Monday, May 18, 2015

Remembrance Day or Victory Day

When a war ends and there is a victorious and a defeated party, there is a natural tendency of the Victorious to celebrate this victory, as many died for this result, and it is more of a tribute to them, that the carnage is finally over. The vanquished are in shock!

That said, when one reflects on it once the initial exuberance dies down and one realizes that it was a Civil War where it was one’s own Countrymen ON BOTH sides that perished, it is more apt to remember those who died on both sides, one side one may say were led to their deaths by an ideology that led their followers to believe in their goal of independence that turned out more to be the fantasy of their leader, much like the Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin mold of demagogues, Prabarkaran being hardly any different!

The problem is that there are those in thee TNA who still insist on calling this a Mahaveer or some such week, that glorifies this flawed man, for some kind of need to find succor in his suicidal endeavor that reduced the Tamil population in the areas that he claimed, to less than half of what they were when the movement started. In essence nullifying the whole process. Many left his terror, not that of the Sinhala army!! And it is time this is laid bare.

In reality the war has ended, and not even the Tamil refugees in a far tougher land of India wish to return to Sri Lanka, which says a lot for the perception of Tamil people, of Sri Lanka as refuge for them from hereinafter.

There are more Tamil people in Canada than there are in the Northern Province, negating their homeland issue for a mere 500,000 people! In a land of 20M where more Tamil people live amongst Sinhala, and would not leave those areas for all the tea in China. Time for the Diaspora to come to their senses that there is nothing for them to fight for or complain anymore except feel good that one day they may escape the misery of their adopted lands.

True there is much we can do to ensure that the people living in the North live in dignity, with NO fear, and are provided with basics of life available to all, and that does not mean roads. People still require the basics of life, and security to families led by women, who still have not got over the PTSD they have suffered due to the hostilities.

It is therefore VERY APT that as a mark of reconciliation with the vanquished, and oneness of the Sri Lankan people we all remember this war as one we should never wish to repeat and one we must always work to avoid. In that context it is important that the political parties representing the Tamils also join in this, as otherwise they are shown not to have accepted the Olive Branch offered as reconciliation. They must in that same vein STOP this Genocide Week stories also, and grow up and realize that it takes two to tango into the reconciliatory mode.

Similarly the jokers in the Rajapakse camp that are harping on the need for a Victory Parade should be publicly branded traitors, as being the reason for the lack of reconciliation and division in our society and treated like the lepers they are, for such divisive ideas that only SEPARATE us and NOT UNITE, as being traitors in the progress to a more tolerant and inclusive state where all those who do otherwise are shown up as the cause of separatism!!     

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Now that the elected LG members are out of a job can the Government Servants perform the temporary stand in role without corruption?

A truly mindboggling event has just occurred. I don’t think the sleepy Media has woken up to its significance yet!

In most of the Local Government Bodies, a local Divisional Secretary has been tasked with the job that these elected members did. So who puts up the bulbs in the street corners once they have burnt out! They will manage these local bodies for at least 6 months till elections under the new ward system are held AFTER the General Election.

We know how corrupt many of the Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman were. Bribes were the order of the day to sign any document! A local needed a doc signed for a simple process, like fencing a property, or getting permission to build on his own land, and for that signature there was a price. I trust that with “yahapalanaya” the appointed Govt. Servant who is now a commissioner will perform their duty, without fear or favor or DELAY to ensure that the wheels of commerce work according to the spirit or letter of the law.

As all these local authorities were exclusively dominated by the UPFA, and due to the previous MR regime permitting them to make money, they were loyal to MR almost to a fault. What happens to these Mahinda Loyalists that John Ameratunga, the Police Minister called Podi Horu as the MR Govt. Ministers were referred to as the Loku Horu or “Big Thieves”.

They are extremely dissatisfied with the President for not extending their life to steal, calling the President names along with CBK who have dropped further in their reckoning. It is time we separate the rogues and low life, from the reliable and trustworthy elected officials, and it is time that CBK and MS who now lead the UPFA and SLFP determine who they can trust and let the others go with the MR camp to back whatever party he wishes to form to contest in the next election.

