Some stimulation for the hapless Sri Lankans’ maligned national cricket team. An occasional win means a lot for a nation in the depths of despair. The youth who supported Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the 2019 presidential race and painted out- door murals following his victory to welcome what they thought was a new beginning – only to be disillusioned – are now painting themselves in support of the national cricketers. In ancient Rome, plebeians had bread and circuses. The present-day ordinary Sri Lankans have political circuses without bread. This is the price they have to pay for suffering failed politicians gladly, so to speak, and catapulting them to positions of power. Teachers who perform examination duties inform us that there are instances where some test-takers reproduce questions in spaces provided for answers because they come unprepared. The members of the present Cabinet are doing something similar. Having accepted ministerial positions, and promising to sort out problems, they keep telling the public what the problems are, instead of providing solutions. The President summons numerous meetings and nothing seems to come of them. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe keeps making special statements on the current situation, which people are already au fait with. Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera warns of a food crisis, and in the same breath claims, there are enough rice stocks in the country. Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera has washed his hands of the fuel crisis to all intents and purposes; the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation only announces where small amounts of diesel, petrol and kerosene are available. At this rate, as cynics say, the day may not be far off when the CPC app mentions Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, etc., as the places where oil is available, and asks Sri Lankans to find dollars to import it. Wijesekera has the knack of getting Citizen Silva’s goat. He asks people not to queue up near filling stations in large numbers. He does not even care to introduce the odd-even rationing method, which will help shorten fuel queues considerably, and people will have a certain amount of fuel every other day. This method is easy to implement with random checks being conducted to ensure that racketeers do not use false number plates.
Meanwhile, SLFP leader and former President Maithripala Sirisena, MP, has bowled a political doosra of sorts. He has called for an all-party interim government. He says the current administration has failed and the President and the PM are not getting on well. The solution is for all political parties to get together and form a government with a 15- member Cabinet pending a general election in six months, or so.