27 May, 2022

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The Inevitable Craze For Forming ‘Havulas’ Or Common Alliances

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Reg Flag

Just a few days ago, the Central Bank sold half of its gold reserves. Gold reserves are sold only as last resort when there aren’t any options. That happens when a country is in default and on the economic precipice. That act gives the wrong signals to the banks, lenders, exporters and foreign investors. It is the red flag

The Gotabaya government is in deep trouble. Things have come to such a sorry pass during such a short time such as two years after his government came to power with a massive two-third majority.

As I have written many times in these columns, the possession of a parliamentary majority and, add to that, the construction of constitutional firewalls of power protection cannot keep a government in power when it is confronted with hard economic realities that strangles its existence. Ordinary voters do not understand the intricacies of the Amendment 20; nor does that matter to them in their practical living. On the other hand, if the economy is rendered dysfunctional people on the streets will feel it jolly well in the high prices, unavailability of essentials, closure of schools, no medicines, the long queues and so on. When gas cylinders burst inside households one knows things are going too far.

Technically there are many more years for the government to hold general elections and more years for it to hold the presidential elections. On the other hand, the signs are there of an implosion before that. When the ship is sinking MPs get nervous. And when they get the intuition that they are not part of the decision-making process but mere voting hands these MPs like to look at the exit gates.

The ‘Havula’ or Common Alliance

The SLFP component of the government, it is reported, are trying to work out a common alliance with other parties or political elements-just in case. The Samagi Janabalawegaya (SJB) has been struggling for a long time to get together an alliance. The United National Party (UNP) has also announced similar moves in time to come-although they don’t seem to be in a hurry. Karu Jayasuriya is dabbling with one under the auspices of the Society for Good Governance, which he has inherited from Rev Sobitha.

The JVP had already such an outfit under the name of Jathika Jana Balavegaya (National Peoples’ Power – NPP) where they have co-opted many ‘educated’ ‘persons from civil society. Now, this ensemble is gathering some noticeable following. Many people think: ”we gave X, we gave Y,.now let us give Anura Kumar Dissanayake” The Jathika Janabalavegaya has taken a lead in the Havula race thus far.

The phenomenon of the Havula is certainly not new to Lankan politics. This type of political entity made a sharp presence after JR’s Constitution that changed the election system away from First-past-the Post to PR on a district basis. Since that change it has been difficult for anyone to come to power without broad-basing away from a single party. The first such ‘Havula’ was known as the “Hath Hawula” or the seven-pronged alliance. I may not be accurate here because it was SWRD Bandaranaike who in 1956 formed the Havula known as Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, which today is private property of Dinesh Gunawardena.

Forming Havulas is a Raw Expression of a Power Struggle

The undiluted purpose of Hawulas is power grab. The key thing is to oust the current government and get into the seats of power. Typically, there are dissimilar elements within the Hawula that it would be hard to have a policy plan and a strategy announced well in advance. Havulas, therefore, go for one-liners in expression and for vague least common factors that can respectfully keep the different power seekers respectably within the fold.

This, precisely, constitutes the source of subsequent clashes when the Havula gets to power. The conflicts can be averted if the government dilutes its collective effort; but that would make the people feel they are neither here or there. This lack of a coherent philosophy, vision or policy framework will operate to the bane of the Havula and probably make way for factional break always later.

In other words, a typical Havula of the Sri Lanka type carries within its fold the roots of its own destruction.

Sri Lanka Cannot Any Longer Afford This Kind of Powerplay

People are sickened of the powerplay of politicians. Today’s seekers of power must attempt to get power to execute a vision for the future. Constituents of a Havula must only be chosen from those among those who have a common consensus with regard to a policy framework and strategy that derives from such common vision. A vision well stated can excite the electorate and inspire voters. Bandaranaike’s vision of Sinhala resurgence did enormously strike the chord of people at Town and village level. “Sanga, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru” slogan was fire at that time. I was a youngster then but I was observant of such things. Unfortunately, that vision had been socially divisive and it brought fears into smaller ethnic groups and to the Tamil community. There, the trouble began that devoured the economy and the nation and destroyed national unity. It was horrible vision but, that was an example of effective vision that has the capacity to excite.

I think our populations have now realized much more the need for an inclusive political vision. So there you are, power seekers of the future must formulate a clear vision and plan and a clear strategy for achieving such plan. They must build Havulas on that basis. The present day Havulas’ plans must take each major area of public policy and tell the people how different they are going to be. This is the only way they can garner public support. Such a comprehensive plan must offer hope from where the people are now.

