Friday 1 April 2016

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 01 April   2016

Handing over National Airlines to Foreigners?

I believe that laws when genuinely practiced bring our minds together. When we care about the person/institution and we use the law to ‘advise’ them – our Energy is added in two ways – (1) as our feeling of care and (2) as our effort to share our knowledge of law with them. But unless the other side is  open to receiving this – the relationship does not get strengthened by such ‘advice’. This does not mean that the service provider loses value. To the extent the provider is genuine – the provider’s own mind gets strengthened through additional investment in the ‘Structure’ that the law serves. Gandhi  went beyond the law and was driven by his own Truth. Truth provides solutions to all genuine seekers and rewards all genuine workers – beyond the boundaries of an institution. Gandhi accepted punishment whenever the official system charged him as per the law. Now I feel that by going through that pain Gandhi eliminated the knowledge of laws that did not lead to him realizing his Sovereignty.

If work was the measure – then the official charging Gandhi was using his work to gain  knowledge  of law and to get into that position of authority to charge Gandhi. The Judge/Official was also getting benefits in return for doing this job. Gandhi also did work but did not draw proportionate benefits for that work done. Gandhi ‘sacrificed’ to feel like the ordinary Indian laborer and that facilitated the feeling of ownership in common with majority Indians.  Once we feel – we work the inner  system naturally. Laws that are heavy on knowledge and high status – tend to keep us away from Truth – except when  we become victims of such laws. When one is taken to Truth by punishment by law enforcement officers and/or the law itself – one’s Sovereignty is often realized by accepting low status as allocated by the higher officer and the punishment that goes with it. One is however, free of distracting laws, once such punishment is accepted.

On 24 February 2016, there was ‘protest’ in Northern Province of Sri Lanka,  over the rape and death of a teenager and our lawyer in a testamentary matter informed us that he would not be working that day. We went to Court to respect the work of the Court Administration. The Colombo-barrister representing our opposition in that Testamentary matter stated in the Civil Appellate High Court of  Northern Province, Jaffna, that he could move to have the matter ‘dismissed’ but was agreeing to a postponement. I stated that given that I had ‘done’ the primary work for the Appeal – I was ready for the matter to be heard that day itself. To my mind, if there was a law that facilitated such ‘dismissal’ – then such a law was not suitable for war torn areas in Sri Lanka.  In addition, if I had represented myself – common belief  resulting in care for each other – ought to be the primary goal  driving our motivation to be part of the Court system. In any case – by advising the opposition to keep themselves updated about the happenings in Jaffna, the judge confirmed the fulfilment of this basic duty of the Judiciary. Had I been attached to the money outcome of the Court matter and/or the Cost of attending Court – I would not have declared that I would be self-represented. By foregoing the ‘win’ I was able to identify with and bring out the Truth which the Judge also could identify with – but not the lawyer who was driven by ‘winning’ without losing money.

This helps me better appreciate the real problem with Sri Lankan Airlines. Sri Lankan Airlines’ money loss  continues to be highlighted as follows:

Sri Lanka's loss-making carrier seeks foreign partner

[Sri Lanka is seeking foreign assistance to rescue its loss-making national carrier, a minister said Thursday, after the government announced the airline was unable to pay back nearly $1 billion in debt.
The country cannot afford to bear SriLankan Airlines' losses of 128 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($872 million) on top of its massive debt, International Trade Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe told reporters in Colombo.
The airline owes at least $933 million but the government last week said the true figure could be much higher.
"We want to restructure SriLankan (Airlines) with either direct foreign capital or through a management agreement with a foreign airline," Senasinghe said.
He added that he hopes the process will be completed within "two to three months".
Official sources said Colombo was in talks with a Middle Eastern carrier to form an agreement that would see the airline hand over control of its management to a foreign carrier.
A previous management deal with Emirates was ended in 2008 by the former Sri Lankan government following a personal disagreement between the flag carrier and then-president Mahinda Rajapakse.
The airline had refused to bump fare-paying business-class passengers to economy class and give their seats to members of Rajapakse's family, who were returning from London.
An angry Rajapakse removed the Emirates-appointed CEO of SriLankan Airlines from his post and replaced him with his brother-in-law.
The beleaguered national carrier has also drawn controversy in recent years after an independent investigator last year found evidence of serious corruption in a $2.3 billion deal to buy Airbus aircraft during Rajapakse's presidency.
Rajapakse's brother-in-law, Nishantha Wickramasinghe, is under investigation for bribery and corruption dating back to when he was the chairman of the national carrier.
A mounting debt crisis of its own has forced the Sri Lankan government to request a bailout for the country from the International Monetary Fund. Media reports have placed the requested bailout amount at $1.5 billion.]

As per the above report - money alone is considered to be sufficient in the case of  Government. But in terms of the National Carrier – the Government is ready to handover management to foreigners. Given that Government is directly involved in this – such handovers if they are considered to be necessary for lasting  solution – ought to apply in the case of the Government and the war-crimes inquiry also.  The Government must either facilitate Sri Lankan Airlines to operate fully on business basis – or take upon itself  the blame for the loss – as if the Airline was an  inner budget unit.

I learnt about the challenges within Public Service here in Australia – while developing more democratic Financial Management systems within New South Wales Government. I share my wisdom in this regard as follows:

The Inner Budget Unit is like immediate family. We do not ‘show’ outcomes at lower levels. Such units are Program driven and are controlled through Expenditure. Research activities in Universities are such ‘Inner Budget Units’. They are heavy on laws and values  inherited from the past. Others where the public ‘see’ the outcomes delivered – such as teaching activities in a University -  are Business Units that need to generate their own funds. They are the extended parts of the family which do not have the authority to directly exercise power as if they were part of the Government.

Sri Lankan Airlines – in reality became ‘Inner Budget Unit’ of the Government in 1998 – except that the Government here is not just Sri Lankan Government but also Government of Dubai – the owner of Emirates. The conflict over seats happened also due to  lack of separation of powers at the top, combined with the relative money status of the two countries. Dubai Government being an absolute monarchy, it is highly doubtful that Emirates staff would have denied seats to their head of government – the way the Rajapaksa Government was denied seats. Mr. Rajapaksa, as the President of Sri Lanka, himself would have been bound by the rules of Democracy and treated Sri Lankan Airlines as an independent unit with its own right to make business decisions above political decisions where the two  are in conflict.

Such lack of separation happened in the case of Sri Lankan  Judiciary as well and eventually resulted in the dismissal of the Chief Justice. If  minority communities do not challenge subjective decisions – they also risk such dismissals.

Most governments abandon Democracy and the Doctrine of Separation of Powers when they do not have official challenge to their decisions. I found this to be the case with the Australian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission also. Discretionary powers of the president were used even when a more democratic decision could have been made to dismiss the complaints made by me against high ranking officials. At the national level – our elected Prime Minister was dismissed in 1975 - by the Queen’s representative.  

Even here in Australia we are not as democratic as we claim to be. But there is always the Truth that completes our experience to OUR inner satisfaction. We need to remain within our Truth to lose consciousness of external influences that are temporary. Using money values alone requires a unit to be way out of the central management’s influence. Otherwise there is the grave risk of damaging the Sovereign value of the National carrier and therefore  of the Nation. 

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