Serendipity had put up a post endorsing the call by the BBS to grant voting rights to expatriate Sri Lankans.
I think this is a very bad idea.
Expatriates who live overseas have no stake in affairs here. The do not pay tax, their lives are unaffected by the standard of governance. Their jobs are not impacted by economic policy, the purchasing power of their salaries is impervious to inflation in their homeland.
They do not have to rely on the public services of the country, their liberties and rights are dependent only on the situation in their country of residence.
Doubtless many are Sri Lankan at heart. Granted that they love visiting the 'home' country but when they visit they are little more than tourists, enjoying the sights and sounds. They may speak the language and may have grown up here, have family and friends here, yet they remain only visitors.
Although their roots and attachment may be deeper than an ordinary tourist, they will eventually return to their regular lives overseas.
For me, this is the deciding factor. Their real lives are overseas.
If they have such little stake in affairs here, why should they vote?
Serendipity thinks that they will be less likely to be 'bought'. Possibly, but I fear that many of them view Sri Lanka through the eyes of tourists, rather than residents, as I pointed out here.
In fact, if we stop to reflect, the expats have already voted - with their feet. For whatever reason; economic, political, social, they have left, seeking a better life elsewhere.
No better testament is needed as to their real convictions. If we give expats the vote, we may as well give it to all tourists.