Economic policy takes first place. Social cohesion must be another. So are, policies and plans for primary industry like agriculture and fisheries, law and order, justice system, foreign policy, separation of powers, public service, oversees Service, local government and regional service delivery, and corruption. In overall constitutional terms the manifesto must explain if it is for a parliamentary democracy of executive president system. Immediate, medium term and long-term goals should be set.

Without a Manifesto or Policy Plan It Is Just a Banging Match

Look at Sajith Premadasa or any of his SJB mates-how they behave in parliament. They are just banging away. They say, in effect, what the government has done here is wrong; there is wrong; the country is going downhill. These are some of the utterances of SJB party men. Harsha does some analysing and investigation, which is good. However, what would reactively come out of the lips of the public is: Yes, we know all that, But how are you guys going to address these issues? The SJB must enthuse the other MPs and the population at large with an inspiring new philosophy they are planning to introduce in order to transform the Weltanschauung of Sri Lankan society.

The JVP has been similar attack men for a long time. But there is a difference. Its leader Anura Kumar Dissnayake (AKD) investigates, studies his material and speaks comprehensively. AKD has a sharp eye and he understands politics from A-Z. He can flatten any government minister with wit and fact. So is lone man Patali Champika Ranawaka who has a comprehensive understanding of where the country is to go. But Champika has always been a man in a hurry-not realizing that politics is a waiting game.

JVP’s Manifesto “Rapid Recovery”

My attention to the recently issued brief statement of policy issued by the JVP/NPP Havula. I read Uditha Devapriya’s candid analysis of the document and have to agree with Uditha with almost everything he has said. Rapid Recovery is too rapidly prepared. Only amateurs can prepare a document like that.

Rapid Recovery begins with a kind of howler: “We do not need a sophisticated grasp of statistics or politics to understand the socio-political catastrophe that has befallen our country.” As Uditha puts it: “in other words we don’t need to know.” In cancel culture style the document blames all governments of the past equally for the mess that the country has come down to today. A whole heap of brash generalisations and unjustified propositions are in Rapid Recovery.

What is central and worse is that when it puts the blame on the Open Economy that a past UNP government had brought in way back in 1977. The document states: “the Open Economic Policy has been destructive through its prioritization of personal gain over social responsibility. A clear indicator of the culture of greed this economic system has bred is how a select group of people benefits, and profit from fraudulent and corrupt business practices even in the face of the pandemic. This culture of greed and the destructive economic thinking that shapes it has also created a system of political power centered in the hands of a few.” What a load of rubbish!

The attack on the open economy is typical of the Marxists at the time. The JVP aversion for a market economy is no longer seriously expressed anywhere in the world except in a few writings of neo-Marxists. A market economy is simply an economy that opens itself to trading and capital transactions with the rest of the world. Currency values will also be determined by supply and demand operating on the platform of international exchange. The economic benefits of such an opening up and free exchange are enormous. Chile rose to the status of being the richest region in Latin America when it opened its economy. The expansion of our own economy during those days is manifestly seen (by the way, in statistics).

The alternative to an open economy is almost unimaginable today as almost every country has opened up to some extent. Hence a closed economy is an imaginary one. By opening up for imports, which even hermit countries like Bhutan has done, essential raw materials for local manufacture and technical expertise have become available.

Rapid Recovery does not state precisely how the alliance will replace the open economy. However, it has the following proposal: “We advocate a value-added economic approach that considers which products and services should be manufactured, which production methods should be adopted, which technologies to use, how to utilise human and physical resources, how foreign trade structure should be shaped and how benefits of the manufacturing process should be shared among the people.” Now this is all about a command type economy where key decisions about production will be made at the center and farmers and other producers will have to follow. This is what Stalin tried and miserably failed. One cannot find one command type economy in the world except, perhaps, the Missile Man’s kingdom of North Korea.

The diagnosis is bad; the solution is worse.

*The writer can be reached at shyamonjayasinghe@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    The value-added economic approach is an excellent proposition for Sri Lanka. It will be hardly a command type economy of e.g. N. Korea, but will from organizations like Better Business Bureaus and Consumer Affairs to ensure country money is appropriated and protected correctly. We are a small country heavily in debt. We are not like a place like the US with plenty of laissez-faire potential to experiment with country resources. There are hardly tax and liquidity laws in place, and once money is appropriated for a company, it usually vanishes with no accountability. Motherland loses a lot of money that way.

