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Ravi: What I did as Finance Minister was like running a tavern without arrack

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By Saman Indrajith

UNP Assistant Leader and former minister Ravi Karunanayake, in an interview with The Island conducted on July 30, says there is no significant threat from his party’s offshoot, the SJB, which he describes as only ‘a mere irritant factor.’ Excerpts of the interview:

Q: The country is going through very turbulent times. The economy is in the doldrums. Many developing countries, including Pakistan, have opted for requesting loan waivers from their lenders such as China, considering the impact realities of COVID-19. As a former Finance Minister do you think Sri Lanka should do likewise?

A: In the current situation we see the country’s revenue dwindling. There is a yawning gap between revenues and cost of living, and this gap has led to the widening of the budget deficit, which cannot be bridged with taxes. In the process of cushioning this impact you have to reduce either the recurrent expenditure or the country’s loan commitments. One of the two has to be reduced to make the fiscal space possible for the country’s economy to move forward. I do not see that happening. The revenue is dropping and expenditure increasing and this has caused the alarming fiscal imbalance. Economic disparities seem to be becoming more complicated by the day. In this situation, seeking loan waivers is not the answer. If you ask for waivers, you’ll lose the opportunity of getting loans in the future. The impact of loan waivers would vary on bilateral and multi-lateral loans which are a few and far between but not so on international sovereign bonds. It would lead to a negative economic outlook. When I took over the Finance Ministry, we had a negative outlook. We had to convert it into a positive outlook and we went forward. Under this government, such good work is being undone and the country is moving backwards. The World Bank has moved Sri Lanka from a medium-income earning country to a low-income earning country.

Q: What is the solution?

A: We have to navigate through these turbulent times. For that we need a strong national economic agenda, which should be able to address the issue of decreasing revenue and keep the economy afloat.

Q: The government has received encomia for handling the COVID-19 threat professionally. It is popularly thought that a UNP government would have made a mess of the battle against coronavirus and economic recovery. What would you say to this?

A: If we are elected, our immediate intention should be to restore confidence in the people, in the investors, in the local and foreign markets. We need to create a situation where people would get economic activities restarted. It is a matter of how you would be able to rekindle that confidence. For that you need consistent and coherent policies. At the moment we have policies that change by the day. When we were elected to office on Jan 8, 2015 the country’s economy was not better than this. In a way it is same with the post-COVID-19 situation.

The other factor is that the country’s economy had been in the doldrums well before the COVID-19. The impact of pandemic started on March 21, but economy had started experiencing trouble well before that. The main reason for that was because the government tried to reduce VAT from 15 to 8. And with many other things, the resultant loss was about 600 billion rupees. That amount is almost one third of the government revenue for the year 2019. When you don’t have revenue, there is no economic kick start. You lose 600 billion and the economy is going to tailspin. On the other hand, none in society would feel any relief from VAT reduction because of that increases that have taken place are so much more. With the 600 billion just thrown down the drain there has been no resultant economic gain.

Q: On the political front, the split within the UNP resulted in a confusion among UNP voters. The SJB has emerged a formidable political force. What do you think the impact of the split on the UNP’s electoral performance?

A: Our fight is with the SLPP and not any other party. This government has been in power for eight months. It’s almost one fifth of its full term. During this period, the cost of living has gone up dramatically and now it is almost 40 per cent. There have been job losses though the government promised to create many more. The SJB is a by-the-way party. Our main focus is to ensure that we are engaged with the main opponent rather than by-the-way parties. Every time when there is an election such by-the-way parties are formed by breakaway groups. It is like old leaves falling from a tree. New leaves will appear and fill the gaps. The UNP is such a strong party that it will not be affected by splits.

The people who have left the party have something in common. They are people who lost badly in their electorates at the last presidential election. Their leader lost that election. The SJB is only an irritant factor.

The UNP is a reservoir of talent. Whenever there is a slip-off we have lot of new talent to remedy it. The UNP is the oldest party in the country and it is getting stronger.

Q: Speculation is rife that the SJB members will join the UNP after the election. Some UNPers have said they will never allow them to return to the party’s fold. In your case, you were with Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake when they left the UNP to form the DUNF and contest under the Eagle symbol. The DUNF was a splinter of the UNP like the SJB. Years later, DUNF members returned to the UNP’s fold. So, what’s wrong with the SJB members coming back to the UNP?

