The UNP accuses the Government about the Cost of Living little knowing that it was the UNP that destroyed the mechanism to control the Cost of Living.
Posted on August 2nd, 2012

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

Ranil Wickremasinghe the leader of the United National Party(UNP) was shown distributing leaflets on the high cost of living and the economy at the Delkanda Fair in Nugegoda. The leaders of the UNP deserve to be reminded that it was the UNP of President Jayawardena itself that demolished the infrastructure that Sri Lanka had built up for decades since achieving independence, for combating inflation. It was also no other than Ranil Wickremasinghe himself who abolished the CWE during his Prime Ministership in 2001.  He appears to be a dementia patient today.

To get into detail, the administrative infrastructure to keep inflation at bay- to ensure that the cost of living was in check was the Marketing Department  as far as local produce was concerned and the CWE for imported produce.  The Marketing Department mechanism was abolished at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank when President Jayawardena accepted the Structural Adjustment Programme of the IMF in 1978 and liberalized the economy, accepted loans for consumption, followed deficit budgeting and did away with all exchange controls. 

At that time rice was issued on the rice ration scheme and this was done through a network of consumer cooperatives established islandwide.   For the marketing of essential commodities, in my own words:

The Department for the Development  of Agricultural Marketing”¦ ensured that prices of all essential commodities were indirectly controlled and the traders were compelled to offer fair prices to the producers and the retail shop keepers were compelled to sell at fair prices to consumers.  This is a system that I have never seen elsewhere in the world’ “¦The motto of the Department was to pay the highest possible price to the producer and sell at the lowest possible price  to the consumer.( From: How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka,”¦ (Godages)

 I was involved with the entire System because I was appointed Assistant Commissioner for the Development of Agricultural Marketing in 1955, and worked in the Ratnapura, Hambantota, Anuradhapura  Districts as well as was in charge of the Tripoli Market, the Headquarters of the Vegetable Marketing Scheme for a year in 1957.

 This System involved a Network of Retail Shops(Fair Price Shops) in every major city and a Vegetable  and Fruit Marketing Scheme involving purchasing, selling and processing, that covered the entire island.

The entire island was covered by Assistant Commissioners who had to report the availability of produce, prices at the Fairs and at Retail Shops, and guide producers to plant varieties in demand.

 A Network of Retail Shops(Fair Price Shops)

In order to enable the availability of essential food the Marketing Department established a large number of shops in the cities and these shops were well stocked with essential food like dhall, sugar, flour, onions and vegetables. These were sold at rock bottom prices, where no profit margin was kept. The intention was to unofficially control the retail prices offered by private traders. When a well stocked shop was selling goods at a low price the private retailers too had to sell at similar prices otherwise they will have no sales because the consumers will all go to the Marketing Department shops and the private shop keepers will have to close down. Assistant Commissioners had to ensure that the Departmental shops were well stocked.

An incident comes to mind. I was then in charge of the Southern Province with my office at Ambalantota. In the Red Onion season we got wagon loads of red onions from Jaffna and we were required to sell at whole sale prices to traders and also to sell at our shops. One day  I had just inspected our shop at Galle and also visited a number of private traders’ shops to ensure that they did sell red onions at reasonable prices. I returned to Ambalantota. The next morning in office I got a telegram from Head Office. It read, “Member of Parliament Dahanayake reports that there is a shortage of red onions in Galle. Inspect and report at once”. I got into my car and reached Galle by  around four. I went straight to our shop and found it well stocked with red onions. I checked the books for sales. I visited a number of private shops and found them well stocked selling at a slight higher price than our price. That was how it ought to be. Armed with these details I went to Mr Dahanayake’s residence. He was not in and I waited for him. I knew him well. It was late in the night about ten that he came home and inquired what brought me there. I brandished the telegram and said that I had been in Galle the earlier day and found that red onions were available in our shop and that there was no shortage. He  looked hard at me for a few minutes and said, “Garvin, You know a man came to meet me and said that there was a shortage of red onions and to satisfy him I sent a telegram to the Minister” I quipped, ” But sir, there is no shortage and there never was” ” That I know but to keep that man happy I had to send a telegram.”  He added,” That is politics, Garvin. We have to keep our supporters happy. Don’t you worry, next time when I go to Colombo I will meet the Minister and tell him that there is no problem here with the Marketing Department”  That was all. I reported this meeting to our Commissioner and never heard again. Presumably Mr Dahanayake had phoned the Minister.  We Assistant Commissioners had to have a dragnet over all essential supplies and that included not only our shops but all private shops. It was an indirect control of prices and availability.

