The US has been targeting Sri Lanka at every turn at the instance of the Tamil Diaspora ever since the LTTE was wiped out and the government appears to be at a loss on how to counter this campaign; but we Lankans living in the US are shocked surprised and perturbed to learn that the government of Sri Lanka has retained the services of two PR firms in the US at a colossal fee by any standards (USD 66,000 and USD 50,000 per month respectively) to counter this anti-Lanka campaign and to create:
1.A political environment in the US that is more than conducive to enhancing Sri Lanka’s long-term political and economic situation.
2. A comprehensive information platform where decision makers in the US receive clear and accurate information about Sri Lanka’s current achievements and future plans.
3. A higher volume of trade and investment in Sri Lanka.
? They are said to have drafted speeches for the Ambassador --- they have had no influence over the State Department or Congress or the White House and that we know, from the fact that the US has remained hostile towards Sri Lanka as proved by the successive anti Sri Lanka Resolutions tabled against Sri Lanka at the UNHCR.
The Embassy here has also been a dead loss. No one appears to know the work expected of an Embassy. A few years ago some of us who are US citizens but ‘Sri Lankans’ nevertheless, took it upon ourselves to lobby the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and had them send two staffers to Lanka whose report softened US hostility towards Sri Lanka but the political leaders did not follow up -- and we lost the opportunity to have the US change course. The Embassy has become a place to employ relations of VVIPs and has become a joke.
" Did Sri Lanka not retain Patton Boggs for the same purpose and what did they achieve? NOTHING! Who may we ask is accountable? Or is it that no one is held accountable for their actions in Sri Lanka "
This new ‘venture’ smells a mile -- why was this necessary in the first place; there are of course ‘givers and takers’ in all these ‘ventures’ and certain people would have made heaps of money from this deal; that would really have been the reason for it. Our thoughts go back to the days when Ambassador Ernest Corea and Godage mobilised us way back in 1983 to counter the Tamil organisations here and some years later Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala ably assisted by Jayantha Palipana and Prasad Kariyawasam not only countered the pro LTTE lobby in the US but even had Congress pass a pro Sri Lanka Resolution -- does the present government in Sri Lanka know this? It was also during this time that the US also proscribed the LTTE and all this was achieved without any PR firm, by the Embassy when it was staffed by Sri Lankans who knew their job. This was also when Rudrakumaran and the Connecticut pro LTTE organisations here were operating with the assistance of a former Attorney General of the US whom they had retained for a huge fee. All this was during the time of the war with the LTTE, now Sri Lanka has ended that war and peace has dawned on the country and what does this say for the present representatives who are supposed to safeguard Sri Lanka’s national interests here in the US? All Sri Lanka needs to do is to reach out to the minorities and silence the Tamil Diaspora in Canada, the US, Britain and Australia. They will not have a case if only the government does that in a meaningful way.
It does appear that those who are responsible for managing Sri Lanka’s international relations do not seem to have knowledge, experience or ability to manage the country’s relations -- the Minister came to Washington when the infamous resolution against Sri Lanka was being prepared and met Secretary Hillary Clinton.
We have been informed that the Minister made a boring speech when he met her and nothing of course came of it, only a second Resolution against Sri Lanka. The question we have to ask is why Sri Lanka is doing this to herself when we should be striding the world with our head held high?
Who is it that would take responsibility for this pathetic situation – in any other country the Minister of Foreign Affairs would have resigned but then Sri Lanka is like no other country and as it is said here that some Ministers in Sri Lanka have no self respect.
The Sri Lanka Government should set up a committee with retired professional diplomats and persons such as Dayan Jayathileka and Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe and any other intellectuals knowledgeable on the management of international relations to advise the government in the national interest.