29 September, 2020

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MR’s New Year Resolution & Course Correction For Yahapālanaya

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

People make new year resolutions on good things but not on bad ones. But there are exceptions like Mahinda Rajapaksa. He has very clearly told the foreign correspondents that he will definitely bring down this government in the year 2017(Asian Mirror, 29 December). A split within the SLFP is no concern for him and, according to the report, he does not believe that a split would help the UNP. This must be what his Astrologer has told him!

His new year resolution is not about the country or the people (or even about the party) but about himself and perhaps his family and political coterie. It is understandable that he is bitter about losing power in 2015 and that he has to become just a menial MP from the position of all powerful Executive President. That is not good enough reason to topple a government elected by the people. His new dream would be like his last dream to become the Prime Minister in August 2015.

It is his own fault, and not any others, that he lost power even two years before his term supposed to have ended. If he were not so greedy of power, he could have been in office until the end of 2017. Is that the reason that he believes that he can come back to power in 2017? Perhaps he must be getting some memory loss.

International Context

Rajapaksa must undoubtedly be taking some excitement from what happened in Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in America so much so he is even going against his former benefactors in China. That is what is clear from his new policies on the Hambantota port after noosing a debt-trap over Sri Lanka by taking colossal loans from the China Exim Bank during his tenure. That must be his new way of Helping Hambantota.

If he comes to power in 2017, he of course would fit very well with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad or even with Kim Jong-un. By some coincidence, they all have similar face cuts. However, coming to power in 2017 is quite unlikely except he contests a Pradeshiya Sabha and becomes a Chairman of one. That is also power.

For that Astrological prediction to happen, our Yahapalana captains should hold democratic elections to local government institutions without delaying them any further on ludicrous pretexts. Otherwise, it is unreasonable to Mahinda Rajapaksa, not to speak of the poor voters of this country who are waiting to elect their local representatives.

However, by any imagination, if Rajapaksa thinks about pushing the government for dissolving parliament quite prematurely, it is not going to happen this year or any sooner. 2020 might be the best for the Yahapalana captains. They would try their best to hold on to power until then, by hook or by crook. That is the nature of Sri Lankan politics. By that time or even before, the world stage may be different.

If the Globalist captains learn the correct lessons from Brexit and Trump victory, it would not be difficult to tame Trump or his allies in the international scene including Putin. China and India might like to see it, as emerging powers benefitting from globalizing trends. Therefore, the excitement that Mahinda Rajapaksa has from ‘Trump victory’ might be short term. Barack Obama made an important comment in this direction by talking about ‘course correction for globalization.’ However, whether the Democratic Party and others would take and implement this course correction seriously is yet to be seen.

Most dangerous in the Sri Lankan context is whether the Sirisena faction in the SLFP would take this ‘Trump trend’ more seriously than even Mahinda Rajapaksa. There are indications that the President is bending over this trend, while the UNP under Ranil Wickremesinghe seems to be quite oblivious to all what is happening. The UNP seems to have a time lag on international changes. They are quite orthodox than what they on and off preacher from pulpits. The UNP captains are more globalist than their Western counterparts. So, it seems.

Local Trends

Of course, Mahinda Rajapaksa is not so dumb like many of the Yahapalana captains. He is just desperate and reckless. His best bet would be to conspire for a major split within the SLFP and try to erode the existing 2/3 majority for the government. Many of the SLFP stalwarts know that it would be suicidal for them to go back to Rajapaksa camp although they are maestros in shifting political affiliation. Rajapaksa would slowly take revenge.

Creating a political majority in Parliament to become the Prime Minister is just wishful thinking for Mahinda. The UNF has 106 members and the overwhelming majority are solid UNPs. Of course, he has experience in splitting even the UNP. He is a master splitter. But that was when he had all the executive powers and within a context of UNP blundering on the war issue against the LTTE. Even the current Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya, was a defector. That era is now gone, unless the UNP would commit a similar blunder.

Then, what could he do? Of course, he can destabilize the country. Even he can join with (‘This Man’) Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara directly or indirectly against the minorities and the new constitution. Mara Sena can storm the streets, have Pada Yathra (foot marches), stage some strikes here and there, cripple the economy as much as possible and can get some Kalakanni Sathuta (vindictive pleasure). That is the meaning of his new year message. Nothing else. The Yahapalana captains have given Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ‘40 Thieves’ enough ammunition by omission and commission to muster some opposition.

Let me list some of these blunders and role of the two key leaders in them, Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Maithripala Sirisena taking up the leadership of the SLFP is controversial after getting elected as the President. Of course, one advantage was the smooth passage of the 19th Amendment and subsequent formation of the ‘national unity’ government. He also must have felt isolated, if he is divorced from the party, as his socio-economic policies are different to the UNP. That is understandable. However, if he has done so by promising to protect Rajapaksas, then that has been a betrayal of his mandate. Unfortunately, he seems to be protecting some others as well.
While Maithripala Sirisena is one of the finest leaders that Sri Lanka has ever picked, his role at the beginning was feeble, particularly facing the general elections in August 2015. Otherwise, many of the Rajapaksa clowns could have been avoided entering Parliament. He has also not yet taken firm action in reforming the SLFP. That is one reason for the Rajapaksa resurrection in the party.

