21 April, 2024

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What Is Wrong With The President’s Vision & Mission? 

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

The present President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is undoubtedly a capable person compared to many other former Presidents in the country. Chandrika Kumaratunga could have been better, but the circumstances of the war prevented her achieving many of the socio-economic targets. In terms of modernizing the country, JR Jayewardene played a pivotal role, but his political orientation led the country into an abysmal failure, particularly in terms of ethnic relations. I personally don’t believe that R. Premadasa played any positive role. Democracy in the country declined. Hopefully, Sajith Premadasa may be different. 

Other Predecessors 

Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa were successful in defeating ‘terrorism’ in the country, but many of their measures were excessive and brutal. In dealing with the minorities, both ethnic and religious, their approaches were extremely ethno-nationalist and majoritarian. The roots of the Easter attacks were grounded in their policies and actions. It is possible that a person like Gotabaya was manipulating the events for political gain.  

Many progressive thinking people and young generations kept much (or excessive) hope about the Yahapalana government in 2015. Some even characterized the change as a ‘revolution.’ But it was an utter failure both in economic policies and promoting or sustaining democracy. It could not prevent the Easter attacks having available all the information necessary. Who was responsible for these failures? Wickremesinghe or Maithripala Sirisena? Of course, Sirisena was primarily responsible as the President of the country at that time. He was the Head of Security and Defense. 

I have known Sirisena for some years. He was always inclined to political manipulation. His knowledge about democracy or economics was abysmal. He was only a good talker in Sinhala. After an investigative commission found him responsible for the security neglect which led to the Easter attacks, he should have completely resigned from politics. Now, it appears that he is trying to completely destroy the SLFP, one of the important political parties in Sri Laka. Compared to all these scoundrels, Wickremesinghe may appear talk worthy.

Vision and Mission? 

Presidential Secretariat’s website says the Vision of the President is to achieve “A Fully Developed Sri Lanka by the Year 2048.” This is utterly vague, and the period is long of 25 years. This can be a/the long-term vision. There is no definition of what does he means by ‘fully developed country? 

Of course, the UN has a definition or calculation based on the World Bank. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is the criteria. To be a developed country, Sri Lanka should achieve per capita GNI over $12, 615. Soon this criterion would be higher. But that is not the pressing problem at present. Since 2018, Sri Lanka’s GNI or GNP has been going downwards. The Rajapaksa regime used to boast that they achieved a lower middle-income country with per capita GNI reaching over $4,500 in 2018. 

But since then, it was going down, during their own regime. This declining trend was even before the Covid pandemic. In 2020, it was $3,880, an 8% decline from 2019. Even in 2019, there was a 3% decline. This is not to deny the effects of the pandemic but to emphasize the other structural and functional reasons, most importantly loan dependency.   

Without only having an ultimate vision, the President could have declared a short-term (2023-24), medium-term (2025-35), and long-term visions (2036-45). The vision of the country should not have targeted only the overall GNI, but the elimination of poverty and eradication of large income gaps in society. These are for social justice.   

The next presidential election is scheduled to be held before September 2024. What is the vision of the President for that time in terms of country’s development? The following table shows Sri Lanka’s predicament in terms of conventional criteria. Last year the country went back to 2015 conditions. This year the predictions are the same or even lower.

Sri Lanka GNI Per Capita

Independent prediction for 2024 (supposed to be the election year) is also lower than $4,000 per capita GNI. The President should answer and explain the situation. 

The Secretariat website declares President’s Mission as “To guide the State in the right direction to efficiently and effectively achieve the set goals and objectives for building a developed Sri Lanka.” Even in the Mission statement there are no social objectives. Although the Mission statement talks about ‘the set goals and objectives’ nowhere on the website these are spelled out. 

Australian Example 

In Australia, although there is no one single vision or mission statement from the Prime Minister’s office or the Governor’s office, there are several vision, mission and value statements from various ministries, departments and offices including the Prime Minister’s office. Plurality appears to be the practice. They are not limited to one or two sentences. In addition to vision and mission, values are included in these statements. 

