulders unable to rise up from the bog they still lie in and blame the hypocrisy of the West when the external forces against our obvious decent into Hades is pointed out. Some are still drunk on the victory of one community’s victory over another, all citizens of this tiny country! A truly pyrrhic victory.
WE HAVE NOT attempted to solve our own problems internally, and then blame foreign powers who are trying to interfere to do that. Don’t ever forget that foreign interference is only because our citizens within Sri Lanka have asked for help. When our own citizens CANNOT find redress within, they go outside, just as Mahinda Rakapakse, with great threat to his person, did go to Geneva to complain to the UNHRC against his own Govt. and HR abuses in SL, because HE COULD NOT find redress within. “What is good for the goose must also be good for the gander.”
It is a joke when he blames foreign forces for trying to destabilize SL, when he indulged in the same game when it suited him. HE MUST understand better than these simpleton journalists why this is so. However he has got them dancing round his little finger, spouting nonsensical gibberish at the expense of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, that appears NOT to be on the Agenda of the Rakapakse Govt. due to fear of become electorally insignificant. Otherwise why not show magnanimity?
Of course this Govt. is electorally bad for this Country. They have thrown away the “one off” (never to be repeated) peace dividend for starters. They have not done anything genuine, without a single honest bone in their bodies. They have an electoral plebiscite ONLY due to an overwhelmingly benign and malleable press incapable of understanding how grave the issues that have not been resolved are to the future well being of Sri Lankans.
I remember there was a time before the 1970 elections, when the common perception was that we needed a strong Govt. (electorally with a two thirds majority) to make the right policies. We know what the ruination of two thirds did to the Country. First was the disastrous Sirima Govt. with its nationalization policies, and then the equally disastrous JR Govt. of a free for all inevitable when we woke up in 1977 to find SL in ruin. If Sirima had not failed so tragically JR would NOT have needed to take the steps he did to get back to sanity, which later lead to insanity. The Rajapakse administration sadly has been the worst on all fronts.
The Development by the way of the Country is NOT thanks to anything the Govt. has done, it is simply due to the $50Billion that has been sent to this country by its people living and working all over the world. Actually our growth and development would have been much higher if we DID not have a govt. as this Govt. has actually been a huge break on growth and entrepreneurship, due to lack of faith in the legal system, as shown in forced acquisitions without compensation and the stratospheric level of corruption.
This use of ricocheting all our sins back on to our detractors MUST stop. WE MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE.
The classic retort of the apologists for their crimes, is that their accuser is also accused of similar or worse Crimes. The Editorials of our papers, instead of owning up to the crimes we committed, whilst disowning those we DID NOT, are salivating over the latest allegations of both UK and American Servicemen and their crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reports that have been submitted to the UNHRC in that regard. The implication being that OUR CRIMES pale in comparison to theirs. DON’T FORGET WE KILLED OUR CITIZENS they killed foreigners, there is a BIG difference in that fact.
WHY WASTE our time over other people’s shit, when we should be cleaning our shit first! Frankly I don’t give a shit about what other (as in foreign including Diaspora) are saying about us. I am more concerned about what our own citizens IN SRI LANKA are saying about what happened and continues to happen in Sri Lanka. Why can’t we simply understand that fact? Then hastily go about correcting that. We don’t need foreign advice or help to do that.
The simple answer to that is, we know we are guilty so we try to deflect the blame to the accuser as having ulterior motives. If we are NOT guilty why should we even bother with what any foreigner (as in country be it India, USA or UK) says? They don’t matter a rats ass to us.
If you accuse our citizens of lying, then bring forth the full force of the law, not incarcerate them without proper recourse to the Justice system. Or worse have them killed. MR understands the implications when he was in the same boat as being accused of treachery, at the time he was attempting to smuggle the dossier to the UNHRC in Geneva. What goes around comes around, that is the merry go round.
There are real grievances, and many of the aggrieved are playing politics in exaggerating them, so that the compromise solution, bears some sanity, to appease their electors. We just need to know how to play the game, without hurting their feelings. That is the art of diplomacy.
What I am simply saying is that we have a rotten Govt. who do not know how to lead. The Country has gone to the dogs because of it. All communities, if you give a plane ticket and visa 95% of the people will leave, a testament to the pontificating journalists’ patriotism. By the way I will not be in that 95%!!!
