How UNP Economic Policies Bring the Zimbabwe Calamity
Posted on January 27th, 2015

Dilrook Kannangara

Sri Lanka will be like Zimbabwe pretty soon if UNP remains in power and in control of economic policy and finance. This is driven by UNP’s China-averse policy driven by its Indian and US backers. Only China can sustain Sri Lanka economically and if the China support is taken out, the Sri Lankan economy collapses. With $55 billion loans and annual loan servicing of $8 billion (including mandatory repayment of the principal) it is no easy task sustaining the economy. Loan repayments and interest payments take 40% of government expense budget. This has been the case since 2012 but why it will bite us?                            
                                                            
The answer lies in how the repayments were managed. Sri Lanka always had a trade deficit which means our foreign currency earnings were less than our foreign currency payments. To fund this deficit, the government since 1977 relied on three things. These are: selling off public owned enterprises to international investors (e.g. Sri Lanka Telecom), borrowing more to retire old debt and make repayments and bringing foreign money for projects that can be used to repay loans and interests. The last government relied very heavily on the last option because there are no public enterprises left that would fetch enough money from a foreign investor.
                                                                                                   
Chinese government lenders don’t follow market based investment appraisal. Instead they rely on strategic value. As a result cities have been built in China without people! Mattala and Hambantota are no surprises. As Chinese funds flowed in, they were used in foreign loan repayment. To keep this going, more and more projects with no real value were started. This loan-to-loan trap was getting worse by the year. It was very bad economic management by the former economic affairs minister. However, it saved the economy from a worse calamity – the collapse of the rupee and net foreign reserves.
                                                                                                         
What will happen when generous Chinese loan facilities dry up thanks to the UNP government restricting them? The rupee will collapse unable to repay loans and meagre foreign currency reserves will dry up. Cost of goods will go up massively. Many businesses and the government will collapse. Riots and unrest will rule.
                                                                                       
IMF, the World Bank and other lenders are not willing to lend for unprofitable projects. They certainly don’t lend to retire old debt. As such, Sri Lanka will struggle to repay loans and interest to say the least. Discussions the new interim finance minister had with the IMF on January 21st failed. However, the UNP government shows a false sense of upbeat.
                                                                            
IMF might lend assistance to overcome the problem but not without very unpopular and restrictive austerity measures.
                                                                            
This is why the UNP finance minister held talks with the IMF more than a week before finalising the budget and the fuel price drop. IMF strongly advises not to allow any public concessions like the fuel price drop and salary hike. IMF also pressures the government to cut down the public sector. But election pressure is driving the UNP government to the brink. Its short-sighted action will cost even more.
                                                                  
If UNP’s anti-China policies continue, the rupee and foreign reserves will collapse within a year. If it embraces China, it’s Indian and US backers will not keep silent. It is a catch-22 situation.
                                                                             
UPFA must educate voters of the impending UNP economic calamity, the intending cuts to public sector employment and unpopular IMF austerity measures. It can form a significant part of the UPFA election campaign that can turn tables on the UNP. The opposition should also block all government avenues to sell national assets and interests in a desperate bid to make the ends meet. If China is to protect its heavy investments in economic and geopolitical spheres ensuring open transmissible sea lanes which benefits all, it must learn the art of regime change and work with willing collaborators in countries of interest.

40 Responses to “How UNP Economic Policies Bring the Zimbabwe Calamity”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    The rupee is already at its lowest (135 for a dollar) and the Colombo Stock Market is at its lowest for the year, lower than before the election which is very strange for a UNP government. UNP must not let lose the ‘China embrace’.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    How come? Even during MUGABE PERCY ROBERT’S time it didn’t happen. So how come it can happen now?

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    You said “Mattala and Hambantota are no surprises” as if they are going to be UNPRODUCTIVE investments!

    On the CONTRARY! On what basis do you make that assumption?

    Do you expect major LONG-TERM infrastructure investments, implemented within the scope of a Long Term Concept for Future Economic Growth, to bear fruit in a few years, in a nation just recovering from a 30-year internecine war? COME ON, be realistic … Give us a BREAK!

    Certainly, there are examples in the world of poor infrastructure developments that have FAILED because of poor conceptual bases, or INSUFFICIENT FOLLOW-ON SUPPORT maintained over a sufficiently long term, to REALIZE the underlying vision.

    By the same token, there are MANY OTHER SUCCESSFUL COUNTER EXAMPLES, such as the city of Ankara in Turkey built by Kemal Ataturk in the bare Anatolian plateau, of the city of Washington, DC built in a drained swamp, the city of Brazilia built deep in the Amazonian jungle, the US Highway and German Autobahn Systems built during the height of the Great Depression to put people back to work, etc etc.

    Likewise, neither the Hambantota port, nor the Mattala airport will become white elephants, IF the government in power does not ABANDON THEM in pursuing PARTISAN POLITICS.

    In fact, together with the EXPRESS ROADWAYS already built, and new ones planned for the future by the MR GOSL, they would open up land resources in the South to development, easing the COMPETITION for RESOURCES in the highly populated and congested Western Province.

    Given the new political developments that will DENY lands in the North and East to development by Sinhala people, the less developed but more secure, less costly lands in the Southern Province will become ESSENTIAL to deploy their infrastructural and business capital investments.

    In my own case, I will do PRECISELY that: I will locate my business facilities in SL I had planned to build in the North and East, to the South, near both Hambantota port, and the Mattala airport, where they will be more secure! I am DEPENDING on the availability of those new infrastructural facilities (PORTS, AIRPORTS, ROADWAYS) you dismiss so cavalierly.

  4. Nanda Says:

    Some people have located their who locate the businesses near Maa-Hindaa cricket stadium. They are drying chillies there on the roads, as no vehicles pass on these roads.