Again, once at the District Coordination Committee at Anuradhapura it was reported that the few traders were fleecing the colonists at Padaviya by charging high prices. I was the Assistant Commissioner at Anuradhapura and said that we will open a shop at Padaviya. I got covering approval from the Commissioner and in a few days time opened a Shop at Padaviya, to serve the colonists. Our Shops effectively controlled the cost of living. The private traders had to cut their profits as otherwise they would be  out of business. That scheme worked right.

The Vegetable and Fruit Marketing Scheme

The Marketing Department established Vegetable and Fruit Packing Sheds(actually purchasing units) in all producing areas. The name given was packing sheds and they were in many places in temporary buildings mostly made with timber. Even some Assistant Commissioners had their offices in these temporary buildings in 1955.

The entire Vegetable Marketing Scheme was administered from Tripoli Market, based in the largest hangar in the Colombo Goodshed.  One part of the Scheme was to purchase vegetables and fruits from producers who brought their produce to our Vegetable Packing Sheds. They were paid immediate cash. The Department was equipped with lorries that were sent to the chief  Producer Fairs in the producer areas. Thus there were mobile purchasing uints at all major fairs like Embilipitiya, Colombage Ara,  Bandarawela, Welimada, Kekitrawa to mention just a few. These Purchasing Units comprised Marketing Officers and a staff of purchasing officers and labourers. The produce brought in was weighed and accepted from producers and they were paid cash immediately. The Assistant Commissioners of the Districts were required to visit all major fairs to ensure that the purchases were made regularly. When I worked in the Districts my day commenced at four to get to the Fairs by six in the morning. Vegetables were purchased and packed and dispatched to Triploi by evening either by wagons(by trains) or by special lorry.

At Triploi Market, the Assistant Commissioner  had a Marketing Officer at the Colombo Wholesale Market. His task was to report the prices at which the wholesale traders sold the produce to the retail traders and to report on the availability of produce. In the Districts, the Assistant Commissioners and the Marketing Officers had to report the prices at which private traders purchased vegetables and fruit.  Generally there was a wide gap between the prices at which the traders purchased goods and the prices at which the Wholesale Traders sold to the retail traders in Colombo. Based on these prices, the Assistant Commissioner at Tripoli Market decided the purchasing prices at which goods were to be purchased at the Fairs. This price was always above the prices offered by the traders who bought goods at the Fairs. This helped the producers and the traders at the Fairs too had to offer a similar price because otherwise the producers will not sell to them.

On a daily basis Tripoli Market received around twenty wagon loads of vegetables and a similar number of lorries bringing in produce. These were checked and had to be in our Retail shops by ten in the morning.  Tripoli Market was a hive of activity from early morning.  Then the Railways ran very efficient and brought in produce in time.  For instance curd from Ridiyagama Farm in Hambantota was sent by lorry to Marata and came by night mail train to Tripoli. This was an item in high demand. The retail price we fixed for Ridiyagama Curd effectively controlled the prices of curd in private shops in Colombo.

The Assistant Commissioner at Triploi Market kept a very low margin to cover up cost of transport and handling and fixed a low price for sales to the consumers through the network of Shops. Generally the Marketing Department kept a margin of around 10 to 15% above the purchase price while the private trader at the Fair  kept a margin to 40 to 50% and the Whoelsale Traders too kept around 40% and further the retail trader too kept around 40%.  Thus while the private trader generally kept a margin of 100% or 120% over the purchasing price at the Fair, the Marketing Department kept a margin of 10% to 15%.

