More leeches
Posted on January 17th, 2016

Editorial  -The Island 

Somebody has likened politicians to tortoises resting on fence posts. They cannot reach such heights without people’s help as is common knowledge. It is also people who have to bring them down. But, in this country, the creatures so elevated are deified! However, one may consider this analogy an affront to the poor tortoises in that they never harm humans. Politicians sponging off people, in our book, bear many similarities to leeches.

Disturbing news came recently about a government move to increase the colony of leeches at the grassroots level. We reported, on Wednesday, that a bill had been presented to Parliament seeking to create 1,495 new slots in local government institutions purportedly for women. At present we are burdened with as many as 4,486 members in 335 local government bodies. The public will have to brace for more taxes to maintain 1,495 additional LG members.

Let there be no argument about the need to increase female representation in male dominated Sri Lankan politics. Besides accounting for more than one half of the population, women keep the national economy afloat by slaving away on tea and rubber estates and in garment factories and West Asia, where they undergo untold suffering at the hands of their savage employers. In Mesopotamia, the cradle of modern civilization, women were regarded superior to men as Dr. Upul Wijayawardhana reminds us in his column in the SATMAG section today. Five thousand years on, they are struggling to safeguard even their fundamental rights including that to travel in buses and trains without being groped!

Women must get what is rightfully theirs. If there is a cake to be served to a group of 100 people consisting of 49 men and 51 women it has to be cut into 100 pieces of equal size and both men and women given one each. It cannot be considered fair for the 49 men to be allowed to help themselves to 75 pieces leaving only 25 for as many as 51 women. Let no argument be peddled that women are free to jostle with greedy, coarse and brutish men for their fair share. The same principle should apply to the allocation of slots in Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government institutions.

One should not dupe oneself into believing that a substantial increase in women’s representation will bring about a discernible improvement in our political culture. This country has had women at the helm, but they failed to make any difference. The situation only took a turn for the worse and it may be recalled that, under the watch of one of them, women were stripped naked and paraded on roads during an election campaign! No action was taken against the perpetrators some of whom are ministers of the incumbent government claiming to promote good governance. But, the fact remains that a serious attempt should be made to redress the existing representational imbalances. Such corrective action which is long overdue will help rectify a historical injustice which is antithetical to the principle of democracy.

A massive increase in the number of LG representatives is not justifiable, though. What should have been done, by way of increasing women’s representation, was to allocate at least 50 percent of the existing seats in LG bodies to women without burdening the people with more councillors to be maintained with public funds. With the proposed increase there will be 6,656 political leeches posing as people’s representatives including 450 provincial councillors and 225 parliamentarians for a population of a little over 20 mn.

The number of so-called people’s representatives ought to be reduced drastically at every level of government. It does not make sense to have 225 MPs because there are 450 provincial councillors. When the number of MPs was increased by the JRJ government there were no provincial councils. Today, for each subject, say health or education, there are 10 ministers including nine in the provinces. Each province has five ministers. The people have not benefited from the increase in the number of ministers at all as could be seen from the crises in sectors such as health and education.

The greatest service that can be done to the people of this country is to reduce the number of political leeches forthwith. Sadly, the incumbent administration is convinced otherwise. It has proved that it is also a government of politicians by politicians for politicians in spite of its good governance rhetoric, which rings hollow.

One Response to “More leeches”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Actually there are 6,657 LEECHES including the BIGGEST leech of them all THE PRESIDENT.

    IF each costs 100,000 rupees a month, total cost is 665,700,000 X 12 = 7,988,400,000 rupees a year.
    IF each robs 100,000 rupees a month, total value is 665,700,000 X 12 = 7,988,400,000 rupees a year.
    IF each has assistants costing 100,000 rupees a month, total cost is 665,700,000 X 12 = 7,988,400,000 rupees a year.
    IF each has a car costing 100,000 rupees a month, total cost is 665,700,000 X 12 = 7,988,400,000 rupees a year.

    That is 32 billion rupees a year WASTED.

    But the real number is MUCH HIGHER because 100,000 rupees is NOTHING for politicians for today. The correct number may be 100 billion rupees a year.

    IF the military takes over MOST of this can be SAVED.

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