  5. Nanda Says:

    If you stop those one or two planes landing on Maa-Hinda Airport, (with $100 per month income), I will set up a Chilli drying business on runways and earn more !
    I agree , all the Chilli drying business in the North should be shifted to Maa-Hinda airport, where isit is more secure.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Nanda,

    I saw that video. SAD! When people need some support for their industries (chillies, etc.), MR goes and gives them a cricket stadium!! NO ONE in the village can AFFORD to watch a match there. Visitors who come don’t buy their chillies either. Pathetic! An insult to poor people.

    But there is logic behind Mattala Ma-Hinda airport, Hambantota Maa-Hinda cricket ground, Hambantota Ma-Hinda harbor, Colombo-Galle Ma-Hinda paying road.

    ALL these are for 3 BABY AAMU to get home quickly. Land, air or sea routes and play rugby at the stadium.

    I wish I had a father like him!

    “raja ketharaka ipadunaa nam umpath rajeki puthune”

  7. Nanda Says:

    Dilrook says – “If UNP’s anti-China policies continue, the rupee and foreign reserves will collapse within a year. If it embraces China, it’s Indian and US backers will not keep silent. It is a catch-22 situation.
    UPFA must educate voters of the impending UNP economic calamity, the intending cuts to public sector employment and unpopular IMF austerity measures.”

    I don’t know where he gets this “anti-China policy” from. I never saw anywhere, UNP government saying they are anti-China.
    Then he says “UFPA educate voters…”. He also acknowledges “It was very bad economic management by the former economic affairs minister.”. So , how are they going to educate ? Is education means “fooling ” ?

    But I agree that there is a grave concern of how our economy can be managed now.

    Lorenzo,
    No. It is just the ego and to earn commissions.

  8. ranjit Says:

    What about Aiyo Sirisena having 12 siblings who has bought all Pollonnaruwa and living like Colombian Mafia? They never allowed small businesses to grow up and now one of his brother is Telecom Boss how about that? Some people only talk about Rajapksa’s just look at these Yahapalanaya guys what they were doing by appointing all their brother’s,sisters and wives as head of Govt.Departments.

    Airports and Harbors were built for the future. When you start a new business it takes some time to grow it wont simply bring money in one or two days or weeks or months. Yes UNP is famous for closing down or selling money making projects so nothing new in their Yahapalanaya.

    What about the commissions the UNP earned when they were in power? Why nobody is talking about those deals now?
    Be fair to everybody.We know how UNP ruled before and we know their bogus promises very well.They will promise sun and the moon these days to get votes but people knows their tricks. They are cowards who hide behind the white coats and dance according to their tunes.They damn care about the country or it’s people. We saw once and we will see more the same again before long.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    This IDIOT Nanda says

    “I don’t know where he gets this “anti-China policy” from. I never saw anywhere, UNP government saying they are anti-China.”

    Nanda wants the new GOSL to SPELL OUT that they are “Anti-China” in black and white, while every action they are now taking is to shut down most Chinese projects and involvement of China in SL.

    They are cozying up to the US and India … avowed enemies fearful of China, thinking they will get mucho $$ from the US and India, in exchange for supporting their CHINA CONTAINMENT POLICIES!

    I hate to disappoint this FOOL, but US is bankrupt and so is POVERTY stricken India. The US gives about $3 billion a year to Israel because of the US Jewish lobby, and will give at most 50 million USD to Sri Lanka to increase its support to NGOs and its regime change puppets. The ONLY THINGS the US can do is to REMOVE the TRADE BARRIERS they erected against the UPFA GOSL, and enable IMF loans in the hundreds of millions of USD with DRACONIAN STRINGS ATTACHED that will soon alienate the citizens of Sri Lanka.

    Meanwhile, Sri Lanka will SOON BEGIN TO MISS the 3 billion USD in development loans we got from China, EVERY YEAR without ATTACHED STRINGS!

    These “Yahapalanaya” JOKERS will hit a MASSIVE FINANCIAL ICEBERG …. WITHIN TWO YEARS! Just LISTEN for the WRENCHING CRUNCH to COME SOON!

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda-USA,

    “This IDIOT Nanda says”

    Please stop ABUSING people. Just because Nanda thinks differently he doesn’t become an idiot.

    BTW you have not answered my question. Did you take the US oath that requires COMPLETE ALLIGIANCE TO USA by denouncing ALL alligiance, etc. to SL?

    Thank you.
    Lorenzo-SL

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    Rome was not built in a day.

    Have some patience for Christ’s sake!

    Give us 100 days and you will see. THEN if you are not happy vote us out. How democratic!

  12. Ananda-USA Says:

    “Facebook” Lorenzo,

    You are not ENTITLED to any answers on any topic from me. I just don’t fall into EELAMIST TRAPS that you set.

    GIVE UP! I know you well in many of your disguises …. REMEMBER?

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    “Facebook” Lorenzo,

    Excuse me, did I hurt you feelings by calling your IDIOT LAPDOG an IDIOT when he is being an IDIOT??

  14. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda-USA,

    Your comments don’t reflect well on you and the party you defend. An OBJECTIVE OBSERVER will think ALL MR supporters are like this. It took Tamils 6 months to ACCEPT VP was dead. I give you 5 more months to ACCEPT the election result.

    Take care and Maithri wewa!

  15. Ananda-USA Says:

    “Facebook” Lorenzo,

    Have you READ the Panadura Debates, when Foreign Missionaries tried to DEMEAN and DESTROY Buddhism?

    Have you READ the speeches of Anagarika Dharmapala when he RAILED against the foreign enemies of his Motherland?

    Well, NEITHER Buddhist priests in the Panadura Debate, nor Anagarika Dharmapala minced words defending Sri Lanka, its people and their faith.

