Point of view: Open letter to Minister Arjuna Ranatunga
Posted on October 15th, 2015

Jehan Mendis Courtesy The Daily News

Minister Arjuna Ranatunga

Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has proposed his brother Dhammika as a candidate for the post of Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Answering a question by The Nation newspaper, Mr. Ranatunga has defended himself saying, “A final decision (on the appointment) will be made by a committee which includes the President. However, if he (Dammika) has the necessary qualifications, then why not?”

What on earth is Arjuna Ranatunga thinking? This is not good governance. This is clearly nepotism, which is something which Mr. Ranatunga said he stood against when he asked us to reject Rajapaksa Brothers Private Limited and asked for our vote. He asked for our vote while standing on the platform of good governance. And now, although Mr. Ranatunga says his brother is qualified, he has not said what these qualifications are. Neither has he demonstrated that his brother is better qualified than other candidates. Sri Lanka has a large shipping industry with experienced people who have an understanding of the problems and the solutions that would be practical.

Has the Minister successfully encouraged the most qualified and experienced people to apply for the job? This is the Minister’s responsibility. If he says that no one better could be found, then it is the Minister that is not doing his job properly!

What is the Minister’s brother’s previous experience in the shipping industry? Does he have any special qualifications and experience, or at least a proven track record of effective management in a related area that would justify his appointment?

Since it is fashionable these days in political circles to keep comparing us to Singapore, let us compare Dhammika Ranatunga’s qualifications with those his Singaporean counterpart – Mr Lucien Wong, the head of the Maritime and Ports Authority of Singapore.

Easily accessible online, here are some of Mr. Wong’s qualifications. (You may skip to the next paragraph if you get bored reading the long list):

“Lucien is the Chairman and Senior Partner of Allen & Gledhill LLP. He graduated from the University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree and was admitted to the Singapore Bar in 1979. Lucien has more than 30 years’ experience in legal practice and he specialises in banking, corporate and financial services work. Lucien is the Chairman of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Singapore Business Federation and sits on the Board of Directors of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited, Hap Seng Plantations Holdings Berhad, Singapore Airlines Ltd and Singapore Press Holdings Limited.

Over the years, Lucien has sat on several law review committees in Singapore, which reviewed amendments to Singapore company and securities law. He is regularly cited as a leading lawyer in banking, finance, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance in publications including Chambers Global, Chambers Asia-Pacific, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, IFLR1000 and Asia law Leading Lawyers. He was conferred a Special Award for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession at the Chambers Global Awards in London in 2007, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the first Chambers Asia Awards 2010 in Singapore.”

By contrast, google Dhammika Ranatunga and his main qualification appears to be two Tests and 4 ODIs for Sri Lanka in 1989! Have the Ranatunga brothers discovered some sort of secret weapon? Does cricketing skill give you an advantage in the field of shipping and ports? Is Dhammika Ranatunga going to whip the Sri Lanka Ports Authority into shape with his rusty right-arm off-break? Or maybe he can get a few heads to roll with his right-arm batting? But perhaps this all a misunderstanding based on a typo?

Do the Ranatungas think that they are trying to fill a vacancy in the Sri Lanka Sports Authority instead of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority? If it is not any of these, please tell us, Mr. Ranatunga, what are your brother’s qualifications? This government has yet to prove to voters that they can deliver sustainable economic benefits to the people.

How long this government will last depends mostly on economics. This government says that encouraging investment, both foreign and domestic, is important to their economic plans. However, this blatant nepotism within important public institutions – and make no mistake, this is the worst type of human resource mismanagement – gives the impression that the economic framework of the country within which a business has to operate is not meritocratic and is broken. This puts investors off. Why on earth would you want to risk investing your money in a place that might not treat your business fairly? In this kind of system, the moment your business conflicts with the interests or whim of some politician, which one do you think is going to come out on top? It sends a warning signal to the business community and the world at large. So, this is not a small problem, Mr. Ranatunga. This is a pretty big problem.

