Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mandating a one term Politician – the only answer to our perennial problem

I don’t believe there are any contradictions to the phrase, that “politics and politicians have been at the root cause of the disaster that is Sri Lanka” So what may the simple answer to that problem of a turnaround from disaster to success!

Simple, not have politics or politicians at the helm, and only have people who are willing to sacrifice one term (5 years of their lives) for their Country, from various fields, be they farmers, or nurses, that actually contribute to the collective knowledge of democratically elected representatives. This will prevent lifers in Politics, many of whom litter the chairs in Parliament. A lifer just tries to justify his existence but has not contributed ONE IOTA to the betterment of his Country.

I know some people my say this is utopia, others will say it is NOT practical, and still others will say, it will just not work, as NO other Country has that type of policy, and therefore MUST be unworkable. I say no to all of them, as we MUST be at the forefront of thinking, not the laggards we currently are.

The problem is those who contribute to this forum are political scientists and older people with a lot to say about their experiences. To the un-initiated youngster, even the two party system or any party for that matter is unnecessary in this day and age. So having people who continuously feel they must be in politics is just a wholly unnecessary figment of the imagination, that could NOT serve any useful purpose.

It is best to argue that if we have a constitution that mandates policy on the major issues of our society, namely the right to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and eat food free of toxins, as well as equality to all (no discrimination) then we don’t have to give special dispensation to differently abled, minorities or the practice of beliefs different to ours, as long as they do not cause a public nuisance or disturbance!

Under this form of Constitution, my proposal of one term will change the way we elect people. The largest segment of capable people who have hitherto NOT thought of being elected, due to the rogues who occupy these positions will automatically wish to be included, edging out the uneducated and the people who go into politics because they are incapable of earning a living in any other area!

This will at a stroke open the Country up to people willing to dedicate a period of their lives for their country and return to their field or profession, after serving the 5 year term. Then they will have NO need for perks, pensions, permits and patronage, all together will save the Country trillions not just billions. This is the ONLY way out of the current status quo which we ALL agree has been a disaster and if it continues any longer will further reduce this beautiful country to destitution, and desolation.

Just consider those who have left Sri Lanka. They have left for better opportunities, that they have believed will never be available in Sri Lanka. In fact they are the people we can least afford to lose, the most productive of our citizens have been a boon to the host Country to which they migrate to. If only we had them in our midst all this time, we could have already achieved our goals. The reason they left was the absolutely untenable political climate, no matter who was in power, and dishing out the same is not the answer, despite the clamor for the same patronage dispensed by the Rajapakse regime filling 800,000 not needed jobs in Govt. leaving no more room for productive Public Service but a clamor to still get into public service, by the UNP hardcore who believe it is their right to be dished the same gravy.

The unfunded pension liability that the Rajapakse administration is sufficient treachery to send the whole family to the gallows in any other Country, but we have citizens who still believe they have life left in them to further entrap us in mounds more of debt, by filling even more non-existent jobs in the public service as a measure of perceived success.

In short, to get out of this spiraling crisis and vicious cycle, calls for drastic action, and only something like a one term in public office, with no means to graduate from one office to another, is the only answer.

It is a revolutionary idea, which many readers will take a while to understand, once they list out the pros and cons, and realize that in 2016 and beyond, with people (citizens) wherever they may reside, have the ability to vote directly through their fingerprint scanned smartphones ON EVERY BILL, presented in parliament, it avoids the need for parties and peoples representatives, except to safeguard our interests in our constituencies from external threats that affect our future, of ensuring the basic three I mentioned at the start of Water, Air and Food.

The elected representative will not worry about re-election and popularity, and with a conviction to make an impression in their only term in office will do their utmost to create a climate of trust, excellence and durability of action, all of which will contribute to less waste, more productivity and accountability of all decisions for the public good. The public trust will then be respected and rewarded with a Country that will be the envy of the world, not only of a unique experiment in Governing, but also in International Political Innovation.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sri Lankan Airlines – We have known the truth for years, it is time to take corrective action and if a law has been broken to bring the crooks to book!

Why is it that people go on repeating the mantras without taking any action as a result of the findings of the scandals? We have got used to wastage of public money, by our elected representatives and their henchmen, but we have not yet taken concrete steps to do something about it.