    If I you a GARDEN VARIETY EELAMIST SNAKE and a HYPOCRITE continues your DEVIOUS FALSE PROPAGANDA to UNDERMINE Sri Lanka here … then you MUST BE CONFRONTED & EXPOSED, and TARRED & FEATHERED for what you are, just as the Buddhist defenders in the Panadura Debates exposed those IGNORANT BIASED Missionaries, and Anagarika Dharmapala EXPOSED the strategies of the enemies of his Motherland.

  16. Nanda Says:

    I heard a very clever software Engineer from USA has been given a deal of 250 million to write a software to interfere with aircraft navigation systems , in order to get them to land in Maa-Hindaa airport.
    Unfortunately he did not sign a contract as he was so clever to estimate Maa-Hinda would win by 62% landslide.
    Now he has gone bankrupt and very angry.

  17. AnuD Says:

    when Mahinda Rajapske takes over the govt, it was Rnil Rajapakse’s policies made the country running. Before that, Country was bankrupt and war was stopped because the govt did not have money to anything.

    Mahinda Rajapakse did nothing except for himself.

  18. Lorenzo Says:

    Nanda,

    I remember that. 62%!! He is 15% OFF!

    I thought My3 would win by 55%. So I’m 4% out.

    Now he is VERY VERY angry. All his investments in Mattala airport gone for chilies. Now he is suffering from Schizophrenia. Go soft on him please. I still consider him a friend because I’m closer to a Bodhisatva state than him.

  19. Christie Says:

    Namaste. In Indian colonies only the Indians do well. No wonder an Indian from Fiji came to see one of our Ministers. Jai Hind

  20. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    He is my old friend, fellow engineer, so I always have Karuna in my hear for him.

    Do you know the difference of MY3 ( loving kindness) and Karuna ( compassion) ? Unfortunately those with high egos hate to receive Karuna from others.

  21. Nimal Says:

    Previous regime couldn’t care less for it’s grassroots support carried on regardless and they were on the way to make another Zimbabwe.
    Any good advise or been critical got you into trouble and I am speaking from my experience and felt the anger of the one time supporters during the Badulla elections.We were there.
    People who praise the regime irrespective of it’s wrong doings are people who seems to have benefited from them and some live abroad and from what I have noticed is that lot meets the worst people of the party that may have criminal records and if they have met the humble people of their supporters then this lot who lives abroad would that praiseworthy of the former regime.
    It is the wish of the faithful that some leaders of the former regime be punished for stealing from the country and indulged in criminal activity. They are now turning to JVP to meet their expectations and clean the country. This what we hear from the disillusioned supporters of the former regime.

  22. Nanda Says:

    Nimal,
    Very true.

  23. sena Says:

    The bottom line is we have to establish a knowledge based economy. The educated (who got their education free thanks to the productivity of our poor workers like farmers, housemaids, seamstresses) should step-in in this regard rather than warming chairs in public sector jobs and contributing nothing to the economy. The government should make this a priority. The tech know how accumulated in conducting the war may be a good resource to start ventures with military and civilian applications.

  24. sena Says:

    So either way it is rather bleak. So to increase foreign $ earnings let us send more rural women (sisters of war heroes) abroad for slave labor. And can we at least now stop the educated professionals using those dollars to import duty free cars. 80 years of higher education – what a hollow investment it has been for Sri lanka

  25. Ananda-USA Says:

    “Yahapalanaya” in FULL SWING:

    ……………………….
    Rajapaksa Sees Sinister Motive Behind Media Blitz Against Him

    Jan 27 (NIE) COLOMBO- Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has slammed the on-going media blitz against him and has charged that the vilification campaign is meant to mislead the public.

    In a letter to the Buddhist Maha Sangha and Lankans at large, Rajapaksa said that the accusation that he sought the Attorney General’s advice on how to remain in power illegally, is by its very nature, an “absurdity”.

    “I was saddened by the comments made about this alleged incident and other matters by the incumbent President (Maithripala Sirisena) at a rally in Polonnaruwa,” he added.

    About the TV images of the interior of his official residence “Temple Trees” which “insinuated” that he and his family had led an extravagant lifestyle at state expense, he said that these facilities had been created to cater to foreign delegates during the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in accordance with international specifications.

    About the accusation that his wife Shiranthi was trying to sell 100 kilos of gold belonging to the government Treasury, he pointed out that the police had already responded to that “ridiculous” allegation.

    On the search for hidden Lamborghinis, Rajapaksa said: “Vehicles that even remotely resemble sports cars are being taken by the police from the houses of their owners in their search for Lamborghinis belonging to my sons. But no Lamborghinis have been found.”

    “Two containers of personal belongings of my family have been examined by the police on suspicion of being items ‘stolen’ from Temple Trees. These items were stored in containers because I had no place to go to in Colombo after vacating my official residence,” he said.

    On alleged shady deals with foreign project contractors, Rajapaksa said that all agreements had been vetted by the Attorney General and approved by the cabinet. Many parties were involved in these projects and with so many eyes watching them, it would be impossible to inflate costs, Rajapaksa argued.

    Pointing out that Chinese aided projected are being specially targeted, Rajapaksa said that China has helped Sri Lanka for six decades, and suggested that such mud-slinging be stopped.

    “Outrageous and totally unsubstantiated accusations against me were disseminated through various websites and social media networks such as facebook both before and after the election. I self-critically admit that my government did not take these baseless allegations seriously and counter them in time.However, I am confident that the truth will prevail one day,” the former President said.

  26. Ananda-USA Says:

    Six new provincial governors sworn in Sri Lanka

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jan 27, Colombo: New Governors appointed to six provinces in Sri Lanka took oaths before Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today.

    New Governors were appointed to Northern, Eastern, Sabaragamuwa, Central, North-Central and Uva Provinces following the change in the government after January 8 presidential elections.

    Seen here is new Governor of the Central Province Surangani Ellawala receiving her appointment from the President.

