Today, Sri Lanka finds itself crippled by an unprecedented crisis. One Day , I have no doubt that my country will rise again .But we will do so only with the support of friends, who will speak in solidarity and act in support. Sri Lanka is ripe for rescue.

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

For as long as the human race has organized itself into sovereign nations, no country has had a story of limitless success. Nations and empires alike have risen and fallen, over thousands of years. Every language has phrases like “it takes a village” to remind us of the limitations of individual people and the need to work together. Similarly, no nation will ever thrive in isolation. The fate of every country is dependent on its relationships with other countries, with allies who share their values and who support each other in times of need.

History is littered with examples of countries that have been beset by natural disasters, militarily crippled, ridden with diseases, targeted by terrorism or economically ruined. What separates those who overcome these challenges from those that don’t is the willingness of other countries to come to their aid.

After World War II, for example, when the Axis powers were roundly defeated, it was the countries that vanquished them who stepped in to rebuild them. Indeed, without the aid of the Allies, neither Germany nor Japan would have grown into the economic powerhouses they are today.

The Marshal Plan, an American initiative, enabled West Germany and other West European nations to rise from the ashes of war and gain rapid economic development.

Continue reading ‘Today, Sri Lanka finds itself crippled by an unprecedented crisis. One Day , I have no doubt that my country will rise again .But we will do so only with the support of friends, who will speak in solidarity and act in support. Sri Lanka is ripe for rescue.’ »

Gotabaya, Ranil and the Fable of the Scorpion and Frog 🐸 🦂 📖

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Return of Ranil : Remarkable Resilience of Premier Wickremesinghe. -Part Three

Let me rewind back to my boyhood when I first read the fable about the scorpion and frog which I believe is of Russian origin. The scorpion which cannot swim wanted to cross the river. So the scorpion begged the frog to carry him across. The frog refused saying the scorpion may sting while he was ferrying him across. The scorpion replies he would not do that because the frog will then die resulting in the drowning of the scorpion too. Therefore it was not in the best interests of the scorpion to sting the frog while going across the river.

🐸 🦂 📖

The frog thinks things through and finds the scorpion’s argument rational and logically sensible. So the frog accedes to the request and swims across the river with the scorpion on his back. Midway across the river, the scorpion whose sting is in the tail, strikes suddenly. The stung frog in a state of paralysis begins to drown. The scorpion dislodged from the frog’s back also is drowning. The dying frog is baffled as to why the scorpion has acted irrationally and doomed them both. “Why, why? asks the frog.The scorpion replies , “ I don’t know. I couldn’t resist the urge.It’s in my character.It is my nature”. And so both perished.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya, Ranil and the Fable of the Scorpion and Frog 🐸 🦂 📖’ »

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes debt and payments worth nearly $ 1 billion Reveals Ranil Wickremesinghe:Prime Minister exposes the bankruptcy of the State-owned entity which has aggravated the on-going fuel crisis and urgent procurement.


By Nisthar Cassim

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes debt and payments worth nearly $ 1 billion, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed yesterday exposing the bankruptcy of the State-owned entity which has aggravated the on-going fuel crisis and urgent procurement.

“With accumulated debt and other pending payments, the total due is almost $ 1 billion,” Wickremesinghe told a meeting with editors of print and electronic media where he explained the current economic situation including the emergency measures being taken to address the fuel crisis.

Of the CPC dues, the two State banks’ burden is nearly $ 600 million.

Continue reading ‘Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes debt and payments worth nearly $ 1 billion Reveals Ranil Wickremesinghe:Prime Minister exposes the bankruptcy of the State-owned entity which has aggravated the on-going fuel crisis and urgent procurement.’ »

Was Mass Escape of over 500 inmates from Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre Triggered off by the Suspicious Death of an Inmate Allegedly Assaulted by an Army Officer? Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) Raises Doubts.


BY Safrah Fazal

The Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) alleged that the suspicious death of an inmate at the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, following which the mass escape of over 500 inmates also occurred, was due to an assault by an Army officer.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (29), CPRP General Secretary Sudesh Nandimal Silva claimed: “The Army oversees the rehabilitation of inmates at Kandakadu. As per the information we have received so far, an Army officer had assaulted the said inmate, which led to his death.”

He also claimed that according to sources, fellow inmates were provoked by this incident, leading to unrest and the subsequent escape.

Silva further claimed that a sound similar to a gunshot had also resounded in the area around the same time that the inmates had reportedly breached the gates at the main entrance and escaped the centre.

Last morning, the Police revealed that over 500 inmates of the Kandakadu Centre had escaped following a tense situation that erupted after the death of an inmate on Tuesday (28) evening.

Continue reading ‘Was Mass Escape of over 500 inmates from Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre Triggered off by the Suspicious Death of an Inmate Allegedly Assaulted by an Army Officer? Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) Raises Doubts.’ »

The assigning subjects and functions to the new Minister of Investment Promotion in 3 Steps By President Rajapaksa has once Again proved that Gotabaya is incapable of rationally assigning subjects and functions to ministries.

By

Prof.Rohan Samarajiva

Finally, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution that seeks to reverse the damage done by the 20th Amendment rammed through by the Rajapaksas has been gazetted. It is likely to fall short of the 19th Amendment. Those who want to undo the damage will have to push for further amendments at the committee stage.

Under the 19A, the President was not allowed to hold any portfolios. Under an interim provision, President Sirisena who was in office at the time the amendment was approved was permitted to assign himself the subjects and functions of Defence, Mahaweli Development, and Environment. According to the amended Constitution, his successor could not assign himself any subject or function.

The proposals to restore political and economic stability made by the Bar Association in April 2022 and endorsed by many others, stipulated that “the President should not hold any portfolio (as stipulated by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution).” However, it appears that the President will be allowed to hold one or more portfolios (Defence, at least) according to the 22A that was approved by Cabinet on 27 June.

Continue reading ‘The assigning subjects and functions to the new Minister of Investment Promotion in 3 Steps By President Rajapaksa has once Again proved that Gotabaya is incapable of rationally assigning subjects and functions to ministries.’ »

Investment Promotion Minister Dhammika Perera ,inculcating a private-sector approach to boost efficiency and streamline operations ,announces several measures to upgrade the Immigration and Emigration Department, following a special inspection visit to the Department


Investment Promotion Minister Dhammika Perera yesterday announced several measures to upgrade the Immigration and Emigration Department, inculcating a private-sector approach to boost efficiency and streamline operations.

He introduced six key steps following a special inspection visit to the Department yesterday. This was the first task Perera took after being sworn in as a National List MP.

Immigration and Emigration Department has been in the media spotlight, as thousands of people who visit its head office in Battaramulla have faced multiple problems and undue delays in services over the last couple of months.

The pent-up demand for passports has increased significantly since the latter part of 2021 with the ongoing economic crisis.

Continue reading ‘Investment Promotion Minister Dhammika Perera ,inculcating a private-sector approach to boost efficiency and streamline operations ,announces several measures to upgrade the Immigration and Emigration Department, following a special inspection visit to the Department’ »

“Mellisai Mannargal” M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy, the ‘Monarchs of Light Music’ in Tamil cinema

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(June 24th is the 94th birth anniversary of popular music composer Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan (MSV) who along with Tiruchirappalli Krishnaswamypillai Ramamurthy (TKR) blazed a musical trail together in Tamil films for a period of 13 years. MS Viswanathan and TK Rammmurthy were known popularly as the “Mellisai Mannargal” (Monarchs of light music).This Article written in July 2015 is being re-posted without any changes to denote MSV’s 84th Birth Anniversary and revive memories of the music maestros)

Watching Tamil movies on screen and listening to Tamil film songs over radio was an integral part of life for me as a child growing up in Colombo. The Tamil ‘Varthaga Oliparappu’ or Commercial service of ‘Radio Ceylon’ was a treasure trove of film songs.

Apart from broadcasting the latest Tamil film songs even before the films concerned were screened in India, the commercial service also aired specific programs about films being currently shown in theatres in the island. Popular radio announcer Mailvaganam conducted these programs where film songs were featured regularly. Thus one was able to keep abreast of contemporary Tamil film music courtesy ‘Radio Ceylon’ in those wonderful days of yore.

My sister and I would also sing along with some songs being played out on radio. We were greatly aided in this by what was known as ‘Cinema Paatu Puthagam’ or cinema songbook. These were actually tiny booklets printed on cheap paper with the words of songs in a particular Tamil film. The average Tamil film in those days had about six to nine songs.

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Two publishers in Colombo M.K. Ponniahpillai and M.S. Lingam (M. Sockalingam) printed these songbooks. They were priced from 10 to 25 cents then. I also memorised many film songs from those books – something which stands me in good stead even nowadays while taking a shower at leisure.

All these happy memories of listening to Tamil film songs were kindled in me again as news about the death of a legendary composer of Tamil film music reached me. Music maestro M.S. Viswanathan known widely as “MSV” had passed away at a Chennai hospital in the early hours of the morning on 14 July. He was 87.

Continue reading ‘“Mellisai Mannargal” M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy, the ‘Monarchs of Light Music’ in Tamil cinema’ »

Sri Lanka to purchase four shipments of fuel from India for Cash instead of on credit; Deal Expected to materialise in One week will result in Initial shipment Followed by Petrol Shipments When Required.


By

Kelum Bandara

In a step close to integration with India in energy security, Sri Lanka has sought to purchase four shipments of fuel – 40,000 tonnes each- from India on cash payment terms, Daily Mirror learns.

India is a bulk purchaser of fuel from the global market with attractive discounts. There is a proposal in the road map worked out by the Sri Lankan envoy to New Delhi Milinda Moragoda for the development of bilateral relations to tie up with India to buy fuel from the world market together, to benefit from the same discounted rates.

Foreign Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris also proposed the idea during a meeting in recent times.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka to purchase four shipments of fuel from India for Cash instead of on credit; Deal Expected to materialise in One week will result in Initial shipment Followed by Petrol Shipments When Required.’ »

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution will be published in the Gazette of June 29 and presented to Parliament after seven days, Says Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe; Cabinet Approved Draft Bill on June 27

By Chandani Kirinde

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution will be published in the Gazette today (June 29), following which it will be presented to Parliament after seven days, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday (June 28).

He said that on Monday (June 27), the Cabinet had given approval to publish the Bill in the Gazette after the draft Bill prepared by the Legal Draftsman was cleared by the Attorney General, who informed that the Bill is in accordance with the Constitution.

He said while the Bill will be gazetted as the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, it will be enacted as the 21st Amendment.

“The SJB presented a Private Member’s Bill titled 21st Amendment to the Constitution and the Supreme Court ruled all its clauses will need approval at referendum hence it will not be possible to enact their Bill. The Government Bill will be enacted as the 21st Amendment,” Rajapakshe said.

Continue reading ‘The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution will be published in the Gazette of June 29 and presented to Parliament after seven days, Says Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe; Cabinet Approved Draft Bill on June 27’ »

Life Comes to a Near Standstill in Sri Lanka as Govt Suspends Nationwide Sale of Fuel for 2 weeks Except for Essential Services;Colombo seeks ‘urgent’ supply from India, Russia, Qatar

By

Meera Srinivasan

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka suspended nationwide fuel sales, except for essential services, for nearly a fortnight as the island faces a rapidly worsening economic crisis.

In a press conference held on Monday night, Cabinet spokesperson and Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardana said private vehicles will be barred from buying fuel until July 10, after which the government has promised to ensure the usual supply. Authorities halted bus services between provinces and urged citizens to work from home in a bid to save fuel. Schools also remain shut.

“Fuel will be issued only to health, defence, power and export sectors from midnight today until July 10,” Mr. Bandula Gunawardena told reporters.

Continue reading ‘Life Comes to a Near Standstill in Sri Lanka as Govt Suspends Nationwide Sale of Fuel for 2 weeks Except for Essential Services;Colombo seeks ‘urgent’ supply from India, Russia, Qatar’ »

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, vehemently condemns the arrest of Indian rights activist and Journalist Teesta Setalvad on 25 June 2022.

(Text of a Press Release Issued by the South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) on June 28 2022)

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, vehemently condemns the arrest of Indian rights activist and Journalist Teesta Setalvad on 25 June 2022.

SAHR perceives the detention of Setalvad as a deliberate move by the government to silence and criminalise those who strive to hold the state accountable for rights violations and stand for the constitutional rights of the people. Setalvad as a strong and brave human rights defender has been steadfast in her campaign to get justice for riot victims of the 2002 Gujarat violence and is a founding trustee and secretary of the NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CPJ).

Continue reading ‘South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, vehemently condemns the arrest of Indian rights activist and Journalist Teesta Setalvad on 25 June 2022.’ »

US Commitment in Economic and Humanitarian Assistance to Sri Lanka Since June 16 Goes up to $ 32 Million After President Joe Biden’s Announcement of $ 20 Million Additional Aid

US President Joe Biden at the G7 Summit yesterday announced $ 20 million in additional assistance to strengthen food security in Sri Lanka.

Building on other recent funding announcements from the US, this newly posted assistance will target Sri Lankans most in need during the current economic crisis. The funding aims to support a school nutrition program that will feed over 800,000 Sri Lankan children and provide food vouchers for over 27,000 pregnant and lactating women over the next 15 months. The effort also plans to support approximately 30,000 farmers through the contribution of agricultural assistance and cash in order to increase food production in vulnerable Sri Lankan communities.

Continue reading ‘US Commitment in Economic and Humanitarian Assistance to Sri Lanka Since June 16 Goes up to $ 32 Million After President Joe Biden’s Announcement of $ 20 Million Additional Aid’ »

Sri Lanka’s Radhika Coomaraswamy Appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to serve as a member of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) President Ambassador Federico Villegas (Argentina) has announced the appointment of Radhika Coomaraswamy of Sri Lanka to serve as a member of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.

Radhika Coomaraswamy

Coomaraswamy will join Kaari Betty Murungi of Kenya (chair) and Steven Ratner of the US, who were appointed to serve on the human rights investigative body on 2 March.

The Geneva-based Human Rights Council created the Commission of Human Rights Experts on 17 December 2021 with a mandate to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law in Ethiopia committed since 3 November 2020 by all parties to the conflict.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Radhika Coomaraswamy Appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to serve as a member of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.’ »

Name of Dhammika Perera’s Ministry Changed from Technology and Investment Promotion to Investment Promotion; New Gazette Issued Listing Institutions and Functions Allocated to Ministry

An Extraordinary Gazette published on Monday (June 27)listed the core responsibilities and institutions under Dhammika Perera’s Ministry of Investment Promotion.

The institutions are the Board of Investment, Colombo Port City Economic Commission, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Colombo Lotus Tower Management Company Ltd., Techno Park Development Company Ltd., and Information Technology Parks.

The previous Gazette had TRC, ICTA and SLT among others under a Ministry called Technology and Investment Promotion. However, the Colombo Lotus Tower Management Company is a venture of TRC.

