Post Tsunami appeal to the people: let's get rid of the failed politico-cheats who caused a greater harm to the country

N Kodituwakku London

One of the leading minister in the Chandrika Administration, Rohitha Bogollagama, has openly conceded the reasons for the collapse of Sri Lanka in the world scene since independence and has accepted that the damaged caused to the country by the self-centred politico-cheats is much more greater than the destructive Tsunami waves. According to his own words "the destruction caused by the politicians to the country since independence is greater than the Tsunami tragedy which engulfed the whole country".

In the meanwhile, the President Chandrika, addressing a ceremony to mark the launching of the rebuilding of Sri Lanka with a housing scheme at Siribopura in Hambantota, has said that "The political parties that rule the country for the last 50 years are responsible for the 'terrible Tsunami disaster'. Emphasizing that a country rich in natural resources like Sri Lanka could be found nowhere in the world, despite the failures in the administration by both UNP and SLFP, she has said that the tsunami disaster might be a punishment imposed on us by nature for the unpardonable blunders committed by the both leading political parties [UNP and SLFP] that led the country since independence, engaging in all sorts of corrupt activities.

In fact recently the Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in a statement made in the Parliament said that the judiciary and the police are totally corrupt and by arresting the suspects of High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya's murder will not clean the police of their dark patch. He went to say further that someone should talk about the state the judiciary and the police are fallen into today and the era where a bribe of Rs.50/- could change laws should be terminated said the minister. However, his statement is far from the truth. In reality the politicians are the most corrupt ones who really set examples to others to follow.

Spontaneous statements of this nature made by the failed politicos rightly justify the actions taken by the international community against the govt of Sri Lanka after Tsunami tragedy. And that is more than enough to open the eyes of every Lankan who is concerned with the sorry plight of the country. After having carefully appraised the high level corruption in the country and not pleased with the integrity of the Lankan government, now the United Nations, has taken measures to appoint a mechanism to ensure that there will be no embezzlement or abuse of Tsunami aids awarded to Sri Lanka by political leaders.

International community do not accept govt's integrity

According reports, the world body has appointed a renowned US audit firm, the Pricewater house Coopers to audit the huge sum of aid deliveries. This is in addition to the UN beefing up it own auditing services to ensure that all donations meant for tsunami victims were properly accounted for.
This action by the world body is a proven testimony that the international community do not trust the integrity of the Lankan politicians whose has plundered public funds by despicable means and directly responsible for the destroying the Lankan image in the world scene. In this context, plea made to the people by the failed politico-cheats demanding to have faith and trust in them, is viewed as another deception. In this environment there is a bounded duty on the civil society and the pressure groups to take all means available to educate the people of Sri Lanka about the unpardonable crimes committed by the two major political parties that is responsible for ruining dividing the country into two. And there is a national duty vested in the people of Sri Lanka, regardless of colour, creed or ethnicity to be united, to get rid of the politico-cheats who have completely lost the trust in the people. And then to take measures to install a honest administration that respect the equality to the letter and accountable to the people of Sri Lanka.

How the learned people adjudged the ruining of the economy by politico cheats

There is a wealth of credible information and proof available to the people about the mismanagement of the country by the self-centred politico cheats. What is set out below is one such authoritative study undertaken by the Prof W D Laksman, the Vice-chancellor of the University of Colombo [1988], about the Sri Lanka economy during the half-century since independence. He was the incumbent of a line of distinguished Vice-chancellors of this University, which started with Sir Ivor Jennings and included persons of eminence like Sir Nicholas Attygalle and his revelation about plight of the country would be beyond imagination of many.

According to Prof W D Laksman - In 1948 Sri Lanka had the highest per capita national income in Asia. And fifty years later it had one of the lowest per capita incomes in Asia with only countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, which had undergone much civil turmoil and some others having lower per capita incomes. In the same period countries, which had lagged behind Sri Lanka in 1948 have gone on to become "tiger economies" and to reach the threshold of being considered "developed" countries. Sri Lanka has not only gone into reverse during the period but there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.

