Dear Sri Lanka,

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This past week was relatively mundane and as usual, the epic fail we are as a country for which we make international news on the regular now, had us hog headlines yet again. This time for being sued by a relatively unfamiliar bondholder demanding we make full payment of principal and interest, immediately. 

Well, we have a new PM and as you may know he is good at handling bonds. So good luck to them in getting that a payment now.

In a classic move of deflect and deviate, Parliament last week saw the former Minister of Public Security pointing a finger at TNA for supposedly making defamatory statements towards Buddhists and Buddhist teachings. Further, he stated when the LTTE leader was killing people the Buddhist community did not harm ordinary Tamils, adding, “There is a limit to the patience of Sinhalese Buddhists.”

A gag reflex, an eye roll and three deep breaths later – you might have words align for you to construct factual arguments to counter his brazen claim of who is/has been testing the patience of whom (since what feels like eternity) and who has made defamatory comments to whom.

Talk about hate speech!

Last week, we also witnessed the man in waiting aka new National List member taking oath as an MP. And oh my, how the hopes and dreams of some people have sprouted from the fermented soil of desperation to perhaps, make any news, good news. Some genuinely want to believe he is here with a miracle strategy to save the country from our worsening plight. They seem to have taken his promising words at face-value despite being aware of his reputation that precedes him, tax evasions and whatnot.

But why do they think they can put faith in him?  They say because he paid off his overdue taxes.

Well, yes he did.  It took him a Government change, a case filed against him by the Inland Revenue Department, an economic collapse, a nomination to the ruling party’s National List seat in Parliament, and seven sweet years in which he did nothing about it, to finally pay off unpaid taxes.

How lovely of him, right?

Meanwhile, in the latest episode of ‘Keeping Up with the COPE’, CEB which has come under fire for telling the truth or not telling the truth – depending on how you look at it – have made some bombshell revelations in an alleged Government-to-Government deal.

The highlight of the previous episode was a CEB official making some erroneous remarks because he was so ‘emotional’ about some very official dealings that it even drove him to ‘resign’ from his post as the chairperson.

Once again, Chairman of COPE brought attention to many things pertaining to the State-owned enterprise that needs to be further investigated, including the payment of various staff allowances given with the approval of the Board of Directors contrary to the provisions of a Management Services Circular. Among some jaw-dropping findings was that the PAYE/APIT taxes of CEB employees were paid from public funds. He further cast light on some absurd allowances given under various categories such as ‘reading the metre’ in addition to allowances for ‘reading the metre correctly’.

Let that sink in folks.     

Our money has been spent on State employees for doing their job right and wrong. What a blessing it must be to be rewarded for incompetence. And then we wonder how our country drove down a precipice while on course towards a bright future. Well, people, this is how – inefficiency, mismanagement and exorbitant perks/allowances given for people who don’t deserve it. It’s because those in ‘power’ (pun intended) don’t bother about ‘light bulb’ moments because they are paid for keeping themselves and others ‘in the dark’.

Sincerely,
When does it stop?

By Dilshani Palugaswewa