Continue reading ‘Name of Dhammika Perera’s Ministry Changed from Technology and Investment Promotion to Investment Promotion; New Gazette Issued Listing Institutions and Functions Allocated to Ministry’ »

Tamil residents of Thennamaravaadi Village in Trincomalee District Allege that Over 200 Acres of their Lands have been taken over by Sinhalese outsiders and that Govt officials are not taking action to help them get back the lands


BY Dinitha Rathnayake

Residents of Thennamaravadi, Kuchchaveli, which is a rural village some 65 kilometres north of Trincomalee, on the Pulmoddai Road, are struggling due to issues pertaining to the lack of land and housing.
Speaking to The Morning, the residents claimed that most of their lands had been grabbed by the Sinhala people.

“Around 225 families stayed in this village and all were Tamils. Only two Sinhalese fishing families were residing in this village before the war. When the war intruded, driving the villagers from their homes and wrecking their lives, one incident in particular caused the flight to Mullaitivu. Seven of the villagers who had taken their cows to graze in the jungle disappeared. They are believed to have been taken to the nearby Army camp. Five family members who went to look for them also went missing. Fearing more trouble, the villagers decided to leave, and as they crossed a river to the other side, they saw flames rising from where their houses stood,” they further claimed.

According to the villagers, more Sinhala people have come to Thennamaravadi from outside and are pretending to be residents without any legal documents.

Continue reading ‘Tamil residents of Thennamaravaadi Village in Trincomalee District Allege that Over 200 Acres of their Lands have been taken over by Sinhalese outsiders and that Govt officials are not taking action to help them get back the lands’ »

The main opposition, SJB Spends its energy on media conferences and press releases to chide the govt. Sajith Premadasa excels at eloquent speeches but shows little interest in assuming responsibility.


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

There is a great deal of ruin in a nation, Adam Smith once said – meaning that the modern states are innately strong enough to withstand a good deal of external and internal pressure. It takes serious and serial bungling by the policymakers to break a nation. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has shown how a country could be ruined on a fast track. Consider these numbers. Sri Lanka’s nominal GDP per capita in 2020 was around US$ 3600, about US$ 200 down from the previous year. With the depreciation of the Rupee by 80% during the first half of this year, the GDP per capita at present should be around US$ 2000, in the range of India and Bangladesh. GDP per capita based on purchasing parity, which is a more accurate indicator of measuring the living standards might have taken an even worse hit, though actual numbers are elusive for the prices that double overnight. John Hopkins University Economist Steve Hanke gauges Sri Lanka’s real inflation in May as 128 %, only second to Zimbabwe. (The official inflation rate is 39.10%)

Along with the collapse of disposable income, comes the collapse of basic social indicators: child malnutrition is rising, general hunger is pervasive, hospitals are short of life-saving drugs and doctors and nurses are languishing in fuel queues instead at the hospitals. Schools are closed at a whim, and public transport is at a virtual standstill and functions only when there is fuel. Government offices are closed on Fridays to let the public servants farm, a sick joke in a country where the president has decimated the entire agricultural sector with a dim-witted ban on chemical agriculture.

In fact, Sri Lankans have not yet faced the full force of the wrath of the collapsing social wellbeing. Because, the country is still drawing from the innate strength of institutions, be it health care or education, that had been built over decades. Yet, as it happened elsewhere (such as in Venezuela, Latin America’s wealthiest country not so long ago, where Hugo Chavez invested the country’s oil windfall on at times unaffordable social welfare, albeit making rapid gains in social indicators) such innate strengths will be exhausted soon. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government are carrying Sri Lanka in that direction, steadily and fast. This freefall of the nation should be averted.

At present, Sri Lanka faces a twin crisis. One is political, caused by President Gotabaya’s desperate clinging to power, at the peril of the nation. The second is the economic crisis, which is fast deteriorating to apocalyptic proportions. After desperate patchwork solutions, it should now be starkly clear that the economic crisis cannot be addressed without solving the political crisis. Yet, Gotabaya remains the greatest handicap for Sri Lanka to try to fix the broken state.

Continue reading ‘The main opposition, SJB Spends its energy on media conferences and press releases to chide the govt. Sajith Premadasa excels at eloquent speeches but shows little interest in assuming responsibility.’ »

We have a crisis with regards to a serious lack of foreign exchange. We cannot enjoy the luxury of having petrol, diesel and domestic gas like we did because we cannot afford to pay for them. This message has not been clearly communicated to the public.

By

SVD Kesaralal Gunasekera

It’s been about six weeks since a ‘new’ government was formed by the President after inviting all the parties to come forward. Fundamentally, all the parliamentarians should support the present Prime Minister to steer this country out of this crisis. Without a new strategy, approach and support, we might not be able to bring some significant improvements to this ailing situation.

Give a true picture

I must lodge my disappointment however when the PM stated that the economy has collapsed. What we have is a crisis with regards to a serious lack of foreign exchange. The struggle is that we cannot enjoy the luxury of having petrol, diesel and domestic gas like we did because we cannot afford to pay for them. This message has not been clearly communicated to the public. The PM’s constant message that the ‘next two weeks are going to be difficult’ has become a mantra that people no longer take seriously.

The people must be told the hard and bitter truth about why we all need to cut down on our expenses and change our lifestyles. The dangerous situation is that when the PM has stated that the ‘books are cooked’ and does not give a true picture of what the books should state, there are many groups and individuals who present many other ‘versions’ that completely confuse the common masses.

Cut down

The people who are standing in queues for days on end have not understood the reality. It appears that the politicians too have no clue about the reality. As a nation, we have to drastically cut down on the costs. We have to change our lifestyle at least in the short term. This must start with the Government. The burden is always on the public. But the leaders should demonstrate at all levels that they are making the sacrifices before asking people to cut down on their expenses. The excessive number of vehicles and unwanted programmes should be immediately stopped because people are now being forced to cut down on many aspects of their daily lives.

Support the Private Sector

The ’Aragalaya’ has reached a point where many politicians will be out of the game by the next election. People are truly disgusted with the ineffective politicians who are neither claiming responsibility nor accountability for the sad state of affairs that we are in. People feel that they have been systematically robbed and they still have to pay for the loans that have been obtained. The economy is majorly governed by the private sector. Their investments and large-scale employment have always ensured the stability of the economy. The Government must ensure that the small and medium-scale private sector ventures are also fully supported as they have created more employment. The Government must have a plan to ensure that people do not lose their jobs. What can we learn from countries like Greece or Zimbabwe?

Acknowledge the feelings

The public does not trust the governing body anymore. There are many reasons for this. No one has come forward to state that they understand the people’s problems. Neither the President nor the PM (past and present) has expressed their understanding of what parents are going through and come up with a plan that can help everyone. Crimes are increasing, black markets are thriving, fuel is being stocked up and there is a constant lack of fuel, fuel prices are being increased and in parallel, all other items are going up in price. How can people live? Are we having a plan to look after the “extremely vulnerable” sector in this country? That is of prime importance.

Aid Agencies

For decades we have seen the state making NGOs the scapegoat for everything. I believe at this time, we must as a nation request the support of the international humanitarian aid agencies. Particularly with regards to Food, Nutrition, Livelihoods and Education they are in a better position to obtain aid from institutional donors than the government. We need the support of everyone.

Media must step up

The Electronic Media in this country can do much more for the people. At this juncture, the electronic and print media should focus more on guiding the public with positive alternatives to this crisis. The media need to bring in experts who will teach people how to be agile in this situation; how not to waste, how to preserve food, how to guide the children and focus on home-schooling and skill-building during this time, how to commit to work harder and longer, how to be creative in this crisis. We must turn to indigenous solutions to the current problem. Sri Lanka is NOT the first country to go through such a crisis and will certainly will not be the last. But without a plan with a timeline, we cannot overcome.

Courtesy:Daily Mirror

Bar Association of Sri Lanka(BASL) calls upon the President, Govt as well as all other political parties and actors to understand the sheer gravity of the present situation and the grave consequences which may threaten the social and economic stability in Sri Lanka.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday rapped the Government over its failure to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel which it warned threatens the social and economic stability in the country and international confidence.

BASL also called on the Government to immediately provide timely and adequate information to the public as to its plans in respect of ensuring the continuous supply of fuel in the short term; to present to the public a road map on its plans to extricate the country from the fuel crisis; and to immediately devise after proper consultation with relevant stake holders an effective plan to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of fuel to the people taking into account the need to ensure that public transportation and essential services are not hindered.

“The BASL calls upon the President, the Government as well as all other political parties and actors to understand the sheer gravity of the present situation and the grave consequences which may threaten the social and economic stability in Sri Lanka. The BASIL calls upon them to immediately take every step necessary to restore national and international confidence in the Government of Sri Lanka,” it said in a statement.

“At this stage, for the greater good of the country it is necessary that the President and all other relevant political actors bear responsibility for the hardships being caused to the people,” BASL added.

Continue reading ‘Bar Association of Sri Lanka(BASL) calls upon the President, Govt as well as all other political parties and actors to understand the sheer gravity of the present situation and the grave consequences which may threaten the social and economic stability in Sri Lanka.’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Suspends selling of fuel for 2 weeks until July 10th except for essential sectors like health, defence, power ,export and ports, airports, , food distribution and agriculture.

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka announced a two-week halt to all fuel sales except for essential services and appealed to the private sector to work from home as it ran out of supplies.

“From midnight today, no fuel will be sold except for essential services like the health sector, because we want to conserve the little reserves we have,” government spokesman Bandula Gunawardana said.

Earlier, the Sri Lankan government on Monday announced that only essential services will operate from midnight till July 10 and all other operations will be temporarily suspended as the crisis-hit nation faces acute fuel shortage.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Suspends selling of fuel for 2 weeks until July 10th except for essential sectors like health, defence, power ,export and ports, airports, , food distribution and agriculture.’ »

Opposition parties are aiming at the next elections while the Government and the people are struggling; Even that call for an election is a hollow one, when the whole country knows that electioneering and the logistics for an election are an impossibility in the midst of the current crisis.

(Text of Editorial Appearing in the “Sunday Times” of June 26th 2022 Under the Heading “Adding corruption to the crisis”)

The Prime Minister sounded thoroughly exasperated when he addressed Parliament earlier in the week. He said there was one set of persons saying he was downplaying the prevailing economic crisis, while another was accusing him of exaggerating it. A damned if you do; damned if you don’t situation.

Coming away from talks with an IMF staff-level team in the country studying the crisis, and the legal and financial advisers retained by the Government to negotiate with the IMF, the Premier had probably the best assessment of the crisis. He said there was “no other option but to go with the IMF”, and asked the Opposition that had left the Chambers protesting the inability of the Government to solve the crisis, for an alternative option, if any.

It was an unusual stand by the Opposition. Fundamentally, Members of Parliament are elected to speak in the House on behalf of the people. That is representative government. Not to keep away from Parliament. Even otherwise, it is patently unreasonable to expect a silver bullet or miracle drug to cure the kind of shambles the economy is in.

If the Opposition does not want to be part of the Administration, to which it has been invited, then it must do its duty inside Parliament by providing some alternate ideas and proposals. It seems to want to take the battle outside Parliament by way of strikes which are on the drawing boards which will only make life even more difficult for ordinary folk to cope with. These Opposition parties are aiming at the next elections while the Government and the people are struggling, waiting for the next foreign loan to pay for the next shipment of fuel, gas and medicines.

Even that call for an election is a hollow one, when the whole country knows that electioneering and the logistics for an election are an impossibility in the midst of the current crisis. There’s no guarantee the outcome will ensure a stable Government either.

The focus on the 21st Amendment to clip the wings of the Executive Presidency also seems a non-starter with the political manoeuvres taking place by the ruling coalition clinging on to power while the ship of state is sinking.

In the process, high-level corruption is going on unabated. This corruption has percolated down to the fuel bowser driver and gas shed assistant and the whole country because with the shortages and demand over supply of essential goods comes systemic corruption.

Continue reading ‘Opposition parties are aiming at the next elections while the Government and the people are struggling; Even that call for an election is a hollow one, when the whole country knows that electioneering and the logistics for an election are an impossibility in the midst of the current crisis.’ »

Visiting US State Department Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Kelly Keiderling Assures Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the US supports the ongoing talks between the Govt of Sri Lanka and the International Monetary Fund(IMF); US agrees to provide technical assistance for fiscal management in Sri Lanka


The United States has agreed to provide technical assistance for fiscal management in Sri Lanka.

This was conveyed by the visiting US State Department Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Kelly Keiderling, during a discussion with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Continue reading ‘Visiting US State Department Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Kelly Keiderling Assures Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the US supports the ongoing talks between the Govt of Sri Lanka and the International Monetary Fund(IMF); US agrees to provide technical assistance for fiscal management in Sri Lanka’ »

Army and Buddhist Monks Accused of Constructing Buddhist Structures on Kurundhu Malai Hill In Violation of Mullaitheevu Court Order; Cultural Appropriation of Ancient Saivaie Shrine by “Political Buddhism” with Connivance of Archaeology Dept?


By Dinitha Rathnayake

A tense situation has risen over the Kurundumale Archaeological Reserve, an ancient Sri Lankan monument deep in the dense forest of Mullaitivu.

According to the Department of Archaeology, the ancient Buddhist temple is said to be the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka built fully out of a particular type of wood. For decades it had been concealed, fully covered with sand and trees that had obscured its view.

The historic site also survived the three-decade war without any harm, although some treasure hunters had dug randomly in this area seeking valuables.

Continue reading ‘Army and Buddhist Monks Accused of Constructing Buddhist Structures on Kurundhu Malai Hill In Violation of Mullaitheevu Court Order; Cultural Appropriation of Ancient Saivaie Shrine by “Political Buddhism” with Connivance of Archaeology Dept?’ »

SLPP Rakes up the Past About Rohana Wijeweera’s “Execution” to Politically Embarrass JVP and Premadasa -led SJB and Create Tensions Between Both Parties’but Blowback may Affect Ranil also


By

Vishvanath

Tomb raiders and politicians do not scruple to disturb the dead. The former look for valuables in tombs, and the latter hunt for memories, cherished or dreaded, to gain political mileage. One’s loss is said to be another’s gain. Nothing proves the validity of this axiom more than the sordid manner in which politicians use others’ misfortunes including bereavements, to their advantage.

The classical definition of politics is well known—‘activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government’—but given the way politicians exploit others’ agonies, politics may also be defined as the art of making use of others’ woes to gain and/or retain power. There is hardly anything that politicians do not use for this purpose. Not even cadavers are spared, so to speak, as has been the case in this country. Last Wednesday saw the latest instance of the dead being dragged into a political battle.