    • 0
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      Reference Ramona Therese Fernando. The JVP hasn’t lost its diehard Marxism. That is still haunting them. Rapid Recovery will: tell farmers and manufacturers what to produce, when, with what technologies and so on. Who will tell them? Of course government officials. This is the high road to ruin-if there be anything left in our economy. In which part of the world is this being done now? What is the “value-added” but a slogan to cover up stupidity

      • 2
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        No, it means farmers and manufacturers will go before a business bureau, lay out their plans and propositions, and committees will decide whether their plans are feasable and appropriate for country functioning and development. This is what happens in all major economies, even the laissez-fair ones.

        Marxism has come a long, long, way since when it first started after it toppled old aristocracies. It has networked with many places like South America, Ireland, and even China. It is committed towards the sustainance and happiness of the Masses.

        • 2
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          Compare that to what has been happening in our Motherland for a long time, and especially with the loans from China. It was free-for-all (though quite different from laissez-fair system of developed countries, that also go before business committees). Those that had access to funds, like those of political patronage, created all kinds of business entities out of thought-bubbles off their heads. Most, naturally did not work. Companies were liquidated. Monies were never returned. Most went into personal and private accounts and property, and also out of the country.

          • 2
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            Ramona,
            “means farmers and manufacturers will go before a business bureau, …….
            This is what happens in all major economies, even the laissez-fair ones.”
            I am amazed. Have you seen this happen in Pittsburgh, where you live? Please keep off the grass at least 12 hours before you write.

            • 2
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              OC,

              In any normal place, one has to show registration where they scrutinize your projected projected earnings of at least 2 years before granting you a loan for your business. What bank or lender will lend you money otherwise? Your plan needs to be feasable, unless it is your own personal money to play around with.

              But in Sri Lanka, money of the Masses is usually taken by those of political patronage to do with at their will, wish, and leisure.

            • 0
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              Ramona,
              Getting loans from banks is different from getting state approval for businesses.

        • 1
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          SAYS RAMONA THERESE: “farmers and manufacturers will go before a business bureau, lay out their plans and propositions, and committees will decide whether their plans are feasable and appropriate for country functioning and development. This is what happens in all major economies, even the laissez-fair ones.”
          This kind of bureaucratic procedure can never produce business enterprise. Busness people and farmers will hide if they are denied to freedom to initiate business. It certainly never happens here in Australia or in any developed country in the world. Not even in the countries that tried Marxism. It was tried and flopped in the Soviet union.Never in India. Ramona’s dream! She is hallucinating in her ignorance

          • 0
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            Shastriya,

            “A bank will typically request, at a minimum, the following documentation for a startup business: A personal financial statement and personal federal income tax returns from the last one to three years. Projected startup cost estimates. Projected balance sheets and income statements for at least two years.”

            https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/expert-insights/what-banks-look-for-when-reviewing-a-loan-application

            At one time in supra-capitalistic USA, they did not scrutinize home mortgages too much and it led to the 2008 economic crash.

      • 2
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        https://www.newsfirst.lk/2022/01/12/no-queues-if-the-oil-tanks-were-repaired-handunetti/
        Is it possible that AKD is the sweet reasonable face of the JVP, Prof. KD and Dr. Harini are window-dressing, while Handunhetti is the real ethno-chauvinistic core with some monumental ignorance on the function of refineries thrown in?. This guy is a throwback to 1989. Which JVP should we take at face value?

        • 2
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          old codger

          Handunetti said “Adding that India is a large region, the former MP stated that this proposed oil refinery would have been of great importance when Sri Lankans have found gas, and the citizens will not have to stay in line if the oil refinery stays within Sri Lanka’s control.”

          What exactly did he mean when he said “India is a large region,”?
          I thought I knew India is a large region.

      • 0
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        S
        I wonder if you and the JVP have the same wrong understanding of Marxism,

  • 10
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    …In other words, a typical Havula of the Sri Lanka type carries within its fold the roots of its own destruction…..
    This is true with emphasis on “SL type” because they are not principled and are there for power for themselves and not to empower the people or country.
    But coalitions really work if the aims are for the peoples’ betterment.
    A number of govts of NZ have been coalitions.
    In Germany, every govt since 1949 to date were 20 coalition govts – all of which have brought prosperity – not just by slogans like “Vistas of prosperity and splendour”.
    They have prospered beyond measure by genuine commitment.
    While we wallow blaming the epidemic or commit hara-kiri with fertilizer bans, see how Germany prospers;
    …Press Release 12/01/2022 Successful summary for 2021
    Porsche delivers more than 300,000 sports cars ; Stuttgart. Strongest delivery result in the company’s history: Porsche delivered 301,915 vehicles to customers worldwide in fiscal YEAR 2021, an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2020. Every single global sales region contributed, with the largest increases recorded on the American continent. China continues to be the largest single market for Porsche.