Prof W D Laksman sets out further - The first and the foremost reasons is the rampant corruption. Sri Lanka always had a problem with bribery and corruption but in the early years of independence this was largely confined to minor officials and it was a culture, which was not accepted. Gradually the cancer of corruption moved upwards until it encompassed not only the top bureaucrats but also their political superiors. Today it has become accepted as a way of life, even a quasi-legal one. The political rivalry between the two main political groupings who seem to agree increasingly with economic fundamentals actually revolves around the question who has access to the lucrative sources of corruption.

Facts speak for themselves - Independence to 1977

We all know that after the British granted independence Sri Lanka became a model of Westminster government and only those people with the noble qualities entered into mainstream politics. It is a fact that this tradition did not live long and was last seen in the UNP [United National Party] regime headed by Dudly Senanayake, the Prime Minister of the [1965-1970] government. In the case of Sri Lanka Freedom Party [SLFP] last bits and peaces of good governance was seen in the initial years of the government [1970-1971] and from 1972, with the rejection of the Constitution introduced by the British [1948] with built-in entrenched provisions [Article 29] to protect the interests of the people, that era of good governance came to an end.

It is observed that the commitment and integrity found in Sri Lankan politics today is totally incompatible with the integrity found in the age of independence influenced by the British rule. For example in that age only those who prepared to use up their wealth and energy resort to politics and they never entered to politics with a predetermined objective of making fortunes. Then the politics was considered a noble career for dignified people of high esteem. There was no salary, no pension no duty free luxuries or other lucrative perks offered for the politicians. For instance when Dudly Senanayake, the prime minister of UNP government [1965-1970] was died [1973] he had used up all his wealth for politics and there remained only few hundred of rupees in his bank account. This is a sheer example of how the then politicians devoted their life for the country and for the people.

Further deterioration of the integrity - 1977-1994 period

The tradition of good governance observed since independence was totally abandoned by JR Jayawardena [UNP], a true Machiavellian who came into power in 1977. He was the architect of the Constitution [1978] with an executive presidency with extensive powers. The independence of the Judiciary was removed. The executive President retained the power of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court. Jayawardena Constitution denied the Supreme Court jurisdiction to inquire into the constitutionality of the laws that are enacted by the parliament. It also provided him absolute immunity from any criminal or civil proceedings against any wrongful acts committed by him [the president] in private or official capacity, sweeping powers found nowhere else in the world.

His constitution removed the independence of the elected representatives of their democratic right to disagree with oppressive laws tabled before the parliament. The political party heads were given power to remove any member of parliament who disagrees with party [government] policy and power to appoint a member of party's choice from the list of contestants who lost at the last general election. Further, in order to keep the legislative body under complete control of the President, Jayawardena resorted to obtain undated resignation letters from all the parliamentarians [of his party] and used the letters as a weapon against them.

Further, for the first time in Sri Lanka, Jayawardane regime introduced a string of benefits to the members of the legislature. The package of perks included duty free permits to import any luxury vehicle free of duty, a very high monthly pay not compatible with salaries offered to other public servants, a pension which is equivalent to the salary drawn as a member of parliament, liquor permits to set up liquor shops [very lucrative trade in Sri Lanka], salaries to the supportive staff [in most cases wives and children of the elected members], 5 million rupee annual budget to spent for the development of the electorate [with a curtailment of Auditor General's power to audit the funds].

Jayawardena's new constitution also responsible for making the public services a collection of spineless servants. Appointments, promotions and disciplinary control of the public officers were vested in the Public Service Commission [PSC], and the President appointed members to the PSC. The right to judicial review of the determinations of the PSC was removed.

