23 September, 2018

Blog

Are We A Dysfunctional Democracy?

By Upatissa Pethiyagoda

The media and politicians regularly include “Democracy” in their speeches and writings. This is to be expected in a country that titles itself as a “Democratic Socialist Republic”. This is negated by a perceived dominance of undemocratic and anti-socialist actions and desires. In the popular perception, the words that spring to mind as symbols of democracy are “The Franchise” and “Political Parties”. Both are misleading as criteria of democracy. It has been said that in Democracy your vote counts, whereas in Feudalism your Count votes.   

Much has been written about the absurdities that manifest in the guise of democracy. Two stand out. “Democracy ensures the right of jackals to elect jackasses to Parliament” and “Democracy is based on the myth that the franchise would transform the ignorance of the many, into wisdom of a chosen few”. It is not hard to convince ourselves that democracy has terribly failed us. We have been comprehensively betrayed by almost all those who have (mis)-led us since Independence in 1948. There has been a progressive decline in quality and integrity of our representatives. Numbers however have increased and costs escalated dangerously. We could well be on the brink of becoming credit unworthy with tragic  consequences  for our country. The system has been designed to fail. Our democracy is bad but the alternative that threatens, is infinitely worse. Politicians, seriously deficient in morality, ability, sensitivity and education, strut menacingly in the corridors of Governance. With each successive election (of which we suffer a surfeit), standards plunge. Of all the Governments that we have had, The State Council was probably the best.  It had just 101 members and a Cabinet of some 14 Ministers. The country was held as a model for those recently liberated countries. By 1959 it had grown to 157 Members, then to 168 ( in 1976) and  which grew to the present abomination of 225. The Ministries, has grown from 14 to a number of more than a hundred-  a number that seems to expand by the week and we do not know  the number which may exist by tomorrow . To make matters worse, the white elephant of the Provincial Councils have only served as schools for scoundrels by grooming then for greater things to come. Hooliganism and profanities have taken the place of useful and civilized debate. Those who watch the News Bulletins would be appalled by the proceedings at these assemblies and the neglect of rural facilities which was one of the reasons for their creation. Nothing of the sort has happened. Yet another costly gimmick, typified by the Hoaxwagen fiasco. An alarming feature is that despite their redundancy, these  “Ussawas” must cost a fortune in travel costs and the inane  performances of dancing girls, lighting oil lamps and the distributing of appointments and promotion letters – that could easily be done by post.  Particularly amusing to me is the oft repeated “Janatha  Aithiyata Pawareema” , when the darned thing was paid for by the “Janathawa”  themselves!. 

The “Amathi saha manthriwaru Visala Gananak Pemina Sitiya” tells me that they must have very little time to spend doing what they are paid for and expected to do. Add the time spent on Overseas jaunts and it explains why Parliamentary proceedings are so poorly attended (especially after a sumptuous lunch at the tax-payer’s cost).

But I digress !    

The Franchise

When complaints are voiced about the performance of politicians we are told  “Well it is all your fault for voting in unsuitable persons”. This is grossly insulting when the mechanics of the process are examined. The nominations are usually in the hands of the leadership who pick those who will be most useful to them if elected.  Ability, education and integrity are rarely among the criteria. Small wonder that the products are far removed from what the voters desire .The elections are therefore a sham, and the voters have a limited choice of picking “the least worst” on offer. Then there is the matter of campaigning. Why should there be massive expenses by contestants? The accounts  are unknown, undisclosed and un-audited Only rarely (in the Sil Redi and Galvanised  roofing sheets, does the public hear). Cash, bus rides, tee shirts and caps, buth packets and booze are the stuff of our “democracy”. Others might call it “democracy” but in my book, it is naked bribery. Election expenses are therefore an investment for future pillage. Gone are days when service to the public was the goal. Today, very few decent and respected gentlemen are prepared to dive in to the cesspit that is our Parliament – despite its plush carpets, subsidized feasts, car permits, limitless jaunts and pensions, and many more aberrations. I therefore conclude that Franchise in practice is nothing more than a cruel hoax. Most distressing is the fact that the few who are exceptions do not do enough to stop this hooliganism.

The Party System 

  Our system claims to follow the UK and US. This is dominated by two political parties – Labour and Conservative in the UK and Republicans and Democrats in the US. The equivalents for us are the UNP and SLFP with smaller representation by frequently inconsistent and fluid numbers. This is through changing alignments and frequent cross-overs. The latter are very rare in the UK and USA and instead marked by resignations in the event of serious disagreement. In Sri Lanka, we indulge in Horse Trading instead.

It seems natural to ask the question whether parties are really necessary. The usual answer is that differences in “policy” requires this. Called upon to define what makes this “policy” leads to discomfiture. Since all parties promise to eliminate poverty, ensure growth, guarantee relief from unemployment, assist farmers, foster self- sufficiency in food, enhance trade,  health and education , ensure Law and Order, protect the environment and provide other goodies, one is at a loss to see a real need for “Parties” (in the political sense) of course.

After seventy years of operation, even the most committed must see that the system has failed. One needs only to watch TV News to see depressing instances where officialdom has failed. A much touted justification of the so-called “devolution” is not borne out by the facts.  

There is a disturbing likelihood that the peoples’ continuing frustration might well lead to self-destructive violence. The endless stream of strikes, go-slows and road blockages is worrying as precursors of impending trouble. The normally docile and patient rural sector is in apparent revolt. Several movements such as the “Gam Udawa” and “Gamperaliya” are attracting attention as alternatives to a negligent State sector. The President, the other day lamented that the media only dwell upon shortcomings while ignoring the achievements of the Government. But is it not the case in all democracies that the media is critical of governments? The rural voter is more concerned with water, fertilizer and markets for his produce and infrastructure than grand promises of Constitutional reform or “Belt and Road Initiatives”. He sees his Parliamentary representative as only a pre-election visitor. When the rarely seen MP makes his grand entry in the most extravagant and recent model of car, memories flash to the time when he was plainly one of them.

One of the gravest errors of the electorate is to think of the UNP and SLFP as the major political opponents, aided and abetted by a changing play of minor parties, offering their allegiance to the highest bidder. To me, it has always been clear that the real contending sides are Politicians (of all stripes) versus the People. All else is make- believe play acting. Every happening in the political arena is easily understandable within this paradigm. Think for a moment and survey the scene around, and this fundamental proposition will come into focus as a reality.

