Letter to the editor : Smothering the insane appetite for Ministerial Portfolios

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It is clear that an Interim Government cannot succeed in bringing radical ‘System changes’, sought by the new generation and solve the abysmal economic crisis without broad consensus and blessings of the ‘225’. In such context, it is very unfortunate that the advent of the much awaited ‘All Party/Multi Party Interim Government’, strongly recommended by all the Religious leaders and the country at large, is now being thwarted by several players in the political arena with politically expedient motives citing and criticising the untimely appointment of MPs with tarnished records as Ministers and State Ministers in large numbers carrying prohibitive costs and rented infrastructure.

Simultaneously, it is reported that a Government Circular has been issued to control the said costs by withdrawing multiple perks and fringe benefits such as luxurious office premises and opportunity to appoint special Staff from kith and kin, pompous Security staff, lavish fuel and utility allowances over and above those enjoyed by normal MPs. Alternatively, it is a perfect strategy to smother the insane appetite for Ministerial Portfolios.

If the Circular means business, absolutely no room must be left for complaints arising from ignoring its provisions, triggering political and media criticism that will negate the very spirit of the Circular. The incentives of power and recognition attached to these Ministerial posts, supported by free media publicity glorifying their visibility and popularity, are more than ample for them to perform their duties and responsibilities diligently and efficiently.

In one of the writer’s recent articles to the press, it was proposed that an independent Commission be appointed to review and recommend more realistic packages of Salaries, Allowances and fringe benefits to all Political Representatives and Appointees from the President downwards, who presently give a negative return to the tax payer sans any accountability.

As sovereign voters with the country at heart, we earnestly appeal, to the President and all Political Parties, to stop their politically expedient Power grabbing projects and testing experiments, during this interim but crucial period and work towards bringing effective remedies to cure the debilitating economic/Dollar crisis mostly affecting the impoverished majority and  inscribe the  critical ‘System changes’  sought by our peaceful and  intelligent new generation and the Religious leaders,  to the statute books and prepare the pitch for holding Free and fair Elections based on a new Sri Lankan model of True Democracy, Meritocracy and Accuracy.

Let us not allow another curse of the ‘225’!

 Bernard Fernando

Moratuwa