Mix-up of Priorities | Daily News

Mix-up of Priorities

Debate on holding Local Government Polls. Picture Sulochana Gamage
Debate on holding Local Government Polls. Picture Sulochana Gamage

Food, clothing and shelter, in that order, are the basic needs of human beings, others not so essential being added with the advance of civilization. Some politicians and their blind followers seem to have mixed-up the first priority requirement of the present day with others and ceaselessly clamour for the Local Government Elections which is certainly of comparatively less importance than food in the present context.   

Granted that the current economic crisis is due in large measure to the result of banning the import of chemical fertilizer and substituting it with biological compost fertilizer which in a new development is causing the destruction of crops holding the Local Government Elections is not the solution.   

In a situation in which the large majority of the people are not getting a square meal not to mention nutritious food, holding the Local Government Elections will not provide any solution because there will not be a change of Government.   

One activist was saying that if the ruling party gets defeated at the Local Government Elections it will give up power and dissolve Parliament and the Opposition will be able to come to power. That will never happen because a Government elected for five years will not abdicate power.   

So, allowing the present Government to run its full course is the best. The stark reality is that the Government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe has been able to do much to ease the situation to a great extent.   

It has solved many of the burning issues such as the lack of fuel, gas and chemical fertilizer and the shortage of food. The opponents of the Government have found the new issue of holding the Local Government Elections merely to test their political strength, if any.   

Although there is no food shortage, a lot of people cannot have even a meal of rice, five sprats, dhal curry and green leaves, badly telling on their nutritional status. Even during the World War II days, people could afford rice, dehydrated mutton, potatoes and carrot meal available at the cooperative though cinnamon peelers ate rice, scraped coconut and salt.   

The majority of the people willingly swallowed the socialist decoction from 1970 to 1975 because there was hope of the country developing economically that way but when the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Communist Party were booted out in 1975 they said enough is enough and brought in J. R. Jayewardene.   

He gave the people dhal that was available only in meat and fish abundant at Kalmunai and Puttalam cooperative stores and one of his prominent ministers later said that he had to send his jeep from Chilaw to the latter place to get 500 grams of the foodstuff.   

Under the United National Party rule after 1977 with dhal the cheeks of young schoolchildren again turned rosy. Even clothing that was scarce was provided by J.R. Jayewardene who had promised young men and women to that effect.   

When the man dying of thirst is being provided with water by the Government the Opposition elements wanted him to die without water to carry his body around the country to campaign as President Ranil Wickremesinghe said some time ago.   

The Opposition was earlier donating medical equipment to hospitals which has properly to be done through the medical supplies division. Now, it is giving buses to schools while most schoolchildren are suffering from acute malnutrition, plainly mixing up priorities.   

The former President resigned due to protests over his failure to act on his own and for causing an economic downturn by listening to the opinions of his advisers. He very prudently appointed President Ranil Wickremesinghe the most suitable to handle the situation.   

The protesters wanting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, to go was a little too far-fetched. They also began the 1988-89 mode murder and arson even burning President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence. It was inevitable that the perpetrators had to be taken into custody, protesters finding a new issue to take to the streets.   

The time spent by activists instigated by Opposition political parties as protesters can be better utilized engaging in productive activities at a time such as this when production matters most. The resources wasted by those inciting protesters can be more usefully invested in financing such productive endeavours.   

In addition the commotion caused by incessant protests everywhere is a distraction for those engaged in peaceful pursuits thus disrupting much important work. What is thoroughly undesirable is the most unbecoming commotion on certain television channels, in the newscasts.   

President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently said that there is both good and bad in the social media disclosures. One blatant error disbursed by social media has been saying that S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike broke away from the United National Party and formed his own party to build up a super capitalism whereas his objective was entirely different; the aim was to usher in socialism by peaceful, non-violent means which Nikita Khrushchev advocated.   

The first achievement of President Ranil Wickremesinghe was to end queuing up for fuel, cooking gas and foodstuffs. His very prudent measure of restricting the use of fuel is a must for a non-oil-producing country such as ours. It has to be noted that even with such an economy a lot of demurrage is paid to oil-carrying ships.   

The people are confident that President Ranil Wickremesinghe will not allow any corruption to take place under his aegis so that whoever is there in the current Government is of no consequence. His influence is a damper for anyone intent on engaging in corrupt practices.   

What remains to be done is to raise the standard living of the people for them to be able to afford purchasing their essentials and live a comfortable life.   

The black economy with money obtained through fraudulent means has to be eliminated root and branch so that only those who toil for their earnings are entitled to benefit. It is by stamping out the accumulation of such black money that a righteous society emerges.   

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