He is also required to give leadership to the country. After all he is the President. While at present he is by and large quite articulate in expressing his views, it is not clear whether his practical actions or administrative measures are quite matching with what he says. Given the possibilities of Rajapaksa trying his best to destabilize the country beginning 2017, there is a clear need to maintain ‘rule of law,’ ‘law and order,’ ‘public order’ and avoid chaos in the country which could be quite harmful to the economy. He along with the Prime Minister should have a firm grip of the armed forces, the police and more importantly the bureaucracy.

There is no question about the knowledge, experience and even personal integrity of Ranil Wickremesinghe. But he appears weak as a popular leader. Personal integrity is also not a guarantee for complicity in others’ deviations especially when they border on his economic ideology. This is particularly the case in the Central Bank bond issue. Although it might not be an outright fraud, like during the Rajapaksa period, the amounts involved apparently through inside trading are extremely high.

Although he has declared a social-market economy in theory, the recent policies and initiatives show quite the opposite and an orientation towards an extreme form of neo-liberal economic ideology. This goes against the economic interests of the ordinary masses and the country. That is why the people are turbulent. This also creates a friction within the national unity government of the UNP and the SLFP. The SLFP policies are apparently different and the President talks about ‘social democracy.’ Unless they find a middle ground and work on an agreed basis, the economic policies of the government would be in jeopardy.

The same goes for his Lichchavi policies. It is not by giving perks and positions that a ‘national unity’ government could be preserved. This is a mistaken or rather an abusive orientation on the part of both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe. The jumbo cabinet and ministries without clear demarcations have become the greatest liability to this government and to the country. Most glaring has been the weaknesses and even blunders in economic management. Wickremesinghe seems to have weak points when it comes to friends and party loyalists. Within the government, there are genuine complains from SLFP ministers that they are side lined through UNP loyalists within their own ministries.

Course Correction?

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s new year resolution is about creating chaos in the country in 2017. Any appeasement with his destructive forces would be suicidal for the government and for the people. It would be extremely dangerous for Sirisena. What Rajapaksa has done during the first term can be appreciated including the defeating of the LTTE. However, his authoritarianism, suppression of democratic rights, indulgence/approval of corruption and continuous subjugation of minorities cannot be condoned.

A course correction is necessary for Yahapalanaya, like what Obama advocated for globalization. However, this might not come automatically. A major brunt of the matter would be left for democratic forces that brought the change in 2015. These forces include the civil society, professionals, the left, liberals, the minorities and progressives in general. All ideals might not be achieved, but the need of the hour is to prevent the ‘old regime’ resurrecting in different forms. Among many organizations involved in the democratic change, Puravesi Balaya (People’s Power) seems to be going in the right direction by constructively criticising the government and trying to prevent a Rajapaksa come back.

One positive aspect of the present government or the two leaders is its/their flexibility and openness. However, the government seems to be quite poor in communication. The media is important including the social media and innovative initiatives. Their poor communication became categorically clear on the issue of the Development (Special Provisions) Bill.

A course correction for Yahapalanaya should include at the minimum: (1) Strong pro-poor policies; not Western Megapolis, but regional development and happy villages. (2) Immediate holding of local government elections under the prevailing system, whatever the outcome (3) Implementing efficiently the existing international trade agreements without rushing for new ones (4) Strengthening of local enterprises with international assistance (5) Closer understanding between the UNP, the SLFP, the TNA and the JVP as much as possible (6) A smaller Cabinet of 30 and cohesive ministries and (7) Moral high ground on the part of the leaders and drastic reduction of perks and privileges of the politicians and officials.

If the leaders are ready to sacrifice, the people would be ready to undergo hardships. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s new year resolution will be a dream, if a proper course correction is implemented for Yahapalanaya.

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    The pollution from the Colombo port city mega financial and environmental disaster project of the Chinese spy Pathala Champika ,is one of the reasons for the smog in Colombo and lack of rain in Lanka today.

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      Wish you a happy and healthy new year Dr Fernando.

      I think

      a) Brexit – was a failure as many europeans discuss it today – calling for a referendum for that MATTER should not have made as one of my colleagues added me latley. Besides the millions of Brits living out of UK had no chance to share their opinions.

      b) Trump `s Triumph – whoever whatever being said in the election aftermath, it has been the tradition of US election to change govt from Demo to Repub and viz versa. There still exit significant fractions in the US that would not tolerate the blacks AND their rise above the whites.

      If a third force other than the grand parties came up, there people could share thoughts the way they interprit it today. Entire europe is against Triump .. calling him as an Anti-European, inexperienced difficult candidate.

      • 3
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        Thanks for your greetings and wish you the same and better!

    • 2
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      Dear Dr Fernando,

      Yes I am agreement with you here, but however

      A course correction for Yahapalanaya should include at the minimum:

      (1) Strong pro-poor policies; not Western Megapolis, but regional development and happy villages.

