17 October, 2018

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Our Strategy For The Future Is To Make Sure That There Is A Future 

By Lacille de Silva 

Lacille de Silva

What should we expect from a different type of leadership in a country totally devastated by corrupt politicos? We now need to elect a group of people, who honour principles of public sector governance such as transparency, accountability, integrity, efficiency, effectiveness etc., which had been conspicuously overlooked by successive governments to-date. Nelson Mandela, Noble Laureate and former President of South Africa had said – “A political leader must be honest to himself” to run governance. Politicians who have ruled this country for the last several decades did not “walk the talk”.  

During the first half of the twentieth century, Europe had been the most turbulent region in the whole world.  It was then trembled by war, economic crisis, and social and political conflict. What changed? Social democrats were people who have changed all that having chosen ballots over the bullets. They had realized that appeals to the “people”, the “community” and the common good were much superior. It was however only in Scandinavia, and in Sweden in particular, that a new party had embraced the newest approach wholeheartedly, at the very outset.

Swedish Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) had immediately initiated developing comprehensive economic programmes to harness the powers of the Swedish polity. During the 1932 election campaign, they had declared, I quote – “Humanity carries its destiny in its own hands….Where the bourgeoisie preach laxity and submission to ..fate, we appeal to people’s desire for creativity…. conscious that we both can and will succeed in shaping a social system in which the fruits of labour will go to the benefit of those who are willing to… participate in the common task”.  

The late Mr. Per Albin Hansson, the then Leader of SDP in Sweden, had popularized his theme “folkhemmet” or “people’s home”. He had prophesized and declared the theory – “the basis of the home is community and togetherness” and had also stressed that social democracy strove to “break down the barriers that ….separate citizens”. SDP had been a community of people who  have come together to ensure freedom and justice, to preserve them and live up to them. These policies had subsequently helped Swedish people to reap excellent political rewards from the unprecedented economic recovery that had eventually occurred. 

Our core belief too is that power democratically acquired should be directed to strengthen economic forces in the service of the collective good. We are committed to establish a political culture which is empathetic, clean, unstrained, and people-friendly. Nobel Prize-winning Economist Amartya Sen, whose work greatly influenced the conceptualization of human development, argues that development goals need to improve people’s ‘capabilities’ – their ability to act and reach their full human potential.  Human development therefore requires attention to both development processes and outcomes, towards the overall aim of human well-being.

The men who founded the United States of America, namely, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton were also considered to be the best educated, most considerate and thoughtful people at the time. They had justified their intent to take up arms and had added that they could never have effectively defended their rights and established a democracy with institutions that uphold the rule of law and shared values, unless they had fought the war.

People in this country have always been fooled by the rulers. Mostly, youth too had felt frustrated due to limited opportunities to advance economically, lack of employment prospects and to participate in political and social spheres. The rulers have thereby committed dreadful mistakes having paved the way for chaos and a total waste of public funds. Graft in public offices is therefore rife even after a massive anti-corruption campaign launched by the Yahapalana regime, which no doubt was largely rhetorical. 

Sri Lanka therefore is in a pitiful state in regard to all affairs. They have closed down nearly 1500 schools in numerous villages all over the Island. Ministry of Education, has divided all schools in to five categories based on their level of difficulty in terms of facilities and accessibility. According to this categorization, it is sad 49 percent of the schools fall in to the category of difficult or very difficult categories in the Island.  

Furthermore, primary healthcare institutions, such as a few rural hospitals have been shut down. Public transport system (CTB) that was managed by the government was totally mishandled, neglected and privatized. There are also other examples of malfunctioning schools, hospitals, bridges, culverts, numerous public sector organizations, such as courts, police etc., due to bad governance.

It is due to total neglect, destruction and disruption of governance system by the corrupt politicos that poor peasanty is made to go through endless difficulties.  Rulers have overlooked the need to put in place new measures to take the country forward by introducing new plans for execution. It must be stressed that the SDP of Sri Lanka will shoulder the burden of commencement of the process of rebuilding the Nation from the very beginning. 

We need leaders, who are visionaries at the top if our country has to go forward and develop its infrastructure and its health and its educational system. We lack visionaries of the calibre of the late C.W.W. Kannangara, the father of free education, in Sri Lankan Parliament at present. 

There is a dearth of rational, focussed decision makers. It is well worth doing out of the box thinking about ways by which gifted achievers, educationists, administrators, country-planners, renowned technocratic entrepreneurs, engineers could be introduced to shoulder the responsibility of governance for achieving economic growth and sustainable development.

