BY NEVILLE DE SILVA
Whenever a pep-pill is needed to invigorate you and clear the mental cobwebs for the day ahead there is nothing like reading all the news that’s fit to thrill from our island paradise.
That is even better than following the American pantomime performed by the leader of the sole superpower, the irrepressible Donald J. Trump doing a nuclear dance with communist comedian Kim Jong-un.
It is far better to stick to our own for where else would you find such a panoply of humourists, or simply put, jokers, who make a right royal mess of the country as though the trail of broken promises strewn across our highways is not sufficient to keep the public bemused and troubled.
Minutes before I sat down to write this column I saw a news report that members of an organisation which calls itself the GMOA but which is better known to the Sri Lankan public by far less respectable and more appropriate sobriquets, will surround the city of Colombo. It warned the public to be ready to be “inconvenienced.” How very thoughtful of the blighters.
The report said that GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Naveen De Zoysa “warned the government to brace itself for a backlash as the whole of Colombo would be surrounded by members of the GMOA and many anti-SAITM forces on Friday (15), thus causing the authorities much inconvenience if they did not solve the issue before that.
He advised the general public to get ready to be inconvenienced as a result or to avoid entering Colombo during the time the trade union action would take place”
Now that our only field marshal is very much in the news, the GMOA’s military- like manoeuvre reminds one of Field Marshal Montgomery’s strategy to defeat the great German General Erwin Rommel at El Alamein during World War 11.
Of course Bernard Montgomery had not only 1,000 tanks and another 1,000 artillery pieces but also air power to support him on the ground, thus overwhelming Rommel with numbers.
The GMOA’s ‘military’ masterminds preparing to lay siege to the capital must rely on a far smaller and more vulnerable armoured corps.
They apparently were planning to block roads leading to the heart of the city with their duty-free vehicles (mainly Japanese and Korean tin cans one suspects compared to the military might available to Montgomery and Rommel) obtained at great expense to the State and for more humanitarian purposes than crippling the city and inconveniencing the public.
What is so disgusting is that a set of persons who educated themselves utilising an educational system maintained with public funds, is prepared to harass the public and deprive people of medical treatment for which they are paid by the State to provide, and behaving like common or garden thugs instead of with the dignity that should come with the profession.
That noble profession for which public funds are expended annually has been increasingly perverted to the point of moral depravity by modern- day trade union leaders that have abandoned all ethical codes adopted since the time of Hippocrates only to fall at the feet of Mammon.
All the moralising that the GMOA leadership and its political supporters engage in is pure hogwash. The assault on free education that it claims to fight against is no more than sloganising. All these regular strikes- and some going on outside Colombo at the time of writing - amounts to the fear of there being more medical professionals in the field offering challenges and competition to those now raking in fees from private practice which they want to continue to monopolise.
This has little to do with professional ethics or professional qualifications. If the GMOA is a legitimate body safeguarding not only professional interests but also moral standards, why is it turning a blind eye to the unprofessional conduct of doctors who are doubtless members of its organisation?
Just the other day a senior doctor attached the Prison Hospital was accused of having admitted to the hospital two individuals who had been sentenced by the courts only hours before. That this woman doctor had gone out of her way to have admitted them to hospital even before the usual procedures had been completed was reported in the media quoting Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake who urged that action be taken against such ‘witch’ doctors.
If there was a breach of procedure and this woman doctor had violated normal procedures, it was surely the duty of the GMOA to have inquired from the doctor concerned whether she had exceeded her mandate and warned her if she had, for bringing the profession into disrepute.
If she had already been transferred out earlier this year, as the deputy minister claimed what on earth was she still doing working at the Prison Hospital unless she has a penchant for pitying the inmates? And what were the health authorities doing without enforcing that transfer, if Ramanayake is correct.
But instead of trying to safeguard the ethics of the profession and maintain its reputation, the GMOA is more concerned