- Our Parliament does not understand the dire situation that the country is in
- why two bullet proof vehicles when the armed forces say the country is safe?
- parliament has not allocated a cent for the welfare of the victims’ families
- opposition always votes for any bill, no matter how ridiculous that is!
‘A supplementary budget of 190 million rupees for two bulletproof vehicles for the President and the newly-appointed Secretary of the Ministry of Defence has been passed in parliament! One of my neighbours made it a point to approach me during my morning walk to share this news. I certainly could not believe what I was hearing. But then again, this is Sri Lanka. Rearranging the furniture in a sinking ship has been the approach of the people’s representatives in many crises. But I had to verify the information myself and found out that it was perfectly correct .
Our Parliament does not understand the dire situation that the country is in. Or they simply do not care. We have had such a row of terrorist attacks and the people live in fear. The tourism industry has collapsed. Education system has halted. People’s lives and livelihoods are under threat. The survivors are still struggling in hospitals and the families of the victims are trying to come to terms with their losses. And the best that the 225 MPs can do is to present a supplementary budget for Rs.190 million. It is a crying shame!
What is even more ludicrous is that, while the Security Forces are telling the public to return to ‘normalcy,’ none of the leaders could demonstrate that he/she had no fear roaming the streets or being in crowded places. There is not a single journalist who can ask the authorities why the need for two bullet proof vehicles, if the country is safe.
No funds for victims, survivors
So far, the parliament has not allocated a cent for the welfare of the victims’ families. Although statements have been made about repairing churches etc., that too already much publicity is in motion where a minister is being featured continuously, we see not the authorities putting money where their mouths are. The public and individuals are collecting dry rations, clothes, medicines for the survivors. People have lost limbs, in the long run, they will need rehabilitation support. But No! Parliament is oblivious to these real issues.
"No other parliament in the world which passes supplementary budgets like churning butter. But in this crazy island of lotus-eaters, the MPs and Ministers can get away with anything, because the leadership has been weak. The leaders are going on the wrong track and the others are also following"
War has not ended for politicians
The war ended in 2009, but the parliamentarians have been behaving like the war is still going on in the country. They have been buying bullet proof vehicles, beefing up their security, increasing their bodyguards as if they are under such threat. In the last 10 years, the public have come to normalcy but the politicians haven’t, the fleet of vehicles in the convoy carrying even ministers is the same as in the past; prior to 2010. So now, thanks to the few suicide bombers, the politicians have gone back to being what they are good at. Wasting public money.
Bullet proof vehicles can’t save you
Does the situation warrant such spending? Our ignorant politicians must be told that a bullet proof vehicle can only protect them when they are inside the vehicle. In their daily routines, they probably spend less than 10% of their time inside this vehicle. The rest of the time they are out of it and an easy target for anyone. So what is then, the MANIA to buy a vehicle that really serves no purpose.
Competent hand for security matters
The President’s constant refusal to appoint someone with competency and experience on security matters is beyond anyone’s comprehension. For once, can they put the country before their own egos? Nothing can be worse than undermining one’s own people. All this is because there is an election coming up and the effort is to win that race, no matter what happens to the country or its people. Everyone, including the media is gearing up for it. Each one is planning on backing certain horses instead of getting the country back on track.
National budget - a farce!
The annual budget for 2019 was passed in Sri Lanka parliament on April 5, due to the high drama in the last quarter of 2018. Why does a country have a budget? To plan and limit ourselves in managing our money. With an approved national budget we try to work within the stipulated limitations. So within a month of the Budget being passed, this seems a mockery that supplementary proposals are brought for some unwanted spending. This is not the first time a supplementary budget was presented, practically every month, so many supplementaries are being presented and passed without a whimper. What does this mean? That the MPs lack clear planning and the whole budget process is a mere farce. In that case, do we need a budget at all for this country? This proposal was not even debated in Parliament. Why do the Ministry Secretaries aid and abet in the preparation of supplementary budgets? Can’t they tell their respective ministers that this is unacceptable? Why can’t the Speaker bring in clear procedures and norms for the presentation of such supplementaries?
"The war ended in 2009, but the parliamentarians have been behaving like the war is still going on in the country. They have been buying bullet proof vehicles, beefing up their security, increasing their bodyguards as if they are under such threat. In the last 10 years, the public have come to normalcy, but the politicians haven’t"
Where is the Opposition?
Has anyone ever noticed that the opposition always votes for any expenditure bill no matter how ridiculous it is? They even vote for it after debating it in parliament. Why do they do that? I feel that they are just marking time till their turn comes to do exactly the same. And no one has the integrity or the presence of mind to say that this is bad.
I believe that there is no other parliament in the world which passes supplementary budgets like churning butter. But in this crazy island of lotus-eaters, the MPs and Ministers can get away with anything, because the leadership has been weak. The leaders are going on the wrong track and the others are also following.
No ethics or principles
It has been clear for some time now that the law makers in Sri Lanka have no ethics whatsoever. If they can systematically rob the Central Bank, and do nothing to bring the culprits to book, then they have no fear or shame to do anything. Seasoned politicians are featured having extra marital affairs. And they continue to face the public with no shame whatsoever. They are surrounded by family members holding top positions and are paid by the Public. It is unfortunate that these politicians do not feel an ounce of responsibility or accountability. This country is cursed beyond belief.
Safety of public denied
The fact remains that every Minister knew about the possible attack on Easter Sunday, but the public were kept in the dark. We must also understand the sentiments of the public, that they no longer think MPs are honourable. I myself have heard many people saying that the parliament should vanish into thin air while they are in session. In fact MP Duminda Dissanayake himself stated this in parliament. This shows the public’s displeasure towards the conduct of all politicians.
When the leaders have failed to protect the public, should the public fund the protection? This is the question asked by many.
I think NOT!