11 August, 2022

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In Sri Lanka Politics Is Imaginary But Corruption Is Real

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Politics in Sri Lanka mostly consists of the making of speeches at every place. There is lot of talk in the Parliament and there is also a lot of talk in the media shows. However, no real form of governance is taking place in the country. There is no direct relationship between what is being talked and what is being done.

In the Parliament, some laws may be passed but many of these are not enforced and often are not even enforceable. On paper, the laws exist but the institutions that are supposed to implement these laws do not work for that purpose. Often, these institutions work for the opposite purpose. Still, recently, the manner in which the Central Bank of Sri Lanka worked is a clear example of an institution which was doing the opposite of what it was supposed to do in terms of one of the major functions of the State. That the situation which prevailed relating to the very core of governance, which is the management of country’s financial resources, had degenerated to that extent, is explained in the basic premise of this article which is that there is a vast difference between the laws and regulations on paper and what is in fact being done in real terms.

The major law enforcement agency is the Police. Its task is very much determined by its competence and the capacity to investigate crimes and thereby act as a legal barrier against every form of illegal activity which is harmful to the nation. However, even the Inspector General of Police can be judged by his own letter which received a lot of publicity in recent times and which shows hardly any competence in the Police service. The officer category that carries out the major function of the policing work, which is the Officers In Charge of the Police came under serious attack by the Inspector General of Police. Thus, whatever there may be in the law, in actual fact, all these are defeated by the very agency that is supposed to be the guardian of law enforcement. When law enforcement fails, governance fails.

However, instead of governance in terms of what governance is understood to be in normal circumstances, what has now developed as governance is what is generally known as misgovernance and the ultimate purpose that such misgovernance serves is to facilitate corruption and the abuse of power.

In every corner of the country, corruption is well practiced. Everybody knows the rules under which corruption works. Everybody also seems to know how to operate within a system of such corruption. Thus, there is an unacknowledged position in real life where whatever that can be done can be done only in terms of corruption.

Almost everybody partakes in the processes of corruption. Particularly, the higher income groups are the greatest beneficiaries of corruption. They find that it is easier and cheaper to get things done by resorting to this or that corrupt practice. Do you think that way is easier than having to pay taxes? For example, a car that may be brought from abroad may be cleared through corruption and also the Department of Motor Traffic by corrupt means. What has to be paid by way of corruption is much less than what has to be paid by way of taxes if the country’s tax laws are to be respected.

The art of making money by illegal means, by way of commissions in every kind of transaction is also very widely talked about. How these things are done is no longer a secret. However, revelations of corruption do not in any way influence or result in counter action to prevent corruption. In fact, talk of corruption in media shows and even the Parliament provides a kind of sinister humour rather than provide any avenue for change. Those who engage in making these revelations about corruption themselves do not expect that as a result of their criticism anything will be radically altered. Such talk of corruption may provide ingredients for tasty gossip. The gossip industry thrives on the actual or alleged stories about corruption.

However, in the real life of the country, both big and small things happen only through corruption. The poor who cannot pay bribes also have learned to engage in other forms of activities to gain a benefit which they could not otherwise obtain. People may become active party political activists without having even an iota of conviction about the party for which they will do all kinds of things for. They may go for meetings to make the gatherings appear big or they may even take their friends and others into these meetings. Thereby, they will make an impression on the people who are the leaders of these parties in their localities so that they could later approach them in order to get some favour. They have learned the art of making the necessary connections in order to gain even a small favour.

The idea that there are things that people have a right to possess by way of rights is being talked about much but no one really believes in these things. They know that in real terms, if anything works at all, it is only corruption that works. Therefore, it is no surprise that even the petrol, gas and other queues that have arisen throughout the country have brought to the surface many forms of corruption even at a time when large numbers of people are suffering from the deprivation of these basic items and are spending days in queues to obtain them. In a country where only corruption works, it is no surprise that various forms of collaboration has developed, allowing people to benefit even from the severe miseries of others which are the kind of miseries that the people are suffering from.

The difficulty involving Sri Lanka in terms of developing a system of governance is not resolved by any of these talks about the 21st Amendment to the Constitution or various kinds of formations of Government that is being talked about.

Governance in its real terms will return to Sri Lanka only around the efforts to have an effective law enforcement capacity and the will to eliminate corruption. Both the will and the capacity of the law enforcement is missing.

The political future of Sri Lanka will not be shaped by the talks which are going on in the Parliament or even in many of the media channels. They take the people around the same circle, day in and day out. The issue that remains unaddressed is the manner in which the political will could be developed to deal decisively on the issue of corruption and how a proper law enforcement mechanism is developed in order to ensure that the political will is carried out in real terms on the ground.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    0

    It is the deeds that matter and not the empty rhetoric.

    • 8
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      People and the mlechcha media are to be blamed for the mess. No matter Rajapakshes are known high criminals / it was painted as if they are saints. Until Aragalaya youth started it not even JVP ers were able to convince the masses. Artists like Jackson Anthony abused the vulnerable for the survival of the crooks😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

  • 19
    2

    “In Sri Lanka Politics Is Imaginary But Corruption Is Real” Yes corruption is real in Sri Lanka.

    Corruption has many forms; not just financial, or petty corruption. Soliciting sexual favors from women for material gains is corruption too.

