Where corruption is bliss …



Friday 24th November, 2023

Sri Lanka’s cricket crisis has become internationalised. Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe and the Opposition insist that some Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials were behind the International Cricket Council’s decision to suspend SLC. They have produced documentary evidence to prove their claim and tabled in Parliament the copies of the letters that SLC officials wrote to ICC, allegedly seeking a ban.

The cricket dispute in Sri Lanka took a dramatic turn with the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) being accused of having SLC on a string. President Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have denied former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain Arjuna Ranatunga’s claim that BCCI Secretary Jay Shah runs and ruins SLC. He has reportedly told Indian news website, Firstpost, that he apologised to Jay Shah personally. Why should Sri Lanka’s Head of State go out of his way to apologise to an Indian cricket board official for something that a former Sri Lankan cricketer has said?

The general consensus in this country is that Indian cricket officials and some other Indians including those of dubious background wield influence over Sri Lanka’s cricket administration. Cricket has become a billion-dollar industry, and the interests of moneybags take precedence over those of the game. However, President Wickremesinghe’s right to dispute what Arjuna says about cricket or anything else for that matter cannot be questioned. But since Arjuna is not a member of the government, what he says about Jay Shah or anyone else in India is his personal opinion. Therefore, there is no reason why the President of Sri Lanka or any other government leader should apologise to Shah for Arjuna’s statements however controversial they may be.

The Indian Prime Minister and the Indian President do not apologise even for scathing attacks that some Indian politicians carry out on Sri Lanka, do they? Thousands of South Indian trawlers enter Sri Lanka’s territorial waters every month and engage in illegal fishing at the expense of local fishers and cause enormous losses to the ailing economy of this country, but has any Indian leader apologised for this serious offence?

It is obvious that the SLPP-UNP government considers Sports Minister Ranasinghe a thorn in its flesh because he has launched a campaign against the corrupt who have ruined Sri Lanka’s cricket. On seeing some ruling party politicians’ partiality to notorious crooks, one may say that where corruption is bliss, ‘tis folly to be honest.

Lesson for legislature

Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha informed Parliament yesterday that the principal of a school in the Nawalapitiya area had been transferred pending an investigation into a complaint that he had forced two of his students to eat polythene lunch sheets, etc., as punishment.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) is investigating the aforesaid unfortunate incident in a proper manner. If the suspect had been allowed to remain in the same school, he would have been able to cover his tracks.

If only Parliament adopted the same procedure in investigating vital issues that affect the people’s lives. It has entrusted the task of conducting an investigation into Sri Lanka’s bankruptcy to a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) headed by the General Secretary of the SLPP, whose leaders are among those responsible for ruining the country’s economy and placing the public in a situation where most of them have no way of dulling the pangs of hunger.

Will Parliament learn from the MoE how to conduct probes properly?