Serving the masters
Posted on December 17th, 2016

Serving the political masters of Yahapalanaya, which has rapidly degenerated at an alarming pace to a Yama-Palanaya, seem to be the only consideration for some public servants holding high office. I do not wish to be disrespectful, in any way, to honourable public servants like Gamini Wijesinghe, the Auditor General,whose firm stand against political pressure led to the exposure of the ‘day-light’ robbery in the Central Bank, which the UNP, unashamedly, tried to cover up. But, unfortunately, he is among the minority.

Our politicians, in turn, seem to be serving foreign masters, as is patently obvious from the way our foreign policy is executed. We seem to be venerating ‘Uncle Sam’ at every juncture encouraging megalomaniacs in the Obama administration to behave in the most ludicrous manner. Samantha Power, Obama’s representative to the United Nations, according to many respected commentators behaved like a school bully when she did her “shame” bit in the Security Council: “Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out a little bit?” When she asked the Russians, Syrians and Iranians this question she had temporary amnesia about the atrocities committed in the name of USA, in Iraq, Libya and Palestine. At least she speaks for her country but our Foreign Minister seems to have forgotten what his role is.

Dr Mathias Keitel, from Germany, starts an interesting piece in the Asian Tribune titled “Foreign Minister Samaraweera Must Go” with the comment “My recent visit to Sri Lanka, the country that I love most, fills me with dark foreboding as its vital interests are being systematically compromised by its buccaneering Foreign Minister.” He gives a detailed analysis of the Geneva resolution and points out the uniqueness (foolishness) of Sri Lanka to agree to co-sponsor the resolution against us and comments: “The Foreign Minister has not learned the fundamental rule of being the chief representative of the country overseas. I.e. to represent the country’s best interests with fortitude, dignity and quiet pride.” Few would disagree with his concluding remarks:


“It is also be difficult not to draw the conclusion that the UNHRC resolution was not really an attempt to consolidate human rights and restore good governance but a thinly disguised endeavour to destroy the iconic super hero status, especially of the victorious Sri Lankan soldier, and reduce it to the level of a common criminal. The Foreign Minister’s solicitous and breathless anxiety to comply with the demands of the West and the Tamil expatriate groups may well have contributed to realizing this goal.

When the country needs volunteers the next time, they may not be there!”

When Ministers behave like this, it is not surprising that senior Public Servants follow suit, there being many examples of it lately. The Inspector General of Police, who attributed his promotion to the ‘Poojas’ he conducted at Gangaramaya, was caught on camera giving undertakings to a politician to defend a corrupt ‘Nilame’. Navy Commander joins the fray by attacking a journalist and the Director General of Information jumps to defend this action and blames the journalist! What a comic circus!!

The Island (15 December} reports that Minister Sarath Fonseka (Yes, he is a minister and a member of the UNP, the very party, which not so long ago stated in the Parliament that he is involved in the killing of a famous journalist) defended the action of the Navy Commander saying that “He only pushed the journalist”. Dear Minister, perhaps, you are unaware that pushing or manhandling someone is termed ‘assault’, legally. Why, oh why did you not retire with flying colours and be eternally remembered as a war hero, joining the ranks of joker politicians instead?

In the superb editorial titled ‘A Yahapalana snafu’ (The Island, December 15) there were two paragraphs that got me thinking:

“Director General of Government Information Ranga Kalansooriya has sought to apportion the blame for Saturday’s incident to the journalist manhandled by the Navy. He says the victim violated media ethics by entering a restricted area, provoking the attack. His argument makes one wonder whether Bovine King Kekille actually lived here and his descendants have got into high posts under the present government. For, no one with an iota of common sense will demand that journalists obey the dictates of military and police officers.

The yahapalana Goebbels who have secured high posts thanks to their boot-licking skills mastered while they were members of the kept press are apparently trying to promote embedded journalism in peacetime as well. Journalists have to gain access to even restricted areas, at times, in the line of duty as is common knowledge. No one has a right to assault or kill such enterprising scribes for doing that.”

