The inauguration of the World Conference on Youth 2014 at Magam Ruhunapura (aka Mahinda Rajapaksa) International Conference Hall, Hambantota, will take place later this morning at 11.30am.
Who is organizing this event? Those who go in convoys and cavalcades with security shooing (or is it shooting) all mortals and animals out of the way killing anything or anyone that gets in the way, or those who come to work in crowded buses, wreaking of sweat after a heavy work out holding onto dear life whilst the bus sways and avoids traffic and then jerks up to a halt to pick and drop of a passenger?
The 1500 delegates representing at the latest count 94 Countries and the Govt. insisting it is 149 Countries , I have the Agenda, that says they leave the Hotels in Colombo in their coaches at 7.30am for the 11.30 am start.
All the VVIPs, that is all Govt. henchmen, (my boss received an invitation to travel but politely declined, as the time and fuel consumed would not provide a return on investment!) will be travelling in fuel guzzling convoys that will result in the equivalent of 250,000km of vehicle travel to the “Venue” and back which amounts to 50,000 liters of fuel, costing a minimum of Rs8M to the Govt. to say nothing of the wear and tear of Billions of rupees of luxury vehicles and air-conditioned buses for the delegates.
The Govt. reckoning is that when Rs20M is allocated daily for the President’s expenses, this is really small change in the overall scheme of things, and so justified and justifiable as there is 125 KM of new Expressway to show off to these young impressionable foreigners, and imply that this land is dotted with expressways. The reality is that we have to clamber over potholed, and now mud-filled side roads to get home in the rain to our little homes!
Don’t get me wrong. I think holding the International Youth Conference is a very good thing for Sri Lanka and especially our youth. It is ironic though that we who represent one of the largest Youth (Political) Organizations in Sri Lanka supply NO representation, except for the request for our Chairman to be at the opening and chair a plenary session in Colombo on Friday, the latter which he will fulfill as an important duty as a youth leader and young Parliamentarian.
Getting back to my reasoning for this blog entry, as my blog is dedicated to
“OPINIONS ON SUBJECTS OF THE DAY MAINLY AS IT PERTAINS TO COMMON SENSE SUGGESTIONS IN IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF ALL WHO ARE FORTUNATE TO LIVE IN THIS SERENDIPITOUS ISLAND OF SRI LANKA”.
Therefore I believe we must be practical in doing things sensibly. Our guests would not be fooled into a false sense of reality if we held the whole conference in Colombo at the BMICH which is itself, completely refurbished and ideally located for a Conference of this nature.
To waste the valuable time of people from so many countries on a junket such as this, when time is precious at a short conference such as this, to waste a day of no productive sense is NOT justified. Actually it is just 4 speeches and the photo of Ministers that they are going for, as well as a 4 hour tour of the area in Hambantota, the latest tourist attraction in Sri Lanka fully equipped with re- enactments of the gun fight at the OK corral featuring the real life Mayor of Hambantota running amok with Toy Pistols in his hands.
Get real guys who are ruling us. Where have you just come from? Even Uruwarige Wanniya Aththo the Veddha Chief would not make such a foolish decision as he is extremely good at prioritizing his day.
We don’t want to be the laughing stock of the world, especially the future of the world represented by youth from all these countries! If there is a generation that cannot be fooled by theatrics it is the Young, so don’t insult their intelligence!
What is it that Hambantota has to offer a first time visitor with only 4 hours to spare on his schedule for sightseeing in all of Sri Lanka, to be shown around Hambantota? Surely not the white elephants!
The damage is done, as I write early this morning, the delegates are being driven in bus convoys from their hotels in teeming traffic to the Homagama entrance to the expressway, (the first 45 minutes, may go up to 90 minutes this morning unless the Police clear the way) that alone is something they will remember even more than the expressway ride as the latter is a common occurrence in most countries, which at speed does not allow time to appreciate the scenery. They will notice the convoys of VVIPs in their expensive vehicles speeding past them on the Expressway and wonder if these are all the bananas of the Banana Republic, as YOUTH have “A CLEAR IDEA OF THE CARBON FOOTPRINT” They most certainly will NOT be amused.