My Dear Cabinet of Ministers, I thought I must write to you since you have been ‘reshuffled’ even though this reshuffle was not what most people expected. You usually reshuffle a pack of cards to get a better hand but if you reshuffle a pack full of jokers, that wouldn’t happen, would it? Now, you [...]

5th Column

Minting ministers: More the merrier


My Dear Cabinet of Ministers,

I thought I must write to you since you have been ‘reshuffled’ even though this reshuffle was not what most people expected. You usually reshuffle a pack of cards to get a better hand but if you reshuffle a pack full of jokers, that wouldn’t happen, would it?

Now, you must excuse me for thinking that this reshuffle is a joke of some sort. What else can I do when some poor chap has been made a cabinet minister in charge of botanical gardens!

Then Lakshman from Mahiyangana has been asked to supervise sugar industries. What next, I wonder: Minsters can be in charge of highly specialised subjects like bee keeping, pedestrian crossings and the Kandy Perahera. More the merrier, so what?

Maybe we can even have a minister in charge of public toilets at the next reshuffle. They can call him the Minister in charge of Biological Elimination Products or some such fancy name, he can have a huge office with a model toilet and everyone will be happy!

Among the lucky ones is that Duminda from Anuradhapura, ‘Dumindas’ of this government being a lucky lot anyway. Our friend from Anuradhapura got a ministerial post just because Papa made a song and dance about being kicked out of the chief minister’s post!

But what kind of a reshuffle allows that comical duo, SB and Bandula to stay where they are after all they have ‘achieved’ over the past few years? I guess we will now have to expect more leaked exam papers, Z score blunders and universities being closed indefinitely!

Even the chap supervising sports has been asked to carry on. I guess he has done a good job of giving the television rights of cricket matches to favoured people and allowing the Cricket Board to go bankrupt. Well, let us then prepare to get beaten by Bangladesh in a few months!

And then there is Mervyn. I guess being an electoral organiser for the Blue party ranks higher than being a cabinet minister which is why he has been stripped for the former post but continues in the latter.

Since he remains our minister for Public Relations and Public Affairs even after the reshuffle, we can expect more people tying themselves to trees and maybe others even shooting themselves to death as part of these public relations exercises.

While these fellows get to stay put, a couple of chaps have got the chop: Susil and Champika have been demoted despite Susil being a bigwig in the ‘Alliance’ and Champika trying to do a decent job of work in a ministry where he is probably the best man for the job.

Susil made a hash of things first with education and then with distributing low quality petrol, so we can’t really complain about his transfer. One would think that he can do little damage with his new subject of ‘environment’ but Susil being Susil, one can never really be sure!

Now, my dear ministers, pardon me if I am wrong but I find it a strange co-incidence that those who have been promoted — Pavithra and Priyadarshana Yapa — are the same people who played starring roles in the impeachment drama, one as the principal complainant and the other as the judge.

Yapa might be able to survive while distributing petrol because he showed us all how loyal and obedient he was to the King during the impeachment but I don’t think Pavithra knows anything more about Power and Energy other than to turn a light switch on and off!

Then, in addition to all of you in the cabinet we have a few more deputy ministers and project ministers to sustain with our hard earned money. All in all, we have ninety nine ministers which is ridiculous — Mahinda maama should have appointed one more and made it a hundred!

My suggestion to Mahinda maama is, if he is thinking of appointing one more minister, since we already have cabinet ministers, senior ministers, deputy ministers and project ministers, why not have a separate minister in charge of ministers?

And to make it even more interesting, we have two project ministers for ports and highways and three deputy ministers of economic development. By the next reshuffle, the number of our ports and highways would have doubled and our economy would have grown three-fold!

And guess who the happiest man after this reshuffle is? No, it is not young Duminda who got a ministerial post because of daddy nor is it those who got ‘promoted’. It is not even those like Bandula and SB who were able to retain their jobs despite not deserving to do so.

Why, the happiest man after the reshuffle is good old Di Moo! After all those photographs appearing in the newspapers suggesting that he was not quite well and all that speculation about possible replacements, isn’t he a lucky man?
Anyway, ministers, we must wish you well. Since most of you are holding on to your old jobs, I suppose we can only expect more of the same. But then, unlike the Greens, at least there is no dispute about who your leader is.

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha
PS: Remember Sana the cricketer who was once wrote to the King saying he should be appointed a minister? Well, he seems to have been ignored in the reshuffle but he has been given a better job — selecting our cricket team. The only danger though is that he might select himself now and stage a comeback to international cricket!

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