A: You cannot compare the two events. The bravest in the UNP at that time such as Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake challenged what they saw as wrongs within the party. So, they were virtually thrown out of the party as a result of their struggle for democracy. In the present instance, some disgruntled party members have left the UNP as they could not achieve their ambitions.

I beg you not to compare the two events for it’s unfair by Lalith, Gamini and others of their calibre, who formed the DUNF.

The final outcome of an event is determined by the performance of a team. If you are a member of a cricket team, you have to be led. You cannot be led by the spectators outside the field. You can’t win the match by singing hosannas for his father or grandfather. Your success hinges on your performance.

The SJB lied to the people and they lied to the judiciary. That is why it lost the case. When it appealed to Court of Appeal and they had to pay Rs 25,000 fine as well. So, now the people can understand that their version of what happened at the Working Committee meeting of the party was not true.

With regard to the rumours of their return after the election, I must say the UNP is not a rest house where you come and go as you please.

Q: Some opposition parties have criticized the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Do you subscribe to this criticism?

A: COVID situation is something unprecedented. We would give our support to the government to face any such crisis for the sake of the people. I believe the government is doing its best, given the situation. But I cannot say the same about its handling of the economy.

Winning the COVID-19 war and winning the economic war are two different things. You cannot justify losing the economic war in post-COVID situation even if you fare well in your fight against COVID.

Q: The yahapalana government failed to prevent the Easter Sunday carnage. Don’t you think those terror attacks will have an impact on the outcome of the upcoming election as well?

A: If you say the Easter bombing had an impact on the then government’s electoral performance, then the COVID-19 pandemic will have a similar impact on this government. If people are guided by their emotions in casting their votes, then they will vote against this government. The economy is in tatters, companies are closing, cash flows are threatened and it is these major problems that will have an impact on the outcome of the upcoming election.

Q: The Easter Sunday carnage took place under a UNP government and the presidential election results show that people are concerned about national security and their safety. What would you say?

A: Well, it is unfair to say it happened on our watch because basically all security matters were in the hands of a single person, who is not in the government when this disaster occurred. It happened during the time of our government but everybody knows that the Prime Minister was not even invited to the national Security Council meetings. Everything was handled by the Presidential Secretariat. It was virtually one man show going on. We see the same now as investigations are on for eight months, but nothing new has been found out.

Q: What do you have to say about the disastrous MCC agreements with the US? Some opposition parties have already accused the government of duplicity?

A: They promised to dump the MCC agreement if they were elected. Have they thrown the MCC agreement? What a fuss they made prior to the presidential election. They said that the country would be under the dictates of America; the country would be divided and we would have to get visas to enter parts of our own country beyond Anuradhapura. We call upon the government to state its standpoint. If they reject the MCC agreement then they could tear it off and, if not, they have to admit that we did the right going ahead with it. It first started under the Mahinda Rajapaksa government; we went forward ahead because it was a grant in appreciation of good governance. What’s wrong with that?

Q: The SLPP is seeking a two-thirds majority to do away with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. How do you propose to counter this campaign?

A: The 19th amendment was brought to do away with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The 18th amendment allowed the President to act according to his whims and fancies. So, the 19th Amendment had to be brought in. It was the will of the people.

At the time the 19th Amendment was introduced there were two opinions — either to do away with the presidential system or reduce its executive powers. I believed that we should do away with the executive presidency and give more powers to parliament. The 19th Amendment was introduced to pave the way for scrapping the executive presidency. People since 1988, have voted for its abolition but none of the governments care to respect their will.

Q: Treasury bond controversy had a huge impact on the UNP. Allegations have been levelled against you as well. What kind of impact this issue will have on the upcoming election?

A: This is a miscarriage of justice. I happened to be the Finance Minister, but the Central Bank was under the Prime Minister and other commercial banks were under Kabir Hashim. It was not the Prime Minister but his deputy Minister Harsha de Silva who did all the work at the Central bank. Both of them have been kept out of this issue while people who are not relevant were dragged into it.