Raising a question in the parliament, SLPP Kalutara District MP Lalith Ellawala demanded to know what had really befallen the founder leader of the JVP, Rohana Wijeweera, who was arrested in 1989, forced to make a confession, which was televised, and made to disappear. Leader of the House, and Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, asked for two weeks to answer the question. MP Ellawela’s question listed on Wednesday’s Order Paper was addressed to the Minister of Public Security.

The MP seeks to know whether the Minister is aware that on 12.11.1989, the then UNP government had Wijeweera arrested, and published that fact in the media, and whether Wijeweera died on 13.11.1989. He has requested the Public Security Minister to inform the House whether Wijeweera’s death was a natural one, or whether it was an assassination; and if the death was an assassination, whether there was a verdict given by a court of law in Sri Lanka to that effect; and whether any member or any leader of the JVP has taken steps to institute legal action in respect of Wijeweera’s death.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Rakes up the Past About Rohana Wijeweera’s “Execution” to Politically Embarrass JVP and Premadasa -led SJB and Create Tensions Between Both Parties’but Blowback may Affect Ranil also’ »

Even amidst the prevailing instability, abolition of the Executive Presidency remains an important topic, which some deem essential to the reformation of Sri Lanka’s political culture.

By Sumudu Chamara

The concept of the Executive Presidency, especially the powers afforded to an Executive President, has been one of the most controversial topics in Sri Lanka’s political arena, and comes up often during elections and Parliamentary debates. Even amidst the prevailing instability, abolition of the Executive Presidency remains an important topic, which some deem essential to the reformation of Sri Lanka’s political culture.

The Supreme Court (SC), last week, discussed the birth and the background that led to the introduction of the Executive Presidency. This was, when it declared that certain sections of the draft Bill of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, presented by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), are inconsistent with the Constitution, and therefore required to be passed through a referendum if the Bill is to be enacted.

The draft Bill, presented in May amidst both support and opposition from various parties, was challenged by several petitioners, naming Attorney General (AG) and MP and SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara as first and second respondents. The case was taken up before a SC Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, Justice Janak de Silva, and Justice Arjuna Obeysekere.

Executive powers and constitutional reforms

In its judgement, the SC said that the main thrust of the submissions of the petitioners is that the Bill erodes the executive power of the elected President and as such violates Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution, and hence may be enacted only upon approval by the people at a referendum. It added that the response of Suren Fernando (the second respondent’s counsel) was that the agency or the instrument for the exercise of the executive power of the people can be changed by amending Article 4 without being approved by the people at a referendum, provided such amendment has no prejudicial impact on the sovereignty of the people.

Adding that it is apposite to examine the introduction of the Executive Presidential system of the Government into Sri Lanka’s Constitutional framework and the core principles underlying such system, the judgement read: “The 1972 Constitution was based on a parliamentary system of government. In terms of Section 5 of the 1972 Constitution, the National State Assembly was the supreme instrument of State power of the Republic, and was to exercise the executive power of the people, including the defence of Sri Lanka, through the President and the Cabinet of Ministers. The Head of the State was the President, while the Prime Minister was the Head of both the government and the Cabinet of Ministers.

Continue reading ‘Even amidst the prevailing instability, abolition of the Executive Presidency remains an important topic, which some deem essential to the reformation of Sri Lanka’s political culture.’ »

The cry ‘Gota must Go’ is not necessarily personalised, though there is no doubt that this President exemplifies the evils of rash, ignorant and arrogant decision-making.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

This week’s ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya’s (SJB) confoundingly optimistic 21st Amendment Bill seeking to wholesale consign the Executive Presidency to the dustbin was predictable, some would mutter even blindingly so.

Monumentally unsurprising judicial thinking

The SJB Bill sought to replace the ‘Executive Presidential’ system with a parliamentary democracy sans a Referendum in terms of Article 83 of the Constitution. A firm judicial ‘No’ transpired to that ambitious plea.

The Court responded with a familiarly conservative restatement of an old position, namely, that under the 1978 Constitution, the executive power of the People is vested in and exercised by a President elected by the People.

The Bill’s attempted subordination of the President to the Prime Minister was categorically struck down in all its various manifestations. These included clauses relating to the election and removal of the President by the Parliament as well as the stipulation that the President shall ‘always, except as provided by the Constitution, act on the advice of the Prime Minister.’

The President’s ‘loss of status’ as Head of the Cabinet and Head of the Government was ruled to require approval by the People at a Referendum along with a two thirds majority in the House.

Continue reading ‘The cry ‘Gota must Go’ is not necessarily personalised, though there is no doubt that this President exemplifies the evils of rash, ignorant and arrogant decision-making.’ »

India Strengthens Its Position in Sri Lanka Vis-à-Vis Rival China; Will China remain a bystander, watching India and the West displacing it in Sri Lanka?


By P.K. Balachandran

(P.K. Balachandran is a freelance journalist specializing in South Asia and based in Colombo, Sri Lanka)

In the 1980s, India was calling the shots in Sri Lanka, cashing in on its mediatory and interventionist role in the ethnic conflict that wracked the island. But New Delhi’s relevance receded after the minority Tamils’ armed struggle was crushed by the Sri Lankan forces in May 2009.

The post-war era in Sri Lanka was marked by a crash program of reconstruction and development. While India failed to seize the opportunity to deploy its economic muscle and retain its foothold on Sri Lanka, an aggressive China filled the vacuum with alacrity.

Given its convoluted decision-making process, the lackluster leadership of the day, and its lumbering bureaucracy, India was no match to Xi Jinping’s newly ambitious China, armed with the well-endowed and expansionist Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Xi quickly responded to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call for massive funds and technical assistance for infrastructural development while India dithered.

According to a Chatham House study headed by Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, the cumulative value of Chinese infrastructure investment in Sri Lanka between 2006 and July 2019 reached $12.1 billion. Economist Umesh Moramudali calculated that, considering both Public and Publicly Guaranteed (PPG) debt, China accounted for 19.9 percent of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt in 2021.

However, since the deepening of the economic crisis due to a severe foreign exchange shortage in January 2022, the decade-old roles have been reversed.

Continue reading ‘India Strengthens Its Position in Sri Lanka Vis-à-Vis Rival China; Will China remain a bystander, watching India and the West displacing it in Sri Lanka?’ »

The decision to allow the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) to be “flexible” from March 7, 2022 onwards was not a “unilateral” decision of then Central Bank :Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal.

Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, twice Central Bank Governor and former State Minister for Finance, issued the following media statement last week on exchange rate flexibility.

“The decision to allow the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) to be “flexible” from March 7, 2022 onwards is sometimes described by certain persons as being a “unilateral” decision of then Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. Therefore, this statement is to provide the factual position so as to set the record straight.

”The decision to allow flexibility in the exchange rate was taken by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka based on a Monetary Board Paper dated March 7, 2022 submitted by all three Deputy Governors (Mr Mahinda Siriwardene, Mr Dammika Nanayakkara & Mrs Yvette Fernando), Director – Economic Research Department and Director – International Operations Department.

“The Board Paper stressed the need for changing the exchange rate policy immediately in order that the exchange rate acts as a “shock absorber” in the face of adverse developments in the global front on Sri Lanka’s already fragile Balance of Payments, including the increase of the crude oil price to nearly USD 140 per barrel and the worsening Russia-Ukraine war.

“Based on that Board Paper and the discussion at the meeting, the Monetary Board decided to ‘allow the market to have a greater flexibility in the exchange rate with immediate effect and communicate that the Central Bank is of the view that forex transactions would take place at levels which are not more than Rs. 230 per US dollar.’

Continue reading ‘The decision to allow the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) to be “flexible” from March 7, 2022 onwards was not a “unilateral” decision of then Central Bank :Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal.’ »

Sri Lanka’s biggest taxpayer Business tycoon Dhammika Perera’s swearing in as a National List MP of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has evoked a great deal of interest for a number of self-evident reasons.

(Text of Editorial Appearing in the “Sunday Island”of June 26th 2022 Under the Heading “National List: convenient for political parties, gravy for those appponted”)

Business tycoon Dhammika Perera’s swearing last week as a National List MP of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) evoked a great deal of interest for a number of self-evident reasons. Among these was that fact that he has publicly claimed to be the country’s biggest taxpayer. This has been seen on youtube by hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Whether Perera claimed this in his personal capacity or whether it included the companies he controls – and there are a great many of them both listed and unlisted – has not been clarified. Apart from that claim, it is very well known that he is a major shareholder in a clutch of listed companies including the Hayleys conglomerate, the thriving ceramics sector (Royal Ceramics, Lanka Tiles, Lanka Walltiles etc), his own Vallibel Group together with LB Finance, one of the country’s biggest finance companies. He also owns significant stakes in the banking sector. On top of that are his interests in the gambling industry in which the foundation of his fortune lies.

The SLPP’s decision to nominate Perera to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of ruling clan sibling, Basil Rajapaksa, was challenged in the Supreme Court by the Center for Policy Alternatives and some other petitioners. They included a former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne, who has post-retirement been a vigorous public interest activist. As many as five fundamental rights actions challenging Perera’s appointment were filed after his appointment was gazetted by the Elections Commission.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s biggest taxpayer Business tycoon Dhammika Perera’s swearing in as a National List MP of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has evoked a great deal of interest for a number of self-evident reasons.’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Launches ‘Land for All’ program to hand over land ownership to landless families at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that steps will be taken to legally grant land and house ownership to millions of people who do not have a deed to their own lands and homes.

The program to hand over land ownership to landless families under the ‘Land for All’ program began yesterday at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Launches ‘Land for All’ program to hand over land ownership to landless families at the Prime Minister’s Office.’ »

New SLPP National List MP Dhammika Perera sworn in as Investment Promotion Minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


Business leader turned Member of Parliament Dhammika Perera was sworn in as the Investment Promotion Minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday.

The appointment ends weeks of speculation and controversy and follows Dhammika being sworn in as a National List MP of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna on Wednesday after the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed all five Fundamental Rights petitions against the appointment.

He filled the vacancy created by the resignation of former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘New SLPP National List MP Dhammika Perera sworn in as Investment Promotion Minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Second Ship Carrying Humanitarian Aid Donated as a Gift by the Govt and People of Tamil Nadu arrived in Sri Lanka on 24 June 2022; Consignment consisting of 14,700 MT of rice, 250 MT of milk powder and 38 MT of medicines is valued at more than 3 billion Sri Lankan Rupees

(Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo on June 24th 2022)

High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, Hon’ble Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Health, Hon’ble Nalin Fernando, Minister of Trade, Hon’ble Members of Parliament namely M.A Sumanthiran, V. Radhakrishnan, M. Udaya Kumar, Angajan Ramanthan, and several others including Senthil Thondaman welcomed a large humanitarian consignment consisting of 14,700 MT of rice, 250 MT of milk powder and 38 MT of medicines donated by the people of India in Colombo on 24 June 2022. The total value of this consignment is more than SLR 3 billion.

Continue reading ‘Second Ship Carrying Humanitarian Aid Donated as a Gift by the Govt and People of Tamil Nadu arrived in Sri Lanka on 24 June 2022; Consignment consisting of 14,700 MT of rice, 250 MT of milk powder and 38 MT of medicines is valued at more than 3 billion Sri Lankan Rupees’ »

Why Cant Premier Wickremesinghe Appoint Environment Minister Nazeer Hamed as Special Envoy to Seek Much Needed Fuel From Oil Rich Middle Eastern Countries?


By

M.M. Zuhair

Given the dire struggle for fuel and gas worsening by the day across the country and the serious multi-facetted ominous impact on food supplies cum transport caused by the woefully irregular and paltry supply of fuel, the question arises as to why Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had not directly broached Sri Lanka’s humanitarian crisis with the Saudi government or any of the other oil exporting Gulf states for assistance to obtain essential fuel on humanitarian terms or credit basis, during his more than one month in the current term in that office.

Instead of employing foreign agents, the Prime Minister ought to have supplemented India’s continued and timely assistance, by promptly speaking to his counterparts in the Middle East, the world’s major producers and exporters of ‘quality fuel’, who would certainly assist Sri Lanka by providing long-term credit as well as investment packages that the country badly needs, if duly handled.

The experienced PM who took up the country’s complicated challenges by accepting office on 13 May for the sixth time, does not need 40 days to call on the Middle East leaders and seek their help to wipe the tears off the ever increasing number of hungry angry people.

Continue reading ‘Why Cant Premier Wickremesinghe Appoint Environment Minister Nazeer Hamed as Special Envoy to Seek Much Needed Fuel From Oil Rich Middle Eastern Countries?’ »

Indian Delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra has in-depth discussion with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the Sri Lankan economy and efforts undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka towards achieving economic recovery.

(Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo on June 23rd 2022 regarding the Visit of a delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra to Colombo)

A delegation of senior Government of India officials, led by Mr. Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary, and consisting of Shri Ajay Seth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor and Mr. Kartik Pande, Joint Secretary, Indian Ocean Region, Ministry of External Affairs visited Colombo on 23 June 2022.

2. The delegation had meetings with H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka during the visit. The talks between the two sides were held in a frank, cordial and constructive manner.

3. The Indian delegation underscored that the unprecedented recent economic, financial and humanitarian assistance of over US$ 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka was guided by ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

4. During the call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Indian side thanked the President of Sri Lanka for his commitment to the development of India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. Both sides had a productive exchange of views on the current economic situation in Sri Lanka as well as India’s ongoing support.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the two sides had an in-depth discussion on the Sri Lankan economy and efforts undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka towards achieving economic recovery. In this context, both sides highlighted the importance of promoting India-Sri Lanka investment partnership including in the fields of infrastructure, connectivity, renewable energy and deepening economic linkages between the two countries.

5. The Foreign Secretary of India also had a separate meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Ambassador Aruni Wijewardena. They agreed to work in close coordination towards strengthening diplomatic engagement and undertaking a bilateral visit at an early date.

6. The Sri Lankan side appreciated the consistent support of the Government and people of India over the past few years in a variety of fields such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, disaster management, humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, commercial engagement and people-to-people ties.

7. It may be recalled that development assistance extended by India stands at over USD 5 billion with more than USD 600 million being in grants, which include the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project. India continues to be the largest source of tourism for Sri Lanka.

8. Sri Lankan side also welcomed the support extended by India during the meetings at the IMF in March this year and on subsequent occasions in different forums including regional and plurilateral organizations. They further acknowledged the initiatives taken by the Indian leadership in encouraging other countries to support Sri Lanka in dealing with the post-COVID normalization of economic activity.

*****

Colombo
23 June 2022

Second Ship with 14,712 tonnes rice, 250 tonnes of milk powder and 38 tonnes of medicines Valued at 670 Million Indian Rupees sent as Gift from Tamil Nadu State to Sri Lanka Leaves Thoothukkudy Port

The second ship, carrying over 15,000 tonnes of relief materials donated by the Tamil Nadu government, sailed from the VOC Port here to Colombo Harbour on Wednesday.