Of course, Australia is a highly developed country in addition to its fairly developed democracy. In formulating these visions, missions and values, many agencies have conducted surveys and received public opinion. Many websites are open for people to express their viewpoints online. The Prime Minister’s Office also has a Corporate Plan and the present one is for 2023-24. Do we have Corporate Plans in Sri Lanka? I have never come across any.  

A particular lesson Sri Lanka can obtain is from DEFAT (the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) in addition to the Australian Public Service (APS). DEFAT is also relevant to our foreign trade and efforts for development. It is one entity which emphasizes values. The Value Statement is the following, in addition to extensive explanations. (DFAT values | Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) 

“We uphold and promote the Australian Public Service Values: Impartial, Committed to service; Accountable; Respectful and Ethical. In addition, we place particular importance on the following agency values that define how we work and shape our culture.” 

In addition to the President’s Secretariat, the lessons from DEFAT can undoubtedly be taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce. Both these Ministries should take a major responsibility for the development of the country through export promotion, trade, and foreign relations. Australia can not only be an example, but a country which really can help Sri Lanka if genuine changes are undertaken in the country’s vision, mission, objectives, values, and working methods.   

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Latest comments

  • 4
    3

    What Is Wrong With The President’s Vision & Mission?

    The president vision & mission is not always successe stories the action in history comitted to benifit to whom like R. Premadasa Vision National development via development of human settlements globally recognised ( Vision Accomplished )Shelter is not charity. It is a necessity

    How many votes does the present president has He came to power one vision he cannot be a president other than they way he did.

    • 7
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      Laksiri Fernando

      How are you?

      “Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa were successful in defeating ‘terrorism’ in the country, …”

      Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa were successful as you know Prabaharan helped brothers not only to win the war but win two elections as well.

      • 4
        1

        “Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa were successful in defeating ‘terrorism’ in the country, …”

        Educated Sinhalese People like Dr. Laksiri is no different any other Sinhala racists because they were part and partial for the growth of racism and Buddhist fundamentalism. If the Government in power took action against those who carried out violence and murder in 1958 against Tamil civilians in the country, no one will talk about LTTE terrorism. It is the Sinhalese who took the arms (terror) against Government in 1970 and they don’t consider it as terrorism. So, it is a cancer that started long time ago and now it is spread to all and cannot be cured at all. Now, it is clear that Governments and its leaders are the real terrorists behind all the terror.

  • 4
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    Surprised, Surprise to see Who’s TAALKING!!!???

  • 4
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    He has undertaken a mission not to live under a new system that would require
    people to work hard for a better world and towards that end he has borrowed
    the vision of blind philosophers who have no records of Concrete Achievements
    That Would Last Quite Some Time So That Real Success Takes Root to last longer .

  • 5
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    I learned an important principle in business study that states ” not to take a
    partner with empty pockets ” . Rajapakshas proved in many ways that they
    are Empty Pockets and Ranil who had lost all his support base becoming
    another empty pocket , was lifted to presidency by them . So , Two Sets of
    Empty Pockets have a Vision and Mission ? Mr Author of this write up , could
    you please not waste our energy ? Give us a break !

  • 3
    0

    “Chandrika Kumaratunga could have been better, but the circumstances of the war prevented her achieving many of the socio-economic targets”, – Laksiri Fernando.
    .
    What Is Wrong with you, Laksiri Fernando?
    Tell me what / which circumstance(s) held Chandrika back.
    When there is no sincerity of purpose, any and every circumstance goes the way you wish them to go!
    .
    Democracy in the country declined, during the period of R. Premadasa, you say.
    Have I got to assume that it was not on the decline earlier?
    Democracy started breathing hard from day one. Today, it is on a ventilator!

