GMOA warming up again | Daily News

GMOA warming up again

The GMOA, after a brief silence, has once again jumped on its hobbyhorse of poking its fingers in matters that are well outside its remit. With the SAITM matter now losing steam, and, perhaps, buoyed by the eighth consecutive election victory of its President, Anurudhdha Padeniya, the GMOA may now want to open another flank against the government.

In this respect Padeniya himself has taken the lead. Soon after his victory, the GMOA President, among other things, stated that the Professional National Front (PNF), led by his organisation, would prepare an action plan, devoid of party politics, to draft a national trade policy for the country and immediately contradicts himself when he says that the GMOA would conduct a one-day workshop at the ‘Bauddha Mandiraya’ on national policy to expose the government's bogus trade policy. After this statement does Padeniya expects any sane person to believe that he is not without political prejudices?

Padeniya, it was, who, opposite the Fort Railway station, not so long ago, blasted the present government, singling out two ministers for special attack, during the height of the SAITM issue. He got so carried away with his attack on the government that he ventured to even cast aspersions on the courts for which he is now arraigned for contempt. How can the GMOA President take a dispassionate view on things, politically speaking, when he was seen in the front rows among the audience at one of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa's ‘Professionals’ gatherings? It is plain now that the GMOA is functioning as an appendage of the Joint Opposition and working overtime to re-enthrone the Rajapaksas. This was clearly seen during the special clinics set up by GMOA members for the recent flood victims, where the patients were examined to the accompaniment of the same musical strains that commonly accompanied Mahinda Rajapaksa's appearances at events, as seen on certain TV channels.

Padeniya and his GMOA are welcome to support a political party or a politician of their choice. Their members are also free to attend meetings and forums of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. They are also entitled to engage in trade union action over real or perceived grievances, even at the expense of the poor patients. But they should steer clear of matters that does not come under their purview. Dictating to the government how to run the economy or what trade policy it should follow is none of their business. The government, we are sure, have enough professionals and experts in this field. What makes Padeniya and his lot think that, they, as medical men, are also qualified to pontificate to the government on matters of trade?

By-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements are nothing new to this country. Similar trade pacts existed even under MR. Why such agreements did not warrant close scrutiny by the GMOA is understandable. Besides, no country can survive on its own in this day and age where the global village concept has brought about increased connectivity in trade and economic partnership. Padeniya and Co. cannot be ignorant of this. All that they are bent on is rocking the boat to facilitate the return of the Rajapaksas back to power.

This meddling has to stop. The authorities should tell this doctors’ trade union where to get off. Not stopping at trade, there is no knowing where the doctors’ campaign will end up. With major elections close at hand, the GMOA are sure to make inroads into other areas too, far removed from their calling. The massive war chest of the Rajapaksas, built over the years in power, could draw in other sectors too to cause disruption. Already schools are in ferment, with teachers threatening to go on strike, with a vernacular newspaper backing the Rajapaksas proclaiming in bold headlines that all schools will be closed today (04), a report that drew a sharp response from Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. Crafty politicians will not care if they even have to drag schoolchildren onto the streets if that serves their narrow ends, as recent history shows. The government should be alert to all possibilities and contingency plans put in place.

Roy de Silva

We pen this words, albeit belatedly, to salute yet another stalwart of the Sinhala cinema who commenced his acting career in the sixties which is still hailed as the golden era of the Sinhala cinema, whose remains were laid to rest on Monday. Roy de Silva may not have been the glamour boy of the local silver screen. That appellation, no doubt, went to messrs Gamini Fonseka and Vijaya Kumaratunga. But Roy carved out his own niche and commanded a considerable fan club among the younger cinema goers of his day. Perhaps, he was the only actor, after the celebrated duo, who can be credited with box office hits. Films like Geetha and Sujeewa, as old timers may recall, ran to packed houses well exceeding 100 days screeing regarded as the benchmark to gauge the success of a film. With his passing goes the last of the stars that shone during the golden era of the Sinhala cinema.


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