By Emil van der Poorten –
As someone who was simply disgusted by the consistent performances of the likes of Dilan Perera over the years, the new spate of Cabinet appointments left me, if you would forgive the use of that expression, bewildered.
Here was a man who started his headline-grabbing by making a great deal of noise when Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed one of the earlier UNP “crossers’-over” to Cabinet while that man still had a capital charge hanging over his head in the death of an SLFP stalwart of the Sabaragamuwa province. Dilan Perera made a great show (for the media at least) of refusing to sit near his new colleague on the government benches. Mind you, his gallery-fetching ended with his moving to a seat farther away from the new member of Cabinet but god forbid that he should even threaten as much as a temporary show of principle by taking a hike across the great divide to the opposition benches! That would be a performance beyond the call of all that is holy in the church of self-seeking opportunism!
Bad enough in the matter of hypocritical gallery-fetching? The man’s next act intended to stay in the public eye and curry even more favour with Mahinda Rajapaksa was his abusive and boorish behavior towards the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka at the time his boss was in the process of railroading her out of the position in which she had not provided adequate proof of fealty to the man who believed that he was Lord and Master of all he surveyed. Her simple suggestion that an absolutely unconscionable piece of legislation, the simple legality of which was in question, should be put through something resembling “due process” was met with a Presidential hissy-fit of Rajapaksa proportions. And who, pray, led the parade of abusive sycophants playing uneducated and vile court jesters in this pantomime? Dilan Perera, no less, front, centre and on television screens in virtually every home in Sri Lanka.
Interestingly, when Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the Presidential election on January 5th, among the constituencies won by Maithripala Sirisena (and lost by Rajapaksa) was that represented by the same Dilan Perera.
Those of us interested in the cleansing of their television screens of the likes of this man, an appropriate description of whom would not be fit for publication, breathed a small sigh of relief. Three cheers! No longer would be confronted with the handiwork of his incompetent barber complete with inferior dye job that didn’t reach the roots of his hair!
Suffice it to say that our relief was short-lived because, lo and behold, Mr. Dilan Perera reappears on the most recent cabinet roster!
And, as if that was not bad enough, the next thing we know is that a dyed-in-the-wool UNPer in the new cabinet leaps to the defence of this man’s scandal-ridden reign over those slaving in the Middle East to increase Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange income. The Hon. Thalatha Atukorale grabs the headlines in the Daily Mirror with a pronouncement that Mr. Dilan Perera cannot and must not be held responsible for what was practiced in the name of “administration” in the Ministry and Department he headed because it was not him but his subordinates who were the guilty parties!
I would suggest simply that ANYONE holding such views of the concept of Ministerial Responsibility has no business in the governance of this nation. What has happened over the years in the matter of those Sri Lankans employed overseas is a matter of (disgraceful) record. To defend that state of affairs, in no matter how circuitous a manner, and express absolute support for a man who presided over all of it is beyond description!
Not only do you have Dilan Perera in a position of power and influence but you have a woman who should, presumably, know better defending the indefensible!
“Theatre of the absurd,” anybody? Or is this simply the teledrama unfolding in a manner that confirms that old saw about “fact being stranger than fiction?”
Oh, well, I suppose in the matter of “balance” you need a Dilan Perera to balance off a S. B. Dissanayake. You need someone who has the capacity to behave as outrageously as one who promised to strip a (female) President of this country down to her skin (and, presumably, run her out of town, tarred and feathered!)
The new Sri Lankan government, as it evolves, promises to give the worst excesses of Caligula’s Rome a bad name, it seems!