The Provincial Council system has rightly been dubbed a white elephant. And all members of the Western Provincial Council, save a few, are making grand preparations for a white elephant ride. The Council has, according to the JVP, allocated Rs. 30 mn for a mega junket a tour of China.
The WPC has 104 councillors and 101 of them will visit China. Only the JVP councillors have refused to junket. Rathu Sahodarayas deserve plaudits on this score.
So, the voting public should know what their representatives` priorities are. They made fools of themselves by assaulting one another and having bloodied noses, black eyes and broken teeth, to return candidates of their choice a few moons ago. Today, their heroes and heroines are going places at their expense!
Interestingly, even the UNP councillors are defending the organisers of the junket to the hilt. Their cooperation with the UPFA is amazing. If only the Opposition had co-operated with the government on the war effort in the same manner!
Most schools and hospitals in the Western Province are badly in need of improvements. The same is true of other public institutions under the purview of WPC. More than one half of Colombo`s population is in slums and shanties. But, the WPC, which cites lack of funds as a stock excuse for not improving the people`s lot, has enough funds to send its councillors overseas on some flimsy pretext!
JVP Western Provincial Councillor Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa has told this newspaper that it is not too late for the WPC to cancel the junket and save tax payers` money. He says the JVP brought the public woes to the attention of the UPFA and UNP councillors and tried to convince them of the need to desist from squandering public funds, but in vain.
Both the UPFA and the UNP must be ashamed of themselves for indulging in wasteful expenditure. The UNP criticises the government at every turn quite rightly so for colossal waste. It has hauled President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the coals for taking planeloads of lackeys to the UN and cricket matches overseas. But, the UNP is not only colluding with the UPFA but also defending it in public over the junket at issue. Is it that the UNP has no qualms about soft-pedalling or backing the government`s waste of public money, if it gets a bone or two?
Ironically, the people have had to depend on the JVP, which they gave only three seats in the WPC, to campaign against the waste of their money!
Shame on the UPFA and the UNP!
SLFP`s wrong lesson
Transport Minister and SLFP strongman Dallas Alahapperuma has told The Island that the removal of controversial Southern Provincial Councillor Nishantha Mutuhettigama as SLFP organiser for Akmeemana will serve as a lesson for others of his ilk.
The SLFP already has enough and more unruly elements within its ranks and at long last it may have felt the need to discipline them to avoid embarrassment as well as an erosion of its support base. Mutuhettigama may feel that his party has given him the shaft in spite of his service to it. He also did not receive a patient hearing from his bosses. But, he certainly brought the SLFP and the government into disrepute with his rowdy behaviour unbecoming of a people`s representative. Last week he reportedly made a spectacle of himself at a five star hotel and kicked up a row there much to the consternation of other government worthies present.
But, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. There are government politicians who have acted in a far worse manner than Mutuhettigama. We are sick of writing about Mervyn Silva, having wasted reams of newsprint and barrels of ink on him. So, let him be spared for the time being. Immediately after the Southern Provincial Council polls, a UPFA councillor (name withheld on legal advice) who had scraped through the election, abducted a Buddhist monk roughed him up doused him with arrack and dumped him at, of all places, a police station. But, no disciplinary action has been taken against that UPFA councillor. Why?
Is it that the government considers the abduction of a priest less serious than badmouthing Anarkalli or misbehaving in public?