ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 16, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 29

Give Govt. time to achieve its goals

I am a 75-year-old pensioner counting over 40 years in public service. I have seen all governments in operation in Sri Lanka since Independence. As a public servant I had no politics and continue to remain apolitical. I have witnessed the vicissitudes of successive governments and the course of events in the country.

All governments have had their 'saints' and 'villains' and equally, their successes and failures. However, much has been achieved since Independence whilst many useful opportunities were missed and appreciable damage done to the country by successive governments.

In this scenario what can the ordinary citizen do for the country? We have only the vote to make or break governments. This is our inalienable right and our strongest weapon. It is our responsibility to exercise the vote in the best interests of the country. In doing so we must assess dispassionately what the government in power has done during its tenure as against overall performances of previous governments.

Political parties are so dilute today that it is difficult to identify those with the government and the opposition. One party may be represented both in the government as well as the opposition. Unlike in the past, voting for a party makes no sense today and what we have to do is to vote for a group of people of various political shades who have performed well in the past. It is not the party that matters now, but the composition of the ruling group. In my humble view, in Sri Lanka, it is always a choice between two evils and selection of the lesser evil! In this exercise we have to forget the past and act wisely in the present to ensure a better future. This is our prime duty.

There is no purpose in politicians shouting themselves hoarse at the market place slinging mud at each other, trading charges of nepotism and corruption often ending in mayhem and murder; and propounding high-flown economic theories, which only a few understand, to improve the lot of the people. The ordinary masses can no longer be deceived by such propaganda. They are only concerned with day-to-day living.

It would not be incorrect to say that in the past our greatest achievements were recorded during the regimes of Premiers D.S. Senanayake and S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and President J.R. Jayewardene. As for the rest there is not much to talk about.

In my view incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa is sincerely attempting to solve the problems of our country. He is a charismatic figure and man of action. His election pledges have not remained confined to the "Mahinda Chintanaya". Any one who cares to travel about can see the changes taking place in the country and what has been achieved so far. Let us give him time to achieve his goals, and not upset the apple-cart mid-way in the greed for power and petty political gains. After all, Rome was not built in one day -- nor was Mahaweli in Sri Lanka! If he fails, we can always vote him out at the next election.

At this critical moment in our history let us abstain from harassing the government with various demands, however genuine they may be, and allow it to concentrate on the pressing problem of terrorism and development. This reminds me of the famous words of US President John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country."

By Daya Wijesekera, Kotte

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