I prefer to stay and fight the traitors who rule us. They don’t deserve to steal our future from our future generations, for their personal aggrandizement. I don’t have the power to make a significant change, so I appeal to the patriotic editors of the press and broadcast media, to take a stand, draw a line in the sand and unanimously expose the lie. I know your pay check is only because you toe the line, and if you don’t you will be in deep shit. However if you are a true journalist, that is the risk you take to put your profession above the fray. That is what the fourth estate is all about.
Let us clean up the act. Regain the Rule of Law, and the Independence of the Judiciary and the separation of the Legislature from the Executive and Judiciary.
Everything else will fall into place from then on. It is up to you to take up the Challenge. Take a cue from your colleagues across pond in India. Aren't you all ashamed of yourselves when you look at the power of the Fourth Estate there?
NEED I SAY ANY MORE?
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Nothing it seems is what it is. If that was not enough, the classic method of hiding a whole host of ills, is to announce the next round of elections, and try and hide the absurdities and either pretend they don’t exist, or even better, promise to resolve it once they are re-elected to do so!!
It is this absurdity that is Sri Lanka. For Heaven’s sake, we are in 2014. We still have the railways department turn off their phone lines at 5 pm and only work Monday to Friday. They MUST have a 24 hour hotline manned at ALL times to answer customer queries and give them alternative means to resolve problems.
The worst scenario in this Republic of 110 Ministers, is that NO ONE takes responsibility for an issue, and instead pass it on to say, another Ministry, which bounces it back to the first point. No wonder it takes people so long to get anything done, in this age where time is precious and everyone is on a busy schedule. It is time a minister knows what his responsibilities are!
Even worse, people are taxed to the hilt, where food costs are one of the highest in the world, and NO ONE it seems is willing to protest! Why? Fear? Or apathy because no matter what is done, nothing really happens, so why bother?
It is shocking that a drug dealer’s money was sufficient for the Prime Minister’s son, Anuradha a lawyer by professions, to top the poll in the Central Province with the highest number of preferences, and mercifully is not the Chief Minister. Even more shocking is that as the Private Secretary to the PM he is directly responsible for attempting to clear a Container, that was found to be loaded with Heroin, at an unimaginable street value.
It just is not good enough for him to say he did not know, as they MUST have an idea of who is providing the funds for campaigning and the possible sources of their contribution, as well as the reason this help is given, especially when it reaches tens of millions of rupees. Actually the PM should have resigned immediately just to save face and clear his name, but I suspect he is too senile to do so, unable to grasp right from wrong. Is that who we have to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? This my dear friends is the Wonder of Asia. The funny part is that this anomalous behavior is NOT seen as one that is serious enough to resign! I believe the mudslinging orchestrated by the Govt. to get the PM to resign, was met with deaf years, as the PM can claim to be tone deaf. The race is on for the ticket to contest, to make money and then some!
GOSL IS HAPPY WITH THE STATUS QUO - HERES WHY!
The fact that on January 15th 2014, the GOSL is by way of the MOD talking about sending a Northern Provincial Council Member, Ananthi Sasitharan back to a rehabilitation programme that over 10,000 former LTTE carders have undergone, says something about the state of our unity.
Apparently she was one of those who neither surrendered nor was arrested and slipped through the cracks and it is better late than never to have her undergo the process! I presume this was predicated by her telling Ambassador at large Rapp that the Govt. has yet to answer the HR abuse inflicted on the Tamils!
She is the wife of a senior LTTE official Sivakumar and it seems she is still in no mood to compromise, making many of the serious allegations against both the Govt. and the military presence in the North. As a Sri Lankan citizen, elected and representing thousands of people in the North, she is entitled to say her piece and Rapp has a need to take heed. It is up to the GOSL to disprove what she says. After all it is not the job of the opposition to agree with the Govt. IN a recent news item UNP issued a very strict notice to the people of Sri Lanka on the assumed participation of the Govt. in attacking Churches in Sri Lanka.
That, is in my opinion NOT political grandstanding but a serious allegation on the credibility of the GOSL by the largest single party on the Island, on violations that are right there with the HR allegations and are at the heart of why the credibility of this Govt. is questioned.
