Monday, November 4, 2013

CHOGM 2013 – Extravagant tamashas have erased the intimate settings of yesteryear CHOGMs

I was reading a very interesting article on the Island paper of November 2nd see link  by Leelananda de Silva who in the 1970-1977 Govt. was a Director of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs,  and attended the 1975 CHOGM in Jamaica hosted by Mr Michael Manley the Prime Minister. I recommend those interested in CHOGMs to read it, as it puts an entirely different light on the CHOGMs of the 70s and before of very intimate settings where the Heads themselves had quality time to chat and network amongst each other without aides, both human and distractions like I pads, smart phones and the Internet!!

This extremely well written, and easy to read article illustrates how different those meetings were, and in a sense more productive than the present settings, where issues of the day were tackled for the overall benefit of the Commonwealth. Nowadays it is all about grandstanding for the Media, and so the issues are already pre prepared before the meetings commence by armies of bureaucrats. Interesting they lasted longer too! Leaders are too busy these days!

I found the parsimonious conduct of Mrs Bandaranayake, who even got two of our officials in the delegation which in total only comprised of 6 to share the room, to cut down on the cost, lest she would be asked about excessive spending by Parliament! What a breath of fresh air that Parliament was considered all powerful, where the Prime Minister as Head of Government was answerable to it and had due deference to it.

This when compared with today, where profligacy has reached proportions of repugnance in a country where extreme poverty is still very prevalent and the leaders smug with unfathomable power are willing to show that grandiose settings can hide bitter truths of reality. I do wonder if people can be fooled to that degree, but I know they appear to want to try and get a wow factor that will silence all critics from the how factor of, how was SL able to pull a show of all shows? and convince a few insignificant leaders the fact there is no trouble in the Eastern Front!

I hope that at the Water Edge retreat, (they will not stay there) they will be able to get face time without aides, to talk about their pet topics and come up with a consensus, that has not already been thrashed out!! 

Only then will it truly be a CHOGM in the original spirit of how it was meant to be! 


Anonymous said...

the idea of the "original spirit of the commonwealth" is an interesting one to ponder. what do you think it was? by the 1970s most of the colonies won their independence yet chose to become members of this organization headed by the Queen of England. It would seem the original purpose of the organization was to maintain a quasi-imperial arrangement that the Queen's government could afford that would facilitate her government to continue to exploit the resources of the former colonies without having to maintain the expenditure of local colonial governments throughout the world. Fast forward to 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, surely the commonwealth forum is not about that -- it's now time for Sri Lanka to unabashedly shine.

Anonymous said...

Anon Shining on borrowed money is no way to shine!

Why can't Sri Lanka do anything on their own?

BMICH even the refurbishment was Chinese

Nelum Pokuna another gift.

All the preparations of roads and parks on WB or other loans

Though you can't see through the fog of deceit, you bet the CHOGM delegates can and will

Anonymous said...

seriously? The united states, the biggest and most advanced economy in the world lives on Chinese debt, and they are not rebuilding the country after a 30 year civil war. and others should not?? not a good argument I'm afraid

Anonymous said...

Yes many contries live on chinese or other kind of debts. the difference is that they borrow to earn.

Anonymous said...

"the difference is that they borrow to earn"

that's so off the mark it's laughable. do people with a credit card borrow to earn? the usa and other developed nations borrow to bloat their governments and waste on foreign wars, welfare, medical aid, old age pensions, etc. plus other things.

the best way to borrow to earn is by building infrastructure, not borrowing for social programs and wars to bring democracy to foreign countries

Anonymous said...

At least the the Chinese are fools as they lend at 1% to the US and the US are laughing, whilst they lend at 8% to Sri Lanka, and the Chinese and Rajapakses are laughing that is the difference put simply.

Anonymous said...

to put the world's superpower under debt bondage is no laughing matter. the borrower becomes the slave, and the lender rises to world ascendancy. good joke on the US if you ask me. the jews have been doing this for centuries

Anonymous said...

The discussion above reminds me of the old adage, when you are small borrower, the bank has got you by the balls, and when you are a big borrower he has got the bank by the balls!

So in Sri Lanka's case we just have to just handover all the mortgages back to China as we cannot pay.

So we lose both harbors, mattala, both highways, and Norochcholai and keep the gifts like Nelum Pokuna and BMICH.

If that is not enough we may have to give them all our Fishing Rights. It is simply not a fair exchange when it comes to all our Chinese Deals. We can wean ourselves from them, as long we have genuine leadership that has the Country's future at heart.

Anonymous said...

can you lay out your development plan for the country following 30 years of civil war and how it will be paid for? if you can do this, it would be useful for me to understand a better way forward. remember, you need massive infrastructure re-construction and construction, plus everything else like human resources, health, education, etc. thanks!

Jack Point said...

Its fairly simple. The government should not be investing. If they have a proper framework, the bulk of the investing can be done by the private sector.

What is one biggest items that Sri Lanka spends on?

Interest - on all the borrowed money.

Sri Lanka's national finances are very similar to that of another National Institution - the Cricket Board.

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

I agree with you Jack. Just look at the Colombo South Port, owned 85% by China Merchants (Holdings) International Co, and financed by them and NOT the Govt.

This infrastructure project should enhance the value of the Colombo Port as a trans shipment hub and quick turn round for Indian imports and exports connecting to the international shipping lines from Colombo. A lot of scope for our shipping brokers to arrange the logistics, with the port equipped with the latest technology and massive cranes able to support the largest container carriers.
This is not a drag on the Treasury, and have not looked into how SLPA financed their 15%!

The Govt. has done a lousy job of financing their borrowings at usurious rates.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ano, November 5, 2013 at 11:33 AM, I keep my credit card to earn money. I am not going to elaborate. There are many countries in this world which borrow money to earn money and repay the interest and principal over the time. They (economies) will be worse off in the future, if they do not borrow today. It is not a laughable matter. By doing a cost-benefit analysis will tell you on what to spend and how. Sri Lanka is re-paying Rs 5.5 bil annually as interest for the loan borrowed for southern expressway. How much it (expressway) adds to the economy annually as whole? It you suggest that it exceeds Rs. 5.5 bil annually, I am your follower!

Anonymous said...

how do you calculate benefits of efficiency gains? if sri lanka's export, import, and internal transportation are made more efficient, the country will be more attractive as an investment/travel destination. clearly there will be real estate booms along the entire length of the highways resulting in factories, residential, condominiums, commercial properties, etc. sprouting up everywhere along the routes from the airport to deep south. in addition quality of life should increase as it will allow for more disparate population density. calculate all of that. in the end, of the masses are happy with it, it's a good move politically and not worth criticizing for political purposes

Anonymous said...

I agree with you in a way. Although it may be not tangible for public, long and short term benefits of infrastructure developments can be calculated. The problem is that why we continue borrowing to pay interest of previous loans.

Jack Point said...

The Katunayake expressway is a good idea, it was necessary and was done. It will bring some benefit.

Unfortunately it seems to have cost a lot more than it should, see story and debate here:

If it cost double, what it should have then automatically the benefit will be halved.

We could have got all its benefits at a much lower price. We need to ask why we spent so much.