Building economy, we believe, is building business. We believe business and investment will only succeed if there is good governance.   Every day we hear about grimmer news about the impoverishment, misrule, bad governance and degradation of what used to be one of most prosperous countries in Asia. Sadly, even United Nations seem to be much better in making goals than meeting them. UN has urged that governments should provide safe drinking water, health for all, universal primary schooling, make poverty history, and particularly helping those living below poverty line, which is gradually on the increase. 

Sri Lanka therefore lags behind purely because of bad leaders, who are corrupt. The numerical targets too that had been set by successive governments have failed. Hunger and malnutrition are rapidly on the increase. The institutional framework has been totally destroyed by endless politicisation. If a country is to prosper, it must enlist the efforts of all bureaucrats throughout the country including teachers, doctors, nurses, technocrats etc., who should exercise care, diligence and judgement.  

Progress occurs when courageous, skilful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. It is unfortunate the much needed conscientiousness and integrity are also seriously lacking in our leaders. We need to pay greater attention to fisheries, agriculture, infrastructure development, mechanisation and irrigation without depending on aid in order to lift people out of poverty. Funds have been disbursed annually and the outcome is notoriously low and below expectations. 

SDP campaign proper in Sri Lanka has not started as yet. We are fully well aware that we do not have billions of ill-gotten money, unlike the other candidates backed by the two major parties. Nevertheless, SDP is backed by well known professionals in the country. We are aware that ours is a herculean task.  We shall use careful strategy to win over those who are biased towards two major parties. 

Much has been written about Rohan Pallewatta, Attorney-at-Law, as a leading entrepreneur. He is an exporter who had succeeded in bringing in much needed foreign exchange for the country. SDP has nominated Pallewatta as the Presidential Candidate, who pursues a path which is non-confrontational. Pallewatta, as an accomplished candidate, has other plentiful appealing qualities too. The most obvious is his competence. And his clean track record. Nearly everything he has done, I must add he has done all that extremely well.  He has employed several thousands. We have seen him as a capable administrator par excellence, with a hunger for detail. Beyond competence, I have no doubt Pallewatta portrays presidential. He is hard working, rational, charismatic,  energetic, resourceful and appealing. All the questions directed at him are answered crisply and intelligently with a touch of love, affection and sincerity. 

SDP no doubt will also leave no stone unturned to for international conglomerates to start businesses and invest more and more in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, Sri Lanka needs to be upgraded as a location for world market production. We also need to do everything possible to make our country one more hub for export goods by both local and international firms, using our own raw material. It is, however, sad unregulated economic policies and bad governance have destroyed our industries and business ventures for several decades.    

Lee Kuan Yew after he became the Prime Minister in Singapore in 1959 had said that corrupt governance destroy countries and that “They are not clean systems; we run clean systems. Their rule of law is wonky; We stick to it. We become reliable and credible investors”. He had added “Those with good minds to be scholars should also be inventors, innovators, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs; they must bring new products and services to the market to enrich the lives of people everywhere”. 

Lee Kuan Yew had furthermore argued that leadership should be able to convince the people that tough decisions are worth taking for the sake of the country’s development and progress.  It was, however, unfortunate in Sri Lanka massive industries such as Tyre Corporation, Plywoods Corporation, Steel Corporation, Pharmaceutical Corporation etc., had been mis-managed, privatized and shut down due to excessive politicisation.  Britishers during their rule had been totally committed to develop the plantation sector, which too had finally become a failure.

It must be mentioned that there was a period where we built carriages for trains, buses and lorries. We had also started manufacturing our own UPALI MAZDA cars thanks to the entrepreneur, the late Upali Wijewardena. Similarly, we collect cardboard, iron etc., and export them to India and import paper, steel, etc., after value addition in India. 

We need to encourage foreign investors to come and invest in our country.  

After opening up to foreign trade and investment and implementing free market reforms since 1979, China became one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It is now the world’s largest economy and has emerged as a major global economic power – a manufacturer, merchandiser, trader and the holder of large exchange reserves. Why did Sri Lanka fail having initiated economic reforms and trade liberalization since 1978, one year before China?  If you carefully analyse all that is because of greedy predatory politicos. 

Our elected representatives have proved beyond doubt that they have totally failed. Both major parties (UNP & SLFP) have destroyed this country. We therefore need a responsible government consisting of highly ethically and morally sound leaders. They should be able to ensure administration of justice to deal with the perpetrators.  

