My dear Ravi, I thought of writing to you when I heard that you were released on bail after spending time in remand, charged with the bond scam when you were in charge of the nation’s purse strings. You must be happy that you get to spend time with your family at Easter. These must [...]

5th Column

An Easter break, a time to weigh your options?

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My dear Ravi,

I thought of writing to you when I heard that you were released on bail after spending time in remand, charged with the bond scam when you were in charge of the nation’s purse strings. You must be happy that you get to spend time with your family at Easter.

These must be difficult days for you, Ravi. The Green Party that you spent most of your political life with is now in tatters and not even a miracle will resurrect it. They can’t even send someone to Parliament for the only seat they have because they can’t agree on whom they should nominate for it.

There is of course the offshoot of the Green Party, the ‘telephone’ chaps. It is safe to assume that they will not speak on your behalf. In fact, they are quite keen to tell anyone who cares to listen that they do not wish to have links with anyone tainted with allegations relating to the bond scam.

That is not surprising because when you were with the Greens you always had the ear of the Green Man, much more than Sajith did. Your aim was to somehow become No. 2 ahead of Sajith though he was the elected ‘deputy leader’. I’m sure you had grand visions of succeeding the Green Man too.

Few recall that you began your political journey opposing the Greens. You worked for Lalith when he was with the Green Party, but when he left it due to ill-treatment by Preme, you left with him. He was killed by terrorists, but you worked with Srimanee, joined Satellite and became an MP.

That was short-lived. You fell out, not only with Satellite, but also with Srimanee and returned to the Greens, where you had a meteoric rise within a few years. When the Greens formed a government a few years later, you got the job that your mentor Lalith first had, the Trade Ministry.

That regime didn’t last long and the Greens had to wait more than a decade to form their next government with Cheerio Sirisena. You got your big break then, being put in charge of the country’s finances. Why, there was a time when you were even voted as the ‘best Finance Minister in Asia’!

Now though, you are being accused of using your big break to break the big bank. When the story broke, instead of asking you to stand down and allowing the law to take its course, the Green Man asked you and Mangala to simply swap portfolios – until you were asked to resign a few months later.

We are grateful to you, Ravi, for providing us with some entertaining moments. There is nothing to parallel the time you were living in a more than a million rupees a month penthouse – yet had no idea how much the rent was or how it was being paid, because your wife was handling it!

An internal inquiry within the Green Party, conducted by legal eagle Tilak, found that you were not fit to hold any office in the Party. The Green Man still brought you back into the Cabinet after the constitutional crisis triggered by Cheerio Sirisena. Maybe he thought people would have forgiven you.

They obviously hadn’t, because, at the last election, you were sent packing, just like the Green Party you represented. Not only did you find yourself out of Parliament for the first time in nearly 30 years, you also found yourself staring at a series of charges related to the bond scam at the big bank.

Isn’t it sad, Ravi, that decades ago, the top three in the Green Party, Preme, Lalith and Gamini began bickering with each other and a generation later, Preme’s son, Gamini’s son and you, Lalith’s protégé, are still not seeing eye to eye? That is why the Green Party is where it is today, on the verge of ruin.

Gota maama has repeatedly said that he is very keen to punish those responsible for the bond scam. He said so during his election campaigns and he said so recently too when he addressed the nation on Independence Day. So, I’m afraid, Ravi, the odds seem to be stacked heavily against you.

There are similar issues about Cheerio Sirisena, too, over the Easter attacks but he is still roaming free. You do know that the wheels of justice in Paradise turn at different speeds for different people, depending on who is in charge. You also roamed free when the Greens were in charge, didn’t you?

In the past, when you hit rock bottom and were written off, you always resurfaced. You could do so again. The Greens cannot help you because they are down and out. The Telephone chaps won’t help you either. So, your best bet is to align yourself with the ‘pohottuwa’ chaps now, don’t you think?

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: Now that you are out of Parliament, and out on bail, you might be on the lookout for ways to occupy yourself. We hear there is a small-scale industry being promoted by the government down Wennappuwa way. Just ask Arundika and I’m sure he will be happy to help you out with the details!

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