The Work Begins
“If we lift the hideous rags of History, we find this: hierarchy versus equality and order versus liberty.” ~ Éric
The indications are clear, as are the implications. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, elected on a Sinhala-Buddhist supremacist platform intends to rule as a Sinhala-Buddhist supremacist president.
For the first time in Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka, we have a cabinet of ministers without a single Muslim member. Nor is there a Muslim amongst the 38 state/deputy ministers. Of the 54 cabinet and non-cabinet ministers, there are just two Tamils and one woman. Even the state minister for Women’s Affairs is a man.
Sinhalese, who constitute around 75% of the populace, make up more than 92% of the current stable of ministers.
You hit the nail on the head when you said: “corruption in this country is endemic.” However, corruption cannot be wished away by visiting the corruption-ridden Department of Motor Vehicles, Hospitals etc. There are hundreds of Ministries, Departments, Corporations, Boards etc across the country. President Gotabaya cannot make surprise visits in person to all of them or even a fraction of them unless he works 24/7 days a week around the clock.
What he should know is the art of Management popularly defined as getting your work done by others. President Gotabaya should hold Ministry Secretaries, Departmental Heads, Corporations Chairmen responsible for the efficient and proper functioning of these outfits.
In Western countries, Ministers have not much work to do. They are hardly seen in public. Or wasting time in various state functions like opening bridges, commissioning a newly built railway station or attending sports events. They simply don’t fritter their valuable time on these ‘tamashas’.
But the bigger question is how can President Rajapaksa fight corruption when he himself is ‘corrupt’?
I have cited the case of Gotabaya Rajapaksa owing a sum of Rs.47.9 million to Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLRDC) for the construction of the ‘D A Rajapaksa Mmuseleaum and Museum’ at Medamulana. This is a glaring case of using/misusing public resources for private purposes. Worse the project costing Rs.81.2 million was approved by none other than Gootabaya Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development. to the out of 81.2 million
his was a project approved by Gotabaya while he was the Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development. The original cost was Rs.81.2 million and only Rs.33.9 has been settled so far leaving a balance of Rs. 47.9 million.
I am sure the old man must be turning in his grave seeing his sons constructing a Mosealium and Museum at taxpayer’s expense! Is this not a disgrace for the Rajapaksa family?
Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa gifted a golden statue of Buddha to the Sandahiru Maha Saya in the presence of Maha Sanga in Anuradhapura. The statue was made out 8 kilos of confiscated gold by the Customs and handed over to the Rajapaksas.
While the Rajapaksas have got away with “theft” poor Director General of Sri Lanka Customs Jagath P. Wijeweera and former Customs Additional Director General Tharaka Seneviratne were arrested by the FCID and charged in courts during Yahapalanaya government. It is very very likely the present government will withdraw the case.
This story reminds me of a proverb in Tamil which says “Picking a cocoanut from the street and dashing in front of the God Pillayar!”
During the 2015 Sri Lanka presidential elections, large payments from the Chinese port construction fund flowed directly to campaign aides and activities for Mahinda Rajapaksa. This is the same company that built white elephants in Hambantota, including the Harbour. The payments were confirmed by documents and cash checks detailed in a government investigation. The New York Times reported that that with 10 days to go before polls opened, around $3.7 million was distributed in cheques: $678,000 to print campaign T-shirts and other promotional material and $297,000 to buy supporters gifts, including women’s saris. The article claims that another $38,000 was paid to a popular Buddhist monk who was supporting Rajapaksa’s electoral bid, while two cheques totalling $1.7 million were delivered by volunteers to Temple Trees, the official residence of then-President Rajapaksa. The total disbursement was $7.6 million (Rs.1368 million). Such massive and shameful corruptions can be multiplied many times!
Since Rajeeva has narrated his ordeal with the Colombo Municipal Council in which I once worked, I am tempted to disclose how the Foreign Pensions Unit of the Department of Pensions, Maligawetta is giving me the run around for the last 9 years! The FPU is inventing one excuse after another to deny my arrears of pension. They stopped my monthly pension for 14 months to recalculate my arrears! However, the arrears of pension has not been paid despite prolonged correspondence, telephone calls etc. for almost a decade!
In May last year, the FPU wanted me to swear an affidavit to the effect that I was not paid the arrears, and in case it is found that I have been paid I should refund the amount!
This requirement duly complied and an affidavit duly attested by a Barrister, Solicitor and Notary Public was forwarded to the FPU. This was in May 2018.
Now the FPU wants me to submit copies of bank statements for the period (they don’t tell me what period) covering my pension arrears. Prior to June 2018, I was receiving my pension to the credit of my Online Chequing A/c in Toronto via the Toronto Consular Generals Office. From July 2018 my monthly pension is credited to my Online Savings A/c with BOC Metropolitan Branch. There are stringent rules to withdraw money.
Since it is a Chequing A/c the bank in Toronto does not issue paper statements. Added is the factor they don’t keep records for more than 90 days!
I explained to this to the FPU mandarins, but they will not listen. Like Shylock of William Shakespeare‘s play The Merchant of Venice, they are insisting on their pound of flesh. Over to President Gotabayaz Rajapaksa!
Very balanced editorial. A country which has jettisoned two constitutions within a span of 410 years and looking for a third one cannot be expected to perform wonders in the near future. The simple truth is Sinhalese politicians are corrupt, morally bankrupt and intellectually substandard.
In this century, the politicians are speaking about Sinhala Buddhism and protection for Buddhism instead of taking the country forward with a vision and a mission. At least take a leaf from the City-State of Singapore which per capita income of $112,000 is second highest in the world. Compare this with Sri Lankas PCI of $4,000 a paltry amount compared to Singapore.
The present crop of Sinhalese politicians should be summarily dumped into the Beira lake and new ones should take their place/