Sat, 27 Nov 2021 Today's Paper

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

3 July 2019 12:43 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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We wonder if even God can help our country now. Our island was a beautiful paradise and its inhabitants were God-fearing. That was in the time of the benevolent and respected leaders who truly loved this country and its people. They fought long and hard to gain independence. They maintained the TRUE SPIRIT OF THAT INDEPENDENCE they fought so hard to gain.   

When did our beautiful island turn into the MONSTROSITY IT IS TODAY? 

In 1947, the Ceylon Independence Act saw the light of day and the first election in the history of our island, elected D.S. SENANAYAKE as its FIRST PRIME MINISTER – CEYLON GAINED ITS FREEDOM! Those were the halcyon days of our country when ministers were respected; in fact, THEY WERE GIVEN THE RESPECT THEY SO RIGHTLY DESERVED! 

More importantly, the people of this country respected each other; neither caste, creed nor religion divided them. Is it any wonder then that the country was known as a “PARADISE”? In 1972, the new Republican Constitution came into being and Lanka was renamed SRI LANKA!

BUT, IT WAS IN 1978 WHEN THE POWERFUL EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY WAS INTRODUCED AND J.R.J. BECAME THE ALL-POWERFUL EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT OF SRI  LANKA THAT THE DEATH KNELL OF OUR COUNTRY WAS SOUNDED! 

That was when CORRUPTION began when the fight for power WAS RELENTLESS. 1983 SAW THE COUNTRY SPLINTERED, TORN APART WITH THE EELAM WAR! This despicable war, while claiming the lives of countless, citizens and ministers alike caused division, separation and most of all hatred among our people. Fortunately, with the passing of time, normalcy was restored and people began to live in peace and harmony until our complacency was rudely shattered with the tragedy on Easter Sunday!

In any constitutional democracy, after a monumental tragedy in the magnitude of 21/4, it is only natural for the public to demand that those in authority be held accountable for their failure to prevent such a tragedy. Inevitably, people expect heads will roll and those guilty of criminal negligence be brought to book. Sadly, who do you throw the book at when the HEAD OF GOVERNMENT IS THE HEAD THAT SHOULD ROLL TOGETHER WITH THE MINISTERS UNDER HIM WHO WERE ALL AWARE OF THE IMPENDING DISASTER? What is even more horrendous is many ministers and others claiming this disaster was known as far back as in 2015/16. How could anyone conscientiously and in the name of humanity keep us in the dark about a tragedy of such magnitude? While our Prime Minister and State Minister of Defence claim they were deliberately kept in the dark about security concerns, didn’t either one of them consider it important enough to put national security before any other consideration? 

Politicians and public servants entrusted with national security failed the country and there is still utter confusion and controversy with no justifiable account given to the nation of exactly who is responsible! At the very least, they should be forced to resign, especially when they are cowards and totally incapable of taking responsibility! Accountability, in cases as these, must necessarily begin at the top and though there is a clear and logical basis for resignation, it is equally clear that no one wants to or is going to assume responsibility! The positions of defence, police and law and order are under the purview of the President and he talks about 90% of his Cabinet being incompetent, what about him, what competence has he shown in handling anything? He is fully aware that Sarath Fonseka is eminently capable of handling all these portfolios but he is equally determined not to give it to the one man who can carry them! 

What Sirisena says about 90% of his Cabinet being incompetent is TRUE; take for instance John Amaratunga, Mangala Samaraweera, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and many others to be named! A large billboard in Colombo 2 said: “Down with the OLD, MORE POWER TO THE YOUNG” – exactly what this column has been advocating for ages! 

Natural disasters, crime, accidents, starving families, children dying of malnutrition, man-made tragedies killing hundreds with absolutely no compunction... what has our beloved country come to? We read of politicians in other countries going out of their way to magnanimously help their people, to put up shelters for the homeless, feed the poor, see that the destitute have some means for basic survival at least; what have our people got? Where do our poor people go to when they are jobless, when they have no food to eat, when their children are starving? Has a single minister opened a community project in his or her electorate to help these people? So many incidents of homeless and starving people have been reported in newspapers, but what has been done for them? 

Many people living in our country go to sleep at night without a roof over their heads! Lack of affordable housing is a key component of homelessness while low vacancy rates and high rents are other attributes! So many children hunger not only for food but for education; they actually do! We have to only look at O/L and A/L results in the villages to realise the truth in this! 

It is sad that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith who prevented a bloodbath on Easter Sunday through his remarkably astute plea to the Catholic community is now dabbling in politics! True, the real culprits and the real reason behind the carnage have not yet been divulged and politicians are all skirting around the truth! But is it really necessary for a man of the Cardinal’s stature to get involved in the mayhem of our current politics? Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God. Even more to the point: truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth! 

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