By W. Vishnu Gupta –
The reason for the “Failed and Bankrupt State” of Sri Lanka must be attributed to the actions of (225+1) charlatans and their predecessors of the parliament, specifically for legislative actions taken to dismantle the state and for robbing the state. Collectively they weakened and debilitated the state while empowering and enriching themselves. Also, part-1 of this article, argued that sinister political plans were initiated under four major schools of chauvinistic political thought: SWRDB, JRJ, NM (Trotskyists) and SJV (Federalist). SWRDB and JRJ have mastered the “Divide and Rule” policy and they were like Siamese twins in Sri Lankan corrupt and vile political culture. Though other two camps were less corruptive, they had different personal political agendas as much as remote from the interests of the citizens and were equally poisonous to the newly independent country of 1948. All the parliamentarian since 1955 have mastered the mandatory subject of political trickeries from the above four schools of thought and their actions are morally reprehensible. Sri Lanka is a state that begs for food, medicine, energy products and money to sustain the economy and feed nearly 90 percent of the population, yet none of them have the courage to admit that Sri Lanka is a Failed and Bankrupt state. The exchange rate for one US$ was around Rs.8 without FEECS until 1977, then under the JRJ government it was floated around Rs.15. At the same time Singapore dollar was floated around SGD 3 per one US$.
|Year||Sri Lankan Rupees per One US$||Singapore Dollars per One US$|
|1975||12.62 (including FEEC)||3|
The numbers do not lie, the above simple comparison shows how and what our political leaders and their hand-picked cronies have done to us. They have bungled our fiscal and economic affairs of the state, mismanagement, theft, and corruption are the only reasons for this incomprehensible devaluation and depreciation of our currency. What a tragedy, our young readers must know that a packet of rice and curry with a big piece of fish was sold at Rs.1, yes for One Rupee in 1975 at “LION HOUSE” Restaurant, Galle Road, Bambalapitiya, Colombo-4 and in other reputable restaurants in Colombo. Yet, none of the politicians are willing to accept the responsibility for the misery, hunger, unbearable cost of living, and hopelessness inflicted on our people. The corruption and the disempowerment of the state are the drivers of poverty and the failure of the state. The recent sarcastic comment made by RW confirms that the charlatans in the parliament has taken people for a mega ride since 1955, he said the root cause may be the arrival of Prince Vijaya and he has nothing to do with the collapse of our economy.
One of the best definitions of “corruption” is given by Professor J. S.Nye: “Behavior which deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of private regarding (personal, close family, private clique) pecuniary or status gains, or violates rules against the exercise of certain types of private-regarding influence. This includes such behaviour as bribery (use of reward to pervert the judgement of a person in a position of trust); nepotism (bestowal of patronage by reason of ascriptive relationship rather than merit); and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private-regarding uses)”
All judiciary officers high and low, including the attorney general and the members of the bar association of Sri Lanka must recite and understand the meaning of every word stated in the above definition. Some of the rulings made by some judges and the attorney generals seem to contravene the above definition. It is appropriate and timely, that responsible persons of the state pay attention to the allegations levelled against Sri Lanka. For instance, as previously stated, the annual report of the High Commissioner and the Secretary General at Forty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council confirms that “In the last two years, the independence of the judiciary, the Human Rights Commission and other key institutions have been eroded, and democratic space, including for human rights advocacy constricted.” All politicians, particularly (225+1) elected in 2015 and 2019 made Cardinal Malcom Ranjith to appear before the UNHRC and to seek justice for 2019 Easter carnage. It clearly signals that Sri Lanka is a FAILED STATE and where there is no credible judicial mechanism, but charlatans in the parliament, some due to ignorance and the rest due to arrogance refuse to accept their responsibility for forcing Cardinal Malcom Ranjith to present his grievances to the UNHRC in Geneva.
Drivers of Disempowerment of the State
Those who believe in globalization, supports the theory that promotes inflow of foreign capital, advanced technology, market economy and the resultant economic growth and this process is expected to take care of issues of social justice and equity automatically. Central to this new economic dispensation is a shift in the role of the state, particularly in its commitment towards the masses of the people from where it derives its strength and legitimacy according to democratic traditions.