What good is it for the Deputy Minister to explain the size of the loss, something that is not new, and known for over two years. They have only just quantified the actual figure! During these two years, investigations could have been carried out as to who gave the orders, on what basis, and the nature of the deals that were known at that time as being far-fetched to say the least.

Now the PM has also disclosed the extent of the fraud, and the huge debt burden this has placed on Sri Lanka, but that still has not gone far enough to explain what the Govt. is doing about it. Have they cancelled the deal? If so at what cost, if any? As with the state of the airline market and the need for planes of the size that have been ordered, they can easily be transferred onto other airlines, like Iran Air desperate for re-fleeting, with NO COST to Sri Lanka. This has NOT been contemplated, or if so not mentioned in the news item.

Will the Govt. take steps to prosecute those who have broken the law, if in fact this is what has happened. Unless the public are better informed of these, they are unlikely just to give the Govt. a grace period to sort out the mess created by the previous Govt. which is causing this crisis at present.

The erratic management of Sri Lankan Airlines has a lot to do with the losses of SOE’s and therefore needs special attention, as the sink hole seems to be open ended, whilst those of Ceylon Petroleum and CEB can now be restructured with less dire consequences! These three accounting for the bulk of the losses of SOE’s.

The intention of the Govt. of how they expect to deal with it, in simple words is LONG OVERDUE, as the mere mention of the problem is NOT ENOUGH, as it is NOT NEWS ANYMORE. The public is losing patience in wondering when these hugely wasteful decisions will result in those being held accountable!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

For the sake of Good Governance, the new IGP must be announced at least 90 days in advance of the retirement of predecessor!

In a Country that has still to get its lactating period out of the way, in typical fashion, (take the Attorney General’s Appointment as a guide of our deficiency) has not yet appointed the IGP designate, when the incumbent retires on Ap12th

Ideally the current IGP must be in a position of introducing his sucessor to the major honchos in the police, whilst at the same time taking his leave, as part of good practice, where the old man tells the subordinates, to give their rightful obeisance to the new IGP. This will not happen, as it will probably take, (With the New Year holiday period pending) till after April 20th when the new IGP is announced.

According to the link above there are 3 in the running, but one must in a time of change, break the rules and go for new thinking, even getting a person outside the service, even though it may be unprecedented, to clean up the culture, that is at the root of the present day problems of Sri Lanka and the difficulty of the Govt. to get their Good Governance Agenda to stick.

Today’s papers also speculates on likely appointments and why!

Look we have an unprecedented National Govt. comprising the leaders of the two main rival parties, in an uncomfortable marriage, surely this marriage needs a broker not from the past, but from the future, and a clear thinking HR lawyer of repute is probably more suited to the post of the IGP, who can instill NEW values to the Police Force, desperately needing some blood transfusion to get to change their thinking and vision for the future. All they are talking about as usual is a new uniform for the Police in keeping with their softer side!

It will shake up the ranks of the DIGs immediately, and their performance will be under closer scrutiny, as there will be NO OLD BOY links to a fresh face IGP with no baggage. (Remember DIG Vaas Gunewardena was allowed to run riot during the previous administration) and this way these mavericks will not be tolerated, worse put the whole Force into disrepute.

The police force is ripe for a technological revolution in the practices it currently adopts. The present force is frightened of the change, as they are still stuck with some outdated practices. Just look at the way the B report is written when you go to the police to make a complaint. 19th Century Policing surely! At the end of the day the public need to be served better by those upholding the law  

Friday, March 11, 2016

How can you get what you wish then?

In the previous blog entry, I explained that in order to change our political culture, which everyone I have spoken to subscribes to, that we must introduce term limits for all, and in this case JUST ONE TERM as the slogan, so a bad egg will only last one time, and GOOD EGGS can be replicated many times over! You can trust me that if someone does his job splendidly, another more competent person WILL enter the fray the next time round to out do that person, as there are so many capable people around, all of whom lie dormant not presenting themselves for election.

