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Editorial


Will leaving it to the Gods end Mervyn’s thuggery?

The spectre that is Mervyn Silva has appeared again. It is tiresome to dwell on the doings of a man with a warped mind, but then write of him we must, however nauseating the task may be, because not to do so, will be tantamount to ignoring, and therefore endorsing his deranged dare devilry.

To have matters in perspective, this week’s incident involving the serial scallywag is not his first; we daresay it shall not be his last. The entire country is aware of his buffoonery, courtesy of an earlier incident where he manhandled an employee of the Rupavahini Corporation, and was himself manhandled in return and daubed in red paint. But, he carries on regardless with blithe disregard for law and order.

Where does this leave the ‘average’, peaceful, law abiding citizen? If any other individual acted in a like manner, or indeed with a level of aggression that is a fraction of what Silva displays, he would be behind bars and counting the days of a lengthy prison sentence. But then, Mervyn Silva is the best example that some are more equal than others even before the law, in this pristine democracy of ours.

When government politicians are confronted with the question of Mervyn Silva at press conferences, they make fools of themselves, making ridiculous statements to the effect that they condemn his antics, and that they are ashamed of his behaviour. The likes of Maithripala Sirisena, Susil Premajayantha and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa did so this week again!

Sirisena, for instance, is so aggrieved that he has left it to the Gods. The Gods will punish Silva, assures the man who is the General Secretary of the ruling party. Well, if we were to take Sirisena at his word, we might as well extend that argument to everyone else, close down the Police, the courts of law and the Attorney General’s Department and leave the Gods to deal with all our legal work! Or, should we say, Sirisena-like, ‘bambuwa’!

Surely, if senior ministers really feel that Silva is a liability to the Government they can ask the man to resign, and sack him if he doesn’t do so. When it comes to that decisive step, Mervyn Silva is nobody’s business and we have another minister, the intrepid Nimal Siripala de Silva, taking an altogether different stance and making another hilarious statement.

This Silva says that there is already a high powered committee inquiring into the Rupavahini incident, and that the probe is taking long because it has to be meticulously conducted. This committee consisting apparently of very busy people cannot sit just because someone wants it to, and will arrive at the proper decision in due course. No wonder this Silva was sent to Geneva for talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam!

Has the law and order situation in this country deteriorated to such a degree that when a person flouts the law with impunity and does so with unnerving regularity, he has to be dealt with by a committee appointed by the ruling political party? Do the wheels of justice stop turning when the accused is a minister? What role do the Police, for instance, play in all this, except turning a very convenient blind eye?

We have seen the same wheels of justice turning with lightning speed on certain occasions. When the late Sripathi Sooriyarachchi crossed over from the government to the opposition benches for instance, he was charged with the misappropriation of a vehicle and quickly put in jail. But alas, the alacrity with which justice is dispensed for Mervyn Silva has never been the same.

Unfortunately for the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Mervyn Silva is doing it more harm than good. By tolerating Silva’s histrionics, it is the UPFA that has come to be at the butt end of criticism not only from the opposition but also from the general public. And, if nothing is done to stem the rot, that criticism would transform itself into downright anger that will be directed at the government itself.

Does Silva have any political value which results in him being granted this cloak of immunity? He is a man who polled some 2000 preference votes at the general election and then entered Parliament through the national list. But if he is being retained for the political gung-ho that he regularly displays, he is doing more harm to the UPFA than good and it is a pity that the Alliance hierarchy appears to be oblivious to this.

We have been assured that at a recent meeting of Parliamentarians, after the latest incident involving Silva, he was told off by President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his boorish behaviour. But desperate situations need desperate solutions, and Silva is a desperate man; merely asking him to mind his business does not achieve anything.

In issues such as this the government must not only act impartially, it must also appear to be acting impartially. With Silva that is certainly not the case. And as long as this fiasco drags on and as Silva’s behaviour declines from the absurd to the abominable, it will be the government’s reputation, already under considerable strain, that will take a beating from which, at one point, there maybe no turning back. And, judging by recent events, that point of no return, at least for Mervyn Silva, seems to be fast approaching.

It is time then that someone, somewhere in the government told Mervyn Silva to go, for God’s sake. For, those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make them mad.

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