16 October, 2021

Blog

Who Will Bite The Bullet?

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

There are multiple signs that the country is in a major crisis that is most visibly manifesting itself in the economic downturn but also in the moral sphere, law and order and international relations. The reopening of the country after the 40 day lockdown saw lines of people forming outside of local milk production outlets in their attempt to purchase milk food for their families. There were accompanying media reports of a shipload of milk powder being diverted to another country’s port due to the inability of the Sri Lankan importer to obtain the foreign exchange necessary to pay for the containers they had ordered. It is not only that imported goods are unavailable, their prices have also shot up. Social media has shared visuals taken from the early 1970s when queues formed in Sri Lanka for rice and basic staples during the time of the world food crisis. It happened due to external forces on that occasion, which cannot be applied at this time. It happened, therefore it can happen again.

The weekend media headlines were also about the huge loans that the country is being forced to obtain from other countries to pay for fuel and other basic imports. Even though these loans will ease the immediate problems and transport will not be disrupted, they will not prove to be a long term solution as these loans have to be repaid with interest. There was also a report of another huge loan from the World Bank to improve the road connectivity system. It evokes memories of a similar road connectivity project that was to be supported by the MCC grant offered by the US government but which was rejected on the grounds that it would be detrimental to national sovereignty. Some of those who govern the country today warned that this project would divide the country into two by means of an electrified fence and US visas would be needed to travel to the holy sites of Anuradhapura. It is such attitudes and distortions that contribute to impoverish and divide the country.

There was also the shocking news that the country was about to accept organic fertilizer with harmful bacteria in it. In the past, travelers returning from abroad have had their apples and other fruits brought for personal use confiscated by customs on grounds that they might bring in micro-organisms and pests from abroad that would be detrimental to local agriculture. In this case samples of organic fertilizer imported from abroad proved to have harmful bacteria. Initially those who wanted the fertilizer said it might be the sample that was flawed and not the container load that was to follow, but when this too was found to be infected, the entire consignment was rejected. There has been no adequate answer to the farmers and associated field advice regarding how to continue the cultivation in these circumstances.

Inter-Dependence

Underlying the economic and other travails of the country are two key factors. The first is the pursuit of private gain by those entrusted with public responsibility. In this regard it is not a foregone conclusion that the shipload of contaminated organic fertilizer would be turned away. The problem is that it might find its way back. The agricultural authorities now say that the company that produced the infected organic fertilizer will send a batch of fresh fertilizer to Sri Lanka without the harmful bacterial pathogens. The usual practice would be to blacklist a company that sent harmful pathogens in their shipment. But considerations of private profit or loss can make this an exception.

The second key factor is that decisions are made without sufficient understanding of the inter-connectedness of all life, whether political, economic or personal. This may be seen in the decision to ban chemical fertilisers without adequate preparation. Experience has shown worldwide that victories have been won after years of preparation and learning from mistakes in which the decisions are made by veterans who have become experts in their fields. The decision to ban chemical fertilizers without similar years of preparation and participation of experts in the field needs to be reconsidered. There needs to be much awareness creation and advocacy on the ground before it really happens and in stages. In particular, the import of infected organic fertiliser may cause more damage than the chemical fertilizer which it replaces.

As a result of the ban on chemical fertilisers the price of the stock that remains has gone up and crop yields have dropped due to the unavailability of adequate fertilisers and herbicides on time. This was the deficit that the organic fertilizer that was imported and sent back was meant to fill even in part. The reduction in production would mean there is a need for more imports of food grains and other staples for which the country has limited foreign exchange as the milk powder shortage has shown. The Planters’ Association of Ceylon has urged the Government to immediately to avoid major loss of foreign exchange earnings and further worsening the crisis with reduced crops and possible wipe-out of rubber plantations due to the fungal disease. They also estimate a 40 percent drop in tea exports next year.

Ominous Warning

There is a need for an independent group of experts to review the situation. The intentions of the government may be good, but the process of decision making needs to be changed so that private profit and self-interest does not take first place. The present constitutional arrangement is for the president to have the final power to appoint persons to key institutions of state be they in the public service, judiciary, police or even statutory bodies. This needs to be modified to ensure the independence and integrity of those selected to these high positions. There is a need to bring in the opposition and civil society into the selection process along with the government to ensure that the system of checks and balances works with integrity. All institutions, including the presidency, need to be subjected to the principles of accountability and checks and balances.

When problems are not solved by the state institutions that are set up to solve problems it will be the case that people, organisations and communities seek solutions outside the state. Today, whether it is in the Attorney General’s Department, which is being accused of irregular appointments, the police department, which is being accused of not doing their investigations into cases in which government personalities are involved, the prisons department, which permitted a minister to enter with a pistol, the education department which is failing to resolve a protracted dispute with teachers, or the elections department that has failed to hold provincial elections for over three years, there is a loss of confidence in the state.

