The Advocata-Echelon Public forum which included a public lecture by Prof Razeen Sally followed by a Q&A session, garnered attention in the local national press with article in all the major Weekend english newspapers and National English dailies, as well as online. Here's a selection of the coverage.
Sri Lanka is in a period of dangerous policy drift with mediocre governance which is inherently unstable with the danger of falling back to a 'big man illiberal' politics is getting nearer, a top economist and policy analyst has said.
It is two years since the Rajapaksa regime was ousted but an expected economic take-off has not happened, with no serious reforms to unleash competition and boost productivity, Razeen Sally, Associate Professor of Lee Kwan Yew University said.
"The good news is that we have a little bit more liberalism and democracy than we had under the Rajapaksa's. We seem to have lost the fear," Sally told a forum organized by Advocata Institute, a free market think tank in association with Echelon Business Magazine.
An infusion of fresh blood, both in politics and business, is needed if Sri Lanka is to avoid the doomsday scenario of slipping back into the sad and bad days of ‘Big Man’ illiberal democracy (read the Rajapaksa era), leading economist Prof. Razeen Sally declared.
The Sri Lankan-born associate professor at the Lee Kwan Yew University in Singapore believes the island might ‘miss the bus’ again, simply due to lack of political will amongst the ruling class who are content to let events drift without coming good on their promise of Yahapalanaya (good governance).
“It is not in the interests of the present incumbents to change things. For the country to take-off we need people with vision and dynamism and inspired to move forward in a different way. We need an injection of fresh blood in the political elite as well as business elite but even though the government has changed, the political class is still the same,” Prof. Sally said at a forum organised by Advocata Institute, a free-market think tank, in Colombo this week.
Also on the Island, Island : Be Weary of Chinese Influence, The Sunday Observer, Ceylon Today, and the Daily Mirror: Sri Lanka in danger of falling back into Rajapaksa tyranny , Toxic politics could undermine results expected from ETCA and Loud call to protect Govenor of the Central Bank
The Daily Mirror also carried an op-ed by social commentator Capt. Elmo Jayawardene:
The most current local newspapers carried articles covering a Sri Lankan economy analysis by Professor Razeen Sally. I too was there to listen to him speaking his piece and want to add my mite congratulating him for the well-analysed sense he spoke and to state my appreciation to the organisers for presenting such an event. What facts I heard from the podium I understood and to those of us Sri Lankans, who are the lost sheep of the economically-bewildered category, this certainly was a wide and clear eye opener as to where the country is heading. We wonder eternally what inexplicable wrong we have collectively committed against the gods, for them to give Sri Lanka this perpetual step-motherly treatment for being glued to the political dumps. We are the inheritors of this beautiful land, so blessed and filled to the brim with every natural phenomenon one can wish for. Yet, as a country, we are struggling constantly, swimming upstream, not against the vast blue ocean that wraps around the island or the rivers that flow majestically from the hills, but against the incurable swirling currents of Diyawanna Oya.
The lecture also referenced in an open letter to Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne by good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne.