Sri Lanka: Jayasundara the Scapegoat?

How to overcome the mess? Let us be honest. As a country, it is already too late to embark on a comprehensive socio-economic action plan that can be addressed at the micro and macro levels to tackle the serious economic instability.


Napoleon, aided by Squealer, uses Snowball as a scapegoat, which means that when something goes wrong, he blames Snowball ~ Animal Farm by George Orwell

We thought it pivotal to draw your attention to an interview that Mr Upul Shantha Sannasgala (Sanna) conducted with Dr WA Wijewardene on his social media outfit. It is a genuine attempt to understand the grim reality of the socio-economic meltdown in Sri Lanka. Dr Wijewardene is one of the few authentic local intellectuals who have substantial knowledge of the Sri Lankan economy and maintain the dignity of his professionalism up to date. He is well versed in economic structures and their parameters. Therefore, it is vital to pay attention to his views as the intervention of a handful of remaining intellectuals with professional dignity is essential to get out from the quagmire we are stuck in as a state. 

Sec P B Jayasundara

An important person who attracted the attention of Dr Wijewardene was the present Secretary to the President, Dr PB Jayasundara. Wijewardene recalled that Dr PB Jayasundera was a public servant who had fulfilled his responsibilities wisely from the time he joined the Central Bank. 

However, Dr Jayasundera has come under severe criticism from various quarters. Some politicians good at selling pseudo-patriotism to deceive the public called him an economic assassin. But when examining the assets of those so-called patriotic politicians, it is a matter of conscience whether the country’s economy collapsed due to Dr Jayasundera’s decisions or their desires. The latest allegation against him was the fraud allegedly committed to obtaining fertilizer for organic farming introduced by the present government. We do not know the truth or falsity of all these allegations as we are all aware that in Sri Lanka it is a great dilemma to know exactly who is telling the truth and who is lying.  Media institutions operating across the country have further complicated the existing social circumstances.  

The economic collapse of Sri Lanka was not the result of an individual conspiracy. It is a collective failure of ruling parties and their stooges. But it is not a new phenomenon. This is what happens when a government changes, in the same way, that athletes exchange batons in a relay race.  As soon as the current government came to power, it cut taxes without any scrutiny and reduced government revenue. Subsequently, development projects funded at the lowest interest with an exceptional grace period to repay the loans by long-time allies such as Japan were cancelled due to various false allegations and opinions of corrupted intellectuals. For example, although President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ruled that the joint venture between Japan and India to develop the Eastern Terminal of the Colombo Port was correct but those who opposed within disrupted the opportunity. However, now everyone is accustomed to criticizing the President or his secretary. In this context, we see the targeting of Dr Jayasundera as the sole person responsible for the current recession as a lame attempt to cover up the blunders of others. Isn’t it unfair to use him as the scapegoat? 

How to overcome the mess? Let us be honest. As a country, it is already too late to embark on a comprehensive socio-economic action plan that can be addressed at the micro and macro levels to tackle the serious economic instability. To understand the structure of that programme, one must accurately understand the collapse of the Sri Lankan economy over the decades. Honest confessions are needed to overcome the consequences of the brainless political decisions that caused the economic collapse. Those responsible parties must at least now be determined to use their political power to think about the future of this country and its people rather than plunder state resources. Only then can a practical strategy be formulated and implemented in the short and long term. We must now realize that the economy cannot be strengthened by printing as many notes as possible and distributing them arbitrarily among the people. 

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