Over to you?

Over to you?

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The Sunday Times Sri LankaMy dear Maithri,-Sunday, July 09, 2017
I thought I must write to you even though I know you are a very busy person, what with all this business of running the country and appointing new secretaries, ambassadors, governors and army commanders. Still, I wanted to write to you because of something you had said last week.
Pardon me if I have got this wrong, but you were reported as having said that anyone watching television would feel that there was no government in the country. I don’t know how you came to this conclusion by watching television, but we had the same thought – even without watching television!
Please let me explain, Maithri. For instance, one would think that something as simple as disposing of our garbage can be done efficiently. Instead, everyone is saying that it is someone else’s job and no one is taking responsibility for it. So, Colombo has gone from being a garden city to a garbage city!
Some say the Chief Minister has been asked to supervise garbage disposal. Others say Champika has been given the job. The courts have intervened to prevent garbage being dumped in certain areas. The Green Man is complaining that the court decision is not helping. No one seems to be in charge!
Isn’t it the same with the dengue epidemic? You may say it is the fault of the mosquito and not of the government but has the government done enough? When Rajitha speaks, he has a solution to every problem but he has no solution to what appears to be the worst dengue epidemic ever.
Another reason why there seems to be no government is because there is a group which thinks they are the government – the GMOA. Dengue epidemic or not, they will strike if they feel like it because they say their strikes protect the next generation of ‘innocent patients’ from private medical schools.
Those in the GMOA who believe they are the best brains in the country because they got the highest ‘Z’ scores, apparently forgot there was a dengue epidemic when they decided to stage a continuous strike. It was the Archbishop, the good Cardinal, who reminded them – and the strike was called off!
Maithri, isn’t it funny that after the GMOA had talks with you, Rajitha says the talks were informal or a ‘hora’ discussion. A few days later, despite the talks they had with you, they announce a strike, but after talks with the Archbishop, it is called off. So, no wonder we feel that there is no government!
The issue the GMOA is complaining about is private medical schools. Some ministers in the government – like Rajitha, SB and Lucky – want them. Others – like Champika, Dayasiri and Susil – don’t want them. Many others are silent. And you wonder why we feel there is no government!
Maithri, until a few weeks ago, we had heard from Asgiriya only when a cricket match was being played there. Suddenly, we got advice from there saying that what Gnanasara hamuduruwo was saying had some truth in it, even though they didn’t quite agree with the way he was saying it.
So, are we to now believe that what he was saying – that certain communities were second class people in this country and should be treated differently – was right? Please correct me if I am wrong but that is different from the Buddhism I know which says one is an outcast or a noble not by birth but by deed.
Then, lo and behold, the hamuduruwo who had been in hiding, evading a warrant for his arrest and who claimed that he feared for his life, appeared before two courts on the same day and was granted bail by both courts on the same day. And yet you wonder why we feel there is no government!
As if that was not enough, a few days ago we were told that it had been decided in Kandy that a new Constitution was not necessary and that it had also been decided that certain laws which were before Parliament needed to be withdrawn. And yet you wonder why we feel there is no government!
Correct me if I am wrong, Maithri, but I thought some 6.2 million people gave you a mandate to change the Constitution and abolish the Presidency. So, are we to forget all that because we have now got instructions from the hill country? I thought the Parliament was in Kotte – and not in Kandy!I heard you made a quick trip to Kandy to try and arrive at some agreement, Maithri. If you can’t do that, you and your ministers might as well hand over the government to the decision makers in Kandy, who I am sure, will know how to run the country, dengue, garbage, Gnanasara hamuduruwo and all!
Yours truly,
Punchi Putha
PS: Maithri, you came to power promising to usher in ‘yahapaalanaya’. Now you say that we feel there is no government. I agree, because what we now have instead is ‘haya paalanaya’- you, the Green Man, your ministers, the GMOA, the courts and those in Kandy pulling in different directions!
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