By Malinda Seneviratne –
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake claims that Sri Lanka has become a main drug distribution center in Asia and warns that it could soon become a center for the entire world. The dark predictions do have a tinge of exaggeration, understandable because Attanayake is in the Opposition. Understandable too is the fact that he keeps mum on the key role played by his party way back in the seventies to open the country’s doors to ‘the robber barons’ (JR’s famous green light term) and all kinds of ills including drugs. The term ‘kudu’ came into vogue during that UNP regime.
These things do not in any way legitimate non-action on the part of the current regime to pull things back. Even if Attanayake is exaggerating a bit, he does have a point. We have had the Prime Minister knowingly or unknowingly facilitating large scale drug trafficking. We had the Officer-in-Charge of a police station personally trafficking drugs. There are whispers that other drug barons have found favor with the high and mighty of the regime.
It is not just drugs. For all the rhetoric about reining in substance abuse, mathata thitha in policy documents included, little seems to have changed on the ground. Regulations about selling liquor in the proximity of schools are routinely flouted. The Minister of Health himself declared that it is clear that the tobacco industry is more powerful than health authorities. The list goes on.
Attanayake makes another, pertinent, observation. He points out that if the Government is unable to arrest this trend, then the President would find it hard to deliver on a promise made, ‘We will erase the term “youth unrest” from the dictionary’. A high level of alcohol consumption and widespread substance abuse do not paint a picture of a happy, contented population. It speaks instead of deep seated disjuncture, social fracture and frustration.
While certain actions can be taken to discourage trafficking and while education about the ills of substance abuse can help, these necessary but not sufficient measures. If it is not one drug it will be another. Substitutes will be found. And the abuse of equivalents would point to the same issues not being addressed. We are not talking about some disgruntled young (or old) people resorting to the easy (but temporary) memory-erasing method of losing their minds. Substance abusers are not just a curse to themselves but to their families and communities as well.
So far the Government has totally failed to gain any noticeable ground in what can be called a war on drugs. This Government did the unthinkable; it comprehensively defeated the LTTE, widely described as ‘invincible’. In this case, no one says the war on drugs cannot be won. And yet, the drug barons continue to reap in profits while poisoning the country’s youth and wrecking families and communities.
Is it a problem of legislation? No. The laws exist. Enforcement? We have to conclude at this point, ‘yes!’
If there’s a problem of enforcement, it means enforcement authorities are inept or have adopted a ‘look the other way’ policy, catching someone here and someone there but leaving the big guys alone. In a country where all state institutions are heavily politicized, we have to conclude that these inabilities can be sourced to political interference.
In the case of the Pakistani national who embarrassed the Prime Minister, the ‘point-politician’ was a member of a local government authority from the Premier’s hometown, Gampola. That’s a lower-rung politician but a politician nevertheless. Are there others? Any parliamentarians? Ministers?
We know for a fact that there were high-ups and indeed ‘very high-ups’ that helped the LTTE. There were enemies within. It has to be the same with drug trafficking. It’s a dangerous business. Operators need insurance and the best insurance policies come from powerful political personalities. There’s a lot of money in this business and politicians need a lot of money.
Attanayake’s politics aside, the man is articulating a general public concern. Something needs to be done.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa whenever he speaks to school children or speaks at school functions underlines the importance of values. He speaks of wholesome education. He speaks of wholesome lifestyles. The drug menace that is gripping the country is at odds with his stated vision. Indeed, it is threatening to rip to shreds his overall stated master plan.
The nation awaits some concrete action on both the symptom (substance trafficking and abuse) and the malady (discontent of one kind or another).
*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com
chandra / January 5, 2014
You sunk to a new “low”, in your usual inflatable way to hide like the “tethered goat”.
Why would you not advise the President when he speaks to his own cabinet and MP’s on the importance of values and wholesome lifestyles prior to preaching to the children or masses.
I guess when your daughters are old enough they would ask the thathi
John / January 5, 2014
“No Takers For The War On Drugs?”
What is president doing with executive powers & 2/3rd majority ?? Only collecting billions of commissions from white elephant projects ??
