‘VIP Roadrunners’ and the lawMay 27, 2012, 12:00 pm
‘Lal’, an erstwhile employee of my father, used to drive me to school when I was sitting for my O/Ls. And during one of our ‘on the way conversations’, Lal divulged that though he had been a driver for decades, there was one dream (Or may I say ‘one driving dream’) that he had not been able to fulfil. That was to drive an Ambulance. Why Ambulance? I instantly queried. Lal then explained the driving force behind his driving dream. He wished to race down the streets in the Colombo city, overtaking the heavy traffic thereon. And understandably, the wail of the ambulance siren would guarantee his much desired driving experience. Lal might have had his day later, but in case his dream remained unfulfilled to date, he would certainly make an adjustment to it. He would choose a VIP vehicle, instead of an Ambulance, since the Colombo city streets are now seemingly owned by the VIPs whenever their convoys are on the move. These so-called VIPs are virtually immune from the traffic congestion as their overenthusiastic security personnel clear the streets, forcibly and in the most disgraceful manner, in order for the convoys to move swiftly (Well, some say that VIP convoys also entitle to the easy passage that the Ambulances are given as the both carry the sick !).
Three years have lapsed since the crushing of the LTTE. The country is now safe and peaceful according to the VIPs who, contrary to their own assertions, are still in need of a large number of security personnel and vehicles whenever they travel within the country. Perhaps they are truly under a constant security threat! (Though I cannot fathom it), or else our VIPs cannot afford to waste much time on the road as they are too busy with their work! (This is again highly unlikely).
However, in either event, can these VIPs reign above the law and cause havoc on the road as they wish? Why are the motor traffic laws and regulations, that you and I follow (or at times, being penalised for not following them to the letter), not applicable to these individuals? Does their supposed VIP status make them invisible to the eyes of the law?
The message of this lordly indifferent attitude of the VIPs is, however, loud and clear – "We are no equal to you! We can flout the law as and when we fancy". It is a pity that these egomaniacs habitually forget that the power they wield so proudly is only temporary. Sooner or later it will be taken over from them. And their supposed VIP status will be vanished without a trace then. The irony is that the might and pride of the mandate that we ourselves have entrusted to them are being flaunted at us!
Three years ago, we, as a nation (at least, the majority), in our boundless admiration for the military victory over LTTE, sought to confer kingship on the President, which His Excellency himself reportedly disliked. But now as we celebrate the third anniversary of our triumph over terrorism, let us refresh our minds that we are living in a ‘democracy’. And it is the law that prevails in a democracy, not the whims and fancies of the individuals. Hence those who think that they are "King’s Men" and find themselves above the law need to go for a quick reality check, since in reality, they are not as privileged as they perceive them to be.
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Last Updated May 23 2013 | 10:49 pm