20 May, 2022

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Debt Trap, Lack Of Accountability & Blunders

By Sunil J. Wimalawansa

Prof Sunil J. Wimalawansa

Sri Lanka—Changing Pillows to Cure Headaches: Debt Trap, Lack of Accountability, and Blunders

Sri Lanka is in a dire economic situation. Printing unlimited money with zero backing with gold will not solve the critical fundamental fiscal problem in Sri Lanka. It only further devalued the currency and fuelled inflation. Over the past two years, the Rajapaksa administration made multiple blunders, including appointing unqualified, uneducated, and unworthy people to critical positions. Examples include ministers, the central bank governor, ambassadors, secretaries of ministries and department heads, and retired military folks with no relevant experience or intellect to head authorities and institutes.

While the intention was to strengthen the power base and control (as dictators do), these have blatantly violated the people’s trust and disgraced the country. Meanwhile, following the enaction of the 20th amendment, the executives went overboard and started exponentially plundering the country like madmen. It is essential to revoke this scoundrel amendment with a two-thirds majority to revere this mishap at the earliest possible and give power back to the parliament. In addition to resigning, the president, at the minimum, should start the process to revoke the disastrous 20th amendment that he pioneered. Then there is no need for a 21st amendment, as the power will automatically be restored to the parliament through the 19th amendment.

Erroneous priorities continue

As per the printed data, instead of resolving economic or other issues, the government prioritised milking our resources out of the country. For example, they are currently pushing to allocate an additional 240+ billion-rupee contract to Access Engineering for non-priority road works and other projects and leasing 21 aircraft for the near-bankrupt national airline. The public must ask, who benefits from this unnecessary massive spending when the people are starving?

With food insecurity and little availability of life-saving medications, cooking gas, or fuel, the government prioritises building highways to nowhere and leasing aircraft. The author will leave the readers to decide whether such are commission-based frauds (e.g., contracts awarded to friends) or utter stupidity? Some politicians and Chinese (also Indians) may prefer the country to declare bankruptcy. That would allow them to purchase or be forced-acquire to additional precious assets (or get them free) in Sri Lanka, as China has successfully done through loan-trap programs in several other counties. It is mind-boggling why successive Sri Lankan administrations have engaged in harmful behaviour damaging the country.

Time to stop selling national assets to make profits for politicians

The government has only a caretaker responsibility. Therefore, no politician, including the president, has any legal or constitutional rights to sell Sri Lankan assets to anyone: these belong to the people. Using the excuse of the dwindling foreign exchange they created and the mentioned restrictions, the government sold national assets mostly secretly that belonged to the Sri Lankan public without their approval; it is planning again to repeat them.

Since these actions were against the current constitution, the assets, and rights that politicians have sold to countries, companies, and individuals may not be legal. Therefore, the country should be able to revoke these deals through the legal system and repossess valuable assets without compensation.

Why suddenly the facemask mandate was removed yesterday?

There are plausible reasons for the sudden removal of the facemask mandate by the temporary health minister the day after his appointment. His motive was nothing more than political. There were zero medical or public health reasons for his directive. Despite his bogus and selfish assurance, protesters must wear facemasks for the entire time they are in gathering. They must protect themselves not only from COVID but also from potential unscrupulous assault by the government.

These calculated actions with hidden agendas include easier identification of protestors of #gohomegota, is and when the president instructs assault on the peacefully protesting crowd. Someone in the sinking ship must have instructed the uninformed health minister to initiate this shrewd but childish and harmful act. The said cunning strategy makes it easier to arrest and prosecute protesters, so demonstrators should not make it easy for the police. Meanwhile, the president lost the mandate to govern given by the public, and he has no right to brag about it now.

Another motive for recommending not to wear facemasks could be to “sacrifice” protesters deliberately to create a new COVID outbreak among them and then use it as an excuse to ban gatherings. Moreover, generating a COVID outbreak would also allow them to return to their illegal forced vaccination program that violates international laws and the constitution and make additional millions of USD profit.

It was a sham by creating the opportunity to import worthless COVID vaccines with no tangible beneficial effects against new SARS-Cov-2 variants. Importing vaccines and useless testing kits have apparently generated over 100% profits in USDs for themselves, partly by fraudulently touting prices and syphon taxpayers’ funds (and illegally selling vaccines in the country, as reported previously): none of these was investigated yet.

Change of direction of the crisis in Sri Lanka and actions needed

There are signs that the government may be trying to initiate violence to justify enforcing a curfew and using the army to disperse protesters and demonstrations brewing across Sri Lankan cities. It is human nature that the possibility of “losing power” corrupts more than the “power itself” and could push them to take desperate and unwise actions that they will regret. Therefore, things can get worse within the next few weeks.

It is critical to prevent the police and the military from confronting protesters at this crossroads. On April 19th, an unjust incident in Nittambuwa was too many and should not be allowed to be repeated. The new Law and Order mister not only failed in his duties to protect the people but also attempted to justify the killing of protesters.

As with the president and the prime minister, health and the law-and-order ministers have also lost confidence and integrity and should resign. If such violence happens again, the whole country must cease working in solidarity until the administration assures that there is no more blood-shedding. In addition, collectively, everyone should stop paying taxes to the government immediately until pertinent issues are entirely resolved.