His administration openly condoned corruption. Accumulation of wealth by whatever means was the order of the day. His despicable method of administration created a privileged social class who funded the party elections. And then with the full blessing of whatever the party rules the country the powerful anti-social elements indulged in all sorts of wrongdoing. At the end this social group became extremely powerful as the political climate pave them way to accumulate wealth in billions by wrongful means. Politicians and those who indulge in all sorts of nefarious activities were so interrelated that they were like two sides of the same coin. In most cases the members of the legislature who obtained duty free permits to import luxury vehicles under the pretext of their use sold the permits to their fraudster accomplices who defrauded the government revenue.

This corrupt system of administration inevitably created an enormous difference in the income distribution in the country, as the government was denied its rightful revenue needed for the sustenance of social welfare, by the fraudster-politician-mafia. Yet, Jayawardena was unconcerned about the danger the country faced with and Jayawardena was a shrewd politician who simply followed Machiaweli 's philosophy of government. He was not afraid to defy law and protect the interest of the wrongdoers. In many cases he directly intervened and nullified the orders made against the government revenue fraudsters by the revenue authorities. He pardoned the accomplices who were found guilty for serious crimes and sentenced to prison custody by Courts.

When his term of office came to an end, Jayawardena realized the anger of people who rejected the despicable acts of him and the policies he followed. Therefore, in 1983, he postponed the sovereign right of the people to elect a government of their choice for another 5 years. The consequences of this action were extremely costly. The uprising by youths, both in the North and South, who condemn the sham administration, was inevitable. They refused to condone the government corruption and rose against the government. But Jayawardena's strong arm was used to crush the social unrest. Security forces and police were given sweeping powers to defeat the social unrest. By an act of Parliament Jayawardena provided an absolute immunity for the flagrant violation of human rights to all servicemen committed offences against humanity. Sweeping powers were given to security forces to destroy the dead bodies of the youth, both in the north and south, who fought against all sorts of wrongdoing by the corrupt administrations. And the dead bodies destroyed with no right to a post-mortem. By these oppressive actions by the UNP administration, the members of the security forces and the police were encouraged to violate the human rights of the people with a scant respect to the all accepted norms of human rights. Tens of thousands of involuntary disappearances of youths were reported all over the country and sometime dead bodies of the youths tortured and killed were exhibited in the public places to terrorise the people.

After Jayawardena's term of office came Premadasa with Ranil Wickramasinghe as the Prime Minister. These two people wasted no time to continue from where Jayawardena stopped. Human rights violations and corruption under his regime was far worse than that of Jayawardena regime. They vehemently refused to listen to the international community, which expresses concern about the flagrant violation of human rights. And as a mark of protest the UK government withdrew it's High Commissioner Gladson from Sri Lanka. However, Premadasa-Wickramasinghe administration carried on their barbaric approach unchecked, killing tens of thousands of youth from both Singhalese and Tamil communities.

Tsunami waves killed over 30,000 people of Sri Lanka, which was a great tragedy in the recent history. Yet, people should not forget the manmade disasters committed by the politico-cheats that killed over 100,000 youth [Sinhalese in the south and Tamils in the North] who fought against the politico-cheats who let down the country.

Some label Ranil Wickramasinghe as the architect of the Batalanda Torture Camp where a large number of yourths were tortured and killed. How fair the allegations made against him. What the Batalanda Commission says about this person. According to Justice Jayawickrema, the Chairman of the Batalanda commission of Inquiry and Justice of the Court of Appeal, he has found Ranil Wickramasinge had the knowledge about the torture chamber. However, according to the chairman of the commission, the remarks made against the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinha had been deliberately removed from the official release of the Commission of inquiry.

