30 November, 2022

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Emphasis Should Be Given To Getting Out Of This Mess First

By Harsha Gunasena

Harsha Gunasena

It is a known and well discussed fact that the President and the persons appointed by him are responsible for the current man-made disaster faced by the country. The President admitted it. It was bad management as confirmed by the Managing Director of IMF recently. Then it turned to an economic problem and now it is a political problem.

The disastrous situation faced by the country today is aggravated by the different responses to it by the different political parties. Their responses are based on how they look at the problem. Their perspective is based on capturing or keeping their power in the country. In fact, that is the purpose of their existence. However, this perspective provides a long term self-centric solution which is not the need of the hour. We need quick, people-centric solution which may have adverse effects to those political parties. Unfortunately, not only the political parties but also the people who are affiliated to those political parties look at the problem in the same respective perspectives. Hence, we have chaos in the Parliament.

In his address to the nation on May 11, 2022, he stated as follows.

“Steps will be taken to amend the constitution to re-enact the contents of the 19th Amendment to further empower the Parliament.” He also said he would hold discussions on abolition of the Executive Presidency, which is among the main demand of the protesters.

This was the road map of the President who was utterly unpopular at the time he made this address, and this was in line with the proposals of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). Therefore, he should abide by it, not for anything else but for securing an honorable exit for him.

The reason for bringing back the 19th amendment to the constitution, of cause with the elimination of the deficiencies experienced in that legislature, is to ensure that the President has no such authority to meddle with the affairs of governance since it was that very authority which dragged the country to this level. Also, this is not the time to go for a referendum and abolish the executive presidency all together. There is a time frame to it as suggested by the BASL and indicated by the President. Of course, a commitment should be obtained from him. Therefore, if any political party insists that economic problem should be resolved first prior to the constitutional issues, as claimed by SLPP or Presidential system should be abolished now after having a referendum as claimed by SJB or that they should not support these underhand deals as claimed by JJB, they are looking at the problem not on national perspective but on their own political perspective. As the citizens we should condemn all these viewpoints.

Our house is burning today. First, we should get out of it and then try to extinguish the fire. As Bertolt Brecht once said we should not keep asking whether the outside is windy or raining prior to getting out of the house.

The problem at hand is not to punish the President, although he should be punished. First, we have to save the country and then look at the rest. We need political stability to seek IMF assistance, so as any assistance from any country. That is why an interim government is needed with the support of all in the Parliament. A government appointed after an election with very high majority will not address the problems we face. We have experience in this respect. Both 17th and 19th amendments to the constitution were passed by the minority governments.

The President tried to appoint Sajith Premadasa as the Prime Minister (PM) but he declined. He demanded that the President should resign. Then the President appointed Ranil Wikremesinghe (RW) as the PM. If RW did not accept the post the President would have been in trouble. He may have resigned, or he may have opted for a military solution. A person with this type of mentality is capable of doing anything. The result would be a free fall of the country. Eventually he also would be out of the power. Is the President worth that much to get him out on one hand and allow a free fall of the country on the other hand? No, he is not.

Yes, it is a politically advantageous for the President to appoint RW as the PM, but it is advantageous for the country as well. We should not have any issue with it if we are looking at the problem in the perspective of the country. Otherwise, we have an issue. It is also politically advantageous for RW as well taking the risk and getting appointed the PM but once again it is beneficial to the country.

If any other party does not support for the ongoing political process, it would be disastrous to the country but on the advantage of that political party. Therefore, as citizens we should oppose such moves.

RW is having a bad reputation for saving the Rajapaksas from the punishments. His current Minister of Justice once claimed that he intentionally did so. Therefore, it is the duty of the opposition parties to get involved in this political process and make sure that it is transparent. That is the duty of a responsible opposition rather than blaming the government and keeping away from the process.

It should also be emphasized that the Protest movement at Gota-Go-Gama should be kept intact. Citizens should support the process until our end result of having a totally new political culture and getting implemented the economic reforms that were long overdue which contributed to the present disaster.

The new political culture should comprise of a totally new constitution by the people which provides the recalling power of the elected members to the voters and thereby creating a new Republic. Provisions should be there to minimize the corruption of the politicians and that of the public servants and all of them should be kept at the level of servants of the people not the masters.

