Recently, I have seen some whinges emanating from the Pearl about the so-called rich countries hoarding large stocks of vaccines and not giving them to the disease-ridden third world. There are two ways of looking at this. Why on earth should the countries, holding large stocks of vaccines; regardless of how they have got hold of them, part with them to countries that due to the lack of foresight, planning and discipline have fallen into a state of utter chaos? Of course, the other side of that argument is that those countries ridden with chaos are such due to the mayhem caused in them and their very social fabric by colonialism and the blatant robbery and destruction caused by it. However, we have had around seven decades to rectify the damage caused by colonialism and they have had seven decades to spend the money they robbed. Who has come off better?
Of course, we all know about the slaughter and destruction that is happening in Palestine and the West Bank of Gaza. Now, the reasons for this latest outbreak and who started it are up for debate. There ALWAYS are two sides to a story and unfortunately in today’s world the more powerful (read as rich) country, usually gets their marketing forces into play earlier with a larger budget and succeeds in establish their perfect credentials and absolute innocence with regard to the perpetration of the outrage. Has Israel gone too far this time? The merciless destruction and even taking on a press building belonging to Al Jazeera the most popular news network in the region may prove too much for that country populated by a race of people who have attracted more than their fair share of hate over the centuries of human habitation. Again, one wonders about the two sides of every story and the rich being able to re-write the history of the world to suit them. After all, one once-powerful country, if it had been able to propagate the Third Reich, would have written the history of the world differently! Remember even the most powerful man in the world was dethroned by the all-powerful fourth estate of America and the world. The attack on Al Jazeera may be the “last straw that broke the donkey’s back”. Maybe, just maybe, even the might of Israel is worried that Al Jazeera may be able to sow some seeds of discord among the implicit believers of the Western world who have been conditioned to think that the “persecuted” Jews are innocent and can do no harm and that then ONLY attack in self-defence! To kill women and children and systematically destroy buildings that are occupied and in use; wasn’t that called terrorism at one stage?
Are the true colours of the human race coming out once again?! If you have money to buy up all available resources and keep them for yourself and may the Devil, take the hindmost. If you can brainwash the majority of the world into thinking that you represent the forces of good against the barbaric, uncivilised rabble that THEY are made up of, destroy them for the greater good of the world. Chilling, real and repeated so many times throughout history. Back to our beloved Pearl, I am told the Asgiriya Theravada Buddhist monastery has asked that their monks be vaccinated on a priority basis, in a country that has run out of vaccines. Now, unless those monks are volunteering to be guinea pigs for the more obscure and untried versions of the vaccine and thereby do a favour to the other inhabitants of the country and establish if they can survive these vaccines, what right do they have, as those who have given up all worldly needs and wants to demand priority? Maybe, they should volunteer to try the different combinations of the vaccine as we seem to have run out of enough of the same kind to give the requisite two doses. This is just another example of how wrong we have got the practice of the Dhamma as preached by the enlightened one. It is Them vs Us even when it comes to those entrusted with spreading knowledge for the betterment of the human race. On that subject, there is some debate as to what should be done to ‘celebrate’, it really should be commemorated, the thrice-blessed day of the Vesak full moon. It is obvious, isn’t it? Practise the Dhamma in its purest form. Stay at home and observe the 10 precepts or at least eight of them and indulge in meditation, use the national TV networks and mass media to bring the only form of the Dhamma that should be practised, (my opinion) into the homes of the majority of the country who profess to be believers. It can do no harm as I can tell with certainty that the majority of the male Buddhist population of the Pearl have never done anything except perfunctorily mutter five of the precepts during obligatory Pirith ceremonies in their households. Furthermore, it will help to propagate the penchant for brainwashing that seems to be a characteristic of the current regime.
In conclusion, I have noted with dismay, that the leader of the main opposition party has recruited, (assuming that he is able to make his own decisions), a self-declared hater of Ranil Wickremesinghe as his foreign affairs advisor! Definitely, a person such as the current leader of the opposition needs advice on foreign affairs, among most other things, but his choice is a clear indication that the values of this so-called breakaway of the UNP have absolutely no semblance to those of the UNP and all it has stood for over the decades. So, for all of you who switched sides politically and also voted for this mob, your justifications which were on thin ice anyway, have now fallen into freezing water!
Unfortunately, it seems that “US”, if it is taken to mean those who stand for good, righteousness, kindness, humility, and clear thinking are a bunch destined for extinction and THEM who destroyed the Dodo, the Sabre-Toothed Tiger, the Mammoth, the Passenger pigeon and most of our planet will prevail, with only Covid-19 and any future such forms of the disease, to try and win the battle of THEM vs US! Rather sad that we (US) have to be compared to a viral disease that is decimating the human race, oh how the values of this world have changed!