The working of the Marketing Department  meant that the private traders at the Fairs and the Wholesale Traders as well as the Retail Traders in the cities had to be satisfied with a low margin.

The Marketing Department in the Fifties was headed by BLW Fernando, a Chartered Accountant and he would not allow any Assistant Commissioner to keep a higher margin than 15%. That was a rule to be followed. Every month all Assistant Commissioners had to attend a Conference where the Profit and Loss calculations were closely studied and the Commissioner would chastise all Assistant Commissioners that  had a profit of over 10% or incurred a loss.  We were expected to cover up, not to incur a loss or  to get a large profit.

This was the key method by which the prices of vegetables and fruits were kept in check. The Scheme has thus a dual aim- of offering the producer a fair price as well as offering the consumer a low price.  At times it was like walking on a rope but we got used to walk on it.

The Retail Shops had to be well stocked and full of goods otherwise the wrath of the Commissioner had to be faced.

Two years ago on one of my visits I found tomatoes being sold at forty rupees a kilo by a producer on the Mahiyangana Road, when the retail price in Colombo was around rupees eighty to one hundred, a margin of over hundred percent. This could not happen while the Marketing Department was at work. The Assistant Commissioners  were eternally traveling as they had to visit Fairs, inspect purchasing at the Fairs and the Vegetable Purchasing Depots, contact producers and offer advice on items on demand. Generally our traveling allowances exceeded our salaries.

Tripoli Marker had cold rooms where the excess produce could be stored.

This Vegetable Marketing & Fruit Marketingh Scheme  was very successful in ensuring that consumers in cities obtained vegetables and fruits at cheap rates. The Cost of Living was kept in check.

 The Canning Factory

Local producers got a boost with the establishment of the Canning Factory in 1955. At that time Sri Lanka imported fruit juice and fruit from Australia and the task of the Canning factory was to produce fruit juice, jam and jellies. The Vegetable Purchasing Centers sent goods to the Canning Factory. At the initial stages in canning fruit juice many problems were faced and it took over a year to surmount them and get down to production for all Sri Lanka’s requirements. The Marketing Department offered  floor prices for pineapples, red pumpkin and ash pumpkin and producers benefited immensely. Floor prices meant that the Department will purchase everything offered at that price. Pineapple was tinned and even an export trade was built up. Assistant Commissioner Oswald Tilekeratne spread his wings abroad very often. Red Pumpkin was turned into Golden Melon Jam and Ash Pumpkin was turned into Silver Melon jam. The Factory activity made Sri Lanka self sufficient in fruit juice, jam and many other processed food within a few years.

 Running Restaurants & Other Activities.

The Marketing Department was called upon to attend to many tasks.

Once Sri Lanka was not self sufficient in eggs. The Marketing Department offered a floor price for eggs and Triploi Market collected eggs from the Negombo-Nattandiya area till Sri Lanka was self sufficient in egg production. Once Self sufficiency was  reached the scheme was disbanded.

It was found that during the Kataragama Season, the restaurants charged high prices for meals.  This the Government combatted by running a large restaurant. Officers who have the ability were posted from various units and they provided quality meals. The Menu included thosa, kiribath, string hoppers, pittu, rice and curry and the restaurant was kept open till late. When I covered the Southern Province I was in charge of this restaurant for two years and was held responsible for providing good quality meals at a cheap rate.  This was the method by which the cost of living of the pilgrims was controlled.

With the abolition of the Marketing Department, and the privatization of the canning factory all this achievement was lost. That was the way in which the IMF crippled the development of the Third World and created a situation where we had to import from the Developed Countries. 

