Some Basic Parliamentary Changes Required in 2017
Posted on January 6th, 2017

Janaki Chandraratna

It is that time of the year that many people make resolutions to overcome the adversities of the previous year. I would like to limit this summation to two basic areas that have taken the country down a slippery path from been one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, with a growth of 8% of GDP, to the current growth of 2-3% GDP, a near bankruptcy, within a span of two years.

Whilst there are many reasons for the above scenario I would like to focus firstly, on the President’s courageous decision to force a union between the SLFP (defectors from the SLFP party election manifesto) and the UNP to form a ‘National Government’. In fact the President was recommending the formation of a national government to other countries in the region.

National governments are generally formed to counter a single or a few national emergencies. British National Government led by Sir Winston Churchill to win the 2nd World War is an example. The union was defeated at the end of war as the need to continue the national government was no more. In fact, history is full of instances where coalitions of disparate political parties had coalesced to form national governments and frizzled out with the completion of the tasks in hand for the coalition. The President’s yearning for a national government can be due to the non-understanding of the demands of a national union. The continuous union of disparate parities like the SLFP and the UNP, with policies at the extreme ends of the political ideology, cannot be envisaged to be a success. When these parties could not join to front up to the terrorist war, it would have to be a miracle to have a successful union in times of peace. The only plausible factor is the President’s ascension was due to UNP support.

We have already seen the ill effects of this National Union in the economic degradation and political instability of the past year. The president was confronted with conflicts of interest when resolving matters of national interest by hanging on to the leadership of the SLFP and simultaneously beleaguered to implement UNP policies that are seen detrimental to the country according to SLFP policies. Even the President would have come to the conclusion by now that one cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hound! The first resolution in the new-year therefore needs to be a solution to this issue of forced national government, in order to move forward.

The second misfortune that was highlighted in many forums is the educational qualifications of politicians in the current parliament. It is said that many parliamentarians did not have GCE Advanced Level qualification and several are without year 10 qualifications. The reason for this predicament in part can be due to the reluctance of educated middle class taking to politics during the 30-year terrorist war period. It is no wonder that the Prime Minister had to mention that he was not referring to James Bond’, when explaining the issues relating to Treasury bond securities. The lack of an educated parliament is a challenge to any country, more so to a country like Sri Lanka that boasts of a high literacy rate.

The lack of a basic education has a cumulative effect on any individual in government executive positions as it leads to a non-understanding of important issues such as the economic forces at play for financial and commercial development of the country, the principles of democracy, governance, and compliance requirements for law and order. This indeed can be a reason for government parliamentarians are blindly supportive of measures that are inimical to the country.

We have seen many instances where astute parliamentarians have taken advantage of the naivety of others in getting through bills without much debate or discussion. The bill for the Office of Missing Persons is an example.  Many parliamentarians and for that matter parts of the media too are not fully aware of its contents to this day. The Central Bank fraud is another example where alleged perpetrators are still in the government business despite report after report confirming the need for a judicial intervention.

It is time this fundamental issue is resolved in 2017 by setting up a minimum practical education standard for politicians for future elections. Measures need to be taken to assist those politicians who are currently in parliament to comprehend the gamut of good governance. Attendance at a crash course in basic economics, principles of good governance, democracy, law and order needs to be made compulsory to all politicians who lack tertiary educational qualifications. A course on AR and FR would be a good start in the New Year. Steps should also be taken to ensure that politicians are penalized for non-compliance with the law, as it is critical to stop the rot at the top.

Since most of our politicians are blessed with oratory skills to promote their political agendas, in particular, to Csay things that are untrue, an improvement on the knowledge base certainly would improve their conscience to promote the welfare of the country, the job they were voted for, and implement the true meaning of good governance.

Janaki Chandraratna

3 Responses to “Some Basic Parliamentary Changes Required in 2017”

  1. aloy Says:

    “Steps should also be taken to ensure that politicians are penalized for non-compliance with the law, as it is critical to stop the rot at the top.”

    I agree 100% with this statement. I disagree with the rest that says level of education of those in parliament is the cause for our downfall.

    RW, appointed his buddy who is a non-citizen contravening the law that established the Central Bank taking full responsibility for his good behaviour. Even after two bond scams committed by the man he is getting his loyalist to cover it up and uses him as his financial advisor todate. The Prez who is the head of the government is also adopting a no care attitude thus leaving everything to this law breaker. In which other civilized country is this possible?. As I can see he is now going ahead with all sorts of illegal deals to the detriment of the nation and yet he seems to be succeeding as it is up to MR and his motley crew who themselves have skeletons in the cupboard to defend the nation.
    As for education qualifications for the ministers etc., didn’t Patali Champika has the required qualification as Electrical Engineer to do the needful with respect to Norochchalai during its construction?. As the minister responsible for the project he should have seen to it that only the best quality equipment and best practices were used for its implementation. He should have sent his engineers to carry out a proper inspection of equipment before they are shipped or got specialists in the industry to do the same, if his people were incompetent or lacked experience. Either he willfully neglected or was prevented from doing so, in which case he should have resigned honorably without waiting to say that there is CEB engineers mafia after he was removed and an ordinary woman appointed in his place.

    I had some regards for another professional a former banker, Eran Wickremaratne, who had become another greedy politician to say that they need to sell the car permit to give a good living conditions and education to their children. So they all enter politics to have a good life even when poor people have to undergo hardship?.

    I think the parliamentary system is the cause for all the problems; it allows the minorities to dictate terms to the majority and also allows a corrupt men at the top to destroy a country in every respect. A classic case is SL.

  2. S.Gonsal Says:

    Aloy,
    As Christie says Indian Colonial Parasites have bought over all professional and non-professional parlimetarians. RW and MS are the current slaves. New slaves will be appointed at the next election (might be an ex-slave).

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Aloy,

    Patali was too busy with his “extra-curricular activities”, recently on public display, to pay attention to the engineering construction of the Norochchalai power plant?

    Now, it seems the Chump has been eased out of JHU public meetings and sent into hiding for pecadillo rehabilitation lest he transform the Urumaya into an Arumaya! May take a while …. stay tuned for his resurrection!

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