Open letter to the UNP reformists

By Joseph Fernando

Since crossing over to the government, with monotonous regularity you have painstakingly attempted to justify your crossing over at various forums and press briefings attributing the following reasons for your decision.

1. The undemocratic and dictatorial attitude of the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

2. Desire to preserve and zealously safeguard democracy.

3. The compelling need to support the Peace Process.

4. Provide for good governance.

5. Implicit faith in the Mahinda Chinthana.

Despite these reasons emphatically asserted by you from time to time, the real, compelling reason is now quite evident, that you all were enticed by the attractive perks offered to you, and two persons attempting to escape the indictment consequent to the startling disclosures in the COPE report. To any right thinking person this is quite evident.

In the context of the rapidly deteriorating political scene with a complete breakdown of law and order it is quite appropriate and timely to inquire from you as constituent members of the government, what your stand is in respect of the following?

A. Repressive laws and regulations enforced by the government, like the Prevention of Terrorism Act and other regulations.

B. Suppression of trade union Movements since under the Essential Services Act promulgated under the Emergency Regulations engaging in trade union activities is illegal and defined as an act of terrorism.

C. Insidious suppression of the media under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

D. Unprecedented and alarming number of abductions, displacement of thousands of persons and the ineffective action by the government.

E. The undemocratic and unethical manner of silencing the dissenting voices.

F. The rampant and blatant bribery and corruption. Referring to the alarming state of bribery and corruption and misuse of public property, Wimal Weerawansa remarked “half the cabinet should be in jail.”

G. Unprecedented escalation in the cost of living with no action pursued. Ironically the Trade and Commerce Minister Bandula Gunawardena was one of the toughest critics.

While you have attempted to make out that you are custodians of democracy and you are committed to zealously safeguard democracy, how can you justify the above. As constituent members of the government each one of you is responsible for the above mismanagement/misdeeds and bad governance. In this context it is quite pertinent to pose the following questions to you.

Do you condone the above misdeeds, irregularities and inaction of the government?

If not what have you done so far to pressurise the government to abundantly and manifestly show your dissent?

You will not dispute the fact that being constituent members of the government and particularly those of you holding cabinet portfolios, are all responsible for the misdeeds of the government. As ‘reformists’ while you posed off as the personification of democracy you have failed to live up to your claims; but have been partners to the most undemocratic, repressive and vindictive measures adopted by the government under the guise of the Mahinda Chinthana.

Jimmy Walker rightly asserted “A reformer is a guy who rides through a sewer in a glass boat.”

Reformists reform thyselves.

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