16 May, 2022

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The President Can Be A Shield To His Capable Ministers To Do The Right Things

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Shortages of petrol, diesel, kerosene, cooking gas, milk foods and skyrocketing prices are reminiscent of the situation that once prevailed in the war zones of the north and east. The people in those parts tell visitors that they are able to cope with the shortages as they learnt to do so during the war. They ran their vehicles on kerosene, could not provide their children with chocolates and paid Rs 800 a kilo for sugar. In a twist of fate, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who gave leadership to the war effort now faces a similar situation in the entire country. During the war he gave his generals the authority to plan out and implement their strategies while using his relationship with then President Mahinda Rajapaksa to give them the covering space and resources necessary. Now he needs to give those ministers of the government who are capable, the same degree of autonomy.

Unlike the war, this particular crisis is seen as created by his government’s denial that a problem existed. Instead of explaining what the true situation was, members of the government accused the opposition of engaging in conspiracies. Or that consumers were to blame by rushing to petrol stations and creating artificial shortages. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s short address to the nation last week dealt with the current economic crisis. He accepted the realities of the people’s sufferings, the shortage of foreign exchange for imports and the need to deal with the IMF as the lender of last resort. He did not say when the crisis might end or for how long the people would have to experience the severe hardships they are going through. As a result, the confidence in the president’s leadership and management has fallen considerably.

In the midst of this crisis it is not a change of government that is needed but a policy for the country that all reasonable and right thinking political parties can endorse. The proposed all-party conference can meet this need. If positive changes are seen and if the president finds the correct people to place his confidence in, they deliver the results that the people are looking for sooner rather than later. President Rajapaksa has shown a much greater degree of tolerance and accommodation to those who have different views. Both the mainstream and social media have taken to caricaturing and criticizing the president. The recent political protests by the opposition have specifically targeted the president in addition to general criticisms of the government. The police have not intervened to break up these protests. The crackdown on civil society freedoms that were anticipated at the time of his election have not materialized.

Long Drift

The present economic situation cannot be permitted to drift in the manner it is presently. For the past three months there have been severe shortages of essential items. The situation has got worse with the shortages being accompanied by enormous price increases. The price increases are in the range of 50 percent going up to 100 percent. There have been tragedies as well. Gas cylinders began to explode due to the alteration of the composition of the gas leading to deaths and injuries. Unfortunately, both the ruling alliance and opposition political parties still depend on massive political rallies by busing people from all corners of the country to convey messages already known to all Sri Lankans.  It would be more constructive to think of alternative strategies to explain to the people the truth of the current situation and the way forward without political bias and misrepresentation.

Now it is reported that elderly people have died standing in queues for essential commodities for their families. If this situation of shortages and queues continues there could be localized incidents that go out of control due to the anger and frustration of those standing in those long lines. The recent march by political activists into the vicinity of the Presidential Secretariat where coffins were thrown into the grounds and youth forcibly entered the premises are warning signs. The government’s inability to take action to address the economic issues speedily is the subject of much criticism by the general public. There has been internal division within the government on the course of action to follow. There are those within the government who hold to the belief that Western countries are exploitative and the IMF is their creature and going to it for relief would further increase the impoverishment of the people.

However, it now appears that these internal debates which were paralyzing the government have reached their culmination with the sacking of the leaders of two nationalist political parties from their ministerial positions. This has opened the door to more moderate sections within the government to take the ascendency. The decision to finally seek IMF support is a reflection of this shift in internal power. The need to go to the IMF was foreseen several years ago by the previous Governor of the Central Bank, Indrajith Coomaraswamy. But it is only now that it is being operationalized by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

Opened Door

In the immediate term the best option is to go to friendly countries, including India, China, Japan and the West, and seek generous donors to provide long term funding or outright grants to tide over this difficult period subsidizing cooking fuels and staple foods for the low-income group. This could require more engagement with EU, UK and US to obtain cheap funding lines by compliance of EU human rights requirements and international human rights standards. There is also the need to engage with India and comply with their recommendations regarding the protections of minority rights, especially in the north and east.

