Open Economy, Pseudo Democracy and a Failure of Trust
by J Jayasundera on 04 May 2018 2 Comments

Sri Lanka on independence had a degree of unity, a vision and was led by men who were held in high esteem by the citizens. They established a free healthcare, free education and social activity geared to the betterment of the people who had suffered 400 years of colonialism. They survived 400 years of colonialism by practicing social cohesion under the guidance of the temple, and minimising interaction with the colonial powers. Thus the cultural identity of the nation was protected.


The temple was the home of religion, education and the establishment, which demanded social justice. This was essentially a system of governance persisting from the pre-colonial era. That very coherent society was destroyed by two converts from Christianity, S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake and J.R. Jayawardena, the two main architects of the present debacle. The rest of the leaders added to the mayhem but the main culprits were these two.


Social cohesion is a cultural inheritance of all Asian countries that practiced Eastern religions and adhered to harmony. This harmonious society survived during the colonial period by denying the occupying forces and adhering to their age-old philosophies. There was of course a minority who collaborated, became Christians, and enjoyed perks during that period. After independence some of these opportunists converted to the native religions to continue the exploitation of a people pauperised by colonialism and deprived of a decent education.


The people deprived of leadership accepted out of sheer necessity the converted Christians, but their background of collectivism and dependence on people of integrity has failed them.  This sycophancy is a weakness of the local society who depended on men of high ranking in collaboration with the temple to be moral and considerate to achieve social justice. They were expecting too much from a class of people who were Sinhala-nised foreigners, Christians and belonging to families of collaborators.


Bandaranaike was responsible for instigating communal disharmony by hurriedly introducing Sinhala Only Act, within 24 hours of elections. A policy that created alienation of the minorities and creation of a class of graduates whose lack of knowledge of English led to their inability to get decent Jobs. In 1971 they rebelled and portrayed English as the Kaduwa (Sword) that had been used against them.


This converted Christian ruined the temple by bringing Buddhist priests away from religion and into politics. Ultimately a Buddhist priest shot him. He destroyed education by depriving the advancement of knowledge available in English and not available in Sinhalese and Tamil. The effect on the quality of graduates is obvious today.


Legacy of Yanki Dicky, architect of all evil in Sri Lanka


Yanki Dicky, a descendent from a servant in Governor Drieberg’s house, whose family rose by being servile to the Dutch and the English, according to historian James Rutnam, had sycophancy in his genes. Hence the nickname, Yanky Dicky, a Macaulayite of the first order.


The cultural gene in neuroscience has differentiated two cultural extremes: European culture based on individualism and Asian culture based on collectivism. Individualism is assessed in terms of objectivism and is based on money and a plan with an objective. In the west the state have institutions to control the human failure of greed such as the rule of law, accountable police, professional bodies, institutions of democracy etc.


Collectivism has a more holistic approach with the dictum that the welfare of the many is the final aim. It is a cyclical assessment geared to conservation, unlike individualism that is geared to creative destruction. Collectivism is a part of Asian culture where men of integrity who believed in the welfare of the many ably assisted by religious organisation conducted social responsibilities.


Open economy inappropriate for Sri Lanka


A society that is geared historically to collectivism, maintained even through colonialism, was suddenly exposed to individualism by an idiotic Macaulayite. With no proper institutions to control greed that is prevalent in the west, corruption has increased manifold. There is no social accountability and the rulers have become looters. JRJ’s response was let the robber barons come, to which his secretary responded, ‘Sir, You will be making Barons of Robbers’.


Since the 1950s, no politician has been charged for corruption and they are all having a field day selling the country, with families joining them in the fray. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours is the dictum of governments of different political parties. Today Sri Lanka is 4th in the list of most corrupt countries in the world.


It is difficult to say whether international institutions have any part to play. However, we know that corruption fuels the market economy and the present world economy is dictated to by the international currency whose value is debatable and individualism is the characteristic feature. Fraudulent accounting or creative accounting is the means of assessment, the negatives not been taken into account, only the positives, and used to promote this illegitimate economic policy.


Having bought over the religious institutions, moral depravity has brought the country to an unbelievable level by the politicians.


One of the highest foreign exchange earnings is through people virtually enslaved in the Middle East. The abuse of these people, especially women, is not acceptable any civilized society. What can be more disgusting than suggesting that all women going to the Middle East must have contraception? The families that are left behind in the country are disrupted; husbands become alcoholics, children are abused and emotionally deprived, and mental disorders increase.


