Rein in the brat-pack!

Less than a year has passed since a court of law warned young Mr. Malaka Silva, son of Mervyn, aka, Modern Dutugemunu and owner of a spanking new Porsche, that he has to be on good behaviour for 365 days, following his implication in a case involving obstruction of justice over a drug bust at a night club in Colombo. It has also been less than two months since Papa Bear, Mervyn, was convicted over the issuance of a fraudulent cheque.

Young Mr. Silva, it would seem, can neither stay off the streets nor keep his hands (and those of his personal security cartel) to himself for too long at a time. This is why, the news of his recent alleged assault of a UNP provincial councillor’s brother at another night club on Thursday came as no shock at all. Just the usual shaking of head and frustration that this too, like all of young Malaka’s countless sins, would go unpaid for.

It is immaterial that Mervyn Silva almost takes tearful pride in the antics of his son, putting it down to regular youthful behaviour. It is also irrelevant that Malaka is undoubtedly a chip off the old block and tragically so. The bottom line is that Malaka Silva is no longer merely the son of a politico or an errant kid up to teenage mischief. Young Silva is now a full-blown adult, recognised as a legal citizen and therefore, expected to live by the same laws that govern us all.

The onus therefore, falls squarely on the shoulders of IGP Victor Perera, to exonerate himself where the law enforcement arm has failed miserably in the past. Perera, whose police force has been called the most corrupt of all state agencies in a Transparency International report released recently, has a long way to go to prove himself. Countless times, he has proved himself incapable of growing a backbone and standing up for justice and the law. So far, in the case of Malaka vs. Serasinghe too, the police force is maintaining a stony silence, calling to mind Malaka’s myriad fiascos at night clubs around the capital, many cases that had to be dismissed after police officers and security officers retracted their statements, presumably under political pressure.

The weary public might be proved right after all. Malaka Silva is likely to get off scott free – again. But is it really too much to hope that IGP Perera might even move to take action against the Ministerial Security Division who accompanied the young VIP and were allegedly involved in the brawl? Tragically, politicians’ bodyguards enjoy the same immunity from the law as their brats do. These men, officers of the state, tasked with upholding the law and ensuring that justice is done, are more than willing to the be the lapdogs of these young thugs, the utter disgrace to their uniforms notwithstanding. Let us hope that Perera has the moral gumption to act at least to remove such officers who have no business getting involved in night club brawls – or for that matter, affording security to ministerial brats in the first place.

There was a time when the ministerial brat pack was running amok in an unprecedented fashion. The sons of S.B. Dissanayake and Mahinda Wijesekera have had their share of trouble in their youth, but they have been caught out, chastised and have had the grace to step out of the limelight since. When Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hussein Bhaila’s son was embroiled in a brawl, the politician steered clear of the investigation and let the law take its course.

Sadly, the fact that politicians of the calibre of Mervyn Silva are tolerated despite all their misdeeds and those of their brats, leaves little hope for any kind of admonishment against corruption within the sphere of governance. President Rajapaksa, as he continues to entertain Silva in his party and among his ministers, is as culpable as his inefficient police force and there is no doubt that if Silva were to switch allegiances and go knocking on the door of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe tomorrow, he would be welcomed in with open arms. Such is the sorry state of the culture of politics in Sri Lanka.

Malaka Silva is a monster created by an inefficient and unjust legal system, as much as he is the product of a family that has failed to teach him the difference between good behaviour and thuggishness.

The fact that he is free to roam the streets of this city, despite his abysmal record in terms of criminal activity, to continue to maim and destroy is a damning indictment on the police, the justice system and right-thinking Sri Lankan society at large.