A positive shift in this direction is the all party conference and the president’s decision to meet with the TNA. The meeting scheduled for last week was postponed at the last minute. The reason given was that the opposition protest rally in front of the Presidential Secretariat took place at the same time as the scheduled meeting. The best way to resolve problems is through face to face engagement, dialogue and mutual accommodation. This time of crisis may present an opportunity for mutual give and take that is truly in the national interest. The fact that the government side contains the hard core nationalists, including the two ministers who were sacked but remain within the government umbrella, makes a stable solution more viable.

At the heart of the international monitoring of Sri Lanka for human rights violations is the long unresolved ethnic conflict. The Prevention of Terrorism Act, which has become the symbol of the long years of war and human rights violations now threatens the country’s GSP Plus economic benefits. Sri Lanka can ill afford to lose those benefits especially at the current juncture. Foreign Minister Prof G L Peiris along with Justice Minister Ali Sabry has been giving leadership to the government’s engagement with the international community. It is important that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa should give both of them and his Finance Minister the same degree of autonomy and political cover to win this second war, albeit without violence and within the rule of law.

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Latest comments

  • 36
    3

    “President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who gave leadership to the war effort”

    If you have an ounce of intelligence and are capable of comprehending how the economic disaster in the country was created by Gota …… you wouldn’t have written that fairy-tale.

    Why don’t you write bedtime stories for children? …….. Harry Gota Potter!

    Finally you will have enough money to buy your freedom from the NGOs.

    • 9
      2

      nimal fernando, Harry Gota Potter!

      hahahaha that’s a good one and quite fitting to this president clown.

      • 1
        1

        Hey Dr. JP what do you think of the fake Refugee Crisis from Sri Lanka that is being created in the Global MEDIA??!

        6 people in a boat go to India from northern Sri Lanka and this is a Huge refugee crisis — produced on the Global MEDIA channels and NDTV – due to starvation of Tamils?!!
        I am a Tamil but this story is laughable…
        India has far higher rates of poverty, hunger, malnutrition and starvation than Lanka. Also the military was put in Petrol shed by US citizen Goon Gota becuase Victoria Nuland was visiting..
        Seems like the media hoax of Refugees to exaggerate and distract from the US Economic Warfare on Sri Lanka, now that the Covid narrative is not working… and the CIA’s ISIS attacks backfired in 2019 to distract us from the US IMF economic hybrid war project and Nuland’s visit to enforce sanctions against Russia and prevent Sri Lanka getting its fuel from Russia ?!!

      • 3
        1

        If shameless parasites like Jehan/Gota/NGOs …….. get people who are absconding from paying taxes, ……. to pay their taxes ………… the country won’t have these problems ……… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRmcJE0-CJ0

        Now ye realize why the youth …… the JVP first and then the LTTE/TELO/EPRLF …….. turned to violence ………

      • 2
        5

        One and only Sinhalese Aryan Leader in Heladiva (Sri Lanka) who completely wipe out entire LTTE leaders and World’s deadliest Terrorists Group. The only country completely wiped out Terrorists, the whole world said no one can wipe out LTTE and no one is winning

    • 12
      2

      As we all know it today it was not Gota who gave the leadership to the war / but it s another myth/ spread by the cunning family/ how can a man lived in the states for 15 years / be able to do the job properly? These are just jokes🐃😎🐕😶🤔🤥/
      .
      This is clear to the world today

    • 7
      2

      Dr. JP: the solution to Sri Lanka’s woes is to dump the US Dollar, de-dollarize and the US citizen Rajapaksa brothers.
      Sri Lanka should not follow US dictats and rather act in her self-interest and follow India and buy, oil, gas and energy needs from Russia.
      The US citizen Goat has put the military in the Petrol Sheds because Victoria Nuland waving the IMF Debt trap wand is in town so they would prevent protests against the American brothers and their DOLLAR backers…

      • 9
        1

        Dump the dual US citizen Goat and Basil Too with the dollar and the IMF and its Hit men and foreign Law Firms that will control the island’s economy thereafter!

