ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 16, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 16
Columns - 5th Column  

Who is the most powerful person in Sri Lanka?

By Rypvanwinkle

"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "who is the most powerful person in our country?"
"Well," Bindu's father Percy said, "it must be Mahinda maama because it is he who decides almost everything..."
"I don't think so, thaaththa," Bindu disagreed.
"Why, who else takes decisions then?" Percy wanted to know, "are you thinking about the so called 'sahodara samaagama'...?"
"No, thaaththa," Bindu said, "it is just that even though Mahinda maama makes all the decisions he has great difficulty in implementing them..."

"Then who do you think is the most powerful person in the country?" Percy asked, "is it Prabhakaran?"
"I don't think it is him either, even though he did decide who the winner of the last presidential election was..." Bindu declared.
"Maybe it is the Speaker then," Percy suggested, "after all, now they say that even those extra taxes rushed through Parliament last week are not legal and only the Speaker can decide about them..."
"But thaaththa," Bindu protested, "I don't think the Speaker is really that powerful because he is saying he will quit his job if the others are not happy with him..."

"Maybe Mangala is the most powerful person then," Percy proposed.
"Why do you say that, thaaththa?" Bindu wanted to know.
"Why, he was able to get Satellite and Uncle Ranil who hated each other for years to see eye to eye..." Percy explained.
"But that was only because they were united in their opposition to Mahinda maama..." Bindu argued, "so, I don't think he is really that powerful..."

"Then, what about Rauf and Thonda?" Percy queried, "it is because of them that the government survives today..."
"That is true," Bindu said, "but it seems that Mahinda maama has told them that they are free to leave the government if they want to but they don't want to do that..."

"That is also true," Percy conceded, "so, they are not as powerful as they used to be..."
"And that is also true of Uncle Karu and the rest of his group..." Bindu said.
"Why do you say that?" Percy asked, "if not for their support, the government would collapse immediately, so they must be the most powerful people right now..."
"But thaaththa," Bindu pointed out, "the moment a general election is called, they lose all their value, so they are not powerful at all..."
"That is certainly so," Percy agreed, "then, maybe the Supreme Court is the most powerful body of people in the country today..."

"Why do you say that, thaaththa?" Bindu asked.
"Why, Bindu," Percy said, "look at the number of important decisions the Supreme Court is taking these days..."
"Yes," Bindu said, "they decide about school admissions, they decide about teachers' strikes, they decide about gas prices and they even decide about switching on loudspeakers at night..."
"So," Percy asked, "don't you think they are the most powerful body of people in the country?"
"I think it is only right that they should be" Bindu said, "but I am not sure whether they are..."
"Why is that?" Percy was puzzled.
"Why, thaaththa," Bindu said, "there maybe just one person, or even two, who think that they are more powerful than even the Supreme Court..."

"And who are they?" Percy queried.
"Why, thaaththa, it is Mervyn Silva and his son, who seem to be behaving as if they are a law unto themselves..." Bindu said.
Percy didn't disagree but he hoped the Supreme Court would do something about that too.

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