Columns - 5th column

Four hikes and a funeral- Don’t ever leave us again!

By Rypvanwinkle

My Dear Mahinda maama,

I thought I must write to you because a lot has happened while you were away in Pakistan and Singapore and having orchids named after you and I am almost sure you have no idea about what has been happening in Paradise, because if you did, you wouldn’t have let any of this happen anyway.

It has been a busy week, Mahinda maama and it began with that chap Cabraal doing something to the rupee. You know that he was telling anyone who would care to listen to him why the rupee should be maintained against the dollar and then, one day, probably because he had a bad dream the night before, he changes his policy.

The next thing we know is that the rupee has hit rock bottom and that Cabraal chap is again telling us why that was the best decision. Well, if it was, I was wondering why he didn’t think about it some time ago. How many times do I have to tell you, Mahinda maama, not to take these former UNPers to your side? My personal view is that Ranil would have sent him to you so that he would ruin the economy and get you in to trouble. So, Mahinda maama I think it is high time that you sack this Cabraal chap!

Then, Mahinda maama, the next day we heard that fuel prices were being increased. Now, as far as I know there is no dramatic rise in world oil prices and it was only the other day that your television stations were telling us that Iran will give us any amount of oil, even if the United States don’t want them to, so why now, Mahinda maama, especially when you were seen spending billions of rupees on that ‘Deyata Kirula’ show in Anuradhapura.

I think this too is a conspiracy, Mahinda maama. Why, if the oil prices were increased a month later everyone would have forgotten about the billions spent on ‘Deyata Kirula’. Now, they are asking why they have to spend more on fuel when billions are being spent on exhibitions. So, Mahinda maama I think it is high time that you sack Susil for increasing fuel prices at the wrong time!

The very next day, Mahinda maama, bus fares were increased. Of course even I can understand why bus fares need to increase when fuel prices increase but surely not the very next day. They should have done whatever it takes to soften the blow and let the previous bus fares run for some time-a few weeks, at least- with some government assistance to the bus operators so that they too can be in the business without running at a loss.

Surely, that is the type of action that ministers should take to protect you, their leader. No, they just take the easy way out and announce a bus fare hike the very next day, without being bothered about what people say of you, as you go around in your bullet proof Benz running on government fuel. So, Mahinda maama I think it is high time that you sack Welgama for increasing bus fares at the wrong time!

Then, just when we thought that we had had enough shocks for the week, the very next day they announced a massive hike in electricity rates. Of course, the explanation again is that our Electricity Board runs on fuel and therefore when fuel prices increase, the electricity rates too have to be increased. Again, I understand the maths, but the Electricity Board has been running at a massive loss for years now and what difference would another two weeks make?

So, they too could have waited for a few weeks to announce this but, no, they all want to embarrass you at the same time, so they announce their increase in rates in the same week. Maybe that Champika chap is not too happy because his views about the thirteenth amendment are being disregarded and that is why he is doing this, Mahinda maama. Think about it, but I think it is high time that you sack Champika for increasing electricity rates at the wrong time!

With all these price hikes, Mahinda maama, you can hardly blame the people for protesting. And they did, in their thousands. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but then, Police have to open fire on a group of protestors in Chilaw and one person has to pay with his life.

Now, we all remember how the rathu sahodarayas engineered a protest in Katunayake a few months ago against private sector pensions and the Police opened fire, someone died and you had to withdraw the new laws that you were about to implement. On that occasion, you got away by getting the Police Chief to resign and then sending him as our Ambassador to Brazil.

If people in the Police have any common sense, they should have remembered that and acted more carefully, but they didn’t. I am not sure whether they wanted to embarrass you or whether it was an oversight. Anyway, I guess now you have no choice but to ask for the present IGP’s resignation and send him as an ambassador somewhere else-Syria or the Maldive Islands, these days, may be an appropriate posting for him!

Now that you are back in the country, I hope there will be no more shocks for us next week. But the sad news is, at this rate, you would never be able to leave us for a jaunt overseas and what is the point of being the big boss, then?

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha.

PS-Despite all what I have written there is good news too. Ranil is still leading the Greens so there is no threat to you and if you really want to have a laugh I would suggest you find pictures of the rathu sahodarayas being tear gassed-there are pictures of Tilvin, Vijitha and Lalkantha looking like ‘themichcha kukulo’ and they should make even Ranil smile!

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