Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I am truly troubled by the goings on at the Café Diyawanna Oya, sometimes referred to as the Parliament of Sri Lanka

For the sins of the Sri Lankan voters we always select the lesser of two evils to Parliament. If truth were to be told, once elected and the euphoria dies down, people actually hate the Govt. in power, as the expectations are beyond the Govt.’s ability to fulfill, as was the case at the 8th January 2015 Presidential Election, where a Tsunami of unimaginable proportions took place and the August 17th 2015 General Elections, when an expected outcome, was combined with a wholly incomprehensible (to the people) National Government emerged, which runs today.

Why? Because it is business as usual, and in Sri Lankan politics NOTHING changes, with the same rogues finding their way to the top echelons of decision making, making a killing at the expense of the public.

Why does this happen like a broken record each time? Simple. We have never had good governance in living memory, and people therefore cannot understand it, and moreover, the leaders who rule us, don’t care a toss for good governance, and ONLY pay lip service, to gain some legitimacy in making pompous statements they have NO INTENTION OF LIVING WITH.

It is in this backdrop, that once again our Lords of the Diyawanna, instead of being put on a slow boat exile in CHINA, continue to fool the people in ways that become ever more fanciful.

Just take once instance of tom foolery. The relationship with the Government in Washington is very important. They effectively dictate how small Countries are treated by the UN and in Sri Lanka’s case, the Human Rights issues that we face, no matter that since 2009, there have been numerous instances of its abuse throughout the world, and no actions have been taken against the abusers for a whole raft of reasons.

Our Embassy in Washington, should have then, and should be now staffed with intelligent highly competent people in addition to the Ambassador. Previously we had a MR relative in Jaliya Wickremasuriya who was before being appointed selling Tea to the Americans from Atlanta, and got the posting for no particular ability of his! He was no doubt a political appointee, and is now shown to have spent and stolen all sorts of amounts as part of his duties, and did nothing to counter the propaganda blitzkrieg against the Govt. in Sri Lanka.

To that job were appointed highly paid lobbyists, whose fees were not only excessive, but obviously in retrospect did not provide the service, to expectations, nor was the contract granted to them done with transparency. It was clearly given to shady characters, who could have shared the spoils with the people in Colombo, responsible for granting them this task!

Now we have a Senior Foreign Service Officer as the Ambassador, and we still appear to have incompetent staff in Washington, clearly unable to do the lobbying within the corridors of power, and so we have YET AGAIN using DUBIOUS RATIONALE see link: below of engaging another lobbying firm to counter allegations of discrimination in a Country that has been sworn to have rejected any sort of discrimination! Don’t let yourself be open to such blatant misinformation.

Worse, the foreign office feigns any knowledge of this contract, and it should if any department gets involved, be the foreign office that should be hiring lobbyists to fill any shortcoming on the part of the Govt. servants who are tasked with that very same goal.

I am NOT altogether satisfied by the journalistic ethics on which this investigation has been carried out, as I believe it is more personal, than questioning the need for the lobbyists in the first place. The cabinet paper requesting the authorization to engage this questionable lobbying firm is grossly inadequate in its explanations for the need for such a service in DC.

The Minister on the other hand has got his knickers in a classic twist, as he has unwittingly allowed himself to be the object of derision for his incompetence at explaining the inexplicable. Why is he acting as an village idiot, when he should just use common sense to explain the need if it is felt so important to engage them to fill the gap of the grossly incompetent lack of progress on the part of the Embassy.

Truth is all it takes to right a wrong. We must first admit that our foreign service is NOT up to snuff, due to politicization of previous regimes. Therefore up until we train our new batch of recruits in the art of DIPLOMACY, we have had to resort to using the service of outside firms, to perform ABC etc. if there are other areas we for national security cannot disclose then so be it. Please list why we need them and why we believe they can help SL counter anti SL sentiment.  

As I said in my previous post, the Media SHOULD NOT BE able to get off scott free from criticism either, as they are picking on a point in their investigation, and have NOT tried to be fair by the Minister, prior to publication, in getting a frank explanation on why this kind of Cabinet Paper was short circuited for whose benefit.

In all this the PUBLIC PAYS THE PRICE, and in an open govt. are entitled to a detailed explanation why public funds are spent. The Sunday Times, by sensationalizing has not been  able to find an answer to that. They are just picking on a hapless Minister, accusing him without proof of leaching some foreign exchange for personal use, but we need more explanations.

I bet this story will now die, and NO FOLLOW UP WILL TAKE PLACE. Therein lies the rub.

It is the duty of the Media to sit back and ask themselves why they are going on this line. Just to be sensational or to be responsible journalists asking for open debate of the need to spend hard earned currency for such activity, and what real expected benefits will accrue to the payers, or PUBLIC OF SRI LANKA. I will not be satisfied until this debate is taken to its ultimate conclusion, to prove who is telling the truth, the paper or the parliamentarian, and most of all what is the truth? 

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