So, after a lengthy explanation, let me come back to the title of this essay. “Does Sri Lanka Really Need a Federal Solution?” A big NO, is my one and only answer and I won’t change this for any reason. Why? … Continue reading
Ms Indira Gandhi’s assassination should have reduced the calamities in Sri Lanka if a smart and visionary leader succeeded her. Unfortunately, it was her own son, Rajiv Gandhi who had nothing but the being the son of the slain Ms Gandhi and … Continue reading
Ms. Indira Gandhi used its southern powerhouse (Tamil Nadu) lead by M. G. Ramachandran (MGR) an actor-turned stupid politician who did not know much about politics than being the emblematic knife-wielding movie hero he was cracked up to be on the silver … Continue reading
In fact, the 3-decade-long rancorous war was never Tamils’ war or Sri Lanka’s war. It was by no doubt India’s war. The hitherto peaceful, studious, hardworking Tamil boys and girls were dragged into a bloody terrorist war by India the former’s … Continue reading
I know a lot of atrocities must have happened during the war, especially towards the last few days of the war. There could have been killing civilians, raping women, robbing valuables from fleeing civilians, etc. During the ancient wars, this … Continue reading
I never expected this futile war to end during my lifetime or during that of my son’s for that matter. But, thanks to the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and the brave armed forces, the police force, the Civil Security Force and the … Continue reading
I am not trying to explain how the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka happened and the different perspectives to its root causes. I am only going to talk only about how I perceive it. I was born in 1972 in … Continue reading
The infamous 13th amendment was forced upon both the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE terrorist outfit by India for a problem that would have been solved between the government and the terrorists. The said amendment was a solution that had no sensible approach at all. Both the government and the LTTE equally opposed it and the then president late Mr. J. R. Jayawardene had to sign it as he was forced to do so by going against his own cabinet and the rest of Sri Lanka. This is the high time that a totally new constitution is introduced by taking the issues in the immediate past and the foreseeable future are addressed. This has to be done with the participation of all ethnic groups to make everybody feels they are part of one Sri Lanka. Each different ethnic group would have to sacrifice some of the long enjoyed privileges and come to a compromise.
There are three leaders the new President can learn from. Rwandan President Mr. Paul Kagame who made Rwanda the “Switzerland of Africa,” Pakistani Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan who tries his best to fight corruption, end the terrorist issue of the Taliban, and the Philippines President Mr. Rodrigo Duterte who fights the drug war, underworld activities, jihadist terrorism and corruption. All these leaders are far from saints. Well, no one in politics is. Most charismatic leaders who changed the fates of the countries had many a skeleton in their closets. Obviously our own President cannot be an exception. So, we have to live with it to see a REAL change.
However, Mr. President’s main challenge would be to keep Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister and his notorious three sons who are popularly known by the citizens as “Three Idiots,” at bay throughout the President’s office. Mahinda Rajapaksa has done his share of duty to the country by finishing the terrorism that no one expected to happen before 2009 and then improving infrastructure (even amidst massive corruption allegations) and the best thing he should do is to help the present President with his political experience and help groom a new leadership to take the country forward. Mahinda can become a senior adviser than in active politics anymore. It would make more sense if he becomes such one without accepting a remuneration and any other privileges that he is entitled to as an ex-president. (But this would be the last thing one could expect from him though.)
I know very well that many will criticize my stance about the new President here. At the moment, I have seen his positive moves. If he disappoints me and the rest of the country, it is our bad luck. So, for the moment, we will just wait and see. If the things go wrong, you would know it well because I won’t be able to write this monthly review about him anymore. You know what I mean. 🙂
Even though the president earned a lot of appreciation by appointing a smaller interim cabinet soon after taking oath, within a few days he lost the very admiration by appointing a large number of state ministers, obviously the almost the whole lot of rogues. I understand that it is very difficult to keep the MPs happy but they should understand that the new era has dawned and they have to support the changes the president aspires for.
Reopening some of the buried legal and corruption cases look like witch-hunting prima facie but if they do so, both the present and the past governments’ misdeeds should be taken with equal treatment. But I have no hopes in this.
The most unfortunate Swiss embassy employee’s drama has happened and I personally don’t think the government would be involved in such a stupid activity within the first month of the new president’s rule. But, this has to be delicately handled as there are hyenas who are eagerly waiting to see till blood spills in the politicalsphere in Sri Lanka again.
There is much talk about abolishing or amending the 19th amendment. We all agree that the amendment in question was done by the Sirisena-UNP coalition with political motives, but good things like limiting a president’s term to 5 years and maximum 2 terms are fair by every measure. If a leader cannot develop a country up to a decent level within 10 years, it is ridiculous to let such a leader to take another term or to do it.
I am not an economist so we will have to wait and see how the recent tax reductions could help the economy in the long run. This is a gamble the new president is indulging in and the gamble should have a meaning beyond the forthcoming general and provincial council elections. But like everyone else, I too smell a rat here as Sri Lanka does not have a stable economy to tolerate such huge tax cuts and reductions at a time like this.
Another good thing that has happened is that the horrific underworld activities have been reduced remarkably since the new President’s ascend to power. He is known as a ruthless executioner when it comes to underworld crimes and let’s wait and see the present reduction of the underworld activities are continued. The same can be said about the drug mafia too. Sri Lanka has become a big drug distribution center if not a cartel. One cannot imagine the mammoth amounts of narcotics hauls sporadically nabbed by the law authorities. Looks like the import if drugs might well surpass the import of wheat flour if the former drug mafia is not subdued at the earliest.
Doing away with sand and soil transportation licenses has come under heavy criticism and this has to be revisited before it is too late. The same could be said about rice and vegetable mafia that deny the farmer or the consumer the benefits but allow some greedy middlemen disguised as “traders” in so-called economic centers to profiteer.
The UNP-led Sirisena government failed big time in every step it took except for some timely reforms in education with the then Minister of Education Akila Kariyawasam having been able to introduce largely pertaining to changes in new subject areas for Advanced Level streams. He wasn’t scared of those strong teacher unions and had the stomach to take the bull by horns. Apart from that, I could not see any other major contributions from that failed coalition for the country to do the justice for the citizens who voted them in. This is exactly why they lost the presidential election with such a heavy defeat. But the president should not undo the good changes they did such as forming police, election and judiciary commissions, etc., at least to ensure partial transparency and good governance. If there are any flaws in those commissions, those should be rectified but the last thing the present government should do is to abolish or weaken them.