In the end you cannot go wrong if you have people who are good! It is how you judge who they are that is important. In the end good will prevail over evil, and a more reasonable remuneration package has to be set up in future LG elections for elected officials.

Don’t forget that NO elected official has paid ANYTHING for the Motorbikes that were distributed to them, giving them a free Rs200K bribe from MR before the election, as these were supposed to be low interest loans, that have now gone into default. They are therefore ALL deadbeats who should all actually be prosecuted or their Bikes repossessed. Will the Commissioners appointed follow through on this?

This clear example of fraud MUST be exposed so the voters know the caliber of these people especially if they seek election again. This MUST be a black mark that their opponents in the election campaign can use against them, exposing the lack of integrity of these people, so that in order to clear their names they return these bikes or pay for them, whichever is the most practical for each individual. They are all matters for the voters to consider at future elections so we end up with people with MORE integrity than the past.        

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why is there such a fuss over the Wilpattu encroachment?

Minister Badiudeen insists that any constructions that we see outside the perimeter are LEGAL and that he has obtained state license for that building, corroborated by officials.

The basic question is where is the National Park Boundary? Where does other  state land end, what is the buffer zone, what is state land on which licenses can be given, and who has the right to distribute, sell or otherwise determine who is entitled to what and how much land and for what purposes and rationale for their distribution.

Without such basic analysis the mutter press, MUTS I mean seem to relish in making this into a racist event, where Muslims are seen to be settling their people, and the beneficiary is the Minister who is getting the political backhander for this.

There is a law, and I believe at some point, this law has been broken, and I don’t know if state officers have broken the law, taking bribes, and maintaining that the boundaries are different.

In short the Wilpattu Sanctuary is the largest contiguous wildlife zone in the Country, which must be preserved for the future, with no development taking place within, or outside in the buffer zone. There are pressures from all sides to encroach, and I believe an independent authority be established of conservationists who are tasked with policing this, and reporting any violations.

I am convinced that Government officials have given licenses, which they were NOT entitled to give, resulting in the claim that the Minister makes that all constructions are legal and within the law.

We must therefore investigate why and how land was granted, and there will have to be some backdated investigations into who was responsible for giving licenses and on what grounds. It will turn up a huge money trail of bribery implicating senior officials all the way to the top. When this unravels, then a lesson can be made to all that such illegal acts can be reversed and the law must prevail to the letter and spirit of the law.

Why is that basic work NOT being done, and the whole problem is one where the BBS is also gleefully entering it to take maximum political advantage over the misery of people who have been led a dance by unscrupulous politicians and government officials with money at the heart of the problem, and NOT race as it is made out to be today.

I have seen the thousands of acres that have been encroached upon, and the Tri Forces are just as much to blame for cutting down trees and building illegal roads within the sanctuary.

It is timely that the President issued an edict, but that is not sufficient, and we must get to the bottom of why this happened. Is an investigation into firstly demarcation of the zones, secondly the law as it relates to activity outside the National Park, namely buffer and other zones, and then to see if the law has been applied correctly, and if anyone has been settled on what basis that has taken place. As usual outcry will die down, with NO RESOLUTION

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Media culpability – Media reporting of today’s demonstrations outside Parliament!

Following my critique of the media and their misuse of their very real power in a democracy to influence public opinion, there will be another instance this morning outside Parliament as forces for, and possibly forces (paid thugs) stacked against the 19th Amendment are likely to gather, and it is a question of assessing the situation before a senior police officer asks the Court to ban any demonstrations in a specified area like the main road leading up to Parliament or the grounds in front of parliament or some such designated area. 

A quick reminder of how media was grossly manipulated by the previous regime, that only permitted (in addition to the main media it owned or controlled) a certain TYPE OF REPORTING, so that the people were prevented from getting at the truth, or very near the truth, by this suppression.