The Pohottuwa’s blinkered vision sees hope only in the Rajapaksas – if not Mahinda, Gotabaya? Why not Basil? There is also Chamal as an option – whoever to hold the fort until Namal emerges from political adolescence !

Meanwhile, the game continues. The well-worn technique, that has proven its utility, is to allow scandal to follow scandal – the layering ensuring that each will be covered in turn. Add to this the memory span, so astutely seen by Prabhakaran (a superlative villain) who estimated it as a fortnight, will ensure that history merely repeats itself ! 

It seems as if the political fraternity in our country is hell bent on a ghoulish project to grind the economy into the dust. The obscenity of the manner in which the country was plundered to satisfy an insatiable appetite as witnessed in the ridiculously inflated bonanzas of a myriad emoluments and allowances of every conceivable type was capped by an “electoral allowance” of Rs 100,000/= every month to 225 MP’s and the reckless grant of a blanket monthly increase of Rs 10,000/= to all of the million or more Public Servants. Would any government in its right mind endorse this kind of extravagance and profligacy? Why this apparent  anger against the exchequer and the hapless taxpayer? Is there an evil urge to drive our country into bankcruptcy? Or have we incurred some divine wrath to visit insanity upon us as a prelude to destruction ? 

No one to my knowledge has had the enterprise (and courage) to compile the “Cost of Politics”. A small indicator was the disclosure in Parliament that The President (MR) was costing thirty million per day (that is 30,000,000/=) .  This is only the direct voted cost. Add the indirect ones  – foreign travel, administrative mis-judgments, graft and profligacy, and it gets a lot worse. Such super costs demand superlative performance  which emphatically is not. It is probable that the situation can only get worse. 

The thinking public needs no persuasion to agree that the 70-year experiment with our brand of democracy has failed. It is clearly the time for change. The existing political establishment has so debased and devalued itself , that the populace more than ever before, may be ready for a bold experiment. There is a U-tube doing the rounds, of a retired Indian Superior Courts judge who recommends that the whole Lok Sabha be hanged ! This maybe going a bit too far – in our society which cannot agree that even unrepentant Drug Mafia Kingpins should suffer capital punishment.

But in our ocean of despair, I see the faint outlines of an island. We are finally zeroing in on the notion that “Politics is too important to be left in the hands of Politicians”. I just do not accept that we are lacking in talent. In fact, all our dispensations have shown a spectacular deficit. So, a clean sweep and no less is urgently needed. There are figures emerging that are unquestionably far and far removed from the present cesspool. Men (and women) who hold promise of excellence do abound. Unfortunately the obscene misuse of the Nominated Member provision, have kept such persons in the shadows. There has probably not been any more propitious time for them to emerge. 

The only argument with some semblance of validity, is that they lack “experience” in State-craft. This is palpably nonsensical on many grounds. I ask, what experience? – dishonesty, corruption, lack of principle, venality, nepotism, incompetence, inconsistency, bribery, dereliction of duty, waywardness, and much more? If only the talent that they have shown in their chosen fields can be moulded into different needs – there could be hope. I can think of examples of persons who could comfortably adorn every political office much more ably than any who have gone before. A Cabinet of a dozen for example, is there for the asking.

The only question is, will we dare. The futures of our nation and our successors are in dread jeopardy. We, as a Nation have no choice – try or perish.  

*Dr Upatissa Pethiyagoda, former Ambassador to Italy

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Latest comments

    • 11
      2

      Lanka is a land of Fake Democracy, where the bi-partisan (UNP_SLFP) corruption racket at the Diyawenna Parliament is mistaken for a national government –for Fake Reconciliation and a New Constitution, not worth the paper it is printed on!
      It is a land of Fake Development, where a mega Debt trap is the result of asset stripping of the nation’s wealth by corrupt local politicians with Fake foreign Aid / loans.
      Finally., Lanka is a land of Fake Buddhism, where corrupt politicians DIVIDE, RULE and LOOT the masses, by DISTRACTING them with attacks one ethnic and religious minorities and Fake News.
      Mahinda Jarapassa and family and Bondscam Ranil who should be impeached and his Royal college cronies should share the same prison cell.

      • 7
        0

        Dunno about no democracy ………

        Sri Lanka is the synonym for shithole in all the dictionaries

        What say you ………… patriots?

        Peep?

      • 0
        0

        Is Sri Lanka a Chinese colony yet?

        “Sri Lanka’s central bank on Friday announced it had secured a $1 billion Chinese loan as the island, a key link in Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative, develops closer relations with Asia’s largest economy.

        Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that first half of the loan will be released later this month and the balance will be received in October.”

    • 12
      3

      Why cant the higher allegations levelled at Basil Rajaakshes be investigated above anything and every other cases ?

      Why cant the higher allegations levelled at Gotaba Rajapakshe be investigated above anything and every other liked minded cases ?

      Who is behind putting the kind of investigations being delayed ?

      HOW LONG THE LIES CAN TAKE GROUND INT HE ROTTEN SOCIETY ? allowing people being fed with facts and figures ?

      • 6
        1

        Simon,
        “Who is behind putting the kind of investigations being delayed ?”
        It is the same person who is trying hard to put ‘Bond Scam’ under the carpet.
        The guy who used inside information and made Billions is behind bars but the guy/guys who gave inside information is running free with the blessing of ‘Maha Mola Kaaraya’.

        • 2
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          I think these are just rumours right ?

          Today media is run by mafia men. Just imagine, ballige putha s activities be them minor or major are capatured by local media Mudalalies almost everyday while nothing good about the current men are being on their news.
          But day before y day Rajakshe had some problems with people gather in Ambilipitiya temple…. that was not telecasted by those vicious MAFIA groups ? That proved to me ones living in Europe, even if Press freedom is avialble in SL, only a group of henchmen run the press.
          PM and President are helpless. That is why they see otherway around.
          And Niladhrariwadaya is very powerful in every institution.

    • 10
      3

      Much is said to have done to open and introduce speciall courts, but nothing seems to

      be tangible in terms of punishing HIGH criminals ?

      What is standing on their way ? What has NEWLY elected JUSTICE minister THalala Athukorala achieved ?

      Why cant the systems work as is the case in Europe ? if so called politicians do the work making the systems and reforms adequately ?

      Why WIMAL weerawanse stay STILL SCOT free, if PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE to put him in jail is AVAILABLE ?