    The new appointments are as follows:

    H.M.G.S. Palihakkara – Governor of the Northern Province

    Austin Fernando – Governor of the Eastern Province

    B.M.A.R. Perera – Governor of the Sabaragamuwa Province

    Surangani Ellawala – Governor of the Central Province

    P.B. Dissanayake – Governor of the North-Central Province

    M.G. Jayasinghe – Governor of the Uva Province

    New governors for the other three provinces were sworn in on Friday (23).

    K.C. Yogeswaran was sworn in as the new Governor for Western Province, Mrs. Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake was sworn in as the new Governor for North Western Province and Mr. Hemakumara Nanayakkara was sworn in as the new Governor for Southern Province.

  27. AnuD Says:

    Here talk about UNP economic policies.

    Some where else I read, the important thing with the govt run businesses was to use the profits to raise the living conditions of the poor people and if those enterprises were not running well or profiting well that means poor people were losing.

    See how Mahinda Rajapakse ran all the govt ventures. He appointed his uneducated relatives, uneducated and incompetent henchmen to those positions. the best thing is the Sri lankan Air lines which was run by a Planter. Mihin AIr was not needed for a country like Sri lanka. That is just one example of mahinda rajapakse’s economic policy and who profited from those enterprises, it was Mahinda Rajapakse family, relatives and henchmen.

    Just talk about both. They both screwed up Sri lanka. Most of the Ministers even in the present cabinet have baggages.

    Fathers of some of the ministers were killers, thieves. How come R Pemadasa left a humongous wealth for Sajith. Now, no one is stopping if Namal come to politics. But, every body knows how he became rich.

  28. AnuD Says:

    Most people write crap. there are better things to write about.

    For example, Mahinda Rajapakse was telling for years that he would use Army to expel the the DRUG menace. It is included even in his new “Mahinda Chintanaya”.

    Yet, when the new govt came, Ranil wickramasinghe made the Kingpin of the Sri lankan drug trade – Well Suda – to be brought into Sri lanka. Some one had informed him and he was ready to leave Pakistan for Dubai. Who are the people who had been supporting him – Duminda Silva, ex IGP Balasooriya, most recently Kudu-Dimu – buddha Sasana Minister and his son.. they all were with Mahinda Rajapakse and, PResident had a intelligence unit. they did not know (?) any of those things only Ranil Wickramsinghe knew it to bring Well suda back as soon as he became the prime minister.

    No one is writing about Mahinda Rajapakse so many connections and dealing with LTTE too. Even recently, he was, via Basil, was talking to TGTE.

    Most articles are cheating readers.

  29. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    “Sri Lanka will be like Zimbabwe pretty soon if UNP remains in power and in control of economic policy and finance”

    Did not read the rest., got the message. .Zimbabwe is in the process of ridding herself of the remaining 300 white farmers and by that sealing her own doom

    Simple advice. Military coup of the government supported by the Buddhist Sanga. When that is done make sure Sri Lanka is a Buddhist Theocracy, do away with Tamil as an official language and impose Buddhist Sinhalese only laws enforced by the military. Short of that and expect Elam to form.

  30. AnuD Says:

    IF possible make the abolising the 13th amendment an election promise for the general election. journalists can write that make people known about it.

  31. Wickrama Says:

    Ananda,

    Note this from Lorenzo:

    “raja ketharaka ipadunaa nam umpath rajeki puthune”

    This is definitely not a “keyboard error”, and not the first time either.

    He is surely exposing his “Tiger Tail” !! Don’t you think so?

  32. Lorenzo Says:

    Wickrama,

    That is racism. Just because someone is a Tamil, that doesn’t make him a Tiger!!

    BTW my spelling is PERFECT. Please listen to the song by Nanda Malini Bulathsinhala.

  33. Ananda-USA Says:

    Wickrema,

    You are correct.

    “Facebook” Lorenzo IS a Tamil Anglican Christian now doing a “Buddha Dhamma Desenawa” to us Buddhists, and he does make errors using typically Tamil pronunciation of Sinhala words!

    While not all Tamils are EELAMISTS, “Facebook” Lorenzo’s ACTIONS PROVE that HE IS DEFINITELY an EELAMIST!

  34. Ratanapala Says:

    Large infrastructure projects are almost alway undertaken by governments only. The reason is their pay back periods are long. I will just give one example. The Channel Tunnel between England and France took 20 years to earn its first profit Pound / Franc!

    This myopic and ungrateful country will never see the big picture. They are only good at mud slinging and slander. They live from day to day listening and believing all the trash that is delivered by the so called “Free Media”. They don’t deserve development. They still want to wallow in the same cess pool that was the country before 2005. It will be soon back to the days of the Old UNP and Old SLFP. Yes they will very soon dry chillies in the middle of Colombo roads tool! What they aspire to is a new Libya or a Syria in Sri Lanka.

    They will soon have the change they wanted with the Gamarala rule. It will be a far cry from the Maharaja rule! Let us see how the Gamarala, his family and the country go to “good governance heaven” (Yaha palana(DIvya Lokaya) hanging onto the Elephant’s tail!

  35. Wickrama Says:

    Lorenzo,

    99% of Tigers are Tamils. So statistically I was entitled to suspect.

    Your spellings are NOT perfect. Do you need me to pinpoint?

    BTW, you may have listned to the song with blocked ears !

  36. Lorenzo Says:

    Wickrama,

    “99% of Tigers are Tamils. So statistically I was entitled to suspect.”

    WRONG!

    Even if 99% Tamils are Tigers (the other way), that leaves about 20,000 non-Tiger Tamils. I’m one of them.

    It is RACIST to call or suspect ALL Tamils to be tigers.

    Ananda-USA is on mission to discredit me like Run-nil does to MR now. he is full of SORROW and ANGER. But he refuses to tell if he took the US oath or not!

  37. Ananda-USA Says:

    Look at the DUPLICITY of this EELAMIST, “Facebook” Lorenzo,

    “You didn’t remove the 13th Amendment” he cries INCONSOLABLY, so he campaigns to ELECT & SUPPORT Aiyooo Sirisenaaa, who PROMISED to implement the 13th Amendment in FULL, devolving Land and Police Powers to SEPARATISTS!

