Sri Lanka is a Country where everybody (with hardly any exception) loves a Tamasha. This is particularly so among politicians who not only gain from them but are also avid supporters of Tamashas provided they are paid for by somebody else - preferably from the public purse.
One attempt at such a Tamasha made at a colossal expense to the Country was made when the Government sought to have at a sports meet staged in Sri Lanka. A team of ‘hurrah-boys’ and/or favourites of the Government headed by `no less’ a person than Nivard Cabraal, the political appointee who functions as the ‘Governor of the Central Bank’ went to Australia, in pursuance of that endeavour and, from all reports had a ball of a time. There was an aircraft of the National Carrier idling on the tarmac for several days (with the crew idling) to bring them back to Sri Lanka. The newspapers featured a photograph showing a party thrown by our delegation at which this political appointee was depicted playing the children’s game of ‘trains’ with the son of the President, Namal Rajapaksa, MP both of whom had inane smiles pasted on their faces. The People of this Country regardless of political affiliation, race, ethnicity, caste or religion rejoiced about the failure of our Country to secure even at such colossal expense as the People were compelled to bear, the right to stage that sports meet in Sri Lanka. Indeed I was unable to find a single person who grieved about that `failure’.
"It must be remembered Sri Lnaka is a poor Country. However, we seem to be willing to spend millions upon millions in constructing accommodation for foreigners of the Commonwealth who will be attending this meeting and arranging for their means of transport."
Such rejoicing arose primarily for the reason that the People realized that the colossal sums spent on seeking unsuccessfully to get the sports meet (known as the Commonwealth Games) staged in Colombo would be as nothing compared to the amounts that would necessarily have to be spent on staging it. Of course there is one other factor. That, no doubt, the People took into consideration namely, that almost wherever a project involving the large scale expenditure of public funds is implemented, somebody close to the Government makes a `packet’ on it. Speculation was then rife as to who would have gained at the expense of the People if that sports meet was held in Sri Lanka.
Things have not changed much in this regard. We are made to believe or purport to believe from then even until now that Tamashas staged at public expense are for the Country’s good. Thus, those of us who were then alive and kicking would recall how the Government of Mrs. Bandaranaike staged the Non-Aligned Conference in Sri Lanka in or about 1976 just before she was thrown out of office. While millions upon millions which the Country could ill afford were spent on that Tamasha numerous luxury motor vehicles, which only a miniscule few could afford, were imported for the use of that conference. It was then believed and hardly ever discussed to-date that such expenditure was warranted by the enormous prestige a Country would gain by our Head of Government presiding over a meeting of all non-aligned nations and becoming hence the leader of about half the countries of the world. As it happened we, as a country gained nothing from it. Neither the People nor then Government gained anything from it. That Government was driven out of office at the next elections and the revenge the UNP took from Mrs. Bandaranaike was awesome and hopefully will never be repeated by any party of any person/persons whomsoever.
"There were many leaders of different countries who were opposed to the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) being staged in Colombo. Chief among them was Steven Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada. The reason for the opposition was that in view of Sri Lanka’s so called ‘human rights record’ this meeting should not be held in Sri Lanka"
More of us would recall how President Premadasa staged extravagant `birthday parties’ called “Gam Udawa Exhibitions” at public expense on or about his birthday each year. Probably taking a leaf from his `book’ President Rajapaksa stages annually [though not on his birthday], a massive and equally extravagant ego boosting propaganda exercise at public expense known as the “Deyata Kirula Exhibition. What the Country gained from these wasteful exercises is a question to which no one to date has given a plausible answer.
