A Logical Next Step: A Cabinet Shuffle
It seems that, periodically, Our Beloved Leader (OBL) just to keep his minions off-balance and perhaps to send them a message that he, and only he, determines the extent of their REAL incomes, threatens them with shuffling their portfolios in a manner that could adversely affect their futures as bread-winners for their families and the future financial well-being of entire clans of sycophants.
This has nothing to do with the competence displayed in the matter of dealing with the duties that might be attached to their Ministries because, after all, every Ministry, bar those held by the Rajapaksa siblings, has little attached to it except the emoluments and perquisites of those designated as Ministers.
But then, that is what political activity is about in Sri Lanka: the fattening of the purses of individual politicians at the expense of the nation.
Make no mistake, considerations of competence do not enter into the picture and, if individual parliamentarians are given titles, the only purpose those titles serve is to make those holding them “marks” at a time that scapegoats are needed to better deflect criticism directed at those who REALLY wield power.After that long, though necessary, preamble let me get down to brass tacks and make some recommendations for change.
Minister of Culture: Wimal Weerawansa
The rationale for this is two-fold. 1) the ability to re-write literary history by having Guy De Maupassant (rather than Ernest Hemingway) write “The Old Man and the Sea,” a very significant alteration of literary history which entailed changes of time, location and language without parallel anywhere in the world.
Also, Weerawansa’s periodic protests against the Western Democracies, inclusive of fasting, promoting violence against the “unpatriotic” etc. etc. inclusive of though not restricted to obtaining the active support of O.B.L’s family could be considered to constitute the establishment of a new culture in Sri Lanka and WW needs to be recognized for his contribution to it, inclusive of playing the ventrilouqist’s dummy to those really pulling the strings.
His most recent proclamation, a la Marie Antoinette that those who can’t afford bread can eat bulath only confirms how appropriate such a nomination would be.
Minister of Finance: Bandula Goonewardana
This appointment would be conditional on the new incumbent being prepared to place a ceiling on incomes amounting to Rs. 7500 per month.
This is considered eminently fair because a previous coalition government led by the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike, with the late Dr. N. M. Perera as Finance Minister, placed a ceiling on incomes amounting to less than one third this – Rs. 2000 per month, to be exact – with the state confiscating anything over this amount.
I know, I know, that was a long time ago but don’t forget we are now the Miracle of Asia and turning seven thousand five hundred a month into a living wage for three people will be a breeze for those who are in the Miracle business.
Aren’t we superior to the person who fed the multitude with a couple of loaves of bread and a few fishes, after all?
Minister of Sport (with absolute power over cricket): Sanath Jayasuriya
This only recognises the current reality wherein the selection of players to the national squad (including himself) is in this man’s hands. One of the major benefits to those watching the sport on TV will be the fact that we may not have to listen to the peculiar language in which Mr. Jayasuriya describes events unfolding on the field.
Minister with Responsibility for making Public Pronouncements: D. M. Jayaratne
This Ministry may be referred to in the interest of accuracy and convenience as the Ministry of Stupidity, given this individual’s proclivity for saying the most unbelievable things without any consideration for their impact on the public or the opinion of anyone outside Sri Lanka who might chance on his “Words of Wisdom.”
He will be, particularly, tasked with dealing with matters of religious sensitivity.
Minister with Responsibility for Exotic Imports and Exports: Johnston Fernando
All animal protein, both in live and preserved form, will be under the authority of this Minister. He will be particularly encouraged to expand the scope of exotic imports beyond ostriches for eggs and camels for milk and authorised to dump any large quantities of frozen chicken and coconuts in such a manner as will be outside the view of the public whenever such products arrive on our shores after alleged shortages have ceased.
He will be provided with a motorised plastic crate so that at least one vegetable in the Miracle of Asia will move around in such a container.
Minister of Wandering Around in Circles While Uttering Inanities: Prof. Dr. G. L. Peiris
This Minister will be allowed to traipse around the world making visits to people of some eminence, even when not invited to do so, uttering those inanities he has been instructed to deliver and at which he has proved so very good. However, this privilege will be conditional on his devoting sufficient time to his primary task: shining the shoes of the Presidential Progeny,
Minister with Responsibility for Intimidating University Students and Privatizing Education: S. B. Dissanayake
This would be an automatic choice given this Minister’s exemplary performance in the areas for which he will have continuing responsibility.
He will be encouraged to hitch up his national dress in a manner befitting the village Chandiya as often as possible in order to maintain his image. If he requires coaching in that skill it is suggested he contact that robe-clad individual who performed such a feat at the Dambulla mosque recently.
Minister With Complete Authority for the North of Sri Lanka: Douglas Devananda
Given the fact that this man already has Cabinet rank in a portfolio which has no connection with what he really does for the government – imposes his will and theirs on the people of the north of Sri Lanka – his real area of authority needs to be formalized.
This is particularly essential given the fact that Mr. D was named in the LLRC Report as not being a good little boy, was asked to demobilize his private armed force in the same report, and has an outstanding arrest warrant for murder in Tamil Nadu, none of which precluded the government from having him on its official delegation to the Geneva United Nations Human Rights confab.
We now need formal recognition of his real role through a change in his title which will serve notice on all concerned as to his real area of authority and responsibility.
That is in the event that there is any doubt as to what his role already is.
Minister for Public Relations: Mervyn Silva
This is one of those rare situations where nothing need be done. Experience, confirmed by recent official confirmation, has taught us that all the alleged excesses of this Minister have the seal of approval of the highest in the land. In fact, all that remains to be done to prevent the disruptions to his activities is to give him full formal authority to deal with those who annoy him, whether or not there is a jak tree handy on which to tie them or from which to hang them.
Joint Ministers Representing the Old Left:
In the spirit of the multiple electorates of years gone by and in recognition of the intelligence they display, the three “leaders” of the “Old Left” will be harnessed into the organizational equivalent of a three-buffalo plough. In that way, they will display the unanimity of the “Old Left,” the only thing they do display, apart from a singular lack of anything resembling principle. As befits their current display of stupidity, they will be sentenced to reading Tissa Vitarane’s APRC Report in the event it has not already been put to a more practical use in the most important room in most people’s homes. That’s all for this instalment folks! If you have any further suggestions for other appointments, please feel free to send them in to the web edition of this paper. After all there are, potentially, in excess of 90 other Ministerial positions to fill!