Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has written to Prime Minister and current Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa questioning the “hysterical” attack on the Central Bank by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Samaraweera said that the tongue-lashing the Governor and other senior officials of the CBSL received from the President, later released to the media by the Presidential Media Division, is unprecedented.
“Never in the seven- decade long history of our Republic have either the government or opposition ever spoken to the Central Bank in such a manner. Under the full glare of cameras, the President’s outburst publicly humiliated the institution and its officers in a most disgraceful manner. To publicly castigate public officials in such a crabby and aggressive manner is nothing less than an act of bullying. It reflects an inner callousness and meanness of spirit that sets an unfortunate example to our nation’s children,” Samaraweera said.
He said that as Ministers who have served for many years, he would know that from time-to-time a few miscreant officials need a good dressing- down. But that has always been done so in private.
“In public, we have always defended the honour and reputation of the institutions and officers that silently serve the public. However, we have always resisted the temptation ‘to play to the gallery’ by humiliating government officials in public,” he said.
Samaraweera also said that he believes it is his duty to defend the Central Bank against the petulant charges that have been unfairly and ungraciously been hurled at them, especially because of the Prime Minister’s deafening silence.
“Sri Lanka’s current economic woes are fundamentally fiscal, not monetary. Therefore, there is only a limited role for monetary policy in this crisis. Even so the Central Bank has undertaken a number of major stimulus activities. Some of them are well beyond the call of duty – so much so that members of the Monetary Board and Public Debt Department have left themselves open to facing a court of law,” he said.
Samaraweera said the President’s accusations on the CBSL have no basis and that he is unable to cope with the demands and strain of his great office. (Colombo Gazette)