Colombo, Human Security, Politics and Governance

And now for something completely different – “Victor Claymore”!

Beginning with a story of Andare, Sri Lanka’s inimitable court jester, I go on to explore in a similar vein the phenomenon of unexploded ordinance in Sri Lanka, looking particularly at the emergence of “Victor Claymore”.

Victor Claymore refers to none other than our current Inspector General of Police and, as was told to me by a Policeman, is an epithet the Police force itself uses when referring to him.

Sri Lanka is awash with claymores and Victor is incredibly adept at discovering them at times and places most beneficial to the government. The claymores Victor discovers are hastily hidden and never explode on time or as planned. What is more, none of them are set of remotely during the process of discovery. Once, a claymore got in the way of a JVP rally in Colombo. Then there was the claymore in Delkanda recently, positioned strategically close to a SLFP rally and in the middle of a busy market. It never went off. Sripathi also claims of a conspiracy to kill him using claymores.

Never one to be left out of the limelight, even Keheliya Rambukwella had a claymore scare. What’s interesting however is that instructions for the use of the claymore in this instance (“This side up”) was written in Sinhala! But Victor Claymore even had an answer for that – apparently, it was captured in 1996 by the LTTE when they over-ran a military camp in Mullativu. Vintage claymores are clearly in vogue.

Let’s take another case – that of the explosive laden truck sent by the LTTE to Colombo. What does our Victor Claymore do? Instead of immediately and in secret mobilising check-points and police operations to ferret out this truck, he goes public with the news and even tells us the colour of the truck. That is, of course, if there ever was such a truck in the first place!

We recall that Victor’s support for the eviction of Tamils from lodges in Colombo was in part based on his phantasm that some residents in these lodges, members of the LTTE, were planning an imminent attack on the Colombo Port. We all know the sordid details of what ensued.

With an IGP behaving like Andare, I end by wondering, what more can we really expect from those in high public office so demonstrably partial to the whims and fancies of those in power?

Read my article, written in Sinhala, in full for the full story. It is available as a PDF here, and on Vikalpa.