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Changing the paradise Isle

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People’s Quest is for a drastic change in the socio-economic and political landscape of Sri Lanka

 

Sri Lanka is a tropical island of 65,000 km with approximately 60 - 70 per cent of the population of 22

Sri Lanka’s Singapore dream has always been elusive.

million living in rural areas and nearly half of the population depending on agriculture for their living whilst around 4-5 per cent of the total population live below the national poverty line. During the last five to six decades since Independence, Sri Lanka has been investing a significant part of her resources in social development programmes, viz. the food subsidy, education and health services.   

However, high unemployment rates and macro-economic imbalances have been significant problems in Sri Lanka since the mid-1960s. There was a transition from a land-surplus economy in need of immigrant labour to develop her tea and rubber plantations, to a labour-surplus economy. The overall effect was a virtual collapse of the economy in the mid-1970s.   


However, since the introduction of a liberalization regime in 1977 initially high growth rates prompted discussion of the Nation as an “IMF success” or vindication of the “Singapore Model” of an open economy divorced from extensive State intervention both internally and at the internal-external boundary.   


It is noteworthy to mention that in the early 1950s during the initial period of post Independence the economy of the country was in good shape and there was remarkably peace and communal harmony among all communities due to the fact that the National Leaders who led the National Movement to achieve Independence for Sri Lanka (Ceylon) stood united with hardly any room for communalism and religious extremism.  


If that peaceful situation among different communities were followed by the Leaders who took over the mantle from them, today Sri Lanka would have been a developed country second to Japan and far above many other countries like Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, etc. in terms of social and economic growth.   

"The Governments that have ruled Sri Lanka as of date have to take full responsibility for the good, bad and ugly situations that prevailed from time to time as well as the achievements and failures that Sri Lanka has experienced"

These Leaders’ attention from time to time has been changing towards power politics and not to the welfare of the people and the country as a whole with the result that the two major political parties that have been ruling the country for the last 73 long years have brought about a complete collapse of what Sri Lanka is today.   
The Governments that have ruled Sri Lanka as of date have to take full responsibility for the good, bad and ugly situations that prevailed from time to time as well as the achievements and failures that Sri Lanka has experienced.   


The poor, innocent and rural populous of Sri Lanka has understood its folly and is now ready to look for a suitable and fitting leadership that would be able to bestow Good Governance for them to live as equals in an undivided indivisible Sri Lanka with complete peace and freedom.  

Concerns on Policy

Safety and security of the Nation is the paramount prerequisite for the economic growth. However, some of the Sri Lankan Political Leaders from the post-independence era have been playing ethnic and religious politics, seeded hatred and division among communities in the country and today the country is back to square one. In 1944 J.R. Jayawardene moved a motion in the State Council that Sinhala should replace English as the Official Language. In 1956 S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike brought in the Sinhala Only Act and passed it in Parliament. As a countermeasure 50-50 issue was brought about by G.G. Ponnampalam, Leader of the Ceylon Tamil Congress and Federalism by S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, Leader of the ITAK respectively. The root cause for the Sinhala and Tamil Youth insurgency could be partly attributed to these shortsighted policies of the Political Leaders who played politics for their personal reasons and political gains. The majority of the 22 million people is of the view that those Leaders in power are incapable of running the Nation and those not in power are not a viable alternative either.  

Good Governance (SLPF) 

Sri Lanka Professionals Forum for Good Governance (SLPF) is an apolitical entity founded in 2019 by a group of moderate and selfless men and women professionals, who have held executive positions in both public and private sector institutions in Sri Lanka. Having analyzed the pattern of governance for the last 73 years since Independence, the SLPF decided to embark on the mission of establishing Good Governance in this beautiful country. Our intentions and objectives are not harmful or detrimental to any individual, trade unions, political parties, social entities, etc., but are focused on educating the people of the need for a change towards Good Governance for them to live as equals with equal economic opportunities.  


Sri Lanka gained its Independence in the year 1948 and the late National Leaders who led the Ceylon Independence Movement and were instrumental in successfully executing this noble mission by standing together collectively and united as Ceylonese irrespective of race, caste, creed, religion, etc., are not even remembered today whereas those who took over the mantle from them and are responsible for the current political situation in which the distinct divisions among the communities as Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers have been created during the last 73 years of the post-independence period, are revered and remembered with pomp and glory. If one views this past period of 73 years with holistic analysis, the country as a whole has experienced two political coup d’etat, two youth insurrections by JVP, communal riots from time to time, armed struggle by the LTTE for 30 years, political and socio-economic bankruptcy, etc., with only minimal progress in economic development. Therefore, the SLPF has unanimously resolved to pay tribute to those National Leaders and dutifully remember them in all its formal activities.  

Road Map to Establish Good Governance

Having carefully studied and analyzed the processes of governance, the Central Advisory Committee (CAC), the decision-making body, comprising of 25 District Leaders as its members resolved to come forward to lead the people towards a CHANGE to the good of the people and the country as a whole. The SLPF is in the process of outreaching the innocent people and educating them as to how they should use their franchise rightly, intelligently and responsibly to elect a Government that should be able to establish good governance for the good of them in particular and the country at large.  


