Broken promises galore – where do we go from here?

Thursday, 9 June 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Insider

President Sirisena and his partner Ranil Wickremesinghe and their bunch of crusaders promised the earth, moon and the sun to oust the Rajapaksa clan. The Rajapaksa clan was made to look like a pack of thieves who plundered the nation and committed all the crimes humanely possible. 

The crushing of the LTTE and the expressways, airports the ports the facilities that were constructed were depicted as a waste of public funds. The Katunayake Expressway was said to have been built at an excess of over 50%.

Eighteen months into the Yahapalana Government, there is still very little to see other than a few bond deals, the many controversies of cancelling projects then rewarding projects, only to see some of them being cancelled again has become a norm. 

Had the UNP administration in 2001, or even before that one, that ran for 17 years, constructed the Airport Expressway, then it would have certainly cost the taxpayers very much less , but indecision and lack of leadership prevented the expressway getting constructed. 

The real golden era for Sri Lanka was during the ’78-’83 period under JRJ, where unprecedented development took place; the next noteworthy era was when the LTTE was defeated under Mahinda Rajapaksa. Unfortunately Mahinda Rajapaksa did not capitalise on the goodwill he had generated by defeating the LTTE, instead he allowed his cronies to govern as they please, ruining him for good. The result was a tragedy for good governance. 

Central Bank Governor

The way the current Government is running their affairs, there is very little hope for the people who are desperately looking for a change. For example, the huge public outcry surrounding the reappointment of the controversial ex-Sri Lankan CB Governor has all been in vain. His friendship with the current Prime Minister is set to take him through like the bond deal before. 

His excesses of squandering public funds to fund his binges oversees means nothing to the Prime Minister, because according to newspapers there is no one in Sri Lanka who can match up to the Governor’s capabilities. What bunkum is this? 

The economy was far better off under P.B. Jayasundera and Cabral. One has to only look at the economic figures. The duo would have known how to get out of the current crisis. The 4,000-strong Deposit Protection Society has vowed to go to court against Mahendran for abuse of power, if re-appointed. The challenge of holding on to his new appointment is only beginning for Mahendran.

SriLankan Airlines

The management of SriLankan Airlines is another tragedy. Instead of putting competent people to run the troubled airline that sucks up annually more than what we spend on public welfare, the Government appointed a high-street coffee-shop owner as the Chairman and a pilot who knows nothing about managing a sinking airline as CEO. The CEO’s only qualification is that he is the brother of Ratwatte, an Advisor to the Prime Minister, who even ensured he was confirmed despite the downward performance of the airline according to staff of the airline. 

Finance Minister 

The Finance Minister, who is facing his second no confidence motion, should stop talking about the money he can borrow and get some projects off the ground and get the economy out of the woods. His track record is not that impressive – inflation is up, rates are up, growth is down, exchange is tight. The Prime Minister and the President should stop talking about what the Rajapaksa family did and start showing results to the country.

Observers say committee after committee the Government has appointed has only slowed down the affairs of the administration. Public servants say the setting up of several agencies to speed up decision making has only led to more confusion and delays and building up of empires that work contrary to good governance. 

The current Government, while asking the public to tighten belts by increasing the taxes on everything including vehicles, has happily issued generous duty free permits for the politicians. Ministers continue to make contrary statements with no brakes.

We only hope for the sake of Yahapalanaya the current Government does not crash-land soon for want of foresight, leadership and a breach of public trust and give the Joint Opposition the much-needed oxygen they need to breathe again. 

That would surely be a tragedy for the six million people who voted for Maithripala Sirisena, very much more than Wickremesinghe, expecting a sea of change for the better. This far it has been more and more of the same.