Open letter to the chairman and board of Sri Lankan Airlines

I am writing in disgust, after reading that SriLankan Airlines had lost Rs. 22 billion because of poor management and indecisiveness. Thank God the Cabinet has summoned you. Now face the music. The Prime Minister cannot save you there. For your knowledge we spend only half of your loss on public welfare. We laughed and ridiculed the previous administration for messing the airline, you have proved you are no better, you are in fact worse.

To begin, the only qualification you two have to be on the airline and on the board is that you go on holidays with the Prime Minister; the CEO, because he is Charitha Ratwatte’s brother. When the board wanted the CEO’s probation extended for poor performance, the Prime Minister threatened the board. The directors agreed and continued.

We all know your only experience is retailing garments and selling coffee on the high streets of Colombo. How do we expect you or the CEO to turn around a bankrupt company? Both of you have no experience at all. This is not your private property nor the Prime Minister’s. You don’t even listen to him now according to the Minister in charge.

Mr. Chairman, the airline belongs to the public and it is an asset of the people of this country. Your performance as chairman has been very disappointing. You have to date not prosecuted anyone from the previous administration for mismanagement. Instead, you are being accused of doing business with a former Sri Lankan cricketer, buying spare parts for the airline. His BIL was the former CEO of the airline. So how can we expect you to take action against the former CEO, other than allowing the party to continue? Some of the former directors belong to the Royal College Club or relatives of Ratwatte or you. Because of that, the Weliamuna Report was thrown to the dogs.

The CEO of the Airline has no respect for the board according to Minister Kabir Hashim. He does not even listen to the Minister. If this is true, kick him out. We know you can’t, his brother will protect him. Both of them will have to get a home overseas if this Government changes, the way they do things now.

Anyway, we the public have had enough with you two. There could be legal action against this gross mismanagement and asking the court to intervene. We are also asking the President to appoint a Presidential Commission to inquire into the affairs of the airline, especially the events surrounding the aircraft cancellation that cost the airline more than the bond fraud. If you have any shame, please go home. Let not what happened to Mahendran befall you!

Ajith de Silva
Courtesy: http://www.ft.lk/

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