Economic reforms should be comprising of reducing the budget deficit by increasing the revenue and decreasing the expenditure and reducing the current account deficit by having more exports than imports while minimizing the inequality of income distribution. Policies should be pragmatic and not based on different ideologies and fighting with one another to defend those.

It is in this light that we should examine the recent proposals of the PM of governance. He proposed two additional committees in addition to the existing three financial committees of the Parliament and ten oversight committees under the standing order 111. He also emphasized that the chairpersons of these committees should be appointed by the backbenchers of the parliament and not by the Ministers. Then he proposed to appoint four youth representatives to each of these 15 committees. One from the Youth Parliament and the other three from the protesting groups and other activist groups. In addition, there will be people with expertise in specific fields in this work, appointed to the committees. Establishing these committees is in line with the proposals of the BASL and it goes beyond those proposals. These committees as hither to practiced will not be limited to the MPs.

He also suggested to have a National Council comprising of the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the leaders of the major parties. It can summon the Cabinet of Ministers and the Chairmen of Committees. National Council and the Committees should report to the Parliament. Therefore, it is a remedy to the governance lapses which contributed to the present disaster faced by the country.

Members of Parliament and the political parties should give serious consideration for these out of the box proposals which type of ones are the need of the hour.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    5

    “….Emphasis Should Be Given To Getting Out Of This Mess First….”

    And then let the same rogue family to come back and suck the blood of the nation again…???

    Why anyone do ANYTHING to save the country under the very same man who created this mess? Under the very same cabinet which supported him??

    Harsha, your article is inundated with utter nonsense. You are contradicting your own words. Look at this: “…..Yes, it is a politically advantageous for the President to appoint RW as the PM, but it is advantageous for the country as well. We should not have any issue with it if we are looking at the problem in the perspective of the country. Otherwise, we have an issue. It is also politically advantageous for RW as well taking the risk and getting appointed the PM but once again it is beneficial to the country….” WHAT the heck was that!!! Is Sri Lanka’s burning issue today is to appoint RW as PM and give political advantages to Gotta and loser Ranil? And how can those two bloody jokers resolve our problems?? You are totally out of your mind!!

    • 6
      1

      Jit,

      Agree 100% !

      Only reason IMF and WB are delaying their loans is because they do not like the Ranil-Gota macroeconomic policies. They are the policies of Port-City, Crypto, Russian-Ukraine-war-potential, China-Russia-against-West-potential, Death-of-the-West-Potential, and Sri Lanka holding World Powers at ransom to make easy money off them.

      IMF, WB, and other foreign lenders would prefer to see Sri Lanka live and work within the ability of her people and see the money they put on us, work democratically from within the potential that we have.

      With Ranil-Gota in place, Motherland stands no such chance. R-G might try their best to learn from the Youth and other Committees, but why should they be trusted? The aforesaid is their ideology; the only kind of self-centered intellect that they can have; the only reason for their existence!

      And we will be going down, down, down, even further, thanking Ranil all the way for his great feat in getting rations from other countries for us…..things that all other parties can also do very well.

      Time for them to honorably go! Or time to lock them up!

      • 0
        0

        Do you have any solution to suggest?

    • 4
      1

      Jit

      i agree with you.No point in pouring water into a bucket full of holes.First you have to either patch the holes or get a complete new bucket.Now we are trying to patch the holes in the same old bucket with ranil,21st amendment etc.That is why political reform must go hand n glove with economic reform and incoming money.

      patching the old bucket is what we are doing at the moment.Let us see whether it works until we get the new bucket which is the election.The author does not understand that without political reforms any donor will not give us any money.

      The problem with the 21st amendment is that the SJB wants some changes in it and in its present state it is not a viable patch on a hole in the bucket.Ranil must allow the changes asked for by the SJB otherwise he can use it to patch up his arsehole.