The world is watching. The business community is watching.

The good governance activists are watching. And, perhaps far more importantly for you, the voters are watching. Do you think that you can so blatantly take those who voted for you – based on what you said about good governance – for a ride? You may have changed your mind about wanting good governance, but the voters have not.

It would be good to keep that in mind. It was the voters that voted for good governance who brought you into power.

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/open-letter-minister-arjuna-ranatunga#sthash.a45ASpeO.dpuf

9 Responses to “Point of view: Open letter to Minister Arjuna Ranatunga”

  1. vyasan Says:

    Even Arjuna Ranatunge himself is not fit to be a minister just because he captained Sri Lankan Cricket team to win the World cup, and managed to win election on the popularity he earned through cricket. If every one, because of their popularity in some other entertainment field, just like the cinema stars in India – and in Sri Lanka too,got into politics, then the country would go into ruin. Leaders should be patriotic and selfless devoid of any personal goals to enhance their life through power and positions.

  2. crobe Says:

    Dhammika played 2 test matches and 4 ODI’s for Sri Lanka because of his brother. He had no talent to be in the national pool. Only qualification was that he is the brother of Arjuna. Same goes for Nishantha who played 2 ODI’s. Sanjeewa played 9 tests when Arjuna was captain. Now, Arjuna is galloping on his high horse talking about corruption and nepotism.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    That’s not all ACCORDING TO DAILY MIRROR, “someone” was caught by CBK in the act with a woman. CBK had slapped him hard and blasted him. That someone has appointed that woman to a govt. position!!

    Sirisena NEVER wanted to appoint Arjuna to the PORT MINISTRY. He only wanted to give him the SPORT MINISTRY. But as most SL villagers, Maru Sira could not pronounce SPORT. He said PORT. That’s why Arjuna ended up with the PORT MINISTRY.

    Look at his POLITICAL JUMPS.

    He started politics from SIHALA URUMIYA.
    Then he jumped to UPFA.
    Then in 2010 he jumped to DNA.
    In 2015 he jumped to UNP.

    What a JUMPER!! Within 15 years he has jumped to 4 political parties. His next jump will be to TNA or SLMC.

    Arjuna, look at SANGA and learn how to conduct like a TRUE CRICKETER and leave politics. SL politics is NOT cricket.

    This GOOD GOVERNANCE BS is nothing but corruption, greed, sex, money, foreign trips and HATE.

    The criminal who took photographs of a police officer’s wife in a swim suit in a hotel swimming pool and assaulted her son is in SL’s UN delegation!! SHAME!

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    IF PRESIDENT CAN PUT HIS BROTHER TO A TOP POST, ARJUNA THINKS, WHY THEf CANT HIS BROTHER FIT IN TO A VERY HIGH PAYING JOB. CRICKET IS EQUVALENT TO A COLLEGE DEGREE IN SRI LANKA, OR SO THESE BUGGERS THINK.

    MORALE AND ETHICS DO NOT COUNT ANYMORE IN SRI LANKA. PRIME MINISTER CAN PUT HIS FRIEND, THE NAME SOUNDS SIMILAR TO ARJUNA, BUT DROPPED THE *A* AND IT BECOMES ARJUN. THiS IS THE AXIS OF EVIL IN NAMES. OUR TREASURY IS IN THE HANDS OF A COMPETENT INDIAN ROPE TRICK JINNA, WHO CAN MAKE LOADS OF CASH VANISH INTO THIN AIR. PEOPLE WERE MESMERIZED, AND THEIR LIPS HAVE BEEN GLUED. THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD TO SHUT THEF UP.

