by Prof. Hudson McLean

At this present time, the politicians should stop trying to pull wool over the eyes of the electorate by talking of "A Permanent Solution".

With the current "pussy footing" of the political leaders, only way to dream about "A Permanent Solution" is hoping that the Norwegian mediators would wake up and remove the belligerent Tigers Permanently to Bergen or to any other Norwegian Fjord. That should be regarded as both Permanent and a Solution.

Perhaps one might take a hint from the recent Israeli-Palestinian example of shunting off the wanted Hamas terrorists and gunmen who took refuge in a Holy site in Bethlehem, temporarily to Cyprus, awaiting an invitation from a third country who may wish to grant them asylum.

In the case of Sri Lanka, the Norwegians can clear two hurdles in one fell swoop and then the Sri Lankan citizens may propose Erik Solheim as a candidate for the next Noble Peace Prize.

At this precise moment, one should consider Permanent and Solution as two separate subjects.

A good example of Permanence is-;
That the LTTE TIGERS are simply marking their time permanantly building up a political infrastructure and laying corner stones for the next insurrection.

The weapons are continuously being smuggled in by moonlight under the very noses of the Sri Lankan Defence Force who are unable to take appropriate actions due to political constrains imposed upon them.

A defensive Solution should be to-;
Give a free hand to the Defence Forces to take all necessary actions to prevent such illegal acts.

In the meantime, Ranil and his team are waiting patiently, accepting all excuses for postponing "peace talks" supported by the Norwegians. It might be May or perhaps June (which year?), but then whilst there is a cease fire, one should not rush to arrive at any destination, should one?

It is very likely, and as an intelligent unconfirmed guess, the Norwegians led by Erik Solheim are privy to some of the strategic thinking of the LTTE Tiger Terrorists, that the peace talks will materialise only when the sun begins to rise from the West.

As expressed in an earlier article, one has to give the benefit of the doubt to Ranil W. So far, he has played his cards brilliantly. If he accepts the delay of a mirage of a peace conference in order to set up a commercial and political game plan, we salute the man!

However, Ranil W must divest his interests from the day to day defence activity and start rebuilding the country. The operational defence logistics should be transferred to the new Security Council with the Minister of Defence in the Chair. The President, as the Commander-in-Chief, shall deliver clear objectives of the government and allow the Military a free hand to reach the defined objectives. A very clear practical programme was delivered by Mr. S. L. Gunesekera recently in another news media.

The Role of the Clergy has always been a debatable point in Sri Lankan politics. As a Christian, I fully support the active role of the Buddhist Clergy in defending the Faith and the followers. Equally, the Christian Clergy should do likewise. However, the Clergy must, whatever the belief, first, last and always, defend the Motherland in which they and their followers live. In a situation where the citizens of Sri Lanka have suffered loss of life due to unwonted terrorism with an ultimate objective of causing disintegration of the Island, the Clergy of all Faiths have a solemn and a sacred duty to defend the integrity of Sri Lanka.

An immediate Solution to secure the Permanent problem of security is neither political nor military, but should be in the form of commercialisation of Sri Lanka. No. Sri Lanka is NOT For Sale. That should put several readers minds at rest. Develop a well defined Investor Strategy. Invite medium to long term foreign investors to this strategic location which offer multiple user benefits. Once the plans mature into a reality, the LTTE terrorists would think carefully before they explode suicide bombs in areas dominated by a mixed expat management and a local labour force.

In order to encourage a Permanent flow of foreign investment, the government should plan an international investor strategy directed at the Small-to Medium size Enterprises (SMEs). It is counter productive to invite major global players who will create high labour intensive projects today, after squeezing every single drop of economic benefits from the government and withdraw with the low tide. It is preferable to have five hundred individual SMEs with a wide international market platform employing five hundred heads each rather than to have ten major conglomerates employing twenty five thousand each.

A Solution would be to grant tax holiday and other incentives to investors who create employment units of five hundred heads and more. For each five hundred unit employment project, incentives maybe based on the percentage of exports with a labour component built in. For example, the manufacturers should be obliged to sell upto 30% of its production in the domestic market and the labour content of the ex-works price should be a minimum of 30%.

Until a concrete and a feasible Solution to the current overall problem, both in the political arena and in the economic infrastructure, is created and enforced, Permanence will be dangling in the distant horizon.

Madam President, With due respect, may I suggest that without simply criticising the government arbitrarily, propose an objective and a concrete transparent programme with a time frame and a cost benefit schedule intended to deliver defined Solutions.


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