    • 3
      1

      Dear Mr Harsha Gunasena,
      .
      I know you to be a dear good man, both honest and sincere, although we have never been in personal contact with each other.
      .
      When I looked at your article yesterday, only this comment by Jit was there. A bit harsh, but it was justified. Now others have joined the chorus of protests.
      .
      You are too trusting, Harsha. Corruption is now endemic in society; I intend exposing some of it below the Hoole article. The problems is that unless one sensationalises something, nobody bothers to read, and further analyse,
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

      • 2
        0

        Thanks for your comments.

    • 12
      0

      Jit


      “Why anyone do ANYTHING to save the country under the very same man who created this mess? Under the very same cabinet which supported him??”

      The problem started not with Gota nor with his clan (though they enjoyed the most) it started on the morning of 5th February 1948.

      No one in his or her right mind asked himself or herself what sort of country were we trying to build.

      None of those who were with the father of nation asked him to define “The Idea of Ceylon or Sri Lanka”. He started to build a racist anti workers meaningless Sinhala/Buddhist (whatever that is) country which over a period led to this pathetic situation.

      Please tell us what is “the idea of Sri Lanka”?

      • 5
        1

        NV, I do not intend to argue with you. Cuz what you say is mostly the reality of our land.
        However, until 1970 we had a system running ok, even with Banda’s bloody yellow robie’s mess. It was Sirima who really bombarded whatever was left, in 1972, with her commie and stupid comrades introducing Buddhism as ‘state’ religion (which even DS was apprehensive of) in their bloody constitution, and abolishing independent PSC that killed the backbone of the civil service. She let her party MPs to take bribes for teaching, nursing and banking appointments. NEVER heard in Ceylon before!! Anura and Mahinda lavishly gave those ‘rest house’ appointments to young village lasses……..I probably should stop here :((

        • 3
          4

          J
          The legal position is:
          Sri Lanka officially has no state religion and is nominally a secular state.
          The constitution, however, has clauses enshrined in it protecting Buddhism and giving it a status to be a responsibility of the state.
          Giving Buddhism special status is vastly different from making it state religion.
          *
          The first piece of discriminatory legislation in the country was authored by DS Senanayake, and one cannot run away from that.
          *
          Are you sure that MPs and ministers did not take bribes for little ‘favours’ before 1960? With demand for white collar employment growing, people were willing to pay a ‘small price’ for it.

          • 7
            0

            SJ,…………. “…….Article 10 and 14 (1) e, Article 9 of the 1972 Constitution declares, “Buddhism shall be given the foremost place by the State”.

            Which part of that confuses you? Does not FOREMOST place for Buddhism means the ‘FIRST’ place for Buddhism??

            Compared to what Banda did in 1956, Sirima in 1972, JRJ in 1977 – D.S was a sheep!

            You are struggling to cleanse that infamous MP chit system!! Sirima’s UF government was the FIRST government to make it mandatory to get a letter from the party MP to get a govt job. MPs didnt have power to give jobs before 1970 which was done by the Labour Dept on a merit basis. There was a piece of cardboard paper given to all jobless people to validate every month until employed. Sirima’s MP chit system started ‘jobs for bribes’ after 1970. Or ‘Rest House’ appointments. Those were widely exposed in ‘Davasa’ newspaper in mid seventies (I have seen the archives) hence the paper was sealed by Sirima. Also check the debates by JRJ, RP, Lalith etc in Hanzard reports around 1975 on ‘MP chit system’ – those will tell you the rotten, corrupt ways Sirima’s MPs gave jobs to people. And JRJ continued it thereafter……

            • 6
              0

              Jit

              SJ even at this age behaves like an infatuated teenager. He does have a crush on Siri Mao, however it is lasting for an extended period.
              When teenagers are madly infatuated no amount of reasoning would change their hearts and minds.

              It appears he has nimal fernando’s blessing.

              • 2
                4

                So say your ancestors through the crazed glass ball.

            • 2
              4

              J
              There is a fundamental difference between declaring a language state religion or state language and offering either a preferred stratus.
              There have serious implications for constitutional and legal purposes.
              It is worth thinking seriously about why it was done the way it was and not take the next step.
              *
              If the difference pointed out does not matter to you, so be it.
              *
              As for the chit system, it was a substitute for a less formal practice that was going on from colonial times.
              Chits were used by MPs of all parties.
              As for Davasa, it was not the most truthful newspaper of the time, and you may have seen ‘news’ stories with communal venom in it which I wonder you like to believe.
              Misconduct was not the preserve of any particular party.