We need to overhaul the total system and replace truly honourable people to run governance. We need leaders with the ‘political will’ to effectively enforce the law to deal with the law breakers. We require leaders to begin taking tough decisions. The Social Democratic Party of Sri Lanka intends to promote to achieve economic development in order to extend people a stake so that they could live a better life in this country. We could get back on track if we start to act now, without further delay. 

We need to give human dignity the foremost place. All successive governments have failed to consider the promised economic revival, creation of employment, reduction of cost of living and ending the culture of impunity. Flood gates had been opened to the ruffians to enter politics and politics became a lucrative business. They have neglected their duties and failed to uplift the living standards of the citizens. 

Our leaders should not any longer ignore the challenges facing our nation.  

According to the teachings of the Buddha too, the kings and the state are servants of man. We need leaders who could win the trust and confidence of the masses. It is therefore important to understand that the Parliament itself has created a culture of impunity. Owing to all these, there is public cynicism towards the Parliament and the peoples’ representatives. There is no gainsaying the fact that in a society corrupt to the core, only few – the conniving and the powerful – continue to enrich themselves.  The poor become poorer. Shouldn’t we open our eyes and ears before it is too late!

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    The mandate given by people in 2015 was brutally abused by Mr Sirisena having appointed rejected former goons into his cabinet. It was not RW did it, but he had no other choice than continuing. long RIVAL parties SLFP and UNP to go together for the benefit of the nation is a must, no doubt about that, but in making and taking decisions they have proved to be a rail way – not coming to a decision but just move forward. Time is valauble and flying, but not much is achieved. Perhaps, they believe, the current context where heavy burden of debts need only to sloth not focuing anything else. And in the same time, former goons are given chance to interpret the situation in favour of them. That is dangerous. I dont think that the govt wanted to give a pay hike the priority at this criticla turning point fo the govt, being pressed with collossal amounts of debts, but join opposition make it an issue to fool the nation.
    All in all, this country could better function, if Britsch stayed andcontinued since 1948. The failure lies on lanken genetics.

  • 8
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    Dear Lacille,
    Sri Lanka therefore lags behind purely because of bad leaders, who are corrupt. The numerical targets too that had been set by successive governments have failed. Hunger and malnutrition are rapidly on the increase. The institutional framework has been totally destroyed by endless politicisation. If a country is to prosper, it must enlist the efforts of all bureaucrats throughout the country including teachers, doctors, nurses, technocrats etc., who should exercise care, diligence and judgement.

    Lacille can we leave out the Doctors as they are out for Regime change. Which will be dangerous.

    Nice of you to write the truth

    Well done!

    • 4
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      Sandra if in case there is a regime change and the Girawapattu morons come back to power. That would be the end of our island nation.
      We will face economic sanctions and other hardships and this will be another somalia or Myanmar.

    • 2
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      Thanks. I am sorry doctors cannot be excluded. Their support too will have to be sought.

      • 1
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        How can that be achieved. They are placed above the society no matter the number of strikes per years has been risen drastically. They have rather focused on their pockets and politics just neglecting their role as doctors.
        If where I am – in EUROPE doctors would do so, following day itself, there would be a rally against them, resulted and would be marginalized by every means.
        But Doctors knowing themselves the position they have been kept in the society, they just abuse it.
        Lanken docotrs are the most ignorant in the society. They just believe, that they could do lot more than any average. Their services must be if one would see that these doctors are produced by the tax payers funds. There they shoudl be grateful to the nation instead mistreating them by consecutive set of strikes. I think the tax departments should collect more taxes from lnaken doctors. Aftertheir graduation they should pay part of the costs the state beared for them. That is common to any other countries too.

    • 2
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      Thank. We should not leave out doctors…

  • 6
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    My sincere vote for you Lacille.
    You are a man of Honesty & Integrity.

    • 1
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      Thank you so much.

  • 4
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    Oh Boy Lacille ……… am I glad to see you!

    Thought you had vanished into the jungles ……… with a bevy of hot gals for a life of debauchery ………. never to return

    There were rumours of sightings of you in the risqué quarters of Paris ……. thought Dayan had shown you the ropes


    It’s an inspiring piece full of hope and guidelines and directions ……… but we are both Lankans; we know our own people ……….. in your right mind Lacille, do you think it’s ever going to work? If you were an investor – good at analysing – and Lanka was a company would you put your money on it? I don’t think so!

