Road Closures
Posted on September 10th, 2009

Guy Van den Berghe

Good morning,

For the 2nd time in 3 days, the Galle Face Road has been closed for the passage of his Excellency President Rajapakse.

However, today, the entire road was closed, traffic was stopped and finally… nothing happened and the road was opened again after about 10 minutes. No wonder your traffic has so many queues and jams.

What disturbs me the most as a tourist, is that I am not even allowed to be on the balcony of my apartment because His Excellency needs to pass in his car (and finally he didn’t!).

Although I do understand that everything has to be done to protect a President, I don’t want to believe that keeping people at a distance, blocking roads and so on will help in making him more popular.

He has achieved a major step forward in ending the civil war, but he should be more approachable.

But that is not the reason for this email. The real reason is that I was chased from my balcony by the police officers, who continued waving me inside the apartment. I have paid for my apartment and to enjoy it to the fullest, including the use of my balcony.

At the same time today, I saw a lady on her balcony in the adjacent building, and she stood outside for the entire time. Nobody said anything or nobody waved her inside her apartment. Why this difference? Why keeping 1 person inside and others outside?

I think the entire blocking of the road is ridiculous.

Yesterday, the New Zealand Cricket team was brought back to their hotel, and the only thing that was done, was an escort ahead and behind the bus. The road was only blocked when they arrived at the hotel, but that is all.

So there is no consistency in all this. If you want to protect someone, do it properly.

Once again, I am admiring the President for what he has achieved, but blocking a road and in the end not passing at all, is just a waste of energy, and an abuse of power and fuel…(imagine the exhausts of all the cars while waiting!).

I am not sure if I will be coming back to your country (I have for the past 10 years), but your country has become less friendly then it used to be in 2000.

I will write you about this as well in a different email.

Friendly greetings,

Guy Van den Berghe

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