(The writer is a Retired Senior Superintendent of Police)
On September 26, the President decreed: “It is the law because I say so.” And he went on to explain that his verbal orders must be considered as circulars coming from the ‘Executive President.’ Public Administration circulars that may contravene his verbal orders, were ignored.
In the time of ancient kings whatever the king said was law. People of Sri Lanka were quick to recall the mythological king Ravana of Lanka.
Ravana is chronicled in mythology as a stubborn and incredibly powerful king with untamed passion that leads him to extremes in behavior. In Sri Lankan mythology, Ravana is depicted as a king of Lanka and the chief antagonist of Rama in the Hindu epic Ramayana and its adaptations.
In Hindu mythology, Ravana is widely considered to be a symbol of evil. In Sri Lankan mythology, however, he is considered as a great ruler. It is, of course, with these mythologies in mind that the people of Sri Lanka likened the President to King Ravana.
Now, having acquired almost absolute power under the 20th Amendment that the President wooed in order to deliver, (the people’s needs) he has so far shown his incredibly powerful and untamed passion that leads him to king-like behavior.
He has undermined the Constitutional checks and balances for good governance, which he described as obstacles to his drive for delivering the people’s needs. The Independent Commissions have been rendered powerless. The Judiciary and the Auditor General are now reduced to ‘dependencies.’ Administrative Regulations mean nothing.
The people have had to watch in bewilderment how a murder convict sentenced to death was accommodated in Parliament where laws are enacted — unheard of in the annals of history the world over. The law-abiding respectable people are writhing in mental agony to see such a person sit in parliament.
Has the much needed ‘delivery’ to the people, become a reality? Nourishing food is a sine qua non for good health which is in turn essential to resist the virus. Is this made available? As important are elixirs that are medically recommended. The blanket closing down of wine stores shut out availability of such health substitutes. These are some of the vital areas that the Government will do well to turn its attention to.
Big business, however, is benefited. Administrative Regulations and Financial Regulations notwithstanding, acquisitions are made under cover of the coronavirus, for quarantine houses. Five Star hotels that would otherwise have been without business, are now enjoying lucrative business.
Is it correct that contact is kept with commercial world tenders, for medicines and medical equipment, bypassing the usual tender procedures — even daily supplies through the CWE? Is there supervision in regard to these accounts? These are some of the many questions that beg for answers.
The unsettled conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have become a gold mine to many eager hands. Other disasters before the pandemic’s outbreak, similarly helped earlier. For some time now, social and political disturbances have helped business and such business is not free of political control and influence.
Where is the money collected to deal with the coronavirus? There are no circulars to pay back or account for the money advanced by business magnates to promote political purposes, before the virus.
The people now will have to bear the cost charged through devious means not covered or made clean by circular. As for delivery to the people, it is the burden of paying back.