    Now you CLEARLY see the DEVIOUSNESS & HYPOCRISY in this EELAMIST REPROBATE don’t you? HE SAYS ONE THING and DOES THE EXACT OPPOSITE!

    He wails “I am a PATRIOT, I want the 13A REPEALED!” to CONFUSE & MISLEAD PATRIOTS, and then he SLIPS HISS KNIFE BETWEEN THE RIBS OF PATRIOTS!

    This is the KIND of MISINFORMATION, MISDIRECTION and OUTRIGHT LIES that Confused the Public to Engineer the REGIME CHANGE! It is TIME the “Kavum Kana Moda Sinhalaya” WISED UP!

  38. Ananda-USA Says:

    Therefore, if “Tamil Nationalism” does not accept FULL IMPLEMENTATION of the 13th Amendment as a Lasting Solution, what would satisfy “Tamil Nationalism”?

    The ANSWER TODAY is the SAME AS THE ANSWER I GAVE 30 years ago in my article “Devolution .. A Recipe for National Suicide”: What the EElamists want is FULL SOVEREIGNTY as a separate country followed by UNION with Tamil Nadu of India!

    In other words, the REALIZATION of the Greater Tamil Nadu Dream of Karunanidhi as shown in the MAPS he has already published!

    Therefore, whisper to me softly Effendi Aiyoooo Sirisenaaa if my lips do not UTTER THE TRUTH when I SAY you are ENABLING Karunanidhi’s Greater Tamil Nadu Dream with your promise to FULLY IMPLEMENT 13A INSTEAD of FULLY REPEALING IT?

    Aiyoooo Sirisenaaaa …. What are you DOING to our Motherland???

    ………………
    Tamil Nationalism has Never Accepted that a Lasting Solution Could be Arrived at Through Full Devolution Within a Unitary State.

    BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

    DBSJeyaray.com
    January 27, 2015

    PRE-INDEPENDENCE DAY THOUGHTS 2015: THE FUTURE STATE OF THE NATION

    In the run-up to Independence Day 2015, we must thank God for Mr. Sumanthiran. He is indubitably a moderate and an intellectual. Let us give thanks also for the Sunday Observer, which is a state-run newspaper not given to running stories or distorting them in a manner inimical or embarrassing to the government of the day. Therefore, when Mr. Sumanthiran says something to the Sunday Observer, I take it seriously because I know I am on safe ground. Mr. Sumanthiran tells the newspaper that the TNA doesn’t expect much movement on addressing the Tamil political question during the Hundred Day program. That is realistic –and anyway, who’d want to affect the UNP’s chances at the General election by pressing home Tamil political demands? He also says that the full implementation of the 13th amendment would be a good first step. Then comes the bottom-line: “The PM said that devolution will now be given under the 13th Amendment which the previous government was blocking. But we have clearly said that the full implementation of the 13th Amendment is no lasting solution.” (‘Current political trend signals harmony among communities’ – M.A.Sumanthiran MP, by P.Krishnaswamy, Sunday Observer, January 25th 2015)
    MA Sumanthiran MP

    MA Sumanthiran MP

    There’s always that ‘but’ isn’t there? There’s always that ‘but’ even for a moderate Tamil nationalist intellectual. The truth as disclosed or rather, reiterated by the cosmopolitan, Colombo based Mr. Sumanthiran is that the proposed removal of the roadblocks to the full implementation of the 13th amendment just isn’t enough. This is because “full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution”.

    Some readers may think I am making something of a mountain out of a molehill, but interestingly and appropriately the caption of the interview when reproduced on the website of veteran (expatriate) journalist DBS Jeyaraj reflected what was most newsworthy about the story: “Full Implementation of the 13th Amendment is No Lasting Solution- MA Sumanthiran, MP”.

    Now this also goes some way in explaining why the 13th amendment was never fully implemented. That’s because successive Southern leaders understood that if it was fully implemented, matters would not stop there. That would not put a cap on it. The full implementation of the 13th amendment would be but a stepping stone for more. Why? Because “we have clearly said that the full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution” and therefore “we” would strive to push beyond it. Worse still, that “we” would not try our very best to make the 13th amendment work because if it did, “we” would not be able to prove “our” dogmatic, politically fundamentalist point that “the full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution”.

    This shows that even on the morning after a democratic renovation, the most moderate of Tamil nationalists isn’t willing to settle for what the most moderate Sinhalese political leader is willing to implement. The deficit or gap still exists as far as the desirable goal; the final status agreement goes. Why so? What is at the root of this?

    To answer this we have to ask ourselves what Sri Lanka would be if the 13th amendment were fully implemented under the existing system. To my mind it would be a unitary system with full devolution or, to put it slightly differently, it would amount to the maximum devolution possible within a unitary system at full stretch. Why then does the moderate Mr. Sumanthiran reiterate the consistent stand of democratic Tamil nationalism, namely that even “the full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution?”

    This is simply because Tamil nationalism has never accepted that a lasting solution could be arrived at through full devolution within a unitary state. It has always held that a lasting solution is not possible within a state that remains basically unitary. Even moderate Tamil nationalism holds the view that a lasting solution lies somewhere beyond the unitary state; even one endowed with the most generous devolution.

    Mr. Sumanthiran’s answer may be that Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed to consider going beyond the 13th amendment. He did, but the distance he was willing to go even in theory was a quantitative, not a qualitative one; it was for a Second Chamber and another look at the concurrent list for the purpose of redistribution of powers between center and periphery. It would not have entailed a referendum. In any event, going quantitatively and incrementally beyond the 13th amendment within a strong Presidential system and explicitly unitary framework is drastically different from going qualitatively beyond the 13th amendment within a system divested of a strong executive Presidency.

