Gerald Peiris in Slashing Critique of Sally’s Evaluation of Sri Lanka’s Political Economy

gerald peirisGerald Peiris, 18 and 20 December 2014


This is unadulterated ‘Common Opposition’ propaganda and wishful thinking.

My prognosis is that things are proceeding much better for MR than initially expected, and he will win with a comfortable, (but smaller than in 2010) margin. It is the hotchpotch of parties behind the Maithreepala nomination that is disintegrating. Moreover, while the Joint Opposition has been able to buy a few high profile defectors from the MR camp, there are numerically large defections of the local government politicians from parties of the JO to the government side. They are the people who really understand their own grass-root situations.  Even the SLMC which was expected to join the JO is now having second thoughts, a large segment of its politburo wanting to remain in the ranks of the government. (Their leader Rauf Hakim has a record of being thoroughly unreliable, but has always displayed a good understanding of what is good for him.). The JO will undoubtedly stage a massive campaign, with the funds it gets from some of the US-led embassies. But the government also has funds and other resources to match. Some highly damaging disclosures are also been made by Attanayake, the former General Secy. of the UNP, against key leaders of the JO like Ranil, Mangala and Chandrika .…..

Best regards, Gerry

Peiris commenting briefly on Select Quotations from Razeen Sally’s article

Here are my thoughts – brief and extempore, but could be vastly improved.

A = …… “Tamils are the majority, may have better infrastructure, more commercial life and new refugee housing. But war-related poverty and psychosocial problems are still acute.” SALLY.

Poverty among certain segments of the population does remain acute especially in the less developed countries. It has all along been so in Sri Lanka, regardless of whether it is ‘war-related’ or not. What is genuinely significant is the fact that the intensity and incidence of war-related poverty and psychological trauma are far less acute than they were in the immediate aftermath of the war for people who were directly affected by the war including the surviving Tiger cadres. In comparison to post-war situations elsewhere (including those of the economically advanced countries) none can deny that Sri Lanka’s achievements are extraordinary and highly commendable.

B = “Postwar growth is debt-fuelled and driven by an expanding, inefficient public sector, not by productivity gains. A borrowing spree finances fiscal largesse, and it increases reliance on volatile international capital markets for debt financing.” SALLY.

This observation doesn’t even deserve a response. Sri Lanka’s external debt as a proportion of the GDP has increased during the past 5 years. It has been a persistence of a trend that could be traced back over a much longer time-span. This again is not an unusual post-conflict feature, especially when a nation has had to face obstacles of trade and aid sanctions. What must not be ignored is that:  (a) Sri Lanka’s record of debt-servicing has been far more satisfactory than that of many other smaller less developed economies, and (b) a large share of Sri Lanka’s recent capital investment has gone into projects that have long periods of gestation. This author also seems to forget the mammoth fiscal malpractices of the earlier regimes – during the Mahaveli Programme, Kotte Capital City Project, purchase of arms, sale of state-owned enterprises, to name only a few — see Victor Ivan’s ‘Rogue Queen’ – a best seller the contents of which have never been seriously challenged.

C = “… foreign investment is stagnant. Infrastructure projects have had massive cost overruns. SALLY

I am wasting my time. FDI has certainly not been stagnant, Cost overruns are also globally widespread. Compare SL with some of India’s or B’desh’s mega projects. Has this author even heard about what has been happening in the South Asia region?

D = “The Rajapaksa slant on foreign policy runs directly counter to Sri Lanka’s global economic interests. The U.S. and European Union account for two-thirds of Sri Lankan exports. Sri Lanka has everything to gain from closer economic relations with India, particularly with the four states of neighboring South India that constitute a market of 300 million people.” SALLY

 Unadulterated nonsense!  It is precisely because of the fact that the main NATO powers have been using their dominance in Sri Lanka’s external trade relations to intimidate and bully the country to submission that MR has tried to reorient our trade links. His attempts have achieved a fair measure of success. The alternative (which Ranil or Chandrika are likely to have pursued) would have meant the continuation of the ‘un-winnable war’, and Sri Lanka remaining a door-mat.

SOME PUBLICATIONS ……..G. H. Peiris – Extracts from the Curriculum Vitae

2013 Political Conflict in South Asia, University of Peradeniya Publication, Sri Lanka,

2010 Gananduraka Sihivatana (tr. Memories of an Era of Darkness’) a Sinhala

2009 Twilight of the Tigers: Peace Efforts and Power Struggles in Sri Lanka, Oxford

2006 Sri Lanka: Challenges of the New Millennium, Kandy Books, Kandy. 499p.

2003 Co-author – Managing Group Grievances and Internal Conflict: Sri Lanka Country Report,

2002 Co-editor – Corruption in South Asia: India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, International Centre

2001 Author – Towards Policy Formulation in Child Health and Welfare in the Syrian Arab

2001 Author – The Second Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey on Child Health and Welfare in the

2001 Author – Electoral Malpractices in Sri Lanka: A Study of the Presidential Election of 1999,

2000 Co-editor – Pursuit of Peace in Sri Lanka: Past Failures and Future Prospects,

2000–Co-editor – Millennium Perspectives – Essays in Honour of Kingsley de Silva, International

1997 Editor – Studies on the Press in Sri Lanka and South Asia, Sridevi Press, Colombo, 312p.

1996 The Mass Media in Sri Lanka: Baseline Study: Volume I of Citizens’ Participation

1996 Development and Change in Sri Lanka, Macmillan, Delhi. 370p.

1996- Co-author – Baseline Study of Citizens’ Participation in the Mass Media in Sri Lanka,

1995 Co-editor – The University System of Sri Lanka: Vision and Reality, Macmillan, Delhi,

1995 Co-author – A Reappraisal of the Proposed Tourist Complex at Victoria and the Carnation

1987 Material Inputs for Primary Health Care in Sri Lanka, Mimeographed report of an

1987 Irrigation and Water Management in a Peasant Settlement Scheme of Sri Lanka,


Filed under centre-periphery relations, disparagement, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, Rajapaksa regime, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes

2 responses to “Gerald Peiris in Slashing Critique of Sally’s Evaluation of Sri Lanka’s Political Economy

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