GMOA demands | Sunday Observer

GMOA demands

“A boomerang returns back to the person who throws it.

But first, while moving in a circle, it hits its target.”

― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Margaret Thatcher who famously broke the back of the coal strikers and others during her first tenure of premiership pronounced two truths among several others. She said:

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” and

“There is no liberty when there is no economic liberty.”

These thoughts and quotations came to mind as the announcement was made that the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) was poised to hold an island-wide strike on Friday 5 May, joined by several other TUs, like a teachers’ union. This is deplorable; the country can never get on with its development plans with these constant interruptions. Haven’t the big bods in the GMOA realized their strikes are counter-productive. The boomerang may hit the target – hurt the yahapalanaya government and innumerable sufferers – but it will surely come back to hit the wielders of the boomerang- the GMOA. This cat fights shy of naming them doctors as the word doctor connotes concern, healing, mercy and behaving god-like in the opinion of patients who are given relief from their physical misery and mental worries. Not our GMOA. As someone said, they are killers not healers. Shame on them! They are not waging a just battle with the government; they are completely political and disruptive with an ulterior motive prompted by an ex-leader and his kith, many who know what’s what, say.

Totally unreasonable demands

Menika speaks for all ordinary people when she says the GMOA has of late been disappointing, nay disgusting. It’s supposed to be one of the largest unions, if not the largest, wielding much clout. There was a time when a threatened strike by the GMOA struck terror in the government. The threats were rare; strike action resorted to only if direly called for to grab the attention of the government.

The situ is different now: strikes are threatened and actually resorted to all too frequently. They struck work expressing disagreement with ETCA, demanding paid telephones, and duty free luxury vehicles, and other privileges. The height of the ridiculous was when they threatened strike action asking for entrance to the best schools for their children, no matter where they live. They wanted their daughters in Visakha Vidyalaya and just one or two other schools and sons given places in Royal and Ananda Colleges. This cat spits out a common expression: ‘Aney, too much! Who do they think they are?’

Protest against paid for medical education

The worst is that we, the public, cannot understand why the GMOA protests so vociferously against the private medical college – SAITM. We had thought more doctors are needed in the country; doctors who had passed out would be more sympathetic to those who failed to gain entrance to the government medical colleges - several of them now as faculties of universities. So we, in our ignorance of human nature and political slants, thought the practising recently passed out doctors in this country should encourage more doctors being trained and be glad if there was an opportunity for aspiring medical students to undergo learning and training by paying for them and having that money retained in the country and not spent on medical education abroad. But, we are wrong.

Hippocrates laid down a set of principles for those treating patients to follow. Our passing out medical graduates do not give voice to these as an oath unlike in certain other countries, but, at least a small section of what this philosopher/healer said between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC should be observed and abided by: “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgement, but never with a view to lying and wrongdoing. I will keep pure and holy both, my life and my art.”

What happened to the plan to engage a tight restraining arm?

Questions are mooted around as to what happened to the move initiated by the President to curb lightening strikes and announced ones too, and bring some discipline to life in Sri Lanka. Ass Bee said, it was a joke of the President. The Prez is not given to being even the teeniest weeniest bit frivolous or to shoot his mouth. Everything he says is, we see, thought out before, weighed and then announced.

We expected a presidential statement to be made public on this matter in Getambe during the May Day rally of the SFP. But no. Dead silence, even now. We hope the idea to give Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka powers to curb en masse indiscipline in the country has not been shelved.

Maithripala Sirisena is careful in what he says and does, so maybe he is waiting for the opportune moment to make his pronouncement, expecting howls of “Where is democracy?” “What happened to freedom?” “The army jackboot is back” He should not be wary since discipline in public life is a dire necessity.

- Menika