      HOW CAN THEY BRING JOBS IF THEY WOULD NOT BE WESTERN STYLE MEGAPOLIS ?
      I THINK THEY HAVE TO EXPAND THEM TO REGIONAL LEVELS KEEPING THE VILLAGES HAPPY AS YOU ADDED HERE.

      (2) Immediate holding of local government elections under the prevailing system, whatever the outcome
      DONT YOU THINK THE OUTCOME WILL BE HIGHLY DANGEROUS AS WAS THE CASE OF HARIN FERNANDO WINNINGS IN UWA CREATED THE CRACK OF PREVIOUS GOVT ?

      AND WITH THE SITUATION BEING FACED TODAY, BY HIGHLY ABUSIVE JOIN OPPOSITION BEING THE KEY OPPOSITION RESISTANCE – I THINK THEY WILL RATHER SEEK ADVANTAGE OF LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS.

      (3) Implementing efficiently the existing international trade agreements without rushing for new ones

      I THOUGHT THE EXISTING TAs ARE MUCH LESS and THAT IS WHY THEY WANT TO BRING NEW TAs WITH Singapore and other countries of their choice

      (4) Strengthening of local enterprises with international assistance

      THIS SHOULD BE DONE – BEING MORE PROACTIVE WITH THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES: I BELIEVE THEY THE DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS STAY JUST FOR NOTHING – LANKENS COUNTERPARTS SHOULD ACTIVELY TAKE PART IN DISUCSSIONS WITH THEM CAN BRING LOT FROM EUROPEANS COUNTRIES (Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands)

      (5) Closer understanding between the UNP, the SLFP, the TNA and the JVP as much as possible
      WE CAN ASK THEM TO DO; BUT JVPrS ALWAYS MAKE EVERY EFFORTS TO STAND OUT BY ATTACKING BOTH GRAND PARTY MEN. THEY ARE MORE THEORETICAL THAN PRACTICAL: THEY SHOULD FINALLY LEAVE IT ONLY HAND ON WITH CORRUPTION; BUT TO DO LOT MORE OFFERING THEIR ENERGIES TO OTHERS AREAS

      (6) A smaller Cabinet of 30 and cohesive ministries and

      SO LONG CONSENSULA GOVT EXISTS; SMALLE CABINET WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE:

      I BELIEVE THE MENISTRIES SEEM NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE KNOW HOW OF THE DEPUTY MINISTER ADEQUATELY.

      (7) Moral high ground on the part of the leaders and drastic reduction of perks and privileges of the politicians and officials.

      THIS MUST BE DONE IMMEDIATELY – THOSE ISSUES OFFERING ALLOWANCES TO MINISTERS ETC MAKE GENERAL PUBLIC VERY ANGRY. THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO MANAGE THE VEHICLES THEY HAVE BEEN OFFERED SOFAR; WHY TO OFFER NEW CARS AND ALLOWANCES WHILE ONLY 35% of the nation ARE STILL ACCESSED TO THE TAP WATER. LATTER IS AN ALARMING ISSUE; SINCE INCREASING NUMBER OF Kidney disease ARE WITHOUT HAVING THE ACCESS TO PEOPLE S CHEAPEST FOOD ITEM -WHICH IS CLEAN WATER FOR DRINKING AND CONSUMPTION:

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        Dear Mr De Silva,

        I am answering only the first question/response since I have made a typographical mistake/omission which leads to misunderstanding. What I wanted to mean was WESTERN PROVINCE MEGAPOLIS as it is proposed, if not undertaken. I would advocate more of SMART CITIES in every district surrounded by HAPPY VILLAGES.

        You have also raised the issue of jobs. In moving for higher development (or even now) there is an apparent mismatch between job expectation (office) and job availability (skilled labour). There is a need to increase the salaries of skilled labour, more and more use of sophisticated equipment, and change of attitudes to respect pride of labour. Every day here in Sydney, I see young, smart, both men and women workers in construction and other labour jobs. They earn almost equal or more than white collar workers.

        I am not responding to your other comments also respecting your views on those subjects.

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          Dear Dr Fernando,

          I agree with you most being explained by you – than the articles and comments coming from Dayan Jayathilaka. You simply add your thought unbiasedly both per your articles and comments. That I always appreciate.

          “Every day here in Sydney, I see young, smart, both men and women workers in construction and other labour jobs. They earn almost equal or more than white collar workers”

          This is the same in EUropean soils. I think with the start of VW work plant (foundation has been done today in Kuliyapitya) and the like projects will definitely create ENOUGH jobs for the laborers, skill workers, engineers and the many others. I am very positive about the 3 years ahead of us -that will do some work for sure.

          And negative about the manner SOME MEDIA INSTITUTIONS still promote diehard for Rajakashe come back (Derana and HirU TV Channels):

          And I believe the current govt does not do enough in terms of sending the message to the root levels (rural folks) – those folks that are in brainwashed mentality-mode should be fed with facts but facts.
          Just for nothing but to hell bent on Rajaakshes cant bring anything to anyone.

