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



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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The Wickremesinghe Presidency Response to Dr Mahim Mendis



By Anura Gunasekera

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common; it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership- J.K. Galbraith.Dr. M.M., through an inexplicable thought process, has seen it fit to classify my writing as – quote- “…. A reflection of a segment of the English-speaking middle class of Sri Lanka, confused and burdened by the state of flux, or the terrible uncertainty that engulfs the nation at large. They often confine their criticism to private gatherings, while a few others express themselves through newspaper columns with hard-hearted sentiments against politicians like Premadasa, whom they love to undermine”- end quote

Firstly, my viewpoints on national issues have been exposed in the public domain, through newspaper articles, fairly frequently across the last couple of decades. I cannot quite understand what he means when he says, “members if this social class, going by the contents of Mr. Gunasekera’s column, never believed in ousting Rajapaksas or Wickremesinghe, as they easily embrace the status quo”. To clarify, I have been a steadfast critic of the odious status quo that successive Rajapaksa regimes have represented since the day Mahinda Rajapaksa was first elected President, and I maintain that position to this day. I can also state with total confidence that I represent the viewpoint of a large mass of people, not all of them part of the so-called “English-speaking middle class”. If Dr. MM is in any doubt about my credentials, I suggest that he check out the blog, ‘Rilawala Reflections’, or my medium account – if he can find the time and the inclination.

I do not “resent” (Dr MM’s word) the militant outlook of the university student federations and the other participants of the Aragalaya. It is not possible to confront repression without militancy and steadfastness. But my concern, as an average, law-abiding citizen, was the descent of justifiable civil protest in to violence, particularly after the 9th May. Violence is frequently an outcome of civil protest, the world over, and Sri Lanka was no exception. The occupation of Temple Trees, the President’s house, the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s office were unnecessary, and the physical damage caused within those premises, unacceptable. The countrywide damage and destruction of private property was criminal and the murder of two men in Nittambuwa abhorrent, as was the torching of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s house. As far as I am aware, none of the leaders of the Aragalaya, insofar as it has a defined leadership, has publicly condemned those incidents.

Irrespective of the righteousness of the original purpose of the Aragalaya, which I endorse without reservation, those responsible must be made accountable for those crimes. To endorse the Aragalaya unequivocally is to endorse all those unacceptable acts. Dr. MM perceives this position differently. Quote- “Anura Gunasekera has taken the typical position often repeated by the English-speaking elites …”- end quote. The call for law and order is common amongst all right-thinking people and certainly not confined to “elite” groups. If Dr. MM wishes to explore the evolution of my views on the Aragalaya and connected events, I suggest that he reads my articles in The Sunday Island editions of April 11, April 17, April 25, May 15, June 05 and July 17. It is not necessary for me to go in to detail in this writing.

As for the “fatherly advice to these militant youth”, (Dr. MM’s words) let me illustrate my position with a detailed, real-life episode.

In or around 1992, R. Paskaralingam, Secretary of Finance in the R.Premadasa regime, summoned all private company corporate heads and directors, seeking from them a solution to the issue of unemployed graduates. He requested the assembled corporates to provide suitable in-house training, without remuneration, for a minimum period of six months, to make those graduates—in his own words—”employable”. However, Ken Balendra, then Chairman of John Keells, insisted that all trainees be paid and in order to maintain uniformity, it was agreed that each trainee would be paid an allowance of 3,000 per month. Paskaralingam’s ministry supplied around 6,000 names of unemployed graduates to the private companies represented at the meeting. I was present at the first meeting as well as all the meetings which followed.

At the final meeting, six months later, the late Lyn Fernando of the apparel sector submitted the graduate training programme details to Paskaralingam. Of over 4,000 graduates given training appointments, fewer than 10% completed the training programme. On behalf of my company, of which I was then the Head of Human Resources, I interviewed over two dozen candidates and did not employ any, as none of them were prepared to report for training on a Saturday. Exchanging notes then with many of my contemporaries in the private sector, I found that my experience was mirrored right across the sector. The project was a failure entirely due to the reluctance of the greater majority of unemployed graduates, despite being provided with employment opportunity, to conform to the diligence expected by the private sector. Hence, my ‘fatherly advice” to unemployed graduates.

In the last five decades, till retirement in 2020, I have been directly associated, in every organization that I worked in, with Human Resource Management. During this period, I have interviewed thousands of candidates. Therefore, I am fully aware of the issues regarding educational standards, especially in outstation areas, and the difficulties faced by graduates seeking employment. Contrary to Dr MM’s assumption, I speak with reasonable awareness and knowledge of the relevant issues, especially from the perspective of an employer. My knowledge is derived from direct interaction with every level of employment, from manual workers to senior corporate managers.

My criticism of Sajith Premadasa is not an attempt to undermine him. I have no party affiliations but I have voted at every election since 1977, casting my ballot on the basis of strongly held views on major national issues. I voted for Premadasa at the last presidential election as I considered a Gotabaya presidency abhorrent, for reasons I have explained in detail in other writings which pre-date the Yahapalanaya regime. In this instance, promoting Dullas as opposition to RW was, to me, and to many other people who expected greater things of Premadasa, a great disappointment for a number of reasons.