      Why Rajakashe and their sons stay scot free, given the fact that Thadjudeen case evidence are on the table.
      FORMER JMO and their man who spent months in jail Police inspector.. are silent today, we dont hear anything.
      If MY brother would have BEEN tortured that way, I would BECOME A SUICIDE BOMBER of the Rajapakshe family no matter, my life would have been taken away.

      Why the let festated wounds to stay wihtout being provided the proper care ?

      None of those men in Rajapkshe family should be allowed to go out of country.
      But recently, bastard 3 sons were seen in Moscow… to have travelled out to see it around, whose money has been that.. if not grabed funds taken shamellessly by former THAKKDIYA Rajapkshe… abuse today for their own comfortalbe life style.
      These men had nothing at the begining, but today, curse should be with them to have abused it to the core.

      • 3
        7

        Babalathappu
        Establishing an Special Court exclusively to hear cases against political opponents itself is a violation of their rights to be treated as equal citizens.
        This government which is corrupt to the core but enjoys impunity has no right to establish Special Courts to punish others. They should first hear cases against their own buddies to set an example.
        UNP’s official twitter acting as the spokesman for the Special Court is legally and factually sufficient to rename it as the Special Bias Court.

        • 6
          2

          Champa the blind and deaf,
          “They should first hear cases against their own buddies to set an example.”
          Haven’t you heard that Ravi K resigned? There is a case against Mahendran.
          Your God Rajapaksa’s PM got caught with a container of drugs. Did he resign? Lanza got caught with drugs and your God himself saved him. Where have you been, braying herbivore?

          • 0
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            Raman
            If you have forgotten, that is the reason people voted against Mahinda in 2015 January.
            Ranil and Sirisena came into power promising to eliminate corruption, bribes and drugs. Have they done that?
            Instead of eliminating they themselves and their Ministers engaged in more corruption than their predecessors “said to have” done.
            PM has personally intervened to secure a massive loan from the BOC to Aloysius’s company PTL to purchase CB bonds which PTL later sold to government at a very high interest.
            Ravi K’s wife was bribed by Aloysius with a super luxury penthouse and a merc or some other luxury car. No action was taken against them but the government filed a case against Wimal for his wife’s house which apprently has been taken about 7- 8 years to build.
            The Godfathers of Democracy and Good Governance didn’t deal with 118 MPs who reportedly have received bribes from Aloysius.
            Moreover COPE members whose job was to scrutinize the accounts of government corporations and statutory bodies have accepted bribes from Aloysius while they examine the bond scam case.
            Every sale, lease and purchase undertaken by this government comes with an attractive commission which invalidates the same accusation against their predecessors.
            I wish to make this clear. Politicians breed corruption all over the world. Our fellows are not an exemption. But Yahapalanaya duo promised to eradicate corruption, bribes and drug business. At the time people were fed up with some issues related to previous government, so they readily voted for a true change. Therefore, Yahapalanaya government has no ethical right to engage in corruption. Ranil and Maithree despicably deceived voters. They took advantage of vulnerable voters.
            At the next Presidential election, the usage of the word democracy should be banned. That is what makes people go for stupid choices.

            • 0
              1

              Champa,
              “PM has personally intervened to secure a massive loan from the BOC to Aloysius’s company PTL to purchase CB bonds which PTL later sold to government at a very high interest.”
              You seem to know a lot about this bond business.
              Will you tell us at what interest rate the bonds were sold, and to whom?
              Was the BOC loan paid back, and when? Since when is it a crime to make a profit?
              If you cannot tell us the above details, you are lying. Don’t tell us to read the report.
              “Ravi K’s wife was bribed by Aloysius “
              Ravi resigned. Did the crook Sangiliwansa resign after building a house which he couldn’t have financed himself?
              This govt DOES investigate its own people. Your God Mahinda didnt. That is improvement enough.

              • 0
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                Raman
                About bond business – check the CT archives for my replies. I did it for old codger too. I am not going to do it again.
                Wimal is facing a court case. There is no reason for him resign as he is not guilty. Is there a court case against Ravi? He didn’t resign from his MP post. Resignation is proof that he accepted that he was guilty. He swapped his ministerial position with a long term jail term. Smart, don’t you think?
                “This govt DOES investigate its own people.” Really? Name one.

                • 0
                  1

                  Champa ,
                  “About bond business – check the CT archives for my replies.”
                  Same old story is it? Your usual escape line, since you actually know nothing but keep repeating other’s lies. Those are very simple questions, and don’t need more than 3 sentences to reply.
                  ““This govt DOES investigate its own people.” Really? Name one.” ARJUNA MAHENDRAN . OK? Ravi’s involvement came out in a Govt investigation. Did your God MR do anything even close to this? What was your BF wimal doing when Jayaratna the PM got caught with a whole container of heroin?

                  • 0
                    0

                    raman
                    Your questions about bond scam may be simple but my replies were not simple. Everything I said were supported by evidence. I am not your mother to do your homework. There is no way I repeat same replies for the third time.
                    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D Arjun Mahendran? Ha ha ha when did they investigate about him? They are still talking to his ghost. Your government let him flee the country as, if he opens his mouth, the FCID has to arrest the PM. Oh no, not FCID. Arjun Mahendran’s case, I think, is not handled by FCID. If they did, then the big boss of the FCID has to make only one phone call to Singapore Intelligence to bring Mahendran down.
                    Ravi’s penthouse bribe case didn’t come out as a result of an investigation against him. It came to the surface only after a side kick of Aloysius spilled the beans to tighten the grip on Aloysius. It was like a hunter shooting the bush not knowing a bunny is hiding there. That was how Ravi, the bunny, got caught.
                    To correct the story, the container of heroin didn’t belong to former PM, D.M. Jayaratne. The businessman who pretended to be a good man has deceived the former PM (or his son) to get a letter from the former PM to expedite the clearance of the container. When he issued the letter, the former PM was not aware that it contained heroin. Politicians issue such letters based on trust and it is common.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Champa the blind,
                      “:D :D :D :D :D :D :D Arjun Mahendran? Ha ha ha when did they investigate about him?”
                      Mahendra gave evidence at the COI. Because he was under investigation. Are you denying that it happened? Even you can’t be that stupid. Admit when you are wrong.

