By Marlon Dale Ferreira –
The Burgher community with no proper representation of its race in parliament appears to be a group that is forgotten and for that matter written off politically, after many of its people immigrated to Australia and other countries once the island nation gained independence.
This was when Sinhala was made the national language and many Burghers whose first language was English were finding extremely difficult to cope with the change, sometimes finding it even more difficult to educate their children in a language which they could not comprehend well enough to study.
As a member of the Burgher race and one who has now returned from the gulf after nearly two decades of working in the skies for two wonderful airlines, here are my views on this current topic.
I was provided with the wonderful opportunity to have personally met and served every President of Sri Lanka on board working as a Flight Steward for Air Lanka in my early days back home and also as a Flight Purser working for Emirates Airline based in Dubai for nearly 20 years
Back home now, I find this Presidential Election saga and all that is entrained with it to be a rather comical set of affairs once again and I am sure you do too especially listening to both sides slagging each other off in the hope of garnering those valuable votes. We have also seen the “great migration” of the wilder beast crossing over taking place here with politicians swapping over mainly from the government ruling party to the side of the opposition.
On that chord I somehow feel among all the hype, mudslinging, tension and violence leading up to the Presidential Elections, Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa may still pull it off even though the opposition has convinced themselves and everybody else that they have already won the election on paper, based on their collective and probable ‘voter base’ count in land mark fashion.
No, no I am in no way in support of any particular party because I believe deep down they have all proven to have had had some good and or equally some not so good agendas during each other’s reign and personally it would not bother me who comes in, because as for me, I wish to live peacefully strum my guitar and pour myself a drink at dusk.
As for ‘Mahinda or Maithri’ whoever it may be, there will be just one way to move forward when either party wins and that is to get the support of the entire nation behind them by putting its people first.
However as easy as it may sound the challenges of giving into its very own politicians, Members of Parliament or for that matter any henchman who supported its leader to succeed may sound a tad too difficult, after all some has to do their dirty work too.
At the end of the day it is inevitable and they will all whack boundary after boundary, fixing deals as much as matches are being fixed in this cricket mad country.
Ever since gaining independence there has been either the ‘Greens’ or the ‘Blues’ who have always governed our land and whoever it may have been, we can all vouch that rulers and their cronies have lined their pockets with all the ill-gotten wealth be it in the form of a commission based deal or by other means whichever way they could have mustered.
The mudslinging campaigns leading up to the elections especially in the hope of securing a few extra votes have been huge and any television channel switched on will reveal the ‘illegal deals’ that has been committed by both parties in the past.
The blame game has to stop from both sides because the general public is fed up of hearing stories of the dirty linen being washed in public and the stripping of each other through the nakedness of filthy lucre.
Those opposing President Mahinda Rajapaksa should stop for a moment and perhaps reflect on a few good things that he has done so far in office.
He no doubt has got more than what it takes to be just another politician and let’s be honest here, he pulled off the 2005 Presidential Elections when the whole country felt that Ranil Wickremesinghe was going to win. The abstention of the Tamil vote was at the end of the day a brilliant stunt he pulled off with the help of Vellupilai Prabhakaran the then Tamil terrorist leader.
Four years later in May of 2009, he got the support of the entire nation behind him and sent everyone into ruptures of delight, lighting fireworks, moreover when announcing that peace is here to stay at last.
This is when he pulled the wool over the eyes of the ‘Tiger Head’ and annihilated him and his entire terrorist army of soldiers in manner, vanquishing any thought of them taking up arms ever again.
Then again in the run up to the next Presidential Elections in 2010, when every mother hen and goose said that they had voted for Sarath Fonseka to be the next President, lo and behold he pulled off another stunner. ‘Computer Jilmart’ or not, he pulled it off and did not relinquish his seat continuing to remain in power.
The world accepted him as the President, but India may not have been happy with their national interest and control of the area been compromised with the presence of China being here, on the pretext of helping the country reconstruct itself after the carnage of war.
