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Government Gazette

Hooray without Cooray

Last week the spectacle group in the Colombo Municipal Council saw the light, and they saw it blue. This brought to an end the charade carried on for several months about the pair of spectacles they presented as their symbol at the last CMC election was in fact an elephant.

Hopefully, this brings to an end a sordid chapter in the history and politics of the CMC, which has seen more than its share of sleaze and corruption, when there was an organised move to cheat both the voters of Colombo and the majority of councillors elected at the last election about the true identity of those who had won. It was impersonation of the ugliest kind brought into the administration of the premier local body in the country.

Membership of the SLFP

With Colombo’s Mayor Uvais M. Imitiyas accepting membership of the SLFP, along with twenty other members of his Independent Group that contested under the “spectacles” the end has come to that unholy concept of remote control administration in the CMC. It has also brought an end a great deal of behind the curtains activity in CMC affairs, where those who did not win the last election because they did not contest, were trying to make puppets of those who actually won.

The desperation of the puppeteers from the UNP led by Sirisena Cooray, the brains behind the remote control idea, supported by some key officials of the council, became clear when they began calling on the Government to dissolve the CMC and go in for a fresh election, something no voters asked for.

They claimed the affairs of the CMC were not being handled well. It was the last gasp by those puppeteers who knew their tactic of trying to fool the city voters had not paid the expected dividend.

The dividend they sought was control of the CMC administration to manage it in the same corrupt way as it had been done for over 25 years, with little regard for the needs of the citizens of Colombo; and all energies being directed at lining the pockets of councillors of the Green Jumbo type, and officials who were as corrupt as these so-called city fathers. All they fathered was more sleaze and rottenness all round.

It all began when some in the UNP brought down Sirisena Cooray from retirement Down Under to put him back in the chair of the First Citizen of Colombo.

That the voters of Colombo could very well do without such political resurrections of the worst type was of no interest to these manipulators, who saw in Cooray the means of outdoing others within the UNP seeking the plum of office in city administration.

Cooray Gang

In the event, the Cooray Gang proved they had not only lost the touch of winning elections, even with an abundance of corruption, but had also forgotten how to fill a nomination form for a local government poll.

The upshot of it was the claim made by these people that a vote for the “Spectacle Group” would be the same as a vote for the UNP’s elephant, with UNP voters in the city fooled into believing that a win by the spectacles would a be a win by the UNP. The game plan had been finalised for the Spectacle Group to resign en bloc after election and pave the way for the UNP Group led by Sirisena Cooray to take control of the CMC, with a backdoor entry. All these calculations ignored the election law which clearly says a party that did not stand for election cannot replace members who resign.

When these best laid plans for back room manoeuvre failed, there came the sudden discovery that Mayor Imitiyas and his group were not doing a good job of city administration, and the call for fresh elections in Colombo.

With the spectacles of in CMC now in the SLFP’s hand, and not attached to the elephant’s trunk or tail, we see sour grapes reactions by some UNPers, such as Lakshman Seneviratne, from Mahiyangana.

Pile of garbage

Having wooed the Spectacle Group all these months, and claiming they were real UNP to fool the UNP voters, they are now found to be a pile of garbage, with warnings that on-going SLFP-UNP talks may be in jeopardy due to the President extending the SLFP hand to the Spectacle Group.

It’s funny how these chameleon-like characters hold sway in politics. As long as the UNP was trying to come to a deal with Mayor Imitiyas and his group there was no dirt about them.

When it all failed, we are now warned of the failure of SLFP-UNP talks; and the charge that the Spectacle Group is a “pile of garbage”.

As for the SLFP-UNP talks, the CMC and its administration does not come within the six points on which agreement has already been reached. On the matter of garbage, what were these chameleons in the UNP doing all this time wooing this so-called “pile of garbage” in a bid to overturn the actual result of the last CMC poll and grab the controls of city administration?
One is reminded of the Sinhala aphorism about how the [poisonous] kabaragoya (water monitor) can become an [edible] thalagoya (iguana), when it comes to the eating. The citizens of Colombo can now say hooray, with all the machinations of Sirisena Cooray and those corrupt puppeteers in CMC politics having come to naught.

As for garbage, it is best that those who call the Spectacle Group a “pile of garbage” realise the real piles of garbage in the city are those caused by the inefficiency of successive UNP administrations in Colombo; and hide their heads in shame at the unseen garbage piled up in the form of a corrupt and stinking administration.

Let’s hope Mayor Imitiyas and his team, without the bother of remote control politics, will now be able to buckle down to the challenging task of clearing all the garbage left behind by the Green Jumbos who were lording it over the CMC for so long, and make Colombo a truly garbage free city, in more ways than the obvious.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Sri Lanka

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