              • 0
                1

                Mr. Raman,
                Don’t waste your time arguing with paid trolls. This Chump will never admit that he/she is wrong, and keeps repeating the same old lies. She ran away from oldcodger’s questions.
                You know donkeys will always bray.

                • 0
                  0

                  LAC3 (rtd) Buddhadasa
                  Why should I admit I am wrong when I am NOT? You guys have been trying to do that since January 2015 but failed. Aren’t you tired of doing that?
                  Old codger’s questions were duly answered with concrete facts. Check the archives.
                  “You know donkeys will always bray.” Yep. Thank you for admitting. Your braying is helpful to Raman. I should remember to keep my dumbrella with me as it can be stupid out there today.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Champa,
                    “Old codger’s questions were duly answered with concrete facts. Check the archives.”
                    Repeating lies will not make them true. You NEVER answered my questions. Show me the links if you did. I am challenging you.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Champa is well and truly cornered. He can only talk about non-existent archives. I have never seen any explanation about bonds by Champa.The bugger should admit he knows nothing about bonds. Stop acting like a child. This is an adult forum.

        • 1
          1

          This court in not exclusively to charge political opponents but to deal with major financial and other crimes. If the previous govt had major criminals who abused power murdering innocent civilians and looting the state their cases will be taken.

        • 1
          1

          Champa,

          we dont have much to share even if you compellingly come after us. You are a person who would know nothing but to cover former goons for some reasons.

          The should have been that they pay you millions. Ballige puthas should be hung by their balls for all what they have deliberately done this country.
          Bullock cart is driven by Wimal weeranswas the bulldog, keeping most abusive lanken extremist in the wagon. Day before yesterday people in Ambilitpiyta had to clim on tree and ask the bugger former Mafia king to pay a visit their temple. There what revealed was… Ballige putha just abused the grass eaters in those villages but cold bloodedly denied to come telling a lie.
          And the fact that DEBATE on Newyork times article which was 1000000000000% provable one to categorically say that bugger et al, abused his power also going beyond all the high margins.. meaning pawning the country as if it was his own property, was just neglected, This country PUNNAKKU eating majority represented by you and the like minded representatives, … would never be able to sense it.. filtering good from the bad.
          People are made slaves for their mantra. what kind education have you obtained Champa ?I DO BELIEVE it cantbe even entire schooling as your bed partner Wimal weeranse is claimed tobe right ?
          You th ekin do people are a curse to this country.

          • 0
            1

            Babalathappu
            What you say in you comment better applies to you. No reply is necessary.
            You people cannot write two sentences without malice. For your information disgust is highly linked to political orientation. That is where you are.
            By the way, why did Ranil go to Thirupathy temple? Do you have anything to say about him relying on the blessings of Mahinda’s god (remember?) in order to survive for the next 15 months?

      • 1
        0

        Babalathappu:

        “What is standing on their way ?”

        This should give you an indication:
        “The Court of Appeal today extended the stay order issued on the FCID, preventing it from taking action on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa under the Public Property Act, until July 3. “.

        “Justice Eva Wanasundera has declined to be a member of the Bench hearing the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa seeking an order preventing his arrest over ongoing investigations.”

        When a system is corrupt within: this is the easiest way to get a case thrown out.
        “Speaking to the Sunday Observer, a senior official at the Bribery Commission said that the stay order by the Court of Appeal was the result of a ‘legal hitch’.”

      • 1
        0

        Babala
        It is uncontrollable vicious hatred in the hearts of people like you which has made this democracy dysfunctional. The author is talking about our post independence 70yrs, not the Rajapaksa period you idiot.
        Soma

    • 7
      1

      Democracy has nothing do with uncivlized unethical folks.

      Most in my country would not even respect the thoughts of the other.
      They just shake the tail for anyone that could stand by them.
      Anything and everything depend on how much the politicians would do if they would ahve been brought to power.
      People have not the least disipline respecting to prevailing law and orders.
      Bus drivers kill hundreds daily not being able to comply with the guidlines they should long have been aware of.
      Doctors go on strike, knowing without their assistance numbers of poor people could die or worsen their health.
      They point the finger only at POliticians, but most of the ones in hospitals, law ful bodies and other professional bodies are all HIGHLY corrupted as nothing can easily turn them. Top to the bottom would make every effort grab anything in favour of them
      No repsect to the laws, laws that arein action are SHAKY. We need GALLOW to be in place so that we can teach them a lession.

      God bless srilanka.

    • 5
      0

      Upatissa Pethiyagoda asks

      “Are We A Dysfunctional Democracy?”

      Its a tyranny of noisy minority.

      • 0
        0

        NV , you mean Tamil racists?
        (Mind you, Sinhala racists fall into the majority.)
        Soma

        • 2
          0

          somass

          “Mind you, Sinhala racists fall into the majority”

          Nopes Majority Sinhalese are not racists they are just plain stupid.
          It is the noisy Sinhala/Buddhist fascist minority that is vicious, bigoted, dangerous, insanely criminal, murderous, …………. that has been actively determining the course of this island towards its destruction.

          You should know because you are one of them or shall we say an active card carrying bigoted member.

    • 6
      0

      Late Rev. our hero Sobitha thero already warned that GOOD governance would and could end up in all depths.

      That is the result by date.We cant by going to Wanni, to ask the people to behave well. So ist eh case with good governance to lanken majority folks. Good governance cant be the instrument for a nation whose majority would not even know WHAT exactly.: GOOD GOVERNANCE MEANS- THEY CANT differentiate good from bad… those who climbed to a tree not knowing that their so called BELOVED leaders abusing them, … cant know it better.

    • 0
      0

      Never mind the article. Look at the picture CT has planted for this article. Read those faces. Any good vibes … ?

    • 1
      0

      The problem with Srilankans are drenched with 5 Precepts/10 Precepts so it goes.
      From the day they were born they were fed with these good deeds.
      Never to speak ill of others , never to have ill thoughts, never to consume substance that can be harmful to your thoughts, etc, etc.
      But they do the opposites of all Precepts.
      The fear of Lord Buddhas sermons have a lasting effects in their thoughts if they happen to fail to observe , as we know bad karma will follow even when they hide under their beds.
      Never to speak bad about Modamulla family & Co crimes committed. If they speak either they will be fed to Sharks or White Vanned. Actually .
      These Precepts are a curse to the country I guess.
      The country can never progress as long as the crimes are hidden under the carpet.
      The President ,The Primeminister , and the Law and Order of the country remains Inefficient.

