By Sunil J. Wimalawansa –
Part 29: Sri Lanka—Changing Pillows to Cure Headaches: Downward Spiralling Economy: Increased Govt Spending and Reduced Revenue
Most of the current utterly selfish parliamentarians in Sri Lanka will do anything to save their positions, personal interests, and any opportunity to take bribes and steal funds. The 1978 constitution of Sri Lanka opened the doors for corruption by politicians and government bureaucrats; generally, these two groups work in conjunction. Consequently, executives, administrators, and ministers escalatingly exploit the loopholes in the constitution and even break the laws for nepotism and to make money. Tinkering the rotten constitution with amendments will not help the country or people’s interests.
To make it worse—which is a perfect storm—the current selfish president has alleged to be involved in some recent pilferages, such as the cooking gas scandal. While imitating to be a pundit, he blatantly demonstrates his lack of solutions or affirmative action plans by talking gibberish about the economic solutions. Also, he is unwilling to listen to experts in their fields, with a typical arrogant attitude, “I know everything”.
The administrations have made no tangible or credible attempts to reduce the massively overblown governmental expenditure, including the current three times the needed number of government employees. However, the administration is eager to expand further expenditures that further widen the budget gap, which is currently twice the predicted income for the year. This is not right for economic recovery or the country.
The outrageous and irresponsible behaviour of the administration
Despite the bankruptcy, the incumbent president’s current priority is to “protect” his position in the parliament (i.e., assuring the number of votes needed to pass junk statutes, like the prevention of terrorism act; PTA) and strengthen his position as the president by even taking illegal actions like emergency declaration and using the PTA for no reason, despite the country having no terrorism. As we discussed in the previous article (#28), terrorism in Sri Lanka is currently carried out by the government itself. So, the police must stop that from continuing first.
Recent political decisions, policies, and laws, as well as appointing excessive numbers of worthless and unacquainted ministers with no experience in the subject matter, have nothing to do with the country or for the benefit of the people. The same goes for appointing governors and secretaries with no relevant qualification or experience, but for nepotism and/or to be used as political weapons to carry out presidential brutalities and illegal or immoral work. However, this is nothing new to Sri Lanka.
Wrong priorities—President has no constructive ideas to fix political and economic calamities
It is striking that most industrialised countries like the USA, the UK, Japan, Australia, and most European countries and China, Russia, and India, have a much larger population than Sri Lanka but have less than 25 ministers. Despite the economic bankruptcy, the president has appointed so far 67 ministers: this is all about “votes,” officially bribing those who voted for him to become the president and, now, to maintain his status.
His overwhelming efforts are directed at strengthening the power(base) (ab)using the police and the military at any cost (not different from other dictators in the world), including using torture and potential assassinations of youth leaders. For the above mentioned, he abuses his power using the police and the military, and even influencing the judiciary using the 20th amendment. Part of this priority is to shield all politicians from the law and allow them to make money (e.g., a mafia of profit sharing).
It has been estimated that the public cost of maintaining the astonishing number of oblivious ministers exceeds one thousand billion rupees (i.e., more than one trillion rupees). The money that the government does not have. Therefore, to be paid by printing money that will further fuel the inflation and cost of living: a double whammy for ordinary people. The lack of law and order has turned the parliamentarians (as with Municipalities and Provincial Councils) into expensive Clown shows and money-making racketeers, done in conjunction with crocked business persons.
Abuse of Police by the president —then Police are abusing people
It is a matter of time before the current unelected president will run out of options. He is maintaining his position and the establishment by imprudently using the police and the military. This is precisely the opposite of any true democracy. The prime duty of law enforcement is to protect people, not a bunch of crooked parliamentarians.
It is time that organisations like the police and the military realise their actual job description, which is to keep law and order to protect their masters who pay their salaries, uniforms, and perks (including from the government brutalities)—the Public, we the People. Going out of the way to protect a bunch of crooks (politicians) as they do now, even to embark on killing unarmed civilians, is NOT a part of their job description or expected from them.
Arresting, torturing, and killing of youth
In the Batalanda massacre in the late 1980s, directed by Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe and other scandals, the government-directed killing of thousands of innocent youth, particularly by the police in their torture camps: got away so far because of corrupt politicians. Today with video and other documentary evidence, things are different, but police and the military do not seem to realise it yet. Whether orders come from the president, politicians, or higher-ranking officers, the tormentors and ‘killers’ will be prosecuted fully and sent to jail or gallows.
It is a matter of time before the current president (perhaps, with the former) too will desert the country as his predecessor did a few weeks ago. The ongoing escalation of abuses and human rights violations and (ab)using the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) are major concerns of not only people in Sri Lanka but also the United Nations Human Rights Council and many countries.
People need to remember that the current president, then the prime minister, eagerly sought to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the foreign invasion and killings of Ceylonese by the Portuguese. This enthusiasm of Mr Wickramasinghe, despite Portuguese soldiers brutally torturing and killing over 400,000 of our Ceylonese ancestors over a period: is similar to the plights of youth killed in Batalanda. This is yet another example of the current president’s hollow (and self-gaining) mentality, with an affinity for brutality against the public. All for his glory and to celebrate neoliberalism, perhaps one of the two things he seems familiar with.
Because of his negative baggage and his miserable failure to deliver any benefit to the country, citizens chose not to elect him in the 2020 (totally rejected by people) election. In addition, voters around the country demolished his political party (UNP). However, as a master manipulator, he sneaked back into the parliament through the back door. He now assumed the presidency with only 134 votes out of over 15+ million voters in Sri Lanka but without any public mandate.
Continuation of daylight robberies by politicians without repercussions
The ludicrous district electoral system (and Provincial Council system) incentivised political candidates to “give, and take” bribery; neither of these adds any value to the democratic system. Despite these, such corruptions are still legal in Sri Lanka. The lack of law and order and non-application of law to elected officials have markedly worsened corruption.
Politicians exploit constitutional loopholes maximally, and the lack of functioning Sri Lanka Administrative Services (SLAS) (having marionette administrators as heads of most) and non-existing meritocracy and independent Constitutional Council to make appointments. Consequently, nepotism thrives. Consequently, unqualified persons and those with no expertise (as with almost all ministers appointed to date), political appointees to every government sector—including diplomatic missions, some judiciary, various Councils, and permanent secretaries.
old codger / September 15, 2022
“To make it worse—which is a perfect storm—the current selfish president has alleged to be involved in some recent pilferages, such as the cooking gas scandal. While imitating to be a pundit, he blatantly demonstrates his lack of solutions or affirmative action plans by talking gibberish about the economic solutions.”
Rather odd language and assumptions from a gentleman described as “Professor Sunil J. Wimalawansa, MD, Ph.D., DSc, MBA”
Be that as it may, where was this prolific and highly qualified writer when Gota was merrily cremating Muslims and banning fertiliser, the GMOA was telling us that milk powder is cancerous , and Pavithra was combating Covid with pots in the river? I cannot find any writings on those things, but he has kept to medical topics.
I cannot comment on the efficacy of Vitamin D for Covid.
Would it not be appropriate for eminent doctors to comment on things they are familiar with?
grconstantine / September 16, 2022
Ranil is the most undemocratic person.he wants only power which he doesn’t deserve. He is destroying our country
selvan.mather / September 20, 2022
Agree fully with Prof.Only god can save this corrupt country to raise again. Most of the aragalayas were Ranil supporters who did all to get Ranil into the post of his dream. Then once in the post let the others down. The youth are more proud of the country and will do a better job than the present parliament appointed by the President. 67 ministers for a country just prove that he needs their votes for survival.