The true face of the GMOA | Daily News


 

The true face of the GMOA

The GMOA, it appears, is in overdrive these days while the country is on the cusp of a crucial Presidential Election, with its President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya even earning the opprobrium of Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya for violating election laws.

Padeniya first received a rap on the knuckles from the Election chief for being an active participant in the manifesto launch of Pohottuwa Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa in August. This, as rightly pointed out by Deshapriya was prohibited by election laws which forbade any public officer from engaging in activities to promote a political party or candidate on pain of being subjected to disciplinary action.

In a clear move to atone for this lapse Padeniya was seen at the manifesto launch of New Democratic Front Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa, too, in Kandy on Thursday, which elicited the response ‘two wrongs do not make a right’ from the Elections Commissioner.

But to anyone associated with the antics of the GMOA President his presence at the NDF candidate’s launch would fool no one. His and the GMOA’s close links with the Rajapaksas have been demonstrated time and again and by attending the event of Sajith Premadasa he was only insulting the intelligence of the discerning public of this country.

The GMOA, as is known to all and sundry, has done its utmost to embarrass the Government and cause its image to be tarnished. Recently in the midst of a high dengue alert in the country, it staged yet another of its now routine strikes, heaping misery and hardship on thousands of innocent patients who sought treatment at Government hospitals, countrywide. The work stoppage, this time, was over some salary anomaly. This is strange indeed since the doctors, hitherto, had not considered salary increases among their core demands when going on strike, professing that their fight was only on behalf of patient interest and welfare.

Of course it is election time and the GMOA membership, may not have wanted to be left out of the media spotlight that was focused on the series of strikes and agitations in the country such as the one engaged in by the disabled soldiers and also administrative service cadres, university students and CTB employees.

Notwithstanding his attendance at Sajith’s manifesto launch, Padeniya and co. will up the ante in the next two weeks leading up to the Presidential Election in favour of their preferred candidate and if past precedents are any indication it (GMOA) may even venture into fields outside the remit of the medical profession like it did with the Free Trade agreement and the issue of private universities. It has already taken up the yet to be signed Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) agreement and has gone to the extent of even faking a letter purported to have emanated from the Catholic Bishops, under the hand of His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and circulated over social media. That was vehemently disowned by the Colombo Archdiocese. After all, members of the GMOA cannot claim to be experts in economics to venture into issues like the Singapore FTA or the MCC with any degree of credibility.

Besides, if there was any ambiguity on where the political loyalties of the GMOA and its President lay, these were laid to rest last October when the GMOA wrote to the Colombo based Western Embassies calling on their countries to recognize the illegal Government. That showed yet again on whose side they were on.

Furthermore, top rung members of the GMOA were frequently seen at the Eliya and Viyath Maga events that became the main plank of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election platform. There is also talk that some members of the GMOA are set to contest elections from the Pohottuwa the next time around. The GMOA President, no less, was a key speaker at an anti-government agitation opposite the Fort Railway Station, sometime ago, excoriating two government ministers. Being carried away by his own rhetoric, he is now in hot water facing Contempt of Court charges after casting aspersions on the judiciary - hardly a position to be in for a senior member of the medical profession.

The GMOA, it is all too clear, wants a monopoly run in the medical sector of this country so that it could call the shots and dictate terms to the Government. Hence, its constant agitation against private medical colleges and external medical degree holders ‘encroaching’ on their preserve. This is all the more reason for the new Government to devise means of producing more doctors outside the normal channels in this country in order to break the vicious cycle.

Pohottuwa Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa who vowed at his inauguration to create a disciplined workforce in the country should come out with his views on the spate of doctors’ strikes and what solution he proposes to end the all too frequent trade union action of the Government doctors if he comes to power. Or, with top members of the GMOA now apparently in his inner circle, would he prevail on them to spare the innocent patients untold misery and suffering, by their stubborn action?


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