Recently the tomatoes producers at Hanguranketa made pandals of tomatoes in order to highlight their plight of not being able to sell their tomatoes. This could not have happened while the Marketing Department was functioning. To start with the Assistant Commissioner would be held responsible. If that happened when I was in charge of The Triploi Market I would have sent a few lorries and the entire stock of tomatoes would have been purchased within a few hours and it would have been turned into Tomatoe Sauce and Juice at the Factory. Today Spain produces tomatoe sause, tomatoe juice, tomato paste and sun dried tomatoes for most countries in Europe. With a Tomatoe belt in Hanguranketa we cannot produce tomato sauce even for our requirements. Our climate had enabled a variety of crops. There is a mango belt from Anuradhapura to Matale. Even today if action is taken to pluck mangoes and process it, we can be self sufficient in all fruit juice within six months.  There is an Avacado belt from Peradeniya to Gampola and avacado juice can easily be made.

Thanks to the UNP, they created s market for tomatoe sauce from the USA, and fruit juice from as far as Canada and Oregan in the USA.  Our producers cannot sell their produce and we have unemployment and our farmers have low incomes. Last year the Colombo Supermarkets were full of Heinz Tomatoes sauce from the USA and fruit juice and jam from Australia. The IMF did its work right to cripple development in our countries and for us to buy goods from the Developed Countries.  That was the Structural Adjustment Programme in action.

 The Hospital Suppy Scheme

The Marketing Department provided all supplies to the major hospitals in the island. As a result the hospitals were assured of fresh produce at a fair price.

 The Bakery

The Marketing Department had a Bakery. This was the best bakery at that time and produced bread and short eats at very reasonable prices. Then the price of bread was controlled and this bakery enabled the Government to fix a reasonable price. In the absence of the State attending to produce bread even if the Government wants to fix a control price the Government has no definite method of finding the fair price, as the government has to be guided by the Private Sector bakeries..

 The Marketing Department with its vegetable and Fruit marketing Scheme and its Canning Factory took not years but decades to build up. All was lost when at the behest of the IMF the UNP President Jyawardena abolished the Marketing Department and privatized the canning factory. The UNP Government did away  with the entire Marketing Department  and it resulted in traders keeping fat margins of profit.

 Lak Sthosa come in place of the CWE

It has to be stated in favour of the present government that Lak Sathosa shops have been established almost everywhere in the island. On my visits, I have had the occasion to visit Lak Sathosa and have found them well stocked and selling at reasonable rates., On my visits to Anuradhapura I have several times depended on the Lak Sathosa at Anuradhapura to pack for me goods which I take as donations to far off temples in the wilds. The manageress has been extremely helpful in packing a large order in record time.

More Lak Sathosa Outlets are essential. They take the place of the Marketing Department Shops which I managed when I served the Department.

The IMF advice has been for the Public Sector to be limited to the barracks, while the Private Sector has a hey day. In my experience it is the Public Sector has to be marshalled to serve the people because the Private Sector will only work if they have a fat profit and that profit comes at the expense of the consumer. The aim of the Public Sector is not to supplant the Private Sector but to work with the Private Sector and provide guidelines to avoid disaster. Today almost every Developed Country including the USA, the UK, Spain, Greece and even Germany are all faced with problems caused  by the Private Sector bleeding the economies to death. It began with the Banks. It is a system where the rich fleece the majority , even at the cost of ruining the entire economy to aggrandize wealth. It is this System that was foisted on the Third World countries like Sri Lanka by the IMF and the earlier we understand this the better,

( For more details my book: How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka(Godages) 

Today, the IMF advice to Sri Lanka is to export to India and China. Both these countries control their economies with a stranglehold and no one can export to them, The IMF does not even understand the basis of their success. Take India trade with them is always in their favour. They twisted the arm of President Kumaranatunge when she was on a visit to India and got her to sign the Free Trade Agreement which ruined our small industries. The Chinese economy is thoroughly controlled. Every dollar that comes in is strictly accounted for.

To my mind it is high time the present government re establishes the Marketing Department with its Canning Factory and Cold Rooms.  This will be a boon both to the producer as well as to the consumer. It will be a feather in the cap for the present Government and I would urge that it be considered. Recently when there was a scarcity, the Army was entrusted with purchasing and selling vegetables and they did a yeoman task at short notice. . To my mind the Marketing Department mechanism is the only method of controlling inflation and the cost of living.