Don Stanley / January 5, 2014
MS please do not act stupid – but I see movement in your positions! If you are a true Patriot and love mother Lanka and real Buddhism as I think you do read on!
1. It is D.M Jayaratne’s politician son and his friends who are in the drugs-politics (Money Politics it is called by political theorists) family business – big time!
Pointing fingers at Pakistani nationals who sent the stuff to Lanka is a distraction. D.M Jayaratne must be forced to resign. As long as he is in office as Prime Minister there will be no proper investigation of the ROOT CAUSES and KING PINS in this DRUGS HUB!
2. It is the Lack of POLITICAL WILL to investigate and prosecute criminals and maintain law and order that is the main issue here. This is why D.M must resign and the nexus between politicians, corruption and crime exposed at the HIGHEST LEVELS. Today the biggest law breakers and violators in Sri Lanka today are its supposed law makers – the rotten pack of politician- clowns in the Diyawenna parliament, the Judiciary and the police and military are all corrupt and politicized and the most corrupt is Mahinda Rajapaksa and his uneducated brothers, sons and in-laws.
3. Mahinda Jarapassa regime is following the Paki Model of “de-development” !
1. Drugs Hub of South Asia for Af-Pak
2. Military Business
3. attacking minorities (in Pak the ISI and military supports Taliban and attacks minorities in order to get funds from US to fight Taliban – a major DOUBLE game that has destroyed the fabric of society, culture and politics in that country) This is Gota’s model for development of Lanka
4. Destorying universities and Grade 5 schoalrship exam to ensure that Lanka is a HUB OF IGNARANCE.
Malinda, If you love Sri Lanka and are a true patriot it is your duty to speak TRUTH TO POWER and challenge the corruption and lack of ethics in the regime which is the biggest violators of Law and truth and Buddhist principles of Ahimsa, metta, muditha, karuna etc.
Thiru / January 5, 2014
Malinda Seneviratne has become cynical because he has to tow the line of his masters!
Sumith / January 5, 2014
Why Milinda had to drag LTTE into this topic.?
To fool people that MR defeated LTTE thus beating drug traffickers not a big deal?
The PM was caught red handed dealing with drug traffickers.
There are a lot ministers involved in drug trade. Once US embassy stated the Mervins involvement in WiKi leaks. Once he sentbon
punchinilame / January 5, 2014
Malinda has no idea where the 131 kg. missing drugs is, retained by those
involved and has more to say about Attanayake!. – Malinda Politics.
sirimal / January 5, 2014
It is his role. One by one he comes with articles which only addresses what president would do, has done etc. MR is a leader who would repeatedly speak pleasing them. But nothing like any actions he seem to have taken to control rapidly spread of drugs and drugs trafficking. He does not seem to allow others to take actions either. Ministers stay mum as usual.They seem to have no guts to react by their own. This is the current situation in the entire administration under this thakkadiya. This media men have no hearts to make the beloved president clear – the essense of taking prompt actions against drug dealers. Those who deal with drugs should be punished by giving life imprisonments. Then others will not even think of dealing with drugs.
Percy Jilmart / January 5, 2014
Ha haa…you say, “President Mahinda Rajapaksa whenever he speaks to school children or speaks at school functions underlines the importance of values.”
WHAT VALUES??? MR is a crook, a village thug, a liar, a murderer and a hypocrite.
And you are a shameless sycophant Mr.SeneviRotten.
K.A Sumanasekera / January 5, 2014
At USD 100 a gram ,the Heroin shipment which the Jr tried to clear without paying taxes as a favour for Election funding is worth 15 Million Dollars in the US or in Australia .
These are among the main countries which this Heroin would have ended up, as our bad Sinhala Buddhists don’t have the means to cough of this sort of moolay.
Even a Minister, let alone a PM would have done some intelligence before issuing letters to the Customs on Govt letter Heads asking to flout the tax regulations for any Foreigners let alone drug barons…
That alone is a punishable crime , which . would have led to the immediate resignation .
Here is our PM who hosted a lunch party for the culprits in his official residence at Govt expense ,and give silly excuses but also denigrate the Buddhist monks who come his own Sasana portfolio, to protect a Pakistani Drug dealer who financed his son’s Election success.
