( December 27, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lankans were relieved and thrilled to get rid of the LTTE in ’09 and had enormous expectations of progress and good governance. The credit of this should obviously go to the Rajapaksa government as well as all those who fought on the battle front.
With 2/3rd's parliamentary majority which may have been achieved by buying over corrupt opposition politicians, still gave total power and suppor to do good to Lanka, but unfortunately this power has been used to get more power, breaking all norms of decent standards and governance.
Every aspect of governance was abysmal. The war and national hero Sarath Fonseka was punished in a dubious manner using all government manipulations in a despicable manner sending him to prison to take a personal vendetta against him.
This occurred while govt. is providing luxuries and protection to the terrorist leader K. Pamanathan
Fourteen charges were brought against the chief justice against all norms of justice to chase her getting universal condemnation across the commonwealth. 1000 page document was read, interpreted, digested and decision given overnight, unheard in legal channels with
forcing mostly uneducated MP’s to sign a blank document. A murderer would have had more rights than our chief justice in defending herself. The executive was bulldozing all, just to achieve simply their objectives. When the government continued to ignore many mega crooks in their ranks, they framed CJ with dubious charges.
But, It is true that the country has improved in some aspects. This was naturally expected with the end of the war and most would have happened under any government.
North East rehabilitation, tourism expansion, road network (despite the enormous cost), walking/recreational areas, beautification of Colombo are welcome tangible developments.
Despite the end of the war which wasted unavoidable billions, the rampant plundering of the country multiplied simply filling the pockets of politicos.
The purpose of governance appeared to make its party ministers and MP's billionaires while the country was bleeding. Oneself cannot easily become a trillionaire without giving his henchmen a chance to become billionaires.
State debt rose to Rs 1 trillion (Rs.1000 Millions). 55 state institutions which had a profit of Rs 32.3 billion in 2005 caused a loss of Rs 107 billion despite over 100 ministerial posts. Total foreign debt which was Rs 3589 billion up to 2009 due to the 30 year war and over 60 years of post independence development was doubled to Rs 6791 billion in mere 3 yrs by 2012.
Mega white elephants just to satisfy the ego of the governing clan was pumped in to Hambantota. Harbour rock blasting Rs 9 billion, TeleCinema park Rs 2 billion, cricket stadium Rs 700 million decimating SL cricket were some of them.
The biggest disaster the Mattala airport cost Rs 39.6 billion and even a fool would have known that it is pure stupidity but no one questioned the judgment of the executive. It recorded a laughable 40 passengers by April ’13 and it is said that the beetle seller was earning more than the airport.
The cost per kilometer of the Outer Circular Highway from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya financed by China is US$ 56 million(Rs.7.3billion) This cost is three times higher than the Kottawa Kaduwela extension of the Southern Highway financed by Japan ,which is Rs.2.4 billion per kilometer.
The cost per kilometer of Extension of the Southern Highway from Mattala to Hambantota will cost Rs.2.14billion, whereas per kilometer cost of the Southern Highway cost only Rs.975millions.
Bid price of A9 road was Rs.140 million per kilometer when the departmental estimate for an A class road was Rs. 20million.
Construction of the Norachchole Coal Power Project was awarded to a well established Chinese contractor at US$280 million in 2005 by the previous regime. Soon after present regime came into power it cancelled the contract and awarded it to another inexperienced Chinese firm at US$520 million-almost double the previous price.
On a dispute between Essential Services Commissioner and Asset Maritime(Pvt) Ltd arbitrator-a retired High Court Judge awarded Rs.600,000 as compensation to the company. A Committee appointed by the President on the intervention of the First Lady awarded Rs.180 million to this company owned by Dhammika Perera and Nishantha Wickramasinghe-latter being a brother of First Lady.
Due to the ill conceived Hedging deal of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation headed by Asantha de Mel ( a person connected to the political establishment) lost Rs. 230 billion in2007.. No one has been held accountable for fr huge loss of public funds.
Due to the mismanagement of Chairman Nishantha wickramasinghe, who is First Lady’s brother, Sri Lankan Airlines has lost around Rs.70 billion.!
Mihin Air managed by Sajin Vaas Gunawardene lost Rs.1.455 billion in 2011 and in2012 the Government invested Rs.3004 billion as capital in this loss-making venture to support a close political ally.
Still no questions asked of this debacle and no one guilty.
Thankfully Lanka was spared at least Rs 500 billion cost of staging the commonwealth games just because presidential family members pushed for it ignoring every basic element of intelligence in staging such event. But, the games bid costing Rs 784 million simply went down the drain, with no inquiry.
President’s expenses for a year are Rs 8.6 billion which is more than the British queen.
President’s pool of vehicles alone cost Rs 5.1 billion while vehicles for ministers cost Rs 6 billion.
Opposition politicians have claimed that Lanka has been plundered Rs 870 billion from 2005-2009 due to corruption.