To go with one term, you open the possibility of Women joining the fray without hesitation, as the goal posts are now a different color, not just moved sideways! YOU DON’T HAVE TO ALLOCATE percentages for women or youth representation. Good people will put themselves forward, and it will be people who can be trusted to represent the interests NOT just of the people who voted them in but the greater community they represent, knowing that no favoritism is needed, as they will not be seeking another term.

Skeptics may say that this is just a pipe dream, but I say NO. I know the draft of the Constitution is being drawn by those with vested interests, but if there is enough of a public outcry, to push for such, because of the need for a referendum, it is likely that it is inserted and passed, even though all those currently in parliament WILL BE REMOVED BY LAW.

This is the ONLY time in our lifetime, and I believe in the next life time too to make this change, and if we don’t our children will curse us for forgoing a golden opportunity to change the system, at a time when the public is just fed up of the business as usual arrangement. Despite the huge political change that took place in 2015, it is the same faces in different disguises, doing almost the same things AGAIN, and now the people are just fed up to a point of disgust!

I know none of the elected politicians are aware of this disgust, as they are living in their own dream, mirage or make believe world, so we don’t have to appeal to them at all. We must select our own alternatives, put our proposals with cast iron foundation and press the powers to come up with a seamless concept devoid of parties, races and beliefs, in one overriding objective of taking control back into our hands.

So how about a slogan


Thursday, March 10, 2016

The universal chant – We must change the system of Government!

To What? So here me out!

You only have to listen to a news item or read the papers on any day, and you will see asinine statements from Politicians MERELY to grab a sound bite, but are believed hook line and sinker by the people, who know no better in analyzing what is said, why it is said, and the reality of it!

Just to prove a point, a simpleton politician is blaming the whole of our economic collapse on the CB Bond Scam, and I let you read it in the link below:
The conclusion I come to here, is that people who choose to go to politics in the current era in Sri Lanka, are those who normally cannot find anything more satisfying to do! Or are incapable of doing anything else. There is a touch of the urge to yield power over others, a not normally rational urge, more a crutch due to other failings in life.

I would ask a question, if you were happy with your life, and the way it was going, would you enter politics? I rather don’t think so. If you are, please share your reasons for so doing.

Then who are you left with. All the failures of life. Those who don’t find pleasure in anything else in life! It is they who get into politics, and the most skillful at fooling the voter into believing in them get elected.

So now you know who is in power! Then you ask, do they know anything about reality? NO. They most often never travel in a bus, and don’t see the puddles at any of the major bus stands, when it rains, which splash on hapless passengers, when the bus comes over! Otherwise they would be the first people to have them repaired, and I can show you examples of some major bus stands who have not had their pot holes repaired in 10 years, because no one deems it necessary, and somehow the commuting public use it as a common place, and so don’t find it part of their universe that needs intervention.

The conclusion one arrives at from these two propositions is that our elected representative cannot do a day’s paid work, and he does not know how the people who vote for him have to live, and so cannot repair anything that they need mending which is in his purview so to do.

Let me then go back to the beginning for a moment, to tell you with experience, that when you go to the grassroots and try and gather people for political meetings and to form the base of grass roots organizations, the majority of those who turn up are those who have nothing better to do, or those who wish to gain something for themselves from meeting with the politician who is organizing that event.

They then form the active workers from whom the party apparatus is chosen, the officers of the local party office, and the representatives, who in future will try and get the ticket to contest the local council elections, as an example of starting from the bottom.

In short these are not productive people, they are people with little else of interest and with time on their hands, hoping to utilize their position if elected to gain from this office, NOT TO GIVE to the office!

Is it surprising then that this vicious cycle just selects people in the main from deadbeats, and charlatans? Why do we then have to bow and scrape to them? That is because they are now a manthri and we need to respect them, and invite them to each and every activity, be it in the community or school or sports meet, so that we hope they can do something to that from his ability to cipher some of our own money, back to us, as being somehow HIS money, available to him to do as he pleases. Isn’t all this a ruse, to return you own money, back to you in the guise of a politicians largesse?

Having now identified that everyone in politics with a minute number of exceptions, perhaps 1%, so 99% are unsuitable for the posts and positions they hold, and I don’t think anyone will disagree with me about that observation!

