Sri Lanka’s Economic Crossroad – Scenarios to consider
We are all puzzled as to what is going on in Sri Lanka. The people want answers & deserve answers. For too long politicians have taken the people for a ride. The buck stops at some point.
If Economic crisis was planned, what was the intended outcome?
- Public intentionally inconvenienced
- Public forced to undergo hardships one after the other
- Public Protests intended to blame Opposition & divert attention – backfired
- Public Protests justifying sale of resources/assets & privatization (which public would not object as their gas, fuel, food etc mattered more)
- Generating public sentiment to go to IMF for bailout
- What went wrong to a President who was given an overwhelming mandate
- Where did the President go wrong & why
- Why wasn’t the government aware of the financial situation of the country
- Why didn’t the government go to China for financial assistance – afterall China held only 10% of our debt while 40% debt was to Western monetary institutes & funds – wouldn’t going to China have been the most sensible thing to do.
- Was the government aware but intentionally ignored the warnings. Why?
- Was the government promised a solution but was it a trap
- Who was trapping the government & why?
- Were the new sets of ‘advisors’ and ‘inner circle’ around the President responsible for his downfall, distancing him from the people who voluntarily helped him come to power?
- Who are these new circle of advisors & what is their real agenda & how did they get to decide on Sri Lanka’s policy for national security, foreign affairs, economy?
- Why are members of this advisory body being selected by the President currently to decide on the economic way forward. Were these not the very people who were advising the previous government & their pro-US foreign policy?
- Why is the President inspite of his visible pro-US/India stand, not backing him, facing formidable challenges by the public majority of whom are also backed by Western systems (the Church, LTTE Diaspora/Extremist other lobbies, NGOs, pro-West business elite, JVP & other political parties)
- Is it the Western bloc that wants the President & Govt out or is it the Indians & why & what are their next plans?
- Another puzzling question is how the pro-West Church is indirectly accusing the present Govt of Easter Sunday when it took place under the watch of the Govt they put in power & by extremist entities nurtured by US & trained in India just like LTTE!
What is the government planning to do?
- The government is faced with a serious scenario – the people protesting are saying they want the President to step down & they want the Parliament to also go – in such a scenario what is the reaction of the Government? So far nothing has been officially communicated to the People.
- The people demanded the removal of the Finance Minister & Governor & this was actioned but what about the others? The answer is not musical chairs. The answer is not a national government – the same lot who couldn’t solve problems in the previous government & present, cannot be entrusted to solve current problems.
- The people are unaware that the President is unable to dissolve parliament due to 19a. He can only resign or be impeached.
- Parliamentarians are clueless themselves as no communique has come to them from either the President or the Prime Minister & are like frogs in a well.
What do the People want? – we are going by only what the protestors have demanded
- Resignation of the President
- Resignations of entire Parliament under the theme (No to 225+1)
- Relief – suffering months of gas shortage, fuel shortage, food shortage, power cuts, loss of jobs, less productivity.
- Understandable anger by people who are in queues while they see politicians and elite showing no care or concern for the sufferings they are going through & continue to enjoy the comforts. (these are perfect ingredients for mischief makers to abuse to fulfil their agendas fueling tensions)
- If President resigns prematurely as the public demands, a caretaker government will have to function until the due elections – if so whom
- Who should be the next President
- Who should be the next Prime Minister
- Who should be the Cabinet & what portfolios is best for whom
- Can this new team solve the debt crisis Sri Lanka is facing? The People must understand that the crisis is gradually coming down from 1978.
- Have people understood the real situation or are they driven only by their emotions, personal sufferings & being victim of campaign slogans by people with differing agendas.
- Is the answer that any person is better than the present, the solution to a country of 21million people?
- Have people thought about the likely scenarios that may occur if the entire Parliament does resign when we have no money even to conduct an election?
- Have the people thought that the unstable situation will be early Christmas for all the entities who are hiding behind the genuine protestors to fast forward their agendas.
- Perhaps people should relook at the Catholic Action during Mrs B’s rule & the manner they deployed themselves to unseat her. The role played by numerous others to promote LTTE is another example. The hidden hands that promotes the JVP is also a clue. The manner political parties are given massive campaign funding will also lead the trail to who steers the parties (follow the money trail & you will find the problem creators)
How does India view the current situation in Sri Lanka
- Where does India fit into the scheme of things?
- Is India aware that Sri Lanka is drifting towards the US sphere of influence & in the greater scheme of things, wouldn’t this be more of a challenge to India than China?
- Isn’t India aware of ultimate US plan to balkanize India (which China does not aspire to do) If such happens, doesn’t this end Indian hegemony over Asia & in particular South Asian neighboring nations
Would a military takeover be an option?
- While there are various calls for military rule – is this an acceptable option (recall how a pro-US was made former commander & parachuted for the role from a US camp during the previous government)
- Is this an option currently being explored & how will it affect the people of Sri Lanka?
Where does US fit into the scheme of things?
- Why would the US try to overthrow 2 dual citizens at the helm of government when they have been able to get US favored deals (ex: Yugadanavi to a controversial US firm to supply gas exclusively to Kewaralapitya power plant)
- Could they have not been kept for further US-favoured interests?
- Is this another coloured revolution (yellow democracy) – if so who is their choice of alternate leader & why the sudden change?
- What happens to the US dual citizens – are they to be given safe haven back to US? will they face any charges as the people demand?
- What could be US plans if US takes advantage of the prevailing volatile situation?
- Military intervention – with US & Indian troops jointly deployed
- Holiday home for US personnel deployed to overlook Asia/South China Seas etc – Sri Lanka offers the best ingredients for troops & families
What if Sri Lanka falls into IMF supervision (West’s monetary partner)
- Unimaginable Tax increases for all
- Digital set up with full Backoffice control by IMF & heavy penalties for tax evaders – people’s incomes heavily affected.
- Privatizing of state institutes – often going to multinational companies
- Slow depoliticization of political set up (making Sri Lanka’s sovereignty vulnerable & weak)
- Plausible compromise of Tamil Eelam as this in turn enables pro-US lobbies to be set up in North & East with compromises to India & China
What Sri Lankans need to think about
- Wake up to ground realities & look at how monetary institutes like IMF/World Bank treat third world nations
- We cannot move forward like this – Our imports are higher than our exports & our expenses are way higher than our revenues
- Taking loans is not the answer & taking loans to payback former is inviting trouble
- How do we come up with short term-mid-term-long term solutions that involve all our people & in what way can the government help to raise our people instead of taking the easy way out by privatizing, getting huge commissions and a bulk investment which ends up being spent on unnecessary things.
- What are the new ventures we can easily commence that would bring revenue? Have a proper localized committee of young people who can think out of the box & come up with implementable solutions & ensure that political involvement & commissions and other corrupt practices are not applied.
We faced the 2005-2006 economic global crisis without major issues when big banks in foreign countries had to be bailed out by their governments. Ours is a small but resilient country. There is nothing we cannot do if we have the will to do it.
From the people’s protests where people from all walks of life united for a single theme, the unity of the people was clearly conveyed. This is welcome news. Now it is time for those in power to get their act together. The business community cannot be selfishly thinking of their own profit but help SMEs to rise as well. The Government apparatus must help local entrepreneurs & innovators.
Whatever scenarios are rolled out, we are in for hard times ahead.
Shenali D Waduge