Chandrika’s Comments on Corruption & Bad Governance today: An Answer
Posted on June 7th, 2010

By Garvin Karunaratne, Ph.D.(Michigan State University)

  Chandrika Kumaranatunge, the former President of Sri Lanka has commented in “Politics “”…” the most lucrative of Lankan businesses” in the Sunday Island that “Engaging in politics in Sri Lanka today is the easiest and fastest way to making a quick buck. At present politics is the most lucrative of businesses in this country and around 80 percent of those carrying out political functions are corrupt”.
 I am certain that many would agree with me that this comment would aptly apply with equal force to her reign as President. Is there a difference today is the million dollar question.

It is my opinion that our politicians were compelled to become corrupt and or to seek assistance in a clandestine manner from others due to the Jayawardena Constitution which required that a member of parliament had to sell himself, to gather votes from the entire District. Once I was leaving Sri Lanka at election time and between Kelaniya and Katunayake there was heightened election activity near the home of a contestant. There were easily twenty vans fitted with loudspeakers with hundreds of supporters. Hundreds of publicity meetings and functions are an essential part. Gone are the days when Prime Minister Dahanayake hung a loud hailer around his neck, walked on byroads and spoke at junctions in Galle to his electors. I stopped my car and listened to one of his orations, unobserved by him lest he call me to his side. Unlike those days, now it  is very costly and requires the expenditure of millions of rupees, an amount that a member of parliament could not save from one’s salary even if they worked for a full life time. In short they had to somehow find finance for a costly election. Gone are the days when a member of parliament could nurture one’s electorate and be certain of victory. That was unfortunately the Jayawardena legacy for our country. He created a scenario where politicians had to find money somehow.

When I mentioned this to a former colleague he referred to a particular Minister who was beyond corruption. During the elections I had seen his posters pasted all over in the thousands. My colleague said that there were printers who would print free for him and organizations that would paste them free. To me that was corruption. One would be under obligation and there would always be a motive for attending to that task. It would only be a close relative or a special friend that would spend without expecting a reward in some form or other. I can recall that  in the UK the Ministers are always entertained with fabulous holidays for favours done. My mind goes back in nostalgia to my days in the Administrative Service, where I caught my own chief clerk accepting a perfume and I hounded him out of the office for good. His increments were deferred and he suffered a salary cut for the rest of his service for that lapse. Even a decade later he follows me when he sees me and reminds me of how I was too hard on him.

It is evident that Chandrika Kumaranatunge has forgotten her past as the President. I lived in Sri Lanka from 1955 to 2000 and am aware of the corruption and bad governance at that time.

Chandrika’s name is etched with corruption in the Water’s Edge decision of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. This aspect needs no comment as this is the voice of the supreme judicial body in the country. The Supreme Court reversed the transfer of land to the Water’s Edge golf course saying former President Chandrika Kumaratunga ” had abused power and violated public trust in the deal”.

What a comment to hear of the First Citizen of a country? What could you expect of the members of her Government?

That was not all. The Supreme Court order was that Chandrika Kumaranatune should pay Rs 3 million as compensation to the State(LBO:11/10/2008) In paying up the fine she acknowledged her guilt.

Kumaratunga said that “the need to wipe out terrorism should not lead to the treatment of an entire community as if they were all terrorists” She has totally forgotten that the war was conducted against that group of Tamils who had thought of establishing a separate state within Sri Lanka. It was this group of Tamils that she herself had taken on and had even liberated Jaffna from their clutches.

Today, the majority of Tamils live safe without any fear and any discrimination amongst the Sinhalese as they lived under her presidency. There has been no change whatsoever. The change is in Kumaranatunge’s present stance as an agent of the Western Superpowers who are bent on discrediting the present regime of President Rajapaksa.

One cannot forget the role that Chandrika played in promoting the PTOMS (Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure) between the sovereign Government of Sri Lanka and the terrorist LTTE. She was adamant that this PTOMS agreement should be signed and she signed it despite the opposition of the Mahasangha, and every patriot. Even her own Ministers were unaware. It was an agreement where the LTTE was to be accepted as the de facto ruler of the land mass that they had wrested from the Sri Lankan Government. The Committees that were proposed to distribute Aid had a majority of LTTE personnel and were all headed by the LTTE. The sovereign government of Sri Lanka did not have any voice and it was a total abdication of our rights to the LTTE. The Committees were not to be controlled by our Parliament and further the Committees could have direct contact with foreign agencies. . The PTOMS Agreement was only stopped in its tracks by a Supreme Court decision.

Her action in furthering the PTOMS agreement to my mind smacks of complicity towards the LTTE. It is sad to think of one of our leaders licking the boots of the terrorists. In my mind I have no doubt that she received a major favour in some form or other, from either the LTTE or the Norwegians. There is absolutely no other possible explanation why she was prepared to go that mile sacrificing the sovereignty of our country to the terrorists.

Of corruption, Chandrika cannot plead innocence. I have already mentioned the Water’s Edge decision of the Supreme Court. Numerous other deals are reported- which have yet to be investigated.

She says that “The country has lost its soul and is fast going down a precipice of hatred and intolerance. Recognizing the rights and aspirations of all is vital but the country is fast losing this ability”.

Sri Lanka is not heading down the path of hatred and intolerance today. President Rajapaksa has said that the entire country belongs to all communities and rightfully so. The Tamil people who do not belong to the LTTE are living amicably amongst the other communities. The Tamils that sided and supported the LTTE have left and are now parading as the Global Tamil Forum, operating from overseas.