So how do we get the people we want to make the rules and regulations, and make decisions that will improve the quality of our lives?

Simple! Just by turning the present system on its head to draw those who truly want to be of service to their community or their country! Come on you say, “they wont want to get their clean fingers dirty by getting into the fray”.

I say they will ON ONE CONDITION! What is that? If you limit the term of public service of anyone elected to ONLY ONE TERM PERIOD! It is that simple. In one stoke of a pen, by changing the rule, those who see politics as a career, ie the unsuitable ones will NOT seek election.

It leaves the door open to those busy bees, the productive ones to sacrifice a maximum of 5 years can be reduced to 4 to serve their community or their country, by utilizing their skills in whatever field that they have excelled in, for just that time, as they cannot give all their lives to social service, or they starve!  


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

“Constantly Moving Goal Posts” is bad for business!

I for one was a champion of this new Budget in November last year, which I believed would transform Sri Lanka in a new direction.

Bud sadly it was not to be, as we live in a Country with an Island mentality, more like FROGS IN A WELL totally blind to the rest of the world, and we just could not accept change.

So what did we get? A daily change, a constantly moving Goal Post so to speak, where I don’t know from day to day, what decisions I must make for the benefit of the Company that I am trying to grow, and expand along with what I hoped was a rapidly expanding Sri Lanka Economy.

I have to make a big investment decision on buying some expensive equipment so we can increase our production capacity by at least 100%, that’s a big step, but the ever changing taxation changes and interest rate and exchange rate uncertainty is putting a damper on what the right decision should be.

First we were told that all staff have to be given a pay raise of Rs2,500 a month, but that has not been passed in Parliament!

Then we were told we would be reducing the tax rate from 28% now to 15% next year for Companies, that would be significant, and the Investment decision on whether to expand depends in part on this benefit too. Now we don’t know if that will change for next year or be 17.5% as proposed by the PM in his statement yesterday.

It really looks like the parliament wasted a whole month of budget debates, when almost all the proposals are now different, and they will have to go through more debates on this one!

Then we discover every day that there are hidden loans that keep emerging, ones that the previous administration, took but this Govt. has only just found! Is it because the Treasury did not know, or that there are saboteurs in the PUBLIC service who are withholding information from the PM/Govt. I don’t know!

Under these mad made barriers of information withholding, we the Private Sector are held to ransom. It is the Private Sector that is the Engine of growth of this Economy and it is time we are cut some slack. It is not merely reducing the taxes that the Govt. believes is enough to keep us happy, it is certainty or less uncertainly that we prefer.

It seems that no one in Govt. understands these simple basics of doing business, and holding all these EASE OF DOING BUSINESS seminars does NOT matter a hill of beans if these goal posts change with the flow, and are explained away that this is the same all over the world, especially the present with the crisis in China with their stalled growth affecting everyone and every thing!

It was interesting that the Finance Minister was absent when the PM made his statement in Parliament. Considering the gravity of the accusations, it calls into question whether there is a difference of opinion on how the economy should be guided, as almost none of the Finance Minister’s Budget proposals have been enacted.

Further to the point, it was interesting that on the same day, PM had a dana for 1000 Buddhist Clergy at Temple Trees in the morning, then he had a Govt. Mps meeting there, and then Parliament, so this statement had to be read out at the Investment Seminar, also yesterday, where he is trying to attract foreign investment and his actions and words contradict each other on the same day.
The irony is not lost on me, but totally not even felt by anyone in Parliament!

Interesting though the above link is to the Chinese Web News Website!

Also on the same day, the stock market tanked with the threat of CGT!

In conclusion, it is NOT lip service, but action that Investors need, and no amount of Investment Fora will make a difference, unless words are followed by evidence, because investors gingerly test the waters for unpleasant odors emanating from the nether parts of seemingly palpable pronouncements. No more false promises please, we have seen too many mirages already!

Blind leading the blind for 70 years! Farmers and Policy makers!

It is a truly sad state of affairs that Sri Lanka has STILL not been able to sort out its paddy production / sales/ farmer livelihood/ fertilizer/ and subsidy programs to be in a relative state of equilibrium, without the consumer being at the mercy of extortionists and the farmer being exploited due to ignorance!