          Greetings to you from Germany/Switzerland/Italy (I travel 3 cournties veryoften for my job)

  • 1
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    You are quite right Prof.
    The UNP economic policy process is a mess because it is hyper-globalist and TPP and free trade and at the same time ignoring local industry and manufacturing. As such it is anti-local development that is bottom up, rather than top down!

    ” UNP under Ranil Wickremesinghe seems to be quite oblivious to all what is happening. The UNP seems to have a time lag on international changes. They are quite orthodox than what they on and off preacher from pulpits. The UNP captains are more globalist than their Western counterparts. So, it seems.

  • 1
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    While agreeing with the writer on his course correction recommendations, I believe the first priority is implementation. I cannot recall even one project being implemented by this government that is either a pro-poor policy or a required infrastructure development. If this NATO (No Action – Talk only) government can finalise the handover of the management and development of the Hambantota port to the Chinese investor before the Sinhala New Year, I will be satisfied.

    It needs to be followed by plans for developing the Hambantota port for bunkering, an internationally competitive oil refinery with an agreed price formula for supplying the requirements of CPC and a LPG facility with a power plant to meet the future needs of the country, without allowing CPC to waste time planning new coal power plants.

    I will be delighted if the Hambantota FTZ is finalized before the Sinhala New Year.

    Absence of focus on developing English Education in all schools, with facilities for all science and Commerce students sitting for A level exams to study in the English medium, is another necessity, with the demand for unskilled labour declining rapidly.

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    Prof.Laksiri,

    I agree with most of what you have said.

    Given, globalization is a search for lower investment costs, easy access to raw materials, cheap labour, easier access to markets, low or no taxes, greater sales at lower costs and high profits, it will march on relentlessly. it is fueled by high consumer expectations and greed. It is highly refined capitalism, with no heart. There is nothing altruistic about it.

    I do not think this trend can be bucked, unless we throw out the consumeristic and fashionistic culture we have fallen victims to. It is the unnecessary and excessive consumer demand that globalization feeds on. I happen to think it will survive all the politicians. It is in fact beyond the control of politicians and states. It is orchestrated by those with capital and access to capital, who are beyond anyone’s control.

    Further, Maithri and Ranil have failed to use the whip in their hands to lash. leash and jail MR and his cohorts . And that whip is the unimaginable corruption in all its ramifications that was the legacy of MR. Unless this whip is wielded with vigor , focus and speed, this government, given its other weaknesses, will not sustain the support of the people who voted it in, much longer. It should show relentless determination to provide the good governance it promised and not the wish washines it represents today. You have not emphasized this aspect enough.

    The third problem for this government is Maithri himself. He is part of the government and shares executive powers with Ranil. They seem to have a rapport. Why is he undermining the government he leads and participates in, frequently and stupidly? Is he stupid , naive or crooked? What is his objective, given that he has declared that he will not contest for a second term? He has definitely become the target of those who are intent on splitting this government and his clutching at every opportunity that comes his way to undermine the government and the decisions he was party to. How long can he pretend otherwise? You have not referred to this aspect of the problem too.

    Ranil’s stoic patience, given these circumstances, surprises me. is this a mutually agreed political play, I do not understand?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Dr RN

      “Further, Maithri and Ranil have failed to use the whip in their hands to lash. leash and jail MR and his cohorts . And that whip is the unimaginable corruption in all its ramifications that was the legacy of MR. Unless this whip is wielded with vigor , focus and speed, this government, given its other weaknesses, will not sustain the support of the people who voted it in, much longer. It should show relentless determination to provide the good governance it promised and not the wish washines it represents today. You have not emphasized this aspect enough.”

      Once again you have repeated this BS about handing over the whip to a bunch of thieves to punish another bunch of thieves. I can’t help but copy and paste what I said just the other day:

      /////

      “A strong, steady and uncompromising hand is needed to crack the whip.”

      You seem to want one band of thieves to punish another band of thieves.

      Rather I would suggest a wholesale amnesty for all thieves and start afresh.

      Strangely all Yahapalana suckers are totally oblivious to the fact that all these bastards have been enjoying the spoils of power alternatively from the beginning.

      Where was Sirisena during all these hated years of yours?

      Where was Ranil during 78 Constitution, the referendum, Janfna library, 1983, 1989 etc. etc.?

      You are also making a FUNDAMENTAL mistake on remanding on ‘allegations’.

      Advocating punishment before proof will create a dangerous precedence. The hatred you are promoting will only lead to further calamity for the simple reason that all these thieves/criminals have a great many followers, 50 / 50 division of the people to be exact.

      I am one who is totally opposed to keeping even LTTE suspects on prolonged remand until the government digs up provable evidence.

      So you want to handover the whip to Ranil, Sirisena, SB Disanayake, Dilan Perera for cleaning up the country? With due respect may I ask are you MAD, hallucinating an 18 year old first time voter?

