My dear Maithri,
I thought I must write to you, not because I have taken you off my Christmas card list but because most of us are quite confused about what has been going on in this Paradise in recent times and we thought we should ask you why, especially since you have now been the boss for nearly two years.
These days, Maithri, it seems as if everyone wants to go on strike. First there was a train strike, then there was a doctors’ strike and now we have strike by private bus operators. When Mahinda maama was in office very few people dared to strike, but now all of them want to. That is not fair, is it?
I heard that doctors were on strike demanding duty free vehicles. That maybe morally wrong but who can blame them, when all politicians get duty free permits which they then sell? And remember, Rajitha and Sarath said they can’t serve the people without luxury vehicles, so how can doctors do so?
You need to be careful, Maithri, because the Green Man wants to give a hundred thousand rupees to every MP, saying that his salary is less than Maithree’s and also because MPs need more money for their day to day expenses. Just imagine what the doctors will demand next, when they hear that?
Then we have private bus operators going on strike, demanding that the 25,000 rupee fine for reckless driving be scrapped. I do think private buses need some kind of deterrent to deal with the way they are driven but I hope you have the courage to implement this proposal, now that you have announced it.
We saw so many measures being proposed at the last Budget, only to be scrapped later after someone protested. Even now, what was first proposed was a minimum fine of 2,500 rupees for all offences but that has then been changed to 25,000 rupees for seven offences. We hope it doesn’t change yet again.
Maithri, since you came in to office promising ‘yahapaalanaya’ and a clean government, you should extend the same principle to deter politicians from bribery, corruption and abuse of power. You can do so easily by announcing a minimum penalty of 25 million rupees for politicians for those offences.
What’s more, this should be implemented just like a fine for traffic offences: once someone is charged, they have the option of paying the fine and settling the matter or challenging it in court. Then there is no need to drag politicians to the FCID and then release them on bail until the case is heard.
Maithri, considering that no one has been convicted yet by your government for corruption, I think this would be an excellent way to deal with corruption because, I believe most would prefer to pay up and settle the issue, like they do for traffic offences. And, just imagine the revenue this will generate!
Of course, if you try to do this, we might see a situation where politicians, like private bus operators, will also go on strike. That is not necessarily bad for the country, is it, if we can have a few days of peace and quiet without politicians giving us their opinions and telling us how to conduct our lives?
On the subject of politicians telling us what to do, Maithri, please pardon me, but I am a bit confused as to how this works. Let me tell you why. A few weeks ago, you lamented that you were not told of some people being questioned and that ultimately led to the resignation of the Bribery Commissioner.
This week, we heard the Police Chief assuring someone over the telephone that a certain person won’t be arrested unless the Police Chief is informed about it. When this was raised in Parliament, you said that what the Police Chief said was wrong and that you would seek an explanation from him.
Now, correct me if I am wrong. Maithri, but if I am to put two and two together, you say that when certain persons are being detained, you should be informed, but it is wrong for the Police Chief to be informed. So, am I right in assuming that only you should be informed and not the Police Chief?
If you want to know what I really believe, I think the Police should be allowed to do their job without informing anybody, but that is just my simple way of thinking. And, the Police Chief should be dealt with not for saying what he said, but for answering that telephone call in front of television cameras!
Maithri, I hope you realise now why we are confused about the goings on in our land. If people knew that this is the ‘yahapaalanaya’ that they were getting, I am not sure whether all 6.2 million voters would have voted for you. As you near two years in the presidential chair, think about that, will you?