I have already suggested a simple process, whereby farmers are able to recoup some income from selling their surplus over and above the 2000kg limit guaranteed by the Govt. whilst at the same time giving work to the medium sized mill owners, and reducing the price of rice sold through Sathosa by at least Rs15 per kg from current prices. Needless to say, the Govt. has not taken this advice given over a month ago, in anticipation of the current crisis then!

I cannot understand, why, the Govt. was unable, with all the resources at their disposal to take cognizance, AND not listen to the same record, I was able to give, and thereby prevent an unnecessary crisis that merely affect the confidence of the people as well as grossly let the farmers and the consumer down, permitting the paddy miller mafia to take advantage of the situation.

It is still not too late to make this correction, but now added to that is the fertilizer fiasco, where a simple system of anticipating the needs of the farmer by area, has yet to be put in place to ensure that the adequate stocks in the Country are properly distributed on an as needed basis. Who is in charge of this forecasting? Donkeys!

I have combed through the press, and I cannot see any urgency on the part of the policymakers to make the needed changes to solve this simple problem, leaving the JVP led farmer organizations the freedom to castigate the incompetence of the administration.

While the link above is an amateurs way of making an explanation, the national policy must first be clear to farmers, and once explained the payment of an amount per acre for each season will be in order, from which the farmer may make whatever decision he wishes for his property, whether to buy organic fertilizer or improve the land by increasing the size of the fields to enable large machines to operate more economically, all of which will go to improve the long term efficiency, and therefore profitability of the farmer.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Women don’t need empowerment in Sri Lanka, it is the men STUPID!

Give women a monthly amount, and they manage their family’s budget. A man does not have a clue what suffering she undergoes, and even decides NOT to eat in order to give her family what it needs. Yes, most women don’t know how much their man earns, but that is NOT the woman’s fault, it is the man who does not want to tell her, as she will ask for more, and he will have to cut down on his drinking or smoking and spending time with friends. In short he does not like to come home, blaming it on a nagging wife at home, not realizing that it is his behavior that has led her to nag!

Actually Sri Lankan men are the ones who are the sole reason for the suffering of women. They just treat their woman as a doormat, and a servant and nothing else. He does not talk to her about her day, he does not talk to his children about their school, he does not know their birthdays, or even how old, or what class they are in! He does not take them out on things they need to do, only when it suits him on something he wants to do, and takes the kids just to show others that he is a caring father, even though he does not care a damn.

The man does not help around the house, he does not know the stresses the women is under at home, he does not even listen when she tells him something important, as he simply compartmentalizes it as nagging.

So the problem is with the men. They need a serious dose of behavior modification, the basis of psychological counseling! Unless there is behavior modification, the women will suffer in silence. What alternative has she got?

The Police Station now has a woman’s advice center, the only structured facility where women can make a complaint, however the staff there more often than not take the man’s side, unless, the man has sexually abused, the wife, or children or severely beaten them. She is just asked to get him to behave. He is not summoned to explain himself, and as in all cases the man says that he is not the problem, as he is unable to identify that he is the reason, there is NO hope of a solution to women’s suffering.

The women is stuck between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to go for help, but empowering her will not help. There is ONLY a limited amount she can do, without the cooperation of her husband. So what is it that needs to be done as a matter of priority to lessen the suffering of Sri Lankan women, and improve the quality of their lives, as otherwise NO amount of development will take Sri Lanka’s population to level of satisfaction.

The only area where women must be trained is to spot the bad egg of a man! In that case they will all be single, and the men in order to get their woman will just have to change, or women will only marry foreign men who they feel will give them what they want!

Something to think about!

International Women’s Day – we must work to negate this need

In my proposal for the new Constitution, I do not see any difference between human beings, be they male or female, black or white, Tamil or Sinhala, gay or heterosexual, differently abled and the chronically sick. We owe it as a civilized country to treat all these people equally, however much this concept is alien to the older generation, but quite normal to the young! Marking this day, is a patronizing step, but then if I fight it, I may have half the Country scalp me, until they understand why I made this statement in the first place!

