In 2015 “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” said Sri Lankans

Brandenburger_Tor_abends.jpgIts 9/11 today and United States of America gets a republican to rule them; Elderly Sri Lankans will remember the earlier republican president Ronald Wilson Reagan, who was the 40th President of USA, from 1981 to 1989. In his first inaugural address said that “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”, insisted that ordinary Americans should be recognized as heroes and had he been alive in 2015 would have supported Sri Lankan for voting out the government they felt was the problem. Later President Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, made his famous speech challenging Mikhail Gorbachev the last leader of the Soviet Union, to “tear down this wall!” and five months after the end of his term, the Berlin Wall fell in 1990; and nearly three years after he left office on December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. Sri Lanka too experienced a similar fate as Germany, for it  was divided for three decades and  when the old regime was ousted in 2015, the barriers that divided the country were removed and Sri Lanka was reunified.

In Sri Lanka after the end of the civil-war in 2009, the previous regime retained the security forces in the north for six negative peace years and got on with the programme of changing its demography.  That was noticeable in all its districts in the north; more so in the Mullaithivu district; mainly due to intense colonisation of Buddhists in the Weli Oya Divisional Secretariat area adjoining the Trincomalee district. Thus the regime had failed to recognize the need of the ordinary people of North and missed the opportunity to uplift the war fatigued region, instead maintained the security blockades to isolate it from the rest of the country. The Tamils felt government was the problem and voted the old regime out in 2015, thereafter the barriers that divided the country were removed and the country was reunified.

Therefore it was not surprising to see people engaging with biting criticisms of the government which gets correctly mirrored by the Chief Minister. It is important to do so if those involved in governance are to retain credibility in the long-term. The old regime was changed in 2015, but not the administration. It was the absence of credibility that brought about the fall the previous government and it was this lack of continuity since independence that has prevented sustainable development in the country. Getting the facts and ethics straight on this issue is crucial not to defend criticisms of the government, but to reinstate the basic rights of the people, before proceeding to develop the region to bring it in par with the rest of the country. At present the region require development aid to help the poor out of poverty. In the past, post war aid received have had mixed impacts on the people of north; it did help development and bring harm as well, as it took the focus away from other more important things to spur development.

In the past twenty-two months both the President and the Prime Minister of the New Coalition Government strives to meet the needs of the ordinary people and have progressed to resolve the issues of the people living in the war ravaged north. But the Northerners are unable to rid of their mindset that “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” and the national leaders are yet to win the hearts and minds of the people living in the north. Mainly because the strength of the security forces have not been reduced as yet; true the new coalition government has curbed direct interference of the security forces in civil administration of the region that was rampant during the past regime and has begun releasing some extent of the land. Unfortunately, yet to reduce forces involvement in civilian economic activities and to rub salt into the wounds the presence of large army has not given any security to the people in the north. Irrespective of who rules USA, this matter of reducing the security forces in north of the country need urgent attention ahead of preparing the island nation to boost its economy with the 1500 day development plan.