By Shenali Waduge
Three years has passed since the heroic armed forces eliminated terrorism enabling Sri Lankly to proudly go down in history as the only country to have eliminated terrorism and an internationally banned terrorist organization.
With that achievement the country looked forward to a future that should have been strategically planned by our legislators in governance. The baton is now with the legislators to lead the country. It was a pastime of previous governments to use the excuse of the conflict to explain their inability to solve issues that plagued the nation. The war is now over yet we are a nation concerned about where we are heading.
Sri Lanka’s development was at a standstill as a result of the conflict but legislators should have demarcated all areas that needed to be addressed and set up strategies to handle these with contingency plans as well. It is these policy plans that should have immediately been taken out and revised with a proper international policy in place.
If the West had disappointed us the West needed to be reminded so. If India had betrayed us India needed to be reminded of it. If new friends emerged not only did we need to acknowledge it, never more was it important to decide whether we were to look West, or East, to only India or remain neutral. Whatever, our decision we needed to have a policy in place and this policy is not meant to be subject to monsoonal changes nor the whims of any Minister in charge like it has become a practice with all Ministries! Sri Lanka cannot and should not afford to float with the tide thinking the Gods would protect us.
Now we are in a far dangerous terrain and the situation is far more dangerous than Prabakaran or the LTTE. At least Prabakaran’s unsatisfied lust for territory helped Sri Lanka remain without a piece divided or devolved.
With the LTTE elimination it was expected that the Government would deal with all elements that were associated with terrorism which included the TNA. Democratically and legally the Government would have been within their rights to force all political parties and politicians towing the line of separatism to forthwith stop such claims.Yet, what is stopping the Government from taking actions against people who continue to voice and promote separatism, devolution and working with nations attempting to divide our country? This is no time for niceties or remaining on anyone’s good books. The country must come first. Has this not given rise to issues like the “white vans” “grease yakkas” and other such controversies which appear to take place by more than just one group to advance agendas?
Is it not because we have not articulated ourselves diplomatically that India continues to think it can dictate terms to us whenever it gets knee jerks from Tamil Nadu prior to elections? India is well set now with its ultimate plan being to annex Sri Lanka to India satisfying Tamil Nadu yet denying Eelam. Knowing these dynamics why do Governments, the politicians and most of all key officials fall for these traps without planning ahead?
Ministries are not the personal coffers of a Minister, his spouse or his family. Officials appointed must in the least desist from being “yes” men and Ministers must either learn facets of the Ministry given or pay heed to advice and advice should be sought from several sources as advisors too can make mistakes and there are plenty of “advisors” and “consultants” nowadays.
Similarly, no politician in government or opposition can expect to feel the pulse of the people surrounded by bodyguards, travelling in speeding SUVs and not knowing what a grocery bill looks like or how much an ordinary family earns and the daily expenses that a family has to incur not to mention the incidental expenses. Are these price increases to test how far the public can bear the burden while still remaining loyal to the Government?
In the eyes of the ordinary, if the country is without money why is there money to spend on lavish excesses and rightly they need to be answered.
It is obviously clear that the economic mavericks are not providing the answers that suit the needs of the people because it is the people that brings Governments to power and keeps governments in power.