Open letter to President Gotabaya

Thursday, 21 November 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Dear President,

Let me congratulate you on being elected as the seventh Executive President with an overwhelming mandate. I am sure, even you did not expect such a huge majority. Though I did not vote for you, you have got the endorsement from a vast section of the Sri Lankan population and I bow down to the majority sentiment and go along with their aspirations and expectations with the desire to build an economically stable and united country.

You have got the people’s support and your hands have been made stronger. The people expect a better deal to lead their simple and frugal lives. There are a few basic needs that they expect.

First is, a peaceful country where all communities can live without fear of extremist violence which has alienated sections of our citizenry. Hate speech, from whatever quarter should be banned and severe action should be taken against perpetrators of not only violence but also those propagating anti-ethnic sentiments.

Some immediate relief measures to the lower middle class and poor sections of the population to tide over the difficult times they now experience until you have a proper cabinet and the economic structure to implement short and long term measures you promised in the manifesto.

The basic needs of the people, primarily an efficient and caring health service, devoid of needless strike actions by doctors and hospital staff with an adequate supply of all essential drugs in all grades of hospitals throughout the country.

The State service or the Public service should be streamlined to provide an efficient service to the people who come from distant villages, often getting up in the early hours of the day. 

The work of the public servants should be monitored and supervised so that they do not neglect their duties. The officers with lackadaisical attitudes and guilty of dereliction should be dealt with severely.

Even the Ministers under whose purview such departments or institutions come should be properly reprimanded for failure to perform. Parliamentarians and ministers should be compelled to attend parliament when in session.

I trust you too will prune down the perks and facilities granted to ministers and parliamentarians as promised by your main opponent before the election. Savings by such action can be put for better use to meet people’s needs. The Police should be properly guided to treat ordinary folk with respect and courtesy and those abusing their authority and harassing helpless people should be dealt with strong disciplinary action and also the Police should not be pressurised by the political functionaries of the ruling party to do unethical things. Your promise to eliminate the drug menace and punishing drug dealers should be immediately implemented. The youth of this country must be saved from being engulfed by the drug menace, fast spreading in all parts of this country. If not stopped now, we will not have sufficient numbers to meet the future manpower needs.

Immediate measures should be adopted to protect the environment and preserve our forest cover and reserves. Those exploiting natural resources without proper licences and supervision should be apprehended and dealt with severely. 

The people suffer at the hands of bus operators and three-wheel operators. The bus services should be streamlined and the bus crews should be disciplined to handle the passengers with care. The bus drivers should be compelled to follow traffic rules and law breakers should be nabbed by Police and given punishment without favour. The three-wheel drivers too should be disciplined and those who do not follow traffic rules should be dealt with appropriately. 

This may not be easy but please consider banning import of three-wheelers for two years and stop import of other non-essential vehicles for three years. This may help to reduce drain of our valuable foreign exchange reserves and curtail import of fossil fuel (petroleum) thereby helping to reduce air pollution.

With the people’s power and your proven capabilities, I am sure you will be able to attend to these issues quickly and concentrate on your long term policies. May I also suggest that you appoint capable persons with good records to your cabinet and persons who have honesty, integrity and capability as professionals to the State institutions and Government departments so that your mandate can be effectively exercised as promised in the manifesto.

With hope and expectations, I wish you once again and may the Triple Gem bless you and be endowed with benign blessings of other religions too to carry out your onerous task.

Janitha Devapriya