A New Year with a difference | Daily News


A New Year with a difference

A majority of Sri Lankans, no doubt, would be ushering in the New Year which dawns today with renewed hope, what with the election of a new Head of State who is doing his utmost to dismantle the structures of administration and governance that retarded progress and stymied development.

No one would deny that this time last year things were not looking rosy for the country from a perspective of stability. That Government had only just emerged from a deep constitutional crisis brought about by conflict and dissonance between the leadership in the Government.

This took the country down the slippery slope of political uncertainty and confusion. It was inevitable the people would deliver a fitting response for stability to be restored and this they did convincingly on November 16 last year renewing hope for a better and brighter future for the country.

All Sri Lankans are still struggling to put behind the harrowing ordeal that descended on the nation in the most unexpected manner - the Easter Sunday carnage that took the heaviest toll of human lives in peace time Sri Lanka. This was largely attributed to negligence on the part of the former rulers which was only symptomatic of the state of misgovernance at the time. With the primary focus of the new President being national security it is certain that the public will be assured of their safety and freedom of movement without having to confront the spectre of lurking terrorism in whatever form. The measure taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to get to the bottom of the whole incident and unravel its anatomy through the appointment of a fresh commission of inquiry too would receive the approbation of the public who would wish for a peaceful New Year.

President Rajapaksa will also have the onerous task of devising remedial measures to redress the damage caused to the economy, particularly in the area of investor confidence that took a severe beating by the Easter Sunday bombings which also targeted Five Star tourist hotels killing over 40 foreign nationals. There is the need to set right the gross economic mismanagement under the Yahapalanaya Government that saw, for the first time in the country's post-Independence history, the rupee take the steepest nosedive (184 to the dollar). Thankfully for the country in this New Year, all causes that gave rise to political instability are a thing of the past with no longer a hostile President breathing down the neck of his Prime Minister and vice versa and the government pulling in different directions.

The New Year could also be termed another election year, with General and Provincial Council Elections in the offing and the country will once again be gripped with election fever with the Government's attention too being diverted in this direction to the neglect of more urgent work in connection with development and affairs of state. It is in this context that the President's insistence on a strict work ethic for his ministers and Government officials and that they deliver on time sounds encouraging, with the assurance that it will be business as usual. His (President's) directives to ministers and officials that they do away with all external trappings, farcical ostentation as one of the cost cutting measures and plugging the avenues open for corruption and accent laid on meritocracy in the appointment of top Government posts all augur well for a New Year of promise and expectation for the public.

It is also gratifying to note certain members of the Opposition at the very outset extending support to all the positive action taken for the benefit of the nation, by the President. This is for the common good for which these political parties too could reap political rewards some day. It is therefore the duty of all political leaders to act with responsibility by giving priority to the welfare of the nation, putting aside parochial interests. Certainly these political leaders are mature enough to realize that the nation today needs the combined attention of all parties to overcome the multi-faceted challenges on several fronts.

No doubt, a majority of citizens would wish for all political party leaders to collectively pledge to usher in a new political culture as a New Year resolution.

That would see an end to the vituperative politics being practiced in this country. This, while bringing in a breath of fresh air to the political climate would also greatly reduce all the ills that have beset this nation stemming from political acrimony and discord.

One recalls how, in the aftermath of the Tsunami devastation, the leaders of the two major parties mounted the same platform to express solidarity at a time the nation was in peril -albeit briefly. If only such a spirit was to be revived and unity forged putting aside all differences such a demonstration of togetherness is bound to rub off on the people to work together to achieve the nation's goals in this New Year.

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