    Racism is the mother of all corruptions; favoring one race, color, gender or religion against another is corruption too because it deprives people with competence to positions where competence is the key for effective functioning. So this form of corruption leads to inefficiency in all activities where racism prevails.

    So, Sri Lanka went down the corrupt path from D S Senanayake’s leadership in 1948. It has become a terminal cancer of the state. Ask why Sri Lanka has bloated armed forces if it wants to be prosperous and progressive.

    • 6
      1

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    • 6
      1

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  • 14
    1

    “Thus, whatever there may be in the law, in actual fact, all these are defeated by the very agency that is supposed to be the guardian of law enforcement. “
    I think everyone knows that no less than two DIGS were convicted for murder and/or corruption. These are the very guys that were in line to be the IGP. We can only wonder at the calibre of ones who make to IGP. The Police are only a microcosm of society at large. Add to this a system where no really educated person wants to join the force, unlike in the past.
    Leave alone the Police, let us not forget that many Buddhist monks are in jail for crimes from rape to murder. And those are the ones who weren’t let off lightly like Gnanasara. And what should we make of the fact that the President himself pardons
    convicted murderers?

    • 7
      1

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      • 5
        0

        Eagle,
        Did you say something?

        • 5
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          old codger

          “Eagle,
          Did you say something?”

          TUCO said “Hurrah I saw Gota and Mahinda in the Parliament. Mahinda seems very happy when rest of the hooligans chanted Gota Go Home., I too am happy. “

  • 11
    0

    Engaging in the usual politics, is like moving the trash bags around the house.
    Until people realise that all the trash (freemasons) need to be thrown out, there will not be any real change.

  • 4
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    Basil Fernando , I salute and agree. This is a gem of an article in DT. You have explained the situation well. You did not give and answer of course no one can.
    Your purpose is well served by publishing this article in main media in Sinhalese language. Or lesser extent in Tamil. You must

  • 5
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    Basil We can change it. As you said corruption is emanating from politician down to the common people , myself no exception. But tight law is brought forward to punished the culprits in the pinnacle.
    First thing to tighten the law so that the people of the caliber of Mahinda could be send to jail with fair hearing. Assets declaration is a must for president, prime minister and cabinet- main offenders.
    Power should be given to independent arbitrator to scrutiny money spend from foreign aids and projects. The day we send presidents and ministers to jail on corruption charges other will change out of fear.
    Next biggest corrupters are police and judiciary and commissioners should appoint to specially to see the corruption in courts and police with judicial power to pile case against them in Sri Lankan courts .

  • 4
    0

    In Sri Lanka Politics Is Imaginary But Corruption Is Real.

    Ranil itself an example after having so many years of experience he went back door deal to get PM post. Capacity may be limited, but our commitment is without limits. Bankruptcy is due to no commitment

  • 3
    1

    The title:
    In Sri Lanka Politics Is Imaginary But Corruption Is Real.
    AMENDMENT to it:
    In Sri Lanka Politics Is Real AND Corruption Is Real.
    .
    Footnote: Read, WHAT IS POLITICS…AND WHO CARES ANYWAY?! byAileen Herman.

  • 6
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    The best person to take over the presidency or the prime ministership now is top man Denham Madena. When he walks into Temple Trees in the morning and lights his cigarette, after putting his booted leg on the wheel of his double cab, all those who are corrupt will shudder and run away.

    Three cheers for Denham Madena! Hip hip…..

  • 5
    0

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  • 2
    6

    Pls its a Buddhist country with majority,every corner piilar under the trees you could see big and small statutes they all have pirith nool around their armas our leaders regularly visits various pansals and blessed by bunch of Hamadurowos, Even takes the oaths.even included in constitution.
    Early in the mornings you could hear pirith.following the teachings, how could be going wrong.
    There is hidden hand behind it. The war fare are changing different tactics no more guns now they all sold (to rid of ot)out to Africa Asia ME.
    This is to tarnish the flourishing Sinhale Buddhism,it could be Velu’s devil.

  • 1
    2

    Why Australians suddenly try to help ,they knows where is these

    lots of boats going to ahead
    What a mayhem atrocities the seed of haterism mixed with opposite of the principles

  • 2
    6

    When poor people buy fuel and sell because they do not have any other means to earn money, they are arrested. But the guy who robbed the Central Bank is the Prime Minister. Several others who have corruption charges are Ministers and MPs.

    • 5
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      TUCO Eagle Eye

      “Several others who have corruption charges are Ministers and MPs.”

      You are right however, Mahinda, Gota, Namal, Basil, Wimal, …….. aren’t ministers anymore.

  • 2
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    Corruption is a manifestation of people behaving in an illegal manner to achieve something they do not entitle to. However, politicians’ behaviors are the mother of all kinds of corruption. When the political system from the village level to the head of the State status, if continued unabated as what we experience in Sri Lanka today, would not only ruin the country’s image in long run but also be a recipe for an increase in criminal activities, loss of lives and image of the country as well.

  • 3
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    If interested read DM dated 29 June ” spotlight on losses associated with so called development projects”. by Prageeth Sampath exposing Rajapaksa corruption.

  • 0
    0

    Even now when the sinhala land is on its knees BEGGING them sinhalas are involved in state / government corruption. AND THEY WANT TO BE THE NEXT SINGAPORE! Biggest JOKE!!!

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