              • 1
                0

                “D.S was a sheep!”
                Or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
                A sheep that disenfranchised 10% of the population and started communally motivated colonization schemes in the Eastern Province!
                A sheep who fixed the job for his son after him!

                • 1
                  6

                  SJ,
                  “…started communally motivated colonization schemes in the Eastern Province!”
                  —-
                  Colonization is done by foreigners. Indigenous Sinhalayo did not have to colonize their own country. Dravidians who came from Hindusthan colonized Sinhala land in North and East. D.S.Senanayake started settlement schemes in the East to settle landless people in the South. He wanted to settle Demalu also but Demalu who were scared of malaria refused to come. After Sinhalayo cleared the forests and developed the area facing the threat from malaria, Demalu say Sinhalayo colonized their land. There are no Tamil land in Sinhale.
                  Although a don at Cambridge University, B.H. Farmer mad a blunder by calling the settlement schemes ‘Colonization Schemes’. He was brainwashed by Demala bureaucrats.

                  • 5
                    1

                    Eagle
                    Why did some Sinhala businessmen
                    ( including the Senanayakas) in the early 20th century propose to import Tamil farmers for Southern paddy cultivation? Did they know something about Sinhalayo that you don’t?

                • 6
                  0

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              • 5
                1

                SJ, hilariously, you are beating around the bush and play with the words to get a self pleasure!! I wont waste my time anymore on this but bluntly say the obvious – that Buddhism is now the bloody state religion of Sri Lanka -FACT!!

                Your justification of closing down Davasa is an absolute joke!! Who are you to decide what to publish and what not to?? “Its not the most truthful newspaper…” “Misconduct was not the preserve of any particular party…” Huh….!!! So you are the almighty ‘pure’ soul or the only one who knows the ‘truth’?? And Lakehouse after 1973 and Rijway Tilakaratne’s ‘pacha’ radio always gave the gospel truth to people, nothing but the truth??? You sound like a comrade just out from the Stalin era! Or the brother of Joseph Goebbels!!


                I dont like JRJ at all but give him full credit for abolishing the civic rights of few of those ugliest politicians Sri Lanka ever produced – Sirima and Felix – the duo who started this mess 50 years ago!!

                • 2
                  4

                  Sri Lanks is still formally a secular state and the is the legal and constitutional position.
                  That is what I said and the bush is what you imagine.
                  *
                  I did not even comment on Davasa’s closure.
                  Davasa was conducting a vicious campaign of lies to wreck the food drive at a time of grain shortage, using fake news of people dying by eating Manioc. This went on for months. (Why the Davasa mudalali was bitter towards the government is another story. Which you may know.)
                  *
                  Please go ahead and give JRJmore credit to him, for the pogrom of 1983 for starters.
                  *
                  “Huh….!!! So you are the almighty ‘pure’ soul or the only one who knows the ‘truth’?”
                  It is you who are pontificating about ‘morality’.

                • 6
                  0

                  This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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          • 0
            0

            J
            One interesting episode has escaped your attention about Buddhism and the State.
            When the UNP (led by Dudley S) with its six partners formed government in 1965 It introduced the “Poya Week” the way they had in in Buddhist Burma (niw Myanmar).
            I guess that did not bother the FP & ACTC and Philip’s MEP. It took Mrs B to untangle that mess in 1971.
            *
            Dudley also has the reputation for reserving seats for the clergy (in reality Buddhist robed ones). But he never thought to the sick, the elderly or carrying mothers.

            • 6
              0

              SJ, yes, Poya holiday was a bloody stupid act, I do not cover Dudley on that! ME countries can afford to do their own (Friday/Sat weekend) because they dictate the terms on energy supply but what bloody thing Ceylon could dictate on??

              I do not mind the clergy seat, just one bench seat out of like 40, because it was not only for yellow robies, but for all clergy. In a country with 99% people stupidly following some religion (I am not!) that should not be an earth shattering step? BTW, Did the earth cease to spin??