We witnessed the shenanigans last week where after the desecration of the chamber of Parliament by squatting MPs performing acts that had nothing to do with Parliament (trying to protect a person, whom was NOT an MP and therefore outside of the jurisdiction of Parliament) who then went outside and made a spectacle which was reported extensively, where actually such a puerile spectacle should have been relegated to a minor part in the back pages and NOT as part of the main news.

It is as well to bear in mind present activity that gets reported that should not, and the amount of coverage is the responsibility of the various Editors and sub Editors when they get the pictures and report thereon. Their giving prominence to such activity is based on their assumption of what sells papers, (people’s lust for parliamentary thuggery) and back stage responsible written analysis of the obligation of the very same people to respect the sanctity of Parliament which was wholly absent as to imply it was not of interest to people with blood lust!

Given this background which I brought in to this essay, to illustrate how bloodthirsty the reporters and photographers will be in the morning for a fight, that the Rajapakse loyalist who wish to scupper this historic sitting in Parliament will come JUST TO CREATE A SCENE that the pathetic reporters for reasons above will be waiting to catch with visuals and reportage, hoping these incidents will take center stage when the  proceedings inside, and the debate for and against MUST take center stage, along with live telecast, even if some activity is stage managed by some unscrupulous MPs for their own MOB appeal.

It is with this background in mind, that even though the Prime Minister has encouraged people to come in support of this amendment to demonstrate along the streets in support of the 19th Amendment in terms of restoration of Democracy and Good Governance, the Media will give the publicity to those who oppose such a move, where the voice cuts are for the filth, and the clean demonstrators of loyalists and civil society will get barely a mention.

I am afraid that due to the IDIOCY OF THE MEDIA, the police may have to take the step that the demonstrations, can disrupt the peace and safe passage of people to and from Parliament and restrict both camps, to areas outside this perimeter of conflict. SHAME!  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

How independent is our Media? Individual Journalists are in the pockets of interested parties!

It would be nice if when we read an article or hear or see some news, there was a tag with a journalist which says he is the mouth piece of so and so. In the English print media after a while one would get to know the bent of that journalist, spouting the views of their sponsor, or who only reports in favorable light of and sycophantic words of his sponsor.

Especially in the post 8th Janaury 2015 era, where there is broad license on what is written and there is little if any censorship by the Editors or Owners to prevent anti Govt. bias, it is all the more important that Journalists actually appreciate the new found freedom, and give credit where it is due, to the people, and therefore report in as objective a way as possible.

Due to the historic bias, and the 10 years of MR rule that effectively bought loyalty by shameless familiarity with Journalists, giving them laptops, and interest free loans, these compromising strings show in their writings. As a result there is still more biased reporting on behalf of an administration that has been clearly thrown out by the people, due to the Journalist knowing these rogues personally not being able to change their spots, and see them without the rose tinted glasses they seem to look at them still!

It will take a decade at least to change the Media culture, to return to a level of professionalism that only a few journalists have today. I trust budding journalists who go through their training learn what it takes to be a good reporter, especially an investigative reporter, and learn the inherent bias one comes with, as a result of one’s own experiences, or family background, and therefore being quite aware of one’s own prejudices due to that. If then they try to be objective despite having personal preferences, when reporting and writing for public consumption, they will do their profession a service.

I don’t know how many journalists reading this will understand what I am saying here. That goes to the crux of the matter, as today’s journalists don’t even realize how prejudiced they are towards certain people, let alone ideologies. How pathetic is their writing?

Taking the past Government they did not have an ideology as such, it was an era of Robber Barons akin to the turn of the 20th Century in the US, when they ruled, such as the Rockefellers and Carnegies, so being paid to write positively about crooks, was part of the course, as money was not an object and “arakku botaleta liyana warthakaru” was a dime a dozen. WE MUST CHANGE THIS PATTERN FORTHWITH.

An appeal to Newspaper owners and also those of other media. It is time to explain to your staff the importance of objectivity despite personal prejudices, and implore them that only with such reporting styles, will they improve their product and by that same measure improve the quality of the paper they are reporting for.