    Quite apart from the debate on desirability, there is one of feasibility. Any such “lasting solution”, indeed anything beyond the 13th amendment, would require an island-wide referendum. How does the TNA propose to win a referendum for a qualitative shift beyond the 13th amendment? Not even the help of its current political partners in the South would be able to secure such an outcome.

    So far, so bad– but it is about to get worse. There is a brand new element in the mix. While the old element remains, namely that the TNA envisages the full implementation of the 13th amendment only as a first step which it intends to push beyond in its striving for a lasting settlement, the new element that arises is the proposed downsizing and downshifting of the executive Presidency. So, while the Tamil nationalists hope to stretch the relationship between center and periphery by means of a settlement beyond the full implementation of 13A, the center itself is about to diminish.

    The TNA is not unaware of this. Indeed the TNA presented this as the main reason for its support for the common candidate of the Opposition. Now we have the hitherto un-contradicted Tamilnet report that the abolition of the executive Presidency and its replacement by a parliamentary system of government was agreed upon in 2013 at a meeting in Singapore, organized by a South African peace NGO and attended by, among others, Messrs. Mangala Samaraweera and MA Sumanthiran. The abolition of the executive Presidency was, according to the report, point 4 of the agreement. (‘Singapore Principles of 2013’, TamilNet, January 22, 2015).

    The story is prefaced in DBS Jeyaraj.com in the following manner:

    ‘The “Tamilnet” website long regarded as the mouthpiece of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization has in a news report revealed details of an alleged “understanding” involving among others the current Foreign Affairs minister Mangala Samaraweera and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) national list parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran that was arrived at in Singapore in the year 2013. The “Tamilnet” website claims that the understanding reached in 2013 formulated a conceptual framework on abolishing the executive presidency based on ten basic principles described as the “Singapore principles”.

    The news report further states that current Presidential adviser Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, Colombo University Law professor VT Thamilmaran and unnamed representatives of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) along with a lawyer from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress also participated in the conclave. The conference was organized by South Africa and funded by two European countries alleges the “Tamilnet”. Quoting an unnamed participant in the meeting the “TamilNet” says “Mangala Samaraweera came as a ‘beggar’ urging Tamil support for regime change and abolition of the executive presidency. It was 2013.

    The Tamilnet report also outlines the ten ‘Singapore principles’ described as “hitherto unrevealed Singapore Principles of 2013” ’. (“Tamilnet Reveals Ten Point Accord for Regime Change and Executive Presidency abolition reached in 2013 at Meeting in Singapore Involving Mangala Samaraweera”, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/37635)

    Mr. Sumanthiran is fully conscious of the relationship between the Executive Presidency and the issue of devolution. In his Sunday Observer interview he states as follows:

    “…the Governor is a chief executive officer possessing executive powers. This means that there is no power devolution. The governor is appointed by the President and holds powers during his tenure. The President in the centre nominates him and gives powers and says I have devolved powers. That is no devolution. Practically it is the President who is exercising power through the governor. We want that radically changed so that power is actually given to a body or people who have been elected by the people. So that is the arrangement that we will seek to go beyond the 13 th Amendment and make it meaningful.” (Ibid.)

    This brings us to the question–what is the TNA’s real problem with the 13th amendment? Is it the less than full implementation? No, because if that were the case, it would not take the view that full implementation is not a lasting solution. Is it perhaps that the concurrent list is too thick and that the provincial unit should have some of the powers listed therein? Not really because that is not mentioned. The real problem the TNA has is elsewhere—with the role and powers of the Governor, and inter alia, those of the executive president.

    What does the existing arrangement as critically described by TNA moderate Sumanthiran mean? It means that the executive Presidency, as that office which rests on the elected consent of a majority of voters on the island taken as a single unit, is the repository of the sovereign power of the citizenry and is the fount from which from which power is devolved to the periphery.

    Thus the TNA’s objection is to the fundamental principle that power is devolved to the periphery from a strong center resting upon the broadest possible basis; a presidency that represents the nation as a whole. The TNA’s problem is with the mediatory role of the Governor, who acts as the elevator between the devolved peripheral unit and the presidential apex of the system. The TNA objects to a strong presidency representing the totality of the nation, which is raised above the peripheral unit. The Tamil moderate, Mr. Sumanthiran’s underlying objection is to the very principle that the institution that represents the totality, the whole, should be raised above the part; that the center should be above the periphery and that power should be devolved, i.e. flow downward.

    In the TNA’s vision, power should flow from a center outward to the periphery, but not from an apex, downward to the unit. No wonder then that the TNA wants the Executive Presidency abolished. This means that the system is transformed—I would say debauched—from a pyramid to a flat circle, with the parliament at its center. This means the minority parties are able to influence government formation at the center, through coalitions in parliament, as well as push beyond the unitary framework which would have been weakened by the decapitation of the executive presidency and the severance of the “neck” that links the executive head with the devolved peripheral unit, i.e. the Governor.

    Who will appoint the Governor under the arrangement the TNA seeks: the Parliament, the Cabinet, the PM, or the enfeebled essentially non-executive President? Or will there be no Governor at all? Or will there only be a ceremonial Governor, representing a largely nominal presidency?

    With the TNA intent on moving beyond the full implementation of the 13th amendment, and pushing together with its Southern allies (now in power) for the abolition or radical weakening of the Executive Presidency, what will be the future power relations within Sri Lanka be like, especially between the weaker center and a stronger periphery historically and currently subject to the ideological and politico-strategic pulls and emotional-psychological osmosis from their 70 million co-ethnics across a narrow strip of water, in neighboring Tamil Nadu?

    The TNA is strategically very lucid about what it is about. It is pushing for something beyond even the full implementation of the 13th amendment while it has simultaneously advocated and agreed upon the abolition of the Executive Presidency and thereby the radical diminution of the strong center.

