By Emil van der Poorten –
A senior member of the current government, Nimal Siripala de Silva I believe, has recently and on more than one occasion stated without tongue in cheek, that, given the enormous work load of those serving in the largest Cabinet in the world it was an urgent necessity for that Cabinet to be expanded. Also, as a result of being significantly late in making out my Christmas wish list for many prominent people/politicians in this country last year, several of my friends berated me for this unforgiveable sin of omission and have continued to remind me of the necessity of not falling down on the job again. So, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, here I go with my response to the burning need of (my) hour!
However, before I get into the nitty-gritty of coupling my gift list for the year-end festive season and relieving the unbearable pressure under which Cabinet members operate, let me pronounce a couple of caveats:
1) I am not including our “First/Royal Family” on that list for the plain and simple reason that it would not be appropriate for a simple plebe to display the effrontery required in such an exercise
2) If there is any appearance of inappropriate choice in the matter of the gifts – Portfolios – in the case of Ministers of the Crown (I use the term advisedly), I take full responsibility for such dereliction of duty, assuring any aggrieved party of the purity of my intentions.
Now to the task at hand: new Ministries:
1. A Ministry of Vegetable Transport and Exotic Animals. An introductory explanatory note might be in order for this seemingly incongruous combination of areas of responsibility. This is in keeping with the ground-breaking combination of Defence and Urban Development where an element of ethnic cleansing (in Slave Island, in particular) has been very effectively combined with the potential for light rail transit, clean streets, replacement of “foreign” willow trees with “indigenous” hardwoods etc. Our new Minister of Vegetable Transport will have an opening stock of several container loads of the plastic crates, which were previously mandated to be the only receptacles in which our veggies were to be transported. These, I understand, continued to be warehoused, unused, despite the requisite commissions on their purchase having been paid. Suitably modified, these could also be used as restraining devices for the ostriches, which were to be imported for their egg production. They can also to be used as hobbles for the camels that were similarly intended to enhance services to Middle-Eastern tourists, with their milk. In this way, both the camels and the ostriches could be kept in spaces smaller than the Sahara or Arabian deserts, suitably displayed to a public that would love to contribute their mite in the way of a viewing fee so that all Sri Lankans might be provided with this entertainment as well as have an opportunity to appreciate the genius of those serving the country (and themselves) at Cabinet level. The vegetable crates, up-ended, could also be used for sitting on while the Minister and his staff devise new and wonderful schemes to make Sri Lanka the laughing stock of the civilized world.
2. A newly-designated squad of Sons of Politicians with the primary responsibility of ensuring army officers do not act as bodyguards to gambling czars whether or not the latter are supporters of the current government. (An appropriately abbreviated designation will have to be invented for those appointed to such positions) The issue of obituary notices in respect of those “disciplined” by these new Ministers will be the responsibility of the Secretariat serving them. In view of the fact that the career path of Malaka Silva will bring him back as Minister of Education after attending a seat of higher learning overseas, preparations will be commenced to publish a little red book titled “The Sayings of Minister Malaka.”
3. An additional Minister of External Affairs will need to be appointed so that the incumbent may better fulfill his responsibilities as peon to the Crown Prince of our nation. As it is, too much of his time is consumed by more mundane duties such as meetings with other foreign ministers, causing a failure to fulfill his primary function as a glorified “Ayamma” to Him Who is the Designated Heir.
4. While there appears no necessity to add to the ranks of the clutch of ministers from the Dead Left faction of the government, they will be provided more clerical and other assistance given the fact that it is most time-consuming to craft statements which indicate that, while they are opposed to any draconian government proposals “in principle,” they will continue to vote “aye” to them in practice! This should enable them to snap their arms to the vertical position quicker than the old train signals to signify their assent to any fascistic initiative of the government to which they are beholden for their continuing existence.
5. Similar arrangements for support staff for Wimal Weerawansa is proposed. This will enable him to fulfill his responsibilities in the area of re-writing western literary history, making the American Ernest Hemingway into a Frenchman and having a the Frenchman, Guy de Maupassant writing “The Old Man & the Sea.” Yet another assistant will be required to organize Fasts-Unto-Death and helping WW levitate to Disneyland, using his American Express Credit Card while calling for a boycott of all things American. The Minister will also be provided with expert advice to enable an enhancement of his knowledge of how judicial luminaries are able to flagellate themselves as he alleged the Secretary to the Judicial Commission did.
6. The Ministers of Education and Higher Education need to be “twinned” to prove conclusively that The Miracle of Asia can produce more than two idiots to whom to entrust the educational future of a whole nation.
Unfortunately, space does not permit a more comprehensive list of the new, desperately-needed positions required to reduce the unbearable work-load of our existing Cabinet. This will be forthcoming at some future date, unfortunately, not in the foreseeable future.