Schizophrenia is defined as a mental disorder characterized by problems with thought processes, and the common symptoms are, delusions including paranoia and disorganized thinking, and a lack of emotional intelligence. It is followed by vocational dysfunction. Tell me if that accurately summarizes the Mahinda Rajapkse Government as a whole today?
Be honest, we have 110 Ministers, none of whom know exactly what the parameters of their responsibilities are! Is it any wonder that they get paranoid when criticized, saying that it is not the responsibility of their ministry, and threaten to sue for trillions!.
The Casino about face is the latest of its characteristics, and the only reason we appear to tolerate this farce, and delusions of grandeur is because we do not have an effective opposition, able to articulate this behavior to the public at large, who appear to have embraced the delusional megalomania for lack of anyone pointing out how far-fetched from reality it really is.
The Strategic Development Projects Act No 14 of 2008 was brought in by this Government to carry out Mega Projects of National Importance, by giving the necessary legal and statutory exemptions for Investors, both local and foreign to Invest, as they are of such an importance that the normal rules, (Taxation, Environmental, Prohibition of Alcohol and Meat Product Sales on Poya Days, Illegal betting, gaming, prostitution, drug peddling) would be exempted in the greater National Interest. This Act has never defined what is a Strategic Development Project (SDP) and so it permits any illegal activity, that the Govt. from time to time may wish to introduce, in the national interest!
Of course with a two thirds majority in Parliament, any Act can pass and we Sri Lankans will just have to accept it and live with it, as we have elected people who are supposedly responsible to act in the best interests of the Nation. Does one understand the irony of this? Those who voted for the Act never actually realized what they were voting for. It is not Parliament that decides what is the SDP it is a few of the top. This is clearly untenable and the ACT must be repealed by any future Govt. It is too dangerous a piece of legislation to leave on the statute books.
It is clear that the Gazette Notification to define Casinos as SDP with special privileges was quietly put forward, and deliberately omitted from the desks of the Opposition Parliamentarians (an enquiry is in progress, but we know what a farce the outcome will be, so it does not require further detail) fortunately due to a hue and cry of the Opposition, namely Dr Harsha de Silva MP pointing out the absurdity of the giveaways denying the nation of any benefit from the SDP, it was temporarily shelved to be brought in surreptitiously at a future date.
We do not need SDPs to bring investments into Sri Lanka! If the Investment Climate is conducive, businesses will invest. It is as simple as that. Why are illegal businesses like Casinos, Brothels and Betting Shops permitted? Just so that the owners are beholden to the Rulers for their existence, and accordingly have to pay protection money to them, and in some cases to the police so they don’t prosecute. It is as old as the world! As only a few are able to satisfy their political masters, it becomes a duopoly or oligopoly, with NO benefit to the state except for some assessed tax to prevent a showdown.
Firstly we either close the illegal businesses down, or sell licenses so the income reverts to the state and legitimize them with laws governing them. I understand there are laws, but the Minster has chosen NOT to register them!!
Even more to the point, now that the Govt. has decided on Mega Resorts, then we can simply follow the Singaporean example and auction the licenses to the highest bidder and let them operate, under strict rules, with no specific tax exemptions.
All the Govt. need have done instead of wasting SEC money promoting CSE in Roadshows, would have been to market the value of a Casino Resort in Sri Lanka. If that was done properly, and the belief in the rule of law can be verified, (something that the forced takeover of businesses disprove) then the Casino licenses will be worth more than can be imagined and the State Coffers replenished. The current project will NOT replenish anything, in fact give away the family silver on a platter.
Has the Government been reduced to fixers coming up with harebrained schemes that are sold to uneducated Rulers? It looks that way as the benefit only derives to the fixer, and the Ruler who is dangled a carrot for their nod.
Policy SHOULD NOT be formed in this haphazard schizoid way. They must be debated in the national interest and only permitted if the benefits outweigh the costs. Sri Lanka has let slide so many golden investment opportunities, as personalities, egos, and commissions to the non deserving got in the way. It is the well being of a Nation that is at stake and has been treated like a football by the 'Neanderthals' of greed who happen to be in power at the moment. The time is ripe for the patriots to take over and the people realize they have been 'had' for so long due to their trust in Charlatans.
The Country will be grateful to the person who is able to deliver this message loud and clear to the People who have been duped so far.