      /////

      Let me repeat

      Advocating punishment before proof will create a dangerous precedence. The hatred you are promoting will only lead to further calamity for the simple reason that all these thieves/criminals have a great many followers, 50 / 50 division of the people to be exact.

      Soma

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        Soma,

        Have I said anywhere that there have to be exceptions? I have referred to the ‘Legacy’ of corruption, which term would include thiose who are corrupt yet. Why are you claiming that there is no evidence? Are you implying that there is no evidence against all the individuals being accused and investigated? If there is no absolute evidence, there is circumstantial evidence ‘in most cases. If someone has been clever enough to hide his loot, does it mean that he is not guilt. The accused in the ‘Great train robbery’ – Robert Briggs- was prosecuted and jailed in the UK, although his loot was never recovered!

        Does people support negate criminality and dispensation if justice? Is law and order, and the rule of law administered as per popular mandate? Is this what you advocate for Sri Lanka? Have you read me demanding that all LTTE prisoners be released? You would not have! I want due procedures be followed, without undue delays. Justice delayed is justice denied! No exceptions. This is what is meant by ‘Rule of Law’.

        The whip I refer to is the rule of law without exception, political interference and delay. This whip is not for the politicians to wield. It is a whip that those have been authorized by law to use, as required, expeditiously. Politicians are interfering with the use of this whip. The police are being proven effeminate in front of cameras! Investigators and prosecutors are being cowed by political high handedness. The judiciary is weak/ reluctant/scared to apply the law!

        I am not MAD. It is mature persons like you who are driving this entire country into MADNESS of one sort or another. What I am repeatedly demanding is neither BS nor CS, but the enforcement of the rule of law, as per law, without political interference. Is this wrong in your point of you? If so, something is wrong with you and not with me.

        Where Ranil was decades ago and what his role are inconsequential to me, at this point in time. Bigger culprits are dead now. Rabil was a small minnow then. I am concerned about the here and now and what a government that rode to power promising Yahapalanaya- Good governance, does. If Ranil deserves prosecution and punishment ,let him be.

        If there is civil commotion as a result of wielding the whip, we have ordinary laws and emergency laws to deal with it .

        In a democracy, the right to govern is sought through popular manadate-elections. However, to provide good governace does not require a popular mandate, on a daily basis. There will always be those who dissent. As long as their concerns do not impede good governance and are legitimate, they can be considered. However, what is contrary to good governance, need to be ignored and if bordering on criminality, suppressed.

        A good ruler should know what is right and what is wrong, promote the rule of law and Justice. We can not have governments that ride to power promising us various things of concern to us, betray us anymore.

        Dr,RN

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      Dr Rajasingham,

      I hardly can disagree with you about the present trend of (economic) globalization. There is also an element of democracy and human rights in the overall trend however largely manipulated for (Western) hegemonic interests. I believe that the democratic elements can be reinforced even into economic globalization. The present trend is however from the Centre to the Periphery or the West to the East. It can and should be both ways, and it should be participatory than hegemonic. Yes, excessive consumerism is a major problem. During this Christmas, it was estimated that in Australia people wasted food costing around $ 900,000. Sydney Council also spent $ 7 million for fireworks. There are growing feelings against these excessive spending. Australians are also highest in charity and philonthrophy. I am not against fashion but it could be modest and moderate.

      Yes, the present societies are governed by capital and mere profit making as you say. But there can be changes. Democracy is all about changing them for the people’s benefit. I am in support of those who have initiated the Collective for Economic Democratization in Sri Lanka. When you think about poverty and related issues of the poor, we need to be mindful of their needs in or before embarking in fashionable development efforts. The duty of a government is to meet the people’s basic needs first. Yes, Sri Lanka cannot avoid the global trends, but need to be mindful of the people without merely trying to emulate what is ‘fashionable’ in the global sphere. It is also true that people are themselves asking for these fashionable developments. Therefore, at least there should be a balance between the two.

      On your second concern, it is possible that I have not touched on certain issues. Yes, I believe that the present government should be firm and strong. But I am not sure what you mean by ‘using the whip.’ I am against summary justice on any issue. As you know, I increasingly became disillusioned about just the political way that corruption issues were handled. It was unprofessional. There was no outcome. They should have set up something like the CJC at the beginning with high profile jurists. It is already too late, but I have no objection in trying but fairly.

      I don’t think at present I share your comments about MS. I do have so many disagreements including his views on ‘capital punishment,’ comments on women and teacher/student discipline etc. One can say his views are rather conservative or even nationalist. But he was different to MR for a long time. Of course, people change. On the issue of ‘war crimes’ I frankly don’t think RW is different to MS. But he is sticking out his head for some reason. RW is more careful or tactful. I may be wrong, but I frankly think many people blundered on this issue first and foremost the ‘international community.’ See how they changed after the change of the government. It is not merely about Trump, but even before they softened their stance. Hilary Clinton would have been the same. In Sri Lanka, we may have to stick to the ‘lesser evil’ at present and work out changes within those premises. Yes, we should clamour for a good measure of good governance.

