Dengue crisis: Govt. insensitive to suffering of masses - priest

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic church yesterday alleged that public funds had been squandered on politicians and officials at the expense of the public at a time several districts were struggling to tackle fast spreading dengue.

Parish priest of St. Anne’s church, Kurana, Negombo Rev. Cyril Gamini Fernando, in his Sunday sermon, lambasted the government for being insensitive to the suffering of the masses.

Rev. Fernando was responding to yahapalana government last Friday obtaining parliamentary approval for a supplementary estimate amounting to about Rs 200 mn to purchase vehicles for two Ministers, Deputy Minister, Northern Governor, Presidential Secretariat and for diplomatic missions abroad.

Since the last parliamentary polls in August 2015, the government had obtained public funds on several occasions to acquire luxury vehicles for members of the UNP-SLFP coalition.

Security forces and police engage in anti-dengue operations in Colombo. Army headquarters says troops are supporting civil authorities and police to check houses in various parts of the city and its suburbs(Pics courtesy army media)

The former spokesman for the Catholic church said that immediate measures should be taken to arrest the situation. The priest urged the government to declare an emergency and take tangible measures without further delay or face the consequences.

Pointing out that hospitals had been overflowing with patients, the priest pointed out that foolish politicians and officials still seemed to be unaware of the crisis. Rev. Fernando emphasized that he was not engaged in party politics, but speaking on behalf of those those affected by dengue and their families.

The priest said that extravagant spending couldn’t be tolerated at a time the vast majority of people affected by the dengue epidemic lacked basic facilities.

Commenting on the situation in the Negombo area, Rev. Fernando said that there were dengue patients in many families. The government couldn’t absolve itself of the responsibility by forcing people to clean their garden, the priest said, while calling for divine intervention to help foolish politicians understand the gravity of the situation. They hadn’t still understood the fact that the country was facing an epidemic and if not controlled soon could cause a large number of deaths.

Nearly 240 men, women and children succumbed to dengue this year.

The priest also referred to hospital staff being affected by the disease against the backdrop of inefficient handling of the situation. Rev. Fernando faulted the public for not doing enough for anti-dengue campaign.

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