With 61 ministries, why not a crab ministry too?
Beg your pardon?
When the New Year
dawned, there was intense speculation that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka
would be pardoned. There was equally feverish speculation of a possible cabinet reshuffle and even of a change in prime ministers.
When all that came to naught, those who engineered the gossip merely shrugged their shoulders and said that these events were being postponed for February fourth, Independence Day.
That landmark too came and went with hardly a whimper and there is no more talk of either a pardon or a reshuffle at least not in the near future, anyway. We guess it was all much ado about nothing
The Fonseka clan
It is fair to say that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has a soft spot for Fonsekas.
It was the legendary Sinhala screen idol Gamini Fonseka who gave Mahinda Rajapaksa his first (and only) role on the silver screen in a film
titled Nomiyena Minissu. President Rajapaksa played the role of a General who was the commanding officer of a Colonel played by Fonseka.
The President was also instrumental in granting a National List slot in Parliament for Gamini`s namesake and the undisputed queen of Sinhala cinema, Malini Fonseka. Recently, more recognition came Malini`s way as a stamp was issued in her honour, a rare achievement for a Sri Lanka
n still living.
A few weeks ago, the President sanctioned the appointment of another Fonseka, Carlo Fonseka, as President of the Sri Lanka Medical Council despite opposition from many quarters in the medical profession.
But all Fonsekas are not the President`s favourites and we know who the exception to the rule is, don`t we?
This talk about the 13th Amendment just won`t go away not even when the President firmly declares that he is against granting land and police powers to the provinces, which is a requisite of the amendment.
Now it is the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), which is creating a din saying that they would like a separate `South Eastern Province` for them to administer!
Now, lest we forget, the SLMC is a partner in the ruling coalition and its leader is a minister. So, this is all a red herring to show the world and neighbouring India
in particular that while the powers that be would dearly love to devolve powers to the provinces, it will not be practical because so many parties will make unreasonable demands
The `other` brothers
There is always talk of the country being run by the Rajapaksa brothers Mahinda, Chamal, Basil and Gotabaya, but another set of brothers are slowly widening their sphere of influence, hardly being noticed in the process.
The most prominent of them is Transport Minister Kumar Welgama, whose major achievement, apart from handling bus strikes and train strikes under his stewardship, is to exceed the speed limit and then publicly boast about it.
Another Welgama brother, Nimal, is not only the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom, he is also a member of the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka and dabbles in a newspaper company as well.
Then there is the lesser known Shashi Welgama who recently resigned as Chairman of the National Transport Commission. Surprise, surprise, a few days later he was appointed as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board. Ah, it pays to have bothers in high places who make sure that you don`t swell the unemployment statistics for long!
Will this partnership be broken?
Mahela Jayewardene and Kumar Sangakkara are well known not only for their partnerships on the field, but also for their friendship off it.
But their latest venture together, a restaurant, has run into hot water no pun intended. That is because it has been titled the `Ministry of Crab` and some officials think that a commercial establishment should not contain the title `Ministry.`
Perhaps these officials have some merit in their argument because it would be frightening to imagine a school calling itself the `Ministry of Education` and a hospital calling itself the `Ministry of Health.`
These officials would become even more red-faced if they visited the Ministry of Crab website where Mahela and Kumar call themselves `ministers`!
But then, we are a country with no less than 61 ministers, some with titles such as the `Minister of State Assets and Enterprise Development` and the `Minister of Productivity Promotion` and `Minister of Public Co-ordination and Public Affairs.`
So, why not a Ministry of Crab?
Still on the subject of cricket, we now have a new captain, new selectors and a new management at the helm of Sri Lankan Cricket. That may not cure all the ills that ail Sri Lanka` cricket, but at least it is a beginning.
But one man, former superstar-turned-politician Sanath Jayasuriya
, doesn`t see it that way. He is out there, doing his utmost to sow dissension and disharmony in the dressing room.
He was heard telling the media that players were not supportive of former Captain Tillekeratne Dilshan and that he was to be sacked if he did not resign.
Come one Sanath, your time is up. Why don`t you concentrate on your new job as Matara District MP and do some service for the voters of Matara instead of dabbling in cricket to settle old scores?