In her devolution proposals she was trying to accord more powers to the LTTE. She even when to the extent of branding everyone that pointed out that her devolution proposals as far fetched and a capitulation of the country to the LTTE, as extremists. That was the patriotism shown by Chandrika Kumaranatunge. She did not allow anyone to contest and to show how her devolution proposals were unfair by the Sinhala people and the Muslims, the former who formed 75% of the population of the country. She now dares to state that “opinions with which one did not agree needed to be tolerated, what is transpiring currently was that those who voiced opinions which ran contrary to those which were aired by some opinion moulders, were being intimidated and silenced”. That comment would apply more to her period.

A glance at the newspapers of today will show how most web sites and most newspapers are allowed to publish anti government propaganda. In fact in connection with the recent parliamentary election, I had to comment that “It is held that there is no media freedom and that journalists are being harassed. Many are the papers and news items that criticize the Government and full publicity is accorded to such articles and news items in all newspapers. However articles written in support of President Rajapaksa find their way only on Online Websites- in a very few of them. Even the writings of H.L.D.Mahindapala, an illustrious writer, former Editor of the Observer cannot find publication even in the Government controlled newspapers. There seems to be an unseen hand censoring the publication of pro Government papers. .. There is full and wide media freedom.”(Lanka Web:4/4/2010)

Chandrika’s presidency in its attitude towards the LTTE can be divided into two periods. At first she took on the LTTE and liberated Jaffna from their clutches. She was even blinded in one eye in a bomb attack by the LTTE. Then she changed her stance. This is evident in the Devolution Proposals and finally in the PTOMS agreement, where she espoused the cause of the terrorist LTTE, sacrificing the inherent rights of the people of Sri Lanka.

Today her actions stand out as a part of an international conspiracy to destablize Sri Lanka.

As an administrator in the Sri Lanka Administrative Service I can state that the members of parliament were not corrupt till 1973. As the Government Agent at Matara District in 1971- 1973 and as the Additional Government Agent at Kegalla in 1968-1969 I kept company with the members of parliament and can vouch for the fact that none of them were corrupt. Corruption among parliamentarians is a post 1977 creation and it can yet get nipped in the bud. President Rajapaksa has vowed to get rid of corruption and I am certain that he will achieve that task. In my days I knew Mr D.A. Rajapaksa and Lukshman Rajapaksa, the father and a cousin of our president and they were people who could be trusted, people who were beyond any corruption. D.A. was a father figure to us administrators, while Lukshaman fought for the people of Hambantota for their rights. He interfered with every staff officer that failed to serve the people. George his uncle has left a good name as a Minister and it will not be Mahinda that will tarnish the name left by the Rajapaksas- and that comes down from his great uncle who fought with the then British Government Agent at Hambantota, when he was repressive on the people. The Government Agents of those days had judicial powers and could even have incarcerated him. Our President Mahinda Rajapaksa, I am certain, will never abuse the power bestowed on him by the people.

It is hoped that we can get rid of corruption in the near future. This is a far easier task than defeating the LTTE. However Chandrika Kumaranatunge is not a person that can comment about corruption or about bad governance, because her corruption has been exposed by the Supreme Court, the premier judicial institution in our country.

To many of us the name Chandrika Kumaranatunge is tainted with corruption and bad governance. It is unbelievable that she can adopt this holier than thou attitude. Is she gong senile.

Garvin Karunaratne,
formerly of the Administrative Service
San Diego, USA : 6/6/2010

7 Responses to “Chandrika’s Comments on Corruption & Bad Governance today: An Answer”

  1. Nanda Says:

    Not only that. Every one knows Chandrika had an alchohol addiction. She also said to have had few boyfiriends. Not holy at all !

  2. Nihal Fernando Says:

    This woman, bandit queen is talking through her gap with her own experience.


    What is this woman up to now?? Is she looking for work??

  4. Tissa Says:

    Please translate this article to Sinhalese and publish in Divaina

  5. helaya Says:

    During Chandrika’s time her uncle Ratwatte was the army commander and guy scamme governnment money left and right. He built a luxury house in Kandy and retaining wall for the house cost more tha few million rupees. That is hoe she ran the country.

  6. orpheusperera Says:

    Chadrika was a Hindi movie fan. LTTE bullets have caused her a brain damage. She will never recover from it. Nobody has, not even Ronald Reagan who signed documents without reading or read from speachers prepared by George Bush(Senior) without knowing what he was doing. During her time as the president, Sri Lankan children as young as 8 years old, even they were not her supporters, wasted their time watching these movies without studying or doing their homework. Hindi movies also ate lots of foreign exchange.

  7. Andare Says:

    I have heard that she used to go in the middle of the night to meet the Mother Superior at St. Bridget’s (her old school) for advice. I am not sure how far this is true. It shows the degree of influence the Catholic Church has wielded on Sri Lanka politics. When will the people wake up and realize the danger? She also used Rohan Daluwatte (nephew) as the Army commander. He had no experience in fighting unlike Gota who was in the front lines of the fighting and became a Colonel on his own merit. Daluwatte used to run to Sai Baba when he was faced with problems. It shows how superstitious some of our people are. In their weakness they create gods and hang onto them for dear life.
    What was the change that happened when she was damaged by an LTTE suicide bomber. Is there a parallel here between her and Sarath Fonseka who was also damaged by an LTTE suicide bomber.

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