  • 15
    2

    Democracy, Buddhism, Justice, Human Rights etc these are all soothing words, they will be just words that mean nothing without substance.

    Sri Lanka is a Democracy – Really?
    Sri Lanka is a Buddhist Country – Hell NO
    Sri Lanka has a fair Justice system – Dream ON
    Sri Lanka respects Human Rights – Sounds funny.

    • 5
      0

      “Democracy ensures the right of jackals to elect jackasses to Parliament” . It’s the other way around, actually. The jackals are in Parliament.
      ” Several movements such as the “Gam Udawa” and “Gamperaliya” are attracting attention as alternatives to a negligent State sector.”
      Let’s not forget Gammedda, which takes up much of Sirasa’s alleged News slot, which has become a platform for pushing the agenda of Killi Maharajah. It is interesting to see the bunch of two-timers in this alternative universe, from Sri Ranga through Dr. DJ and Azath Salley to Faraz the Oxford – accented expert on evreything.

    • 4
      6

      BURTY the CArtoon character: You are a typical Tamil, talk from every end. Earlier you said, Sri lanka, eventhough a buddhist country, the other religions are also predominent. Now you say something else. Why did no you establish Tamil eelam in UK, HOng Kong or in Tamilnadu where you are not welcome ?

      • 4
        2

        Jim the Dimwit.

        “Earlier you said, Sri lanka, eventhough a buddhist country”
        You being unable to understand English is not my problem. Go read what I wrote. If you still cannot understand read the post below that.

        Seriously read the crap you have written above and see whether you can understand,

    • 4
      1

      Lanken peoples have been hoodwinked by a family who knows nothing but to do so.

      Lanken majorities have no idea about as to why the former govt was defeated.

      Today, not much is in air – about the high profile frauds Mahinda Jarapakshe et al deliberately made during his high days.

      1) Media prostitutitues are run by THEIR MEN, so peope stay in dark.

      PM HAS REITERATED IT NOT ONCE SEVERAL TIMES; THAT MEDIA HAS BEEN OFFERED REQUESTED FREEDOM; BUT THEY HAVE NOT STARTED SEEING IT RIGHT

      2) There are development program across the country, but none of them are captured by local papers, since they work according to the agenda work of former goons

      3) Health sector has achieved all the high values, even if Taxes have been increased to PAY off the HIGH loans taken by former MAFIA BOSS et al

      4) At least to some extent, investigations move forward today than any time before in the country
      5) Elections have not been held to please the govt the UNANIMOUS stance as was the case with former goons

      6) Only what we have not SEEN is THOSE GRABED funds in billions havestill been protected or just ignored by govt yet. We hope the systems would work better in the days to come.

    • 4
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      Dr. U.P. having having thought and meditated till eternity, has blurted out the plain truth the blatant way. For every word he has uttered, there are a million endorsements. Yet nothing will happen till a HITLER appears as the inevitable messiah. The country waits to be drenched, not with rain or anything benign.

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      Those developing countrie that abuse deomcratic elections brring more harm to their own folks. They come to power but do not even 10% of what they pledged in campaingns.
      We need SOCIAL DEMOCRACY to our style of folks. Reason, people would not see good governance so long they have been made to believe the principles. It is like introducing good governance to uncivilized afro tribes for exmaple. Kenya and Angola have come forward to bring highways, but their leaders never focus the upliftments of poor peoples lives before going to do so. Poor people that would not earn 2 dollars a day, behave today as if poor far poor indian PEOPLE indian movies produced in New york or Switzerland. Meaning people are taken to delusions… and let them down as nothing can help them further.
      Our people should work with politicians closely
      Press freedom should not be abused the way it has reached today.
      NOTHING comein lanken news but about Rajapakshes. why ? Sinc ethoese BUSINESS MEN ARE PAID by hidden forces left by Rjaakashe men

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        Samson Gunawardhana ~ “……….It is like introducing good governance to uncivilized afro tribes for exmaple……”.

        Did any of the ‘afro tribes’ ever corral fellow tribes into a sliver of land and bombed the hell out?

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    I visualize that all these ills stem from the fact that our democracy is used not elect the trustees of authority but to elect a set plunderers who amass wealth. All the aberrations mentioned in the article describing the landscape of Sri Lanka stem from this unchecked abuse. In fact a doddering old lady once described what prevails in Sri Lanka is “Pagathanthrawadaya”. When the values of the average voter, who is also impoverished, go down this is what we get. On the other hand the choice the people have in electing a person for a given position is almost nothing. Choose between rogues, that is the duty that we electors have got to do during the election day.

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      We the people must blame ourselves. The people elect representatives who are like themselves. I am afraid our people are largely selfish and far from honest, with no real commitment to honesty as an intrinsic moral value. they value honesty only where it is expedient. .

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        Raja Senanayake
        A very sensible comment. I fully agree with you.
        If we are prepared to really reform and correct ourselves the corrupt politicians amongst us will disappear and so will the humbug god forsaken religions we follow.

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    In the picture “The Three” are taking a “VOW” to stage the next “Episode” of “King Courts of Kekille”. I saw the “Dress Rehearsal” performance by key actors among whom were, Wimal, Vasu, Gammanpila, yesterday at the Open Air theater at Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo. In attendance, were the “Buddhist Monks” who follow these “PIOUS ACTORS” and “Train” them to “PERFORM” as shown in the picture attached to this article.

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      Douglas Man

      “In the picture “The Three” are taking a “VOW” to stage the next “Episode” of “King Courts of Kekille”.

      Were King Kekille and his courtiers crooks, war criminals, foreigners, …. Hitlers avatars blessed by monks?

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        NV:
        Sounds like Sri Lanka is Buddha’s cruel joke.

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          Burt

          “Sounds like Sri Lanka is Buddha’s cruel joke.”

          Actually Sinhala/Buddhists believe Buddha is their cruel joke.

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    Dr Upatissa Pethiyagoda, I am right behind you. Please lead.

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    One of best depiction of Sri Lankan democracy .
    It’s Hypocracy not democracy we have in Sri Lanka ..
    People can no longer to pay the bills and buy good .
    People are suffering a lot and still Mps ‘ve pay hikes.
    After all 50% of them do not have GCSE ..
    What a life with public money ?
    Sri Lankan democracy is going to Hell soon.