Obviously, the role of the State is People centric. However, the ideology of globalization does not work in a corrupt political environment that has been established under “rule of man” or empowerment of political party leaderships. Despite the opposition from dying breed of Trotskyites and other dwindling red shirts, it must be emphasized that nothing wrong with the ideology of globalization in a country with limited resources. The root cause for failure of globalization in Sri Lanka is the corruption, JRJ, and his acolyte RDeM were crooked when they introduced principles of market economy, they were more interested in advancing political security for themselves, their political party and promoted the culture of earning commissions from the development projects introduced under the merits of Globalization on top of the small-scale briberies reported prior to 1977. Apparently, it is alleged that the politicians of subsequent governments of Premadasa, Chandrika and Rajapaksas have refined the art of making illegal commissions and briberies and have become filthy rich, some of their parliamentary colleagues, of course under immunity sanctioned by themselves have blabber mouthed their former friends of stashing away millions and billions of dollars in offshore accounts. It is strange that why the critics of the present government were somewhat quiet, when baby Namal promoted the idea of establishing diplomatic relationship with a billionaire tax heaven: Liechtenstein a principality of 39,000 people recently. Likewise, the controversy over Panama Papers has been conveniently forgotten. It is questionable how politicians of Sri Lanka have become filthy rich, if proper and credible investigations are done, under Professor Nye’s definition of corruption, all (225+1) without any exception, have committed crimes against the state of Sri Lanka.
Fox Guarding the Henhouse
Bloomberg reported on March 17, 2022, under the caption “How Four Powerful Brothers Broke an Island Nation”, that the Rajapaksas have ruined our nation and the family (Rajapaksa) represents “Dynastic politics at its purest”. Rajapaksa family members are accused of controlling 75% of the state budget. The powers of the state have been hijacked by the politicians and it appears the Sri Lankan voters have been duped by them in every election since 1955. First, they took the keys to the state ministries by subduing the state officials under the leadership of Sirima. Subsequently all the governments raped and pillaged the state institutions, no exception even JVP participated in this vile act in the governments of Chandrika and RW/MS. AKD was the agriculture minister in Chandika’s government and he vehemently rejects electoral reforms that include “First Past the Post system” that prevents illiterates, criminals, thieves, and drug peddlers entering the legislature. JVP has always colluded with the political forces including RW and all the chauvinist leaders opposing electoral reforms, hence JVP is a party that has always supported the election of unsavoury and shady characters to the legislature and precipitated the present economic crisis.
Furthermore, the state owned, and well known private media houses have colluded with the chauvinist political propaganda to misguide the voters and suppress the mobilization of people against inequality, persistent unemployment and deteriorating economic, worsening fiscal environments for a long time. In contrast, similar corrupt political leaderships in other countries were not tolerated. For instance, average citizens were mobilized very successfully to get rid of corrupt leaderships in Arab Spring and through the Anti-austerity protests in Europe. The crafty political leaders such as SP, AKD, MS, PR, RS, Wimal, Udaya, Wigi, Sumanthiran, Sampanthan, Hakeem, Douglas, Ratana and Rishad have not paid much attention to the ordinary citizens lining-up for food , gas, petrol, diesel and other essential commodities because they all have taken part in the conspiracy to weakened the state and enjoy the benefits of corruption. They truly worry about a general mobilization of masses against the prevailing political system in Sri Lanka. Consequently, the demands for reforms to tackle corruption, in both politics and business have no traction in Sri Lanka. Even the International Court of Justice confirmed the disempowerment of the state by releasing a statement on October 27, 2020, saying “The ICJ today condemned the adoption of amendments to the Sri Lankan Constitution, which serve to expand the powers of the president, while encroaching on the powers of the parliament and courts.” The policies pursued by the governments since 1955, that neglect or deepen inequality have exacerbated the combination of less sustainable economic growth, weakened social cohesion, and citizen feeling disenfranchised from democratic process has resulted in creating a FAILED and BANKRUPT STATE.