Minister for the Welfare of Minorities and Non-Resident Tamils Gingee K.S. Masthan; Food Minister R. Sakkarapani; Minister for Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Anita R. Radhakrishnan; and Minister for Social Welfare P. Geetha Jeevan flagged off the merchant vessel VTC Sun that carried relief materials worth ₹67.70 crore.

Continue reading ‘Second Ship with 14,712 tonnes rice, 250 tonnes of milk powder and 38 tonnes of medicines Valued at 670 Million Indian Rupees sent as Gift from Tamil Nadu State to Sri Lanka Leaves Thoothukkudy Port’ »

“The Leader of the Opposition must engage in good faith with the President and Prime Minister to try and prevent them from driving Sri Lanka into calamity”- Open Letter to Sajith Premadasa by Krishantha Prasad Cooray

( Text of Open Letter Sent to the Leader of the Opposition and Samagi Jana Balavegaya , Sajith Premadasa by Former Lake House Chairman and Ex- UNP Working Committee Member Krishantha Prasad Cooray on June 20th 2022)

Sajith Premadasa

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Dear Sajith,

When Ranil Wickremasinghe became Prime Minister, I wrote to him and urged that he respond to the magnitude of the moment by directing his focus towards uniting the opposition and avoiding the mistakes of the past. Although I have deep reservations over how the Rajapaksas maneuvered him into the premiership, I sincerely hoped that he would succeed in uniting the country to face the greatest crisis we have encountered since independence.

Many people both known and unknown to me chastised me for “wasting my time”. I can only hope that this letter to you does not merit a similar reaction. Even if so, I have no choice. For my country’s sake, I have to try.

It is evident that that the Prime Minister understands the gravity of the situation, but so far, he has failed to do anything tangible to unify the country, secure any meaningful financial assistance or enact serious fiscal reforms that would get the international community to take us seriously.

By appointing committee after committee, the government appears to be trying to achieve different results through a spin on the same old style of governance.

Thanks to the tenacity of the Aragalaya movement, most of the Rajapaksas save for Gotabaya Rajapaksa have been driven out of power. But the vacuum of power they left behind is not being filled by well meaning, capable and sincere statesmen seeking to save the country.

Instead, like before, it is being filled by opportunistic politicians who want to be president, and some entrepreneurs who see our failing state as ripe for a hostile takeover, hoping to pick the bones of our economy on their way to the presidency to bolster their own extraordinary wealth on the backs of the poor.

In today’s climate, however, it is inconceivable that anyone who demonstrates such selfishness can ever be elected to lead the country.

Continue reading ‘“The Leader of the Opposition must engage in good faith with the President and Prime Minister to try and prevent them from driving Sri Lanka into calamity”- Open Letter to Sajith Premadasa by Krishantha Prasad Cooray’ »

“Our economy has faced a complete collapse. That is the most serious issue before us today. . It is no easy task to revive a country with a completely collapsed economy, especially one that is dangerously low on foreign reserves. We are now seeing signs of a possible fall into the very bottom.”-Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday in Parliament provided a status update on the extent of the current economic crisis, measures taken thus far and proposed to resolve it. He also shared parallel efforts on political reforms. He urged everyone to come together as one country and join in nation’s rebuilding process. Here is the full text of the Prime Minister’s statement.

Every two weeks since taking the reins of this Government, I have taken steps to inform you of the real situation faced by the country and the measures we are taking to address it. Some have ridiculed this. They criticise me while asking: “Did he accept the Premiership to merely tell us the hardships faced by the country?” However, many others are also grateful that we are telling them the whole truth and they have come forward to present various proposals that would perhaps help us overcome these issues.

No matter which of these two groups you belong to, I call on you to come together as one country and join in the nation’s rebuilding process to see it through these dark times. Let us all embark on this journey together. Only by doing this will we be able to ensure the country’s recovery.

We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food. Our economy has faced a complete collapse. That is the most serious issue before us today. These issues can only be resolved through the reviving of the Sri Lankan economy. In order to do this, we must first resolve the foreign reserves crisis faced by us.

It is no easy task to revive a country with a completely collapsed economy, especially one that is dangerously low on foreign reserves. If steps had at least been taken to slow down the collapse of the economy at the beginning, we would not be facing this difficult situation today. But we lost out on this opportunity. We are now seeing signs of a possible fall into the very bottom. However, we must come out of this situation. If not, we will be unable to seek solutions to any other issue in the country.

Yesterday Minister Kanchana Wijesekera presented detailed information on the country’s fuel situation. Currently, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is $ 700 million in debt. As a result, no country or organisation in the world is willing to provide fuel to us. They are even reluctant to provide fuel for cash.

We have taken loans amounting to $ 4 billion under the Indian credit line. We have requested more loan assistance from our Indian counterparts. But even India will not be able to continuously support us in this manner. Even their assistance has its limits. On the other hand, we too must have a plan to repay these loans. These are not charitable donations.

So, what is the way out of this dire situation?

Continue reading ‘“Our economy has faced a complete collapse. That is the most serious issue before us today. . It is no easy task to revive a country with a completely collapsed economy, especially one that is dangerously low on foreign reserves. We are now seeing signs of a possible fall into the very bottom.”-Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

“We intend to enter into an official level agreement with the IMF by the end of July. If we receive the IMF seal of approval, the world will once again trust us. It will help us to secure loan assistance as well as low-interest loans from other countries in the world,”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a special statement


By Chandani Kirinde

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday made a fresh crisis resolution status update in Parliament, warning that the economy has faced a complete collapse hence all must come together in the nation rebuilding process.

“We intend to enter into an official level agreement with the IMF by the end of July. Considering this planned framework and the official level agreement, it is expected that the Executive Board of the IMF will then arrive at its final decision. If we receive the IMF seal of approval, the world will once again trust us. It will help us to secure loan assistance as well as low-interest loans from other countries in the world,” the Prime Minister said in a special statement to the House.

He also justified and defended his decision to give a fortnightly status update on the economic crisis and on-going efforts. “I have taken steps to inform you of the real situation faced by the country and the measures we are taking to address it. Some have ridiculed this.

They criticise me while asking: ‘Did he accept the Premiership to merely tell us the hardships faced by the country?’ However, many others are also grateful that we are telling them the whole truth and they have come forward to present various proposals that would perhaps help us overcome these issues,” the Premier said.

Continue reading ‘“We intend to enter into an official level agreement with the IMF by the end of July. If we receive the IMF seal of approval, the world will once again trust us. It will help us to secure loan assistance as well as low-interest loans from other countries in the world,”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a special statement’ »

The UK should join with the U.S., India and other “quad countries” to provide urgent bridge funding to Sri Lanka stabilize the country and offer a coherent alternative to investment dependency on China.

By

Matt Godwin

Sky-rocketing food and fuel prices in Sri Lanka have precipitated the worst political unrest in the South Asian country in years, as tens of thousands of demonstrators march for change on empty stomachs. With the government teetering alongside its economy, the international community must take urgent action to help stabilize Sri Lanka, where domestic challenges have a history of going global quickly.

Sri Lanka is on the brink. Last month, the country became the first in South Asia to default on its debt repayments for two decades. With an estimated foreign debt of more than $50 billion, the government has admitted it is now hard to scrounge even $1 million in foreign reserve currency with reserves having fallen to their lowest ever levels. Inflation skyrocketed to 30 percent in April, the highest in Asia—sending prices soaring on rapidly diminishing supplies of basics such as food, fuel and cooking stoves.

An economic crisis is now a public health calamity. Dwindling medical supplies are forcing physicians to make heart-wrenching choices as many families struggle to pay the rapidly escalating cost of scarce prescription drugs. A country that aspired to be the next Singapore is now looking at a Lebanon-style collapse, with the Sri Lankan rupee the worst performing currency in the world.

Continue reading ‘The UK should join with the U.S., India and other “quad countries” to provide urgent bridge funding to Sri Lanka stabilize the country and offer a coherent alternative to investment dependency on China.’ »

Dhammika Perera says he is grateful to Basil Rajapaksa : “Basil Rajapaksa had nominated me, this seat was supposed to be handed over to someone else, but it was Basil who asked me to step in”says new SLPP Nationl list MP


By

Ruwani Fonseka

While stating that bringing in dollars is what he does best, newly appointed MP Dhammika Perera has stated that his intention is to bring in foreign exchange over obtaining loans.

He made this statement while speaking to the media after taking oaths as an SLPP National List MP today (22).

“I know that Sri Lanka can be brought up again, and in a country where people are losing jobs, I am here to create jobs. I feel that I am fulfilling my duties by entering parliament, instead of just shouting out on the streets. During the war, I was in the economic committee and this is not much of a challenge in comparison to that time,” he mentioned.

Continue reading ‘Dhammika Perera says he is grateful to Basil Rajapaksa : “Basil Rajapaksa had nominated me, this seat was supposed to be handed over to someone else, but it was Basil who asked me to step in”says new SLPP Nationl list MP’ »

Ranil Outlines plan in Parliament for the next couple of months to ensure food security in Country:. “I have already made arrangements to ensure that citizens will not be left hungry despite the severe economic crisis” says Prime Minister

I can assure that Sri Lanka will not face a shortage of food in the future and I have already made arrangements to ensure that citizens will not be left hungry despite the severe economic crisis, says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He made this statement while speaking in Parliament and in response to the doubts raised by Our Power of People Party (OPPP) Bikkhu MP Athuruliye Rathana Thero who stated that no assurance has been given by the Government of food security and whether by next month people would face starvation.

“This is my plan for the next couple of months to ensure food security. Let’s grow together and let’s bring victory to Sri Lanka is a campaign I plan on initiating. This will be a national programme to support local cultivations. We also intend to encourage people to cultivate food that they can at home and support small cultivations and farmers. Under the Indian credit line we are to receive 40,000MT of rice and this will be distributed amongst low income families. Apart from this, we are working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to segregate 50 million rupees to convert paddy to rice. We also have a credit line with India for essential foods such as rice, sugar, corn, corn flour, onions, dhal, chickpeas, dry chillies, potatoes, garlic and milk powder and this will be for an amount of USD 112 million,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Outlines plan in Parliament for the next couple of months to ensure food security in Country:. “I have already made arrangements to ensure that citizens will not be left hungry despite the severe economic crisis” says Prime Minister’ »

Ashok Ferrey wins Prestigious Gratiaen Prize 2021 for his novel ‘The Unmarriageable Man’, published by Penguin, India.


Ashok Ferrey clinched the prestigious Gratiaen Prize 2021 for his novel ‘The Unmarriageable Man’, published by Penguin, India.

The winner was announced at a hybrid event with a limited in-person audience at the Barefoot Gallery in Colombo. The event was simultaneously live-streamed on the Facebook page of the Gratiaen Trust.

The Gratiaen Prize shortlist for 2021 announced on 23 May were ‘A Place called Home’ by Uvini Atukorala, an unpublished collection of short stories; ‘The Unmarriageable Man’ by Ashok Ferrey, a published novel; ‘The Lanka Box’ by Ciara Mandulee Mendis, an unpublished collection of short stories; and ‘Talking to the Sky’ by Rizvina Morseth de Alwis, an unpublished novel in manuscript form.

Continue reading ‘Ashok Ferrey wins Prestigious Gratiaen Prize 2021 for his novel ‘The Unmarriageable Man’, published by Penguin, India.’ »

Dhammika Perera Sworn in as SLPP National List MP by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena; tells media “I hope to present my plan to generate foreign exchange within the next two weeks because I know how to do it.”


Business leader Dhammika Perera yesterday took oath as a Member of Parliament (MP) before Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday.

He was appointed to fill the vacancy created following the resignation of SLPP National List MP Basil Rajapaksa.
Prior to his swearing-in, Dhammika handed over his declaration of assets and liabilities and the tax clearance report to the Speaker. This move he described was a sign of fresh change in the political arena in Sri Lanka.

Soon after taking oaths, Dhammika tweeted: “I fully commit myself to serve the citizens of Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.”

Separately speaking to the media on his way out of Parliament, Dhammika said he was not joining a sinking ship but a vessel in rough waters.

Continue reading ‘Dhammika Perera Sworn in as SLPP National List MP by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena; tells media “I hope to present my plan to generate foreign exchange within the next two weeks because I know how to do it.”’ »

St Kitts and Nevis based bank, Hamilton Reserve, files suit in the Federal Court of New York against Sri Lanka for Defaulting on Bonds and Demands Full Payment


More than 30 bondholders said they have formed a group to negotiate with Sri Lanka after it defaulted on its foreign debt. Still, at least one holdout has sued the country in a US court demanding payment.

Hamilton Reserve, a St Kitts and Nevis based bank, has filed suit in the Federal Court of New York Southern District, advised by lawyers Bleichmar Fonti & Auld against Sri Lanka.

Some Sri Lanka bonds, especially those issued before 2015 have ‘single series’ collective action clauses which allow one bond holder with a large position to hold out and sue for full payment.
Hamilton Reserve had built up a 250 million US dollar ‘blocking minority in a July 2022 bond which is part of a debt suspension.
Later, bonds have aggregate collection action clauses which require a large position to be held in all bonds making, holdouts more difficult.

Continue reading ‘St Kitts and Nevis based bank, Hamilton Reserve, files suit in the Federal Court of New York against Sri Lanka for Defaulting on Bonds and Demands Full Payment’ »

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and JVP-led National People’s Power (NPP) along with “independent” MPs Champika Ranawaka and Athureliya Ratana Thera walk out after announcing they will boycott Parliament sittings this week in protest against Govt .


By Chandani Kirinde

The main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the JVP-led National People’s Power (NPP) and several independent MPs walked out of the Chamber yesterday after announcing they will boycott Parliament sittings this week in protest at the Government’s failure to address any of the problems faced by the people.

Joining the walkout were independent MPs Patali Champika Ranawaka and Ven. Athureliye Ratana Thera.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa who announced the decision by the SJB MPs to boycott sittings said that the President and the Prime Minister are both a failure and they have no solution to the people’s problems.

Continue reading ‘Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and JVP-led National People’s Power (NPP) along with “independent” MPs Champika Ranawaka and Athureliya Ratana Thera walk out after announcing they will boycott Parliament sittings this week in protest against Govt .’ »

Business Tycoon Dhammika Perera Likely to be Sworn in as SLPP National List MP on June 22 Following the Supreme Court 3 Judge Bench Majority Decision to not Grant Leave to Proceed for Five Fundamental Rights Petitions Challenging Perera’s appointment.


Business tycoon Dhammika Perera is expected to take oaths as a Member of Parliament today (22), The Morning learnt, after the Supreme Court rejected granting leave to proceed with the five Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions challenging his appointment as an MP.

The petitions were taken up by a three-judge bench comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, Yasantha Kodagoda, and Arjuna Obeysekera, and delivering the verdict, Justice Jayawardena, who led the three-judge bench, said that the SC would not grant leave to proceed with the petitions pursuant to the decision of the majority the bench.

