Govt embroiled in discord
Posted on January 4th, 2016

BY Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy Ceylon Today

President Maithripala Sirisena has been accused of using a bra to distract many issues, but in their rush to defend the indefensible, have the voters also lost the plot?. People may forget the year, but none with a living memory of 2015 will forget Vithya or Seya.

Crime and violence against women and children, especially sexually related, are alarmingly on the rise. As most crimes are unreported due to inadequate data collection, statistics are hazy. From what is available, it is estimated that a woman is raped every 90 minutes and three to five children are molested every day. In that context, was President Sirisena wrong to be outraged by a woman stripping her undergarment in public?
He is wrong, judging by the posts in the social media. Almost in one voice, the woman in question is being defended for her indiscretion. Many people see it as an act of liberation than provocation. Ironically, even the President does not blame her for her action, but the concert’s organizers. His contention with the organizers was that the high-priced tickets included alcohol, which resulted in the audience losing self-control.

Yet, as this was organized with the approval of the Colombo Municipality, a certain amount of responsibility of what transpired then falls on the authorities as well. Again, apart from that flaw, was the President wrong? Can anyone defend her action in the context of our values? Was the President himself not been indiscreet to discuss this matter with his young audience?
This is precisely the confusion he sought to create, another host of posts accuses him. The President remained silent when the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) questioned some top-ranking military officers who fought the war. He also kept mum when the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) hauled the military intelligence officers before Courts. Meanwhile when Wilpattu was rapidly deforested for settling people who are apparently not of Sri Lankan origin, did he show his outrage?
Did the President throw a bra to distract the public from the burning issues?
Maiden Budget
Trade unions have reacted to the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe maiden Budget like wasps disturbed in their hive. The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has given the government an ultimatum till 4 January to correct four ‘violations.’ The Water Board workers twisted the government’s arm until their year-end bonus of Rs 25, 000 was increased to the usual figure of Rs 37, 500. Though both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had backtracked on a number of issues, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) inspired budget tried to introduce various measures. The situation is still simmering.
Dinesh Weerakkody, the presenter of The Great November Revolution, has noted that the unemployment rate from 4.3 per cent in 2014 (which was 4.4 per cent in 2013) had risen to 4.5 per cent by 2015. However, political analysts put the figure as high as 5 per cent. Earlier in the year, nearly 200 construction workers, thrown out of their jobs, camped out at Sethsiripaya entrance for months. In Avant Garde alone, around 5,000 ex-military personnel lost their jobs in the year’s last quarter. Soon after Christmas, its Chairman Senadhipathi axed his personal staff.

“I’ve been with the company for ten years,” says Jackie, “and six working in his residence, altogether 16 years. But he told me he can no longer keep me. The past few months had been difficult as he couldn’t pay on time or the full amount. But I didn’t remind him of the arrears.
He had helped me so much when he had. I just thanked him and left.”
Jackie’s story
A single mother of a ten-year-old daughter, Jackie is looking at a very bleak 2016. The writer learns reliably from one of Senadipathi’s beneficiaries that an ‘envoy’ had just met the President. After listening carefully to them, who had lost all support from Senadipathi, the President had promised to look into their grievances. Can the government, already strapped for cash, take over Senadipathi’s burden? Various media are reporting that Senadipathi’s lucrative businesses are to be distributed among neighbouring countries under the directive of a private company sympathetic to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). If true, this will not bode well for the people or our economy.
It appears that people are not only set to lose their jobs as the government is planning to pinch dormant saving accounts. Whether it will come to pass or not remains to be seen, but it does not bode well for the President to be more concerned with undergarments than people’s savings.

Indiscreet woman
Incredibly, all the voices that had risen as one in defence of this indiscreet woman are yet to speak up on behalf of women like Jackie. On the other hand, most had not lost sight of Hirunika’s alleged thuggery. Police arrest military officers but they wait for more evidence to nab Hirunika.
UNP loyalists are the most annoyed with her “for being another Mervyn Silva.” Having accommodated her at the cost of their veteran Rosy Senanayake, the UNP today stands accused of replacing ‘white vans’ with black Defenders. It is troubling that this is not her first offence. She lost the public sympathy for a while when CCTV placed her with four others in Dammika Siriwardena’s property on 14 March 2013, allegedly manhandling him.
There may be many other incidents not caught on CCTV. President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe have their modest security arrangements. However, why should a young Parliamentarian be surrounded by so many security men?
A long standing UNP supporter said the party hierarchy , should take a firm decision over Hirunika.

Support bases
“Both Mervyn Silva and Duminda Silva have strong support bases,” he points out. “But during the
general elections,the President had the courage to reject them because they were behaving the way Hirunika is behaving now. Had he given them nominations, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) would have certainly got more votes and Mervyn would have definitely given Sirisena his support. The Prime Minister should not break that precedent and keep those who behave like thugs just to get votes.”

However, after the general elections, the President appointed his supporters who were defeated through the national list. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe strongly refused to do so. Wickremesinghe was widely hailed as a champion of good governance.
“The President had to oblige,” justifies the supporter. “They were his supporters and he couldn’t afford to lose them. It was only because he did that he managed to weaken the Opposition. Otherwise, the government wouldn’t have even managed to move this much. Wickremesinghe didn’t have such an issue. He had the UNP’s full backing.

“Although people like Rosy, she was not elected. On the other hand, Hirunika had always worked against us and joined the UNP at the last moment. She did so as she had no other option. Finally, the UNP has to deal with Hirunika.”
“Seasoned UNPers such as Thilak Marapan resigned when there was a conflict of interest. How can the party tolerate new comers like Hirunika who creates problems?”
The President has slammed those who castigated him in the social media. Whether he used a bra to distract the public attention has to be seen. The pressing question today is whether men would respect women who remove their inner ware in public.

2 Responses to “Govt embroiled in discord”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Hopefully this govt. will COLLAPSE soon.

    Hirunika, Arjuna, Charmpaka, Ratana and other ship jumpers will become POLITICAL REFUGEES.

  2. NAK Says:

    The talk is that usually in enrique shows this is a normal happening to keep the tempo up and is arranged by the organizers.
    It may well be the case here too as no one has been identified for removing and throwing the bra.
    Also Sirisena took a full week to talk about it and that too in far away Ampara. may have come as an after thought.
    We in Sri Lanka normally refer to this kind of oblique decisions as “Kekille” because he only chose to punish the organizers and not the offeders or their parents.
    Including food and drinks in the entrance ticket is nothing new, almost all the dinner dances do that.
    His lack of people capable of running the show became apparent when he called GR,PBJ,LW for advise.
    MS has stared to put on a trouser from the head and he will end up himself srangling in it.

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