"This surely is what Harper would have done if CHOGM was to be held in Ottawa or any part of Canada and Sri Lanka had said that she would not attend if the conference was to be held in Canada for whatever reason"
There were many leaders of different countries who were opposed to the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) being staged in Colombo. Chief among them was Steven Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada. The reason for the opposition was that in view of Sri Lanka’s so called ‘human rights record’ this meeting should not be held in Sri Lanka. This naturally raised the ire of most patriotic Sri Lankans and I myself was furious with Harper and those who supported him for that statement and his endeavours in that regard. Of course, it was my view that our Government should have told Harper “If you don’t want to come, stay away and to hell with you. We will go ahead with the conference whether you like it or not and whether you come or not will make hardly a difference.” This surely is what Harper would have done if CHOGM was to be held in Ottawa or any part of Canada and Sri Lanka had said that she would not attend if the conference was to be held in Canada for whatever reason. However, that was not to be, and our Government regrettably strained every nerve, muscle and sinew to persuade countries to attend CHOGM and to have that wasteful conference in Sri Lanka. Has Sri Lanka ever gained anything from any meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government? What is it that the Government of Sri Lanka hopes to gain for the Country by hosting this meeting? As far as I can see, Steven Harper and those who agitated against holding this meeting in Sri Lanka were really seeking do us a favour albeit unwittingly, by saving this Country the colossal amounts of money it would have to spend on hosting it here.
It must be remembered Sri Lnaka is a poor Country. However, we seem to be willing to spend millions upon millions in constructing accommodation for foreigners of the Commonwealth who will be attending this meeting and arranging for their means of transport. At one time it was proposed that we purchase a number of Rolls Royce and BMW vehicles when our Country is so ‘broke’ that we can hardly afford push-cycles for each of the Commonwealth Heads of Government attending the conference. However, wiser counsel APPEARED to prevail and the Government has now announced that it will not purchase such luxury vehicles for that conference, but hire such vehicles locally or if that is not possible from abroad. The simple questions at issue here – [it is hardly a question and more of a presumption on the basis of past experience] are, who will profit and how much will he/she/it profit from this endeavour; and will we end up spending more on hiring super luxury vehicles than on purchasing them ???
It is no secret and indeed a matter of which the People of this Country are well aware that where public funds are wasted there is always some favourite of the Government of whatever party, who is to benefit from it.
A motor car is simply the mechanical contraption which enables a person to travel from one place to another relatively speedily and in some measure of comfort. It is hardly a ‘status’ symbol though that is what it has now become. There is no reason why foreigners should be transported from one place to another in the lap of luxury while the People of this Country struggle to get into over-crowded buses having waited long periods of time in queues because of a shortage of such means of transport.
Accordingly, CHOGM is, to my mind, like the ‘Trojan Horse’. Thus, to my mind the likes of Steven Harper were seeking (albeit unintentionally) to do the People of Sri Lanka a very great favour by depriving President Rajapakse of an opportunity of having a Tamasha (which he loves) at public expense and hence saving the People of this Country billions of rupees. (A goodly quantum of which would be in foreign exchange). Unfortunately Harper made the big mistake of converting the issue of whether Sri Lanka should waste money or not into an issue of the purported judgment of Canada which supported the LTTE to the hilt in practical terms about the so called ‘human right record’ of the Government.
In the ultimate analysis those whose wishes, if implemented would have served the cause of Sri Lanka are those such as Steven Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada and those who, along with him wanted to save Sri Lanka the extravagance of hosting CHOGM in our Country . Unfortunately, the vain posturing of Harper and like minded persons with their limitless hypocrisy and presumption, and the making of some unfounded allegations against our Country the reason for their opposition to the hosting of CHOGM by Sri Lanka deprived them, in its entirety, of the appreciation they ought to have gained from the People of Sri Lanka (including myself) instead of the opposition to their move to have CHOGM hosted by another Country which they received. As it is, in my view it is countries such as Canada who, though clearly unwittingly, strived to serve the interests of Sri Lanka, while it is the other countries who equally undoubtedly unwittingly strove to `back up’ Sri Lanka by supporting the holding of CHOGM in Sri Lanka who ended up by only ensuring that we be driven to bankruptcy and wholesale ruin.
Let us hope that as in the case of the sports meet that we hoped to stage in Sri Lanka, this ‘Cock Talk’ among some heads of Government of Commonwealth countries will not be held in Sri Lanka and innocent People of this Country made to pay for it.
What a load of bunkum, 3 miniutes i will not get back, wasted reading this article ....lol.
CHC Thursday, 25 July 2013 09:35 AM
You should be shot for promoting Harper. These bloody westerners think that they can get us to dance to their tunes. You may be right about the moneys spent but yet never ever show you are of a lower class or less privileged than them. Good that Harper aint coming for I'm sure there would be a brave one like Rohana who gave a smashing to Rajeev Gandhi in the vicinity.
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