It is sad that we have the know- how, the experience  and the ability but we are afraid to hold the bull by the horns. We doubtless have a President who can hold the bull by the horns, because otherwise we would never have annihilated terrorism from our shores. It is hoped that my humble Message will get to his ears.

 Garvin Karunaratne,

Former Assistant Commissioner for Marketing, later Government Agent, Matara.

3rd August 2012.

11 Responses to “The UNP accuses the Government about the Cost of Living little knowing that it was the UNP that destroyed the mechanism to control the Cost of Living.”

  1. nandimitra Says:

    The cost of living rises because the government keeps printing money and the value of the currency keeps falling. The other mechanisms to bring redress to people is a mechanism to reduce the widespread manipulation of the market. The governments since 1977 are predatory governments that are unaccountable, corrupt and is running the country to the ground. This is the long and short of it. This government is no better than the UNP govt. Unfortunately the writer is knowingly or unknowingly trying to white wash a govt that is blatantly corrupt. God save Sri Lanka.

  2. AnuD Says:

    Did you here, for the second time, CPC had imported Diesal from a Singaporean company that had been black listed earlier. CTB buses that need replacing the filters cost Rs 5500 per filter. That is only for buses.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    I agree with the remedies proposed. The only solution is to expand commercially managed state owned entities for retail and wholesale trade.

    However, the present government is the worst in economic mismanagement and its getting even worse. Much worse than the UNP before. UNP did all those disasters but with two thirds in parliament, what has the UPFA done to redress them?

    According to the Hindu the Catastrophic Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will be signed soon. This will ruin the economy as never before. At least under the UNP it was local private sector that robbed the nation. Under CEPA the greedy parasitic Indian private sector will totally destroy the national economy by taking out all the earning, making local business entities unprofitable, denying locals employment, tax free operation by Indian companies, disgusting business practices in India that disallows others from investing in India (anyway most Sri Lankans cannot practically invest in South India due to violence) and many other ills. People will be without jobs, local entrepreneurs without profit, government without tax, country without foreign currency (as Indian companies will despatch local earnings back to India after converting to hard currency!), flooding of cheap Indian illegal immigrants, etc. Even banks will collapse as Indian banks will push them out of business using unscrupulous tactics.

    CEPA disaster will be the worst ever economic disaster this country faces.

    It doesn’t end there. After taking over petroleum distribution, the Indian Oil Company is now taking over the entire value chain of petroleum industry in the country. Using threats India got the government to cancel the proper competitive tender from Chinese and South Korean companies to build an oil refinery and give it to India. With both the refinery and petroleum distribution in Indian hands, the Sri Lankan economy will be ruined beyond imagination.

    All this because the Rajapaksha clan is desperately trying to save itself from war crimes allegations. India as the observer (among 2 other countries – Spain and Benin) of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) due in October this year at the UNHRC has threatened the government to either destroy the national economy by giving it away to India or face war crimes allegations. What happened to Tibet from Chinese influence is happening to Sri Lanka from Indian influence.

    It is better for the Rajapaksha clan to seek refuge in India now itself before people give their verdict. Once in the Opposition, the clan will be the target of the new government’s (UNP, JVP, TNA, CWC, SLMC) and NGO, India, USA, EU clan’s anger and resolution to bring war crimes charges on them.

    Their demise will be accelerated by the implementation of LLRC recommendations and 13A which does not in anyway benefit over 90% of the population.

    Power not only corrupts but makes one lose common sense too.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    From 2005-2010 Rajapakshas’ interests aligned perfectly well with national interests. It was in this context the President made a historic statement “no ethnic majorities or minorities; only those who love the nation and those who don’t exist”. It served UPFA interests well because they were aligned with national interests.

    Not any more. Now the Rajapakshas’ interest is to avoid war crimes allegations at any cost. It goes against national interests. This will come to a stage where people will have to choose between the Rajapaksha clan and the nation. Sadly, the many goods of the government are more than offset by more bads.

