Vili lajja!
Posted on June 8th, 2016

The Island Editorial


No sooner had the exploding ordnance stopped raining on Kosgama and adjoining townships than the government chose to shower expensive gifts on its parliamentarians. People crying out for relief must have expected Parliament to get cracking to help them. Instead, a supplementary estimate to the tune of Rs. 1,175 million was presented to the House on Tuesday for purchasing 30 cars, of all things, for ministers!

It was only recently that floods and landslides destroyed hundreds of lives and displaced tens of thousands of people. But, come hell or high water, the ruling politicians are hell bent on feathering their nests. They are apparently making up for lost time!

A popular slogan comes to mind: ‘amathiyanta kaar, golayanta baar, janthavata soor—cars for ministers, (liquor) bars for their henchmen and inebriation for the masses.

The unbridled parasitic exploitation by politicians of the people reminds us of an Aesopian fable. While crossing a shallow stream a fox got stuck in a cleft in a rock. Soon it was covered with ticks, which got bloated with its blood in no time. A small animal which was not strong enough to pull it out offered to remove the parasites instead. A terrified fox had this to say: ‘For heaven’s sake don’t. These ticks are now replete with my blood and if you remove them another swarm will descend on me and suck me dry!”

Sri Lankans got rid of one swarm of parasites last year only to be troubled by another!

With the colossal amount of public funds being wasted on cars for ministers and MPs, who are already using luxury vehicles at the expense of taxpayers all the houses and shops destroyed by the Kosgama blasts could have been rebuilt. How can the government politicians justify their panhandling near foreign embassies, claiming that they are without funds to help disaster victims?

The Rajapaksa government was castigated—and rightly so—for wasting public funds to maintain the ostentatious lifestyles of its politicians and their backers. Those at the levers of power changed last year but one sees no difference between the previous regime and its successor anent spending sprees; they are tweedledum and tweedledee in that respect. The government has demonstrated once again that it does not hesitate to act out of expediency rather than principle to safeguard its political interests.

Recent unconscionable tax hikes have landed the ordinary people in such a predicament that they cannot even afford humble tuk-tuks. Prices of essential commodities and services like private health care have gone through the roof. What hurts them more than being fleeced is that among the recipients of the luxury cars bought with their money are some politicians they rejected at the last parliamentary polls. Having appointed those rejects to Parliament via the National List and made them ministers, the government, which extols the virtues of good governance, is now giving them limousines. Rejects are going places! Oh, good governance, what a farce thou hast become in this blessed land!

The army has undertaken to stitch uniforms for disaster-hit schoolchildren as we reported yesterday. Members of the general public are skipping meals to feed, clothe and shelter their fellow citizens in distress. Kind-hearted foreigners are sending relief material here in spite of their own difficulties. Hospitals are seeking public assistance to buy scanners and other such equipment. Life-saving drugs are in short supply perennially in the state-run health institutions. Most schools are without sanitary facilities. University students are not paid their stipends on time. Development projects have ground to a halt due to lack of funds. But, the government has enough and more fund to purchase cars for its members.

What a damn shame––vili lajja!

 

3 Responses to “Vili lajja!”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Indeed … “Oh, GOOD GOVERNANCE! What FARCE thou has become in this blessed land!”

    Perhaps we should wail more correctly …

    My God Misgovernance, we inflicted THEE upon OURSELVES!

    There is NO CURE for STUPIDITY!

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Although $8 million is insignificant in the scheme of things (particularly regarding the external debt), moral bankruptcy of the government is visible from its total disregard of the people. Fonseka’s car costs close to half a million dollars (with all related expenses). This is daylight robbery when people are suffering VAT increase, floods, landslides, explosions and other calamities.

    But the Opposition is impotent. TNA, JVP and JO have their own personal interests. The JO acts as if it the fault of the people.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    No confidence motion against the Finance Minister was defeated by a massive margin of 94 votes. JO and JVP voted for it. They together have 52 votes. However, only 51 voted. The missing vote belongs to Mahinda Rajapaksa who was not in parliament. He was not in parliament when the budget was voted either.

    Weerawansa and Gammanpila must leave the JO and form their own party if they cannot be its leaders. The JO is going to get defeated badly with unreliable leaders when national security and the national economy are in grave danger.

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