There were five committees on the matter. First there was the Pitipana committee. There is nothing against me. Then there was DEW Gunsekera Committee. He was in the opposition then. His report does not say I was involved. Then there was Sunil Hadunnetti-led COPE investigation. They found nothing against me or the party. Then there was a presidential commission. There is nothing mentioned in their report about me with the issue at hand. They also found that Central Bank officials are responsible for this. Have any of them been questioned? Then there is another report of which 108 pages are missing. Why are they missing? Why hasn’t it been published? These were the things in the hands of the then President. It was a political witch-hunt. It was aimed at character assassination. Then there was a forensic audit report. It shows very clearly what happened during the period of 2005 to 2015. Why is that report not brought out and why action has not been taken on its findings? They have clearly stated that losses have occurred since 2005 onwards and that Central Bank had not got relevant approval for the implementation of private placements. When this question arose, I, as the finance minister, asked the Auditor General to compare what had been happening since 2005 to 2015. All are silent. They are trying to kill the messenger and distract public attention. That is an absolute national crime. At the moment those investigations have got nowhere, found nothing at all, and why are 108 pages missing? Why is that, not a single Central Bank official has been even basically mentioned? Because these are the guys- the central bank officials, not all of them but seven or eight people. They live luxurious lives. They are earning 2.5 or 3 million salary and dictate terms to people who get by on 25,000 to 30,000 a month. It is said that the monetary policy is being pursued by the Central Bank. The government’s or the financial minister’s role is to handle the fiscal policy. But the central bank was always at loggerheads with the government. We believe that the innocent people should have low interest rates on their borrowings, so that you could bring about an economic upturn, but the Central Bank officials pursue a high interest rate where they basically think that would ward off inflation. This is the problem that exists. And this menace must come to an end. These are the people who created it. Once again, I say I was not in charge of the Central Bank; I was not in charge of the commercial banks. Then why am I being accused of something I did not do? This is simple case of character assassination. That has to be corrected. When I was the Finance Minister, what I did was like running a tavern without arrack.

I was the Finance Minister but I did not have the banks under me. Even then we were able to bring economic stability. We were able to bring in financial discipline. We established the focus on right financial directions. That was during the three years I was in charge of the finance ministry. Some of them who are engaged in character assassination have left the party. They were responsible for the footnotes of the Sunil Handunnetti COPE report. Why do they hold me accountable for this? It was they who involved in it. People within the country did not recognize us, but outside world recognized us and that was how the Bankers’ Institution in the UK, which is highly respected one, voted me the best finance minister Asia Pacific for 2017.

Q: What plans does the UNP have for the future of the younger generation of the country?

A: Not that you cannot develop this country. It’s a matter of whether you want to develop this country or not. The talent is there, the opportunity is there and we do not apply ourselves in order to get to that. My best comparison is Sri Lanka in the time we got Independence 72 years ago, we had a per capita income of $ 49 and Japan had $ 48. Japan got battered in the Second World War and without any natural resources, they are basically today enjoying a per capita of 55,000 dollars while in Sri Lanka its 4,000 dollars.

Q: The UNP is doomed in the opinion of its critics. How do you counter this view?

A: Before talking of the party’s future, I should say we should talk of the present. We should handle it very dexterously. The UNP is very hierarchy-oriented, very seniority-oriented and competency-oriented party. In election times you hear various things from people who cannot even stand on their own feet. In the UNP, we have a leader in the party and our emphasis is on discipline. As for the party hierarchy Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe is the senior most and next to him is John Amaratunga and I come next to him in order of seniority. I guess competency, discipline, loyalty, comradeship all would be put together and at the right time we will come as the right team.

 



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Opinion

Abuse of use of title Professor

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I read with much interest the letter by Mr. Nissanka Warakaulle, regarding the above matter, in the issue of the Sunday Island of 18th April 2021. I agree fully with the contents of his letter. He should be very familiar with the regulations as he is a former Registrar of the University of Colombo. I wish to highlight another instance where it is abused. In the 1970s, the title of Associate Professor was created. Until then there were only three categories of Professors. Firstly the holder of the Chair, secondly a co-Professor and thirdly, an Emeritus Professor. There were also, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers and Readers. The title of Reader was replaced with the title Associate Professor, which is meant to be a designation, to be used after the name. However, this category of academics started using it as a pre-fix, dropping the word Associate!

Profesor Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya MBE
Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics,
University of Colombo

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Vacant seat in Parliament

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by Harim Peiris

One of the more interesting features about the current Parliament of Sri Lanka, is that it has the highest number of parties with representation in that august Assembly, mostly through a plethora of small parties, which have been elected with one or two members to Parliament. Most of these parties are regional in scope and represent specific communities, often ethnic or religious minorities from the Northern and Eastern provinces. Generally colourful almost quixotic political characters have been elected from these single ticket parties, with a couple of them, including the EPDP and the ACTC securing two seats each. They certainly add colour and a vibrant diversity to the composition of the legislature.