Director of Information was a post held by a senior Civil Servant in the past. I am sure Dr Kalansooriya is well qualified as he must be holding a Ph D. What has made somebody like him to be a mouth piece for the government than an independent public servant? It goes back to JR. As I have stated many a time, I have great respects for the President J. R. Jayewardene. No one can deny he turned Sri Lanka towards a path of prosperity from the quagmire of the economic mess Mrs. B got us into thanks to the ill-advised ‘socialist’ policies. But JR brought about fundamental changes that tore our national fabric even before he introduced the ‘Presidential Constitution’

The Ceylon Civil Service was mighty once. The cream of the University output was diverted, at a very early stage following a highly competitive examination,to the Civil Service; to be trained to be the backbone of the administrative structure, culminating in being Permanent Secretaries. I know a lot about this because my father wanted me to be one but am sure he was not disappointed at what I turned out to be! The Permanent Secretaries were powerful enough to stop wrongdoings of Ministers. They could advice Ministers in formulating policy. Perhaps, JR felt threatened and when he was made the Minister of State in the Dudley Senanayaka Government of 1965, he broke tradition and appointed Anadatissa de Alwis as Secretary to the Ministry. Perhaps, this was a calculated move to launch the Tourism Industry. I remember the protests then which would have been even more vigorous had it not been Anandatissa, who was an amicable, efficient, honest communicator, a rarity in the private sector, who turned out to be an outstanding politician later. However, that does not justify the series of catastrophic events that followed.

Gradually, Permanent Secretaries became Secretaries and Ministers became permanent! In no time Secretaries became political henchmen and boot-licking, as stated in the Editorial, turned out to be an art form. Ceylon Civil Service was enlarged to engulf the entire administrative service which some may claim is an end to elitism but, in my humble opinion, was the beginning of erosion of good governance. Politicians ruled supreme and everything needed a ‘chit’ from them. In contrast, India kept on its’ Civil Service’ and it is this administrative backbone that kept India going even when urine-drinkers held helm!

When J R won with a landslide in 1977, my wife’s uncle, S De S Jayasinghe, a strict vegetarian, was appointed the Minister of Fisheries and his Secretary, chosen by JR, was a former DRO. Following the untimely death of S De S, his daughter Sunethra was elected and was later made the Minister of Teaching Hospitals. Her Secretary, hand-picked by JR, was a doctor who taught Anatomy to nurses in New Zealand. He had no administrative experience and was far removed from hospital medicine but was appointed Secretary, may be because his father was once the Treasurer of the UNP. This is what I know from first-hand experience and am sure there were many more. The rot started and we have been on a downward slope since. Though, in a way, I have some sympathy for public servants as they are forced to boot-lick to protect their positions, unless public servants, in droves, join the likes of the Auditor General, there is no hope.

My heart bleeds for you, Mother Lanka!

One Response to “Serving the masters”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    NPC wants a POWERLESS EUNUCH as Nominal Governor; not an Executive Governor!

    Why have a “Governor”at all??

    We might as well save the money and abolish the NPC!

    REPEAL the13th Amendment!
    DISSOLVE ALL Provincial Councils!
    REPLACE with DISTRICTS administered by a District Governor APPOINTED by the CENTRAL NATIONAL Government!

    NEVER DEVOLVE any part of the NATIONAL Government’s power to any SUB-NATIONAL unit of administration!

    These BUGGERS want to CON US into gifting them a proto-EELAM!

    And, the Yamapalanaya will be only TOO HAPPY to GIVE IT!

    God DAMN the Yamapalanaya TRAITORS!! They shall REAP LATER what they SOW NOW!

    NPC wants nominal governor with no executive powers
    By Amali Mallawaarachchi
    Monday, December 19, 2016 – 06:30

    The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has requested the government for a nominal governor instead of one with executive powers.

    NPC Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam speaking to the Daily News pointed out that their request is not to abolish the post of governor.“We have not requested for an abolition of the post of governor. What we have really suggested is that it to be a nominal head appointed by the President or the government. It is not a matter of reducing or enhancing the powers of the governor but that we need a nominal governor, instead of an executive governor,” Sivagnanam said.

    TNA’s M.K.Sivajilingam said reducing the powers vested in the governor is not applicable only to the Northern Province but for all Provincial Councils.

    “The powers vested in a governor in Sri Lanka is too much. Not even the governors in India are vested with such powers. The powers that a governor here has equals to executive power. Our suggestion is not limited to Northern province only, but to the whole country. We do not have a personal vendetta against the governors. We, as the NPC forward this proposal along with few other proposals,” Sivajilingam said.

    “We also propose that there is no need of a title as ‘governor’. Our suggestion is that it should be a title meaning ‘an agent of the central government,” the MP said.

    “We also forwarded proposals for the new constitution steering committees on a federal state and making North-East region a single administrative unit within which the Muslims shall have an autonomous region,” Sivajilingam added.

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