What protesters must know and adhere to

In this regard, Ex-senior Police officers and Ex-Military officers must come out and take the lead and make appeals to those in active duties (their former colleagues), directly and via social media, not to engage in violence. The message should encompass them to stay in barracks and disobey orders if the government instructs them to engage in violence and kill their siblings, demonstrating against the injustices. There is nothing that IGP, DIGs, or uninformed military commanders can do except for hiding or running out of the country.

Suppose police and soldiers stay in the barracks and do not get out to kill civilians; the evil political clan must step down, irrespective of fragile and razor-thin parliamentary support. It is time to bring justice and fresh, younger blood to the legislature under a “new constitution.” A new parliament with only 60 MPs, including 12 ministers, should be elected under the new constitution. All privileges of elected officials and administrators should be removed, and the wasteful provisional council system should be abolished.

This is the best chance for Sri Lankans. Stay united and do the best for the country and future generations. Continue the ongoing peaceful struggle until the above is accomplished, including re-establishing democracy and a free country.

The next article will discuss lack of security, abuse of power, and regaining credibility.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    Prof Sunil, accurate description of current events and some answers. Just to clarify, it was a sham by creating the opportunity to “Import worthless Made in China , Covid vaccines with no tangible beneficial effects against new SARS -Cov-2 variants”. Recurrence in Covid and panic caused by extreme restrictions in Shanghai and Beijing, supports your statement. Regardless of what you and many other experts report, one retired Prof keeps parroting “there are honey traps but no Chinese debt trap”.

  • 3
    1

    It is good that number of professionals come forward to talk about the corrupted politics of Sri Lanka and how the people were cheated continuous by them and fundamentalists since the independence. They divide the people, they misused the power and money, they violated law and order and finally they made the country and people for bankruptcy. People must throw not only corrupted politicians but also corrupted religious fundamentalists and corrupted racist professionals (Viyathgama) who mislead the people in wrong directions.

  • 1
    1

    You have initiated the economic collapse by expatriating Tamils who were the backbone of SL economy. You hated Indians.
    Now only way out is to sell your country. If you sell to China, India would jump on you. You can only bring Indians like Adani , Ambani etc.
    You forced Indian labourers out of the country and now you invite Indian capitalists.
    SL is a country not blessed lord Buddha but cursed by him since 1983

    • 2
      0

      Tharma,
      Yours is very inconsistent.
      Please look back . Hatreds would not bring us forward. Truth is there are notherners that hate the majority… as well as there are also sinhalese that do the same. What matters is how many of us the sinhalese would do so. I dont think, that many among us would discriminate the tamils and muslims today. However, I believe a portion of the population, get easily caught by the TRICKs being played on them, in election campaigns.
      Gone were the days, that sons of bitchs from all communities misled its nation for their survival politics only. Now with the reality that the youth of the day has been able to stand against the incumbent criminals in power – also being able to convince them, the situation is moving forward much better. Analysts in and out of the country are truly believing in them. Most of them are educated lads and laddettes. Their struggle will bringa change soon,that is crystal clear.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN-OVkUIdLc

  • 2
    0

    Thank you Prof. Wimalawansha, had our so called Professionals done their job properly, things would not have gone that far for sure. Looking back, now, we had a bellyful of hearing all these corruptions. :
    All what Rajapakshes have been doing is make their hay while the sun is shining. They are not human beings with hearts though their yellow pets- as their parade runners, paint the picture them to be real buddhists. Looking back, all these high level money grabs have been done by fooling the stupid masses. How mlechcha someone should be to continue fishing on muddy waters. I was forced to watch several videos of poor of the poor in the country – that live in UVA, Central and other provinces as well.

    • 2
      0

      Yes Leelagemali
      Several of us engage in philanthropic activities in remote villages in Sri Lanka for many years, hing families to develop sustainable income and maintaining nung the environment.

      Conditions in these villages are pittyful, little educational and health facilities. No real development had occured for decades. In fact, in some area, as you have mentioned above, it has gone backwards: malnutrition and poverty has skyrocketed. Kids go to school hungry.

      Condition got worsen since the unwise fertiliser ban. Politicians are only interest to get elected, then they neglected their gob/commitment to constituents. As these articles stated, the country needs a major system change, and a new start. We hope the youth will take the lead and move forward, United.

    • 1
      0

      I had meant this:
      .
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-04-27/the-powerful-rajapaksa-dynasty-bankrupted-sri-lanka-in-just-30-months
      .
      I managed the rescue by going to the received link, but illustrates how payment is extracted – and who is to say that they are wrong? And I’m placing it under a different article, since DR WAW’s has closed!
      .
      Sets me thinking: Colombo Telegraph is free. LM has said elsewhere, “Finance is never an easy subject for the uninitiated.” Similarly, it is not easy for the guy who has been making pots of curd to process milk some other way.
      .
      Curd comes in on the bus from Amparai; sold for half the price of what comes in plastic containers. It is, probably, the cheapest form of milk now available. Poor producers!
      .
      The local NPP guys (JVP mostly) are planning to join a May Day demonstration in Matara. They have hired a few buses, one of which will pass close to my home, and then prime “curd-pot” land. A donation towards the fare will be welcome they’ve told me – about a thousand rupees.
      .
      This is where the NPP loses out. They just don’t have the finances to get their campaigning done.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe in Bandarawela

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