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    Ideal democracy is not found anywhere.
    Democracy is associated with elections. The elected lawmakers must be held accountable, must not enjoy any form of impunity. Law and order is a prerequisite. This is possible if and only if there is an independent law enforcement agency – this includes Police, Prosecutors, Judiciary.
    In a democratic country every citizen must be protected by the state irrespective of political views held.
    The above mentioned are few of the attributes.
    .
    Lanka satisfies the election part and even here the money spent campaigning is far far high. The reason is the campaigning is not on substance but are basically cheating. For example the recent claim to convert Colombo into a New Dubai is being sold.
    The lawmakers are able to jump fences for personal benefits. The people perceive candidates as investors to reap returns through pillage. Lawmakers do deliver this obnoxious expectation! A culture of corruption/nepotism/impunity has become part of governing and this has eroded the ‘Law and Order’. The lawmakers have guided the people away from secularism.
    .
    To cut a long story short the democracy in Lanka is chronically dysfunctional.
    Can it be put right. Yes yes yes. The dysfunctional arms and limbs are known.
    .
    The democracy in for example Iraq, Libya is kept dysfunctional by external forces. We achieved the dysfunction on our own. How? That is a narrative on its own.

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    Sri Lankan SB’s are genetically flawed.

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    Sri Lanka is facing a constitutional crisis. Its 43rd Chief Justice, a woman who had been on the
    Supreme Court for 14 years, has been removed by the country’s parliament and president, in
    contravention of an unequivocal ruling by Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal. President Mahinda Rajapaksa
    has chosen as Chief Justice Bandaranayake’s replacement a lawyer who has spent several years serving
    the Government of Sri Lanka, most recently as Attorney-General and legal advisor to the cabinet.
    Meanwhile, people opposed to her removal have suffered harassment, intimidation and threats of
    death from persons unknown. This follows years of executive encroachment into the judicial sphere
    and a series of assaults, abductions and murders committed against critics of the government that
    have been rarely investigated and never prosecuted.

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    LMAO. Really some people have to learn to relate to reality. Is “Are We A Dysfunctional Democracy?” even a question to ask? The relevant question is “Are we a democracy at all?” or “Do we know what democracy is?” . Sri Lankans (all ethnicities, but particularly the Sinhalese) have totally misunderstood what democracy is. Sri Lankan politicians use and exploit the socalled democracy as a meal ticket and use it to fill their pockets, using a whole range of secondary henchmen and gangs. Except for a handful of good souls, all politicians, bureaucrats, officials in the tax department, customs and all departments, police, army, navy, air force, lawyers, judges, even journalists – i.e virtually every one is CORRUPT. I can write good many pages with examples of how much one has to struggle here with these corrupt vultures who demand not just a few lakhs or millions, but crores of rupees as bribes and when refused to pay any bribe, how they come with threats. If we are ever going to have even a slightly functional democracy we as citizens should first start with ourselves, and as a principal we should never give a single cent in bribes to anyone.There should be zero tolerance for bribes, then everything else will start to fall to place. I have never ever given a single cent in bribes to anyone in my life, and I will never ever give any bribes to anyone ever, whatever the consequences are. So pleasssee, before we can even utter the word democracy we have to start cleaning up the corruption and thuggery in the whole Sri Lankan system of officials, bureaucrats and politicians, otherwise we will soon live in a mafia run state.

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      Punchi Point with punchi brain, very punchi willi

      “Except for a handful of good souls, all politicians, bureaucrats, officials in the tax department, customs and all departments, police, army, navy, air force, lawyers, judges, even journalists – i.e virtually every one is CORRUPT. “

      Is it because you believe “This island is the island of the Sinhalese.” as you typed elsewhere, (Black July – Haunting Memories August 3, 2018)?

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    We have too many MPs already. The racist Tamils want to separate the country and want to have even more M.P. we can assign our leader Maha Ven Gnanasara to oversea the entire Tamil area, this will solve half of the problems.

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    Upatissa Pethiyagoda “Are We A Dysfunctional Democracy?”

    I would go one step further and say that Sri Lanka is a dysfunctional Nation.
    (Some may argue Sri Lanka is one country two nation, a Tamil Nation and Sinhala Nation, lets park that aside for the time being.)
    Sri Lanka as a Nation consisting of Sinhalease, Tamils, Muslims etc is dysfunctional.
    As I said sometime back in another blog here in CT , the democratic process is only an eye wash to fool the International Community. As Zimbabwe has done in the recently concluded election
    For the last 70 years the politicians have been fooling the Nation and looting the Nation. Today the country is in its last legs. There is no judiciary, there is no law and order, there is no press freedom, there is no economy there is no money….
    So the question is why are the Sri Lankans a dysfunctional lot

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    I am not surprised to see the comments especially of Punchi and Leela, Most of us know that we do not have any Democracy or socialism as the title states. What we have is a SHAM government/democrracy from the time of independence. But our cunning and dirty politicians have found ways to use race and religion to keep this going. If “divide and rule” had helped the British it is further improvised by our politicians in the name of religion and race. The retarded public seems to enjoy this crap even after 70 years of independence. In the mean time the country has hit the bottom so low there is no point of return.There is no more “wake up calls” . Country has been “put to sleep” for good.

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    Native Vedda: You asked: “Were King Kekille………….blessed by monks”. I have never heard or seen “SLAVES” offering “BLESSINGS” to their “MASTERS”. Instead, those “SLAVES” (in saffron attire and others in “National Dress”) pay “HOMAGE” in return for “BOUNTIES”. If I am wrong correct me please.

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      Douglas Man
      Thanks

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    Nice picture with two dogs wearing red “Amuda Lensuwa” (loin cloth) around their neck displaying utter uncouthness while the one in the middle reflecting on mass graves, killings, white vans, disappearances of liberal civilians, massacre of Welikada prison.

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      Nimal

      Medamulana warlords idiotic morons planning the next move.
      Our Sinkhala village uneducated rascals still believes in there spin talk.

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      Dr Gota refuses to take on the Rajapakse family attire. …he is always seen in western clothes in public.

      I understand this is due to his legacy as a cash till operator in the USA with 7/11 outlet.
      He dreads that the attire may get caught in the cash till when it opens and shuts in a flash.. Perhaps he is mindful that that the day may come when he have to return to operating the cash till

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    Dr U.P. – Kindly make sure the whole world knows that you yourself was a “Political Appointee” to an Ambassador post under the 1994 Regime and spend a good 4+ years in the comfort of an European Democracy.