Our 25 District Leaders and 160 Electoral Leaders have the wisdom and determination to command the respect of our people throughout the Island Nation. They have already embarked on a Public Outreach Programme (POP) at the grassroots level based on an internationally accepted “12-Point Pre-conditions for Good Governance”, inculcating the objectives and ideals of the SLPF in the minds of the general public using the services of educated youth, women and the civil society movements. The POP is to garner the support of the people at the grassroots level to establish Good Governance through one of the major Political Parties that is willing to accommodate our 12-Point Pre-conditions in their Manifesto and implement the Seven (7) attractive and people-friendly Proposals prepared based on the 12-Point Preconditions for Good Governance.   


This intended CHANGE under the framework of Good Governance will no doubt introduce in the minds of the youth, women and the civil society the indigenization and economic empowerment leading to tremendous economic prosperity in the country as a whole whilst bringing forth the lost name, fame and reputation of our country in the eyes of our people and those of our friendly Nations worldwide.  

Burning issues

The Government of the day with all its imperfections and numerous allegations levelled against both at home and abroad, some of which are baseless whilst some are alleged to have been factual, is trying its best to implement its policy statement mandated by 6.9 million people. The fact remains that the President and his Government have been elected to power democratically with a thumping majority of votes. Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa polled 6.9 mn votes, 52.25 per cent of the total votes polled. His Government enjoys a 2/3 majority in Parliament and was able to repeal the 19th Amendment, which is reckoned as a Centerpiece of Good Governance, and pass the controversial 20th Amendment to the Constitution. Following are some of the burning issues that deserve the utmost attention of the Government and the delay in resolving them may give room for the Government to entertain further allegations and criticisms:  


 The country is undergoing a severe economic crisis at present and it is manifested at both the individual and national level;   
 Easter Sunday bomb attack is to be inquired into and culprits brought to book and those victimized granted redress;   
 The social impact of the COVID-19 has many implications, such as Political, Educational, Vaccine roll out, Religious, Psychological. Etc.   


 The livelihoods of food crops and dairy farmers have fallen from bad to worse due to many a reason;   
 Culprits of Bond scam, Sugar scam or Tax scam, Coconut Oil scam, etc., not inquired into and brought to book;   
 Destruction of the environment, forestry, felling of trees in the forest go on unabated under the pretext of development and culprits not brought to book;   
 Pressure is growing on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva with no endeavour to diffuse such situation in favour of Sri Lanka and it may continue to haunt the country at the next year session too;   


 Selling of national assets to be discouraged or prohibited whilst foreign investment that doesn’t put national security at stake must be encouraged to boost the economy of the country.   
 The SLPF is always in favour of choosing the path of peaceful settlement of all our problems through discussion within ourselves and with no interference from foreign countries, who try to make use of the opportunity for their advantage aiming at achieving political and economic stability. Sri Lanka’s foreign relations are at stake today due to the fact that Sri Lanka is lacking a vibrant and neutral foreign policy. Hence the UNHRC intervention has become so severe today unless foolproof remedial measures are given top and utmost priority by the Government.   


 The inability to make firm decisions in keeping with the WHO guidelines regarding the cremation of the Corona Virus inflicted dead bodies of the Muslim community which has now been resolved to a great extent added insult to injury in the eyes of the international community, especially the Arab countries, which are members of the Arab League. 

 
 Three Constitutions to govern this country have been promulgated but after around 73 years of political, religious and communal turmoil, we are still talking of a New Constitution. The SLPF is of the view that 19 A, a Centerpiece of Good Governance, which created the Independent Commissions to protect democratic principles and practices in the system of governance in the country and that the proposed New Constitution should be able to accommodate the 19 A with necessary amendments that will no doubt bring about peace and harmony among all communities to live as Sri Lankans.   

Conclusion

SLPF is equipped with a foolproof blueprint to put in practice its ideologies and vision in the process of establishing Good Governance in the country. Its structural networking in the Districts and Electorates island-wide and the Household Membership strength is unique and noteworthy.   


The uniformity in its campaign activities; its specific and candid message to the people from all walks of life-based on the 12-Point Preconditions for Good Governance; the seven Proposals to promote overall economic development, social welfare, reconciliation among communities, national policy for all sectors of the economy, equal opportunity for all in education, healthcare, empowerment of women, youth, disable and differently able men and women, etc, are well planned out by the Central Advisory Committee of the SLPF with care and precision giving no room for derailment at any point of time.  


All Professionals from different disciplines who believe in and respect Good Governance based on our 12-Point Preconditions for Good Governance are most welcome to join hands with the SLPF in its noble mission to establish Good Governance in Sri Lanka for all of us to live as equals in an undivided indivisible Sri Lanka with pride and freedom.   

The writer is a retired senior public servant (SLAS) and President of the Sri Lanka Professionals Forum for Good Governance.

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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.