Sri Lanka needs a “ Red Adair “to resurrect troubled state enterprises ?
Posted on February 14th, 2017

Dr Sarath Obeysekera


Red Adair

Swashbuckling troubleshooter renowned for taming huge oil-well fires, heading a business that carried out more than 1,000 missions

 The oil-well troubleshooter Paul N “Red” Adair, who has died aged 89, was a swashbuckling 20th-century hero, portrayed fittingly on screen by John Wayne, and he probably did more than any other person single-handedly to preserve the environment. The fires he extinguished were so enormous that they threatened to be dangerous contributors to global warming, or the potential causes of intercontinental air pollution disasters. His greatest feat came when he was in his seventies – confronting 117 gigantic oil-well infernos that dominated the horizon in Kuwait, the legacy of Saddam Hussein’s departing Iraqi troops after the first Gulf war. Adair and his crews finished putting out the fires in nine months, as opposed to the five years first envisaged, without a single casualty, and indeed the 5ft 7in boss maintained that none of his employees had ever suffered a serious injury while firefighting.

As well as a charismatic risk taker, Adair was an astute businessman, creating various enterprises throughout his life. As well as pioneering semi-submersible firefighting vessels and the design of oil derricks deployed in the North Sea, he also contributed to the technical advancement of various marine firefighting boats and water guns


We all have seen that many state enterprises in Sri Lanka have failed and co-op reports suggest that we either have to liquidate them or resurrect them by down sizing .If you liquidate them and pay VRS people will suffer ,We need to install good honest trouble shooters /fire fighter to make these enterprises much more efficient and profit oriented .During my peak days of carrier ,I have taken over one state institution and later a private company which were in the red and managed to resurrect by getting the full cooperation from staff ,managers and the political leadership  It may be difficult to set established parameters for  resurrection . What we need is improving time keeping ,monitoring the entrusted tasks and overload the workers and managers with more work .It is better than terminate excess staff .

Prime minister has initiated a task force for PPP ( Private public Partnership Program ) to resurrect the state enterprises .Though it is a good move ,it is quite difficult to implement because of yahaplanaya Concept where leftist parties and some opportunistic fractions of the society try to either disturb the peace or go for legal action.
The word FR (fundamental rights)   has become a bane as lawyers use that concept to block any PPP program.

Government should select few efficient, honest and ruthless ( to a certain extent ) Sri Lankans with no political affiliation and entrust the resurrection the organization within two years .

I am sure that we have many Sri Lankans from Private Sector who can take over this daunting task and kill the fires”


Dr Sarath Obeysekera

2 Responses to “Sri Lanka needs a “ Red Adair “to resurrect troubled state enterprises ?”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    What will happen is private sector entities will do the managing these government entities for a lucrative fee. They will make profit at the expense of state entities. More losses will accumulate for state entities. Then they will be sold off for assets to UNP henchmen while the Treasury will assume their liabilities. If fundamental rights are violated, then there must be some major frauds and illegal activities going on.

    This is what happened to tea plantation companies. Plantation management companies make profit. Plantation companies make losses.

    Or the CPC. LIOC makes profit at the expense of the CPC.

    Or the SLT in 2002 which made huge losses while the consulting company that invented 10 digits (owned by a senior employer of SLT) made a thumping profit. When they sold part of SLT’s shares, the share price remained low as people knew the frauds going on. Even NTT of Japan left SLT.

    Ranil was at fault in all these and unsurprisingly he is at it again.

  2. Lorenzo Says:


    SL needs a few DICTATORS at all levels.

    This DEMO-CRAZY is killing the country.

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