By Sunil J. Wimalawansa –
Part 12: Sri Lanka—Changing Pillows to Cure Headaches: SLGo—Additional Cost-Saving Measures
Authoritarian policies or ruling are against the constitution in the democratic republic of Sri Lanka. Despite these abuses and violations of the constitution and tainting it with the 13th and 20th amendments, injustices, financial embezzlements, and misguiding the public systematically increased over the past 15 years. The public lost the tolerance, and they rose spontaneously to raise their voices loudly, requesting to reverse this. Despite these, illegal actions by the executive are continuing.
To remind, a few examples of recent unlawful activities by the executive presidency include (A) an illegitimate declaration of emergency on the 10th of May, 2022, which was erroneously signed by a person who lost authority (since the resignation of the PM), (B) bringing in a foreign citizen with no experience in finance as the finance minister (nepotism and foraging), (C) insane appointment of those who lost elections to the parliament, (D) inappropriate pardoning of murderous and criminals from jail and appointing them to higher government positions, (E) attempting to appoint a person who lost the election and credibility and entered into the parliament via backdoor, as the prime minister: these misconducts only happen in Sri Lanka and communist dictatorships.
Budget reductions and elimination of the totalitarianism:
With the crucial requirement for saving funds by the government and the desperate need for a smaller government, it is no brainer that at least 45% of funding for the military must reduce immediately. Currently, one in four public servants comprises the armed forces. This is an excessive proportion, a burden for the taxpayers, and unnecessary for this small island. Despite the over-bloated police and military and the associated public expenses, neither there is no law and order nor public protection in the country.
The interim cabinet should immediately initiate a 30% reduction of the allocated budget from all government ministries and departments and retract it to the treasury. Implementing these measures and reducing the military budget (Cadre) alone will convert the current budget deficit into positive territory. This positive step will signal the IMF and creditors to view the interim government in Sri Lanka favourably to assist.
Riots on the 9th of May 2022—Apparently organised by PM’s office and carried out by local politicians:
The primary duty of government servants is to “serve the public” and not harass, threaten, harm them, or make money for the entities or politicians. At the same time, the prime duty of the police is public safety and maintaining law and order—not protecting politicians, robbers, and bureaucrats. Therefore, it is disappointing to see their mediocre attitudes, wrong mindsets, and consequent abuse of power and harming people.
There are many good police and army employees. However, the behaviour of the police that was involved on the 9th of May 2022 riots and their planned support to carry out extensive destruction and harm by imported gangsters and even used prisoners (which was highly unethical and in violation of the Geneva convention) to innocent protesters in Colombo was despicable.
May 9th rioters, organisers, and facilitators must be prosecuted:
All those police, military, and prison officers, senior staff of the prime minister’s office, and local politicians who brought those thugs and engaged in said criminal activity on the 9th of May, with the support of the police, must bring to justice by the SLBA and other law professionals.
They should seek maximum punishments under criminal laws, including removing them from their positions without pensions. That would be a good lesson for the police and the military in the future: i.e., not to break the law just because they are in uniform (abuse of power), even if unscrupulous politicians give such orders.
Reduction of the military troops is essential to rectify the budget deficit:
Considering the overall picture and analyses, a fifty percent reduction in the strength of the military, especially the army, is essential within the year. It is noteworthy that, except during the LTTE war, on each occasion when the Sri Lankan government ‘used’ the army (it used as a private army) intended to harm people and not to protect them. So, where is the rationale for the public and businesses to maintain the extraordinary salaries of the army?
Sri Lanka does not need the same strong (i.e., numbers of persons) military that it had in 2009 when it successfully defeated the LTTE terrorists under the command of F/M Sarath Fonseka and other commanders. The military had successes and failures, but collectively, with strategy and tremendous bravery from all divisions and ranks of the military, three decades of terrorism were successfully defeated in 2009. The country is not at war today. Therefore, in 2022, it is time to shrink the army by 50%. Each armed force section or the military branch should handle the budget cuts and related personnel reduction, starting immediately.
The over-blown SLGo has three-fold excess employees than what it needs:
Sri Lankan government SERVANTS, including politicians (President, PM, and members of the parliament, local governments—municipalities), and ALL government employees, especially the over-rated and arrogant administrators, police and the military, conveniently forget that they are “servants” to the public. Consequently, they falsely assume that they are the masters of the public.
Currently, the number of people employed in the public sector is approximately 300% more than (over-loaded) it needs to function effectively. In any institution, the responsibility, accountability, and efficiency go down with too many employees—no wonder why administration at every level in Sri Lanka is so inefficient.
Pretexts and hollow authority used by government servants:
Besides, the pitiful attitudes (arrogance) of government servants, pretending to be Kings and Queens, egoistic swollen heads, verbal abuses of the public (i.e., their masters), and the way they communicate with the ordinary public are absurd and laughable. Most of us in the country have experienced such. These include government officers, municipalities, kachcharis, post offices, lawyers, hospital staff, and doctors. It is hard to imagine from where they learn such bad behaviour and the pretence with deceptive (artificially acquired) non-existing authority. Ironically, they blame politicians, the same crookery.
The author suggests that all the groups mentioned above look at the mirror each morning before leaving home and remind themselves who they are. That might reduce their ego, desire to control, and fake deceptive behaviour at work. The community should not encourage or tolerate such behaviour of public servants.
All perks for government servants (including politicians) should be revoked:
Government SERVANTS, including politicians (i.e., president, prime minister, members of the parliament, local government−municipalities), and all government employees, especially administrators, police, and the military, are supposed to serve PEOPLE. Taxpayers pay their salaries and perks’.
However, they conveniently forget it once they are elected or appointed. At every opportunity and encounter with this ‘privileged’ group of over 1.6 million in Sri Lanka, the public must remind them that it is unacceptable. The nation pays the salaries of all public employees, and they are the masters of all public servants. None of the government servants should be given rewards that are not available to the public. For example, car permits, free meals, and accommodation, paying electricity and water bills, priority treatment, etc.: all these should be stopped.
*The next article will discuss the role of government servants: they are not gods.
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