    Indian imposed CEPA, IOC, 13A, LLRC (Sri Lanka never intended to implement it without public approval. Its implementation was forced like the 13A by India.) are set to ruin this country. None of these has any benefit to 90% of the population but costs billions of dollars every year to sustain.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    It is a fact the government prints more currency to cover its huge deficit. This is the easiest but most damaging way to bridge the deficit.

    If 13A is scrapped, the state saves US$ 1.3 billion this year. There is no need to borrow or print currency excessively.

    The cost of avoiding war crimes allegations is higher than the cost of facing them.

  6. Sirih Says:

    Garvin, your past experience is extremely valuable to the country now, since something rotten is happening to our food supply and its retail cost.
    If you compare Bangkok which have similar food and slightly better in living condition, food in Bangkok is so cheap. You can have a good fresh meal in expensive part of Bangkok in a local restaurant for less than US$ 3. In SL you cannot do that and I would think it is the wholesale mafia with vested interest creating this artificial price and so far govt. has done nothing and I suspect some roughue ministers and govt. workers involve with this racket.

    I agree that we have to have co-op model reactivate to get prices to reasonable level. If you travel out side colombo and check their vegetable prices they are quite low so why this massive differential in pricing at retail level?

  7. AnuD Says:

    IMF and the World bank have screwed up many countries. Phillippines and Mali and Sri Lanka in the past are two such countries.

    Recently, Sri Lanka, also printed money, allowed imports without any restrictions. Finally, economy came to crash. that is why Bail-out money from IMF was needed. In order to complete the loan, IMF needed Sri Lanka to sell GOLD stocks and Sri Lanka sold about 35 metric tones of GOLD. Gold was bought by banks in developed countries and gold is supposed to go high. The next thing IMF had told for the next loan is to release grab on the Dollar. I am pretty sure, because of the lack of control in govt spending, will will face some problems.

    Because, govt get into debt on purpose.

    Both in Europe and the in the USA, Dollar or EURO is very cheap. The interest rate is almost at ZERO per cent. Yet, govt had borrowed at 7 or 8% like rate.

    I don’t think, china got rich by borrowing like s there won’t be tomorrow.

  8. jayt Says:

    politically destabilising, economically squeezing sinhalese and socially inserting millions of various crimes into sinhalese society is part of known global operation practised by “western union” on thousands of countries since 1950s.

    Western Union countries first operation began against ex Soviet Union; many including and specially Muslim fighters like Al Qaeda was attracted western union countries by telling them ‘soviet will take Muslim rights and lets fights Communist’. Taliban, Many Arab Muslim, Bin Laden, Pakistanis joint hand with Western countries because actually communists against any religion but ex Soviet friends were Hindu India and many muslim and christian countries. Non were harmed by ex-soviet. However, non of these fighters did not know what is next plan of the west on table.

    It is same with Sinhalese, Sinhalese did know what is next plan of the west. While programming to bring down Soviet, The West put foundation to Tigers in 1980s to bring down India with help of Tamil Nadu from the south and with help of Pakistan and Kashmere issue from North.

    War crime charges are not the only covert tactics to destroy and steel rights of people, there are millions of tricks are deployed, it is depend on who, what, when and where. Sri lanka and Sudan are good example of this.

    India and Sri lanka problem is example of other covert tricks. From beginning to this day, same western union countries agencies routinely have been working to divide and promote hatred in personal level between Indian and Sri lankan.
    The first of this kind is directing Tamil Nadu to get Indian politician to sign this one sided agreement in order to create anger among sinhalese against Indian. Arranging attack on Indian primes minister by a sailor was the main part activity. it was triggered by covert operation by agencies in order to create personal level hatred between north Indian Hindus and sinhalese. Former president J R Jawardene knew this attack on Gandhi was arranged by some agencies and this whole agreement was created by west agencies to create “chain reaction” to keep sinhalese forever hate Indian or Indian and sinhale forever hate like pakistan and india.

