Fifth Column

16th September 2001

The reds force change of heart

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My Dear Satellite,

I thought I must write to you again even though you must be very busy, what with a partnership with the reds, a new cabinet and writing sympathy notes to George Bush all in the same week.

Of course, Satellite, we all believe you were very sincere when you decided to slash the number of ministers by half though all these people are asking why you had to wait until the reds virtually threatened you to do so. Anyway, now that it is done I'm sure you will not fight shy of reminding us what a great democrat you are.

And don't you take any notice of all the greens calling you a dictator, Satellite, just because you closed down Parliament for two months and called for a referendum. After all, you re-opened Parliament a day before it was scheduled to open and you cancelled the referendum and all it cost was a great deal bucks to print the ballot papers for the referendum that would now have to be thrown away and that's a small price for preserving democracy, isn't it?

And then, remember what a fuss everyone made when the Tigers attacked Katunayake? Everyone wanted you to resign as Defence Minister and said you must take the blame for all those security lapses. But, after what happened in New York and Washington last week I guess they will be eating their own words- no one called upon Bush to resign, did they?

The only complaints I have now are about some of your choices for the new cabinet, Satellite. Why you chose to retain Avamangala when he volunteered to resign puzzles me. What puzzles me even more is why you appointed him as Minister of Sports: I can just picture him walking about Torrington Square scouting for sporting talent! And since he is the Deputy Minister of Finance as well we will now have the pleasure or the pain of seeing him present the Budget in November!

Then, Simenthipala whose healthy deeds earned him quite a reputation has been given back his former job and I'm sure he would like it though the doctors- and the nurses of course- may not. We were also very surprised to see you retain your uncle and entrust him with power and energy. It looks as if we will continue to be in the dark now, even if it rains.

Of course we must spare a thought for the troublesome foursome- Seeni Bola, Gas Labu, Mahinda and Jeyaraj- but I guess you too realize that they will not like the idea of remaining backbenchers for long. You will have to mend fences or count them out in a future no-confidence vote and I'm sure you are aware of that.

Anyway, Satellite, it looks as if you have avoided yet another hurdle at least for the time being. Of course, we all know that you will kick the reds out at the first chance you get- and that is when you will have the last laugh. We are waiting for that to happen, Satellite and I am sure those who will enjoy it the most will be the greens!

Yours truly, Punchi Putha

PS- I almost forgot to congratulate you on our appointment as the new Media Minister. Now, it really becomes 'naduth haamuduruwange, baduth haamuduruwange', doesn't it?

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