Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The only place on earth where Delegates have to travel 225Km from Hotels to the Conference Hall!!! TODAY – Sri Lanka

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

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.


Anonymous said...

the point about wastage is well-taken. bringing youth from around the world to sri lanka to sing and dance and pretend that it matters is a huge waste of resources which could be spent feeding some starving youth in all of the countries from which these jet-setting youth have originated!!

i think you are being overly critical of the impact the commute from colombo to hambantota will have on these impressionable young people. firstly, they've come from all around the world to sri lanka, and the commute will, despite your contentions to the contrary, allow the visitors to see a bit of the country's people and lush greenery, as well as some of the way of life of the commuters on the roads.

the youth will not mind the commute as they are not businesspeople for whom time is money. these youth are jetting in to sri lanka and have nothing to do here! they don't have anything important to do so let them go on a joyride on the highway to at least see some of the country and enjoy some bonding time on the road!!

if we're to talk about waste, i'd say this entire conference is a waste and not worth the time of any serious-minded authority, as your young parliamentarian boss has judged.

just let the kids have some fun!! who knows they may meet their future spouse on the bus!!! perhaps that is the only thing this conference is worth

Anonymous said...

if they wanted to avoid gas guzzling expenditure this whole event could have been organized through Skype. that wasn't the point apparently!!

Anonymous said...

Skype has its usefulness, but face to face is also important in making friends and thinking global.

At least our planners could have mixed the delegates in the buses so the 4 hours there and 4 hours back could have resulted in making new friends, not seeing your same team that you came with!!

It goes to show it is poorly organized whatever the media hype

Anonymous said...

This was a glorious occasion to think outside the box and make a technologically savvy event, with a minimal carbon footprint right up the thinking processes of modern youth.

I guess Sri Lanka has not got to the thinking part yet, they are just good at plodding on doing what others order.

Anonymous said...

I want a head count of those under 30 and those over 30 at the Opening Ceremony. I will reserve judgement till I get the answers to that.

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

If by youth we mean under 30s who have come to this conference, they are most keen on making face to face contact and chat with other young people from other lands.

Where do they have the chance to do this in this I cannot see, except after hours at the BMICH between Wednesday and Friday.

It is heavily advertised, I hope our youth will be able to enter the heavily patrolled venue.

Anonymous said...

just saw the photos, could not find anyone under 30 in the VVIP list except Hirunika Premachandra!!!

A case of the oldilocks having a day out in the Country, with young being forced to participate from all over the world.