It is with some satisfaction that I see the yearning for political news amongst our newspaper reading public that the circulation of the Sinhala Newspapers has gone up so much after 8th January 2015. However this yearning and readership has not been satiated by responsible reporting and therein lies the conundrum.  Time for reflection and responsible reporting. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

225 MPs in Parliament have a historic duty

on April 27th and 28th on behalf of SRI LANKA

Isn’t it ironic that we call upon over 100 of those MPs (over 160 voted for) who voted for the 18th Amendment, to give absolute dictatorial powers to Mahinda Rajapakse on September 8th 2010 to vote to overturn that by the 19th Amendment.

The actual vote on that day was: 161 for 17 against and 46 boycotted!

First we need a list of the 161 who voted for the 18th Amendment so we will never forget and more importantly they will never forget the day they gave one man over the people!

Secondly we need a list of those who will vote against or boycott the 19th on April 28th and we should never forget them either. If there are some in both lists, then we know that democracy is not in their future vision for the Nation and so should be labeled.

The President’s speech to the Nation was more a speech to the 225 MPs reminding them of their duties to reflect the people’s mandate and choice of 8th January 2015 as being their responsibility, and not for (enlightened greed) self-interest for personal gain.

What is the Rajapakse stand on this? Are they in favor or against? We are still not clear, and as we don’t know, then it is safe to assume that they prefer the status quo, where they were able to plunder, without being held accountable at all, as they had the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive all sewn up without the required independence, and the Fourth Estate was hounded into submission by threat and innuendo, unable to speak up for the masses.

Mercifully for the people of Sri Lanka we live in a different world today, and few seem to appreciate how different it is in fact. We must try and explain to our fellow countrymen who are still not convinced, that we are indeed in a different era, post Rajapakse, and Maithripala Sirisena cleverly was able to explain by using the Counter Revolution argument why it was natural that some segment of the population prefers the past, living comfortably in the past, unable to comprehend a brighter and better tomorrow.

It is clear that the Rajapakse family who so shamelessly led the Counter Revolutionaries, fall into the relic of the past bygone practices being unable to comprehend that it too has gone the way of Stalinism!

The populace are now wondering if the thugs, the drug dealers, the wannabes and the illiterates they have sent to Parliament will be able to shed their clothing and put on a new outfit to suit the occasion.

How ironic then that we are dependent on this low life, so that we may herald a period where we send more responsible people who truly wish to serve, just like Sirisena who made the claim as the Servant of the people, at the next election. It will be interesting to see how many of the old guard return and how many new faces, and new hope that may emerge. The problem with familiarity is that it prevents unfamiliar genuine and honest people replacing them. Prospective voters choose your prospective MPs carefully. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Oil – Has Sri Lanka optimized on the Oil Price windfall

that has directly resulted in a positive growth of the GNP and negates any fallout of reduced Construction Projects?

The attached article, is a telling example of the incredibly flexible and efficient US Economy and Technology, that was able to weather the price drop, but nevertheless be able to reduce the industry costs by more than 50% from the cost of production of a Barrel of Shale.

So when the Middle Eastern Countries who hoped that the price drops of over 50% would decimate the Shale business, they were sadly mistaken as the US was able to more than match it by cost reduction out of efficiency and technological improvements.

The consequence of this for long term price stability at lower prices, and its devastating effect on Middle Eastern Economies in the longer term, cannot at the moment be understood by many policy makers. This has consequences for the stability of the Middle East as they will not have sufficient surpluses to subsidize their ever thirsty, fast growing populations.  

If not foreseen, the possibilities of major implosions is more than certain, which will affect the political balance in the Middle East. Those economies that have been able to wean themselves out of oil dependency will most certainly benefit, but others like Nigeria and Venezuela will face an uncertain future as they are dependent on oil to run their economies.

Even Saudi Arabia with an increasing population will face pressure to abolish the monarchy or at least significant part of the largesse paid to the huge Royal Family of more than 4000.