Findings against Ranil Batalanda Commission of Inquiry

THE Batalanda Commission in its report submitted to the Sri Lankan President on 27 March confirms that an illegal torture centre was maintained by police officers at the Batalanda Housing Scheme during the height of the People's Liberation Front (JVP) insurrection between 1988 and 1990. A number of JVP suspects suffered torture in the centre, including prominent human rights lawyer Wijedasa Liyanarachchi who died as a result in September 1988. The police Counter Subversive Unit (CSU) headed by Douglas Peiris was directly responsible for the torture, the report says, and former Prime Minister and opposition United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, in whose electorate the torture chamber was located, knew of its existence. The Commission has observed that the police had failed to comply with the law and shown servile obedience to politicians for personal gain. It has urged the government to compensate victims and institute legal action against those identified as responsible for torture at the Batalanda Housing Scheme. Yet none of the recommendations made by the commission ever implemented by the government except acknowledging the liability of extra judicial killings of tens of thousands of youth and payment of compensation

Some say that Ranil is a man with a clandestine character. How fair is this comment? People know that his administration was responsible for eliminating tens of thousands of educated youth, graduates, doctors, engineers, lawyers and other professionals who fought against the corrupt administration. That he use the state terrorism ruthlessly to suppress the opposition that fought against government wrongdoing.

Why Ranil was made to surrendered before Tamil youth
Like their Singhalese counterpart Tamil youths also launched a relentless struggle against failed administration. However, unlike Sinhalese youth, Tamil youth's struggle was an organised armed struggle. Although the state terrorism was used to arrest and kill thousands of Tamil youths in the identical manner that used to crush Sinhalese youth the government failed as Tamil youth uprising received the international support. Their fight never ended and, spineless Wickramasinghe who ruthlessly destroyed thousands of unarmed youths from both communities was made to surrender by the determined armed Tamil freedom fighters. The fact is that if not for the political blunders committed by the corrupt politico-cheats there would not have been any reason for youth uprisings that finally led to the defacto separation of the country

1994 to 2001 - Regime under Kumaranatunge

Under Kumaratunge, except discontinuation of killings of youths no change was seen in the corrupt method of administration, which was continued to dominate by the fraudster-politician-mafia. Apparently, the President had no interest in restoring the corrupt free administration.

Many Corruption records where President Kumaranatunge is directly involved are available in the public domain. She had grossly abused the power of the Executive presidency in many cases in order to protect the interests of the fraudster-politician-mafia. Her security chief has admitted that he had committee many crimes under her orders.

President Chandrika has never denied any of these accusations. On the other hand whatever the wrongdoing she has committed, she cannot be charged before any court of law as she is absolutely protected by the immunity guaranteed by the constitution.

Balapatabandhi affairs
Startling evidence of her system of government is portrayed in the clandestine dealings of Balapatabandhi who recently bought extremely expensive property valued over 400 million Australian Dollars in Australia. Despite these startling revelations, the President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaranathunga has now designated Balapatabandhi to be the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia. Leave aside the conduct and embezzlement of public funds by her other key player in her administration, what is exposed is enough to give your verdict about her administration. Now, she talk about the misdeeds committed by SB Dissanayake and sentence him to jail for on a charge of contempt of court. And her administration now served SD Dissanayake with an indictment for plundering public funds. Why all this actions after defection? What wrong massage it gives to the people. Unless fall-apart whatever wrongdoing committed by the key players in her administration is safe and will never come to light.

Wickramasinghe administration 2002 - 2004
Under Ranil Wickramasighe regime state patronage of corruption is far worst than that of previous governments. Not only he condoned the corruption but went to the extent of introducing a new amnesty law with retrospective effect, to withdraw all prosecutions and investigations against all fraudster-politician-mafia. This law, which came into effect from 17th March 2003 deals with actions taken under Customs, Inland Revenue, Excise and 23 other laws against revenue fraudsters and it require unconditional withdrawal of penalties imposed on all forms revenue fraudsters who had defied the government revenue in billions.

