The lift off for two Air Force Mi-17 transport helicopters from the Army grounds in Fort last Wednesday came at 7 a.m. Instead of troops or lethal weapons, the cargo, for the first time, was 30 Sri Lanka cabinet ministers. They headed to Kilinochchi, the centre of power for Tiger guerrillas until last year.
An hour later, the two choppers landed at the Air Force base in Vavuniya.
“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “I think all the problems of our country are over...”
“Why do you say that, Bindu?” Percy was puzzled, “I thought our problems are only just beginning with all this fuss about a panel appointed by the United Nations...”
Sri Lanka continues to be distracted from its priority task of economic development. The propensity of the country to distract itself from economic priorities has been a feature of post independent Sri Lanka. This is in stark contrast to the experience of Singapore and Malaysia, two countries that had similar problems.
The ugly spectacle that Sri Lanka presented to the world last week in the siege on Colombo's United Nations compound by a constituent party of this government and with unequivocal blessings from the Rajapaksa administration, will not be easily forgotten.
When the meeting at Temple Trees ended, there was a photo opportunity for the official cameramen. It came just when UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe asked External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris,"Why didn't you sit when I offered you the chair and speak to your former leader?" Those present broke out in laughter and that made the front page photo in most newspapers.
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