Open letter to Gotabaya Rajapaksa


Dear President, 

This is Bandula Jayasekara. We haven't spoken to each other much for several years, or let me say since 2015, when I went in search of independence and stayed away from governments and politicians.

Congratulations on becoming the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Please use the executive powers where necessary for the benefit of the public. 

As for me, I am another cancer patient still alive in Sri Lanka. It is no longer just my battle. I am also fighting on behalf of others who are even less fortunate than I am. Hope you are aware that thousands are dying of cancer in Sri Lanka due to lack of funds and proper treatment on time. Many even wouldn't know that they have cancer. Sad to say that many hospitals too are fighting among themselves, and poor patients are getting caught in the crossfire. Many die.  I found out almost everyone at the hospital I go for my treatment have voted for you, because you had a hand in the running of that hospital once and they love you.   

Hope you remember how we first met. It was at a New Year festival in Los Angeles. I found you to be quiet, unassuming and soft spoken.  Surprisingly, we had a long chat. I also knew that you and my brother had served in the Army together and you had been his senior. We then met briefly, during the campaign of your brother President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I wasn't into politics though the late Lakshman Kadirgamar was/will be my hero because I was fortunate to have worked with him on behalf of Sri Lanka. I got to know you more and better after you assumed the role of Secretary Defence.  Kanchana Ratwatta persuaded me to take over the position of Editor in Chief of the Daily News. I accepted it with much reluctance. The rest is history.  

You will recall how we worked together closely. You called me when various forces were attacking the President and others connected to him.  You told me, "Bandula. This is what they did to President Premadasa. First, they attacked everyone around him and then made the president vulnerable. We mustn't let them do it to President Rajapaksa." We worked hard against the LTTEā€ˆin Geneva. I remember how I had to wake you up at 3 in the morning once to make a complaint. You attended to it immediately.  I am sure you will remember how I sent a journalist to organise the Defence website. You put him together with young members of the navy and the army. became a force to be reckoned with thereafter.  Do you remember how I couldn't eat the all vegetarian meal at your residence? Thereafter, you and your very unassuming wife Ayoma made sure there were some other dishes whenever I visited your residence. You'll were very hospitable.

It was at your residence on a Saturday or a Sunday that I suggested to you that we must have a campaign like in the United States   "Uncle Sam Wants you" You agreed.  I requested Dilith Jayaweera to do it for us and free of charge, and Api Wenuwen Api campaign was launched. You formed a committee with late Major General Parami Kulatunga, former Air Force Commander Roshan Gunatilaka (he was number 2 of the Air Force then) and my good friend Major General Palitha Fernando (I knew Palitha from the time he was a Major in the army). 

Anyway, you know that I kept away from everyone related to politics after 2015. Those very people I had helped climb up had no time for me. I was without a job for 6 months.  My friend, Editor of The Island was the first to offer me a job. However, it was Mr. Kili Rajamahendran who gave me my second lease of life and kept me alive.  He does that even today after

I kindly request you to help the poor cancer patients of Sri Lanka. It is you who can bring down the prices of medicine, train both our doctors and nursing and other support staff, and make sure that all transplants and operations related to cancer are done here in Sri Lanka.

You know better how much money we could save for the country if you do that. I request you as the President of Sri Lanka to visit all cancer hospitals and wards and find out for yourself. Please don’t listen to others.  All roads shouldn't lead to Maharagama, because there should be other hospitals and wards too.

However, could you start a good bus service to Maharagama for cancer patients? They must travel in comfort.  Why should ordinary citizens collect money and donate to hospitals run by the government when there is so much shameful waste in this country. Please use your Executive Powers to get rid of some luxury vehicles belonging to ministers, and provide world class equipment to hospitals/wards across the country.  Dear President, you know better why even poor cancer patients go to private hospitals.

You as the President of Sri Lanka could make a difference. 

With Metta, Muditha, Karuna


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