Square pegs in round holes
Posted on July 22nd, 2016

JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa revealed in Parliament on Wednesday that 56 UNP supporters had been appointed Road Development Authority (RDA) consultants and 54 of them had only passed the GCE O/L examination or studied up to Grade Eleven. Only two of those consultants had got through the GCE A/L examination, the House was told.

Minister Kiriella had to admit that the newly appointed RDA consultants were party supporters. It was thanks to the efforts of such people that the UNP-led coalition had been able to win both presidential and parliamentary polls in the Kandy District last year, he said, claiming that their interests had to be looked after. He was obviously trying to defend the indefensible.

It was a supreme irony that Dr. Jayatissa happened to raise the issue of educational qualification of the aforesaid political appointees in Parliament. It was revealed in 2014 that 94 members of the last parliament had failed the GCE O/L and 142 of them the GCE A/L! The situation must be more or less the same in the present parliament as well.

So, one may ask what moral right parliamentarians have to question the educational qualifications of others. If the legislators who haven’t passed the GCE O/L can handle public finance and make vital laws why can’t similarly ‘qualified’ people work as road development consultants?

A person who has not passed the GCE O/L cannot secure employment even at the lowest level of the public service. There is hardly any difference between state officials and parliamentarians in that the latter are also paid with public funds. So, one may be justified in arguing that politicians who draw higher salaries than most of the senior public officials should have better educational qualifications.

There is no way the government can justify employing its henchmen as consultants paid with public funds in return for services rendered. Political affiliations mustn’t be considered the sole criterion for public sector employment. If one is to go by Minister Kiriella’s contention then one may think it is a mistake for a youth to exert himself to pass examinations and receive university education; there is no guarantee that he will be able to secure employment upon graduation. But, if he drops out of school before sitting the GCE O/L and places himself at the beck and call of politicians he can rest assured that he will land a plum job in the state sector as an advisor, a consultant or even as a director of a state bank or a provincial governor.

Political appointments have been the bane of the public service which is full of square pegs in round holes. Most of the state institutions are overstaffed, but governments continue to recruit their backers.

One of the main issues the self-appointed champions of good governance currently in power very effectively flogged to turn public opinion against the last government was the appointment of party supporters and politicians’ kith and kin sans required qualifications to important positions in the state sector. Having captured power by promising CHANGE, the members of the incumbent administration are doing exactly what they hauled their opponents over the coals for. This, they do while extolling the virtues of good governance!

The JVP is one of the parties that circled the wagons around Opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena, helped engineer last year’s regime change and paved the way for the formation of the present administration. So, the blame for the misfits going places in the state sector thanks to their political affiliations needs to be apportioned to the JVP as well.

Ruling party politicians and their henchmen seem to have all the luck!

One Response to “Square pegs in round holes”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Indeed!

    After having helped to DESTROY the defensive shield of the majority Sinhala Buddhist community, and helped a minority infused elitist Yamapalana GoSL grab power, the JVP Viplavakarayas are now wailing crocodile tears on the FARCICAL “good governance” of the current government.

    The JVP are political opportunists of the worst kind. They helped oust the MR/UPFA GOSL because it was a formidable barrier to their own political ambitions. The current jury-rigged Yamapalana government is a much easier target for their populist attacks … so they prefer it in govern than the former MR/UPFA government. If at all it becomes evident that the MR/UPFA government is going to be resurrected, the JVP will again turn against for the same reason as before.

    The GOAL of the JVP is to some how gain the support of the majority of voters and become the main governing party. To that end, they will strike deals with the DEVIL if necessary even if it places the essential interests of the Sinhala Buddhist majority they in jeopardy! SAD but TRUE!

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