              Whatever the points you bring in to attack Dudley, he was the LAST cleanest politician we ever had!! He may have had his petty weaknesses but compared to the lot that came after, he was a SAINT!!! I mean, BY AND LARGE he was an exemplary, honest and clean politician. Thousands of miles away from the likes of Sirima and Felix RD or JRJ/Premadasa AND trillion miles away from the bloody Rajapaksha gang!!

              • 0
                3

                You accused successive governments of making Buddhism, the “state religion.”
                I can name far cleaner politicians that Dudley S. (financially and politically) but will not hurt your sentiments by naming some.
                *
                The page in history referred to is not about any individual.
                I referred to it to remind people that the UNP started a process in 1960 which it vigorously revived in 1965. It became unstoppable under JRJ and ended up with the slate of JHU clergy for MPs early this century.
                *
                Also, Mrs B was wiser than the husband and kept the Buddhist clergy at bay during 1960-64.
                It was the ‘Hath Havula’ that reactivated clergy in politics.
                The UNP worked overtime to rectify the (not entirely unjustified) impression that the Catholic Church was influential in the UNP.

              • 1
                0

                Jit,
                “ME countries can afford to do their own (Friday/Sat weekend) ” No, even they can’t. Friday/Saturday came about recently. Before that it was Thursday/Friday.
                “I do not mind the clergy seat, just one bench seat out of like 40,”
                Well, you should mind. The clergy are supposed to be serving us, and the Buddhist ones aren’t supposed to use vehicles anyway.

        • 6
          0

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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        • 5
          0

          Jit

          Look below your comment the lonely Mao’s b***s carrier is shadowing you.

          • 1
            4

            Glass ball glass ball on the roll
            Will you see a shrink at all?

      • 1
        7

        Native Vedda,
        “The problem started not with Gota nor with his clan (though they enjoyed the most) it started on the morning of 5th February 1948.”
        —–
        You got it wrong. The problem started on the day racist GG Ponnambalam started the anti-Sinhala Buddhist campaign in 1939 by delivering a racially charged speech at Nawalapitiya ridiculing Mahawansha and denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, its history and the people and the day racist SJV Chelvanayakam started the separatist campaign officially in 1949 by forming Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (toned down as Federal Party in English but the real meaning was Tamil State Party) which had as its hidden agenda the establishment of a separate state and told Tamils in Yapanaya not to learn Sinhala. There was no ‘Sinhala Only’ policy in 1949.

        • 7
          1

          Eagle Eye

          “The problem started on the day racist GG Ponnambalam started the anti-Sinhala Buddhist campaign in 1939 by delivering a racially charged speech at Nawalapitiya ridiculing Mahawansha and denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist”

          Where did you find this story, in Mahindawamsa?

        • 4
          1

          Eagle,
          “ridiculing Mahawansha and denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, its history and the people”
          Well, what is there to boast about if, even after 2500 years, Tamilnadu grows more rice than us?

          • 5
            1

            old codger

            Eagle Eye is proud of Sinhala/Buddhist history thanks to Mahawamsa, all because it reflects mindset of present day Sinhala/Buddhists.

            Mahawansa tells how Eagle Eye’s ancestors lived in an imaginary or promiscuous life style, for example practicing bestiality, incestuous relation, fratricide, ….

            No wonder Eagle Eye wants it continued.

            • 0
              3

              Native Vedda,
              Demalu are jealous because they do not have a history in Sinhale. So, they came out with a manufactured history and presented that in Vaddukkodai Resolution claiming that Demalu lived in Sinhale from ‘Dawn of Time’.
              —-
              “Eagle Eye is proud of Sinhala/Buddhist history thanks to Mahawamsa,…”

          • 0
            2

            old codger,
            “Tamilnadu grows more rice than us?”