  • 4
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    SJB and JVP cannot coexist. Simple as that.

    On the other hand, if they do not join together, they cannot form a stable government either because none can win an absolute majority.

    Only option to topple this most useless regime is to field a common candidate like Sirisena. Looks for the ideal solution and you will be living with Rajapaksas for life.

    • 0
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      Present government in Australia is a coalition between Liberal(urban based) and National(regionally based) parties. At the time of forming a government the two parties sign an agreement which includes how many ministerial posts are to be given to each party etc. Lader of the Liberal party becomes the PM and the leader of National party the deputy PM. In deciding on the approach to take to Glasgow Climate talks last year the two parties discussed the details. This arrangement works against the Labour party which is urban based with no significant attraction in the regions unlike the Nationals. This example shows that the parties like the JVP has to recognise the political reality in the country and think of which other party or parties that it wishes to form an alliance.That is if they want to share power? If it wants to continue as an opposition party for the next 30 yrs -true to principles but with no power-then it can go it alone.

      • 1
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        JVP fell from 39 seats in 2004 to just 3 seats in 2020 because it formed coalitions. First with the PA and then with the UNP.

        JVP seems very comfortable staying in the opposition. So they will not rush into a hara-kiri coalition unless one of their men is the common presidential candidate.

      • 0
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        “……….This example shows that the parties like the JVP has to recognize the political reality in the country and think of which other party or parties that it wishes to form an alliance………..” Siri, at least you make sense now. JVP needs to make alliances with other major political forces quitting their stubborn ‘individuals only’ policy. I wouldn’t say it need to be political parties, but rather groups within. Of course they need not agree to anyone who do not want to be clean and transparent. I am sure there are so many groups and teams withing major political parties who really want to chase these cattle thieves out from this land forever and see the country gets back to the right track for the sake of the future generations!

        • 0
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          I think even in marxist theory, there is this concept called Over-estimation of one’s ability or power. I remember Wijeweera talking about this in the 70s in his public speeches. JVP seems to be over-estimating its potential power at the moment. As i explain elsewhere in a comment, it has to decvide whether to stay true to principles and ethics and be in the opposition for the next 30 yrs or get into the government with like minded parties and groups? In the contemporary political arena, no one can find completely pure politicians either in word or deed. If they have an established image through the practice of politics as a vocation, they have a following in the districts. For example, take Wijedasa Rajapaksa. Should the JVP try to form an alliance with him and similar politicians? If Wijedasa is planning to contest a future Presidential election by himself as the oprotector of Buddhism and nation, this can pose a problem for Anura. But politics is a game. Mahinda knew how to negotiate even with opposition politicians and offer ministerial positions. Many polis do not engage in politics for ideological reasons. They need rewards. JVP is not prepared to offer rewards. It is determined to create a better country for everyone. So their task can be difficult-let alone in forming alliances.

  • 4
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    Pissu Siri says “he is ready to lead the forces in recovering mother land????” . Just the thought it self makes be nauseous and wonder which is worse Rajapaksas or Pissu Sira ?? So is Ranil. By all means, rest may be untested, but does not mean they are any better.

  • 1
    1

    Home truths comprehensively addressed for many a level of perception, with astuteness. Virtuous are always in a minority and the obtuse are inevitably the majority. The wonderfully crafted piece has knowingly left out the critical mass. The more than percipient SJ is sure that a century is needed for that.

  • 2
    1

    I think people are going about misunderstanding what the JVP means when it outlines the role of government in the economy and the dangers of JR’s version of free market economics in a Lankan context. Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: American style free market capitalism doesn’t work. It hasn’t even worked for the US. The only folks that believe otherwise are people who understand only the surface of America, and not the horrifying reality that bubbles underneath it. So let’s first of all lay aside this “free market capitalism solves all” mentality. I would argue that European style social democracies, with the government playing a role in directing (not controlling. There’s a distinction here) has worked best. There’s this curious unwillingness to look to Europe as a model of economic development in the world- unsure why this is, but it possibly has to do with the resentment held over from colonialism.
    To best illustrate what direction means in an economy, let me use an example. And I ask CT to not cut this comment and leave all in its entirety.
    We’ve heard for decades now that the Mannar basin and other locations have oil and NG deposits.
    (cont’d)