The most recent example is the Catholic Church which has been asking for investigations into the Easter bombing to yield results after two years and many promises by the government’s leaders. It is time to know the truth and it is only truth that will help Sri Lanka to become free of this burden. Ominously at a time when the Church leaders have said that they are not satisfied with this type of investigation and they will go to the international community, they have been warned that another attack on churches is possible. Instead of identifying the culprits and those behind them, the government system is filing action against those who were clearly not behind the bombings, such as the former Defence Secretary and former police chief against whom 855 indictments had been filed with the prosecution naming 1,216 witnesses which will ensure a very lengthy trial process. This can send a worrying message to those within the state system that they may be scapegoats for actions and omissions that were beyond them.

“It happened, therefore it can happen again” wrote Primo Levi, Holocaust survivor and writer. It seems that for Sri Lanka, ‘’It happened and it will happen again and again” will be our fate until we have the leadership that will bite the bullet and change course.

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Latest comments

  • 18
    0

    The substance and the contents of the article is very painful to read. I wish not to add to your pain. How can I do that?
    I’ll just pick one that is least painful.
    – There is a need for an independent group of experts to review the situation.
    Haven’t we had an array of such reviews? What were the outcome.
    The appointment of an independent group to review the opinion of the previous group!

    • 14
      3

      The people still don’t blame the Rajapakses for their plight.

      There is a clip on YouTube …………. a jurno is talking to the long line of people lined up to buy a packet of milk powder ………. not a single person blamed the Rajapakses.

      One woman is beseeching the president and the prime minister to command the officials (niladaari) to expedite the distribution of the milk powder packets.

      If there an election tomorrow …….. they will vote for the same.

      Even if they and their children starve to death …….. they will find some other scapegoat to blame instead of the Rajapakses.

      Lankans deserve what they get ………


      What baffles me is …….. why people find Rajapakses’ “Sinhala Buddhism” so much more appealing than Sajith’s or Ranil’s “Sinhala Buddhism.” ……… They all play the “Sinhala Buddhism” game ………..

      If I go broke ……. I too will play the “Sinhala Buddhism” game ……….. Native, have you got hair to shave …….. or are you completely bald? We can do away with the barber and go straight to the yellow sari …………

      • 5
        0

        nimal fernando,
        …. the long line of people lined up to buy a packet of milk powder ………. not a single person blamed the Rajapakses.
        .
        Had you been in the line would you have blamed the Rajapakses?
        Is a packet of milk powder worth that risk.

      • 8
        2

        nimal fernando

        You are right people wouldn’t criticize the clan on camera. Take them to a side and they will pour out their heart. You know people are stupid but not that stupid. Give them some allowance for being cautious as they now know stories about white vans.

        Those who voted for the super patriotic clan now regret for doing so.

        ” Native, have you got hair to shave …….. or are you completely bald? We can do away with the barber and go straight to the yellow sari …………”

        We can all apply hot tar on our head and live happily ever after permanently bald.
        We need enough hot tar as we have nearly 65000 of them.

      • 7
        0

        nimal fernando: You said:”Not a single person blamed Rajapakse”. I checked this from a very “Reliable” source. The “Mouthfull Filth” directed at Rajapakse was “edited” out because those words uttered were unpublishable. There was one person who said: “We got caught and deceived (Ravatuna). Not again”. The rest he uttered were edited out. I don’t blame you, because you listened to the published clip.

        • 6
          0

          ““edited” out”

          True. I find people are much bolder and outspoken this time around …….. I was waiting for that to come out from the people in the queue.

        • 1
          0

          Simon,

          Exactly the truth. They have appointed enough men and women to avoid the numbers of anti supporters to them, so that all is further seen as “why not masses still support them” and one of them is our most known EAGLE EYE on CT. .
          .
          As u guys know they are high criminals but they wear thicker PIRITH NOOLE and leave u saying “budusaranay ” as much as they can. Simon s Kadamandiya people can confirm this🐕🐃🐕🐃🐕🐃🐕🐃🐕

      • 1
        0

        Nf,
        .that is what that “tattoo ed man Sudaththa chievaradaria did”. .
        .
        ******If I go broke ……. I too will play the “Sinhala Buddhism” game ……….. Native, have you got hair to shave …….. or are you completely bald? We can do away with the barber and go straight to the yellow sari*******.
        .
        Lucrative in today’s context where Rajapakshe mafia leadership is taking us the direction of Tahiti/somalia🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃

  • 13
    0

    Thank you Jehan for the straight talk.
    Jeevan

    • 8
      0

      Yes, the points are very well made here.
      .
      So long as no major accusation can be made against ourselves, I feel that we can be outspoken.