We presume that by this time, Sri Lanka would have changed its human export structurally to essential and skilled jobs in these countries, that the local populations will not have the skills to replace, and thereby be cushioned from the impact.

The flip side for Sri Lanka’s energy security will be the cost of extraction of Oil and Gas from our own offshore fields, which will not become a priority in the future, and we should turn more to cleaning up the environment, and the use of renewable energy, and making our energy use more efficient, and reducing energy wastage both by more fuel efficient vehicles and our industrial and home energy consumption patterns.

The renaissance of the US economy will be at hand as the world’s largest producer and consumer of cheap energy, and it should be consequent upon Sri Lanka being ready to cash in on those opportunities presented without leaning to the China orbit for help and trade.

The Chinese economy will face greater pressures on cleaning up the mess they have created in their environment and the aging population, and health consequences of industrialization and non-communicable diseases spiraling out of control. If we predict we will benefit! That should be the slogan. We must look into what if scenarios and be prepared for all outcomes.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The President is duty bound to do everything within his power to ensure that the Rule of Law prevails.

The simple reason that the majority voted for Maithripala Sirisena, was that he promised a return to a period of the Rule of Law. PURE AND SIMPLE.

Why was that? The Majority in the Country were convinced that the Law was NOT being enforced fairly, and they looked forward to a period when we could have recourse to the Law to find relief in law for any grievance that we may have be it Civil or Criminal.

There are many with very short memories, who seem to forget that the Law had become an Ass and we were desperate to change the status quo, and did not know how. Mercifully there was a window of opportunity, called a Presidential Election, and there was a platform of hope, which people took advantage of, and were able to change the status quo, to return to a period of “All are equal under the law” from a period when there were many above the law!

I would challenge any sycophant to say there were NO favorites outside the law under the previous administration. Don’t we remember the days when elected officials were protected by the Govt. from prosecution, and the Police became villains if they so attempted to prosecute, and faced dismissal or transfer to Siberia if they wanted to enforce the Law!

I hope RAJAPAKSE loyalists do not engage in selective amnesia about this period. Despite the minor hiccups, which due to the freedom given to an irresponsible media, sound like major ones, there is an overall sense of progress to a BETTER form of Government. We must value this freedom, and not pooh pooh the great strides we have made in such a short while. The fact that the 100 day program has not kept to time is NOT altogether the fault of the Govt. it is also due to the irascibility of those opposed being highlighted in the press and media, due to their loud and boorish behavior.

We expect a statement of Statesmanship from the President at 9pm tonight, highlighting his commitment to enforcing the rule of law, and that no one is outside the law. He must reiterate to the people that they must get used to State Institutions functioning independently of the Govt. and that people do not have a right to question the fundamental rights enshrined in the present Constitution, except in a Court of Law.

He must remind the people that he was elected on this promise, and that steps that have been taken are in keeping with that promise, no matter what misinformation the members of the previous regime opposed to a change in status quo may try to imply.

There are even people of the previous Govt. who go around saying that the present period is a reversal of progress, when it is anything but, and due to the complete absence of criticism of the previous 10 years people were blissfully unaware of the daily misdeeds of that Government which are only gradually coming to light, and will take a little while for the law to take its course, and the true extent of the crimes reaches the people.

The great strides taken in these 100 days must not be overlooked, as people are comparing with the 10 years of (blind to the people ) misrule, it is a daunting challenge to change the mindset of the people.

Let us not forget human nature when accused of crime is to first deny, and then finger point at the accusers. Therefore don't be fooled by statements that hold NO value in truth, from accused.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

These no confidence motions

from a whole Government on whom we had no confidence and therefore effectively threw out is simply stalling tactics that must be rejected as wasteful

Bandula Gunewardena who did much to ruin the state of the Education sector as the previous regime’s Education Minister, is now trying to get people to bring a no confidence motion against the current Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on very spurious grounds.

Granted a call to raise the limit on bonds that could be purchased or issued, was rejected by parliament, when in Bandula’s own Govt. these were done without any parliamentary approval.

