Corruption has a phenomenal impact on price, which is then passed on to society. It then undermines the very wellbeing of every citizen and has a corrosive effect on the economy of a nation. This is the ultimate price a nation will pay for undermining a merit based system.

The use of influence peddling and pandering is the root cause of corruption. When the very best for the job is unfairly not selected and panderers who will toe the line are appointed, we are left facing the consequences. Where ineffective, opaque and dishonest decisions are made, these have a damaging and detrimental effect on society.

Today, we hear the voices of the youth of our nation – generations Y and Z – raised with the courage of conviction and a strong sense of character, calling for systemic change based on meritocracy and honesty. They are calling out the henchmen culture, against the barely educated and inept misfits who have been appointed to top positions and only serving personal agendas.

If leaders are chosen through a system of meritocracy, every other walk of life will follow suit; and the very best people, the most qualified and those with proven track records will naturally rise as leaders in all spheres.

The fervent hope is that such leaders will not be tied to any political ideology or agenda but will be pragmatic and altruistic, choosing honest governance and policies that will benefit the country. The demands of our young people must be heard.

Indeed, the time has come for us of the older generation to heed their call and work for a better Sri Lanka.