In Sri Lanka we practise some pretty traditional values. These values include an almost bizarre acceptance of authority and power. So it was that when Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister was requested to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into the issuance of Bonds by the Central Bank, there was widespread admiration that he actually turned up. Then he was given the opportunity – the law does provide for this method – to answer questions posed by the Commissioners and he replied by affidavit.
Now clearly one of the hallmarks of the legal system we practise in our conservative land, includes cross examining. Ravi Karunanayake was a cabinet minister at the time of his inquisition and it went on for several hours. He may well have hung himself with some of the facts that came out but man to the last he batted on and some days later he removed himself and sat in the backbenches.
Now Mr Wickremesinghe has a funny way of dealing with the media. His idea of dealing with the media is usually to berate them. President Rajapaksa dealt with them by interacting with them – and was undoubtedly harsher with the media than most president we care to remember.
However lest the dear Premier take umbrage we may as well say this now rather than later: we do prefer the ambiance now than we did in the past. But then many of us were not bowed or cowed under either Kumaratunga or Rajapaksa. We said it the way we saw it.
Sri Lanka is a land of myopia. Today’s murderers, rapists and schemers are tomorrow’s legislators and public service officials. Consider that to raise a somewhat small amount of money – Rs 1 Billion – several thousands of telephone calls were exchanged between a few people all connected to finance and politics. Unfortunately as the media we have yet to be given the comprehensive results of the findings of the CID in terms of telephone records of those who appeared before the Presidential Commission.
Not long ago the fight against terror came to an end. The Rajapaksas never tired of their mantra: we won the war. Not that we in Sri Lanka minded that. We were – still are – happy in the extreme that we can enjoy life to its fullest without a thought of claymore bombs and white vans and intercenine attacks on all and sundry. Millions of dollars’ worth of public infra structure was damaged and thousands of our youth perished, both members of our security forces as well as misguided youth belonging to the LTTE. They were not from some far flung land they were our people. Ours. They laughed and played on the same beaches as we did.
Howeverthere came a time when we found it distasteful to keep rabbiting on about the war victory. A victory over our own people? We in Sri Lanka are peaceful and law abiding by and large. We do not comprehend the desire to gloat over our fellow brothers’ dead and maimed bodies.
And so when we tired of that mantra we sent the King that never was, home.
Much along the same lines the public have tired of the deals, the sheer arrogance, the autocratic behaviour, the I could not care less attitude, the lies and the patronage.
Mr Wickremesinghe must understand that the public did not give him a majority, for good reason. They were but testing him out. And we do not like what we see. We see a partial, faded and somewhat tired leader who has failed to get the top job. Do you get it? THAT is what the people have struggled all these years to tell him. But we can say it because we see it only one way – the Prime Minister must GO or his party folks need to comfort him and take him away to Medamulana. Where he may enjoy the camaraderie.
“The regulations reveal that foreign remittances by Sri Lankan residents are exempt from the one percentum levy to inland revenue.
In the case of forex held outside of Sri Lanka and undeclared under the repealed exchange control act sums over usd one million will attract a levy of 1 per cent applicable to Sri Lankan’s.
We are therefore happy to note that smaller amounts remitted regularly by migrant workers remain free of levies.”