Continue reading ‘Business Tycoon Dhammika Perera Likely to be Sworn in as SLPP National List MP on June 22 Following the Supreme Court 3 Judge Bench Majority Decision to not Grant Leave to Proceed for Five Fundamental Rights Petitions Challenging Perera’s appointment.’ »

Supreme Court Rules that Majority of Clauses in 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill Tabled by Samagi Jana Balawegaya Would Require to be Passed by Two-thirds Majority in Parlianent and Approved by the People at a Referendum


The Supreme Court has determined that a majority of the clauses in the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill which was tabled by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) are inconsistent with the Constitution and would require to be passed by a two-third majority in Parliament and be approved by the people at a referendum.

The Bill was presented to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill by SJB MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara and five petitions were filed challenging its constitutionality.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Rules that Majority of Clauses in 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill Tabled by Samagi Jana Balawegaya Would Require to be Passed by Two-thirds Majority in Parlianent and Approved by the People at a Referendum’ »

Cabinet Approves Govt’s 22nd Constitutional Amendment Draft Bill; Draft would be sent to Attorney-General and Legal Draftsman for Fine Tuning


The Supreme Court (SC) has determined that several clauses in the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill submitted by the main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegayas (SJB), are inconsistent with the Constitution, and that it needs a people’s referendum to be passed, while the Government’s 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill will be sent to the Attorney General’s (AG) Department soon.

Cabinet Spokesperson Dr. Bandula Gunawardana, addressing the weekly press briefing held to announce Cabinet decisions yesterday (21), said that Cabinet approval was granted to the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill on Monday (20), and that it will now be sent to the Legal Draftsman’s Department and the AG’s Department.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced in Parliament yesterday that he had received the SC’s determination on the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill put forward by the SJB. Thus, he said that the SC has determined that Clauses 2-15, 19, 23, 24, 26-28, 30(a), 36, 39, 43, and 51 of the SJB’s 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill are inconsistent with a number of provisions of the Constitution, and has therefore ordered that a people’s referendum be held for them to be passed.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Reforms Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe PC claimed that the SC has determined that no clause in the said SJB Bill can be passed in Parliament without a public referendum and that the Opposition has to therefore accept the practicality of the situation.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Approves Govt’s 22nd Constitutional Amendment Draft Bill; Draft would be sent to Attorney-General and Legal Draftsman for Fine Tuning’ »

Sri Lankan Eyes Smile During Economic Crisis with Its Cricket Team Winning the One Day International Series Against Australia

by Rex Clementine

A nation facing its worst economic crisis and high inflation for months had finally something to smile about as Sri Lanka sealed a come from behind series win over Australia at Colombo’s R. Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.

Having set Australia a target of 259, the hosts bowled out the tourists for 254 to complete a four run win and clinch the five match series 3-1 with a game to spare. Friday’s final ODI will be a dead rubber.

Australia were on course for the target and had the required run rate under control as David Warner and Travis Head added 58 runs for the fifth wicket. Part-timer Dhananjaya de Silva then removed both batsmen in successive overs to put Sri Lanka back in the hunt.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Eyes Smile During Economic Crisis with Its Cricket Team Winning the One Day International Series Against Australia’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will Visit India Soon to meet with Indian Premier Naendra Modi and Key Members of the Cabinet Including External Affairs Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

By
P.K.Balachandran

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to visit India shortly to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and other key Indian ministers, reliable sources said on Tuesday. The exact dates of the visit are being worked out, the sources added.

Both Wickremesinghe and Modi have been keen on meeting each other ever since Wickremesinghe assumed office in May. But the Sri Lankan leader had been busy trying to manage the unprecedented economic crisis his country has been undergoing.

In addition, he had to manage a fractious parliament in which he had nil support to begin with. Adding to his challenges, was the controversy over his appointment as Prime Minister bypassing others with more support in parliament. Further, agitators on the streets were wanting both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe to go home making way for a more legitimate all-party government.

Therefore, Wickremesinghe’s primary task, upon taking over, was to establish his legitimacy by proving majority support in parliament even if it was to be only a temporary patchwork of disparate elements. Eventually, and to his credit, fairly quickly, he did stitch together an informal, but working coalition with the help of the Rajapaksas’ political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will Visit India Soon to meet with Indian Premier Naendra Modi and Key Members of the Cabinet Including External Affairs Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the greatest source of political instability; He should leave for the sake of the country. To begin, Gota should announce a timeline for his departure


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Those who have followed this column might know that I have regularly expressed strong reservations about Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his previous stint as the secretary of defence and later his reincarnation as the president. Those concerns would be vindicated when the Sri Lankan judiciary is unshackled from routine political meddling and inherent bias toward the powers that be. Nonetheless, after the other Rajapaksas resigned and their dynastic project crumbled, I, for one, had rather been inclined to put up with Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s continuation in office for the time being for the sake of political stability.

Initially, it appeared as a reasonable trade-off in exchange for political instability. Now, I must admit I have been naïve. Gotabaya is not a source of political stability, but rather the stark opposite. He is the greatest source of political instability. Not only was he the primary catalyst who mothballed an otherwise manageable sovereign debt crisis into a calamity of unprecedented proportions. His continuation in the office against a myriad of calls for his departure is prolonging the crisis. He should leave the office for the sake of the country. To begin, he should announce a timeline for his departure, removing the greatest handicap for the formation of an all-party government.

Once a new all-party government is formed, he should make himself redundant, (at maximum limiting himself to negotiate a safe way out). He should let the new government dig the country out of the hole, unencumbered by his presence. He should let Sri Lankans dream again, his government has been a long nightmare. If he and his ever-depleting number of sycophants cannot fathom why he should leave, here are a few reasons why his continuation would mean the ultimate demise of the nation.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the greatest source of political instability; He should leave for the sake of the country. To begin, Gota should announce a timeline for his departure’ »

Tamil Nadu’s DMK Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Sri Lanka

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

On May 19 this year, the Panama-registered general cargo vessel “Tan Binh 99” departed at 8.28 am from the Chennai harbour in India with 9000 tons of rice, 200 tons of milk poweder nd 24 tons of essential medicines. Its destination was Sri Lanka’s Colombo port. This was the first consignment of a generous emergency aid package from the Tamil Nadu state of India to its Island neighbour Sri Lanka. Writing in the “Frontline’newsmagazine, RK Radhakrishnan described the gift as a “first of sorts where a province in a developing country was extending its assistance to another country”.

MK Stalin

Writing further in Frontline, RK Radhakrishnan observed thus- “Tamil Nadu decided to extend humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka in the form of rice and other essential commodities, taking into consideration the plight of the people following the economic deterioration of the island nation. This is a marked shift in the stand of political parties in Tamil Nadu, which have in the past demanded a separate Tamil nation in Sri Lanka. It also sets the stage for enhanced interaction between the people of the two regions.”

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu’s DMK Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Sri Lanka’ »

“I took on a challenge, let us see where it ends. But I always thought that being a party of one was a strength, not weakness. You could deal with anyone in the opposition or the government. You are not a threat to anyone, and you carry on.”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe


By

Meera Srinivasan

Over a month after his unexpected appointment — following former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation amid unceasing anti-government protests over the crisis — Mr. Wickremesinghe spoke to The Hindu in his Colombo office on Saturday. Attired in a crisp white shirt and black trousers, the six-time premier sounded surprisingly upbeat in possibly the toughest assignment of his political career of nearly half a century. “It’s hectic, this is a new experience. I am working eight days a week,” he laughed.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Outlining his immediate plans for economic recovery the 73-year-old PM, who is also the Finance Minister, said the government hopes to firm up the staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of June. “Then we have to wait for the debt restructuring plan. That will give us a clear indication of what we have to do.

By July, I also hope to bring in the interim budget,” he said. Speaking of a “donor conference” where Sri Lanka will seek further foreign aid, Mr. Wickremesinghe said: “We have got to ensure that India, China, Japan all are singing the same tune.”

Sri Lanka is “in the middle of geopolitics”, he said, referring to assistance from the Quad, mainly through its members India and Japan, and China.

Commenting on foreign investment, Mr. Wickremesinghe emphatically welcomed the Adani Group’s entry into the country’s energy sector, despite the group’s project being caught in a controversy, after a top Sri Lankan official told a Parliamentary panel that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “pressured” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to clear the $500 million renewable energy project in northern Sri Lanka. The official subsequently withdrew his statement.

“If the Indian government was really interested, I would have been told about this by Prime Minister Modi or his office. I haven’t got any request to expedite it,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.

Excerpts from the interview

It has been over a month since you took charge as PM amid the unprecedented crisis. What are your key interventions so far?

Continue reading ‘“I took on a challenge, let us see where it ends. But I always thought that being a party of one was a strength, not weakness. You could deal with anyone in the opposition or the government. You are not a threat to anyone, and you carry on.”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Re-visiting the Killing of Subathiran Alias Robert by a Tiger Sniper 19 Years ago

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The armed struggle launched by Tamil militant groups to achieve the objective of a separate Tamil state caused massive loss of life and bloodshed. Many of those killed were victims of internecine conflict and fratricidal warfare. Among the many who were killed was Subathiran alias Robert, a charismatic personality with a colourful history. He was killed 19 years ago in June 2003 while a ceasefire was supposedly in progress. This column intends re-visiting the murder this week.

Thambirajah Subathiran alias Robert was shot dead on Saturday, June 14, 2003 at about 6. 15 a.m. in Jaffna. Subathiran generally known by his nom de guerre Robert was at the time of his killing , the deputy leader of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) faction led by Annamalai Varatharajapperumal, former chief minister of the North-Eastern Provincial Council.The other or main EPRLF faction was (and is) led by Kandiah Premachandran alias Suresh.

Continue reading ‘Re-visiting the Killing of Subathiran Alias Robert by a Tiger Sniper 19 Years ago’ »

The entry of Dhammika Perera is obviously a prelude to the re-entry of the Rajapaksas en masse. Whether Dhammika Perera is Mark Antony or Brutus in the coming drama remains to be seen.


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“All that is solid melts into the air…”
Marx and Engels (The Communist Manifesto)

The socio-economic edifice that is Sri Lanka’s informal sector is collapsing. According to the 2020 Labour Force Survey, informal sector accounts for 58.1% of the total employed. That is 4.65million people (62.1% of them male). Most have little formal education (nearly one million studied only up to grade 5 or less; 2.6million between grades 6 to 10). Almost 2 million are in elementary occupations, gruelling work with no job security, severance compensation or even a formal contract.

The socio-economic existence of most informal sector workers is precarious even in normal economic times, their lives built not on rock but sand. They work hard for long hours trying to shake off the stigma of poverty, to cleave to the lower end of the middle class, to improve their living standards and to educate their children. They don’t earn enough to save. A decent house and potentially upwardly mobile children are their sole assets.

The pandemic hit this sector the hardest. Still they could have made a comeback had it not been for that other, worse, plague – Rajapaksa rule. Already millions have lost their occupations, hurling entire families hurled into poverty. Everything they have built “is melting into the air,” including their dreams of educating their children into economic security and social acceptance.

According to the most recent Household Income and Expenditure Survey Sri Lanka’s poorest 40% had an average monthly household income of around Rs. 27,000 in 2019. Today that sum would be inadequate to live frugally for a week, let alone a month. The middle 60% had an average monthly household income of around 56,000rupees. A sizeable segment of this component must be struggling hard not to be swept below the line of poverty.

According to the World Food Programme’s current estimation, 86% of families miss a meal or eat less in terms of quality and/or quantity. 22% lack basic nutrition. It was these people the IMF chief talked about in her May 2022 BBC interview. She held up Sri Lanka as a warning to other crisis-ridden countries, identifying food and energy shortages and high prices as key causative factors of mass violence and urging the subsidisation of these essentials for the poorest sections.

Unfortunately, PM Wickremesinghe doesn’t seem to have heard either the warning or the counsel. The prices of essentials rose even higher under his watch. Though he talks of the need for a new social welfare net, it is often in anodyne terms. There is nothing concrete that can function as a psychological straw for the drowning masses.

Continue reading ‘The entry of Dhammika Perera is obviously a prelude to the re-entry of the Rajapaksas en masse. Whether Dhammika Perera is Mark Antony or Brutus in the coming drama remains to be seen.’ »

“If this country is ever to rise from the ashes even a generation or two later, majoritarian sentiment fed by hate-mongering against Tamil and Muslim minorities must be recognised and rejected for what it is. That is where national healing must start.”


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

From Mullaitivu to Kurunegala to Athurigiriya, fury erupts among snaking lines of Sri Lankans hopelessly waiting for days on end for fuel. Finally, unity binds the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims in their collectively deep anger against a Government that has forsaken public trust. But is this too late as the country heads into dangerously uncharted waters of non-governance with dollar and rupee reserves reduced to zero due to a cabal of thieving and incompetent political leaders along with their obedient henchmen in public service?

Deflecting the blame to the citizenry

Across the length and breadth of the land, there is a discernible uptick in tensions as the police react with uncontrolled force against public protests. Is the Government inviting another deadly wave of public anger? This week, a (Tamil) journalist was attacked by an unidentified person while filming scenes of people waiting in lines for petrol on the Mankulam-Vellankulam road with the police looking on.

In Kurunegala, a (Sinhala) motorcyclist was literally sought to be throttled by a policeman even as the victim shouted that the particular fuel station concerned is distributing fuel in secret only to the ‘privileged.’

Interestingly a senior policeman reprimanded people flocking to the fracas to the effect that, ‘do not take the incidents of May 9th as an example to cause violence.’ This statement exposes the way that the State is authorising its agents to ‘manage’ and ‘control’ the acute crisis of law, economy and governance that is throttling Sri Lanka.

In effect, it is not just one stray citizen who is sought to be throttled by one stray policeman overstepping the bounds of his legal authority.Rather, this is a powerful symbol of the suffocation of the country itself as President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ministerial minions downwards practice the art of deftly deflecting blame to Sri Lankan citizens for their misery.

Continue reading ‘“If this country is ever to rise from the ashes even a generation or two later, majoritarian sentiment fed by hate-mongering against Tamil and Muslim minorities must be recognised and rejected for what it is. That is where national healing must start.”’ »

Current Economic Crisis Debilitates War Affected Northern People Further Especially the Women who are juggling jobs, housework and care, while persisting with their struggle for justice

By
Meera Srinivasan

In March this year, women of Thambaddy village were thanking their stars for the good crab season. It ensured they were employed throughout the month at the local crab factory. Those who put in longer hours made some extra money that helped them cope with the spiralling cost of essentials.

Barely three months later, residents of this coastal village in Kayts island, off the northern Jaffna peninsula and connected to it by a causeway, are on the brink of starvation.
As Sri Lanka faces acute shortages of food, fuel, LPG, and medicine in the midst of a crushing economic downturn, people here have witnessed their livelihoods vanish.