Then the CB Governors being asked to resign demo was dotted with people who made money from the Perpetual Treasuries, and Perpetual Capital Share transactions kickbacks and they have the nerve to demonstrate against the same person who gave them so many millions in chump change.

Actually the Media focus is on people who have been guilty of numerous frauds in the MR Government, trying to cover up their tracks by accusing existing regime people of a few minor transgressions that is if they are proved!

In the area of transgressions, the scale of fraud under the previous regime pales in comparison to that of this regime. It is therefore ironic that while the authorities are taking their time in finding the evidence of these major crimes under the MR rule, the same weight is given by the media for crimes of this regime.

The attached article is a very succinct analysis of why people really ought to stand back and try to understand that we cannot judge the two with the same yardstick as the conditions prevailing are quite different and the scale of crime incomparable.

This article clearly explains how each of the two regimes must be judged. The Bus driver analogy would be further taken by me into one of the Pied Piper taking a bunch of impressionable fools behind him to drown, as they are following him blind, to that of the Orchestra Conductor who is fallible, but where the music nevertheless is bearable and consistent of the tune that is being played.

His attempt at portraying Mahinda Rajapakse as somehow charismatic, boggles the mind, but I am sure to some he is that! What would we think of that? I was so shocked that I tried to find out why, and then came across the link that shows that our IQ is miserably low when compared with similar countries and that explains the idiotic approach of our people! I am really quite distressed at that analysis as I always maintained that our people were intelligent, and now this shows that was a little too far-fetched! Why?              

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where is the Media – in explaining the futility of the opposition Parliamentarians’ protest on a day that is historic for ensuring a democratic future for this Country?

The Fourth Estate after January 8th 2015 is a disgrace. They have not risen to the occasion and endorsed the will of the people for checks and balances and the end to unadulterated corruption. The most forceful and demanded promise was that the 19th Amendment would be passed in Parliament as soon as practical. When there is a bunch of hooligans, drinking and making the parliament floor look worse than the floor of a place where the drunkards gather in the evening for a bit of revelry, seeing inebriated bodies lying around, and no one having the gall to comment unfavorably on treating this august place like an after party junkyard, what more can one say of this profession in Sri Lanka today.

It is time the media take stock, and understand their responsibility in such a historic period of our Country. They seem to have joined in this inebriation, rather than have the knowledge and the nerve to report what they see objectively criticizing the depths to which these brigands have sunk their legislature to.

It is important that the Sinhala Meida, more than the English speaking media, get a grip on their true responsibility to the hapless public they MUST reach out to. Further the TV in the form of Rupavahini and ITN DO NOT HAVE even one journalist of stature who is able to explain fairly what the law is, and how reasonable or unreasonable some of the steps taken by our elected representatives are in this tragicomedy.

We have waited 10 years for this event, of reducing some of the powers of the President and the restoration of the checks and balances to ensure Good Governance and a fair balance with the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, and it seems that the Parliamentarians opposed to this just don’t get it. Sadly we have elected these Morons and have only ourselves to blame.

Actually a more responsible journalistic tradition, such as that in India, would have taken the lead role in influencing public opinion, which in turn would ensure the legislatures heed their word, and NOT resort to antics that are puerile and seen as puerile by a more discerning public, educated in the art of analytical news, not in the art of slavish belief of what they see and read, and reported as seen and as not as it SHOULD BE seen.

When history comes to be written, let it not be me who has to write the role played by the Sri Lankan Journalists, in their acts of Omission in removing the best chance this Country has had in recent history of returning to the fold of civilized politics, and government, where the citizen’s rights are paramount and NOT those of the few who choose to trick an electorate into being elected and then pursue an agenda far from the best interests of their countrymen, and ONLY in their personal interests.

The objective of this blog is to safeguard the inalienable rights of the people, and to protect them as much as is possible from the actions of the few, that wish to return this Country to a state of a waste land, after bleeding it, and milking it dry.

All journalists, especially those communicating in the Sinhala medium it all YOURS!