  • 11
    0

    The writer seems to give credibility to this lifelong rascal ranil and his bluff. Surely he must examine the fellow’s credibility by looking at his achievements over forty years in politics? Apart from helping to set fire to Jaffna library, thus striking at the heart of Tamil culture and heritage, and managing the torture chambers at Batalanda, he cannot be said to have any positive credentials. He dismissed the provincial council elections as if it was a joke, guffawing and smirking openly, and now he calls for yet another parliamentary select committee of vermin to decide on who the mastermind of the Easter massacre of 2019 are, while full well being complicit in these crimes against humanity, along with co-conspirators on both sides of a farcical parliament and their sycophantic officials.

  • 7
    1

    What is wrong with Dr. Laksiri?
    He always purposely ignores about the state terrorism or influence of Sri Lankan Buddhism on state terrorism. The fundamental problem is greedy political families of Sinhalese who manipulated Buddhism into their political power.

  • 3
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    What is wrong is that HE has neither a Vision nor a Mission.

  • 3
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    The country went bankrupt for not pointing out mistakes and taking corrective action no Nobody in Sri Lanka is saying to put the Health minister in jail they need corrective action replace the health minister and bring someone who can manage the health care, Doctors are leveling no proper medicine, etc. Where action from the President is this is why the country went bankrupt no correction but the so-called expert parliamentarians voted saying the minister had done a good job.
    Without action, is like the unsold racing car at a showroom. Talent is described as a natural ability or aptitude and a capacity for achievement or success. That R. Premadasa had. He can give a speech that people listen to. And people voted for him as the third President of Sri Lanka from 2 January 1989 to 1 May 1993.

    He did not give a year’s period to prepare for achievement He did instantly like opening a garment factory within months.

  • 2
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    First, there should be a clear “honest” vision. What we see today is a vision on paper and in speeches, but in action, what is seen is something that is contradictory to honesty. Since there is no clear honest vision, there cannot be any honest mission.

    First of all, Ranil has been saying not only in this term of his as President but in his previous terms as PM, he has spoken about bringing back stolen money and bringing before the law the crooks. What we see today is the Judiciary (obviously with the interference of the politicians that too from the top) politicians’ cases which should be dealt with severely are being postponed for a long period of time repeatedly. Look at Namal’s cases and Basil’s cases they get postponed over and over again. What has the President done about it – NOTHING!

  • 4
    1

    The author of this piece: Please who are the terrorists? Who manipulated the anti-Tamil programs since independence? It is Sinhala-Buddhist criminal/corrupt/ politicians, not the Tamil youths or parliamentarians. Can you tell me one single policy the Sinhalese-Buddhist governments undertook to address the political/social/economic aspiration of the Tamils? Zip Zero, forget about labelling the Tamil youths who undertook arms to live as independent self respecting citizens in the lost paradise. You may tell us violence is not the means to address our grievances, did you listen to the Colombo elite Tamil politicians asking for equal status since independence? I know SJ will come out with his 1-2 words wisdom for my comment, not a full detailed rebuttal.

  • 2
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    (Part I)
    Laksiri Fernando,
    “I personally don’t believe that R. Premadasa PLAYED ANY POSITIVE ROLE.”
    Totally believe you, because the people who made the country decline to low levels Sinhala Buddhist (SB) Chauvinism and at the mere, “Fall of a Hat”, decide to ‘DECAMP’, Lock, Stock and Barrel to find Solace in Salubrious and Calm, Good climes of the ‘Land Mass’ in South Pacific/Indian Ocean confluence, attributing the JVP rebellion in Sri Lanka as an excuse to Australian Authorities, wouldn’t know of ANY GOOD OR BAD – FOR THAT PURPOSE ANYTHING – Post 1990!!!??? However, they know or would ‘claim and clamour’ that they have the answers to all that happened in that Isle – Pearl of the Indian Ocean from A to Z, confined conveniently, which “favours their Purpose”!!!
    Amounts, if not totally, partially to Selfishness to say the least!!! Any article, should be dispassionately, truthful, atleast with verifiable facts, than assumptions and suppositions, spread out like WILD OATS!!!??? This is Sine Qua Non of SB – but Not Buddhists of Sri Lanka – are Distinctly and Undoubtedly, completely different attitude, outlook, physically, Mentally and Spiritually!!
    Sinhalese ‘per se’ are Non-Partisan, of Secular Mindset, Intelligent, Abounding Wisdom as
    (TBC)

