JET-SETTING POWERS When the mainstream media reported that some 60 MPs were vacationing overseas during the festive season, the public was up in arms – rightly so! The push to ‘go local’ it seemed, had taken a turn to ‘go global’ for a privileged few who tell the rest of us what we should and shouldn’t do; or worse still, can and can’t do. So Sri Lankans have been forced to swallow a bagful of bitter pills – as one Sunday newspaper put it, “a tsunami of crises” – by putting up with power cuts and acute shortages of essential goods including food, among many others, to mitigate the dire consequences of dwindling reserves and foreign currency, which lie at the bottom of the barrel of the nation’s macroeconomy. Where these officials find the money (let alone forex!) to jet-set has been a burning question for some weeks, as is that of whether taxpayers are footing their hefty travel bills. Indeed, the prorogation of parliament for five long weeks to 18 January opened the can of worms: so the hoi polloi continued to work for a living while their masters were granted time out in the midst of multiple calamities. Such is the state of the state.