    AS vy SAY, WHAT IS ARJUNAS QUALIFICATIN TO BE A MINISTER OF PORTS? IS HE AN ENGINEER OF SORTS ? WHAT IS HIS KNOWLEDGE ON GANTRY CRANES ? SO, POLITICS WAS HIS ENTRY POINT. JUST A SUGGESTION, HIS BROTHER CAN BE MINISTER OF TRISHAWS, POPULARLY KNOWN AS TUK TUKS. POSSIBLY, THIS LIFE STYLE MAY NOY BE ENOUGH.

    MAY THE LORDS ABOVE HELP SRI LANKA
    .
    UNIVERSITY DEGREE HOLDERS ARE WAITNGTO ENTER EXECUTIVE STATE JOBS WITH THEIR QUALIFICATIONS. NOW THEY CAN SEE CRABS ENTERING SIDEWAYS, INTO THOSE JOBS.

    ACADEMICS HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTEST, AGAINST THIS DESPICABLE, REPREHENSIBLE , SELF ACQUIRED, AUTHORITY., WITH NO SHAME TO BE NUDE, OVER THEIR NEPOTISM.

    NEPOTISM CAN BE THE START FOR A REVOLT OF THE ACADAMEIA. ALLES GUTE.

  5. Independent Says:

    Biggest joke is Captain Kukul has the backing of a port crooks union ( consist of few workers cheating public ) which is demanding Dhammika Ranatunaga to be the Chairman. Who organised this demand ?
    Never happened in world history, a union is asking for a man from out side, who has nothing to do with shipping or ports to be installed.
    I remember this family of Ranatunags attacked a boy who jumped his fence to find the tennis ball while playing cricket.

    I wonder how my good friend, a 100% good Buddhist who has been working there from January as deputy chairman, a real Captain who ran a successful sailor training institute for years , could manage to work under these crooks. He should surely resign.

  6. ranjit Says:

    Vyasan and Lorenzo both were correct in their comments regarding Arjuna the Hypocrite. I like Lorenzo’s comment it’s really funny.Sometimes we can have some fun when reading comments like that. Actually Arjuna thinks he is far more popular than even Mahinda Rajapksa. As Vyasan says he is not fit to be any Minister. I think better he leave the Ministry post and join the cricket board as Chairman.

    Everything Sira/Wicky combination and their stooges in UNP & S.L.F.P. promised to the nation during election time was just empty promises and lies. They labelled Opposition as thieves and sometimes called them “Ali Baba and the forty thieves” but see what they have done in less than a year to the country? These buggers are only interested in themselves nothing more. Everyone will do the same mistake and get rich and enjoy all the royalty over the poor citizens corpse. When we have gangsters,Actors,Pimps,Gays,Prostitutes and election losers in the Parliament what can we expect from these lunatics? Dear citizens do not use your vote to Swindlers,liars,corrupt,inexperienced,Uneducated individuals in any election hereafter because we need to save our nation from traitors to live as decent citizens.

  7. Sampath Says:

    රණතුංග පුත්තු වැරදි පාරේ ඇරියේ රෙජි රණතුංගයි

  8. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Minister of Ports and Air ports were year marked to Mee Harak De Silva, but any other person is acceptable to me other than Mee Haraka. Cricket! some one did not like Dinash Chandimal and tried to get him out of Test Cricket, but he fought back. Now, ESPN written commentary for 15th and 16th is not available. Who is responsible? Srisena’s Sports Minister.

  9. aloy Says:

    Many professionals including myself criticized the previous government in this forum not because we did not like him, but because they did not listen to peoples voice. I am sure our agitation in this forum also must have influenced others like the facebook crowed or the young digital age crowed. Yahapalana guys should not think that if their cronies in the villages can put them into power irrespective of what they do. That is what happened to MR and his people. By promising the people of a yahapalanaya and doing completely opposite will bring an end to this government too. I am ashamed to be a Sri Lankan when I look at the way our country is being run. I am ashamed to see president’s son behind him in the UN assembly. It did not however brought any financial loss to the country. But Arjuna’ action will and perhaps ruin it.
    Where is the committee for the approval of high posts?. Is it not their job to stop this sort of nonsense?.

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