Also falling into this same category of a single seat party, from among the minor parties, is the former governing United National Party (UNP), which rather fortuitously through its vote tally in all districts, managed to qualify for a single National List seat in Parliament. The UNP is a small party with a big party mentality and blessed with close links to major national newspapers, its unelected office-bearers and defeated candidates, manage to make the news daily, if rather irrelevantly.

The UNP has rather unusually been unwilling to fill its single seat, making the current Parliament a full house at 224 members, rather than its complete complement of 225. However, political circles are abuzz with talk that finally its longest serving and possibly leader for life, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, will have himself nominated to the UNP’s solitary seat in Parliament. It has to be a record in any country with a proportional representation electoral system, for a party to fall from a governing party with 106 seats, to a solitary parliamentary seat in the ensuing election. Leaving that grand old party with a nice head office, a proud history, and some political personalities who made a serious error in political judgement, when they denied its longtime deputy leader and presidential candidate, the party leadership, resulting in the formation of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) party.

Just over a year since nominations for the parliamentary elections closed on 20th March 2020 and the UNP thinks about finally getting its act together, to nominate Mr. Wickremesinghe to its solitary seat, and the SJB celebrated the first year anniversary of its formation; it is worth examining the implications to politics and national governance, created by the Rajapaksa political vehicle of the SLPP supplanting the SLFP, and on the Opposition side of the House, the even newer Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, taking over the constituency, the younger generation leaders and the political leadership of the non SLPP/Rajapaksa socio-political forces in the country. The SLPP created its own history in the August 2020 parliamentary elections becoming the most electorally successful political party under the 1978 constitution, securing 145 seats in Parliament, bettering its predecessor UPFA’s result of 144 seats won in the euphoria of the war’s ending in 2010. The SJB also performed approximately comparative to its parent UNP’s 2010 post war performance, securing 54 seats in 2020.

However, the SJB has also made its own mark on the political landscape of the country in its relatively short history. Firstly, by comprehensively wiping its predecessor UNP off the electoral map, and firmly capturing the Opposition political space. It has faced the juggernaut of an SLPP Administration with a super majority in Parliament. In response, the SJB and the Opposition Leader’s approach has been measured, thoughtful and calibrated. Occupying the moral high ground, by claiming that the Opposition should oppose but not obstruct, it has permitted some leeway to the Rajapaksas to implement their mandate; but has been a moral conscience, as well as a check and balance on the government. As a new party it has focused on building up its grassroots capability, and the indefatigable Opposition Leader has been mirroring the President’s own dialogue with the village, by having numerous grassroots level consultations and discussions, albeit without an attendant media circus.

Politically as well, the focus of the SJB has been to bring to sharp focus the shortcomings of the Administration, and accordingly it has been the inspiration for the “sir fail” political concept; a rather direct assault on the performance or alleged lack thereof by the Government and the President, elected as he was among other things as a technocrat who would get things done. Astutely Sajith Premadasa has been careful to refrain from an overly negative assault on his successful rival in the presidential election, focusing instead on the issues and avoiding the personal mudslinging which has been the sorry hallmark of Sri Lankan politics in more recent times. The SJB and the Opposition Leader have sought to adopt a more principled and issue-based politics, rather than on pure personalities and one that is non-sectarian, both distinctions of which are an unusual departure from the norm in mainstream Sri Lankan politics. As the politics of the UNHRC process in Geneva and the cremation issue of the Covid deceased for the Muslim community dominated the political debate in the past few months, the SJB demonstrated remarkable political maturity in taking a principled position opposed to forced cremation based on the WHO guidelines, and then rolling out a newly minted and credible reconciliation policy on the cusp of the Geneva vote, which differentiated it clearly from the Government, arguing that national unity was the best guarantor and contributor to national security.

As a slew of highly charged political issues ranging from exonerating various accused persons from ongoing court cases through a presidential commission, to the controversial proposals for the autonomous Port City Commission come to dominate the political debate in the near future, the SJB will be tested. But Sajith Premadasa took on the Rajapaksas in their home turf of Hambantota for years, and did not flinch from a tough political ask in a local constituency setting. The current challenges are bigger and the setting is the national political stage. One year on, in a game with a five-year cycle, the SJB can take solace and some credit that while the beginning of the end may not have begun for the current Administration, the end of the honeymoon period with the public for the Administration, has clearly already occurred.

