Sri Lankans have witnessed once again injustice being melted on fellow citizens, all because of continuing uneasiness of the President who leads the Unity Government to address the promises made to them at the 2015 General Election; have shown lack courage and determination to take political decisions in the past three years that have rolled on with him still soaked in party politics and thus unable to rise up to national level, prevented by two groups of his own party men in opposition, who wish to see the government removed from power. But even though there is only a very short time left, there is no choice for him who has been entrusted with the responsibility will have to deliver the results expected by the people and this task is achievable if with his guidance the right strategy is implemented by the Unity Government.
When Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, it was placed better for development than even Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan and had all the opportunities to sustain its paradise status, yet in the seventy years due to lack of vision of its leaders and inward looking mindset faulting them to make many geo-political mistakes had failed miserably. When the wind of change brought the two major political parties together in 2015 with few other minority parties to form the present unity government, it was hailed as the national government by many people and all expected it would make a change and give a better life.
Today, as the world economic dominance shifts from western hemisphere to the Asian region, opportunity knocks again to develop this once paradise island nation by playing a neutral role in geo-politics without tilting towards any of the major power houses like China and India in the region. With the unity government with an inherited debt trap failing to resolve issues for which it was formed in 2015 everything is back to where it all started three years ago and it appears that the top heavy unity government will miss the opportunity to develop the country into a successful neutral status country in the region. Unless, there is a miracle that elevates the President above party politics, enabling him to take bold decisions to resolve issues such as to rewrite the constitution shelved indefinitely due to opposition from the Sangha; the joint resolution made at the landmark session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva left unresolved for fear of resistance from armed forces and dilly dallying with the trade pacts with India and Singapore due to pressure from trade unions. The Unity Government having thus outsourced its policy making decisions to the Sangha, the security forces and the trade unions appears to be make it a redundant entity while daily it absorbe lot of taxpayers’ money. Further, even with the Unity Government in power, due to its failure to bring to books and prosecute the corrupt officials, fraudsters and conmen continue committing crimes. Another problem inherited from previous regime, that is sticking out like a sour thumb is allowing the armed forces and the civil security department vested with the important function of maintaining national security to undertake unsustainable profit generation activities, as it poses serious concerns to the country as a whole and affects the life of people living around these sites. With the end of war in 2009 the country expected a reduction in the number of people employed in armed forces and the civil security department that constitute specialised and highly regimental arms of the state. This oversight would definitely obstruct them fulfilling primary role or their involvement in such extracurricular activities would confirm they are in surplus; failure by the state to retrench them have caused much discount in particular among the war-affected communities in the North and East provinces. A more appropriate course of action for the unity government would be get public corporations, joint ventures or the private sector to undertake these businesses that are currently operated by the armed forces and the civil service department and absorbing the surplus workforce that is retrench able into their payroll. To complete the act it would be necessary to regularise the use of private land and other state assets that are taken to use for these businesses. With a legal regime governing the control and accountability of such entities already in existence, the state could transfer in phases all these businesses to such entities to ensure greater accountability, transparency and equitable distribution of state resources and profits. In addition, it would raise the participation of private sector allowing for new sources of employment, investment and healthy competition to develop throughout the country. In the North and East, it would allow any marginalized civilians groups access sustainable employment opportunities without any social stigma and pressures and prevent economic dependency on the military. There are also many activities with the involvement of these security personnel, various state authorities and other organizations that are in conflict with the constitution denying the rights of those communities living around these project areas is only adding fuel to the fire; as there is no accountability from the state and any complaints from affected communities are ignored by the authorities. While resolution of all these issues is essential to help the country to get out of its present mess and enable Sri Lanka to create a climate for sound development to play a neutral role in geo-politics without tilting towards China or any other country; the President has told the country that the post conflict situation management was a challenging task for his government and has confessed it was due to continuing power struggle within political parties on either side of parliament.
With a disastrous record of so many unresolved problems the Unity Government has messed up the ‘Wind of Change’ opportunity and the civilians due to their political affiliations have lost all the ability to defend themselves failing to react against the current situation; thus in the interest of the nation, the President as Head of State should work above his party politics to take necessary positive steps to resolve all the problems in the next eighteen months to deliver the promises made to people at the 2015 elections with the full cooperation of the government.