    • 8
      1

      nimal fernando

      “President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who gave leadership to the war effort”

      Those who have nothing to claim as theirs are in need of some miracle.
      The entire world knows it was Vellupillai Prabaharan who won the war for the clan.

      • 2
        0

        Vellupillai Prabaharan is the only person in human-history who sold himself for 30 pieces of silver. …….. He was his own Judas ………

        But he is the greatest Lankan to emerge out of Lanka ……… in the recent 2500 years …….. Dunno about before that; EE might ………..

        Native, who else can you nominate: can you name one?

        We Lankans are incapable of recognizing greatness ……. even when it’s staring in our face …..

        For Sinhala_Man ……… greatness stops with Palki ……. not to mention Old Codger ….. Ah! what a little painted face can do! ………

        • 1
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          nimal fernando

          “Native, who else can you nominate: can you name one?”

          Well, don’t hold me responsible for anything that would be going wrong in the future.
          I would do nothing.
          The way things are being organised, constructed, understood ………blamed, sooner or later this island will be destroyed by those extreme nationalists racists.
          You don’t need enemies, we have more than sufficient number among us.

          Sit tight, if Wimal, soman, Evil Eye, …. invite you to join them to destroy the enemies of the people, then run, run fast, for they themselves are the enemies.

  • 24
    0

    ”The President Can Be A Shield To His Capable Ministers To Do The Right Things”

    The President is not taking responsibility for the current state of affairs. Then who can be held accountable? What shield & what capable ministers?
    I didn’t bother to read, knowing Jehan has to sing for his supper but it seems he maybe hallucinating after a puff or two of that stuff that takes you on that magic train

  • 19
    1

    Dear Jehan Perera,
    .
    At the end of your article, you say: “to win this second war” clearly meaning the complaints (what a weak word!) about human rights violations. Those violations were, allegedly, among the worst in the world.
    .
    What has to be done is simple once the decision is made to do the right things. Acknowledge that there may have been violations. We all know that or courts are not independent. Some independent and unbiased international group has to be entrusted with credibly inquiring into all this.
    .
    I don’t know any of the intricacies of the Law. However, I have enough common sense to know that openness about any lapses on the part of the government and the politicians who made it up during the course of thirty years, plus even after that, is what will win the respect of the World.
    .
    Why should we, the citizens, suffer for what our governments did? Let Sri Sangabo be your model. Actually, I don’t foresee any capital punishment.
    .
    Michelle Bachelet is our friend, supporting us, the people of Lanka.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe
    of Bandarawela, Sri Lanka (NIC 483111444V)

  • 3
    0

    So how can I write and publish my article here? Can somene give me the details?

    • 2
      1

      Dear Jambu,
      .
      You often make comments; I would welcome some articles from you.
      .
      With so many pseudonyms being used, I’m not sure whether I LIKE or DISLIKE your comments. However, either way, it would be good to know who you are. Usually, I intensely DISLIKE Eagle Eye’s comments. Many make comments under the impression that he is HLD Mahindapala. I have said this many times, sometimes as direct responses to EE. He never agrees with me, preferring to allow readers to labour under their misapprehension. I consider both to be dangerous racists, but Mahindapala is by far the more distinguished and accomplished. It is sometimes useful to study your enemies.
      .
      Sorry for that long unpropitious paragraph. It may be that CT will respond; they may not allow me to post email addresses. If they don’t respond within a day, I will try. Meanwhile google for the information yourself, and then write to CT.
      .
      My feeling is that I will like your articles! I myself have written articles. Btw, you will have to reveal your identity and post a photograph. I know that doesn’t apply to a few authors here. We can’t question why.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

    • 3
      0

      Jambu

      “So how can I write and publish my article here? “

      We can’t teach you how to write articles.
      Its up to you to prove you can write rather than just type.

      PS
      Experiments are being carried out if Chimpanzees could write.
      According to Richard Jinks, a Guardian reader “A SIMILAR experiment is currently being tried using many millions of chimpanzees. It is called the internet.”
      https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-1350,00.html.

      You could send your writing/typing to CT by e mail:
      colombotelegraph@gmail.com

      CT may request a photo of the writer.
      Send the CT a good photograph.