I think what is at stake here is the continuing sense of insecurity created by the GOSL, (maybe for political gain at the expense of citizens) There are pontificating sycophantic Govt. journalists who say that just because Daya Master was rehabilitated, and was an unwilling recruit to the LTTE in the first place, that there is no real issue. They have got the plot completely wrong as there are citizens of Sri Lanka who because they DO NOT have a conduit to complain within Sri Lanka, as there is NO serious attempt at investigating claims, resort to any foreigner who comes along to explain their predicament. So Cameron, Obrhai or Rapp were subjected to the wailing of women with unresolved problems.
GOSL it is YOUR responsibility to resolve them, not some foreign jokers. Don’t go around telling the US how to treat AL Qaeda in Guantanamo, do your part in bringing closure to the real problems of Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka.
The problem is that GOSL include the freedoms of all Tamils in SL, when it is a problem of primarily solving the Northern Province issue first. It is no matter that most of the Colombo businesses are owned by Tamils or those of Indian origin, and that hundreds of thousands work in the South for their Tamil masters at their peril. They believe that this explanation is evidence of harmonious race relations. Then why is there NO serious Tamil Cabinet minister, when you discount the discredited Devananda. Even Rauff Hakeem representing the Muslim Party he leads is a senior Cabinet Minister of Justice.
Does the Govt. realize the chagrin when Rauff from a party other than Govt. main parties comes to Jaffna to open the Law Courts? So a Muslim is just as bad as a Sinhala in Tamil people’s eyes as they were also evicted by the racist LTTE from the Jaffna peninsula and are now seeking a return, now in numbers that are 5 times the evicted, due to their population growth whilst in exile.
The Parliamentary Select Committees are a waste of time, as they have lost credibility as not being serious and more attempts at stalling the peace process.
Whilst I do believe the TNA is also playing Hardball, that is more as a result of GOSL feeding them everything they want, by their behavior. A UNP Govt. would have solved this problem already without dividing the Country, but giving them just enough autonomy for them to develop their own lands as they see fit. It is the pride of a Northern Tamil to show the South what they are capable of. They have shown it in the South, but they want to show the world that their province can, given a level of autonomy have a GNP per capita of double that of the rest of the Island within 5 years. The fact that GOSL is interfering in preventing this process is what irks them, and sends them off to Netherlands to complain as their voices are NOT heard in our homeland!!!
I do not blame the West, the Diaspora or India for the current troubles as they are all definitely one man’s complete responsibility, which he could have resolved quite easily. It is the Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalist electorate that has prevented him from so doing as he wished to pander to this voter base of his, that keeps him in power, and is able with that power to abuse it as he thinks fit. That is why the sycophantic press has been unable to uncouple themselves from this myth, and inform the electorate of the facts, as it is their duty, so the electorate can drop their unfounded prejudices and vote the bastards out, giving Sri Lanka a chance at a final reconciliation. I am afraid I personally do not believe that the Govt. of Mahinda Rajapakse has any desire to resolve it as once it does, they just don’t seem to be necessary for the future of Sri Lanka.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Is this because even the Chinese understand what I write more than the Sri Lankans who are totally not interested in any political blog, reminding them of the realities in this Island, where we have a completely disinterested apolitical English speaking audience. The US, Russia, China and the UK seem to like what I write more than my own natives in the Country.
Is it because my blog is a must read amongst Chinese and all other students of diplomacy and foreign service because it is one that is considered a useful read in light of the angle taken and some tidbits of information, that may determine what the policy towards the Lankan regime must be. At least that is what I would like to IMAGINE!!! Wishful Ha! Never mind.
No wonder we just complain about everything as a nation and do very little about it. Whilst the politics of this country suck as they are now universally blamed for the state of the state of mother Lanka, what does the elector do? Continue to elect the same bunch of losers and now their sons and daughters who seek the same largesse of their parents. There appears to be no place for those who are really interested in making a difference to this state of anarchy that exists in Sri Lanka.
Whilst not all of my entries are of such interest there are a few gems that have been picked up by the intelligence agencies of all our diplomatic counterparts that matter, namely, Russia, USA, China, India and the UK, whilst our own intelligence agencies do not have the intelligence to grasp the gist of what is written, nor use it for their advantage.
The importance of writing on political issues in a country full of unproductive political intrigue purely designed to get ahead of one another, and nothing to do with the improvement of the prospects of Sri Lanka is lost on the local readership. Colombo Telegraph when we can access it, has the usual suspects both in the writers and in the commentators, but has singularly done nothing to change the landscape, rendering the writer and commentator impotent.