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    Our president must see the possibility to regain executive powers, which he sacrificed after assuming office, depriving people an opportunity to clean the whole political arena.

    JR abrogated JVP, most probably on wrong charges related to black July 83 in very deceptive way.

    Why can’t president MS to be creative enough to draw a master plan to make a revolution?

    President MS came to power as a common candidate shedding/weakening his own bond with his party.
    Now he has to do away with UNP or RW for the sake of the country even though they supported his coming to power..

    Taking into the consideration the present corrupt to the core nature of 2 main parties; he could in a tactful way abrogate both the UNP & SLFP & parties aligned to them & deprive the civic rights of all the mainstream politicians of the said parties & form a genuine party to grab power.

    You are still not late sir.

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    ” There is a U-tube doing the rounds, of a retired Indian Superior Courts judge who recommends that the whole Lok Sabha be hanged ! This maybe going a bit too far – in our society which cannot agree that even unrepentant Drug Mafia Kingpins should suffer capital punishment. “
    As usual, this is a writing to claim or portray his superiority, his enlightened mind. I would ask readers if they had read this guy’s biography, if he had written about him serving in foreign mission. He, consciously, could not take any (a) side because that will hurt his priestly, pious look. He tactically stayed out of mentioning not even one single incident of wrong political decision of the Lankawe political parties’ history.
    He is against Universal Franchise or Freedom or Both. (Me too, but readers know that is completely on a different ground, that intention is not seeking to become another Anagarika Dharmapalan). He mentioned State Council as the only useful government existed. But, he did not attempt to explain his theory on that because he knows that is where the problems started, though Sinhalese government was under the British guidance. Behind the scene Sinhala leaders were preparing for Sinhala Only. SWRD moved from his Federal Government proposal. That is where the universal Franchise kicked in, i.e. every Modayas get a Biriyani Parcel, Arrack sip and one vote. Racial riots started. It was that time, the future of Ceylon was being written on the stone wall with Red Ink “Dragon”.

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    He is against Constitutional reform. He wants the JR’s Sinhala Buddhists EP to stay. After mentioning the State Council, he is just hiding the 70 years of the war history of Lankawe. He is further trying to ignore any minorities living in Ceylon. Though he is against Constitutional reform, he makes slick escape from the debate. He is comparing how much the people don’t want the constitutional change as much to “Belt and Road initiatives”. That is extremely difficult to infer anything from such and idiotic baffling. What is clear is he is from the gang of Old Royal Extremist Sinhala Buddhist Propagandist. He is trying to build from last LG election, but without explaining anything to the Sinhala Modayas of his idea.

    He is against devolution. We know 13A is JR’s idea. But he likes JR’s EP. What he likes is Sirimavo style elections. “Just cry in front of the Sinhala Buddhist Modayas. Then promise them Fertilizer is coming from the Moon.” If somebody’s pot would blast off while boiling fertilizer for their dinner, Bar-B-Que them in 4th floor. That is a theory from a man who spent his life wining and dining in Italian run Mafia entertainment centers.

    What he trying to tell Modayas is he is an impartial analyzer. (He wants to have the 13A abolished, War victory consolidated; JR’s EP preserved. His extremism is beyond Old Royals). These are the rogues, who confuse the Sinhala Modayas and utilize them on their power ladder. Their major concern is, Modaya is going to understand the politics. “Feed him with the fertilizer. Tamil man would escape with Constitutional change or devolution. Hang that drug smuggler with Delhi’s help”.

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    Donald Trump keeps threatening Free Media. Increased hostility towards CNN because they refuse to be like FoxNews. FoxNews is like ITN, a propaganda bile duct for Trump and spreads lies and hate. But his base LOVE HIM. Mostly low IQ whites and Evangelical fanatics. They will make sure he wins in 2020.

    But those boot licking US Embassy buggers like Keshap or Hilton CANNOT and and SHOULD NOT preach or dictate anything about free media or HR to Sri Lanka because Trump is a one-man Dictatorship in the making. Matter of time before journalists get attacked. And then US will become like Russia. Already they threaten journalists at Trump rallies . Trump calls media “enemy of the people” .

    What the hell is US trying to preach? Family bandyism is running amok in US. Corruption? At new heights. All good work done by Obama dismissed with executive orders. He is a one man show. MR nor Sirisena attacked the media like Trump does. Remember how Keshap and US Embassy promoted GAY rights during Obama? Even supported Gay pride and Ramadan. No more. Pence who will become their President in 2024 is anti gay and hates gays. New Secretary of State Pompeo opposes Gay marriage and is a religious christian fanatic too. So now US is singing a different tune in Colombo. US is run by a demented third world madman like Idi Amin now.

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      Ashein
      The contents of the last para of your comment can be applied with validity with regard to our Big Brother neighbor too, with it’s Idi Amin like BJP’s Hindutva PM Modi and a demented Pompey like Hindu fanatic cow vigilante crook Amit Sha as his sidekick.

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    I agree with the sentiments expressed by the writer. The Provincial Councils and local bodies are full of rogues, rapists & drug dealers and a heavy burden imposed on the people of Sri Lanka. The party leaders have agreed to hold the next Provincial Council election under the Proportional Representation system, when the need is to get back to the first past the post system to reduce the cost of elections, minimize the cost and increase the representation of women under a constituency system.

    Can you expect the Republicans & Democrats or the Conservative & Labour parties to form a functional government ? The crazy concept of a unity government with SLFP & UNP Ministers has resulted in a Dysfunctional Government.

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    I heard Arjun Aloesius’s Conjugal visits brings Phones and other things inside the Prison.

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      Dimwit:
      Here is another one of your Buddhist pillars. Disgrace to the country.
      “The Attorney General’s (AG) Dept had filed the indictments against the two accused for allegedly misappropriating Rs 21 million, following an allegedly fraudulent Share transaction that took place between September 26, 1996 and October 23, 1997. The AG further charged that the alleged business transaction had taken place using a fraudulent PoA to sell Shares belonging to Brian Shaddick.”

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    My only new year wish for every year is when the next Tsunami comes that year, The parliament in full session be washed into the sea. That and a system change will sove all the problems. UNP got only 46 seats. How come they establish a majority govt. So, went to a dysfunctionl Yahapalanaya of whom the first task was emptying the govt banks that had been emptied by Rajapakses and cohorts.