    Lanka has too many people; the world has too many people with the associated problem of overcrowding …………. it’s a two way solution ………. ship some of them out ………… and of the ones remaining bump-off a significant number ( all the great men/women in history …… Lenin, Fidel, Stalin, Mao, Washington, Lincoln, Hitler, Pol Pot, Aung San Suu Kyi, Sirimavo ……….. “bumping a few off” was their primary solution to this vexing problem)………. Wijeweera, Premadasa, Mahinda, Gota, Fonseka, Prabakaran ………… had the right idea ………. and they were devout Buddhists/Hindus – religion-freaks ……… but when a godless man like me broached the idea …….. Native Vadda wants to lock me up in the nut-house. Such is life, Lacille!

    If you are a bit squeamish about the best solution ……… the second best is to ship most of the citizens off to other countries for the most part of the year and bring them back to the beloved motherland in rotation for brief periods of the year ……… and the country to spin-off some “beloved-motherland tours” ………. and the few remaining to be housed in cultural-reservations ………. to put on cultural shows for visitors ………. Mahinda, Ranil, Sirisena, Gota, Basil, CB, SB, BB, KP, VP …. sorta doing an in-step Can-Can a la Moulin Rouge ……. A one-stop cultural Disneyland …….. to rekindle cultural-patriotism ………

    That’s the only thinking outside the box ……. I can do right now …………….

    • 3
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      Just awful Nimal!….so true though. Well, all we can do is keep grinding the message into the populace. Shaming the Elite is an imperative. Communism will work wonders.

  • 3
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    PS

    “It was however only in Scandinavia, and in Sweden in particular”

    So, you are a fan of Scandinavia, eh? ……….. I was one too …….. until I went there and discovered that it’s still a place on this earth ……. inhabited by humans ………..

    But one good thing that came out of Sweden …… Jussi Björling ………… try Ch’ella Mi Creda

    And Kirsten Flagstad from Norway …….. the best Wagnerian-singer ever walked the face of the earth ………… not a great looker ……….. but could sing the pants off any man ………

    BTW ……. I’m an out and out Rock and Roller and a Baila ( Aton Jones; I exercise to his songs ) man ……… just stumbled on to classical music while setting up my cartridge ……… and using classical records (not to ruin my treasured Rock records) to test ………

    Lacille, to hell with all this Lankan political claptrap; life is short …………….. what is the best recording of Beethoven’s 9th? ……… Anyone want to venture?

    Introduced you to gals ……… now it’s time for music ……….. then comes wine ……………

    • 1
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      I feel we are doing very well. Thank you so much

      • 2
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        Lacille,

        From the photo …… I see that you are a happy man with a happy face :)) …… that’s great; I commend you for your optimism ………… but as a realist; an ultra-realist I can’t even bring myself to think of Lanka; it’s so pessimistic, bleak and depressing …….. when the greater world out here has so much to offer to make a man’s life fuller ………….. why get mired and bogged down in all that motherland-crap where one has no viable escape?

        Now that Nietzsche is in vogue in the forum and talked about everyday …………. what people forget is his discovery of The Greek Comedies (The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music – the irony is “Out of the Spirit of Music” is now expunged from the title and people don’t even think about it) ……. the Dionysian aspect of the ancient Greeks ……… The Europeans/Germans – like you, now – of his day concentrated only on the Apollonian side ……. order from chaos …….

        “You Germans absolutely have no sense of humour; do you?” – Basil Fawlty (Fawlty Towers)

        Apollonian order …….. will never be in Lanka – not in our lifetime. ………… So why waste precious time on a futile wild goose chase? …….. We should spend more time on Dionysian fun and humour ……. Mardi Gras, Rio Carnival, Oktoberfest, Moulin Rouge ……..

        Gotta spread the message …… Native Vadda is a man with a good heart in the right place but too serious …….. Old Codger is world-wise but now too busy with the gals …….. some are too Singhalese, some are too Singhalese-Buddhists, some are too Tamil, Some are too Muslim …….

        Lacille, you are the only one we got with all the elements mixed in right proportions! Don’t neglect your duty!!! ….. (“His life was gentle; and the elements So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up And say to all the world, This was a man!” — Good ol’ Will)

        • 0
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          continued

          Look around (I’m not making this up) it’s all fun and games for our pols ……….. so why not us, the plebs?

