BY NEVILLE DE SILVA

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT -

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

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