21 October, 2020

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The Overzealous & Absurdly Unnecessary Security Arrangements For VIPs: An Open Letter To The Prime Minister

By Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

Mr. Prime Minister,

Are Security Planners of High Political Office Holders Unconcerned Of the Inconveniences Caused to the Public by their Overzealous Security Arrangements?

Is it being totally unconcerned of the inconveniences caused to citizens at public events?; Or is it the sheer arrogance of power and positions?; Or is it a need to massage the small minded ego needs?; Or is it to signal the reality of the uncaring nature of political high officeholders? ; That makes the security arrangements for the purported benefit of one person and his family, drive the rights, needs and expectations of the voting common citizens, to be ignored and be of no concern of the security planners? Even if the security planners have no such concerns and driving commitments, should not the political high office holders, voted in to office by the common citizens, be aware and conscious of consequential inconveniences to the public by the security arrangements; and be motivated to take affirmative leadership steps and to direct and mentor the security planners to take steps to minimize such inconveniences?

The internationally renowned conductor Maestro Jacopo Sipari di Pescasseroli, conducted the ‘Homage to Great Italian Opera’ with the “first instruments” of the Festival Internazionale di Mezza Estate and soprano Silvana Froli, sharing the stage with the National Unity Orchestra of Sri Lanka and reputed local artists the De Lanerolle Brothers on June 6 at Nelum Pokuna. The performance that evening was hailed by all in attendance as exceptional opportunity, matching the best international offerings in opera.

The only bad taste in the mouth that evening came from the overzealous and absurdly unnecessary security arrangements, which totally inconvenienced those attending the performance as invites of the Italian Embassy. The Embassy sponsorship of this unique event won the hosts many an accolade of the attendees.

The website on “Nelum Pokuna” records under its Q & A – “Parkin passilites”- “No issue, they have enough space for parking”.

The parking of vehicles by invitees that evening were prohibited in the parking bay outside the “Nelum Pokuna” entrance and also a long way down the road along the Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha. In addition, the large parking area, normally open on all occasions, right of the entrance gate, capable of parking hundreds of vehicles, was declared a no parking area by the security officials manning the entrance gate. In addition, the area near the entrance steps which is also generally open for parking on normal days was zoned off as no parking, along with the VIP Entrance Area. Thus parking by invitees was available only alongside the Nelum Pokuna boundary, with space in addition for very limited number vehicles in the area past the out gate. The road way from the in gate to the out gate, normally released for parking was also a prohibited area for parking. So visitors had only limited options for parking and even then it meant along walk to the Theatre, especially on an evening with predicted rain showers.

The mere reservation of the VIP entrance for the contingent of VIP vehicles to accompany the Chief Guest and his spouse, along the accompanying security vehicles would have more than adequately served the security needs of the attending VIP. This would have released all other areas unnecessarily made no parking areas for the common or garden invitees to park vehicles.

All vehicles coming in from the entrance gate were directed with crude and brusque hand signals, whistles and shouting out loud, by the VIP security staff until these vehicles were taken out of the theatre premises. There were of course some exceptionally polite security officers, who readily joined in the lament with the vehicle owners, recognizing the absurdly unfair, unnecessary and uncaring nature of the arrangements; and some of them even joined in the chorus of the vehicle owners cursing the uncaring political big wig and his unconcerned security planners.

Mr. Prime Minister, it is possibly too late in the day of the governance regime, which came in to power promising a positive change in governance style, along with promises to be caring and conscious of rights, needs and expectations of common voters, to signal to voters the delivery of the promise: nevertheless it is possibly not too late to make a change and demonstrate that leaders are somewhat concerned of and are willing to caringly take steps to prevent overzealous security officials from going beyond the required limits. This type of leadership actions can at least mitigate the risks of loosing many thousand more votes of angry voters, negatively impacted by uncaring, arrogant and egoistic needs massaging security arrangements.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    The only VIP who should be so protected is a Visiting Important Pakistani.

  • 8
    1

    It is too late, the yahapalanaya is going out with the laughter of the people . They have only amused us with their antics of corruption and buffoonery. Ranil is not only an utter failure he makes other rascals like Rajapakses look good by his efferminate selfishness in hanging on to power while being such a failure.
    It is too late because we will see the barbarians like Gota back in power soon. They are uneducated and half baked. For such people bodyguards are the only way to gain a public image.They are guarded by thousands while they read out speeches written out by others. On the other hand that rascal Mahendran also had bodyguards given by the government (In addition to a Credit Card !)

    If the security act like they are guarding a precious gem, he must be valuable ! That is the Rajapakse logic.
    It makes the o level qualified policemen look good too.Even Duminda Silva had security and when injured in a murder taken to the airport in an army helicopter. That is Gota ethics ( O level qualified) and how he understands governance.

    This security business today is in the hands of the lowest type of public servant. If he goes and tells his boss ” Sir there is no threat to your life, there are no terrorist activities since 2009 ” he will lose his job. If he says “Sir you should be guarded by 1000 men ,you never know when a terrorist will appear he will be made a DIG. ” An Italian opera performed in Colombo 7 is very likely be a target of terrorist! the That is the Sri Lankan State today. A big joke. Jokers guarding rogues !

    Dear writer if you are not a rogue or a joke there is no place for you in modern Sri Lanka ! ( Childern of 56 have now arrived !)

  • 2
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    Public money and let them.enjoy ..
    Do.not dream to be Singapore..
    Sri Lanka will.become next to Pakistan in corruption.
    We could.compete in that…
    Poor.public still bow to them.