With no kerosene available in the market, the men are unable to take their boats out to sea to fish. And without the catch, the women who make a living by removing crab shells are jobless. So are other villagers who subsist on allied livelihoods such as cleaning, transporting or selling the fish locally.

While most of the island’s southern fishermen use large boats that run on diesel, 90% of those living in the north use small boats that run on kerosene. As of today, neither fuel is available.

“In May, the factory only offered us work on nine days,” says Sugathevan Sailathevi of the early yet sure signs of a rapid breakdown of their rural economy, still beaten years after the civil war in the Tamil-majority region ended in 2009.

Poverty and joblessness were entrenched in the local economy well before this crisis arrived to make things worse. Families here were displaced at least twice during the war. Many moved all the way to Mullivaikkal on the north-eastern coast, the site of the final, gory battle between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the armed forces.

They witnessed scores of fellow Tamil civilians perish in the shelling, or forcibly disappear, with their whereabouts not known till date.

Continue reading ‘Current Economic Crisis Debilitates War Affected Northern People Further Especially the Women who are juggling jobs, housework and care, while persisting with their struggle for justice’ »

“There is growing animosity between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe” says EX-President Maithripala Sirisena

.By

Sandun A Jayasekera

Former President Maithripala Sirisena said there is growing animosity between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe like a rivalry.

He said it was similar to the rivalry between him as the president and Mr. Wickremesinghe as the prime minister at that time.
It was quite clear that there was no coordination, mutual understanding or unity between the two and that was why the Gotabaya Rajapakse – Ranil Wickremesinghe rule has become a total failure, dragging the country and its 22 million people into an unfathomable abyss, he added.

Continue reading ‘“There is growing animosity between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe” says EX-President Maithripala Sirisena’ »

16 Year old Sadasivam Kalaiyarasi of Kilinochchi Becomes First Tamil Girl to be Selected for Sri Lanka’s Women Under 19 Cricket Squad; fast bowler cum hard hitting batter braves poverty, poor infrastructure and gender stereotyping with full support of working class parents


By

Meera Srinivasan

Growing up in her village in Sri Lanka’s northern Kilinochchi district, Sadasivam Kalaiyarasi had one dream — to play cricket for Sri Lanka. It came true this week, when she made it to the country’s under-19 squad, becoming the first Tamil girl to enter the national cricket arena.

“It’s my father who got me interested in cricket and supported me. I’m here because of him,” says the lanky teenager, attired in her dark blue and red training gear. Her recent selection not only highlighted sporting aspirations in the former war zone, but also brought some much-needed cheer to locals who, like many other Sri Lankans, are braving crippling shortages and power cuts due to the national economic crisis.

A keen follower of cricket, Ms. Kalaiyarasi’s father got his daughter to watch matches with him as a child. Seeing her pick up the game well, local coach Jeevarathinam Priyadharshan focused on honing her skills. “She is a formidable pace bowler, very consistent and confident. More recently, her batting has also improved a lot. I see her attempting leg side shots that I play, and they are getting better by the day,” says the proud mentor. “In a zonal match held earlier this week, she hit what, six sixes?” he asks her student. “Seven, sir,” she gently corrects him.

Continue reading ‘16 Year old Sadasivam Kalaiyarasi of Kilinochchi Becomes First Tamil Girl to be Selected for Sri Lanka’s Women Under 19 Cricket Squad; fast bowler cum hard hitting batter braves poverty, poor infrastructure and gender stereotyping with full support of working class parents’ »

Hirunika’s Letter to Gotabaya After the Presidential Pardon of Duminda Silva

by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

In what has been described as a historic ruling, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court on May 31st 2022, issued an Interim Order suspending the operation of the Presidential Pardon granted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Arumadura Lawrence Romelo Duminda Silva known as Duminda Silva. The former parliamentarian and ex- provincial councillor had been convicted on a charge of murder and sentenced to death. After being pardoned in June 2021 , Duminda Silva was appointed in July as Chairman of the National Housing Development Authority by President Rajapaksa. Earlier during the time of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Duminda Silva served as Monitoring MP of the Defence Ministry while Gotabaya was the Defence Ministry Secretary.

Duminda Silva was involved in a shooting incident on October 8 2011, during Local Authority Elections, where former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra known as “Lucky Aiya” and three of his bodyguards were killed.The High Court of Sri Lanka convicted Duminda Silva and four of his associates for murder and imposed the death sentence on them on September 16, 2016. Subsequently the sentence was appealed but a five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction of Silva in a unanimous 51 page verdict issued on October 16 , 2018. Despite the High Court conviction of 2016 being upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018, Duminda Silva was a free man in June 2021.

Continue reading ‘Hirunika’s Letter to Gotabaya After the Presidential Pardon of Duminda Silva’ »

Anatomy of Anti-Muslim Violence: How “Bodhu Bala Sena” Mobs Caused Mayhem in Aluthgama and Beruwela Eight Years ago.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

( Eight years have passed since violence was unleahed by Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS)instigated goons against the Muslims of Aluthgama and Beruwela on Sunday June 15th 2014. This article was written by me shortly after the incidents in the ensuing week in 2014.It is being re-posted without any changes to denote the eighth anniversary of the Anti-Muslim violence in Aluthgama and Beruwela……………DBS Jeyaraj)

BBCA061714A

“If they come in thousands….we have no way..we have no way to answer..so only thing, we have to die..that’s all..” fearful resident tells the BBC
*************************

A curfew was clamped down in the Aluthgama and Beruwela Police divisions of Kalutara district in the Western Province of Sri Lanka following an outbreak of communal violence on Sunday June 15th 2014 that was triggered off by the “Ethno Religious Fascist” Organization the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS).

Preliminary reports indicate that the violence was sparked off by a protest rally conducted by the Bodhu Bala Sena – meaning “Buddhist Power Force” – in Aluthgama where provocative anti-Muslim speeches were made by prominent BBS leaders condemning an incident on Poson day (June 12th) in Aluthgama where a verbal altercation occurred between some Muslim youths on the one hand and a Buddhist monk and his vehicle driver on the other.

Bodhu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven.Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero delivered a provocative speech full of racist venom in which he asserted that the Police and military were Sinhala and that no Muslim or Tamil or anyone else could harm a Sinhalese and get away with it. “This country still has a Sinhalese Police, this country still has a Sinhalese Army. It will be the end of all if someone at least lays a finger on a Sinhalese,” Gnanasara Thero said.He also said he was prepared to be called racist for speaking out on behalf of Sinhalese.Gnanasara Thero called upon all Sinhalese to unite regardless of political differences.He also wanted the Muslim dominated area called Dharga Nagar or Dharga town renamed.

Gnanasara Thero made several references to incidents in Aluthgama involving Muslims and criticised the Govt for the elaborate security arrangements in Aluthgama. Gnanasara Thero also was critical of President Rajapaksa saying “Mahinda Mahathaya” should be aware of how the minorities are empowering themselves at the expense of the majority community.The singer Madhumadhava Aravindha also appeared on the BBS platform and sang emotional songs in Sinhala that were highly inflammatory.At least 900 Policemen were on duty in the vicinity when the BBS rally was in progress.

Continue reading ‘Anatomy of Anti-Muslim Violence: How “Bodhu Bala Sena” Mobs Caused Mayhem in Aluthgama and Beruwela Eight Years ago.’ »

If China persists with its line of radically changing the way the Sri Lankan economy is run, Sri Lanka will have no option but to hitch its fortunes to India and the West rather than China.


By P.K.Balachandran

On the face of it, China appears to be shedding its aloofness and trying to create the impression that it is also helping Sri Lanka overcome the current grave economic crisis. It says that it has pumped in US$ 76 million so far.

But that sum pales into insignificance in comparison with India’s largesse of US$ 3.5 billion. What is glaring is the absence of a willingness on China’s part to restructure the repayment of its loans, and the conditions which it has attached to the use of the funds given.

Beijing’s tough stance gives the impression that it does not consider it worthwhile to put any more money into Sri Lanka or go out of the way to be considerate to it.

Apparently, China thinks that Sri Lanka has not created a climate for economic growth which will help attract Chinese and foreign investment. For Beijing, the real solution to Sri Lanka’s current crisis lies in promoting economic growth, securing FDIs, increasing trade and signing an FTA with it.

China believes that Sri Lanka’s problems are of its own making. Therefore, first and foremost task for Sri Lanka should be to set its house in order. If the Western nations want Sri Lanka to agree to the IMF’s conditions before they consider pumping in money or make investments, China wants Sri Lanka to create a suitable climate for Chinese investment and sign a Free Trade Agreement with it. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other top officials had made this very clear to the Lankan Establishment.

Continue reading ‘If China persists with its line of radically changing the way the Sri Lankan economy is run, Sri Lanka will have no option but to hitch its fortunes to India and the West rather than China.’ »

Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) files aFundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court challenging the Nomination of businessman Dhammika Perera to the SLPP National List MP seat Vacated by Basil Rajapaksa


By

Lakmal Suriyagoda

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has filed a Fundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court challenging the appointment of businessman Dhammika Perera to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, as a Member of Parliament.

In accordance with Article 99A of the Constitution, the CPA’s position is that a person is only entitled to be nominated to fill such a vacancy if their name was included in the district nomination papers or national list submitted by the relevant political party.

The CPA stated that Dhammika Perera’s name was not on the list submitted by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to the Election Commission under Article 99A of the Constitution or in any nomination paper submitted in respect of any electoral district by the SLPP for the General Election held in 2020.

Continue reading ‘Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) files aFundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court challenging the Nomination of businessman Dhammika Perera to the SLPP National List MP seat Vacated by Basil Rajapaksa’ »

Former Speaker and the National Movement for Social Justice Chairman, Karu Jayasuriya Urges President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Implement without Delay his Promise to do Away with the 20 th Amendment and Reviving the 19th Amendment


Former Speaker and the National Movement for Social Justice Chairman, Karu Jayasuriya in a statement yesterday, raised concerns over the failure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in re-enacting the 19A duly as Mr. Rajapaksa promised to the country.

The full text of the statement made by Mr. Jayasuriya is as follows:

Today I would like to recall once again how our head of state assured the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the international community that he would protect our country’s democracy and the human rights of all Sri Lankans. He also quite publicly stated he would see to the re-enactment of the 19th Amendment in parliament, and claimed he will not object to the abolishment of the executive presidency. Additionally, the President also pledged to the country’s people and its religious leaders that a new constitution would be adopted within a year of coming into power and the provision allowing dual citizens to hold parliamentary seats will be removed.

It must be emphasised that these promises were given by none other than the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka. However, he has failed to deliver to date. No constitution has been brought forward and the promise has been limited to mere words.

One must question then if the international community will trust a head of state that has openly violated promises and assurances given before the world to the people of his own country. Will his countrymen put their trust in him? Will investors trust him? Will those who deal with our country on various levels trust him?
We are ashamed and embarrassed to point out these facts but it must be done as the Sri Lankan government is openly violating the many promises made to its people at its inception. The President must realise these actions would only bring disrepute to not only himself but also to the Sri Lankan people he represents.

Continue reading ‘Former Speaker and the National Movement for Social Justice Chairman, Karu Jayasuriya Urges President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Implement without Delay his Promise to do Away with the 20 th Amendment and Reviving the 19th Amendment’ »

Champika Ranawaka MP asks whether Solar Plants at Mannar and Pooneryn Agreement with India’s Adani Green Energy is a Govt to Govt Deal? Adani had proposed a price of around 7.8 US cents per unit which was close to double the market rate says Former Power Minister


Sri Lanka legislator Patali Champika Ranawaka, a former Minister of Power has made shocking revelations over a power deal with India’s Adani group as a controversy brews over ending competitive tenders for private power producers.

Ranawaka said as far back as November 2021, the Chairman of Ceylon Electricity Board M C Ferdinando had written to the then Treasury Secretary asking for an agreement to be signed with Adani Green Energy after he was directed to ‘facilitate’ the project.

Ranawaka said he questioned at the parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprises whether there was anything in writing from India that Adani was representing the Indian government.

The letter said Adani Green Energy has proposed a 500MW wind and solar power plant in Mannar and Pooneryn area.

“As per this directive, I assumed that this is a proposal of an investor-backed by the Government of India on the basis of the bilateral discussion between two heads of state,” the November letter said.

Continue reading ‘Champika Ranawaka MP asks whether Solar Plants at Mannar and Pooneryn Agreement with India’s Adani Green Energy is a Govt to Govt Deal? Adani had proposed a price of around 7.8 US cents per unit which was close to double the market rate says Former Power Minister’ »

TNA B’caloa MP Shankiyan Rasamanickam writes to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Stating that he has never encouraged any violence and that a speech he gave on May 20 had been either misunderstood or misconstrued by the PM

Sri Lanka opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam on Monday (13) rejected insinuations by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the Batticaloa district MP had condoned the retaliatory violence on parliamentarians on May 09.
In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Rasamanickam said that he has never encouraged any violence and that a speech he gave on May 20 had been either misunderstood or misconstrued.

Speaking during a vote of condolence on a murdered government MP last Friday (10), Wickremesinghe asked the speaker to investigate a speech made previously by Rasamanickam on May 20.
Wickremesinghe said it was regrettable that one MP had remained silent during the customary round of speeches commemorating the life of MP Amarakeerthi Atukorale.

Atukorale was murdered by a violent mob on May 09 on his way home from Colombo after an unprovoked attack on peaceful protestors by government supporters triggered a wave of retaliatory violence islandwide. The offices and private residences of a number of MPs, predominantly government, were torched my mobs around the country.

Referring to the parliament’s Hansard record for May 20, Wickremesinghe said MP Rasamanickam had said the houses were burnt down for voting for bills harmful to the country such as the 20th amendment to the constitution and the 2021 budgets.
“This means that the houses were burnt because of an opposing view,” said Wickremesinghe.

MP Rasamanickam was vociferous in his denial of Wickremesinghe’s claims.

Continue reading ‘TNA B’caloa MP Shankiyan Rasamanickam writes to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Stating that he has never encouraged any violence and that a speech he gave on May 20 had been either misunderstood or misconstrued by the PM’ »

The prevailing economic catastrophe may create the conditions for a democratic breakthrough, if Sri Lanka’s fractured left could harness this emerging sense of solidarity among Affected people


By

Rohini Hensman

I am not in Sri Lanka, and I feel torn about what is happening there. Acute anxiety about how millions will survive the shortages of food, fuel and medicine jostles against a glimmer of hope that this crisis could be the beginning of the end of a decades-long nightmare.

pic via: @UNOCHA

Since the country gained its Independence in 1948, various sections of the population have been targeted by its ruling bloc: threatened with losing their homes, livelihoods and often their lives. They have fought back, but each section has been isolated and crushed by an increasingly centralized and ruthless state. Now, for the first time, the vast majority of the population has risen in revolt. Criticism of the dictatorship is widespread, and divisions between working people may finally be healing.