The rationale behind the promotion of the Dullas candidacy was probably the result of a think-tank deliberation, which, judging by Dr MM’s observations, he himself may have been privy to. Given the content of my article at issue, even without reference to any of my previous writings, it is quite absurd of Dr MM to pose the question, “Is Anura Gunasekera an appeaser of the Ranil-Rajapaksa regime to have a serious grouse with Sajith Premadasa for not accepting the Prime-Ministerial post under Gotabaya?” Frankly, that proposition does not merit debate.

Dullas A has been a Rajapaksa loyalist, which means a Rajapaksa lackey, for over two decades. He was the regular spokesman for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the most incompetent leader this country has ever had. Until he suddenly developed a conscience and defected from the Rajapaksa ranks- though only when the writing on the wall was clear to all- Dullas endorsed the Gotabaya inspired tax concessions, the money-printing, the organic fertilizer fiat, the sugar scam, the ban on agrochemicals and the 20th Amendment.

In the above context, within a few short weeks after switching a decades- long loyalty, what makes him a better candidate for the presidency than Premadasa? The nation was confronted by the most crucial leadership vacuum since independence and, in my view, Dullas was not a choice. In his writing, Dr MM has detailed many of the issues Premadasa has been involved in, and the initiatives he has launched, as an Opposition leader. But that is exactly what an Opposition leader is expected to do. Weighted speeches and impressive rhetoric in parliament and at other forums are, at best, poor substitutes for concrete action at opportune moments. The ground reality, as far as I am concerned, is that he has faltered twice when confronted with the final hurdle. Ordinary citizens like me are not privy to what goes on in the minds of our leaders. We only see the results and, obviously, weigh those against our expectations and arrive at our conclusions. Sajith cannot expect to win by lying low, limiting his profile and interminably biding his time. In the words of another great crisis manager, “The nation will find it very hard to look up to leaders, who are keeping their ears to the ground.” ( Winston Churchill)

Dr MM’s writing suggests a preoccupation with the segment of our society which he labels as the “English-speaking middle class” and, in a sweeping generalisation, attributes to this group all manner of socio-political and ideological inadequacies. There is also a confusing reference, seemingly irrelevant to the context, “to those who have proved that they have not read any decent books in their own libraries.” As for me, although I now habitually write in English, I am quite fluent in Sinhala and reasonably so in Tamil. I also, calculatedly, seek the views of all linguistic groups in the country and many of my views are informed by such discussions.

I understand Dr. MM’s compulsion to reinforce his leader’s position and I respect his views, whilst holding firmly to mine. As for Sajith Premadasa, I pray, on behalf of a nation desperately in need of a viable leadership option in troubled times, that before long he is presented with that perfect opportunity he is awaiting. If it comes to a people’s ballot Sajith is assured of mine.

Dr MM has concluded his writing with a quotation on the “significance of compromise in politics,” attributed to Kevin Spacey, American actor and film producer, currently embroiled in a major sexual misconduct controversy. Let me conclude mine with a quote, attributed to another American, celebrated for genuine greatness; “Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”- Abraham Lincoln.

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The Chinese Ship; enough is enough of protest marches



The most pressing occurrence of now is the arrival of the Chinese ship Yuan Wang 5 with sophisticated scientific/astronomical/electronic equipment, which is said to be able to study satellites spinning around in outer space. What is not said is its other capabilities like monitoring electronic communication, etc. It was to arrive on 11th and depart on 17th this month.

Hence India’s howls of protest about its docking in the Hambantota Harbour. Sri Lanka placated it with the sop of postponing the arrival. There is a world of difference between postponement and cancellation/dis-allowing. Even a Grade 5 student should know that. Not our big bugs in the Foreign Ministry. In the first place, did the Ministers of Shipping and Defense grant permission for the ship to enter our waters and the harbour down South or did China not bother to seek permission having a 99 year lease over the harbour? Debt-trap tactics. The ship’s claim for docking is merely to ‘replenish and refuel’. Surely, such a high-tech sailing lab would want to do more. Thus, India’s justified concern, which is “the possibility of the ship’s tracking systems attempting to snoop on Indian installations while being on its way” and over here for seven whole days.

Neighbour or Friend

The last thing poor, bankrupt, battered and shattered Pearl of the Indian Ocean needs is a international scuffle in its waters or over its head. Experts from various fields have spoken about this; written about it and novice Cassandra cannot analyse the problem nor deal with it expertly. But she has a very definite opinion or two as to who or which country Sri Lanka should be more loyal to. Her answer is: Who do you feel more loyal and obliged to – your friendly neighbour or your friend? We are on the doorstep of India and she is our Big Brother – or Big Sister – no two words about that. We are closely linked to her racially: Aryan and Dravidian descent; culturally with close relations forged from long long ago; we were given the teachings of the greatest Asian who lived and preached in India. And during our recent troubles, the worst crisis Sri Lanka has faced, India was the one country who came fast and substantially to our aid and actually saved us from anarchy when fuel ran dry, paralysing the country.