So now again we find are selves sipping a beer and chatting in every nook and corner discussing the same topic and arriving to our very own conclusions as to what the outcome could be. But come the 8th of January 2015 and don’t be surprised yet again if it would be Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa who would be ushering the Pope on his maiden trip to Sri Lanka, days later after landing another remarkable victory. Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa no doubt will in all probability pull off another amazing stunt and don’t fool yourself because he has done it before again and again and is no damn fool.
But for Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa’s sake if he wins, I sincerely hope he would use his third term then in a wise manner to clean out the garbage surrounding him first.
In his mind it has been made clear to him that majority of the garbage has got rid of by themselves with the volunteer cross overs taking place. But the garbage surrounding him by his second and third tier of family members is an area where he will have to decide to find ways put country first before family, if he is to get the support of the masses.
He should also wipe out his ministers who tie people onto trees, import drugs and also those that throw their fists about after alcohol.
In his first term in office he promised peace and achieved it to absolute perfection when the Tamil Tiger terrorist leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran who helped him not so long ago to come to power was silenced forever. Not one single bomb has gone off since which by itself is peace, that was so eagerly yearned and longed for and brought about by the military forces under this man’s command.
His second term was to bring about reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction which we can all see being currently done.
However there has been a critical issue surfacing from all of the development taking place especially with the beautification of the Colombo city, the building of the highways and constructing of an international airport and a seaport in Hambantota. It is no secret and the entire nation is aware of the huge commissions that goes into the governing scoffers personal accounts, but then again if the ‘Greens’ were in control they would have certainly done the same.
Imagine the building of highways coming under the purview of Ravi Karunanayake who is in the opposition? Well I guess the answer to that question and the smile on your face right now, would simply nullify all the answers to these questions of illegal monetary gains by the current regime, because whoever it may be in power would have done the same.
At least we have a highway to the airport and down south, an extra international airport and a sea port and we also have the railway system taking us to Jaffna after so many years.
However the national debt the country has been plunged into like never seen before is perhaps is the nation’s greatest concern of worry.
But then again it was bad when Mahinda Rajapaksa took over in the first place and perhaps has gone pear shaped since then.
Mahinda was the perfect foil for these two stages of his running of the country.
However at this moment in time is he the perfect person for bringing about economic stability to the nation with his band of family members and selected ministers surrounding him?
His biggest pitfall is the tier one, two and three below him. These tiers are what is going to be the reason for his very own down fall eventually.
In a Muslim country like the United Arab Emirates it is a perfect scenario that with no political system the dynasty of one family rules its nation. The second and third tiers are those of wealthy families who have been control to govern each individual Emirate and further powers diluted to rich and prominent other local families in each individual Emirate to run its own respective ministries. Their nationals are looked after in a manner that a revolt or overthrowing the ruling family is not a thought that even has manifested in any of its peoples minds. UAE nationals are funded fully with housing, education and jobs and empowered to gain greater riches as local partners to foreign business conglomerates and even individuals who have set up shop over there.
But over here the tiers below the President are his immediate brothers, their children, cousins, aunties and uncles and close associates.
Just take a glance at the list of all overseas foreign ambassadors and out of over one thousand who have been brought back to Colombo due to the Presidential Elections, barely a handful are career diplomats. The rest are all family appointments.
But come the elections and when this ‘hullabaloo’ and its dramas leading to the elections is over and revealing the eventual Presidential winner comes, don’t be surprised if Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa is re-elected as the President for a record third term.
He is a politician after all and a master at these games and if he does pull another rabbit out of the hat, I for one won’t be surprised, because he not only surprised us all once before but did it twice over.
My prediction is that Mahinda won’t lose and Maithri won’t win, if you know what I mean.
This time around if there aren’t no rabbits and hats involved he may opt to shoot the opposition like sitting ducks or perhaps in this instance shoot Maithripala Sirisena his contesting opponent like a sitting swan.
Let the will of God prevail.
Compliments of the season!