Header Ads

 New website available at www.slguardian.org

Public Administration, Truth & Sovereignty of Sri Lanka

Tamil Administration also deteriorated due to loss of opportunities to maintain our earned status as Strong and Reliable Administrators. Many Tamil Administrators accepted lesser leadership due to their lack of belief that they could realize independence through Public Administration. Thus we became the equal opposition of Sinhalese and failed to maintain the investments made in Public Service, by our ancestors. To my mind, Administrators are fathers and Politicians are mothers.

by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam 

(June 09, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article ‘Administrative bungling costs lives’ by Mr. Milinda Rajasekera.

Mr. Rajasekera concludes by stating ‘It was unfortunate that the government waited until the Katunayake tragic events occurred to realize the shortcomings that sullied the implementation of a pious intention. The government should now practice what it preaches about getting all political parties and sections of people involved in formulating policies and implementing them.’

A good Administrator would have known whether or not a legally approved scheme would be workable. Good Administration would lead to completion of activities within the local boundaries of an entity – in this instance, Public Service of Sri Lanka. Withdrawal of such an alleged ‘pious proposal’ confirms that Public Administration in Sri Lanka is weak. Many senior Tamils would claim that it got weak due to their departure. They would be right to the extent they diligently contributed to the higher level Public Administrative structures that prevailed before the communal war due to which they departed.

As per my observations of my generation Sri Lankans, commitment to hierarchical protocols and positions was greater amongst Tamils & Muslims than amongst other communities. Our cultural customs continue to uphold ways of paying respect to our elders and ancestors. Amongst Tamils this seems more strongly structured than in other cultures. This is one of the reasons why Colonial rulers did not do away with the practice of Thesawalamai in our legal system. The sharing of inherited wealth as per one’s position responsibility especially through marriage, is strongly emphasized in these Customary Laws. Tamil Public Administrators would have naturally carried these strengths into the services they provided.

Recently, someone in Northern Sri Lanka said in defense of the Performance of a Women’s Group – that apart from the office bearers who demonstrated weak knowledge of Public Administration, there was no one else to do what they are currently doing. In other words, if we terminated their services claiming weak performance, we would be in a worse situation. I experienced similar problem with construction work. This obviously is also the case with Public Service in Colombo.

Formulating policies is more easily done than actually practicing them. Many of our current policies – including the Global ones through which UN assesses us – are there merely for theoretical purposes. It’s only when we reconcile them to local Common Processes through which people naturally govern themselves at the local level, that we would derive real values from such policies through grass-root citizens.

Many, if not most of the workers at the Free-Trade Zone, Katunayake are comparable with the workers in the local village areas in Northern Sri Lanka, in terms if their investments in Public Administration. It is highly likely that they would not be able to relate to the pros and cons of the proposed Pension Scheme and are likely to rely on interpretations of their political, social and Union leaders. Had Union leaders taken charge of the discussions, it is highly likely that the tragedy of losing a young life would have been prevented.

The problem with political protests and demonstrations in a democracy is that objectively measurable outcomes are manifested prematurely through majority vote. These outcomes are produced through and/or to show voters at voter level. Each such decision is opportunity cost to Administrative Service.

I highlighted this problem also within LTTE Administration in 2003, through my UNDP Project Report. LTTE also helped ‘show’ Sinhalese voters that Tamils were as capable as the Sinhalese, in manifesting voter level outcomes. Tamil Administration also deteriorated due to loss of opportunities to maintain our earned status as Strong and Reliable Administrators. Many Tamil Administrators accepted lesser leadership due to their lack of belief that they could realize independence through Public Administration. Thus we became the equal opposition of Sinhalese and failed to maintain the investments made in Public Service, by our ancestors. To my mind, Administrators are fathers and Politicians are mothers. Tamil Investments in Administrative Values and Processes are ancestral properties and are the basis of Fundamental Rights – based on belief. That was how we earned our sovereign status as a community. Political investments are on business basis and need to be consciously calculated through common measures equally applicable to all.

As an Australian migrant for example, it was my fundamental right to be facilitated to access a Police officer with Equal listening ability as the one who heard the complaint against me by the Vice Chancellor of the University of NSW. If this were not possible, the Police needed to consciously apply the sections of the legislation under which they ‘thought’ I was ‘guilty’. One who believes need not calculate and one who calculates is confirming absence of belief. Those common measures were merely ‘shown’ and not applied independently by the Police. But because the Judges were as biased – there was no possibility of deriving a just outcome through the courts. Much of this is also due to lack of respect for the hierarchical system with its protocols and Due Processes.

I urged the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam to invest in Common Administration rather than rely mostly on politics and majority power. But I was not heard. Hence we are not able to share real Administrative wisdom with Resident Tamils in Sri Lanka.

I recall for example, that as a trainee, I disciplined myself without voicing opposition against my supervisors. As per my Hindu Tamil culture, I accepted hierarchical authority from my gurus and did not even think of finding fault with their judgments. Today, I am able to comfortably step into their positions. But not so the young Tamil trainees that I currently manage. They lack the vision because in their current environments there are few elders whose positions they could step into. Many of them voice opposition prematurely and thus negate their investments in higher positions. I expect this to have happened within the Sinhalese community long before LTTE. The reason as per my mind, is their power to elect Government which takes motivation away from Common Public Administration and Legal systems operating through merit basis. Why would one put her/himself through a more difficult and less reliable Administrative system when the outcomes could be received more quickly and comfortably through political influence? Political corruption starts with the weak voter.

When we invest genuinely through Common Principles, Values and Processes – we realize independence as a group. When a big chunk of that investment is gone – it is natural that Sri Lankan Public Service would become weaker. No amount of book policies would make it stronger. They may be good to show outsiders but they would not deliver satisfaction to insiders/owners.

Sri Lankan Government relying on majority vote needs to seriously consider using Kandyan Law which majority Sinhalese would relate to more comfortably due to their investments in cultural elders. That’s a natural Separation of Powers due to negligence and disrespect for Common Global Principles and Standards, resulting in serious fall in Global Status – as happened after the 2009 battle during which Sovereignty of Sri Lanka was used to incarcerate Tamil civilians. This was not lawfully possible through Common National Laws but would have been possible only through Kandyan Law based on belief exercised through discretionary powers or no law. Likewise the Katunayake tragedy.

Tell a Friend

No comments

Powered by Blogger.