Jumbo cabinet of over 100 is costing Rs 2.6 billion almost every government ministry and department losing money. The ministers were profiteering also by selling their tax free car permits earning more millions to them. Rs 17 Billion was lost due to oil Hedging fiasco.
President's UN trips which had invitations for only a handful but over 100 of presidential henchmen and for their limousines cost Rs 1.4 billion but interestingly the president says ‘every one should be accountable when spending public money’.
IIFA event costs were Rs 1.4 billion and president's inauguration cost another 1 billion.
Parliamentary COPE itself has reported Rs 300 billion fraud in govt. institutions.
The roads building has directly filled the pockets of all decision makers who continued to take mega loans which the poor of our country will have to pay over centuries.
How come when Kottawa to Galle road cost Rs 900 million/km while Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya was costing a whopping Rs 7500 million/km? Yes, with inflation the costs can go up may be by 5-10% but not over 800%.
Maharagama cancer institute had said they do not have 20 essential medications and Colombo hospitals have said they do not have chemicals to do basic tests.
If half the cost of presidential trip to UN summit could be saved, it would have provided enough money for cancer patients in Lanka for drugs for next 20 years!!!
The question is why not a single inquiry or investigation has not occurred for any of the mega blunders? When the core of the govt. is involved in these entire how can they investigate themselves?
Ex-president Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranayake said the obvious that politics is a mega business and 80% of politicians are simply crooks.
No wonder therefore they ‘invest’ multi millions some going upto 300 million during elections simply to get elected by hook or by crook to ‘serve the poor’ because they know that they could earn 10-100 times more during a short period.
Sadly the voters still continue to vote for crooks who have biggest ‘cut outs’ not knowing that they are the biggest sharks stealing their money!
Law and order of the country is almost non-existent.
It is strongly suspected that white van disappearances were politically motivated as when ordinary citizens caught some of them, they were released on directions of defense ministry. Most high profile murders, robberies, crimes, thuggery are directly connected to government politicians either centrally or in the provincial administration. This gives an indication of the caliber of the current politicians promoted by the government and its leadership.
Even if ever somewhat justice occurred, it is because of foreign pressure as is the case of Tangalle tourist murder rape case lead by a politician. Interestingly most of them are closely connected to the ruling family including Julampitiya Amare who killed 2 JVP supporters.
Rather than protecting the law, even Attorney General’s office dismissed 3 cases against prominent politicians against all norms of procedure.
More than 100 politicos and provincial councilors have been implicated in crimes and more than 50 local government politicians are involved in drug trafficking. This includes 8 ministers, 5 deputy ministers, 5 parliamentarians, 12 provincial councillors, 40 mayors and members of the provincial councilors. The biggest heroin detection was released via the prime minister’s office making mockery of law and order.
The policemen who did their duty by raiding a brothel of a govt. henchman were transferred soon after this as punishment. Another policeman who charged a deputy minister for speeding not only was assaulted but ultimately was forced to leave the police.
The law enforcement who eliminated the LTTE have been unable to catch a single for the murder of 27 journalists including Lasantha Wickrematunge.
This confirms one thing which is, the government is directly responsible –criminals, Judge, Jury are all the same hence ‘unable to find culprits’.
In many instances the influence of politicians on local police means no one is arrested even with well documented assaults on ordinary public.
The futuristic city of Hambantota, the lord mayor is a gun carrying thug, again close to the ruling family. These are their standards the highest in government and no wonder today the biggest criminals are in the government itself. 2/3rd's of Parliament MP’s do not have even Advance Level qualifications while over ½ do not have even basic O/L qualifications. They are not suitable even for laborers jobs but most are ministers running, ruining and plundering the country.
No wonder all govt. departments are running at mega losses. Turning a blind eye to all these is the furthest you would expect from a true statesman.
The president’s scant respect to the law of the land was obvious when a journalist who had a well known arrest warrant was photographed with the president openly.
Internationally, sadly the president is so unpopular and finds it difficult to visit many western countries apart for UN meetings. UN inquiry, commonwealth head of state meetings were absolute disasters due to many bungled issues including dismissal of ex CJ.
The judgment of the president should show the correct direction and correct leadership to the country. If his judgment says that a man who ties another man to a tree in addition to
many despicable acts and incidents should be made the Minister of Public Relations, is it simply right to ask if this sort of a judge could even be suitable to run a mental asylum'
The executive presidency has become a curse of the land with executive powers bulldozing all decent norms of governance to benefit a few and family.
Every aspect of good governance is nonexistent and has been detrimental to the country, when in fact the country was in ideal position to exploit the benefits of peace.
Country needs a decent, responsible, credible and open statesman.
Countries’ laws must not be the law of the jungle, wealth should not be family wealth, power should be with the Parliament and its people.
Judgments should be based on the law of the land and not the law of the few, professionalism of the police should be restored and elections should be on a level playing field, mega corruption should not bleed Lanka and above all Lanka deserves a decent standard of governance.