      • 0
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        PS

        To me, the best Beethoven 9th is a bootleg series of recordings made of rehearsals ( the 4 movements were not recorded in sequence …….. nor were they on the same day ……. you can hear people coughing …… chairs been pushed around …… but it’s a near-spiritual experience ) for the Salzburg festival, Furtwängler conducting the orchestra ………… his 1942 for ol’ Adolf comes pretty close ……… it’s on YouTube ……. but gotta listen through some decent audio gear …………

        Now, the best 5th? :))

  • 0
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    Our education system is British the future working condition is china way Educational achievement and future occupation Is this not a Buffeting technology-transfer as it parallel to each other.

  • 1
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    Lacille ,

    What is gambling ? And who are gamblers ? How do you want to explain our
    politics different from a den of gambling ? Even gambling has its rules !
    Gamblers come ready to lose and go home empty hands but our politics ?
    Only a handful of politicians are not enough for anything . At least two third
    of the 225 must be full time professionals in both the government and the
    opposition who are genuine about the country . Do we have them for us ? It is
    the other way round ! They have us for them ! I know one family of three ,
    mother ,father and daughter . Parents are professionals living in their own
    house (inherited) in the immediate neighbourhood of Colombo . Money no
    problem for them but still daughter married and left the country to live
    overseas ! Is it a problem for us ? Of course it is ! The country is in a new
    culture of raising children for export ! Life in isolation , without loved ones
    to share and care ? And another family , the exception is two children and
    both are professionals and married professionals . Left everything and went
    overseas . This could happen seldom anywhere on earth but for this to be an
    epidemic ? Recently New Zealand rejected 83 of 88 student applications after
    detection of organized false finance information ! And another 800 visas
    already given are going to be under review according to reports ! Now , FUTURE
    FOR WHOM ? CHILDREN ARE LEAVING AND PARENTS ARE FUNDING THEIR
    MISSIONS AND THE GOVTS ARE DESPERATE FOR DOLLARS ! The country is
    left to rot by its own men !

  • 1
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    Lacille de Silva’s message is to hand over to the next generation an unbruised country.
    We must read the message and not slide into our national pastime – foul mouthing.

    • 0
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      ” We must read the message and not slide into our national pastime –
      foul mouthing.” This line confirms and reconfirms where the next
      generation comes down from !

  • 3
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    What’s deserved is given to them.

    People are corrupt so their leaders are.

    The rot started in late 70s or early 80s; the time the products of free education accepted the country’s management.

    Open your eyes to see that,

    Dr. Kannangara’s free education started in mid 40s.

    Boy/girl enters university in 1949 & graduates in 1954 @ the age of 23.

    After 10 years, in 1964 he/she @ the mid level, age 33

    After another 10 years in 1974, he/she @ the upper mid level, age 43

    After another 6 years, in 1980, he/she @ the top age 50; the new free educated generation accepted the country’s management..See the coincidence.

    Why don’t we change the education system.

    • 0
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      Real Revolutionist ,

      Education is one part of the problem yes , but not the whole and
      it mainly looks after pen and paper works ! The culture , religion
      and politics are the other culprits that hinder progress . For Tamils
      it is Language instead of religion . New generation continues joining
      the same old generation giving them an excuse that all new younger
      generations are trained to take over , that is trickery . In the boot
      licking industry , it is simply eyewash ! Only JVP has proved to have
      potential for change but the majority of the country is not ready to
      go with them even though their views are respected ! The major
      obstacle comes from politicised Buddhist clergy that has the power to
      disturb any progress that would cost their influence in the society !
      They just can’t do anything other than watching in distress when our
      food culture , dress culture , language patterns and behaviours all
      change in the name of civilization and with their unavoidable
      participation in the process . But a meaningful radical change will
      undermine the role of clergy in the real world and when that happens
      we will find them on the streets ! And the traditional grandpa politics ?
      where will they go ? They will be supplying fuel to the clergy !

  • 3
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    I 100% agree that this land urgently needs a different style ofleadership and different style of politics. However, the problem is how to change and how to challenge the barriers that exist for long period of time. One of the main problem is the Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism which is very powerful and well estabilished very strongly in this land. I love Buddhism more than any other teachings but I strongly believe that Fundamentalism is very different from true Buddhism and Fundamentalism is the most difficult barrier to any change. Secondly, the Leadership of UNP & SLFP ( I refer Mahinda group as SLFP here) are very powerful financially and within security institution. They also have control over most of the leading media which is another major barrier. Thirdly, the Tamil issue is outstanding for a long period without a solution which is the main contributor to the collapse of the law & order, justice which lead corruption.

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