The Sunday Times Editorial

5th May 1996

47, W. A. D. Ramanayake Mawatha Colombo 2. P.O. Box: 1136, Colombo 2.
Telex: 21266 LAKEXPO CE
EDITORIAL OFFICE Tel: 326247,328889, 433272-3 Fax: 423258, 423922
ADVERTISING OFFICE Tel: 328074, 438037
10, Hunupitiya Cross Road, Colombo 2. Tel 435454, 548322

Someone must Go

Health Minister A.H.M. Fowzie is accusing the GMOA of trying to run his Ministry. The GMOA slams back, saying Mr. Fowzie is ruining not running the Health Ministry. This is the 23rd Medical strike since Fowzie became the Health Minister of the PA government in August 1994. It is obvious there is, to say the least, an unhealthy relationship between the government or specifically Mr. Fowzie and the doctors.

Tragically the victims are not the ministers or any such VIPs - but always the poor, the innocent and the marginalised masses whom both the minister and the GMOA are dutybound to serve. This cannot go on. The price is too much for a suffering nation. We do not know whether all the doctors can be changed. But we know that Mr. Fowzie can be changed.

The current crisis in the public health service has apparently reached a breaking point where one party may have to go for the greater good of the suffering people. Some 5,000 doctors in the Government Medical Officers Association obviously cannot quit. So the main actor on the other side might have to make way for the greater good.

May Day atrocity

We may not always agree with what the firebrands in the NSSP say, but in the strongest possible terms today and in the highest traditions of democracy we defend their right to say it.

The brutal police attack on the NSSP procession including women and children at Kompannavidiya on May Day was police or state terrorism of the worst order. According to independent reports the people in the procession were baton charged, attacked with other missiles and teargassed by the police resulting in more than 150 being injured.

While condemning the disgraceful behaviour of the police we also challenge the blatant double- standards of a government that claims to be worker friendly. Obviously acting on government orders the police used only pop-guns on government supporters who defied the ban on processions. But the police acted like terrorists when NSSP supporters defied the ban. Aren't we still seeing the brutalisation of politics and society? Even the UNP, which broke the infamous July strike and other worker agitations with brutal force, did not resort to the atrocity that NSSP workers were subjected to on workers' day itself. We hope those responsible for this act of state terrorism will be brought to justice speedily.

T'man exposed

Minister and CWC leader S. Thondaman, the greatest poker player in Sri Lankan politics has for more than two decades run with the hare and hunted with the hounds. Now it appears he has split too many hairs.

After dropping a political bombshell by announcing that the CWC would move a motion of no- confidence against Plantations Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, Mr. Thondaman in interviews published today has virtually split himself or totally exposed his dual personality. His queer logic is that while he is in the Cabinet of the PA government, his CWC is in the opposition.

It is the CWC that is moving the no-faith motion so there is no conflict with his position in the Cabinet. We say that what Mr. Thondaman is trying to do smacks of double-dealing or double-standards. He wants the power and privileges of a Cabinet post while continuing to project himself as the champion of the oppressed plantation workers. The slip is showing Mr. Thondaman and showing like hell this time! You cannot fool all the people all the time.

Go to the Political Column

Return to the Editorial/Opinion contents page

Go to the Editorial Archive