    The division of labor is clear: the governing Sinhala elite (fronted by a non-elite political leader) weakens the center by dismantling or eroding the centripetal executive Presidency, thereby loosening the systemic ties between center and periphery, while the Tamil elite for its part, presses on far beyond the parameters of the unitary state.

  39. Ananda-USA Says:

    Therefore, if “Tamil Nationalism” does not accept FULL IMPLEMENTATION of the 13th Amendment as a Lasting Solution, what would satisfy “Tamil Nationalism”?

    The ANSWER TODAY is the SAME AS THE ANSWER I GAVE 30 years ago in my article “Devolution .. A Recipe for National Suicide”: What the EElamists want is FULL SOVEREIGNTY as a separate country followed by UNION with Tamil Nadu of India!

    In other words, the REALIZATION of the Greater Tamil Nadu Dream of Karunanidhi as shown in the MAPS he has already published!

    Therefore, whisper to me softly Effendi Aiyoooo Sirisenaaa if my lips do not UTTER THE TRUTH when I SAY you are ENABLING Karunanidhi’s

    Greater Tamil Nadu Dream with your promise to FULLY IMPLEMENT 13A INSTEAD of FULLY REPEALING IT?

    Aiyoooo Sirisenaaaa …. What are you DOING to our Motherland???

    ………………
    Tamil Nationalism has Never Accepted that a Lasting Solution Could be Arrived at Through Full Devolution Within a Unitary State.

    BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

    DBSJeyaray.com
    January 27, 2015

    PRE-INDEPENDENCE DAY THOUGHTS 2015: THE FUTURE STATE OF THE NATION

    In the run-up to Independence Day 2015, we must thank God for Mr. Sumanthiran. He is indubitably a moderate and an intellectual. Let us give thanks also for the Sunday Observer, which is a state-run newspaper not given to running stories or distorting them in a manner inimical or embarrassing to the government of the day. Therefore, when Mr. Sumanthiran says something to the Sunday Observer, I take it seriously because I know I am on safe ground. Mr. Sumanthiran tells the newspaper that the TNA doesn’t expect much movement on addressing the Tamil political question during the Hundred Day program. That is realistic –and anyway, who’d want to affect the UNP’s chances at the General election by pressing home Tamil political demands? He also says that the full implementation of the 13th amendment would be a good first step. Then comes the bottom-line: “The PM said that devolution will now be given under the 13th Amendment which the previous government was blocking. But we have clearly said that the full implementation of the 13th Amendment is no lasting solution.” (‘Current political trend signals harmony among communities’ – M.A.Sumanthiran MP, by P.Krishnaswamy, Sunday Observer, January 25th 2015)
    MA Sumanthiran MP

    MA Sumanthiran MP

    There’s always that ‘but’ isn’t there? There’s always that ‘but’ even for a moderate Tamil nationalist intellectual. The truth as disclosed or rather, reiterated by the cosmopolitan, Colombo based Mr. Sumanthiran is that the proposed removal of the roadblocks to the full implementation of the 13th amendment just isn’t enough. This is because “full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution”.

    Some readers may think I am making something of a mountain out of a molehill, but interestingly and appropriately the caption of the interview when reproduced on the website of veteran (expatriate) journalist DBS Jeyaraj reflected what was most newsworthy about the story: “Full Implementation of the 13th Amendment is No Lasting Solution- MA Sumanthiran, MP”.

    Now this also goes some way in explaining why the 13th amendment was never fully implemented. That’s because successive Southern leaders understood that if it was fully implemented, matters would not stop there. That would not put a cap on it. The full implementation of the 13th amendment would be but a stepping stone for more. Why? Because “we have clearly said that the full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution” and therefore “we” would strive to push beyond it. Worse still, that “we” would not try our very best to make the 13th amendment work because if it did, “we” would not be able to prove “our” dogmatic, politically fundamentalist point that “the full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution”.

    This shows that even on the morning after a democratic renovation, the most moderate of Tamil nationalists isn’t willing to settle for what the most moderate Sinhalese political leader is willing to implement. The deficit or gap still exists as far as the desirable goal; the final status agreement goes. Why so? What is at the root of this?

    To answer this we have to ask ourselves what Sri Lanka would be if the 13th amendment were fully implemented under the existing system. To my mind it would be a unitary system with full devolution or, to put it slightly differently, it would amount to the maximum devolution possible within a unitary system at full stretch. Why then does the moderate Mr. Sumanthiran reiterate the consistent stand of democratic Tamil nationalism, namely that even “the full implementation of the 13th amendment is no lasting solution?”

    This is simply because Tamil nationalism has never accepted that a lasting solution could be arrived at through full devolution within a unitary state. It has always held that a lasting solution is not possible within a state that remains basically unitary. Even moderate Tamil nationalism holds the view that a lasting solution lies somewhere beyond the unitary state; even one endowed with the most generous devolution.

    Mr. Sumanthiran’s answer may be that Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed to consider going beyond the 13th amendment. He did, but the distance he was willing to go even in theory was a quantitative, not a qualitative one; it was for a Second Chamber and another look at the concurrent list for the purpose of redistribution of powers between center and periphery. It would not have entailed a referendum. In any event, going quantitatively and incrementally beyond the 13th amendment within a strong Presidential system and explicitly unitary framework is drastically different from going qualitatively beyond the 13th amendment within a system divested of a strong executive Presidency.

    Quite apart from the debate on desirability, there is one of feasibility. Any such “lasting solution”, indeed anything beyond the 13th amendment, would require an island-wide referendum. How does the TNA propose to win a referendum for a qualitative shift beyond the 13th amendment? Not even the help of its current political partners in the South would be able to secure such an outcome.

