District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries will be empowered to carry out essential services, the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs announced yesterday.
The announcement calls for the appointment of a team of executive officers comprising executive-level staff to provide services in each district, and to organize mobile services in public and private businesses as well as supermarkets to distribute essentials such as food and medicine to every household.
At least one filling station should be opened in every Divisional Secretariat area to provide fuel for the people who are in need of essential services. Curfew was imposed on March 20 to affect the entire island. Under the curfew, the district and divisional secretaries have been given the power to carry out essential services within 10 days.
Public and private sector employees were given leave on March 16 in the wake of the corona virus outbreak. At that time the government should have had an assessment of the future situation. If such an assessment had been made, it would have been decided to use the state mechanism to maintain essential services at the time of curfew. If it were, many of the problems facing the people today would not have been so serious.
It is true that the government is doing its best to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But the lack of experience of heads of government and their advisors shows that some decisions are made in a matter of days.
The corona virus had been gazetted under the Quarantine Act only weeks later. The government should do its best to prevent these situations. At this juncture, it is important for all parties representing the politics of the country to work together instead of looking for individual solutions.