Thanks to the media we were given a ball by ball commentary on what happened at Welikada last weekend. How did the prisoners get ready to welcome the Police in the manner that they did? Isn’t it true that somebody made them prepare for this search operation?
By Sydney Knight
Before we get to the subject of the menace of drugs in our country, Minister D.E.W. Gunesekera and all those in high places as regards the Welikada Prison must do a search operation of their work as those responsible for the prisoners at Welikada.
For years Sri Lanka was focussing on the war in the north and east and therefore put under the carpet live issues like the prisoners in our country and the menace of drugs. Now that the military part of the war is behind us, we, the people of Sri Lanka, must address these issues.
I shall in this letter leave it to the authorities to handle and manage the matter of our prisons and focus on the menace of drugs in our country.
I for one will blame the 1977 Government for the manner in which the problem of drugs has become a menace in our Land today. In 1977 we began the Economic Policy called the open economy. I am a product of the University of Peradeniya where we have a plaque which states “more open than usual”. Sadly the 1977 Government opened the economy in our country “more open than usual”.
What does this mean? Not only did we export and import our needs and our products, but also the menace of drugs. Of course we Sri Lankans are not angels and archangels. Some in our country were used to drugs like ganja. With the open economy, the drug world entered Sri Lanka. ‘Filthy lucre’ became the name of the game, hence the place of money in our economy and in our lives.
With the interest of making money the peddlers of drugs did everything possible to reach the untouched in the areas of drugs. Those of us who have been trained to handle all these in some way know that before one becomes addicted to handle drugs one gets used to tobacco and liquor and perhaps ganja.
What is the outcome? The peddlers of drugs are in the vicinity of our schools. They do their utmost to capture innocent students and initiate the bad habit. It is no secret that our students are getting addicted to drugs.
In our society, our people because they are addicted to drugs become thieves, beggars and borrowers of money. Many are the young lives being destroyed. Homes broken and families disrupted. Some well dressed young persons are on the streets trying to get some money pretending to be somebody and sadly telling us the same story every day.
I for one am glad that the Police is at last fighting this battle of the menace of drugs in our country. It was only a few years ago that a leading judge in our country was murdered by a rich man who became rich by dealing in the business of drugs.
Sometimes I wonder where all those who were shouting from the house tops about the menace of Prabhakaran and the LTTE are doing about this live problem in our land. What then is the answer to the problem?
This problem is ours in this country and therefore the solution is ours. Of course the hard drugs come from outside. People and organisations make money as did the LTTE on the sale of drugs.
It is the parent in every home in this land, every place of education in our country and every place of worship that must address this issue.
All our homes are not happy places. The subject of broken relationships and some parents are either not with their spouses and children or away from the home trying to make money. Our schools have ceased to be places of learning and values. Our places of worship have become and are places that have forgotten the teaching of their founders. It is in this context that the work of the Police must be stated.
As a person who has been trained to handle this problem, we were taught that when a person addicted to drugs has been helped he/she must get back to a place where he or she will be cared for and looked after. Sadly all our homes, places of learning and places of worship do not fit this requirement. Therefore there has to be a process of self examination in our homes, places of learning and places of worship.
Linked to the drug menace is the issue of sex workers in our midst. Poverty is supposed to be the cause for these workers indulging in the world’s oldest profession. Today’s Colombo is inundated not only with local women on the streets including local boys and men but also plenty of Chinese.
Where the Chinese are concerned, various places are used as fronts for these women to congregate. Sadly where this problem is concerned the Police seem to be hand in glove with the culprits.
With the 18th Amendment in place and no Bribery Commission of the 17th Amendment type, I do not think bribery and corruption in this area will be stalled.
We are, sadly, a sick society; using money to purchase drugs and sex. We need healing. This to my mind can only come if today’s Sri Lanka will take seriously the teachings of the founders of the four World Religions in our midst.
It was Mother Teresa of Calcutta who one said that if a Buddhist is a better Buddhist, if a Hindu a better Hindu, if a follower of Islam can be a better follower and a follower of Christ a better follower, this world will be a better place.
Therefore, to my mind, the solution can be learned from the four main religions of our land. As I write this piece I am aware that in the midst of this tragedy where drugs and sex are concerned there are persons in our land who are addressing this issue. We need to support them. Law and order can only help, but the deep rooted problem must be focused and addressed. Over to all Sri Lankans.