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    Sri Lankan parliament is not functioning democratically. Police, Judiciary, Military is politicized. The Buddhist Clergy plays a major rule in deciding the fate of Sri Lanka.
    The human rights violations, corruption, bribery and other crimes committed by Sri Lankan Parliamentarians.
    The failure of Government’s commitments to UNHRC will be taken up in 2019. Tamils just demand are neglected: Enough is enough. Tamils now demand a separate for their safety and survival in the Island. Sri Lanka: One Island Two Nations. Tamil Nation and Sinhalese Nation.
    Government Sponsored, Institutionalized Systematic Pogroms Against the Tamils in Sri Lanka
    https://www.academia.edu/36663347/Government_sponsored.docx

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    Sri Lankan should understand this: We went to war we couldn’t afford. The results: corruption follows war, economic hardships follows war, it happen in every country, how can we escape it. We are one of the poorest countries. We thrive on agriculture. Whether is getting more and more unfriendly to agriculture.next drought with heightened global warming will kill because of high temperature. These facts should be understood by trade unions and General educated public. But everyone so far ignores it.

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    SL is a vibrant Democracy and periodic peaceful changes of Government have taken place via the ballot and not the bullet or coups since independence unlike some other countries in the Region. As to whether it’s functional or not is a mute point. Functionality may be what one makes of it. Over the years, Politicians of varying colours, backgrounds and motives elected by the Voters have held sway chartering the destiny of the country. The results are plain to see. They are not something of which Sri Lankans can be proud of, in general, which ever way one looks at it.
    It is the legislature that enacts laws. It’s upto the appropriate relevant Authorities to ensure laws are followed and offenders are prosecuted and if found guilty, punished. It may be these mechanisms do not function as they should due to various influences etc. Some laws may be for the good of the country while others may be to achieve personal agendas. By nature, humans are selfish.While some (minority of them) take to Politics to serve the country and its People others (majority of them) do so for selfish reasons. Most are there to make hay while the sun shines. The opinion as to which category each Politician falls into, will vary depending on who one talks to as each person will have one’s own opinion and one’s own standards by which it’s measured.
    Most Politicians in SL have been corrupt to varying degrees, as is the case with Politicians in other Democracies. But in the last couple of years (especially 2005 to 2014), it is apparent such corruption and general decay of standards (moral and otherwise) had fallen to the lowest ever depths, ever experienced in the post independence era of SL, mostly due to the examples set by the Leaders of the time. It was on the verge of being converted to a ‘Dictatorship’ and/ or ‘Family Rule’.

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      Gamini,
      If democracy is about elections and changing governments you are right Srilankan is vibrant democracy. However once the elected governments failed its objectives of maintaining law and order and justice system it becomes dysfunctyional.If I say, since the rule of governance changed from British to Srilankan it became dysfunctional because since then the deciding factor in elections are ethnicity, religion and money.
      If democracy should become functional, people should have the option to elect and reject the leaders when the leaders fail. One of the important factor that helps to maintain vibrant democracy is independent justice system. Justice system should have more powers than elected President or Mrime Minister.

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      Gamini

      “As to whether it’s functional or not is a mute point. “

      Did you mean mute or moot point?

      You are fudging the main issue.
      You haven’t dealt with chronic widespread human rights violation in this island which has been prevalent in this island from 5th April 1971 to date. If the state is unable to provide safety and security for its citizens and respect them as human being and protect their personal and common assets it is not just a Dysfunctional Democracy but a failed state.

      Those who get elected to offices and appointed as state functionaries believe their job is the license to rob the country of its meagre wealth and resources.

      A vibrant democracy must have many elements that complement each other in enhancing vibrancy. A cursory glance at leading Sinhala English media alone shows what plebs we have become since mid 1950s. Those who own these media outlet are suppose to inform, educate and entertain their readership/listeners, … and strive to dig deep to find truth.

      Instead for known and unknown reasons every media outlet strives to please one party or another, those who enjoy absolute power, the war criminals, defend false patriotism, avoid informed debate, ………… and wave the lion flag in order to show their false patriotism, go along with lies, ……… Lies are being repeated often enough hoping it will turn into truth sometime in the future.

      Sri Lanka is a sad case of failed state though regular elections are being held, no war however there is no peace either, people aren’t peace at themselves, ………. it provide plenty of opportunities for the rulers and functionaries to steal and keep the country in limbo which help the crooks free of justice.

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    Gamini

    “As to whether it’s functional or not is a mute point. “

    Did you mean mute or moot point?

    You are fudging the main issue.
    You haven’t dealt with chronic widespread human rights violation in this island which has been prevalent in this island from 5th April 1971 to date. If the state is unable to provide safety and security for its citizens and respect them as human being and protect their personal and common assets it is not just a Dysfunctional Democracy but a failed state.

    Those who get elected to offices and appointed as state functionaries believe their job is the license to rob the country of its meagre wealth and resources.

    A vibrant democracy must have many elements that complement each other in enhancing vibrancy. A cursory glance at leading Sinhala English media alone shows what plebs we have become since mid 1950s. Those who own these media outlet are suppose to inform, educate and entertain their readership/listeners, … and strive to dig deep to find truth.

    Instead for known and unknown reasons every media outlet strives to please one party or another, those who enjoy absolute power, the war criminals, defend false patriotism, avoid informed debate, ………… and wave the lion flag in order to show their false patriotism, go along with lies, ……… Lies are being repeated often enough hoping it will turn into truth sometime in the future.

    Sri Lanka is a sad case of failed state though regular elections are being held, no war however there is no peace either, people aren’t peace at themselves, ………. it provide plenty of opportunities for the rulers and functionaries to steal and keep the country in limbo which help the crooks free of justice.

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    Dear Mr Pethiyagofa
    A most engaging article. Could you spare a further minute on the following: (surely I must be lacking in my understanding somewhere.)

    In our democracy, for that matter in any Westminster style democracy, people as individuals or groups are free to express their opinion on any subject , issue or bill being debated in the house of representatives EXCEPT those representatives themselves in the Parliament! If they do they are likely to lose their parliamentary membership. Right? Even in so called advanced or ‘functional’ democracies the party top rung set the agenda and others have to vote accordingly in the House. What those debates are for or why at all a vote is taken has puzzled me always. Wouldn’t it have been sufficient only for the party leaders to vote?
    Soma

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