  • 8
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    In the 1950’s – DS Senanayake went on horseback on Galle Face green with only friends; Dudley Senanayake drove about in his Triumph Herald; Members of Parliament used public transport, including W. Dahanayake coming by train from Galle; SWRD had only one Policeman guarding his residence at Rosmead Place when he was shot. Compare that with the good for nothing uneducated politicians today spending huge sums of taxpayers money on security to satisfy their ego which is totally unnecessary as the country is no more at war.

  • 3
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    no..no.. this is an innovative SL technique to keep away from the public…after getting their votes who would like to meet the public… when the elections are round the corner this security will be removed…have high level security from non existing threat.. how is that?
    -dayal

  • 2
    0

    Dear Mr Chandra Jayaratne,
    .
    Many thanks for an article which to my mind could possibly generate discussion of a variety of issues. You’ve written many articles here, but I’m afraid that this comment is being made without my being able to do a “who’s who” check. It doesn’t matter. You are obviously a distinguished man with good values – belonging to that segment of society that ought to be leading us.
    .
    Your article leads me to think of it as showing that what was predicted by certain dystopian writers is already with us. May I divide our society in to three broad categories? You are not a common voter.
    .
    I’d like to place you in a middle category – of those few in an Third World Asian Country who at least know what the best of Italian opera is, and I’m happy that there was such an event which you were able to savour. The category whom the Embassy classified as “invitees” were obviously those whom they knew to be very cultured and could be relied on to applaud at the correct time at least! I’m sorry if this begins to sound a bit cynical – I’m typing fast, without bothering to think everything through.
    .
    Unfortunately, the rulers now are a different class of politicians (all ultimately elected by us “plebs” – you are hereby accorded the status of Honorary Member, which I’m sure you, decent man, will value! ), plus the sycophants who perform the administrative duties for the 225 (MPs) plus 1 (the President): those are the self-regarding nincompoop VIPs who rule us Yahoos ( how many will know that those ugly creatures were first described by Jonathan Swift).
    .
    To be continued.

  • 2
    0

    As I’ve said, you belong to the class who can “understand” the plight of the plebs, and sympathise with them – but not empathise – because you quite simply can’t see the myriad problems that they face. You probably don’t care to associate with our Rulers, although you may quite literally be rubbing shoulders with them as you enter the auditorium. THEY will sit in those first few rows, looking very important, some distance from you, who are in those middle seats which connoisseurs know are the best for actually savouring the performance.
    .
    The performance itself has obviously not been one complete opera, but excerpts from many, which you were able to savour because you had (I conjecture on trips to Europe and America) seen the full operas in La Scala, Bayreuth and Glyndebourne. Those are places which I, who have never been out of Asia have only read about.
    .
    Yet I grew up, in this remote town, fortunate to acquire a taste for my hero Beethoven, my personal favourite, Schubert, and “everybody’s” favourite, Mozart. Some may scoff today at the sound quality of what came over BBC shortwave, but more than listening to some kind elder’s gramophone records, that was crucial. During the brief spells I spent in Greater Colombo, I used to listen to their music being played by the Symphony Orchestra of Colombo playing in the Ladies’ College Hall. But there was no opera whose full experience which I could experience at first hand. Seeing Carmen and Mozaart’s Figaro on VHS cassettes was a revelation.
    .
    More to come!

  • 1
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    Continuing . . .
    .
    Now with Youtube, it is different. I download to a pen drive, and playback on today’s large TVs gives me a whole new experience. Now, my little grand-daughters have heard something of Englebert Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel; the problem is that so many of the other operas have “unsuitable” plots. My daughter and husband actually themselves forego normal T.V. Programmes since they fear it will be damaging. So, I’m collecting: will soon get a portable external disk drive. An excellently dubbed Fidelio is not subversive, but set entirely in a prison, the kids will find the only Beethoven opera a bit daunting.
    .
    Meanwhile, we have to somehow communicate the broader vision that we are fortunate to have to the voters. So, you write an intelligent article, and I write some comments which may be esoteric even for some readers – all in English. The huge question is, how do we communicate all this to the public, who have already been reduced to Yahoos.
    .
    The OBA of my “village” old school is organising a dinner dance on Saturday – in the Colombo area of course. I hope it is successful, because the guys organising it are very decent people. But I’m the only Executive Committee Member who is not going. The music will be deafening. I’m tolerated as a strange tee-totalling older member. Not only dinner, those around as dawn breaks will be served breakfast as well. Get the picture? This link, if studied, may give you some inkling of how chaotic the upper echelons of the administration of these schools is.
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/
    .
    Much more to come.

    • 1
      0

      The point that I was going to make was that those who had awareness of issues had to start asserting themselves.
      .
      However, I am now beginning to understand that we will just have to wait and see. A few people have made bold decisions, but then, they are protested against.
      .
      I guess that individuals who have little clout will have to wait and see.

  • 1
    1

    Security arrangements for VIPs is now a status issue. The status of a meeting or concert is enhanced if armed security guards are present.
    This has seeped down to individuals as well. Remember Piyasena Gamage who got in replacing Geeta Kumarasinghe. Well this guy demanded crack STF commandos for his son, Randima Gamage, a member of the Southern Provincial Council.

    PS: Piyasena went on to face allegations that he berated a policeman in a rural station for apprehending one of his supporters who broke the law.

  • 3
    0

    These presidents, prime inisters, ministers, parliamentarians, provincial councillors know they are worth less. the only way to get some worth is buy a luxury car ask presidential, ministerial security. See the PArliament is executive. IT’s leader, PM is a FINANCIL FRAUDSTER. See President, HE is thinking what way to turn and what way to talk. Three and hald years he was doing nothing. Now everything he talks is about the manoevering to the next election to see whether he can survive.

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