    So far, so bad– but it is about to get worse. There is a brand new element in the mix. While the old element remains, namely that the TNA envisages the full implementation of the 13th amendment only as a first step which it intends to push beyond in its striving for a lasting settlement, the new element that arises is the proposed downsizing and downshifting of the executive Presidency. So, while the Tamil nationalists hope to stretch the relationship between center and periphery by means of a settlement beyond the full implementation of 13A, the center itself is about to diminish.

    The TNA is not unaware of this. Indeed the TNA presented this as the main reason for its support for the common candidate of the Opposition. Now we have the hitherto un-contradicted Tamilnet report that the abolition of the executive Presidency and its replacement by a parliamentary system of government was agreed upon in 2013 at a meeting in Singapore, organized by a South African peace NGO and attended by, among others, Messrs. Mangala Samaraweera and MA Sumanthiran. The abolition of the executive Presidency was, according to the report, point 4 of the agreement. (‘Singapore Principles of 2013’, TamilNet, January 22, 2015).

    The story is prefaced in DBS Jeyaraj.com in the following manner:

    ‘The “Tamilnet” website long regarded as the mouthpiece of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization has in a news report revealed details of an alleged “understanding” involving among others the current Foreign Affairs minister Mangala Samaraweera and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) national list parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran that was arrived at in Singapore in the year 2013. The “Tamilnet” website claims that the understanding reached in 2013 formulated a conceptual framework on abolishing the executive presidency based on ten basic principles described as the “Singapore principles”.

    The news report further states that current Presidential adviser Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, Colombo University Law professor VT Thamilmaran and unnamed representatives of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) along with a lawyer from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress also participated in the conclave. The conference was organized by South Africa and funded by two European countries alleges the “Tamilnet”. Quoting an unnamed participant in the meeting the “TamilNet” says “Mangala Samaraweera came as a ‘beggar’ urging Tamil support for regime change and abolition of the executive presidency. It was 2013.

    The Tamilnet report also outlines the ten ‘Singapore principles’ described as “hitherto unrevealed Singapore Principles of 2013” ’. (“Tamilnet Reveals Ten Point Accord for Regime Change and Executive Presidency abolition reached in 2013 at Meeting in Singapore Involving Mangala Samaraweera”)

    Mr. Sumanthiran is fully conscious of the relationship between the Executive Presidency and the issue of devolution. In his Sunday Observer interview he states as follows:

    “…the Governor is a chief executive officer possessing executive powers. This means that there is no power devolution. The governor is appointed by the President and holds powers during his tenure. The President in the centre nominates him and gives powers and says I have devolved powers.

    That is no devolution. Practically it is the President who is exercising power through the governor. We want that radically changed so that power is actually given to a body or people who have been elected by the people. So that is the arrangement that we will seek to go beyond the 13th Amendment and make it meaningful.” (Ibid.)

    This brings us to the question–what is the TNA’s real problem with the 13th amendment? Is it the less than full implementation? No, because if that were the case, it would not take the view that full implementation is not a lasting solution. Is it perhaps that the concurrent list is too thick and that the provincial unit should have some of the powers listed therein? Not really because that is not mentioned. The real problem the TNA has is elsewhere—with the role and powers of the Governor, and inter alia, those of the executive president.

    What does the existing arrangement as critically described by TNA moderate Sumanthiran mean? It means that the executive Presidency, as that office which rests on the elected consent of a majority of voters on the island taken as a single unit, is the repository of the sovereign power of the citizenry and is the fount from which from which power is devolved to the periphery.

    Thus the TNA’s objection is to the fundamental principle that power is devolved to the periphery from a strong center resting upon the broadest possible basis; a presidency that represents the nation as a whole. The TNA’s problem is with the mediatory role of the Governor, who acts as the elevator between the devolved peripheral unit and the presidential apex of the system. The TNA objects to a strong presidency representing the totality of the nation, which is raised above the peripheral unit. The Tamil moderate, Mr. Sumanthiran’s underlying objection is to the very principle that the institution that represents the totality, the whole, should be raised above the part; that the center should be above the periphery and that power should be devolved, i.e. flow downward.

    In the TNA’s vision, power should flow from a center outward to the periphery, but not from an apex, downward to the unit. No wonder then that the TNA wants the Executive Presidency abolished. This means that the system is transformed—I would say debauched—from a pyramid to a flat circle, with the parliament at its center. This means the minority parties are able to influence government formation at the center, through coalitions in parliament, as well as push beyond the unitary framework which would have been weakened by the decapitation of the executive presidency and the severance of the “neck” that links the executive head with the devolved peripheral unit, i.e. the Governor.

    Who will appoint the Governor under the arrangement the TNA seeks: the Parliament, the Cabinet, the PM, or the enfeebled essentially non-executive President? Or will there be no Governor at all? Or will there only be a ceremonial Governor, representing a largely nominal presidency?

    With the TNA intent on moving beyond the full implementation of the 13th amendment, and pushing together with its Southern allies (now in power) for the abolition or radical weakening of the Executive Presidency, what will be the future power relations within Sri Lanka be like, especially between the weaker center and a stronger periphery historically and currently subject to the ideological and politico-strategic pulls and emotional-psychological osmosis from their 70 million co-ethnics across a narrow strip of water, in neighboring Tamil Nadu?

    The TNA is strategically very lucid about what it is about. It is pushing for something beyond even the full implementation of the 13th amendment while it has simultaneously advocated and agreed upon the abolition of the Executive Presidency and thereby the radical diminution of the strong center.

    The division of labor is clear: the governing Sinhala elite (fronted by a non-elite political leader) weakens the center by dismantling or eroding the centripetal executive Presidency, thereby loosening the systemic ties between center and periphery, while the Tamil elite for its part, presses on far beyond the parameters of the unitary state.

  40. Wickrama Says:

    Lorenzo,

    Whether you are Tiger Tamil or non-Tiger Tamil, your honesty is in question when you do not accept even the smallest mistake. It is not too late even now to admit you made a spelling mistake. Go ahead, be a Brave Tamil !

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