      Good luck
      to us.

  • 5
    0

    Has the President done anything “RIGHT” for any of his ministers to do “RIGHT” and get shielded?

    JP: Can you please answer my question? Have you not heard: “Gurunanse Hitagena Muththran Chiva, Goloyo Duwamin Karath” ( When the Guru (the Teacher/Leader) Urinate While Standing, the Golayas (those under him) Urinate Running All Over)

  • 13
    0

    Aiyo Jehan, what has happened to you. I am sure age is catching up with you. What war you are talking war. Murdering civilians knowing they are civilians, bombing places of worship, hospital, murdering people who surrunder, starving people, keeping them in barbed wire fenced cages is your heroe’s war effort. It is not war effort. It is cold blooded murder. First ask your hero what happened to the people whu surrendered before awarding your peace prize. Fighting LTTE was not killing the civilians deliberately. And the things that happened after the war. Come on Jehan, wake up, or time is up.

    • 1
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

      • 2
        0

        N. Pererass

        Let’s start at the very beginning
        A very good place to start
        When you read, you begin with A-B-C

        Sound of Music

      • 0
        0

        NP,
        .
        Thanks for making it short.
        :
        You the kind of bum-guns would not be able to enjoy it anymore. Coming colour is no good for Rajpakashes.

    • 1
      1

      Black Lankan,
      “Fighting LTTE was not killing the civilians deliberately.”

      Tamils declared war against the Government of Sri Lanka to grab land belong to indigenous Sinhalayo in NE to create a separate State for Tamils in Yapanaya. Then what is the point in chopping 32 novice monks going in a pilgrimage into pieces, spraying bullets at people worshipping at Sri Maha Bodhiya, bombing Dalada Maligawa killing civilians by Tamil terrorists? Tell us how these killings help to achieve the objective of creating a separate State.

      • 2
        1

        Eagle Blind Eye

        Look at who saved you lot from the war, it was VP who won the war for Mahinda, he was supposed to be a Tamil.

        Look at who is trying to save you from starvation, disease and death, Hindians.

        Hindian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, from Tiruchirappalli, a Tamil.
        Hindian Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, from Pandyan Country Madurai, a Tamil.
        Hindian Finance Secretary of India T V Somanathan from Tamil Nadu, a Tamil.

        Already many people have reached Tamilnadu shore as economic refugees. When are you sending your family?

        In case when Gota needs sound advice on Finance please contact Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thigarajan. He is so capable he could restructure Sri Lankan economy and along with it its poltics as well.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21Ow9Iq1bP8

  • 3
    0

    In the immediate term the best option is to go increase the train service where in same amount of diesel power many loads can be carried and people can go to work presently it has come to stand that Present fuel crises forces to limit bus transportation. Increase the compartment in the same coach.
    so the remote places can get the busses.

    • 0
      0

      RBH59
      Fuel consumption is directly proportional to the rated load towed by the Locomotive!
      It may increase disproportionately if overloaded far beyond the rated/permissible load
      Buses are necessary as trains have limited field of access. Need buses to complement!!
      Answer to all evil besieging the country at present is dearth of US $ (my view self inflicted):
      1. More (increased) exports and earnings, depreciation permitting more competitive exports
      2. Enhanced Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), again realistic rate/convertibility helps/improves
      3. Influence by building trust with Immigrant workers to remit their earnings to Sri Lanka which they do to maintain their families
      4. Build Trust, by realistic exchange rate encourage remittance thro’ commercial banks
      5. Artificial ‘pegging’ is counterproductive, remitters feeling deceived seek alternatives
      6. Careful consideration before changing the exchange convertibility and rates, helps building trust with them, there is fair deal for their “toil away from family” and ‘hard earned wages’.