    • 2
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      (cont’d)…Unsure just how true these statements are, but given the interest of serious oil exploration companies and for the purposes of this example, let’s say this is all true. Selling crude oil by the barrel is one of the stupidest things one can do with such a resource- the value of the unrefined commodity is low in the market: there’s more value in refined fuel products being exported. But even then, this is small potatoes. You can take it a step further: non-fuel fractions of crude are used to produce chemical feedstock for industry and R&D: solvents, basic chemical reagents etc. At the same time, ammonia extracted from natural gas is used to make fertilizer: we could produce tailor-made fertilizer for our various crops, soils and climates, and even export them. Chemical feedstock can be used in a variety of industries both here and abroad: pharmaceuticals in particular. In addition, plastics (not just ordinary household items, but specialty goods like research-grade plastics, which go for hundreds of dollars for small quantities) could be manufactured from the crude- this could in turn be used for a variety of other downstream industries that don’t currently exist in Lanka but can be set up now that we have a cheap, local supply source. Those in turn can create further downstream industries, and the effect spreads in a ripple effect.

      • 0
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        Dear kp92,
        Excellent prescription of value addition to the oil and NG deposits off Mannar. Please in part 3 favour us with a short business plan or executive summary of how these projects can be financed, keeping in mind our current CCC status by rating agencies.

      • 0
        0

        KP,
        “downstream industries that don’t currently exist in Lanka but can be set up now that we have a cheap, local supply source. “
        Don’t you think you’re counting un-hatched chickens? If our presumed oil was economically viable, don’t you think prospectors would be falling over each other to get it out?
        The other problem is that oil is no cure-all. Venezuela and Nigeria have lots of oil. But nobody would call them rich.
        I think our oil might be viable if the price goes beyond $200 a barrel.

  • 0
    0

    Shyamon,

    “I think our populations have now realized much more the need for an inclusive political vision.”

    I am not sure that is the case. 69 million people voted for the Rajapaksas in the last election. If you take out the Muslim and Tamil votes for SJB, only a small minority of the Sinhalese population voted for them and the JVP.

    Even accounting for the fact that in the aftermath of Easter bomb attacks, there was an anti-Muslim wave, it was an overwhelming majority. When are they going to recognize that corrupt ‘Chandiyas’ might be needed to tackle another Chandiya in a war ( In his interview with N.Ram of the Hindu before the war, MR said something like this: “V.P is from the jungles of the North, I am from the jungles of the South, let us see who will win.”), but governing a country in peacetime is another matter entirely.

    • 0
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      Correction: 6.9 million, not 69

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe: When the NPP declared that there won’t be any more “HAVULA” (Alliance) with any of the major political parties, naming those as “UNP’, “SJB” and “SLPP”, an eruption of criticism took place from all quarters “Affiliated” and “Sympathetic” towards those political outfits. The next group who got “Disturbed” was those who wanted to “Broker” an “Alliance” with the already “Discredited” political outfits named above that could not muster public support to come to power. Yet another group who is “Optimistic” but “Impatient” to get things rolling for a quick change, has started a cry of “Not Enough” and “Not Clear” strategies spelled out in the “Rapid Response” booklet of ’23 pages”. I leave it to the readers to determine to which group this writer belongs, after reading his article above.

    I invite the writer to the “13 Point” narration on “Our Approach” and read and understand after shedding all his affiliations. It promises to: “Provide the opportunity for every citizen to participate in the collective task of nation-building in the public and private sectors” (pages 7,9 & 10) Most importantly, please read the chapter on “Political Structure” and state your genuine response. Isn’t that the “MAJOR” change that MUST be undertaken to correct the course before all other changes?

  • 0
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    Correction in the last line of my comment: The word “Police Plan” must be stated as “POLICY PLAN”.

    Regret the typographical error.

  • 0
    0

    “The attack on the open economy is typical of the Marxists at the time. The JVP aversion for a market economy is no longer seriously expressed anywhere in the world except in a few writings of neo-Marxists. A market economy is simply an economy that opens itself to trading and capital transactions with the rest of the world. Currency values will also be determined by supply and demand operating on the platform of international exchange. The economic benefits of such an opening up and free exchange are enormous. Chile rose to the status of being the richest region in Latin America when it opened its economy. The expansion of our own economy during those days is manifestly seen (by the way, in statistics).
    The alternative to an open economy is almost unimaginable today as almost every country has opened up to some extent. Hence a closed economy is an imaginary one. By opening up for imports, which even hermit countries like Bhutan has done, essential raw materials for local manufacture and technical expertise have become available”.
    Dont we already understand the ill effects of an Open Economy(free-market economy)? The idea that the market should be given the freedom to operate as it wishes with minimal government intervention? What we see in countries like Lanka is the operation of ‘Crony Capitalism’ as was in Indonesia under Suharto family.