    • 2
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      Dr RN,

      “The third problem for this government is Maithri himself. He is part of the government and shares executive powers with Ranil. They seem to have a rapport. Why is he undermining the government he leads and participates in, frequently and stupidly? Is he stupid , naive or crooked? What is his objective, given that he has declared that he will not contest for a second term? He has definitely become the target of those who are intent on splitting this government and his clutching at every opportunity that comes his way to undermine the government and the decisions he was party to. How long can he pretend otherwise? You have not referred to this aspect of the problem too”

      I also questioned this myself not once several dozens of times as to why MY3 seems not reacting adequately. Like for example the Mad Monk like a furier attacked a tamil GS few weeks ago -nothing came to be satisfied from GOVT side.
      I believe he has sources of information, if he rose against that monk, the unexpected entire Monks MOVEMENTS could arise was more than any other harms – just because of that MR too was silent not doing enough against Monk s movements.
      This country is not ruled by leaders but by thugs wearing Sanga costumes (සිවුරැ දාගත් දාමරිකයන් – thugs in disguise)- Mahanwansa issue to be settled by Most Respectable Malwathu Chapter theros -should be addressed by them sooner than later.

      And Mahinda knows this well and he started abusiing Temples to send his message across and keep entwined with the temple if anyone woudl have been taken up against him – arrest him then he could put Sangaya front and create ananother blood bath.

      So now you will tend to get it, as to why theY DID NOT jail Rajaakshes and their men.

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    ” ….. While Maithripala Sirisena is one of the finest leaders that Sri Lanka has ever picked”

    Mr Fernando, I am in agreement with what you say apart from the above statement. To me, MS lacks political charisma, education & leadership required to stand up in a world forum. He seems indecisive & clearly lacks leadership, even to get his own party members to toe the line. Ranil, although a better choice as President, has been a disappointment so far & has failed to inspire confidence, allowing cronyism to thrive. Sirisena & Ranil still have a second chance, if they can, as you have suggested, reform the political system by reducing the number of Ministerial portfolios / number of MPs & tackling corruption, past & present, more effectively. At a time when the country is in slippery economic slide, the Govt. must show leadership. Do the leaders have the guts to persuade their members to voluntary give up unreasonable perks, such as, duty free vehicle permits, instead of burdening the masses further? Then, there is the matter of getting rid of jokers in the Parliament, if this country is to go forward. Not an easy task but governing a country is not a walk in the park, which is why exceptional people with integrity become world leaders.

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      “which is why exceptional people with integrity become world leaders. “”

      Ha ha The art of lying is what they all master.
      Protest, and Contention is a hall mark of Lanka.

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      Raj,

      I understand what you mean by my sentence about Sirisena. However, we must get the best out of him and others, before they exhaust all potential for change, reconciliation, development and democracy. Some of your ideas are important.

      If an initiative could be launched to get MPs and Ministers (1) to voluntarily give up their perks and excessive facilities and (2) a voluntary pledge to serve the country keeping the best interests of the people, that should be done. This could be in addition to the proposed Code of Ethics. This is voluntary.

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    Dr L.K.

    “What Rajapaksa has done during the first term can be appreciated including the defeating of the LTTE. However, his authoritarianism, suppression of democratic rights, indulgence/approval of corruption and continuous subjugation of minorities cannot be condoned.”

    If an angel appeared before me at 2005 elections and threw two documents at me, one with all the bad things you have mentioned plus many more of Rajapaksha and a copy of RW-VP agreement and asked me to choose between Rajapaksha who would totally eliminate LTTE terror and Ranil Wickramasinghe who would go ahead with the agreement I would have begged for Rajapaksha.

    I honestly believe the freedom we enjoy today including the Tamils in the North and Dr Laksiri Fernando are all due to Mahinda Rajapaksha.

    To believe that it would have been better if Prabakaran were alive than suffering Rajapaksha’s authoritarian style is the most striking example of what political hatred can do to one’s thinking process.

    Soma

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      Soma,

      MR paid the LTTE in 2005, to stop the Tamils voting in the north and parts of the east. The LTTE feared Ranil more than MR. Ranil laid the peace trap and MR benefited from it.

      2010, was the beginning of the end for MR. The war victory went to his head and destroyed him. Most of what he did during his second presidency cannot be forgiven or forgotten. The glory of the war-victory, was overwhelmed by his dastardly conduct in the second term. He is a man who cannot be given the chance to govern us again.

      Dr.RN

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        Dr RN
        Succiently put
        MR had a golden opportunity to reunite the country instead he lost the plot.
        Not to be trusted again

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          Marco Page

          “MR had a golden opportunity to reunite the country instead he lost the plot.”

          MR never had a plot. Hindians handed him a script and directed him from Delhi.

          He was only playing a minor part in the 30 year long episode.

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        Dr RN

        “MR paid the LTTE in 2005, to stop the Tamils voting in the north and parts of the east. The LTTE feared Ranil more than MR. Ranil laid the peace trap and MR benefited from it.”

        I suspend my judgement on that as it is harder to believe that Prabakaran accepted money from Rajapaksha on such a fundamental issue. It seems I have a kind of regard for VP than most of Tamils including you who propagate that Prabakaran stooped to this level.