The State should become a vehicle for transmitting the global market discipline to the domestic economy and not come under the corrupt political leadership. At the heart of this ideology is the idea that the prime responsibility of the State is to ensure ‘sound finance’ and attractive business climate without neglecting the nation’s priority towards agriculture, public distribution system, environment, education development and social security etc… Appointment of political cronies and assigning family members to control the economy of the country go against the above fundamental theory and good governance but it certainly supports the idiom “Fox guarding the Henhouse”. For example, the covenants and laws enacted in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and Financial Transaction Reporting Act are unachievable and have no effect under a controversial present political crony heading the Central Bank and a Minister accused of corruption and branded as Mr. Ten Percent. If the people were able to elect a governing party sworn to empower the state, they (people) would have avoided getting a “mongoose” and a “fox” to manage their henhouse.
Fishing in Muddy Water
AKD and his band of JVP seem to think that this is the time to chase Rajapaksas and grab power because people are dazed, hungry and confused due to the current economic difficulties. AKD and his comrades are not some aliens that just arrived in Sri Lanka to rescue us, they have been part and parcel of the corrupt political culture of the country. Those who know JVPers and the suffering inflicted on many innocent people in 1970s and late 1980s will bear witness to the atrocities committed by AKD’s masters. It is no secret that JVPers of today rejoice the death of senior citizens of the country because they pause the main stumbling block that exposes their dubious campaign to grab power. The JVP campaign is akin to methods used by Pol Pot of Cambodia to gain power in 1975 and we know too well what happened to the innocent Cambodians for trusting the despot, nearly 1.9 million Cambodians were annihilated under the Khmer Rouge policies. SJB’s protest rally lead by Sajith too did not carry any traction and failed to mobilize the citizens throughout the country either. The UNP rally “sathyagraha” at Hyde Park on March 25th, 2022, and the TNA discussions with GR on how to get Tamil Diaspora’s support to prop-up SLPP are sinister efforts engineered by the charlatans in the legislature, they are nothing but fishing in muddy water. Likewise, the proposed 21st amendment to the constitution by Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is a clever proposal to RECYCLE the same dirtbags occupying our legislature.
Almost three and half years ago, one of the articles published in Colombo Telegraph under the caption – Give Back Our Sovereignty & Free Us from Oligarchs said the following.
“Implementation of a comprehensive solution proposed by The Venerable Sobitha Thero would have saved our country and the people from misery. The country does not need a brand-new constitution; no country on earth possesses a perfect constitution. People should not be the victim of a ploy proposed by RW. Citizens (not Sinhalese, not Tamils and not Muslims) did not demand at any time a new constitution; they are right now paying dearly for the fraud committed through the 19th amendment developed haphazardly by a selected few RW friends. Electoral/Election reforms plus removal of executive presidency must be developed simultaneously and those amendments must be implemented simultaneously and not sequentially
1. The most suitable method for parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka should be a mixed method system. It is a combination of the FIRST PAST THE POST (or single member plurality) voting system and the PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION system. Very simple to understand.
2. The size of the present parliament should be affordable and be maintained at 225 and limited to two types of members i.e., 160 MPs for First-Past the Post representation for each electorate. There are already demarcated 160 Polling divisions in the country; PR representation at district level should be limited to 65.
3. 65 PR MP seats at the district level should be based on a formula agreeable to the people.
4. There should not be any National list MPs, These National List MPs have become part of the obstacle to get rid of the Oligarchies.
5. Election expenditure control laws must be enacted as an integral part of electoral reforms.
The above proposed system will pave the way to stop semi-literate and alleged criminals getting into the parliament and making havoc in the nation. It is believed, this is the only way to wrest sovereignty away from the oligarchy and kleptocracy and give it back to the people.
A country with a literacy rate of 92%, (the highest in South Asia) should not have any difficulty in electing highly literate, qualified, honest, and law-abiding group of sons and daughters as the members of the parliament to decide the destiny and play a pivotal role in developing a robust economy, sustaining cultural/social/religious practices, security, and harmonious existence.”
The illiterates and political scoundrels have already ruined our nation and the people are confused. The voters were promised by RW and MS to enact the appropriate electoral reforms and to get rid of the present fraudulent technique of electing members to our parliament in the elections of 2014/2015. No wonder majority of (225 +1) that includes all chauvinists in the legislature loath election-promises made to the Late Most Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera. The curse will follow until we win back our sovereignty and depose those self-centered vile politicians responsible for making our people and the unborn children destitute and beggars of the world.