CaptureHomer’s Iliad, most memorable of epic poems, is full of stock phrases, used again and again to describe people and things throughout the poem. When scholars in the last century established that the poem developed orally, they noted that these phrases were used to fill up the metre as the poet thought of how to move his narrative forward.

But I believe too that they are literary devices, not merely functional, and they add to the impact of the tale. They entrench in the mind of the reader, as of the audience for the oral version, the defining characteristics of the person or object described. Thus I cannot now see the Mediterranean without thinking of it as a wine dark sea, just as goats are, in my mind’s window, always sure-footed.

Some such defining description would help in making clear what is going on in the long drawn out narrative of the Central Bank bonds. For instance, when there were references recently to Saman Kumara, it might have been forgotten that, on August 1st, it was reported that ‘Mahendran directed me… he threatened me to do that… (to put Saman Kumara in the front office)’. It would serve to keep the strange story clear in our minds if, whenever Saman Kumara’s name came up, it was noted in parenthesis ‘forcibly placed by Mahendran as chief dealer of the EPF’.  That would make things clear, though adding the term ‘millionaire’ would remind us too that ‘Saman Kumara and his family members own assets exceeding Rs. 80 million’.

This paper I think understands the need for this type of characterization for, in describing Anika Wijesuriya, it noted that she provided the testimony that Ravi Karunanayake ‘may have received gratification…from Arjun Aloysius’. Not entirely coincidentally, I have now written to the Bribery Commission about another incident involving Ravi Karunanayake and this time Anika’s father Nahil, involving cheques to the value of Rs 60 million given to the Prime Minister.

What they were for needs to be investigated, and will probably explain why the Prime Minister has now provided Ravi with another important position despite the evidence that forced his resignation. So Ravi continues to control public funds, even despite the subsequent evidence about his misleading the state banks into bidding low and thus ensuring that only young Aloysius pocketed the profits of the government’s strange way of raising funds during Mahendran’s tenure.

The role of Ravi as well as the Prime Minister in the strange incidents of February 26th 2015 also need to be kept constantly before us. Malik Samarawickrema and Kabir Hashim seem to have got away with the claim that, though indeed they went to the bank on that date and said there was a large funding requirement, ‘there had been “no discussion whatsoever” on how to raise the funds, nor had there been any discussion at the meeting about issuing bonds or about the bond auction to be held the following day.’ This is in direct contradiction of the assertion of the Prime Minister in Parliament on March 17th 2015 when he said ‘During a meeting on February 26 attended by Minister of Finance, Minister of Highways, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, the Governor Central Bank and the Deputy Governor, it was decided that Rs. 15 Billion would be required urgently. It was decided to raise a part of these monies through an auction of Treasury Bonds.’

How then should the meeting of 26th February be described?

  1. Which decided according to PM to raise 15 billion through Treasury bonds
  2. Arranged to convey funding requirement direct to Governor contrary to usual practice, without discussing bonds
  3. Attended by Ministers and also the PM’s Senior Adviser though PM suppressed that in speech in Parliament
  4. Subsequently recorded, at Governor’s request for second COPE investigation, in undated letter from Finance Minister requesting 75 billion

Sadly there was no questioning of Malik and Kabir, which might have helped to make things clear. One can only hope that Ranil will be brought to book about this because, whatever happened that day, there is no doubt that it shows how the party was totally complicit in plundering the country.

Ceylon Today 31 Oct 2017