And who comes to defend him in the Srilankan Parliament?…
It is none other than the Rt Hon Opposition Leader Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe right hand man, body guard and the chieftain of the Human Rights peddlers in CUNolombo, NGOs and their supporter base in the West.
Has Mr Mangala Samraweera got any part in the supply chain logistics?….
Palayang yako! / January 5, 2014
Are you trying to qualify for an Oscar by pretending to have some kind of a conscience?
The only thing more hypocritical than you is the author of this article.
Peter / January 5, 2014
KAS – Your assertion about “….That alone is a punishable crime , which . would have led to the immediate resignation…”, is another example of your ‘ostrich – head in the sand for convenience – view’. So what do you say about the myriad crimes committed by those close to the powers where NOBODY has resigned??
Trying to deflect the actions of the real criminals just exposes your pathetic intentions. But then that’s par for the course for you, isn’t it? How sad!
Avi / January 5, 2014
KAS-Rajapaksha koolaid man,
it is laughable that oxymoron statements
you and Malinda(miserably failing to hide his
real intention) quite often write either
as a news paper article or comments to
whitewash this criminal Rajapaksha
family who continue to loot innocent
Srilankans’ hard earned money every
single second and protect scumbags
like Kudu Duminda Silva(Gota’s Sudu Putha)
Kappan Mervin, Sprit Lakshman Wasantha
in Matale(biggest ethanol racketeer in the
country) and many others including BBS
-Babadu Balu Sena. Disgraceful display
of bogus patriotism and pseudo journalism.
sirimal / January 5, 2014
MS is one another putha -a son of MR who is appointed to address this kind of media attractions in a soft manner. But MS should know repeatedly deceiving people is not an easy task. If MS is honest person, he could have asked president what actions his admin has taken against drug traffickers by today. This writer is absolutely a joke. Sadly an another born to deceive own folks.
Peter / January 5, 2014
Malinda, you say that “So far the Government has totally failed to gain any noticeable ground in what can be called a war on drugs. This Government did the unthinkable; it comprehensively defeated the LTTE, widely described as ‘invincible’. In this case, no one says the war on drugs cannot be won. And yet, the drug barons continue to reap in profits while poisoning the country’s youth and wrecking families and communities”
No prizes for guessing why!!! Even when the trail leads to those high up in the administration why no action taken is hardly surprising. Common knowledge among the ‘common people’ has led to those close to the ‘powers’ to be prefixed with the term “kudu”. So what’s the big deal? Do you really expect “some concrete action on both the symptom (substance trafficking and abuse) and the malady (discontent of one kind or another).”???
Puhleeeeze, spare us the feigned ‘ignorance’ and if you’re really serious, get real with your editorials!!
Safa / January 5, 2014
In a country where you cannot get anything done without political patronage, these are an open secret. The drug mafia has spread its tentacles into the very heart of the govt. MP’s, Ministers, VVIP’s are yet to declare their assets.
The astounding success of certain star politicians in obtaining maximum preference votes comes at a price. Where do these former paupers obtain all the bakseesh? Kappan, Drug money, Ethanol, the deals made with VP, the LTTE gold mystery, the missing LTTE ships? Perhaps KP will one day reveal these top secrets.
daya.thevi / January 5, 2014
I don’t see anything wrong in this editorial. Right questions have been asked and it is up to the citizenery to act upon by asking the same from the law makers. He is spot on in identifying the two symptoms that rots the Nation to the core. Now will The Nation the paper as well as the country wake up from its deep slumber!
sirimal / January 5, 2014
For me it is unfortunately not a balanced one.
As an Editor of state media news paper, writer if he is not biased minded, must not forget his key responsiblity that he could stress the essence of prompt stern actions that should have taken by the authoriteis. Drugs issues are considered as very serious ones in entire world, but aparently not in our country.