In that vein we must strive at all costs to realize that the need for a Women’s day is unnecessary, or if it is then there should also be day allocated to men. Making no one special or everyone special.

If our society feels there is a need to empower women, then as a society we have failed our women, and it is not equality of women or parity that we must seek, but enable women to achieve their goals, making womanhood, not a barrier to this vision!

This same concept must apply to all those others classed collectively as minorities, being OLD, Child, Differently abled, Veddhas, Christians, or whatever classification one wants to defend at the time. It is surprising that our adult population, still don’t get it, that there are NO minorities anymore, only those who conform to certain norms of good behavior and those that do not, who are playing their part to create division, or harm society’s equilibrium.

In the short term therefore, action plans must be set in place, to eliminate these differences. What they are must be determined by reason, not by equality. To take a typical example, to make this point: I am now aware that 65% or two thirds of undergraduates following courses in Agriculture, are women. Is that fair? If so why? Are those who will become farmers, or farming advisers going to be women in future, and is that why it is permitted, or is it because that based on the A level results a high proportion of women were ONLY able to get into this Faculty? If you ask these women if they will follow a career where their degree course is relevant, 90% will say NO.

This simple illustration, gives the reader an indication of why positive discrimination policies don’t work, as it does not achieve society’s objective in ensuring a right balance. “Hakiyawata Rakiyawak”. It is being color blind to all differences that we must try and adopt, rather than see ads that say, only under 35 should apply! Everyone has some ability, it is identifying their strength that society should attempt, and try and encourage that to pursue a vocation, or to improve one’s self.

As a start, I recommend we pick, train, and recruit social workers from women to go to the hinterlands, and empower them with a can do attitude, that’s enough, they will then find their niche. The numbers needed are 50,000, and is a good part time job for the stay at home mums, who currently do not work, and not add pressure, to already hard pressed economy that cannot find workers for over 250,000 vacancies.

I hope therefore that this much acclaimed women's forum, meeting for the first time today, will come up with a positive suggestion such as what I have made to enable this process, and thereby NEGATE THE NEED FOR A WOMEN'S DAY.    

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Simple, The huge amount of vacancies in the Country is stifling growth!

Firstly we MUST make all more productive - will pay immediate dividends.

I have been at my wits end trying to find a baas to do a small job here, but cannot find any! The one who promised to come has not turned up as promised, and this is the story the Baas in Sri Lanka, they take on work, but never finish on time, liking to have as many balanced on their fingers, so that they ensure work all the time, without anyone being satisfied by their work, nor finishing on time, and wasting time of the payer, dragging economic progress with it!

Secondly, I am being harassed by my driver to get his sister, who is gainfully employed at Brandix, a skilled machine operator of 4 years standing, to get a job as an unskilled attendant in the Polonnaruwa Hospital as she perceives this to pay more, have more social statues employment and marriageability wise, and better prospects!

This is the real employment crisis in Sri Lanka. People in productive jobs, want to leave for Public sector unproductive jobs, and until this is stopped, we have no hope. It is therefore doubly stupid when the PM talks about creating a million jobs, where there is NO ONE to do them in Sri Lanka, and we will just have to import them from India to fill them.

Does anyone get the irony of this?

For example, we have the following we can release for work, namely 500,000 three wheeler drivers, being grossly unproductive, adding immensely to the pollution of the Country who can be reduced to 100,000 by doing our own version of UBER. Then there are 500,000 Govt. Servants, without whom the Service will be more profitable. Of the stay at home moms, about 500,000 can be released for part time work, to supplement their income. Then 150,000 in the Tri Forces can be released to guard the 250,000 places of antiquity that are currently being plundered.

In terms of shortages, there are 100,000 Baas vacancies in the villages, 50,000 mental health workers also in the Rural areas, 50,000 Pre- school teachers also in Rural areas (stay at home moms ideal for this job!) 50,000 in the Garment Industry, 10,000 Electricians, 10,000 Plumbers, 40,000 drivers mainly in Colombo, 50,000 Home help mainly in Colombo, 25,000 Nurses mainly in Rural areas, 75,000 skilled operators in the Western Province, and 90,000 in Construction Hands.

We just have to work a scheme of matching need with employment.