Scandalous tax amnesty law
It is very relevant to observe the covert process followed by the Wickramasinghe government in bringing this amnesty legislation into force. It is revealed in a fundamental rights petition to the Supreme Court that in order to ensure no judicial intervention before the bill becomes law access to the bill had been deliberately denied to the public by the government. This is very dangerous move as the constitution debars the Supreme Court from inquiring into the constitutionality of the any Act of Parliament once the Speaker certifies a bill passed by the parliament. On 19-02-2003 the Speaker of the House has certified the amnesty bill and now it has become good law.
Choksy the fraudster Finance Minister

It is very pertinent to note the character and integrity of the Minister of Finance Choksy, who produced the said amnesty bill before the parliament. It has been revealed in the parliament that he is the lawyer who appear in the Court of Appeal to protect the interests of number of fraudsters who had defrauded the government revenue. The Finance Minister had conceded the allegations levelled against him that he defends two revenue fraudsters in the Court of Appeal who had defrauded government revenue of a sum of Rs. 1807 Million rupees. This is the best evidence that one could produce to demonstrate the true clandestine character of the lawmakers of Sri Lanka; that the lawmakers and the revenue fraudsters are two sides of the same coin, and the lawmakers are accomplices of the major revenue frauds.

It is very unlikely that nowhere else in the world except Sri Lanka that these kinds of despicable events occur. The Finance Minister whose bounden duty is to protect the revenue of the state and to prevent revenue frauds presents a bill before the Parliament to indemnify revenue fraudsters whom he defends before the court of law. Some times you may still be unaware of these happenings and may be amazed to hear these events but the fact is such events occurred in the political arena of Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew on Lankan politics
Lee Kuan Yew, the father of Singapore is widely acclaimed as a successful politician with a high degree of intergrity. He single-handedly brought the Singapore from third world to first. Our political leaders have epitomised the Singapore Story as an ideal for Sri Lanka's development. Some have even had visions of being the Lee Kuan Yews of Sri Lanka. Following is an extract from the second volume of the memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew titled "From Third World To First - The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 published in 2000 by Times Media Private Ltd and Times Press".

Lee Kuan Yew begins his recount of Sri Lanka with his first visit to Sri Lanka in 1956. Staying at the Galle Face Hotel, he had been impressed by our public buildings, many with stone facing. He emphasises that due to Mountbatten basing his Southeast Asia command in Kandy, Ceylon as we then called it had more resources and better infrastructure than Singapore.

According to Lee, the start of the unravelling of Sri Lanka was in 1956 with Sinhala being made the national language and other moves to make Ceylon a more nativist society. He recounts that the leaders of that day did not seem troubled that Jaffna Tamils and other minorities would be at a disadvantage now that Sinhala was the national language, or by the unease of the Hindu Tamils, the Muslim Moors and the Christian Burghers regarding the elevated status of Buddhism as the national religion.

Lee recalls the claim by Felix Dias Bandaranaike who he names as Mrs. Bandaranaike's eminence grise on international affairs, that good fortune of geography and history had blessed Ceylon with peace and security so that only 2.5 per cent of Ceylon's budget was spent on defence; and then questions the irony of this claim when in the late 1980s more than half of the budget went into arms and the Defence Forces to crush the Jaffna Tamil rebellion.

According to Lee, when Ceylon gained independence in 1948, it was the classic model of gradual evolution to independence. Ceylon was Britain's model Commonwealth country. He says, after the war, Ceylon was a good middle size country with fewer than 10 million people. It had a relatively good standard of education with two universities of high quality in Colombo and Kandy teaching in English, a civil service largely of locals, and experience in representative government starting with city council elections in the 1930s.

In Lee's words "Alas, it did not work out. During my visits over the years I watched a promising country go to waste". Lee ends his note on Sri Lanka by saying "It is sad that the country whose ancient name Serendib has given the English language the word "serendipity" is now the epitome of conflict, pain, sorrow and hopelessness".

