An open letter to Prime Minister from former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera
President’s accusations to CBSL officials have no basis and suggest he is unable to cope with the demands and strain of his great office
My dear Prime Minister and Minister of Finance,
The hysterical manner in which your brother, the President, acted last week in blaming the Central Bank for all our country’s present economic woes prompted me to pen this open letter. In my capacity as your predecessor at the Ministry of Finance, I write to you today not only as the Prime Minister but also as the Finance Minister, under whose purview all aspects of the economy fall.
As the Minister of Finance, Economy and Policy Development, the Central Bank and Treasury – the two state institutions charged with monetary and fiscal policy respectively – are under your charge. Constitutionally, you are the superintendent of our country’s economy. Of course, this authority is itself subservient to the Constitutional provision that the Cabinet of Ministers, not the President or Prime Minister, is “charged with the direction and control of the Republic”.
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.