    • 0
      0

      (Part II)
      Propaganda “against UNDIYAL as feeding the drug cartel” is ill-advised and is untenable as it is a system well entrenched in India, Pakistan, Sri Lankan (Ceylon) and Bangladesh before independence and subsequent separation!!
      That is a system that has been existence from late 19th century as money transfer system in Colonial India, with legal backing too, to offer Money Exchange Instruments, in Imperial India before partition and Independence and collection of taxes by means of franked stamps for such instruments, which continues to date!!
      People can see through the deceit of the proponents and my take is it is grossly unhelpful to stabilise $ earnings and build trust in participants/remitters.
      Distrustful remitters would conclude that they are being cajoled or inveigled, which happens more often than not in SL, when dealing with Police and Security forces. The people at large would not “BUY”!!

  • 10
    0

    Jehan, why don’t you stop writing these crap? People are done with you. Please go home and enjoy the money you get from those rich HNWs funneled to your NGO!

  • 11
    0

    What a sloppy whitewash!

    • 1
      0

      Sloppy as Sloppy can get?

  • 1
    0

    Jean
    Damn disgrace to the Sinhala race the way Gota won the war. Shelling hospitals, deny food, using chemical weapons killing the journalist who was going to expose and his informer army officer. Giving depraved mental orders to rape and kill innocent girls even after killing 14,00 innocent civilians. You are a sadist to glory that gory way of winning the war.
    The way he will save people from starvation would be finishing them off. Awe as a pariah nation voted into Presidency a murderer and a robber.

  • 1
    2

    Jehan Perera,
    “At the heart of the international monitoring of Sri Lanka for human rights violations is the long unresolved ethnic conflict.”

    Can you please tell Sinhalayo what is this ‘LONG UNRESOLVED ETHNIC CONFLICT’ in Sinhale/Sri Lanka.

    • 1
      0

      Eagle Stupid Blind Eye

      “Can you please tell Sinhalayo what is this ‘LONG UNRESOLVED ETHNIC CONFLICT’ in Sinhale/Sri Lanka.”

      As public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala’s Children you are the LONG UNRESOLVED ETHNIC problem. Like the public racist you too should leave this island and go back to your father/mother land Tamil Nadu, seek refuge, live there and eventually try and find a way to attain Nibana.

      Now is the good time for you to reach Tamil Nadu because Tamil Nadu is being kind to people fleeing from Gota’s Gang(sters).

  • 1
    2

    Certainly he is not the ideal person to be the President of SL nevertheless, he has far better principles and leadership qualities than AKD, Harini, Sajith the whole lot.

  • 2
    0

    ……” his capable ministers” – obviously JP knows something that we don’t .

  • 1
    0

    N. Pererass

    Let’s start at the very beginning
    A very good place to start
    When you read, you begin with A-B-C

    Sound of Music

  • 2
    0

    Mr.JP,
    During the war he gave his generals the authority to plan out and implement their strategies while using his relationship with then President Mahindra Rajapaksa to give them the covering space and resources necessary. Don’t hype about the war man, ended in 2009 and presently entire country is in much worse situation than pre-war.
    The price increases are in the range of 50 percent going up to 100 percent. You must be kidding! Do you know how much for a cup of tea in a local café or shop? Or maybe the egg price.
    Unfortunately, both the ruling alliance and opposition political parties still depend on massive political rallies by busing people from all corners of the country to convey messages already known to all Sri Lankans – Do not blame others and you are no difference to the ruling party, take no responsibility, utter ignorance, arrogance and incompetent that is why people are giving their clear messages. Rallies are voluntary! You spent more than you earn the outcome is simple , you don’t have to be a genius . Look at the credentials of the people in Economic council .
    During the war he gave his generals the authority to plan out and implement their strategies – since then what happened, releasing criminals from prisons and appointing them in top and critical jobs, what happened on Nirupama’s Pandora paper investigation.

  • 0
    0

    Contd:
    What about Easter investigation! What about the organic fertilizer scam .List goes on and to make things worse the Media doesn’t give the true stories to the public. The President Can Be A Shield To His Capable Ministers To Do The Right Things – which school did you go to.
    Finally, it is not the COVID pandemic brought the country down – it is the corruption, foreign and economic policies, discrimination of the minorities and PTA. One country one law , No It is one family one low ! and who is leading it convicted criminal .
    Please take note of your readers , writing is on the wall and it is matter of time .

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