Dear countrymen, what more you want to discover the colossal damage caused to the country by politico-cheats since independence. Now let's see what the world body on monitoring corruption has got to say about Sri Lankan political set up. According to the TI 2004 Corruption Perception Index [CPI] Sri Lanka is place at 67 and Sri Lanka's CPI score is mere 3.5 and amongst the highly corrupted administrations in the world.

According to Transparency International "Large-scale corruption in the public sector is a daunting obstacle to sustainable development, and results in a major loss of public funds needed for education, healthcare and poverty alleviation, both in developed and developing countries. If we hope to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, governments need to seriously tackle corruption in public contracting". TI estimates that the amount lost due to bribery in government procurement is at least US$ 400 billion per year worldwide. Truly corruption robs countries of their potential and public funds vanishing into the pockets of the fraudster politico-cheats, middlemen and local officials in billions.

What does the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the World Bank say about the Lankan economy?

Two official reports recently published provide a menacing glimpse into the country's deepening social inequality and the continuing deterioration of living standards for the majority of the population. The first, a study titled Consumer Finance and Socio-Economic Survey for 2003/ 2004, which was released on December 9 by the director of the Central Bank's statistics department, Anila Dais Bandaranaike. The second-the World Bank's Sri Lanka Development Policy Review-was issued last week.

The Central Bank survey, the first of its kind in six years, revealed a staggering gulf between rich and poor. In 2003/2004, the poorest 20 percent of the population received just 3.8 of the national income as compared to 55 percent for the richest 20 percent.

The social chasm is also widening. The share of national income of the poorest 10 percent of the population has fallen from 1.27 percent in 1996/97 to just 1.1 percent in 2003/2004. For the richest 10 percent, their share has risen from 37.28 to 39.4 percent over the same period.
Let's transform the Tsunami to a blessing in disguise

After the Tsunami disaster the G8 countries have now decided to suspend all debt repayments by affected countries. And the country is getting billions of dollars of aid to rebuild the nation. What is lacking is only leadership with integrity and a vision. There are thousands of learned professionals who were sick with the fraudster administration hence left the country. Most of these highly skilled people are yearning for an opportunity to return to the country and help to rebuild the country provided honest administration is put in place. No doubt there return would be a great asset to the country. What is lacking now is action plan to bring about a honest administration assuring transparency harmony and justice to all communities regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. May be the Tsunami, as the President Chandrika correctly conceded is the result of the provocation of the nature by the frausster-politico-cheats.

In Sri Lanka there is no discrimination on the basis of race colour or creed but clearly there is favouritism on the basis of rich by any means and poor because of unwarranted exploitation. The need of the day is to get rid of the fraudster-politico-cheats of both in the UNP and SLFP that failed the country for over 50 years since independence and handover the administration to the country to the youth regardless of ethnicity but purely on the merits. That is what the most successful politicians of the world like Lee Kuan Yew had believed as the most critical lapse in the system.

Only way out to the issues that the country faced with is to eliminate the fraudster politico-cheats. That will naturally create good environment to build the trust in the people of all communities. Tsunami tragedy is the most opportune time for nation building process. Let's forget about the petty differences and be united. Let's educate the international community and seek the support of the international community to get rid of the failed politico-cheats on whom they have placed no confidence. World community should concede that in an environment where they cannot trust the Lankan politicians there is no way they could expect people of Sri Lanka to have any trust or faith in the failed politico-cheats.

Let's treat the Tsunami tragedy a blessing in disguise and transform the tragedy to commit ourselves to rebuild the nation.

Let's demand both Chandrika and Ranil together with their rouge pseudo politico bunch to banish from mother Lanka. That is the most fitting thing they could do at this hour. Since they have conceded their failure and admitted the responsibility for the provocation of the nature they have no morale right to seek any mandate from the people to rule the country any more. Because of their endless disgusting actions mother Lanka has lot lives of hundreds of thousand of people hence the people have every right to demand banishment of the psedo politico cheats from motherland and let the people to elect someone with a vision and integrity to lead the country.



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