Columns - 5th column

Come on, show them the way!

By Rypvanwinkle

My dear Aachaarya Mahinda B,

I thought I must write to you because I heard that you had retired just because some policemen had opened fire at a group of protestors at Katunayake and one person had died as a result!

Honestly, Mahinda B, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I would have been happy if I could have believed you were such a principled person that you thought you were responsible for what had happened and therefore had to retire, even if you were not directly responsible for the incident itself.
On the other hand, I would have been sad if I could have believed you were so silly as to resign over an incident of this nature in a country where no one resigns, no matter what, and when more important persons have kept their jobs after committing more serious blunders!

Of course I would like to believe you belonged to the former category but even if you did, I cannot help remembering the many instances, more glaring than a protestor dying in a Police shooting, where those responsible have carried on merrily without even giving a thought at handing in their resignation or retirement papers.

Topping the list is Uncle Mervyn who should have resigned after being assaulted at Rupavahini when he himself tried to assault someone there. Since then, he has infamously tied a Samurdhi officer to a tree and his friends have been caught trying to extort money from traders at the Peliyagoda fish market, but the word resignation simply does not ring a bell for this ‘gentleman’ who by the way, also calls himself a ‘doctor’ just like you do!

Then there is that other ‘gentleman’, Punchi Banda, who like his namesake Sumanasekera Banda was found fault with by the highest court in the country. If I remember right, he gave an undertaking that he would never take up public office again but there he is now, holding the same job he held earlier, letting dignity and self-respect take a back seat.

Now, if you want to look for someone else for whom dignity and self- respect means nothing, you should look no further than our dear Nimal, who when he was in charge of the health services in the country let hundreds of children die of dengue and allowed babies to die after vaccinations without the thought of resignation or retirement ever crossing his mind.

Then there was Susil, his counterpart in education, who presided over a period when the courts had to decide on how to admit children to school, when there were countless errors in the question papers of national examinations and when textbooks did not reach schoolchildren on time and when they did, contained rather embarrassing mistakes. Ah, but did he resign or retire, no!

And who could forget See Bee, who immediately after assuming office as Minister of Sports described Sri Lanka Cricket and the people who ran it as a den of thieves. If it was indeed so and he was the Minister of Sports he should have done something about it but he didn’t because he found that those at Sri Lanka Cricket were more powerful than him. Instead of resigning then and acting according to his conscience he just stayed put and today although he is no longer the Minister of Sports, those at Sri Lanka Cricket still have their jobs!

Then we come across people like Professor Gamini Lakshman who seem to have no conscience at all and whose party colours seem to change faster than the traffic lights. Why, at first he was all blue, then he was as green as the grass and fathering a ceasefire agreement with the Tigers.

Now, he is blue again and dashing off to the capitals of the world, explaining why we needed to go to war with them. Instead of resigning, he is only singing for his supper-and he doesn’t do a good job of that either, And how could we forget to mention young Wimal?

He threatened to fast unto death if Ban Ki moon appointed his panel to probe war crimes and by now, the panel has concluded its findings. Of course, Wimal quickly called off his fast with a mere whimper and was seen happily visiting the United Nations for Vesak! Did he ever think of resigning? Never!

These are just a few examples Mahinda B, that makes me think you have been rather hasty in your decision to quit. And come to think of it, this is not the first instance that the Police was responsible for the deaths of people. Why, who can forget how two persons were killed at the Angulana Police station? You didn’t think of retiring then, did you, Mahinda B? That is why your retirement gets, as they say, ‘curiouser and curiouser’. But what can I say, except happy retirement!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-What is this story I hear that you were made the scapegoat for a decision that someone else took and that is why your retirement was called for? Well, if that was the case and if I were you, I would at least ask for a posting as an ambassador somewhere! How about being our envoy to Tripoli or Damascus these days? You can shoot people to your heart’s content over there!

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