        Soma

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          VP also accepted money on a monthly from the Indian Government to abide by the Indo- Sri Lanka agreement and subsequently money and weapons from the Premadasa government to fight against the IPKF?

          Facts are facts, however dissappointing it may be to many!

          Dr.RN

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      Soma,

      Your preaching to me of Rajapaksa merits of defeating the LTTE is quite misplaced. Where were you in 2005 or 2009? You tell me about your preferred choice, IF an angel had appeared before you in 2005! In my case I didn’t need an angel! I was a firm critic of the terms and conditions of that RW/GL initiated peace agreement. If GL wants to say now that it was dictated by the Norwegians, there can be some truth in it. But what the hell he was doing as the Minister responsible? You may turn to Asian Tribune and/or The Island to see what I have written during that period.

      There were so many who contributed to the defeat of the LTTE practically/militarily and also through public advocacy/theoretically. I made my small contribution by advocating that the LTTE could be defeated among other matters. However, this was after genuine efforts for a peaceful resolution. Have you forgotten about the role of Sarath Fonseka and others? Why?

      Whatever the weaknesses, the peace initiative/s contributed to defuse the situation. The breakup of the LTTE and Karuna’s defection also were positive outcomes. Many in depth conflict researches have shown that the LTTE type movements dissipate after a certain period (20-25 years). MR was largely one sided with only a military perspective. This was the case even after the end of the war. He couldn’t understand the subtleties of a conflict. MR has always been one sided. Without any personal prejudice, I believe this emerges from his thuggery past. I have known him since 1969. I know his background. In 2009, even I was asked to write his biography which I declined politely. I know this person quite well and therefore please don’t try to preach me.
      You say: “I honestly believe the freedom we enjoy today including the Tamils in the North and Dr Laksiri Fernando are all due to Mahinda Rajapaksha.” Please don’t include me in this formula. I don’t derive my freedom from any ruler. It is my inherent freedom as a human being. This is a wrong conception of freedom or rights you hold. That is the curse of Sri Lanka and many other countries. If anyone denies my freedom, I will make that person accountable. But I use it with responsibility.

      Even if you are correct in the above assertion in respect of end of terrorism, after 2009 and even before, Rajapaksa has been a major culprit in curtailing freedom in Sri Lanka. What are the circumstances under which Lasantha Wickrematunga, Pradeep Eknaligoda and others were killed? Why did he bring the 18th Amendment, if he was disposed to freedom and democracy? Do you consider his treatment of the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was about allowing freedom or independence of the judiciary?

      You argue that even the Tamils were liberated by Rajapaksa! Yes, in a (vague objective) sense that is correct. But that is not the whole truth, considering that they have been feeling subjugated throughout years, and even after the end of the war, they were by and large placed under the military rule. That is why some still consider Prabhakaran with some respect. They respect their dictator as you respect your dictator. This is a conundrum that we have to unravel. Both Prabhakarans and Rajapaksas, in my opinion, are two sides of the same coin.

      When you say, you ‘honestly believe’ that Rajapaksa contributed to freedom from terrorism, I don’t have a dispute. But why do you carry the rafter on your shoulders after crossing the river? I am reminded of the Buddha’s parable. It is not about gratitude. He could have earned the gratitude even from the Tamils probably if he at least tried to resolve their political issues after defeating the LTTE. But he went the other way. He could have earned the gratitude if he left the presidency after customary two terms. He wanted more. He wanted now to overthrow a duly elected government, whatever the weaknesses of that government.

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      Soma,

      President Sirisena says he cut all contacts with the Rajapakse’s:

      Any comments?

      Dr.RN

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    Mr Fernando
    Are you run out of topics or are you just carrying out a contract on all these rubbish theories on MR and his come back.

    Why don’t you go down to the streets and talk to the people and their suffering under this yahapalana?

    You can appease the apologists here, but economy is struggling and it is going to be harder this year and what is your gon rala going to do about it?

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      srinath.gunaratnam

      “Why don’t you go down to the streets and talk to the people and their suffering under this yahapalana?”

      Good, at last you seen and heard the suffering of the people under the present government.

      How long you been living in the refrigerator? My guess is that from 1948 or all your life.

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    New Year Resolution of MR: “I will bring down the Government in 2017”. It is no “SURPRISE” and as a matter of fact no one should have doubts about that attempt. The reasons: (1) He, Family and his coterie are OVERWHELMED with corruption charges and pending inquiries. (2) For him and on behalf of others involved, he has to find a SOLUTION to get out. He has therefore two OPTIONS: (1) To make “DEALS” with the Authorities at highest levels and he is somewhere there, but hampered by Public outcry. (2) In that environment, he has to issue “THREATS” of bringing down the Government with a view to SUBDUE the Authorities to honor the “DEALS”. That is how I look at his (MR’s) so called “New Year Resolution”. He has no other OPTIONS.