MPs can show their colours
I refer to this article, ‘Covid bonanza for….’ by Shamnidra Ferdinando.
It was obvious that the LC could not easily be cancelled. It will be interesting to know when the LC was actually opened; before or after Cabinet approval? The answer will be revealing.
Now that the vehicles will come in, come hell or high water with burning ships, there is a simple solution.
If the government is sincere in its intentions to reverse this totally unnecessary expenditure, which the country cannot afford, scraping the bottom of the vangediya as it is, then the vehicles can be sold in the open market, in a transparent manner and at a profit, too, and the wasted funds reimbursed to the Treasury. Personally, I know this will not happen, seeing what we are helplessly seeing being enacted in the country yesterday, today and alarmingly, tomorrow, too.
The next best option is for those MPs who oppose this criminal waste of public funds, to work out a method by which they can sell the vehicles presented to them by the starving masses, in a transparent manner and utilise the proceeds again in a transparent manner to uplift the lives of the millions of poor citizens in their electorates.
ACabinet given opportunity for Members of Parliament to show their true, even if highly faded and smudged, colours!
Gazette Bill in blatant conflict with Constitution
The Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill had been gazetted on March 24 after Cabinet approval, and placed in the order paper of Parliament on April 9. Normally, before placing a Bill on the order paper of the Parliament, it goes through the levels of the Legal Draftsman, Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, and the Cabinet of Ministers.
According to a news item that appeared in the Daily News, on April 27, the Attorney General has informed the Presidential Secretary that the Port City Economic Commission Draft Bill is not inconsistent with the Constitution. But the same Attorney General has advanced the submissions and amendments in court, during the hearing of 18 petitions filed by members of civil society alleging the Bill is inconsistent with the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has found more than one third of its clauses are conflicting with the Constitution – the supreme law of Sri Lanka. Thus, it has been proved the Gazette Bill was in blatant conflict with the Constitution.
High officials of the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General and the Legal Draftsman who are supposed to have been involved in the drafting of this Bill are professionals of recognized capability. They are committed to follow the best practices of their professions and should adhere to standards in procedural manuals and professional codes of conduct and ethics. They are bound by the oath taken by them in line with the Constitution and the accountability of the offices they hold. They also would have been supported by several legal eagles and experienced politicians in the Cabinet.
Citizens are confused as to how on earth such a Bill, in blatant conflict with the Constitution, could have been approved by the Attorney General and be drafted by the Legal Draftsman. 149 Members of Parliament have voted to amend 26 clauses of 75 clauses of the Legal Draftsman’s Bill. This is tantamount to a No Confidence Motion on the Legal Draftsman.
Probe into expressway construction and floods
The news item appearing in your issue of 10th June, regarding the Expressway Construction and Floods, is of interest to me, as I had handled Road Projects when attached to the then Department of Public Works [PWD] and later the Ministry for Highways.
It’s stated that Minister Johnston Fernando had instructed his Ministry Secretary to investigate immediately, whether there was any truth in the claim that some areas in Gampaha were inundated owing to the construction work, in the first phase of the Central Expressway, from Kadawatha to Mirigama; and continues to say ‘Yahapalana adjustments to the construction master plan may have lead to the present situation’, which could be insinuated as placing the blame on the previous Yahapalana government. This is the usual blame-game adopted by bankrupt politicians. It will not be surprising if the present government will be blamed when a new government is formed, for mismanagement of projects carried out now.
As far as I know, while construction is on, there comes up certain problems, which may necessitate altering or deviating from the original design. Hence the responsibility lies entirely on the Engineer, and not on any politician or government in power. Here the integrity of the Engineer counts. Sad to say, there have been accusations where professionals have given way to political pressure and projects have become failures. I would like to quote Moeller’s theory “One of the major reasons for a country to be subjected to bad governance is when its professionals do not speak out, but worst still, these professionals actually gang up with those committing anarchy for their own benefit. What the professionals do not realize is that in the long term, they too would be subjected to the worst treatment by these despotic dictators whom they were keen to protect. Moeller’s theory being proved time and again consorting with an autocratic regime is a worst act of treason against one’s own country and its people”
To the credit of Minister Johnston Fernando, he also mentions the likelihood of this flooding by saying “We must keep in mind that the highest rainfall in the known history was reported from this area”. Whatever, the findings of the investigations be, the accusation should be taken as fault finding of Engineers, and they should now come forward to protect their prestigious profession and give reasons, which lay, incompetent politicians, do not have the capacity to understand. Hope the Sri Lanka Institute of Engineers will expose the viles of politicians to steer this country in the correct direction. This goes for other professions as well.
G. A. D. SIRIMAL
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