Global Reintegration

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Not since the arrest of the then ruling UPFA Government’s former Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) Chairman Sampath Vidanapathirana, a confidant of the then UPFA leader and President Mahinda Rajapaksa, eight years ago in 2014, for the murder of a British citizen, committed three years earlier in 2011, has action being taken against ruling SLPP Government politicos and their supporters for any acts, until violence was unleashed earlier this month on peaceful protesters in front of Temple Trees and at Galle Face.

Currently the SLPP Leader is Mahinda and the UPFA Leader is former President Maithripala Sirisena.

Yesterday, Police arrested SLPP’s Moratuwa Mayor Samanlal Fernando, Seethawakapura PS Chairman Jayantha Rohana, Kelaniya PS member Manjula Prasanna and Dan Priyasad, a member of an extremist organisation called ‘Sinhale’ for unleashing violence on peaceful anti-Government demonstrators in Colombo in broad daylight 10 days ago, on 9 May. Their arrests followed the detention and subsequent remand till Wednesday (25 May) of SLPP’s Water Supply State Minister Sanath Nishantha and SLPP MP Milan Jayathilake for similar acts of violence.

Meanwhile, eight years ago Vidanapathirana was arrested for fear of economic retribution by the UK and by an extension the West as a whole, Sri Lanka’s largest export market by more than a mile vis-à-vis both merchandise and services exports.

The recent arrests, some as late as yesterday, of SLPP political goons and their hangers on, were led by similar fears, not just by the West, but by Japan as well, which place strong values on human rights (HR) and the rule of law.

The offence committed by then Premier Mahinda’s supporters on 9 May was clubbing innocent demonstrators, both men and women,who were demonstrating opposite Temple Trees, Kollupitiya and the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo, soon after a meeting with him at Temple Trees, the official residence of the Premier.

The offence of the demonstrators: Calling for the resignations of both Mahinda and his younger brother, President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa for economic mismanagement.

 Nonetheless, the demonstrators’ supporters, countrywide, in retaliation, went on a rampage that night itself, burning and or causing damages to the private residences of SLPP politicos and their allies, including Cabinet Ministers.

Consequently, Mahinda and the Cabinet resigned and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe (MP) was appointed as the new Premier by the President a week ago on 12 May.

Meanwhile, the arrest of SLPP politicos and their sidekicks for the 9 May attacks opposite Temple Trees and at the Presidential Secretariat have taken place where Sri Lanka has no US dollars to import the bare necessities of life.

This is exemplified by the fact that Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told Parliament yesterday that Sri Lanka doesn’t possess the necessary stock of petrol as yet, whilst also admitting that there was a shortage of petrol in the country.

He further said, a vessel with petrol has been docked at the Colombo Port three weeks ago since 28 April as the Government has been unable to find the required dollars to pay for the cargo.“We don’t have petrol, so please don’t stand in queues,” the Minister said.

Petrol is just one essential which is in short supply in Sri Lanka which is facing a plethora of other shortages due to a lack of dollars ranging from medicines, cooking gas, food items to coal, where the latter is needed to provide uninterrupted electricity to the masses, currently victims of hours long daily power cuts due to this shortage. Complementing this situation, inflation and the cost of living are at record highs led by the rupee falling to record lows as Sri Lanka is an import-dependent economy.

Urgently needed dollars to overcome this morass could be got, from a geopolitical standpoint, India and China and from both a geopolitical and HR view, the West and Japan. India has been aiding Sri Lanka, but it has its limits, not so China, unhappy over Sri Lanka’s new geopolitical view, aligned to India, Japan and the West.

With Sri Lanka now beginning to get its HR act right; it will be a matter of time before the floodgates of aid from Japan and the West will once more be reopened to the island.