The Prez had wanted the MFA to cut down on expenditure, asap. In a clear message to senior officials in the MFA, MR had made it known that expenses incurred by the minister was way too much and wanted immediate action to prune expenditure. This is when the infamous b'day bash of RB 's daughter in the US at the tax-payers’ expense had been revealed, first by Pali in NY and then by our man in DC. A clever plot was then hatched aided by two powerful lady officers in the MFA looking big time for postings to multilateral destinations. Accordingly, two steps were taken;
1. Cut the education allowance given to DPL officers’ children by a whopping 25%. This means most officers at a junior to mid-level are losing 3-4 months remuneration just to educate one child for a year! Many are disgruntled and motivation levels are sagging. This was something one-time Minister Kadir was keen to continue (i.e. no extra burden to the officers on the education front) as a compromise to not regularly increasing the allowances officers draw when serving overseas. (pre-1996, remuneration was regularly updated; officers contributed 25% for education, as did single officers who could draw only 75% of all allowances).
2. Put issue-based pressure on the 2 PRs (in NY & Geneva). Several written and verbal instructions had been sent around which had frustrated the two envoys. While RB and the two ladies knew that getting Pali out was difficult, they knew well that Pali would crack when life was made difficult for him. They delayed support staff for NY for months on end, for instance. In Geneva, the ladies kept pestering RB that the PR had not heeded the MFA's call to come down to Colombo for a briefing. Of course they didn’t fail to rub it into RB that the man in Geneva was taking the shine off their beloved minister! So the minister ran to Prez and said it’s either him or me (not so direct, but more or less).
So now the two ladies are gearing for a taste of multilateral diplomacy. After all they kept whispering to the minister that they never had an opportunity to serve the country in that capacity. So one is eyeing NY, and the other is polishing up her linguistic skills for Geneva.
Many in the MFA have got wind of all of this and a fight back is now imminent.