 

 

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How to degrade, dismantle and destroy a country

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The current social political and economic decision making and the ‘mysterious’, illogical behaviour of Sri Lanka’s leadership, are classic examples of ‘how to degrade, dismantle and destroy a country’.

What are the essential conditions for a country to be a united, successful, sovereign and independent?

1. The rule of law.

2. A responsible Parliament.

3. An executive totally dedicated to the protection and well being of the country.

4. A vibrant economy that lifts the poor out of poverty.

5. Social fraternity and friendship in a tolerant and peaceful environment.

6. Awareness of and the love and protection of the country’s ecology.

The rule of law, as ordinarily understood, is a code of conduct that a people and a state accept as their guiding and protective set of regulations for the common good. There are two sides to it; rights and duties. Human rights and civil rights on the one hand, and paying taxes, obeying social rules of human interaction, such as observing traffic regulations, etc., on the other hand are the two sides.

The institution that oversees the whole complexity of the rule of law is the judiciary. The judiciary must be like Caesar’s wife––totally above suspicion. That is what the blindfolded lady with a sword and scales of justice signify. What we see happening now is something worrisome. I am not going to list all the unsavoury happenings in the recent past. But the Presidential Commission on political victimisation has removed the blindfold of the lady, thrown away the scales, and she is wielding the sword against those few who sincerely and competently did their duty.

How can an independent judiciary stop ongoing trials and release the suspects just because the executive or a commission says so?

In other words, they are degrading the judiciary, destroying its independence.

A responsible Parliament is the very soul of a democratic country. A Parliament that behaves with decorum, efficiency and a keen sense of responsibility to the people that elected it is essential for the country’s progress.

People’s representatives are stealing public funds. They get tax free vehicles and sell them for millions! This is stealing the money due to the Treasury. They sell permits for everything, from petroleum to pharmaceuticals, from sand to stone, collecting millions. This is a brazen demand for bribes. When the President concludes his term, he gets a mansion for free in Colombo. This does not happen even in a banana republic. They have no shame to lose the elections and creep back into the Parliament through the back door, called the National List. They get huge commissions for development projects.

Listen to the current parliamentary debates. What are the crucial problems facing the country today? The gigantic external debt is number one. Number two is China, India and the USA nibbling away at the country’s sovereignty. Number three is the worsening situation of poverty. These are the three main problems among many others. Are they discussing and making laws and policies to solve the debt crisis? Are they making statesmanlike policies and diplomatic overtures to keep the three ogres at bay? Are they discussing ways and means of improving agriculture and industry and making our economy vibrant and people friendly? Listen to the gibberish they are mouthing, or rather screaming, at one another. They accuse, scold and insult one another using un-parliamentary words. They call one another thieves. They may belong to various political parties and may be in the government or in the Opposition, but are united “thick as thieves” and protect one another.

An executive totally dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of the country is yet to be found. If such an executive had been there, would there have been an Easter massacre? If such an executive is there, will it tell us only what we already know, after years and millions spent on a Presidential Inquiry into the Easter barbarity? They have shown us only the tip of the iceberg, which is there to be seen even without an inquiry. We want to know what is hidden under. Why is the executive so coy about showing it to us? We can only say with Marcellus in Act I, scene iv of the Shakespeare’s tragedy “Hamlet” – “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark (Sri Lanka)”. We have neither trust nor hope in the executive. It too has gone the way of the Parliament.

A vibrant economy that lifts the poor out of poverty. Isn’t that the main task of any governing body of a country?

But it is not so in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka they only talk about getting loans, more loans and bigger loans. And when they get a loan they crow about it as if it is a great achievement. Any decent gentleman would keep his loans secret, for he would be ashamed of the public getting to know it. We do not have gentlemen. Ours are scoundrels who are happy to get loans so that they can get their cut. They are not worried because they do not repay the loans. It is we the people who have to settle their debts.

If not for the women sweating away in FTZ factories, if not for the women plucking tea buds by the ton in the plantations, if not for the women sold to slavery in West Asia, where will this country be? What have the governing ingrates done for them? Nothing. It is the private small industries and entrepreneurs that are some consolation to the local labour force.

What have they done for the farmers? They do not get water in time, the fertilizer in time and now, as if Sena is not enough, they have the pachyderms! Their habitats are sold to multinationals and they have nowhere to go. They are being massacred more than one a day. This is a national crime against innocent elephants that cry to heaven for retribution. The country is cursed for it, but for our scoundrels it is water on the duck’s back. The farmers suffer, they are protesting in sit-ins all over the country. The politician monkeys see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, and of course do nothing. We are going downhill, getting poorer and will soon end up in bankruptcy.

