17 May, 2022


Puppies, Pigs, Mosquitoes And The Rules About Bureaucracy

By Basil Fernando –

Basil Fernando

In a weekly telecast comedy show one interesting question was asked about the measures taken to eradicate dengue fever. It asks why insecticides are not being used for this purpose. It appears that much that is going on in the name of controlling dengue is propaganda instructing people to turn coconut shells upside down and to throw away ‘pol combe’ and things like that accompanied with the threat that if these things are not done people will be fined.

As against that the comic show reminded that what was done for the eradication of dengue during the last century which achieved a record success was the use of DDT. The local government bodies had the duty to conduct spraying throughout the areas under their control and the people were also trained to use such insecticides.

The message is not comic at all. Of course, the use of insecticides will incur some cost and no epidemic could be eradicated without allocating the necessary funds for the purpose. Given the magnitude of the problem of dengue and the length of time it has lasted it is strange as to why such measures have not been undertaken already.

Behind of all that there is a greater problem: that is the disappearance of the role that the bureaucracy used to play in matters of such national importance, for that matter, in everything. If trained and experienced bureaucrats were running the show by now more effective measures would have been found for resolving this issue as well as many other issues.

What has happened in Sri Lanka is the disappearance of bureaucracy with the independence to carry out their responsibilities. This process is known in Sri Lanka as politicization and politicization has turned everything into a tragic comedy.

Bureaucrats work according to well-established roles and under the overall principle that what each bureaucrat actually does is what is authorized by law for him or her to do. How, this principle has ceased to be important can easily be illustrated by so many incidences, perhaps the one nearest is the incident related to the air-lifting of a puppy dog for the family of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence which has become the talking point at the moment.

In several interviews the Defence Secretary has repeated a few matters about this incident and as the matters are repeatedly printed we may take it as accurate. The Secretary assigned somebody other than the regular pilot to fly an aircraft which was to transport the puppy; that the particular pilot assigned did not have qualifications to fly the particular type of aircraft of this schedule; therefore sending of a separate aircraft which fell within the qualifications of the assigned pilot was discussed and that the scheduled flight was to go out of its way to pick up the all-important puppy.

What is important for us in terms of our theme is that if the Ministry of Defence Secretary was only a government bureaucrat and not the president’s brother he would have taken and not be entitled to take any of these decisions. There is someone to run the airline and someone else to run the Ministry of Defence. It would not have been within the power of the bureaucrats who acts as the Secretary of Defence to make orders on who is to fly any one aircraft.

It is even more certain that no bureaucrat who would honour the rules he is bound by and has a love for his job would think of ordering an airline to do anything at all in order to serve a private person with a purpose of his own. That nobody who is serving the government as a civil servant would use his powers to get private matters attended to is such a fundamental principle that anyone who violates it could easily come under disciplinary action.

That is how bureaucracies are run and that is how, not only the discipline but also the morale of people engaged in various authorities are kept up. If a bureaucrat working for one authority is to make orders to working in a separate authority there will not only be a conflict of authority but there would also be a breakdown of morale and a lot of unpleasantness.

Besides there would also be tremendous confusion and unless any single incident of that kind if it happened at all is stopped immediately there would be confusion everywhere. And there is such confusion nothing will happen at the end and no one will be held responsible for failures.

That is more or less what is happening everywhere today. There are those from outside the police giving orders to the Inspector General of Police and the result is the utter confusion and loss of morale and discipline within the entire system of policing. There are literally thousands of examples illustrating this and will just refer to one which was reported in the Focus on Rights column where discussion between two businessmen over a business matter did not end of in a happy conclusion but rather with one of them being kidnapped by a group organized by the other and the businessman was severely beaten up and then taken to a police station where everything was done according to the whims of the other businessman. When later the businessman complained to the authorities and tried to pursue the matter he was inundated with fabricated cases by the police.

It is not only the police department that is run on the whims of outsiders but also other departments such as the Attorney General’s Department and many others. Who does what and who orders and on what basis such orders are made are no long things that seem to matter. Mumbo Jumbo and confusion exists in every nook and corner.

What is really comic? Is it that the comedy show reminded us about DDT or malaria or is it the way Sri Lanka’s are being governed or are governing themselves?

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Latest comments

  • 0

    It looks like the American citizen, our DS Mr . Gotabhaya Rajapakse can’t polish up his American filth . I would like to see a situation where a Defense secretary of US had called a journalist directly on the phone as a “F…..g shit eating Pig” as our DS did and got away .

