| Following statement Issued by the United National Party
( August 17, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lankan ancients used to have a wish for this land; "devo vassatu kalena.. raja bhavatu dhammiko": may there be rain in due season..and may the king be righteous."
Our ancestors attributed the timely rains and bountiful harvest to the righteousness of their ruler. In the 21st Century, it is not apt perhaps to blame the current political rulers for the failure of the rains in 14 districts of the island.
But this much is a fact. Over a million Sri Lankans are suffering, rains are failing and the rulers are so corrupt, their minds are far away from the terrible plight of the people.
It is therefore a time when we have to make the same desperate plea as our forefathers: for rain, for prosperity and for our leaders to care.
It is indeed a sad state of affairs that while millions of tax rupees are spent by the Rajapaksa administration on extravagant events that over a million people are fighting a battle to obtain their daily drinking water. According to reports 1.15 million people in 14 districts are today severely affected by the drought. Their crops have failed and livelihoods ruined. What has the ruling regime done for these people? What has been the reaction of the President who calls himself the “father of the nation” to relieve the suffering of his children?. It pains us to see that even small children are made to walk miles, missing school to collect a meager ration of water.
The government says that it has allocated 37 bowers to provide water for these 1 million people and kept aside Rs 1.9 billion or less than Rs. 2000 per person for relief.
Compare this with the tax relief provided for the luxury vehicles which were imported for the Colombo Night Races to the value of Rs. 200 million in lost revenue. The money spent by the President's children on their racing craze is phenomenal. It was reported that just the sand bags used for these races alone the Government spent Rs. 40 million. Also compare this with the colossal losses made by Mihin Lanka, the airline maintained for the sole purpose of fulfilling an egocentric desire of the President. According to the recently published COPE report the airline made a loss of Rs 6 billion in the last two years alone.
Despite this scant lack of concern for our fellow citizens the ruling regime and its cohorts merrily party on. In Colombo the Ministers and their families are utilizing bowsers to fill their residential swimming pools. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is on record telling a foreign newspaper that he gets down water browsers to fill giant shark tanks maintained by his wife.
There is another ancient belief among our people that the annual Kandy Perehera brings rain and prosperity to the country. The peoples' belief in this rain giving sacred relic, is yet another reason for its veneration by Sri Lankans. Yet even this holy of holy cities and the temple of the tooth relic was recently desecrated by the Rajapaksa offspring when they took their night race craze to Kandy. Ignoring the protest of even the Mahanayakes of the Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters the organizers not only callously went ahead with the event but brought in skimpily dressed foreign dancers to perform in front of the sacred temple of the tooth to please the warped desires of a few.
The time has come to ask the self-proclaimed 'father of the nation' a few pertinent questions. Perhaps before he attempts to adopt and nurture all Sri Lanka's people, he can begin the process of discipline and order in his own home. Among his own family.
Given the precipice to which the Rajapaksa regime is taking this once blessed country, gives us pause, makes us wonder if our ancient people got it right all those years ago. Could it be that when rulers are corrupt, impious and brutal that the entire country will have to pay the price? All of Sri Lanka suffers today to serve the whims and extravagances of a single ruling clan. It is time to make the appeal of our forefathers" May there be a righteous leader, may the rains fall on time and may there be prosperity for all.