China is rather disapproved of by the likes of Cassandra since that great country, in its drive for its Belt and Road Initiative, acceded to our Prez of then, MR, consumed with egotistic hubris and accommodated his grandiose Oxymandias non-productive buildings getting us into colossal debt. China of decades ago with Chou en Lai, Deputy Head, helped us very much: first with the Rubber-Rice Pact (1952) and thereafter fostering close relations and supporting us in international forums; also gifting us a magnificent conference hall – the BMICH.

Of course, it will require absolute tact and finesse to balance the two almost super powers and also very cleverly but subtly, consider first and last Sri Lanka’s interests and welfare. Cass feels that our Minister of Foreign Affairs – Ali Sabry – is equal to the mighty task of maintaining balance and exertion of Sri Lanka’s rights too. No better person really in appearance, tongue, manners and keen reasoning intellect.

Enough is more than enough!

Cassandra refers here to the protests – marching or standing, but all shouting, nay blasting forth slogans, the women shrilly. Most look rather wild, individually and collectively. Now, protests are past their date; passé, boring, and actually to be looked askance at, if not disdainfully. What are they shouting about? ‘Pointless to shout ‘Go Home Ranil’, though some called him by his second given surname. He should, for goodness sake, not live up to that name. Friendship and back-scratching have their place but not in Sri Lanka of now, so perilously poised. Additionally, absurd and most unrealistic to call for an instant general election and Cass supposes THE Prez election too since a new constitution has not come into force with no Exec Prez for this country. There they were, the men hairy and angry faced. Much energy, much steam wasted along with the day – 9 August. None want a commemoration on the 9th of each month; May 9 was bad enough and the two following with all the destruction that was caused along with protests.

Cass did not spy the Field Marshall with a ragtag of protesters as he promised. She is sure he will be congratulated by most on his restraint and not breaking ranks with the SJB. We want him to remain the admired and respected foremost war hero.So was this 9th a bit of a pusswedilla? Hope the igniters get the message and drop their country disturbing protests even though HR organisations back them. Utterly pointless and senseless now. Let the government, good or bad, work hard and unhindered by civil disturbances to at least get on the path of economic recovery. Political recovery and punishing of the political mega-corrupt can come later.

Thus, our repeated advice: Stalin and other like leaders, stop parading the streets with conscripted teachers and firebrands who know no better and return to your career if not vocation. (Pedagogy not protest marching and demanding unreasonably.) If you no longer are a teacher, then get teachers who are members of the trade unions you lead to be better teachers – dedicated to their pedagogy; kind and tolerant to their students and considerate to parents.

Damitha Abeyratne, who looked victorious when released from remand on bail, just go back to your acting and film career, that’s if you still have that option. University students go back to lectures, sit and pass your exams and come serve your country in jobs instead of giving vent to your hooliganism pretending nationalistic pride and loyalty.

Trump at receiving end

The FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Largo residence in Florida on Monday August 8 and even prised open a safe from which they got government papers which Trump took with him when he was made to leave the White House after he lost the presidency to Biden. Retrieved were sensitive classified government documents in his possession. Trump accused the FBI of an unannounced search and the Democrats of a witch hunt. But what an outsider feels is if he did wrong he has to pay for it. Trump is actually going to pay for his sins committed as an ego-centric, obstinate president of the US. He is getting his just deserts and after not much long since alleged crimes were committed.

Protesters shout the government should bring back stolen wealth. This shout is justified but not now; later when a firm government is in place with the economy of the country guided to stand on a surer footing.

Belated commendation

The protesters who found a big bundle of cash in the President’s House and handed it over to the police need to be congratulated and patted on their backs since they could so easily have spirited it away and shared the loot. We disapprove of their invading official VIP residences and offices, but this act must be commended. It is in sharp contrast to the grossness of sleeping on beds and diving into the pool at President’s House.

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Sunil, your slip is showing!



It is rarely that veteran JVPer Sunil Handunetti leaves room for criticism. Perhaps, the JVP’S refusal to join the proposed all-party government had to be explained by a senior respected member – Handunetti being the obvious choice.

To an independent observer, he did not fare in a recent interview. Quite innocently, he trotted out a very puerile explanation, which could, perhaps, be applauded by school-going children in the lower grades. The tendency to be jealous, inability to appreciate the good, even in a bad situation, and the unwillingness to give credit where credit is due, coupled with age-old theoretical bug-bears and prejudices , perhaps, provoked him to quote trivialities; such as President Ranil W is on a journey to consolidate his Party and to gain kudos as the saviour of the Nation.

This exposes himself and his JVP as anti-national and narrow-minded in a situation where the country is now at its lowest depths, where everyone is expected to put his or her shoulder to the wheel. It comes ill from a JVPer who has proved himself as a useful and capable politician, and a member of a party that actively and gleefully participated in the notorious FCID outfit, organized by the then PM, Ranil W.

What a world!


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