            Tamil Nadu: 130,058 sq km (50,216 sq mi)
            Sri Lanka: 65,610 sq km (25,332 sq mi)

    • 3
      0

      Dear Sensitive CT readers.
      My address is to all Judges and Lawyers, if they could work on the due collectively, we could give a lif eto this nation……
      .
      with the fact that Gota being stubborn, doing whatever he thinks is right sofar has created a mess – throwing the nation from frying pan to fire by hour…..
      .
      Why dont the LEGAL authortiies do the due regarding – working collectively on proving ” GOTA S DECISIONS ARE BEYOND ANYONE WITH SOME SANITY”.- there is a paragraph in the constitution, if the incumbent president would be proved as psychiatrically ill, ….. President has no other options but to step down.
      .
      Examples
      1) Asking to inject under 60year olds with Jabs freely provided by WHO, JAPAN and INDIA, his own PISSU brain did not meet the compliance but deliberately injected under 60 year olds giving them the highest prirority… consequences were over 16 000 let fall dead…… some of them would have been alive, if the bugger et al respected WORLD norms

    • 0
      0

      Please see the second paragraph of the article once again. It was trying to see everything together in the perspective of the country, not affiliated to a political ideology. When you have the birds eye view contradictions also are within.

      House is burning. Les us extinguish the fire first.

  • 3
    2

    Agreed. The Aragalaya is not completely apolitical. It seems to be driven now by the JVP and their political agenda to capture power. And all the other parties who are not extending their support to bring political stability too, are driven by this same agenda; capturing or keeping their power in the country.
    IF we do not realise this at this stage, my feeling as a layperson is, that we will be driven to either a military rule of some sort or anarchy with a far far worse scenario that we went through in the 1970s and the late 1980s.
    We have always been self-centric and racist in our voting and are selfish in our daily transactions. We sit by self content when we feel secure and unthreatened by hunger or violence and are silent passive tolerants the pain and the violence “the other” is going

  • 2
    2

    Agreed. The Aragalaya is not completely apolitical. It seems to be driven now by the JVP and their political agenda to capture power. And all the other parties who are not extending their support to bring political stability too, are driven by this same agenda; capturing or keeping their power in the country.
    IF we do not realise this at this stage, my feeling as a layperson is, that we will be driven to either a military rule of some sort or anarchy with a far far worse scenario that we went through in the 1970s and the late 1980s.
    We have always been self-centric and racist in our voting and are selfish in our daily transactions. We sit by self content when we feel secure and unthreatened by hunger or violence and are silent passive spectators of the pain and the violence against “the other”.
    If we lose this opportunity to act wisely and self sacrificingly for the sake of the suffering of the people an the cry of the nation we are real losers.

  • 2
    2

    Agreed. The Aragalaya is not completely apolitical. It seems to be driven now by the JVP and their political agenda to capture power. And all the other parties who are not extending their support to bring political stability too, are driven by this same agenda; capturing or keeping their power in the country.
    IF we do not realise this at this stage, my feeling as a layperson is, that we will be driven to either a military rule of some sort of anarchy with a far far worse scenario that we went through in the 1970s and the late 1980s.
    We have always been self-centric and racist in our voting and are selfish in our daily transactions. We sit by, self content when we feel secure and unthreatened by hunger or violence and are silent passive spectators of the pain and the violence against “the other”.
    If we lose this opportunity to act wisely and “self sacrificingly politically” for the sake of the suffering of the people and the cry of the nation we are a disgrace to ourselves and will surely live to regret it.

  • 1
    3

    What happens when the oversight committees make their recommendations?punishments should follow
    . Not only Chief accounting officers, but ministers as well are also should be accountable and the guilty punished without going through judicial process again..

    Just increasing the number of oversight committees may not be sufficient,

    It may be necessary to find out of the box solutions.

  • 12
    1

    HG
    The house is burning because of the mismanagement of seven decades by those who took over power from the British colonial rule. Singhalese majority concentrated their energy not only suppressing the minorities rights but also by not giving preference to MERITOCRACY
    I am sad that Singhalese still do not consider to solve the ETHNIC ISSUE along with the ECONOMIC one.
    Success depends on solving both at the same time.

  • 0
    0

    Success to be achieved, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for MERITOCRACY!!??
    SINGAPORE the LAGGARD of 1948 is the best EXAMPLE!!??

    • 1
      2

      M
      Was meritocracy the sole secret of Singapore’s success?

      • 0
        0

        It’s cheaper for an individual to take comprehension classes instead of many.

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