By Upatissa Pethiyagoda –
The past few weeks have been noteworthy. The firm pursuit of narcotic peddlers, dishonest public officers, drug smugglers, organized criminals and their gangs, have to be praised by the decent and feared by the corrupt. However, society must be convinced that the objectives – stated in the President’s address to Parliament, and which seems to have drawn on available expertise (usually ignored) is salutary and holds hope. It is perhaps a spin-off from his Army Days and Computer technology which are good examples of how co-operative action and inter-linked technologies are fruitful.
Of course, some of the choices of personnel have been of uncertain merit. Some are perhaps even imprudent. In particular, those who had a record of corruption or misappropriation of public assets (an abdication of public trust), and even those who the higher judiciary have directed to be excluded from public office, have found sanctuary. Interestingly, does this not amount to contempt of Court?
By the recruitment of persons who have proved to be dishonest, serious doubts about sincerity are aroused. His predecessor for example, was overly fond of the shibboleth, “Wagakeem saha Yuthukam”, good rhetoric and little else. In several matters he has shown that he has not been a good example of either. “Do as I say, not as I do” – a frequent expression of my mother, when us siblings, were errant but cited precedents in defense! Former President’s cozying up to persons poised to effect “six feet underground “treatment, speaks of uncommon generosity and forgiveness. Of course, it could not be that it was all a fib. In either case it conforms neatly with my hypothesis of “Cahootism”.
It is a master stroke, I believe, to promise a “performance review” at the end of six months. This is about the time taken to prove competence and integrity. One cannot help but be alarmed by the appointment of persons, who the public perceive as corrupt and even criminal. Placing them in a kind of probation period is good. Those who are genetically corrupt may rise to the bait.
So also naming Monday (23/08/2000) by which date, all Ministers (Cabinet, Subject and other) were required to take over their duties. This symbolically side-stepped the “Auspicious time and Feng Shu” type, from immersion in mumbo- jumbo and similar occultism.
Mr Maithripala Sirisena, as President, declared that he had signed the mandatory papers to carry out Judicial execution of four persons sentenced to death, after Supreme Court hearings. The death Penalty has not been carried out for decades, although it continued to remain in the Statutes, and the Court rituals observed, the sentences were automatically commuted to life (20 years) imprisonment. The death sentence has been controversial.
Was it in preparation for the dramatic reversal that new noose ropes were purchased, sand bag tests done and hangmen appointed? Of the two recruits, one has resigned – being bored by inaction.
President (rtd). Mr Sirisena) after an official visit (of which there were many) to the Philippines, returned greatly inspired by President Dutertes’s stern action, including shooting to death, of suspected Drug Lords (it is claimed that some were innocent). No questions asked. It was probably this which prompted this sudden local belligerence. As the rope is here, the scaffolds oiled, the convicts available and the current administration will cover him (“Cahoot theory) from legal punishment, why not get Mr Sirisena MP for Polonaruva, “cast the first stone” – “Walk the Talk” – “match Practice with Precept” by pulling the lever to drop the floor boards, or “Forever be silent.”