Pseudo-democracy and criminalization of politics


Can political parties devoid of internal democracy advocate democracy for the country? Political parties in Sri Lanka lack internal democracy to select and develop leaders and establish policies for the betterment of the country. If there was, Ranil Wickremesinghe, present leader of the UNP, would not be its leader. He cannot be accused of filling all the top posts with the Royal College mafia. He has lost 14 elections and continues to be its leader, whilst the Conservative Party of Great Britain has had four leaders, majority of whom have led the party to electoral victory. Sri Lanka Freedom Party, on the other hand, has had leaders who have never had a civilised format of selection but has been geared to family bandism.


Hijacking the sovereignty of the people


a) Hijacking Political Power


Political parties have used every opportunity to undermine democracy. The India-sponsored 13th Amendment has created a white elephant of Provincial councils that has been used to subjugate people and create a top heavy political system at the expense of the people, promoting hunger and violence.


The present pseudo democracy has 4 tiers: Pradesiya Saba, Provincial council, Local government and parliamentary election. Most members have poor educational backgrounds and have shown beyond doubt that they are obedient servants. The leader sees to it that they get perks like ministerial positions to carry on fraudulently earning money. Mahinda Rajapakse had about 120 ministers with half the parliament not even having GCE O-levels.  These are criminals sponsored by the party. Recently one of Mahinda Rajapakse’s henchmen, a local politician, was charged for murder of British tourists.


If parliament is filled up by thugs with poor educational background, who have been nominated by the party, then the people cannot be blamed. These illiterates are appointed because they can be easily bought over to obey the undemocratic fraudulent actions of the party hierarchy. People are not to be blamed. The party leaders must be bought to book. The recent central bank scandal where trillions of rupees were fraudulently cheated from the coffers of the government is a standing example. The culprits got away with blue murder.


b) Hijacking public services


The rule of law and justice has been hijacked by the rule of lawyers and politicians. The police are a disgrace. Every policeman has a rule of his own, which is very different from the law of the country. This is determined by bribes and political corruption. No amount of complaints to the Police Commission gets a proper response (fraudulent commission geared to mislead people into believing there is justice).


Mind you, the Police Commission has no legal section and any legal advice has to be from the Attorney General, which takes years, a ruse to deny people their rights against injustice. All created to give a false impression of justice by the ruling party. To speak about the independence of the IGP is a waste of time. His actions are based on political instructions and safeguarding the corruption in the police.


This extends beyond the police. The political appointees lack knowledge. The officer in charge of the National ID did not know the difference between a citizenship certificate and birth certificate. That says it all. Politicisation of the public service has created a class of public servants geared to carry out political orders of politicians, not the law of the country.  


The judiciary is completely destroyed; effective only against the poor for minor offences. The big fish get away. What do you say when a retired Chief Justice apologises to the people for sending a man to the President’s Palace, instead of the prison for fraud or what do you say when a President says that the Chief justice has promised not to give a decision against the government, if allowed to continue in post.


The free education and free health that was the pride of the country has been politicised and completely undermined.  Recently, a principal of a school had to go on all fours to a politician whose dictates were not honoured. This is the state of Educational institutions.


Sri Lankan cricketer, an icon of the country, is in dire straits. Muralidaran, the great spinner, says cricket is being destroyed by politicians.


c) Hijacking a false development programme and debt


A new development programme geared to increased GDP and commission based has been instituted. This is a cause of the high debt rate, as these programmes have not brought any returns.


Urbanisation is blindly pursued, advocated by World Bank, mainly created for the service industry. A policy geared to improving GDP, but with no relevance to welfare of the society. Expenses of healthcare and utilities are not part of the accounts.


The dengue epidemic is a fine example of the false nature of this development. Dengue virus incubated in forests, but the mosquito was confined to those areas where the cool water did not encourage development of the eggs and the tannins from rotting leaves were toxic to the eggs. Mosquito also had many animals to feed from. Now the mosquito has been introduced to urban areas by deforestation, with warm water encouraging its spread. No wonder we have epidemics. Now the rulers send the army to check for mosquito larvae and people are persecuted. Should not the rulers be taken to court for introducing the epidemic and be made accountable? No, the rulers are above the law.


Most development programmes, including the famous Mahaweli development programme, have not proved worthwhile.


d) Borrowing and indebtedness


The returns on investments have been so poor that other assets of the people have to be used to pay the debt. The corruption involving politicians and their henchmen in infrastructure development is well known.




The present system lacks moral accountability. The religious organisations especially the Buddhist hierarchy have been made a part of the corrupt political system via perks. The illiterate political thugs cannot be expected to give moral leadership. A moral authority has to be ingrained into the system.


What we need is Political reformation: party reformation must be made law. Party leaders must be made accountable have a fixed term. The judiciary must be accountable and the Bar and professional bodies must be disciplined. Development must be redefined and politicians made accountable for any serious damage. Is there a place for a single party democracy? China has a parliament that has more intellectuals than any other country. 

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