    • 0
      0

      Siri,
      True, what we have here is crony capitalism of the worst sort. When ceramic imports were banned, people like Dhammika Perera ( who curiously enough had already bought up most of the local ceramic factories), more than doubled their prices. A moderated or socialized open economy cannot operate in a country that’s living hand-to-mouth on foreign loans. What, for example, can the government do if oil or milk powder prices go up? Spend borrowed money on subsidies? Interference with gradual price increases causes severe pain in the end. Perhaps you don’t know that even local milk powder prices went up in tandem with imports, even though the major local producer is state-owned.

  • 3
    0

    We are between the devil and the deep blue sea.

    It’s the economy stupid.

    Despite all the chest-thumping and the earnest hoopla ………. there is only one proven entity in the country who can rescue the economy: Ranil Wickramasinghe!

    Any day, I’ll bet on “proven” ………….. over “potential” that may or may not deliver.

    Sure, there are billions in the country who just hate Ranil in more ways than one; or perhaps trillions, if you count 7 Basils …. ……… But this is not about love and hate but about rice or sand.

    Ranil will never catch the thieves ………. he doesn’t have the balls ….. he’s a monumental failure as a politician …….. but the only proven Lankan who rescued the economy not once but twice. His price-reductions of essential goods and salary-increases were not election gimmicks …… but enacted/given and maintained from the very beginning.

    After a few years of bungling at a rescue by charismatic-incompetents ……. there is a very good chance he’ll be called upon to rescue the country once again.

    • 2
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      continued

      I dread it …… can’t listen to his pink-lipped hermaphroditic stutter between sentences ……..ahhhhhh ……… I hate everything about Ranil, even the ones I haven’t yet discovered, except his economic-competency. He is just an unlikable guy. ……. I like Mahinda: he has a nice smile and hair that has not yet greyed: his eternal youth. Unfortunately, the way he looks lately, he might die young. ………. They say the good die young …… or looking young?


      Gota and Basil are pushing 70 ……. it’s their last hurrah: the last loot ………. they are not there to develop the country but to grab what they can before they make their getaway …….. Mahind’s charm is wearing thin: hard to stomach on an empty stomach. His idiot son is clueless: not that he ever had a clue.

      This is a classic Nadagama: vintage Lankan stuff …….. I’m beginning to enjoy ……… from afar ………….

  • 0
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    A smile lit on my face as I began to see the comparison of the author with North Korea (DPRK). Many moons ago, I commented on CT that the country is slowly moving towards the DPRK. While I feel elated that someone too is of the same view, I cry for the country for the fateful journey that it is on its way. There is no doubt that AKD & Co (JVP) have a track record for being good whistle-blowers and are prepared for parliamentary presentations we are yet to see a track record of good governance and good government in them. Anyone needs money for a living. JVPers are supposed to donate even their salary to the party. If so, how do those politicians make a living? It is a dark area which we must be clear. People can promise the moon, like the motley coalition that toppled the Pakses in 2015. Ultimately? Even those who voted for it then, like me, ultimately felt that we were taken for a big ride. Just as much as there is a saying that “let the buyer beware” we in Sri Lanka must say “let the voter beware”. How Sad.

  • 3
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    Economic prosperity depends on political stability. Political stability depends on equality and democracy. Sri Lanka has witnessed man=made ethnic, language and religious discrimination ever since independence. Today’s economic meltdown is partly due to the 30-year war between the Sinhalese (army) and Tamils (LTTE). The defeat of the LTTE “terrorism” is a pyrrhic victory. It came at the expense of ruining and devastating the economy.

    Even today over 28.990 acres, including 3,526 acres of private land under the occupation of the army, airforce and navy. Worse the armed forces are grabbing more land to build camps and bases. Any other government would have released these lands to the people for productive use that will help the economy.

    Successive governments have dinned into the minds of the Sinhalese people that their prosperity depends on subjugating the Tamils.

    The island has a president who publically announces without an iota of shame that he will rule the country according to the majority Sinhalese-Buddhists who voted for him. Is there any other head of state in the world who speaks in terms of ethnicity and religion?

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