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      Douglas
      I could not agree with you more
      RW needs to get his act together shedding “RC ethos”

      Ps Happy New year, hope all is well. As allways read all your comments with great interest

      Best
      Marco

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    A well thought article written by Dr. Fernando. Sri Lanka is a great country and the growth will continue if they learn to respect each other. While going to school at Trinity, during my days, we did never differentiate boys from different races. We were friendly and helpful to each other.

    SWRD was the second in command of the UNP before the split. His leadership was denied or otherwise he would have groomed Dudley to be a great leader with a sound vision. The word “UNITED NATIONAL” means all should be united. With the split policies have taken different turns. SWRD gave his life by trying to solve the minority problem. He had a great vision with his oxford education to govern this country in a good manner.

    The UNP, SLFP, TNA, SLMP, JVP and the Christians should be united to have a alliance of their own. From their own platforms, one platform should be drawn with a common understanding. Let this alliance be called “UNITED NATIONAL FREEDOM ALLIANCE”. With a good understanding and a respect for each other many national issues may be solved. As a project chairman of the Lions tree planting campaign I quoted “THE TREE GIVES SHADE TO THE MAN WHO TAKES A AXE TO CUT THE TREE, SO WHY CUT THE TREE”. I continued by saying my quotations were based on Lord Buddha’s script. The real meaning is, don’t harm anybody as everyone is helpful to each other.

    Think of the young ones and the future generation of Sri Lanka to prosper. In my opinion all parties should unite and solve all the problems that are keeping the Country backward. Our culture teaches many good things and that should be followed. If you look up and spit then the spit falls directly on your face and that’s what we should evade. Good luck to all and let Sri Lanka prosper.

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      SWRD was not the sole culprit in whipping up communal feelings. But he acted rather cynically, and was destroyed (like Indira Gandhi) by the very forces he encouraged.
      True, he showed courage to rectify an error, but that courage did not match the courage he showed to do the wrong thing.
      Had he given adequate thought to the status of Tamil when legislating to make Sinhala replace English as main official language, he could have been a true national leader.

      “The UNP, SLFP, TNA, SLMP, JVP and the Christians should be united to have a alliance of their own.”
      Interesting– an alliance that leaves out the Muslims and Hill Country Tamils. And of course all manner of Left!

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      Bob. M. Ganason

      “SWRD gave his life by trying to solve the minority problem.”

      SWRD didn’t give his life for the country. It was a case of business deal gone sour. Buddharakkita, HP Jayawardena demanded Colombo Shipping Lines be granted permits to import rice and license to start a sugar factory. Banda rejected both requests. Buddharakkita who bank rolled part of SLFP campaign was disappointed and Banda lost his life.

      By the way it was not a minority problem but a Sinhala/Buddhist problem imposed on rest of the people.

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      “”“THE TREE GIVES SHADE TO THE MAN WHO TAKES A AXE TO CUT THE TREE, SO WHY CUT THE TREE”. I continued by saying my quotations were based on Lord Buddha’s script. “”

      The story of the woodcutter is even before Buddha. there were tree worshipers
      The useless tree was never cut and this was hugged.
      Learn a bit about asia bob the builder.

      Your story about SWRD (he was called a wog at Oxbridge so he introduced Race, Religion as trump cards to appeal to village louts 80% still live in the village.) and ladies man Dudley are those of a villager dreaming of the city lights.

      Pirates would always compete till they become cannibals.

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    Dr. Laksiri,

    Wish you a happy new year. I haven’t gone through the full text but I agree that the leaders (Maithiri, Ranil, Sambandan, Rauf and JVP) should take this as a challenge to unite together to do better in terms of rule of law and economic development. It is not simple. It is hard but people will respect and give full support.

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      Thanks Ajith for your greetings and wish you the same to you and all others in this dialogue. After all, decent human relations are important before all debates.

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    Couldn’t mention all communities. I apologise. I said SLMP for SLMC. That’s a error. The list will go on. Up country Tamils are part of Tamils.My hearts go out for them. They gave everything they had to boost this economy with plantation income. I prefer all to give up their differences and elevate Sri Lanka as a fast developing Country. The country has done no harm to the people, just the people are having differences for no reason. When you come to this world, you come with nothing and when you depart you go with nothing. They can leave a name behind if they have done anything good to benefit the entire nation. I will be 70 this year and yet Sri Lanka doesn’t go off my mind. Dudley Senanayake kept a good name and his funeral was attended by over a million. Why not the other politicians follow the same route. I happened to know many of previous politicians and the majority of them had a intention of making this a good country. Most of them are not living in this world at present.
    Make this country one of the best in Asia and who ever contributes to make that happen can be called real patriots.

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    Marco Page: Thank you and wish you well always. I would be much more happier to hear you through this page. Why not join us and make your contribution to make our country a better place. Hope to hear and meet you through a main article and comments. Thank you again.

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    Dear Dr.Fernando thank you the erudite article on current political situation.
    Neo-liberal ideology will gradually fade away look at what is happening in pro western Philippines socialist president Duterte has abandoned strong ally USA and tilted toward Russia and conducting joint military exercises in South China sea.

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