  • 17
    0

    Country is in a major crisis due to lack of experience in leadership. This is glass clear even to little ones today 🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃
    .
    Srilankens are made to be the soccer ball in indian Ocean today. .
    .
    America, india and china are the winners.
    .
    Equally medamulana b****putha s too are winners . They dont belong tnot only srilanka but also to America.their mobilising grounds are on US soil.
    .
    But citizens of srilanka????? .may u be blessed with some sort of wisdom 🍬🍬🍬🍬🍬🍬🍬🍬
    .
    It is high time to stand as one against so called pseudo Patriots.
    .
    Ghaanasra is singing the song again in favour of high criminals with Abhayarama pina and others in Robes in hibernation mode😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉

  • 2
    2

    Who is betraying the country in the name of……no clear policies,not all are inclusive,recognize and respect all are Sri lankans,even our head becomes US citizen he enjoy the same privilege as other fellow citizens,he doesn’t wants to loose that.stable and prosperous….

    In 2015 defeat how our present finance minister rushed to US likewise these 2 fly back if situation got worst ,they may have stand by craft parked up at Hambatota.

    Even the ministers are going around with the pistol,slowly we could see people around Manning market with the pistols.

    Now one of the best crop suits our soil is Ganja no fertilizer need at all,make it legal ,then we can export for exchange for goods.(no fertilizer/$ crises)
    Local media should play a vital part.most of us doesn’t knows that much of 20A before election now only see the gravity,,now we all in sinking ship regardless.
    That Kurunagala donkey betrayed the whole country,he promised before he goes abolish the executive power of prez and gives the power to parliament.

    People like Gunarasan EE HDLM …..
    Comes out of weerasoorya past and work good for your country,make it healthier stable prosperous country for future generations.

    .

  • 11
    3

    How can you have a proper investigation when the murderer behond the Easter bombing is the president of the country.
    Thanks to the 6.9 million morons

  • 3
    2

    China never interfered in Lankawe. But when Lankawe wanted to have India repair the Nuraicholai, it broke the 50 computers and forced to release the Colombo Pong Cing land for China. When Ranil put a hold on Pong Cing because west side fishermen and others opposing the government on environmental issue China forced Ranil to pay poor taxpayers money of $280 +15, to world’s second largest economy. Then for Hangbangtota loan China took the harbor & 5 Villages land. Now China has made a deal with Lankawe that Lankawe should stop the fertilizers import but import China Hunu. Lankawe marketed that in the West & in UN as Lankawe is ahead of the world in Green Farming. China, under name of Hunu, is exporting plants and animal disease causing germs, which’s smell is worse than the fish that Prof. Kumar describes in Keralwellapittiya Methane plant. Agricultural dept. officials have rejected Mahidhananda’s idea to earn commission from China. So, China has sent him a letter saying that if accept officials’ testing results, China will invade Lankawe even before the Taiwan. Where is Professor Kumar has gone to retest the China Hunu and certify it is good enough to give commission to Mahidananda?

  • 3
    0

    I read the article from an “Accounting” angle. At first, I thought it is a “Profit & Loss” account but turned out to be an itemized “Losses” without any “Profits” to arrive at a “Net Profit”.

    This “Rajapakse & Co. Inc.” that is entrusted with managing the “National Wealth” is not in any way working towards fulfilling the obligations and responsibilities.

    What is left and available option is to “DISMISS” this “Inefficient” and “Corrupt” Management (Rajapakse & Co. Inc) and decide to make a “Change”. The PEOPLE (the Shareholders) are in the process of “Assessing” the “OPTIONS”.

  • 3
    1

    JP, Congrats
    Valid point,
    “Some of those who govern the country today warned that this project would divide the country into two by means of an electrified fence and US visas would be needed to travel to the holy sites of Anuradhapura. It is such attitudes and distortions that contribute to impoverish and divide the country.”
    They said a similar thing in respect of P-Toms and Chandrika/Neelan T’s constitution making! “You will need a Visa to go to Arugam Bay or Nilaveli Beach for a swim from Colombo”!
    These sort of things are done by those wizards, when they are in opposition and trying to gain power to Govern!
    Did these Baiyas require a visa from LA to NY from their permanent homes to attend UN?
    Wimal W would because 4th Std education and no English provides no enlightenment! Eat Lemon P.
    The biggest fools are the SL voters, as they commit the crime repeatedly, electing criminals, looters and deceivers. Disgrace to SL citizens.
    “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” – Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of USA
    They will laugh all the way to vote power!

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