    This is what DS Gota had said in an interview to clear his despicable act .

    “ So this is very common usage, in USA for instance, and they use these words in normal talk — but these people are trying to make a big issue out of it to get at me, because they hate me about the war. In any case I used certain words with reference to the incident; I did not use foul language to abuse her.”

    So let us ask him what language he was talking about now after saying the Americans always use it ?
    One doesn’t have to be a genius to understand that he is lying and doesn’t have the courage to accept it .
    This shows the level of the education of our DS has unfortunately .The University of Colombo had given him an honorary Doctorate after the war . The ranking of University of Colombo will further decline if he opens his mouth in the future .

    The defense secretary’s megalomania is further elaborated with the following statement .

    Quote :
    “I have done tremendous service to the country by destroying the LTTE and I think the vast majority of people acknowledge that, and are with me due to that. …..And this incident; I said what I said (to her) with a reason – for a reason. I did not say those things without reason. So who are these people who have done nothing for the country, to ask to remove me?”

    So he is acknowledging again that he said some thing inappropriate because he had to say that due to his own reasons he is elaborating now .

    Let us respect his argument that becoming the defense secretary of Sri Lanka he had been a major contributor to the successful defeat of LTTE .
    At the same token let us ask him, what he had done to the former commander of the Army four star General Sarath Fonseka who had dedicated his entire life defending the integrity of this country, and also had been the major strategist who successfully led our Soldiers to defeat LTTE Terrorism. There is absolutely no argument about Gen Fonseka’s role in defeating LTTE Terrorism . DS Gota had already accepted the fact that in one of his speeches that Gen Fonseka is one of the greatest Generals of the contemporary world .

    Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse assumes that people are behind him but never had a fair pole to find out that if people of Sri Lanka are behind him as he claims .Again his position as DS is as government servant and not as a politician to make political statements that people are behind him .

    This DS says that there are certain elements coming after him for war crimes and he doesn’t care .
    “But these others attacking me on this issue — these are the same people who are trying to take us to war crimes tribunals and all that — because they hate us for destroying the LTTE. But we do not care!”

    What does it mean he doesn’t care war crime allegations when accountability is part of good governance ?

    The more he talks more disgrace he brings to Sri Lanka .It is high time that he resigns .

    • 0

      The bureaucracy or administrative or local governance services like democracy has been hollowed out by the uneducated rajapassa brothers none of who has a basic academic degree
      Staggered and manipulation elections are a symptom of the problem of a hollow democracy. What remains is a facade of institutions which have been stripped of qualified people or human resources, who have been replaced by uneducated and unqualified Rajapakse family members, cronies etc. But blow back is on the way – The university Dons are protesting Thank god!
      The Rajapakse regime’s biggest achievement is not the defeat of the LTTE but systematic hollowing out, asset stripping (including human resources), and transfer of public wealth into private hands of all economic, governance, and educational INSTITUTIONS and Central Bank in Lanka — three years after the war. There is a systematic DE-DEVELOPMENT of all institutions while maintaining the facade of development. Elections are political bread and circuses! But soon Sri Lanka will be begin to look like Syria despite the crack down of media lack of the Right to Information etc.

  • 0

    When there is nepotism, corruption, mismanagement, unqualified relatives whose first priority is to fill their Swiss bank accounts first, stealing of EPF funds, and white vans roaming the country, you cannot successfully run a country. Very soon the dengue mosquito will be the least of the Sri Lankan people’s problems.
    This country is sinking, crime is rampant, and people are realizing that the emperor has no clothes.

  • 0

    Let me go one step further and say that all what you are seeing in Sri Lanka are the effects of “Brain Drain”. Yeah, I’m not kidding!!!

    As long as capable people keep leaving the country for greener pastures the idiots will rule the roost. And how they make the decisions, influenced by a free glass of arrack and a buriyani, will shape the future of the country. Note that not everyone in the country has to be an idiot; slightly above 50% is all it takes. My feeling is that they have a comfortable margin at the moment.

    People…, if you have not given up Sri Lankan citizenship yet, make sure you vote at the next election. You can skip your regular summer of Christmas holiday once in every several years, can’t you?

  • 0

    you can comment big articles against gosl about bad ruls of bureaucracy but no one can change this regime because people are more ahead than your english articles.

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