YOU CAN STILL BE GREAT IN A LITTLE HOUSE CALLED SRI LANKA
All Sri Lankans hailed you as the greatest leader that citizens had witnessed when you brought a certain era of our land to a close in May 2009. When I say a certain era, it was no doubt an era of unnecessary violence and great unhappiness, a great period of stress and uncertainty, which was brought upon the people of this country especially those in the North and East who bore the brunt of a long drawn civil war.
This war had many architects on both sides of the fence. Mr Prabakaran and his men brought this war to a head. I hesitate to call them terrorists as this gives an idea that a certain group of young men unleashed terror upon their fellow citizens without a cause. If history is read and read with understanding and analysis, a group of Sri Lankans who happened to be Tamil had their back against the wall and reacted. Both sides far from being reasonable and honest about reaching a compromise labored on shedding blood. You were really not responsible, Your Excellency. You just dealt with the result. While we are happy that war has ended, a settlement could have been accomplished if previous leaders were more prudent and less blood thirsty and their subordinates were not committed to prolonging the war in order to make hay while the sun shines, or in this case when there was gloom and doom and lots of money could be made in the process. The was also could have been less bloody and lots of unnecessary killing could have been reduced.
You were assisted in this historical endeavour by none other than a great man called Sarath Fonseka and his team. Let us not dwell on his abilities which are beyond the scope and objectives of this letter, but his contribution is well known here and abroad.
Let me, without going into all the details, which are well espoused by people more learned than I say that WE HAVE NOT AS CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY ENJOYED MUCH BENEFITS OF THE END OF THE WAR AND ARE IN FACT SEEING BAD GOVERNANCE AT ITS PEAK, OF WHICH ONE OF THE SPILL OFFS IS ABJECT VIOLENCE REACHING ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY AT ALL LEVELS AND SPARING NO ONE. IT IS WELL KNOWN THAT MILITARISATION AND VIOLENCE ONCE STARTED HAS NO END.
One of the indicators of an unresolved conflict, is increasing incidents of Domestic Violence (DV) and Child Abuse. We do see a rampant increase in both, even though nowadays there seems to be a clampdown on publicity of such incidents. In 2010 alone DV reached 94,000 reported incidents. So say the Police. Let us say these were 2 repeat incidents each in the same household? This scourge has still reached 47,000 households, maybe over a 100,000 children. Evidence around the globe says that DV increases after a war. In 2011, DV has reached over 100,000 incidents. Please do not say as a learned lawyer that the increase is owing only to a law on DV. It may be increasingly reported as there is a law and people have got the courage to report. This is just one indicator. Much has been reported and written about Child abuse, murders are just a daily occurrence, especially of women in one area – Kahawatte, with clearly a common motive and maybe happening with the support of those in your Cabinet, Sir.
I need not elaborate, but would like to mention the parameters of not so good governance and rights violations. The recent most unprofessionally hatched witch hunt of the Chief Justice, by those persons of dubious character and persuasion appointed to the PSC and 117 not so clean hands signing the initial blank paper, not implementing the recommendations of the LLRC, the suppression of the people of the North and East still by the military and no real attempts at reconciliation, the suppression of the media by different means which are really creative – for instance crushing the Sunday Leader and scaring into submission most of the other newspapers and journalists, not developing education in a way that would facilitate the achievement of the Miracle of Asia. In fact where is the safeguarding of children’s right to education when the system is turning out to be a “debacle” in Asia. Our University rankings are sliding down the global index by the day, a simple examination cannot be held without leaks or corrections of paper corrections.
The Z Score is another story gone to ZZERO. Both your Ministers of Education are clowns messing up the circus of education.
Your Ministers of which there are two handling the Geneva issues are falling over each other and making a poor show of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Administrative Service and the Sri Lanka Foreign Service is in total chaos, messed up in style by buffoons – mainly your friends and relations including retired Generals.
People’s Right to Health is in name only as the health system is just saved by a majority of health professionals who are committed, especially in preventive health. But is there real access to free health? Is the coverage of Sri Lanka with a Health System adequate? What about quality of care? Are we as citizens receiving quality care? What has happened to the Drugs Policy?
The root cause of many of your problems is Nepotism and Corruption as never before and a lack of real Vision. In fact Nepotism and Corruption have reached the younger generations of your family. In reality they have no future as they too are soiled beyond redemption.
Your family members, the closest ones, do not like participatory development. A classic example is the Divi Neguma Bill. Has this Bill and its benefits been explained systematically to the people? How different is it to Samurdhi and Janasaviya? What is your defense to the argument that the Divineguma Bill violates the constitution well over 10 times?
Yet, Sir we feel that once upon a time your heart was in the right place and your mind was clearer. Can you restore both your heart and mind to their original situation as when you were fighting for the rights of the Palestinians? After all your own people – WE, too deserve to have our rights restored fully.
A humble citizen wishes to propose the following 10 priorities to you for 2013.
1.Bring down the crime rate in a structured manner. Enforce laws and free the law enforcement officers to act without favour or force. Expedite cases.
2.Start really meaningful reconciliation in the North and East. Do not go into ill advised action if people are mourning those they want to mourn for “terrorist” or otherwise. The recent drama in Jaffna University is shameful and ill advised by your brother the military person who only knows one way of governing.
3.Really set targets and act on the LLRC. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t give us hog wash on this.
4.If you have a meaningful economic development plan unfurl this to the public of this country who are tax payers. If you don’t have, let us formulate one with expert assistance. Malaysia did very well to unfurl such a plan for 10 years with facts, figures, responsibility and concrete action in 2010. Make the private sector a meaningful partner.
5.Clean up your Cabinet without delay after doing a Performance Evaluation. Really evaluate how they have performed. Sack those who have not performed and give a chance to others especially educated ones like Prof Rajiva Wijesinha. Make the Cabinet slim.
6.Do a 5S on your MPs. Earmark the crap and do not nominate them next time. Give them warnings and performance targets. Do not worry too much about making up the numbers in parliament with useless coalitions. If you perform, you will get the numbers anyway.
7.Do a similar 5S of the Foreign and Administrative Service. Never too late to clean up or the rot will be too much to clear. Be lean and mean in the good sense.
8.Contain your family and friends in high positions to a reasonable number. Come on, we are not telling you to cut off every one instantly. Have a Family and Friend’s Conference in Medamulana. Maybe the Catholic Church which is very good at organizing retreats can help you structure this. Let everyone go into introspection, then confession, then you can pardon the worthwhile and ex communicate the rest. Bishop Malcolm Ranjith would be very good at helping you with this. Get a little counseling.
9.Rein in your younger brothers and next generation and advise them that too many cars, wine, women and cash at too young an age is not a good thing. Maybe it is time for Carlton, the Talent Factory and Red Cherry to be quiet for a little bit, invest their monies and lie low, because frankly your reputation is in shreds with these younger ones. Make sure you have only a few cars in your garage. You may keep one Aston Martin for occasional fun.(Your younger brother Gotabaya is quite talented, but has to be softened round the edges not to be so military in his approach. Basil really needs to learn the “science” of development)
10.MOST OF ALL GET RID OF THE EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY. Be the next PM for all we care, but not an Exec PM. We are tired of the EXECUTIVE. Free the JUDICIARY and RESTORE Parliament. These are the root causes of all evils and we are really tired, dear Sir.
YOU will be GREA…..T in the little house of Sri Lanka and it will be truly Asia’s Miracle
Happy New Year!