I do get some grudging respect from those both in Govt. and in the opposition and hope that in time, with more insightful thoughts, and interpretations, it will become a useful tool to policy makers and rational decision makers on putting country before self, which in the end is what the whole blog is all about. I believe that the potential of Sri Lanka has NOT been tapped yet, so way to go!!
My readers might wonder why I touched on the raging controversy in India over the Devyani Khobragade issue in my last entry. It was simply as a lesson to all of us, on how a small issue badly handled by petty officials pursuing their personal agendas can cause an international crisis amongst friendly nations, that can if unchecked become permanent, as it becomes part of the history of international relations, and thus permanently cloud the budding future diplomat and statesmen on the attitudes and prejudices, rightly or wrongly on a country.
Using this very clear incident, where the minor officials refuse to budge from their stated positions, even after so much water has flown under the bridge, reflects the practice of highly structured countries with a relatively unbiased judiciary, where senior politicians do not wish to influence the commitment of an offence, even if it is by a foreigner on a foreigner, both of whom are on diplomatic passports, with very little dependence on the host country.
If the issue was in Sri Lanka, the exact opposite would happen, where the politicians would directly intervene to safeguard the interests of those beholden to that politician. It is in this context that the murderer of a British Tourist, has escaped after being given bail, and is no doubt being protected by the relevant Govt. politician he serves, this time it is the ex Chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha being given a hiding place, by either the President or his family. This blog entry and the immediately preceding one are invaluable for students of foreign policy, and international relations in Sri Lanka to understand how the different systems work.
There is a time and place where a politician who can see the big picture MUST intervene to save the day, as in the US case, before it snowballs out of control, and where they should stay out completely as in the Sri Lanka case, lest it completely smudges the image of Sri Lanka to the outside world, where NOW it seems that the Sri Lanka Govt. harbors murderers from justice, and SO there is no point even arguing if crimes were committed at the end of the war, as peacetime shows a callous disregard for human life.
Let us touch on the sensitive topic for many Sri Lankans, about the unfair allegations ostensibly egged on by the Global Tamil Diaspora to take the GOSL to task for Genocide and War Crimes committed towards the end of the war. The reasoning goes, how can that be when 300,000 were saved, so there was NO genocide, and it was by the LTTE instead, and they should be accountable.
Rapp it seems came armed with the conviction that crimes were committed and they MUST be investigated internally, otherwise there will be an external one. Don’t get the Diaspora involved in this as the issue was one that came about within days of the end of the hostilities where the Diaspora was still in shock, and it was Ban Ki Moon who demanded accountability then. The international lobby do not wish to let it go, lest it seem like they have no teeth to enforce international obligations.
After all the reason why the LTTE were NOT castigated for their mass murders, and grotesque torture, was because they were an internationally outlawed terrorist organization. No rules apply to them, as they are subject to immediate prosecution upon capture. They cannot be now prosecuted, as they don’t exist.
A democratic country is subject to international laws and must answer. Then critics charge, why is the US not being prosecuted for the unjust war against Saddam in Iraq? Or for that matter the daily massacres by drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan! Well good point, but just as there is one law for the rich who can hire top lawyers, even if the laws are the same, they can get away with it, and we cannot. We must face reality!
After all don’t forget the US helped defeat the terrorists, they supplied us with sophisticated technology and as they had spy satellites up in the sky, saw exactly what happened. They know how many were killed, by whom, and so whilst not admitting to spying, know the facts of how the war was concluded. There may be a grey area of the take no prisoners order, where the top ranks of all LTTE were massacred when approaching with white flags, but just think what would have happened if the LTTE top brass were still around! They would be given asylum in some country, and then we will have a permanent threat from them, training new guerillas.
Where the Rajapakse Govt. went wrong was in their nonsensical assertion of zero civilian casualties! If only they had the sense to tell the truth, then we would have been spared all this travail, and if I was a leader, I would have taken full responsibility for the deaths that occurred of Sri Lankan citizens on both sides, as inevitable in the pursuit of the end game, and got rapped in the knuckles for it. Instead Rapp is rapping the Govt. 4 years later holding the reputation of the Country, and its people, to ransom, due to the cowardice of our leaders in not being able to tell the truth. I suppose lying is how they got to their exalted positions in Sri Lanka, and they thought lying is the way to go in International Fora too, and got caught out with little wiggle room left!!