ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 40
Financial Times  

Building a nation for growth, peace and prosperity

The National Development Strategy- the10 year Development Framework places the raising of the GDP growth rate in excess of 8% as the key vision towards a new Sri Lanka. The Secretary to the Treasury places all emphasis on infrastructure development; the key to investment and growth and states that the war and its consequences are of no concern for the local and foreign investors.

Police and others in society, should play an active role in preserving and developing acceptable values and norms of society.

The economist turned minister trying to bring down the cost of living states that inflation control is the key and that as long as the present secretary controls the Treasury and influences the Monetary Board, inflation will remain out of control.

The Buddhist monks turned politicians lay all the blame on terrorism and places its eradication by war as the panacea for all ills.

The Rathu Sahodarayas blame the capitalist system as the cause of all evil and focuses on a unitary state as the most important priority. The “Rata Perata” and “Regaining Sri Lanka,” the previously adopted national visions, also identified these as the fundamental foundations of the future Sri Lanka. Are these the real issues and the No 1 priority of our nation today?

A vigilant and unbiased observation of the environment surrounding the daily lives of the civil society of Sri Lanka, as noted by what one reads in the newspapers, hears from reliable sources and sees through the TV, of incidents and events around the citizens throughout the country, will lead one to a totally different priority for today, for the sake of prosperity and progress tomorrow.

This significant deterioration appears to be getting embedded at all levels and in all segments of society, especially, leaving a negative impact on young children

A very high degree of deterioration of "acceptable values and norms of society”, is the order of our daily lives, irrespective of where one resides. This significant deterioration, unfortunately and sadly, appears to be getting embedded at all levels and in all segments of society, especially, negatively impacting on young children, youth and women. Some of the recent incidents and observations as noted below, will point you towards reaching the same conclusion;

*A 6-year old child being molested at an international school sports meet at the prime stadium in Colombo, an event held with the participation of many officials, teachers, parents and children

*The use of a sophisticated stun gun by a school going youngster to shock and make unconscious the victim (a type of weapon used by trained commandos) whilst engaged in a street fight with children from a neighbouring school

*The statistics recently quoted by a much respected former civil servant that there are 100 abortions a day in Sri Lanka in the illegal institutions that have sprung up in Colombo and other cities, operating under the guise of family planning health clinics

*The statistics recently quoted by the much respected former civil servant estimating that 60% of females in households across the country are physically abused by their husbands or lovers

*A statistic quoted in a TV interview by the previous Police Chief that there are over 5 reported cases of rape a day and that the number unreported may be many more involving fathers raping children whilst mothers are away at work in the Middle East

*The statistics appearing in a newspaper quoting a senior Human Rights Commission official that in the month of January 2007 alone there were 201 abductions (ie. over 6 per day or one every 4 hours, despite the denial by the highest in the land of a statistic of an abduction every 8 hours)

*Regular reporting of ransom demands across the country and reports of the payment of millions of rupees in securing the release of hostages

*Sri Lanka being consistently in top quartile world statistics on suicides

*Several gruesome murders reported daily across the country

*Dangerous physical violence unleashed in society as regularly reported in the media

*Robbery and thefts, even petty thefts from residential homes involving gangs. armed robbers, who use sophisticated and well supported networks to carry these out, replicating crime scenes and methods seen only in foreign films

*Disappearance and theft of vehicles as a part of organized crime and driving them off for sale in un-cleared areas or to dismantle and sell as spare parts

*The significant prevalence of narcotic import, peddling and consumption involving school children, work site labour and by clients in roadside joints

*The ever increasing consumption of illicit alcohol and the ready source of credit financing for this purpose

*Pornography as a thriving trade involving young children and youth as participants and customers

* Ever present and increasing paedophile activity

* Prostitution dens with supporting sophisticated communications networks springing out across the country, operating openly and involving foreign and local call girls, including even youth and some times school children

*Total disrespect for law, order, justice and human security

*Total disrespect for other cultures, religions and customs

*Total disregard for the needs and disrespect for elders and no care or concern for the sick, marginalised and those in abject poverty

*A total disregard for and a lack of concern for the environment/ecology and its sustainability and wanton destruction and exploitation for short term gain

*The lack of honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability by those with public accountability, with rampant corruption practiced transparently without any fear or shame

*The direct and indirect involvement of high level politicians, their network partners and personnel of the police and judicial hierarchy in the above activities

With religious leaders, civil society leaders, teachers, media, police and others in society, who should and can play an active role in the area of preserving and developing acceptable values and norms of society, being silent, disinterested or suppressed and the national leadership focused and engaged in other areas, the fundamental core for sustaining the future social equilibrium of the civil society appears to be cracking in a way that it will not be easy to piece it together and build a nation for growth, prosperity and peace.

Leaders, this is your priority No 1.


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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.