Thamara / January 5, 2014
Malinda you only see the dark side of the UNP. Well UPFA is in power from 1994. when we all know that drugs are harming the society, why was your beloved government did not do anything and accepted it. Don’t try to blame only the UNP, you bribed jurnalists are mum about what your big boss and his gang are doing.Kudu Duminda , Kudu Gota, Anura Senanayaka etc are your pets. Time to give up reading your misleading writings. We demand expose your pets
Max Silva / January 5, 2014
Malinda,Pinto,Dharshika,Thissaranee are all in the same category.Claims to be journalists.[Edited out]
Fathima Fukushima / January 5, 2014
War On Drugs is not important now. War on Tamils should continue until all Tamils are destroyed.
Brad / January 5, 2014
The bloggers it seems would prefer you to: Whitewash terrorists and facilitate regime change to permanently pawn the country to the USA/UK/India.
Levi / January 5, 2014
You have said that we have had a Prime Minister Who …dealt with Drugs..
You are Wrong!. Sri Lanka still has that shameless “drug dealer” if he was duped into the Issue or the arrogant One as her Prime Minister. The man in waiting to be the successor to the the Post of President is the event of any unfortunate incident.
Surely what can you expect Sri Lanka to have. What better substitute to the President who stole the begger’s alms from the begging Bowl only to be HONORABLY discharged by the Most Honorable of all Chief Justice who stole another man’s wife and was discovered in the company of a sub ordinate female staffer in the back seat of limo along diyawanna Oya in middle of the night.
MAY GOD SAVE SRI LANKA From THEe GOD LESS GOAT AND BBS.
Levi / January 5, 2014
The following appeared in the net.
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un had ‘uncle killed’ by 120 starving dogs – reports
Kim Jong-un’s uncle was killed after being stripped naked and fed to a pack of hungry dogs, according to reports in a Chinese state-backed newspaper.
North Korea have already described Jang Song Thaek as “despicable human scum, worse than a dog,” but these reports, appearing in Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po newspaper, suggest he may have met his end in the jaws of dogs.
The account describes how Jang Song Thaek and five of his aides were stripped naked and fed to 120 hungry hounds, who had been starved for three days. The whole process lasted an hour, and as they were eaten hundreds of officials watched.
The Singaporean Straits Times claims that the brutal account listed alongside a number of other criticisms in the report shows how Beijing is displeased with the changing regime, but currently there is no consistent editorial line in Chinese state media. The method of execution by dogs has also not been confirmed by North Korea.
Previously it had been reported that a number of Jang Song Thaek’s aides were executed with anti-aircraft machine guns.
Now we know where the missing Dogs from Colombo Streets in the custody of the Colombo Municipal Council Taken away by a vvip ended up.
Take care you may be the next dinner.
GOD Save Sri Lanka
Sharmini Serasinghe / January 5, 2014
On this article, I take my hat off to you.
Peter / January 5, 2014
Sharmini – I guess that comment was ‘tongue firmly in cheek’, since you don’t wear a hat!!! Regardless, I’m sure you do read between Malinda’s hallucinatory ‘Parallel Universe’ dithering.
Palmsquirrell / January 5, 2014
” President Mahinda Rajapaksa whenever he speaks to school children or speaks at school functions underlines the importance of values. He speaks of wholesome education. He speaks of wholesome lifestyles. The drug menace that is gripping the country is at odds with his stated vision. Indeed, it is threatening to rip to shreds his overall stated master plan.”
Come off it ; this is Mahinda PR excercise . If MR really genuinely cared about “wholesome” lifestyle as you put it, he would close down the gambling parlors, prostitution and support for drug dealers within his party.
Malinda Seneviratna is as shameless as Rajpal.
Hadi Sheriff / January 5, 2014
Malindas colours are changing slowly be careful you are answerable to next honest Govt (Not UNP).
Eshanthi / January 6, 2014
Jim Softly, are you Malinda Seneviratne; Milinda are you Jim? I think Jim Softly is Milinda Seneviratne or a friend of Milinda’s. If you do not believe me check Milinda’s articles and comments; Jim Softly is there only once or twice but all comments are either to help or clarify Milinda. Milinda, do not stoop to a level too low because people will start urinating and defecating on you. I feel sorry for you. Shame on you. Do you have a personal hatred with Dr. Jagath?