STORY OF THREE GOVERNORS

8 July 2016 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Former Governors of the Central Bank – Mahendran and Cabraal– must be found guilty or innocent after a fair trial –without leaving the issue in doubt for too long. Yet it has to be proved in court. Till then they must be deemed innocent. It is a matter of public funds. Need is to try the big fish –not just catch the small fry-if public money is trifled with.So be it.  


Mahinda Rajapaksa looked the other way and kept Nivard Cabraal in office when questions were asked while Ranil Wickremasinghe played with the same intent to keep Mahendran in place with his bewilderingly queer observations.  


No horse deals please between Wickremasinghe’s UNP or Rajapaksa’s SLFP. No letting both loose by prior arrangement: on one for you and one for me.That could well be the final result of this fiasco.Instead keep to the law.  
Doing nothing or doing little– helps the wrongdoers- much is forgotten with time. What did Wickremasinghe or Rajapaksa do when the media screamed their heads off on the former Governors’ conduct in dubious transactions? Played the role of a Mr. Do-Little. There is a lack of confidence in them for failing to take necessary action at the appropriate time.   


With Indrajit Coomaraswamy at the helm of banking, the country sleeps well. An SLFP President did his best for UNP’s honest. They didn’t have to wipe egg off face, as it did not strike their face in a full blast. Decision came too late and too close for comfort.  


Coomaraswamy was not found wanting by any authority or court of his nexus to Raj Rajaratnam’s financial affairs. There is nothing against the present governor but sure he should be more selective of the company he keeps in the future.Be cautious: be sensible: of your friends than of your enemies. Indeed it is a sacrifice to accept public office, today, if you are comfortable.  


Action of the President recognised the power of the helmsman-the role of the Executive President after the 19th Amendment. He could banish an errant Governor and ground a Prime Minister, if he desires.  
Coomaraswamy does not need the job of a Governor of the Central Bank. Probably he accepted it to avert a crisis in the national interest: he did come out of retirement. He need not regret, provided he keeps politicians at bay and keeps those close to his predecessors on a strict watch list. This is a victory for meritocracy; it must be kept clean on the slate to gain more ground.  


Years of a SLFP upbringing in the President showed an ear better earthed to the ground, unlike UNP’s lip balm, way up in the clouds. It also showed - who is Lokka? – A result on which the nation can feel a shade smug knowing it is the President.  


Needs rejuvenating an office the holder wants to make defunct, to fall in line with the promises, made at election time. Politicians abandon promises at the drop of a hat- deserves to retain the office amidst a stand full of hats.  
Indrajit Coomaraswamy taught team spirit to Sri Lankan rugby with distinction and without division; carried no stains while at the Central Bank for spells longer than his controversial predecessors. He must be given time to remake the institution to regain the reputation it had before the political appointees got into the act.   


Where does the Constitutional Council stand as it is expected to screen candidates to high office? Though the losses are mind boggling in the script of the Auditor General’s report - office is deemed minimal that it does not warrant the criteria for those great minds to consider. It is outside their jurisdiction notwithstanding the 19th amendment.  


How did the Election Commissioners or Commissioner General of Elections permit Fonseka be a nominated asa parliamentarian and made a Minister when the constitutional provisions does not permit a political party to select a defeated candidates from another party list. All kept mum and the matter is forgotten. Will the twins Cabraal and Mahendran be a part of a forgotten history?  


In practice 17th, 18th and 19th Amendments are much worse than the original 1978 constitution where MPs could not cross the floor from party to party? Ronnie de Mel - a great Finance Minister - sought by many, always did it on an eve of an election to save his membership to Parliament. Some like Neville Fernando and Gamini Dissanayake quit parties on principle and lost their membership on a ruling by the Supreme Court in the height of its glory but greats like M.D.H Jayewardane and Gamini Jayasuriya resigned on principle without discomforting their party. Now the Supreme Court has found ways to abort the constitutional provisions. In whose days in the Supreme Court did it happen? Make the President accountable not to the Supreme Court - too feeble: too obliging –extend it to people as in the South American style. The required number of signatures by the voting public can call for a referendum that can cut short a term of a President or Prime Minister by the popular vote of a recall.Politicians will not permit a referendum, asserting it is too expensive - but the loss to the economy in a country could be much larger on a bond deal.  


Act swiftly Mr President by denying an exit from the country of individuals that may have much to explain after the Auditor General’s reports. Strategised properly - it is recoverable on surcharges and brokerage rules. So many in the opposition have seen the interior of the FCID office. Time its open for those in this regime too.Don’t lean too heavily on the Attorney - General’s Department. They, at times file charge sheets, on which action cannot be maintained.   


Mahendran defended himself on the foolish but well - intentional burst into a court action by three eminent persons that was dismissed for good reasons yet the judgment did not exonerate him on merits as made out by Mahendran: gave the Governor an ace to score points. Sadly those who went to court had to collect egg on face by entering an area without sufficient skill or expertise. A lesson for the future - do not to enter court to take short cuts to fame and do a disservice to justice and the cause espoused.Some are just not sensible.  


Mahendran hoped to return on a likely COPE clearance that carried a healthy government majority if manouverable. The Auditor General has come to the rescue by disclosing the official position to the Speakerbut his conclusion has to be treated with respect and makes the task of COPE more difficult in giving a clearance to Mahendran.   


UNP’s just should be grateful to President Sirisena – he dented an issue that if given a lift up, the opposition would have made merry. Do Rajapaksa or Wiickremasinghe stand by their friends more than for their country?  
Mahinda Rajapaksa need worry after sitting out on the ‘no confidence’ in Parliament on the Finance Minister by absenting himself. Rajapaksa - saved the nation from terrorism - but was poorly guided as a President because of the bureaucrats close to him contributed much to his downfall. He may have good reason in being absent and but must give reasons as he is an elected representative. Still appears poorly advised while doing the temple circuit.    

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