A firm hand at last! | Sunday Observer

A firm hand at last!

Watching TV news on Wednesday 26 at 9.30 pm, dozing off intermittently after a hard day’s labour doing next to nothing, this cat literally shot off her sofa like fizz from an uncorked champagne bottle and was wide awake on hearing the item of news quoted below:

“’Cabinet approval has been granted for a proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena to create a new position which will work alongside the Sri Lankan Tri-forces.

The position which has a tenure of two years, will be headed by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to head this position,’ said Cabinet Media Spokesperson Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne.

According to Minister Senaratne, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has agreed to step down from his ministerial position to take on the new post.

The proposal to create this new position comes in the wake of continuous strike actions and protests.”

Hip Hip Hurrah! This feline cheered; Bravo! she shouted; done at long last, she opined and commented that that was the best decision taken and the best person selected. Just as she was excited, the journalists at the media briefing to announce Cabinet decisions on Wednesday 26 April, got restive and commenced firing questions at Minister Dr Rajtha Senaratne when this announcement was made. He was equal to the barrage of questions, some snidely weighted. This cat with her feline sixth sense could guess at the smirks. Sure, some of the journalists thought it was undemocratic, a firm dictatorial boot, while just a few sent up a silent prayer of thanks while most who assume they have a right to the freedom of the asses, were waiting to rush to their computers to dash of a stunning report on the Prez using executive powers in this appointment.

Enough was more than enough

We, ordinary observers and national minded citizens, were getting absolutely exasperated by all the demos and protests and strikes and blocking of highways for hours on end. People are ready to get on the streets at the drop of a mite of the milk of human kindness from the Prez and the government. Just because government advocated democracy, people accepted it as full freedom to act as they wanted even if it was utterly undemocratic, unfair and injurious to the welfare of the general citizenry. Worst offender is the GMOA followed by Uni students and sundry workers, the latest – the petroleum distributors or whoever who intended to cripple the government.

A guess, not so wild, is that there is a strong arm behind all this created unrest. The aim is crystal clear – dislodge the present government, which to the utopian dream of those dislodged at the last election was, being reinstated to run berserk with revenge and cover up of sins. Their ruse to cause immense disturbance and so overturn the government is, to a large extent, put paid to, snapped kaput. There stands the Rajapaksa’s nemesis like the colossus of Rhodes bestride the happenings in Sri Lanka, monitoring them. No more pranks says Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka and we applaud him.

Every one a guv

Another annoying rot that has set in and is totally damaging to progress and thus development is that every Banda, Jamis and Appuhamy, with cheer leaders Alice Nona and Ran Menika (NOT ME!) are in government, or so they believe, and think they know best how things have to be done or managed. Some shout NO ETCA! Others shout – government is selling the family silver to the Chinese, also Trinco is given lock, stock and barrel to the Indians. So nothing can be done.

This cat heard very clearly the spokesman of the petroleum workers who recently struck work announcing that Ranil Wickremesinghe was sent to India this time with his hands tied - by them! He added a threat too. Woe betide and worse if he comes to any agreement with India that they disapprove of. Now, don’t you see how every loud mouth seems to think he has a right to dictate terms? What he said was bad enough; deplorable to speak of the country’s PM thus, worse was his face, so contorted with bloated self glorification and hate for all others. In sharp contrast was Dr Rajitha Senaratne’s smiling face. Now F M Sarath F will have a bit of dealing to do with these trade unions that hold the sword of Damocles above the government’s head and also daggers at the back, ready to strike the President and Prime Minister.

So, for once Menika gives praise. She hands over a bunch of lotus to the President and a bulath atha with good wishes to Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka. She takes delight in the fact that already many VVIPs and GMOA strikers must be shivering in their chappals and shoes.

May Day Leaders

May Day which is designated Labour Day or Workers’ Day has now, in Sri Lanka, been hijacked completely by the politician. What they shout on platforms, be it blue, green or red, even the new purplish tint of blue mixed with light red, is praise of themselves and vituperation against all other parties. Here the Jt Op UPFA is the worst. Hardly a thought or word is expended on the worker, the true focus of the day. It is thus good to remember our labour leaders, two of whom came from Kandy, much to Menika’s delight.

A Ekanayake Gunasinha, (a k a as A E Goonesinghe ) (1891 – 1967) Father of the Labour Movement, was born in Kandy on 1 May 1891. Educated in Dharmaraja College and St Joseph’s College, Colombo, he worked as a railway clerk soon after schooling. He them moved to journalism and founded the journal ‘Search Light’ to promote the national movement for freedom against British rule. After independence he moved to championing the cause of the worker. The Lanka Workers' Union was his brainchild, forerunner to the formation of other worker organizations and trade unions. He was appointed Minister of Labour in Prime Minister D S Senanayake’s government in 1947.

Tikiri Banda Illangaratne (1913 -1992) was born in Tumpane, Hataraliyadde. He attended a local school and then St Anthony’s College, Katugastota. He was a clerk in the Kandy Kachcheri who in 1947 organized one of the first general strikes in Ceylon: that of the GCSU – Government Clerical Services Union. He lost his job and went into politics winning a Kandy seat to Parliament.

He was a multi-faceted person: trade unionist, politician, author, playwright, actor. He scripted three dramas and wrote 17 novels, many of them autobiographical. He married Tamara Kumari Aludeniya, who also entered politics when she won his seat, after he was unseated for whatever reason. He it was that started the Employees' Provident Fund and the People’s Bank then named the National Bank.

He held many portfolios in more than one SLFP government. There were rumours that he amassed wealth, nothing in comparison to sums supposedly stashed away as of now. He was cleared of this and he died almost a poor man. These, along with many more leaders of yesteryear were loyal to the country and served it well.

- Menika