Social fraternity and friendship in a tolerant and peaceful ambient, is necessary for people to live happily in a country. It was so sad to watch a popular tuition master, teaching ecology on YouTube, advise the students to leave this country for their own good, adding that he himself is contemplating such action. Can anyone blame him? We who have passed the three score and ten probably will remain and prefer to sink with the ship. But the younger generations certainly have a right to enjoy this short but incredibly beautiful life, instead of getting bogged down in the lawless, fearsome chaos this country will become.

Not too long ago, we lived side by side, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, without any suspicion or antagonism, enjoying one another. We were together in school, in the playground, in the market place and in the neighbourhood. Now we realize how wonderful that was. Then came the petty political rascals. Just to get power and amass filthy lucre, they would sell anything, sacrifice anything. For them there is nothing sacred or invaluable. Even foolish religious leaders were made use of for their benefit. The Sinhala were pitted against the Tamil, then against the Muslim. They pit religion against religion with fantastic canards like bound fallopian tubes, kotthu with impotence pills, female underwear laced with infertility drugs, etc. The media slaves of the petty political scoundrels, and even some political religious, went to town with the incredible stories without checking on their veracity. The gullible public swallowed them hook line and sinker. How much blood have we shed for the last 50 years?

What a waste of life!

When will the people ever learn that they are governed by a coterie of scoundrels––Ali Baba and the 225 thieves? Will we ever have social fraternity and friendship in a tolerant and peaceful environment? The answer is blowing in the wind, my friend; it is blowing in the wind.

The awareness of and the love and protection of the country’s ecology is the duty of every true patriotic citizen.

Ali Baba and the 225 thieves are hell bent on destroying just that, the ecology. The cunning scoundrels and their bootlicking officialdom are good at shooting the messenger. A young girl declares that Sinharaja is destroyed. And the officers instead of investigating those felling trees ask the girl if she knows where the forest boundaries are. A civil activist exposes the fraud of the Sahana Malla. Instead of verifying the accusation by checking the items in the Malla, he is arrested. You point the moon to them and they cut off your index finger. In the cancer causing coconut oil case, they have shown that they are more interested in protecting the crooked businesses, rather than the vulnerable citizens of the country. They are destroying the forests in Wilpattu, in the Sinharaja and all over. They are destroying our country, they are destroying us.

I’m sure the governing ignoramuses have never heard of Chief Seattle’s almost ‘sacred’ ecological declaration, where he tells the aggressive white invaders that his people and the environment are not two things but one. I’m sure they have never heard of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si” on the love and protection of Mother/Sister Earth. They know only their insatiable greed; they see nothing beyond their own navels. They have no love or kinship to the soil and the rocks, the rivers and the seas, the flora and the fauna of Sri Lanka. They certainly have no love for Sri Lankans whom they deceive every five years. They are not the legitimate children of Mother Lanka. Their only goal in life is to exploit this country and its people to the maximum possible and get away, the dual-citizen traitors. There is no hope for our beautiful elephants, our environment and us.

Ali Baba and the 225 thieves know quite well how to degrade, dismantle and destroy our country. They not only know it, they are deliberately committing the heinous crime. Who can stop them? Only the PEOPLE can stop them. That’s why I have been calling for a Grand Alliance of Good People. But I feel I am only a voice crying in the wilderness.

Cannot our people see the cunning deceitful trickery they are perpetrating on us? When the A20 was mooted, before genuine opposition could come up, their lackeys, political, religious and lay, vociferously stood against it. The genuine Opposition was silenced. At the last moment, the bootlicking slaves supported the Bill in the Parliament. The same trick was repeated at giving away of the West Container Terminal of the Colombo harbour to the Adani Group of India. The trick is being repeated for the third time with the Port City. The same bootlicking pack of lackeys is vehemently attacking the draft of the Port City Management. The genuine Opposition has no time even to get organised. The draft is deliberately made worse than what the Chinese imperialists demand. Eventually, they will remove the unnecessary excess and the lackeys will say a compromise is won by them.

If our people still cannot see this traitorous tragic betrayal performed before their eyes, they do not deserve a unitary, sovereign, independent, self-respecting state called Sri Lanka.

 

 

Fr J.C. PIERIS

Galle

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