  • 2
    0

    (Part II)
    Accompaniment – to reflect an Accomplished Intellect!!!??? That’s’ the Blatant Unashamed Truth!!?
    Ranasinghe Premadasa, was the Unabashed Architect of SL in Post JVP devastation of 1988/90 the country suffered extensive Economic and Commercial damage!!!??? He was assisted by group of Ministers (Not LA & GD) and ably supported KHJ Wijedasa Secretary to President and notably by Paskeralingam – then, Secretary to Treasury further liberalising the economy and financial constraints, which boosted the and stock market (Colombo Stock Exchange – CSE) enabling Billions of USD investment within the year and his Rural Based, 200 Garment industry Project – the Panacea to keep rural youth gainfully employed in their locality, which augmented the vibrant Rural Garment Industry (RGI)!?? Rural economy, which was part of devastation by Ruthless JVP 2+ years of ‘Murder & Mayhem’ project!!!?? Mention of Gam Udawa is not essential in this context as it started in 1980!!!???
    Do hope, you now have an idea of the spectacular achievement of RP to the Rural economy and CSE!
    Charlatans and Comedians, the best of whom being ‘Our Politicians’ – all Hues and Shades would dismiss those accomplishment – IRRELEVANT, but RGI – part of fabric of SL economy!!??
    (TBC)

  • 2
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    (Part III)
    If not, for RP as Executive President, NO RGI – once it was 2nd largest foreign exchange earner!!!
    IF, FOREGOING ACHIEVEMENT ISN’T “PLAYING A POSITIVE ROLE”, THEN WHAT IS? PLS EXPLAIN??

  • 1
    0

    Dr. Laksiri . I am not a UNP supporter but I am sufficiently knowlegeable to express extreme disappointment with your assessment of Ranasinghe Premadasa. Your personal opinion of RP (like or dislike) should not be expressed in an article like this if you want to make a worthwhile point that the readers can respect. Mr. Premadasa may have been not perfect. But his efforts to re-build the country cannot be forgotten. He gave many thousands if not millions of people hope while trying to accommodate the wishes and aspirations of the Colombo elitists. Obviously, he made many mistakes, mostly in the way he managed the LTTE threat. If Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali had been more accommodating and not so greedy, RP would have turned the country around. The LTTE knew this as they relentlessly pursued a strategy to eliminate RP.
    Go and have a look at many rural areas that RP rejuvenated. Next time when you drive on the old roads to Anuradhapura, Pollonnaruwa and Batticoloa, you should go and sit in the shade of thousands of trees (Bauhinia purpurea, Kobo-Leela) that he got people to plant. They are a constant reminder of what the environment needs. Also, go and talk to the descendants of our great artists, musicians and dramatists, some have passed away now – whom RP recognized and helped,

  • 1
    0

    “What Is Wrong With The President’s Vision “

    It does not synchronise with the people’s vision of having a future sri lanka without the rajapakshes and their huge clan having any direct or indirect power in sri lanka.He has started his vision on the wrong foot.So the people will remove him at election time unless he breaks free of them.

    as for his mission,i think if he does not get right his vision any mission will be a failure.

    mission flows from the vision and vision flows from the people.Then you build on their vision with the mission and long term and short term goals to achieve the mission.You can’t impose your vision on the people.It shoud be the other way around.It reminds me of when i passed my CIM(chartered institute of marketing-uk) where it was dinned into us the that we must first see the need for a product and service and then work backwards to produce that product or service,instead of forwards with first producing the product or service and then trying to sell it with big marketing campaigns etc.

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