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SRI LANKA STORY - POST JR

ASOKA S

Many will not argue that the current state of affairs in Lanka is messy. High cost of living, LTTE Terrorist menace, large scale corruption by politicians, lack of social order all point to a sad state of affairs.

Some argue that JR's constitution along with the switch to a "market" economy was the root cause of many of todays evil. I dug up some statistics to see some facts.

In 1970, 1977, 2004 and 1994 (the year UNP ended its rule) the GDP of SL was 2100, 3900 , 6150 and 11600 million US Dollars respectively. Private Investment in 1970,1977,1984 and 1994 was 431, 600, 1588 and 3194 million US$ respectively. This growth under JR's market economy were registered under tough times that includes Prabhakaran's Murder War and Wijeweera's crazy Southern insurrection in late 1980s. JR and SL was highly unprepared for a Tamil insurgency that wrecked potential foreign investment and stability.

It is an undisputed fact that since 1977 corruption by politicians and government officials have sky rocketed. So much so that today we are ranked 92nd most corrupt country out of 180.

The fact though is that in the last century witnessed ugly capitalism with minimum rights and wages for workers that was replaced in many parts of the world by Marxism after 1917 Russian Revolution. Since then world witnessed the fast rise and fall of the Communist Empire and by 1990 the so called communist system of economics was outright rejected by the whole world including the mother of all communists, Russia. Even Communist China and socialist India switched to full scale Capitalism since Mid 1980s. The world witnessed rapid economic growth along with globalization.

But what happened to SL was a result of several indisputable mistakes on JR's 1977 constitution. No 1 is the absolute power vested with the Executive including non answerability to anybody for 6 years and also the executive being inoculated from prosecution. This was an open ticket to the National Vault.
Second, National List MP's who were supposed to be from members from Eminent People in Society. The principal makes sense but at the hands of an ill bent President even members of the underworld would end up in the Parliament. This almost happened under Premadasa. Third, the power President has to appoint Ministers without any sort of vetting or screening. This too led to totally unsuitable thugs ending up as Ministers of the likes of Mervin Silva and many more. Brothers, sisters, girlfriends, boyfriends all potentially can end up as a Legislator or a Minister and this too happened.

Last but not least, the quality of the members of the Legislature deteriorated, some to the level of street dogs. Respect to the constitution, understanding the constitution, rule of law, common decency, understanding of the vast responsibility bestowed on a member of parliament, understanding of the political, social and economic dynamics of the greater world was all lacking. Most of them were simply yes men to the BOSS who will resort to any trick to remain in power or make a quick buck. When Leaders are thus, how can they instill a sense of Integrity and Dignity to the people they rule?

This general lack of discipline, tendency to break laws, disregarding laws and generally man eat man attitude is all prevalent in our society today. We have simply broken down to near chaos. But thanks to JR's market economy SL economy continue to grow healthy but lots $ end up in the wrong pockets too.

The results are now evident as the 92nd most corrupt nations out of 180. Sri Lanka is like a ship without a qualified Master and a crew.

While the nation can be satisfied with Rajapaksha winning the war, the President has a daunting task ahead of him. All right thinking people hope that he has the wisdom and boldness to put SL back on the right course. He surely needs a dignified crew to be able to do that; not riffraff we have now. May be he needs to keep his brothers around a little while longer to steer SL into course and let them go as a symbol of his commitment to just rule.

 

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