It is not easy to disentangle the different strands of Sri Lanka’s long-standing political crisis, but let me try. Equality before the law – a key component of any democratic republic – was never supported by the ruling class that took power in independent Ceylon. The two main parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), both endorsed ‘Sinhala-Buddhist’ supremacism. This meant persistent discrimination against ethno-religious minorities, which began right after Independence, when the UNP passed legislation disenfranchising around a million Tamils of recent Indian origin and stripping them of their citizenship. Most of those affected were plantation workers in the central hill country, who were already isolated from other sections of the working class by their confinement to the plantations.

The next major assault on equality occurred when the SLFP, led by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, came to power in 1956 and passed the Official Language Act, or ‘Sinhala Only Bill’. The Act discriminated against all Tamil-speakers, especially in public sector employment. It sparked major protests followed by the anti-Tamil riots of 1958, in which far-right Buddhist monks played a major part, assassinating Bandaranaike the following year for not going far enough in persecuting Tamils. The leadership of the SLFP was taken over by his widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Tamil was downgraded and English ceased to act as a link language, in a deliberate attempt to obstruct dialogue between communities.

Such measures were opposed by the Trotskyist Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Communist Party of Ceylon (later the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, CPSL). Yet, once they failed to prevent the ratification of the anti-Tamil laws, the left parties did not continue the struggle against discrimination by building solidarity among working people from different linguistic and religious groups.

Continue reading ‘The prevailing economic catastrophe may create the conditions for a democratic breakthrough, if Sri Lanka’s fractured left could harness this emerging sense of solidarity among Affected people’ »

“Que Sera Sera” (What Will be, Will be): Doris Day’s Signature Song of Cheerful Fatalism

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The first part of my article on Ranil’s return was published in the “Daily Mirror”of May 21st 2022. In that I made a brief reference to the song “Que Sera Sera” sung by the American singer com actress Doris Day. This was in the context of speculation about Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political future. This is what I wrote then – “However as Doris Day sang in ‘The man who knew too much’ movie- “Que Sera, Sera, Whatever will be, will be.”

When I wrote those lines I had assumed that – most if not all – readers would know about the song and the memorable line. However I was totally surprised by some of the mails I received. Several readers wrote to me asking for more details of the song, about the singer Doris Day and the movie “The Man who knew too much”. Some had googled and viewed Video Clips featuring “Que Sera Sera”. A few said they liked the song and thanked me for bringing it to their notice.

Continue reading ‘“Que Sera Sera” (What Will be, Will be): Doris Day’s Signature Song of Cheerful Fatalism’ »

We must end the Parliamentary Privileges that enable corrupt and criminal politicians, found guilty by the courts, to enjoy with such contempt the affront to the process of Democracy.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

There are reports of big celebrations in California. They have heard that Basil – the Crowman or Kaputu-kaak – Rajapaksa has decided to retain his US citizenship, and come there for a holiday. His wife had already left for a big family celebration.Retaining US citizenship, especially when one’s home country, Sri Lanka, is going through its hardest time that anyone can remember, is certainly a cause for great pride and joy to SL-Americans. There are bound to be celebrations in California, like what took place in Washington DC when the pro-Trump people took to the streets, broke into the capitol and made the biggest threat to democracy.

The mood of the California supporters of the Kaputu-kaak thinking is certainly what the Rajapaksas of the now fading Rajavasala want to keep alive. It is the thinking that has made Basil’s brother, Gotabaya, say, with so much pride, that he has failed in his task of presidency, but cannot resign. He is a leader who must continue in a failed office till the end of one’s term, and be supported and propped up by an unelected Prime Minister of a hugely threatened democracy.

Continue reading ‘We must end the Parliamentary Privileges that enable corrupt and criminal politicians, found guilty by the courts, to enjoy with such contempt the affront to the process of Democracy.’ »

Protests by the youth for ‘system change have not had much impact so far except for the changing of one set of ministerial crooks for another set of crooks while the political establishment consolidates itself!


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

When questioned as to why Sri Lanka’s law works to its most ferocious extent against anti-government protestors, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s answer was typically slick.

‘The police have also arrested Members of Parliament…it is the magistrates who decide on remand’, he said. This was during one of multiple regional and global media interviews indulged in freely as the nation’s citizenry struggles in the death throes of decades of gross unchecked political corruption by Presidents and Prime Ministers of all shades and sizes.

Meanwhile allegations abound that citizens who have not committed violence are being hauled in for questioning, the latest being a Catholic nun. Premier Wickremesinghe peppered his remarks with references to the Bar Association’s role in working with state agencies to prevent abuse.

In passing, it must also be said that the Prime Minister’s co-opting of the Bar’s statements to bolster ‘his’ Government’s various positions, including the departure of the President which is a core demand of the protestors, is becoming uncomfortably frequent, to say the least.

The Bar’s denial, through a statement issued by its Executive Committee on Thursday, of the Prime Minister’s reported assertion that it ‘agreed’ to a quid-pro-quo with President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that he could remain if the Executive Presidency is abolished, is a case in point.

Continue reading ‘Protests by the youth for ‘system change have not had much impact so far except for the changing of one set of ministerial crooks for another set of crooks while the political establishment consolidates itself!’ »

President Rajapaksa Does not hear the Resounding “Gota Go Home” Demand and Instead Hangs on, living on the memories of the conflict and the unprovable 6.9 million allegedly behind him.


By

Austin Fernando

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.
John F Kennedy

In a lighter vein, I amuse that President Kennedy’s above quote would have been partly motivated by a premonition he had of what would happen in Sri Lanka in 2022! What else could one surmise when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa vows “to finish the remaining two years in his term despite months-long street protests calling for his ouster.” True, no President with all attached pomp and glory would depart the comfort zone only due to street protests.

Yet, President Rajapaksa declaring he would not recontest is realistic. It is not only due to street protests but the heard and unheard protests, curses, and complaints in all nooks and corners of Sri Lanka. No one will bargain with such echoing around and contest, to win. If someone says he would contest, it will turn out to be a myth, as President Kennedy said – a lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest too. Sure, no one even from the Pohottuwa expects him to contest, because they may face similar consequences as what United National Party contestants experienced in August 2019!

Whether he and the Pohottuwa Government has the mandate and popularity he and his supporters claim could be easily verified on the day he contests or if he wishes to get an early endorsement at the long-delayed Provincial Council Elections. The President’s prior intimation of not seeking reelection shows his conviction of the real popularity, though he does not want to depart immediately.

If he does not stand for reelection because he wishes to focus on “fixing a financial mess” it is well and good, but it will be understood as penance, paid by him since he led the team that caused the country’s economic mess. The new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who has taken over this responsibility needs no analysts to educate him.

It is common knowledge that the economic collapse was initiated with the reduction of tax revenue in December 2019, by revisions made to tax slots and Value Added Taxation, alleged duty waivers to friendly importers, and the collapse of farming due to the President’s dream of accelerated organic agriculture combined with prohibiting fertilizer imports, power, and energy supplies restrictions due to dollar shortage, delayed action with the International Monetary Fund and debt restructuring, supported by his grabbing concentrated political power by constitutional amendment manipulations, etc. Entanglement of the economic and political crisis is borne with the last. As the team leader, he is hounded by these errors.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Does not hear the Resounding “Gota Go Home” Demand and Instead Hangs on, living on the memories of the conflict and the unprovable 6.9 million allegedly behind him.’ »

The SLPP/Pohottuwa has to decide whether it wants to survive and recover, and if it wants to, it must rupture decisively with the Rajapaksas, now.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Will the SLPP (‘Pohottuwa’) have a political future, or will it wind up like the LSSP-CPSL of 1977, the SLFP of 1977 or the UNP of 2020?

According to the Jataka Tales, when the Buddha was asked a question which contained a problem, he used to tell the tale of a precedent, located in Benares at the time of King Brahma Datta. The device of a retrospective was either illustrate the cyclical, karmic character of occurrence or to underscore the moral lesson of the story or both.

Similarly, if the Rajapaksas and the Pohottuwa are to understand their future, they must study the 1970s, the Sirimavo Bandaranaike administration and the outcome in 1977 and after.

The Bandaranaikes took 17 years to make a comeback, but the Rajapaksas will take twice that time as did Bongbong Marcos. This is because the Bandaranaikes had a genuine rebel in their ranks, who had retained her credibility and could therefore lead a comeback as a contrast to the Old Guard.

Chandrika Bandaranaike rebelled against her mother in April 1971, broke away from the SLFP in 1984 and was President ten years later in 1994. The Rajapaksas have no Chandrika equivalent.

Continue reading ‘The SLPP/Pohottuwa has to decide whether it wants to survive and recover, and if it wants to, it must rupture decisively with the Rajapaksas, now.’ »

Dhammika Perera Named as SLPP National List MP by Extraordinary Gazette will Take Oaths in June 3rd week; Business Magnate Resigns from all Positions in his Companies Prior to being Apppointed Minister of Technology and Investment Promotion


By Nisthar Cassim

Top business leader and Minister-to-be Dhammika Perera yesterday resigned from all his companies and was named as a National List MP via an extraordinary gazette as part of preparations to be appointed as a Cabinet Minister.

The respective Colombo Stock Exchange-listed companies notified Dhammika’s resignation yesterday. The move is ahead of Dhammika’s appointment as the Minister of Investment Promotion and Technology following his appointment as a National List MP from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

With Dhammika obtaining the party membership SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam wrote to the Elections Commissioner naming Dhammika as the party’s nominee to fill the National List seat vacated by Rajapaksa who resigned on Thursday.
Dhammika will take oaths as a MP when the House next meets in the third week of June whilst he is tipped to be appointed as Minister shortly.

Continue reading ‘Dhammika Perera Named as SLPP National List MP by Extraordinary Gazette will Take Oaths in June 3rd week; Business Magnate Resigns from all Positions in his Companies Prior to being Apppointed Minister of Technology and Investment Promotion’ »

Centre for Policy Alternatives expresses concern over Dhammika Perera Being Appointed National List MP; CPA also points issues may occur out that conflict of interests may occur if Business Tycoon becomes Cabinet Minister

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) in a statement yesterday said it is concerned by several media reports that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has appointed Dhammika Perera to fill the National List seat which became vacant by the resignation of Basil Rajapaksa.

CPA noted that according to media reports, Dhammika Perera was not a member of the SLPP until a few days ago and that in any event his name was not included in the list of persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament, in terms of Article 99A of the Constitution (the “National List”) or any of the district lists submitted by the SLPP for the Parliamentary Election held in August 2020.

The CPA statement also said the following.

Dhammika Perera has business interests in several public and private limited companies covering several important sectors in the economy. Decisions made by Perera as a legislator and possibly as a future Minister, would have a significant and direct impact on these companies and sectors, which creates a direct conflict of interest. These conflicts of interest are not resolved simply by Perera resigning from official positions held within the companies as he would nonetheless stand to gain significant financial benefits. These circumstances make it all the more important why the citizens of Sri Lanka should have known of the potential of Perera being appointed to Parliament when they voted in the Parliamentary Election held in August 2020.

Continue reading ‘Centre for Policy Alternatives expresses concern over Dhammika Perera Being Appointed National List MP; CPA also points issues may occur out that conflict of interests may occur if Business Tycoon becomes Cabinet Minister’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe appeals to media proprietors to assist the Govt in presenting a true picture of the ec0nomic situation. premier states media must hold the Govt accountable when necessary, while requesting that responsible reporting is followed.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday met with the owners of the media organisations in Sri Lanka and updated them about the efforts to resolve the economic crisis.

He informed the media owners that the IMF would be visiting the country on 20 June. He explained that he was hopeful that a staff-level agreement would be reached by the end of the month.

The Prime Minister also explained that due to the pending food shortages, he was launching the food security program in the country. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe added that he was hopeful that through the food security program the Government would be able to provide food free of charge to 10% of the population who would be unable to afford 3 meals.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe appeals to media proprietors to assist the Govt in presenting a true picture of the ec0nomic situation. premier states media must hold the Govt accountable when necessary, while requesting that responsible reporting is followed.’ »

Bar Association of Sri Lanka says it did not give any assurance to President Rajapaksa that he could continue in office if he agreed to abolish the Executive Presidency and the 20th Constitutional Amendment

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday refuted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe assertion that it reached an agreement with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that if the 19th Amendment is restored the latter can continue.

BASL was responding to parts of a statement made by Prime Minister on June 8 in Parliament referring to the BASL.

The Prime Minister had said in the statement: “It was the Bar Association which met the President on May 8th and arrived at an agreement with him. That if you restore the 19th Amendment and especially if you abolish the executive Presidency you can continue to be President.

Continue reading ‘Bar Association of Sri Lanka says it did not give any assurance to President Rajapaksa that he could continue in office if he agreed to abolish the Executive Presidency and the 20th Constitutional Amendment’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Takes Issue with B’caloa MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam’s May 20 Speech in Parliament; If MP does not withdraw his statement by next week, the Speaker must investigate his remarks and put the matter before a committee says Prime Minister


A vote of condolence on a murdered Sri Lankan government MP on Friday (10) saw Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe calling for an inquiry on an opposition legislator and ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa claiming that the country’s protesting youth have blood on their hands.

Noting the parliamentary tradition of a vote of condolence on a deceased MP, Wickremesinghe said it was regrettable that one MP had remained silent during Friday morning’s round of speeches commemorating the life of MP Amarakeerthi Atukorale.

Atukorale was murdered by a violent mob on May 09 on his way home from Colombo after an unprovoked attack on peaceful protestors by government supporters triggered a wave of retaliatory violence islandwide. The offices and private residences of a number of MPs, predominantly government, were torched my mobs around the country.

Referring to the parliament’s Hansard record for May 20, Wickremesinghe said opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam had said the houses were burnt down for voting for bills harmful to the country such as the 20th amendment to the constitution and the 2021 budgets.

“This means that the houses were burnt because of an opposing view,” said Wickremesinghe.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Takes Issue with B’caloa MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam’s May 20 Speech in Parliament; If MP does not withdraw his statement by next week, the Speaker must investigate his remarks and put the matter before a committee says Prime Minister’ »

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Writes to Stephen Twigg asking the Secy-Gen of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to Investigate the murder of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Amarakeerthi Athukorale by a mob on May 09.


Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has written to Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Stephen Twigg to investigate the murder of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Amarakeerthi Athukorale by a mob on May 09, Wickremesinghe told parliament on Friday (10).

Speaking at a vote of condolence on Atukorale held Friday morning, Wickremesinghe said an impartial investigation was needded into the MP’s murder and the retaliatory violence that ensued on May 09 after supporters of ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa launched an unprovoked attack on peaceful protestors.

The private residences of various MPs – predominantly affiliated with the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) – were torched late into the evening across the country. Opposition MP Kumara Welgama – a prominent and early critic of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa – also came under attack in the outskirts of Colombo that evening.

