We read in newspapers, articles painting pictures of doom and gloom
about our country’s economy and it was reassuring to read the factual
state of the economy from the ‘horse’s mouth’, Central Bank Governor
Ajith Nivard Cabraal in an interview with an Island Special
Correspondent on October 20 answering the several critical issues of
trade deficits; current account deficits; exchange rates, and balance of
payments. I like to highlight some of his answers reassuring us ordinary
citizens of the factual situation of the country’s economy.
The governor exposed these critics - pothe guras when he replied
“very often sweeping statements and vague generalizations are made by
persons who do not see the long-term trends or the big picture. Managing
an economy is not an exercise which ends at a year end, or at the end of
a quarter. On the contrary, it is an on going process. For those who
manage economies of countries on a long-term basis what is most
important is the direction of the economy.”
Replying the critics of fiscal deficits, the governor says “at one
time certain governments wanted to reduce the fiscal deficit by
drastically cutting revenue expenditure by sending half of the public
servants home. They also curtailed public investments which lead to
widespread unemployment. Some even negotiated with terrorists to barter
away our provinces because they thought it would be better to save money
even though the economy was reeling and people were dying with bombs
going off at every junction”. (my emphasis).
As a self respecting citizen, I want to quote what the governor said
when asked about the statement by the IMF rep in Sri Lanka about ‘being
utterly foolish’ for not finalizing the CEPA. The governor said ‘I think
it’s quite unwise for anyone from outside, particularly when that person
represents a global institution to suggest that entering or not entering
into an agreement by sovereign nations is ‘utterly foolish’. I
personally feel that the governor was rather polite in dismissing the
IMF statement but courageous enough to disregard the fact that the IMF
has still to disburse the last instalment of the agreed loan. Let us
hope that all our administrators will have the courage to stand firm of
their convictions and not allow outsiders to interfere with the
sovereignty of the country. We have to negotiate the best terms for our
country and not to please politically motivated interference.
We have been told by opposition economists that the government has
borrowed large sums at different interest rates and has made even unborn
children indebted by about Rs 200,000 and the country is heading for
bankruptcy. They have conveniently forgotten that the JR government in
the 1980s borrowed large sums for the massive Mahaveli Development and
today these loans are almost settled and the liability have now become a
huge national asset even of unborn children. I do not know what these
critics would do or say if they only knew the amount the USA citizens’
Those who want to earn some brownie points and hoping to bring down
the government by trying to scare the people, should know that it has
always been the rural masses that changed governments and not the
Colombo elites. The last municipal and other elections clearly show that
the rural people voted overwhelmingly to support the present government
except the rich and poor of Colombo who really resurrected the UNP
leader by voting the UNP to power. I say resurrected because if the
Colombo Municipality was also lost like all the others, it would have
strengthened the case of those who wanted to change the leadership of
the party. So now the leader should show his gratitude to the
unfortunate slum dwellers by providing them decent houses without
There is no doubt that we need a strong opposition who must offer
some concrete policy alternatives instead of slogans and mere criticisms
of the government. I wish to reiterate that the UNP made a huge mistake,
still reverberating in the minds of the people as shown by their
election defeats, for not heeding the advice of their former deputy
leader Rukman Senanayake to support the war effort of the government.
Today the preparation for the great birth of Christ takes on
materialistic and commercial forms and norms. The great feast has been
so commercialised that the true nature and spirit of Christmas is
entirely lost. We are drawn into the vortex of entertainment, enjoyment,
fun, merriment and gormandizing to the detriment of the spiritual
aspect. We are caught in the whirlpool of the glamour of the festival
and forget the reality of the event - a babe born in a stable as there
was no room for him at an inn “just as there are elderly mothers and
fathers relegated to Elders’ Homes as there is no room for them in their
own children’s homes” among lowing cattle, on a cradle of straw wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Advent is a period of anticipation, expectation and contemplation of
this great event of God made man. Just as much as we prepare
materialistically, we must prepare ourselves spiritually as we prepare
in the season. A true contrition of heart, a joyful anticipation yet a
charitable disposition, a readiness to forgive and be reconciled would
surely be in keeping with the spirit of advent. Understanding how the
other half of the world lives and reaching out to them – they who do not
know it’s Christmas time at all!
It would be an appropriate precursor to that joyful Christmas morn
and would enable us to enjoy a truly meaningful Christmas.
When I visited the National Hospital, I saw people waiting till it’s
I saw big flower pots on the balconies of the first floor and
remembered my colleague’s mother’s death after falling a flower pot on
I wrote to the Administrative Officer of the NH and visited the place
again after a couple of days. Those vases have been removed by the
Now the purpose of writing this letter is to praise the authorities
concerned, specially the Ministry of Housing and the Colombo Municipal
Council, to make aware of their flat dwellers to immediately removed
flower pots and vases from their balconies. Private flat and apartment
owners too are kindly requested to follow suit.
When we live in a civilized society, we should give priority to
discipline. A society without discipline will never exist as a peaceful
and harmonious one.
All the founders of religions who were born into this world preached
the vital importance of virtue or morality.
Today, the electronic and print media constantly report the incidents
of violence in public places. These pathetic situations are reported not
only from the universities and schools but even from the Parliament too.
As responsible citizens, we can never approve the misbehaviour of
people’s representatives in public places.
This is high time for the religious dignitaries and social reformers
to take measures to create a law-abinding society in our country.
It is disheartening to find that the tarred road from Hemmathagama to
Mawanella remains unsuitable for transport. Hope the authorities will
think about the needs of the daily travellers from Hemmathagama to
Mawanella and take expeditious steps to make a better road to the people
of Mawanella electorate.