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The Fifth Column

14th June 1998

Paris : nothing startling

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My Dear Gamini Lakshman

I am writing to you after some time, I know, but I thought I must since you have been so much in the news lately second only to your friend and colleague, Mangala, who, of course, is hard to beat.

First, you warned us before you went for that Paris Aid Group meeting that there would be a cut in foreign aid this year. You were very careful to tell us that this was not due to any mishandling of the economy but due to other factors.

And, as usual, when you argue in your own stop - look up -purse - your - lips style, we believed you.

And, as you promised there was a cut in Aid. But you came back from Paris a hero saying that you had got 780 million dollars when you were expecting only 700 million dollars.

I'm sure dear Gamini L.the donors at Paris would have sympathised with Sri Lanka seeing a Minister with such a lean and hungry look! I dread to think about the amount of aid we would have got if we had sent, for instance, Nimal Siripala instead!

Anyway, here you are now, telling us about the Bribery and Corruption Commission. You don't need a two-thirds majority in Parliament, you tell us, to remove the Commissioners.

Now, we all remember your telling us those days that having the two-thirds requirement to remove the Commissioners will ensure that a government cannot "hire and fire" commissioners whenever its politicians are threatened.

But now, in one amazing stroke of logic, you say it is not necessary and a simple majority in Parliament would be enough to get rid of the Commissioners. No wonder, that they made you the Professor ofLaw at the Colombo University!

But of course, dear G.L. if you say so we will take your word for it because you - with your intellect and being the honourable gentleman that you are - must be right in these matters.

But I just have one question now, When it comes to the abolition of the Executive Presidency, you say that it must be linked to your famous "package" which requires a two-thirds majority.

Now, why don't you do what you did with the Bribery Commission to this issue as well? Tell them - the greens -that you don't require their support and that you could do what you want. Remember, you were once the Professor of Law, isn't it?

That way, you can fulfill all your promises, end the war and we can all live happily everafter!

Think about it, If that happens maybe Satellite could even give you the No. 2 job!

Your's truly,

Punchi Putha.

PS - I heard there's some trouble at your old University. Now you didn't have anything to do with that, did you?

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

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