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MERVYN SILVA SRI LANKA’S QUINTESSENTIAL COWARD

[The Sunday Leader.lk, Sunday, 15 January 2012 10:59 No Comment]

Last week Mervyn Silva was on the run. The foul-mouthed thug switched off his phones having purportedly declared that he would not speak to the media. No small wonder there. Given that Silva was under fire from men not only within his own constituency but from those very persons he had handpicked to perform local functions.

In a nutshell, Mervyn Silva has been accused of taking bribes. So what is new? No surprises there. How else could he be building a basement at his Park Road residence which is to cost an estimated Rs. 2.5 million.  The basement only.

The bottom line is this. The current thrust to expose Mervyn is clearly at the behest of this government’s strongman Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. No set of local politicians would take on a Minister without the cover of higher power. We can only beseech his brother President Mahinda Rajapaksa to spare us all the charade of pretending he knew nothing of what Mervyn and his touts have been up to, this past decade.

In fact, that Rajapaksa as President has done nothing to stop Meryn proves that the man is shameless. Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa. Not Mervyn Silva. One expects a Head of State to lead – to uphold right from wrong and not cover for an ill-educated political lackey who not only acts the clown but is a pest to society.

Remember how the President covered for Mervyn in the now infamous saga involving a Samurdhi official who was tied to a tree by Mervyn for allegedly neglecting his duties.  Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa may well boast he won a war but he has failed miserably to crush Silva into oblivion, and for good reason – his own petty political interests.

Mervyn Silva is the quintessential coward. Your typical classroom bully. A thug, patronising with ease, members of the underworld, drug dealers and gold smugglers.

Of average intellect, the thuggish Silva  – a current product of Mahinda Rajapaksa – was quick to assess that his inbred qualities of crass, crude displays of verbal abuse was in fact a step up the ladder to political notoriety. A quality which Mervyn Silva, in similar vein to every politician in this country, embraces.

Any publicity is good publicity and it is by that adage that Mervyn functions. Which is why a man who polled a mere 2,500 votes in the general election of 2004 by the 2010 general election polled a massive 150,000 preferential votes. Silva had perfected the art of publicity and the local media bit the bait he threw each time.

Silva was further given an added bonus after having been asked and appearing weekly on a local reality television show as a judge! He performed like a circus clown – but the ratings of this particular show were at an all time high – not because of the gracious Ms. Rosy Senanayake who was also on the panel of judges but because Mervyn Silva – sat there holding television audiences spellbound with his antics.

And that in a nutshell is the essence that is Mervyn Silva.  The man if taken on – as he was in the fiasco enacted at the state owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, will run with his tail between his legs.

But, the foul-mouthed Silva has proved invaluable to political leaders  in a country where politics hits mud everyday. Acting as the court jester, Mervyn provides valuable, violent, verbose service to control those who attempt to question the President or anyone in the bad books of the President.

Silva’s allegiance to Mahinda Rajapaksa will however be thrown out of the window the day Rajapaksa is no longer President of Sri Lanka – that too is Mervyn’s style. He would look for another Godfather.

Silva entered politics under the patronage of Mahinda Rajapaksa in the Hambantota District. Later he left the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and joined the United National Party (UNP). Silva at one time was a strong critic of Chandrika Kumaratunga. He slandered her repeatedly. However, after Kumaratunga became president in 1994, Mervyn Silva got back his membership in the SLFP asking forgiveness from her in public.

There was even a time when Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe used Mervyn Silva to slander Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa. As one wag told this newspaper – Right now, if Mervyn were to approach Wickremesinghe for a crossover “Ranil would grab him with both hands”.

The man is a vital commodity for Sri Lanka’s political leaders.

While this government makes noises about actual governance, it is clear that they are a party of Mervyn, Duminda Silvas and Lansas, thugs and toughs, cultivating the dark side of politics for power. Their response to dissent from the UNP was to push and shove; that is the caliber of politicians we have now.

The UNP, on the other hand, remains a shameless farce. Instead of actually opposing the government, they just make a sad show of it. Have they changed anything? No. Under Ranil, the UNP has become known for walking out of votes, not running in elections and then crying foul. They have not even tried, and as many times as he is charge sheeted or protested against, this dictator of the opposition has clung on.

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