A crying shame!
Posted on June 4th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The yahapalana government has not only stooped so low as to sell the family silver, unable to keep the economy afloat otherwise, but also driven a world famous athlete to consider selling her Olympic Silver medal. Susanthika Jayasinghe has announced her decision to auction her treasured possession, which has done the country proud, because she, a mother of two, is in dire straits without any help from the state.

The government’s callous disregard for Susanthika’s plight is sickening, to say the least. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera has faulted his predecessor, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, for paying Susanthika Rs. 80,000 a month from the Sports Fund ‘without following proper procedure’. He says he presented a Cabinet paper proposing that Susanthika be paid Rs. 75,000 and a vehicle allowance monthly. The Cabinet has reduced the proposed amount to Rs. 60,000, he says. One is intrigued.

The Cabinet wastes public funds to the tune of billions of rupees annually to maintain a bunch of bankrupt politicians rejected by the people at the last general election but made ministers by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe unashamedly. Through one of the four supplementary estimates for vehicles the government has obtained as much as Rs. 70 million for purchasing a car to please a political reject brought into Parliament through the backdoor and appointed to the Cabinet. The supplementary estimates the government has so far presented to Parliament to allocate funds for ministerial vehicles amount to over Rs. 2 billion!

Disaster victims are crying out for relief and an Olympic silver medalist is in penury, but the government is allocating funds with a generous hand to ensure that its politicians and henchmen live in clover. Yahapalana at its best!

This country is full of square pegs in round holes, in addition to ministers, drawing huge salaries for sinecures at the expense of the taxpaying public and the needy. If you kick a wayside bush hundreds of government advisors will get thrown out, as a local saying goes. The JVP, in July last year, making a special statement in Parliament, lashed out at the government for employing as many as 56 consultants in the highway ministry alone. It demanded to know the education qualifications of those consultants, but in vain. The Rajapaksa government helped its lackeys get on board the gravy train by appointing them as consultants and advisors so much so that the then palace seer sans any knowledge of finance got paid as a director of a state bank. It also catapulted to the top post at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation a former sportsman who had just scraped through the GCE O/L examination. The tradition continues despite the 2015 change of government though the yahapalana leaders promised a clean break therefrom.

Susanthika lacks control over her restless tongue and her mannerisms can be irritating at times, but the fact remains that the Black Mare of Asia is worth her weight in silver, if not gold. Any other country would have ensured that an Olympic Silver medalist like her would never be reduced to penury in this shameful manner.

Let Susanthika be given a substantive post with a decent salary in the Sports Ministry. Or, the Cabinet can create a special position for her because she is in a league of her own. Her talent and experience can be made use of to train young track and field athletes. Besides, she can inspire and motivate sportspersons training for international competitions.

If Susanthika had been running behind the ruling party politicians instead of sprinting for the country at international sports events against numerous odds she would have been able to live off the fat of the land like some sportspersons and artistes who have sold their souls to government grandees.

Susanthika is a national treasure and she must be treated as such. Don’t cry Susie! All grateful Sri Lankans are solidly behind you.

Shame on the government!

2 Responses to “A crying shame!”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Compensation for a Tamil suicide bomber is Rs. 20,000,0000 while a OLYMPIC MEDALIST gets nothing!!! What a fcuked up country!

  2. Kumari Says:

    Can’t we open a Charity or a Fund Raiser “SUSANTHIKA”. Many of us want to help, but how? Without begging the government we should organise to obtain her rich experience for the benefit of the budding, rural athletes.

    I am sure a media outlet like The Island or Derana need to take the initiative.

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