    These covert activities were increased in india and sri lanka in last few months and finally got some sinhalese attack on Indian lady who came to watch cricket. This could have been a part of “triggered covert activity” So foolish sinhalese are known to respond nicely to foreign spies activities. or it could have well done by local who are
    linked to foreigners who want to overthrow present government.

    Soon, Sinhalese have no support from nobody and the westerners and tigers will be happy ever after unless Sl authorities and public take action against foolish sinhalese who takes law onto own hand.

    Attacking innocent Indian who came to enjoy game is nothing but dumb and brutal. When there is problem with india, there is govt and sl intelligent agency to respond. People do not attack innocent guess who
    came to cheer game.

    It is good time now for sinhalese public get together with police and intelligent agency and take action against foreign activities which bring harm against Sinhalese all fields.

  9. mario_perera Says:

    “This will come to a stage where people will have to choose between the Rajapaksha clan and the nation. ”
    Dilrook Kannangara

    A foreboding declaration of prophetic insight.

    This statement, which goes against the trend, cannot be taken lightly. I remember a time when Dilrook upheld his personal belief that the war was winnable when most thought it was not. It happened as he believed. And now this profound insightful statement reminiscent of the ‘hand which wrote on the wall’.

    Mario Perera, Kadawata

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    We recall that during the 1983 Riots (UNP times), retailers jacked up prices of consumer goods to sky high levels, and gave substandard goods to boot ! The retail traders take any chance to boost prices and sell off substandard goods. How is this to be controlled and overcome ? A State mechanism is needed such as the earlier CWE (removed by Ranil) to distribute consumer goods in an equitable manner even during difficult times. The CWE should be reinstated.

    We need a sense of Political stability within Sri Lanka for growth & prosperity. A sense of security must prevail for all our people. If, as Dilrook suggests, the Rajapakse family still feel threatened by a war crimes charge, it is not good for the entire country. Leaders must feel free from threats to make decisions to enhance a sense of security and productivity, to make the best deals possible internationally for the entire country to prosper. The war with the ltte was a just one and the entire country must stand up and say so to the entire world.

    I don’t think India is the enemy. India too is caught up in regional & east/west politics. India too has to do a balancing act to protect herself, and that is where we Lankans suffer. Before the Cold War, India was not inimical to Sri Lanka. It was after the Cold War (JRJs time where he leaned westward overmuch – no choice there, in those days), that India was forced to by regional affiliations to train the ltte in Tamil Nadu. However, too many Indian enterprises in Lanka may stifle our own entrepreneurs into oblivion.

    We feel that it is Tamil Nadu earlier Separatism tactics plus the overly westward leanings of this particular state plus their own Caste related Poverty issues that really causes problems for Sri Lanka. This is because Tamils of Lanka are culturally affiliated to Tamil Nadu. Also, there is the greatest danger of illegal migrants from Tamil Nadu, always – this we must guard against and deport all illegal migrants, from TN and elsewhere.

    The other problem is that the Cold War has been transformed into a War for Resources and Powerplay. It is also true that our own ‘Colombians’ leaned/lean too far west, disturbing the comfort zone of the giant regional countries.

    Sri Lanka is dependent on foreign developed nations to gather her new found resources such as oil & gas, into proper productivity. For that we also need well qualified LOCAL people in Science & Technology, not thousands of Arts grads. We also need to formulate proper Laws to deal with foreign investors which ought to follow the principle of ‘smaller the better’, size-wise.

    Also, is it that impossible to declare the Indian Ocean area as an International Peace Zone ? May be the whole of S.E. Asia will welcome such a ruling. SAARC may have to handle such a goal.

    We have within our capacity to live within our means, demand absolutely loyalty to this Nation, and eliminate crime and over population. We should concentrate on the items that we can handle and put our energies there. Rational thinking can overcome most problems.

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    Look at the bright side.

    Who runs most businesses in SL? Muslims and Tamils.

    So they will be the biggest losers. Others will have more competition driving prices and super profits down which is good.

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