Continue reading ‘PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Writes to Stephen Twigg asking the Secy-Gen of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to Investigate the murder of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Amarakeerthi Athukorale by a mob on May 09.’ »

Basil Rajapaksa Resigns as Member of Parliament: The Ex-Finance Minister Retires from Governance, but will continue to play an active role in politics as SLPP National Organizer. “I think we can see that our family is better at politics than at governance.” Says BR


Cash-strapped Sri Lanka’s former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa vacated his parliamentary seat on Thursday (09) downplaying his role in the country’s worst ever forex crisis, without ruling out a comeback, and likening the Rajapaksa family to India’s RSS.

Exactly one month after his older brother and then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned against a backdrop of bloody violence, the younger Rajapaksa announced his departure from the legislature Thursday morning at the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) headquarters where he fielded questions from reporters eager to press him on his part in the ongoing calamity.

Rajapaksa appeared to be in a beaten-but-not-defeated mood as he attempted to use humour to deflect questions about his responsibility and, at one point, even seemed to shift the blame to the very people who had voted for his party, the SLPP.

“No, I’m not passing the buck to the people. But yes, they do hold some responsibility for electing us to power. If, as you say, we passed the buck, then those who gave us the buck in the first place are also responsible,” said Rajapaksa, quickly recovering from a question that had visibly agitated him

It was the one moment in the hour-long press briefing in which he lost his cool.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Resigns as Member of Parliament: The Ex-Finance Minister Retires from Governance, but will continue to play an active role in politics as SLPP National Organizer. “I think we can see that our family is better at politics than at governance.” Says BR’ »

“Those who are greatly affected by the serious economic crisis are the most ordinary citizens and the poorest of this country and we don’t seem to think about them or care about them.”- MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament

(Text of Speech made in Parliament by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran on 08h June 2022)

Thank you Hon. Presiding member for the opportunity to speak at this debate on the statement made by the Hon. Prime Minister yesterday and the Motion for supplementary estimate.

The country is looking to the parliament today for answers to an unprecedented economic crisis that the country is facing. Each time this parliament meets people have had expectations that there would be some change, some forward movement to resolve this crisis.

And the people are disappointed because, this was a parliament when it was constituted or soon thereafter had two third‘s support for the government, and with that 2/3rd support that they gathered together, they brought an amendment to the constitution, the 20th amendment, and strengthened the hands of the President, which was by the 19th Amendment taken back to Parliament somewhat, that was reversed.

And the President’s own election manifesto in 2019, the “Vistas of Prosperity and splendor”… I urge everyone in this country to read that manifesto. You will die laughing before you actually die of hunger, if you read that manifesto and compare it to the state that the country is in today.

In the manifesto, before I deal with other matters; the one very specific proposal that he made, is at page 36 and 37 in the English version of the manifesto, where at page 37, he very specifically says “income tax will be reduced, economic service charge and withholding tax will be scrapped. A simple value added tax of 8 % will be introduced, replacing both the current VAT of 15 % and the Nation building tax of 2 %, payee tax will be scrapped and personal income tax will be subject to a ceiling of 15 %. 5-year moratorium will be granted on taxes payable by agriculturist and small and medium enterprises” and so on.

Huge tax reliefs announced even in his election manifesto – it was an election promise. I want to table those two pages, titled chapter 5 “People Centric economy” page 36 and 37. I am tabling it.

Continue reading ‘“Those who are greatly affected by the serious economic crisis are the most ordinary citizens and the poorest of this country and we don’t seem to think about them or care about them.”- MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament’ »

Terrible Massacre of a Four Member Family in Vankaalai Sixteen Years Ago


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(A family of four in the North – western town of Vankalai in Mannar district was brutally massacred on June 8th 2006. The persons responsible for the cruel act are yet to be brought to justice. I wrote a detailed article about the incident under the heading ”Vicious Violence Wipes Out family of four in Vankalai” for “The Morning Leader” of June 13th 2006. I am reproducing the article without changes on my blog to denote the 16th anniversary of the horrible incident- DBSJ)

Vicious Violence wipes out family of four in Vankalai

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

13 June 2006

The on going ethnic fratricide in Sri Lanka has seen brutal violence on several occasions. The savagery shown in the slaying of a family of four in the North – Western village of Vankalai last Thursday (June 8th 2006) was perhaps bestiality at its worst. Even the most hardened eyes would have turned moist at the terrible sight of the four victims killed so cruelly by persons who can only be described as barbarians.

Gruesomely graphic photographs of the four victims have been displayed in various sections of the Tamil media. The father, daughter and son were hanging dead in one room while the mother was dead on the floor in another room. The intestines of the seven year old boy are seen protruding. The vaginal area of the twenty – seven year old mother and nine year old daughter were extremely bloody. It appears that the killers have sadistically tortured their victims including the thirty – eight year old father.

The scene of this terrible massacre was in a village called Vankalai in the North – Western district of Mannar. Vankalai is situated north by north – west on the mainland . It is four and a half miles away from Thallaadi military base.. It is about six miles to the South – East of Mannar town.

In recent times the people of Vankalai had been retiring to the St. Annes and other churches during nightfall. Staying at home during night was not safe due to the security situation. The victimised family too used to do that. The family had been absent from Church on Thursday night. When relatives and neighbours checked on the following morning they found the entire family dead. The victims had been hacked, beaten, tortured and hung. The mother and daughter seemed to have been violated sexually.

The brutal massacre has resulted in much tension. Though there are no eyewitnesses to the actual killing or torture the people of Vankalai suspect members of the security forces as being responsible. The state and its media have denied security force responsibilty . There has been a counter charge that the tigers were responsible. Few people in Mannar believe that. The Catholic Bishop of Mannar Joseph Rayappu has stated that those responsible for security were behind the massacre.

Continue reading ‘Terrible Massacre of a Four Member Family in Vankaalai Sixteen Years Ago’ »

“I therefore invite all of you in this House to support our economic, socio-political and public service reforms in rebuilding the country. Let us build the country first. Let us protect our country from this crisis. After returning to normalcy in the country you may return to your traditional political activities. Implement traditional party political agendas.” -Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

(Full text of Address to Parliament by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on June 7th 2022)

“Our primary focus here is on economic stability. We need to revive the economy of our country. This is not something that can be done in two or three days. This challenge cannot be done by miracles, not by slogans, not by magic, nor emotions but by implementing intelligently thought-out projects requiring hard work and dedication.”

Fuel and Cooking Gas

“The country spends US$ 500 million per month on fuel. It should be kept in mind that the current global crisis will lead to higher oil prices. Some estimate that global oil prices will rise by as much as 40% by the end of this year. In this context the idea of introducing a coupon system for fuel cannot be ruled out. Somehow we have to find US$ 3,300 million worth of fuel for the next six months.”

It costs US$ 40 million a month to import gas. We are currently using multilateral assistance, local currency and Indian loans to import gas. We will require US$ 250 million over the next six months for gas.

The next three weeks will be a tough time for us as regards fuel. It is time we all used fuel and gas as carefully as possible. Unessential travel should be limited as much as possible. Therefore, I urge all citizens to refrain from thinking about hoarding fuel and gas during this period. After those difficult three weeks, we will try to provide fuel and food without further disruptions. Negotiations are underway with various parties to ensure this happens. After these difficult three weeks, we are trying to ensure the shortage of fuel and gas ends. Let’s face these difficult three weeks united and patiently.”

Continue reading ‘“I therefore invite all of you in this House to support our economic, socio-political and public service reforms in rebuilding the country. Let us build the country first. Let us protect our country from this crisis. After returning to normalcy in the country you may return to your traditional political activities. Implement traditional party political agendas.” -Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Exodus of Sri Lanka’s Talented IT Professionals May Gather Momentum if the Island Nation’s Economic Crisis Shows No Sign Of Being Resolved

By Rehana Thowfeek

There have been days when cybersecurity professional Asela Waidyalankara and his colleagues have sat in hotel lobbies to complete projects during power outages. Other days, they have run around Colombo looking for fuel for generators so they could work from home.

“We have a buddy system at the company to inform each other about fuel availability,” laughs Waidyalankara, adding that his company encourages staff to carpool if they have to attend meetings in Colombo and work from home when possible.

Before the pandemic, Sri Lanka’s IT industry employed more than 120,000 people and was the fifth-largest export earner for the island nation of 22 million. It was on track to become the top exporter within the next five years and double its employees. But with the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa having defaulted on its foreign debt earlier this year and critical shortages crippling the economy, those plans are now in jeopardy as it becomes harder to maintain normal business operations.

Daily, hours-long power cuts are now normal. Fuel queues stretch for kilometres, sometimes so far that one fuel queue meets another. The country is running on a cash flow basis. “We are using whatever dollars that flow in to purchase the essentials we can,” Nandalal Weerasinghe, governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), said last month.

On May 19, the CBSL said it expects the economy to “record a setback” even as the cost of living continues to shoot up – May inflation was 39.1 percent, and fuel prices have more than doubled since the start of the year.

Continue reading ‘Exodus of Sri Lanka’s Talented IT Professionals May Gather Momentum if the Island Nation’s Economic Crisis Shows No Sign Of Being Resolved’ »

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we need to ensure that there are no earth slips while we go through the tunnel. That’s the problem”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, delivering a speech at the ‘Conference on Sri Lanka’s Twin Crisis’ held at the Sri Lanka Foundation, on Friday, said: “We based ourselves on the British Constitution. The majority has the power, the minority starts talking and shouting, that’s all. But then we changed the first-passed-the-post into a PR system. Now, you’re going to abolish the Presidency, then do you want to go back to the English system, the Westminster system, or do you want to have one in which there’s more cooperation like the old Donoughmore system, the State Council system? This is one issue that everyone has to think of.”

Excerpts of the speech:

I’ve been asked to address you on Sri Lanka’s Twin Crisis. One has already started, the economic crisis in Sri Lanka. I need not go back to the past as to how we deprived ourselves of our foreign exchange, how we decided that we’d go on to do it alone and the facts were concealed not only from the public but from
Parliament, and from the members of the then government. And stemming from it is also a political crisis, the question of loss of confidence in a political system that allowed the country to go down to this level. So this is what we’re grappling with.

There’s a second crisis. The second crisis is the global impact of the Ukraine crisis. We’re only seeing the beginning of it, the increase in fuel (price). It will get much worse as it goes along. As it goes along you’d probably find that there’ll be a shortage of food.

The food shortage will go global till 2024. After all Russia and Ukraine, one is the largest producer of grain, the other is the fifth largest. You cannot import Russian grain, and in Ukraine whatever is left cannot be sent off.

Their ports are closed by the Russians, and their rail track gauge is different from that of Poland. So each carriage has to be lifted and put onto the Polish track. You can’t send food out there. And many of the fields of their agricultural area are destroyed. If the war stops even tomorrow, it will take Ukraine at least three years to get its cultivation back on track.

Continue reading ‘“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we need to ensure that there are no earth slips while we go through the tunnel. That’s the problem”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states he will Complete his Full Term of Office Despite the “Gota Go Home” Protests but will not Contest Again; “I can’t go as a failed president, I have been given a mandate for five years” says Gota

By
Anusha Ondaatjie and Sudhi Ranjan Sen

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa vowed to finish the remaining two years in his term despite months long street protests calling for his ouster, but won’t stand for re-election as he focuses on fixing a financial mess that tipped Sri Lanka into its worst-ever economic crisis.

“I can’t go as a failed president,” Rajapaksa said Monday in a wide-ranging interview at his official residence in Colombo, his first with a foreign media organization since the crisis unfolded. “I have been given a mandate for five years. I will not contest again.”

The defiance comes in the face of slogans of “Gota Go Home,” with protesters blaming Rajapaksa and his family for decisions that led to severe shortages of everything from fuel to medicine, stoking inflation to 40% and forcing a historic debt default. Thousands of demonstrators have camped outside the president’s seaside office since mid-March, forcing him to retreat to his barricaded official residence about a kilometer away.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states he will Complete his Full Term of Office Despite the “Gota Go Home” Protests but will not Contest Again; “I can’t go as a failed president, I have been given a mandate for five years” says Gota’ »

The success of efforts being made to achieve economic revival with international assistance hinges on not only economic reforms but also the implementation of political reforms.


By
Austin Fernando

Proponents of constitutional economic reforms are struggling to prioritise solutions for the current socio-economic-politico imbroglio. Pohottuwa General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam has said the economic crisis should be resolved first and then an environment created for constitutional amendments. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa banks on the Romesh de Silva Committee for the drafting of a new Constitution. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Tamil National Alliance, and Samagi Jana Balavegaya have prioritised enhanced wider constitutional reforms.

The Government is allergic to very radical changes demanded by the Gota Go Home protesters et al. Due to intense pressure, the 21st Amendment (21A) has been tabled to revive the 19th Amendment (19A). To my mind, it is a half-baked 19A Minus. It has diluted 19A, which, among other things, prevented the President from holding portfolios and limited the number of Cabinet ministers. The President has brought 42 institutions under the Ministry of Defence through the latest gazette, while admitting that he has made serious mistakes, probably disqualifying him from taking over so many responsibilities.

What the pro-democracy activists are demanding are far-reaching changes such as the President being stripped of immunity and powers to dissolve and prorogue parliament, the pardoning of convicted offenders, etc. It is well-nigh impossible for the 225 MPs to move an impeachment motion to rid of any failed President, but the latter can dissolve the parliament at the stroke of a pen!

Further, new demands are in circulation, e.g., the creation of a National Policy-Making Council, strengthening public service through depoliticisation, enhancing financial accountability (Article 148) through Committee on Public Enterprises, Committee on Public Accounts, Committee on Public Finance, etc. in the Parliament, the appointment of the Monetary Board and the Governor of the Central Bank with Constitutional Council approval, the appointment of the Ministry Secretaries, Provincial Governors, Ambassadors, et al on the advice of the PM in consultation with the Cabinet, etc. 21A does not incorporate any of these and still, government politicians and some civil society spokespersons consider 21A is the best.

Continue reading ‘The success of efforts being made to achieve economic revival with international assistance hinges on not only economic reforms but also the implementation of political reforms.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe should come up with a road map to improve the real sector in the economy and introduce new technology and align Sri Lanka’s economy to the global economy within the shortest time possible.


By

W.A. Wijewardena

The Ministry of Finance, under the direction of Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, known as RW, has hiked main taxes in the country moving halfway back to the tax regime that prevailed prior to 2020. Before this action, the Inland Revenue Services Union, made up of Assistant and Deputy Commissioners, had addressed a memo to RW suggesting measures to be taken to deliver an improved annual tax harvest of Rs. 1,200 billion. The tax measures introduced by the Finance Ministry are short of these proposals. Perhaps in the next round of tax reforms, the Ministry might reckon those proposals and if it does not do, its budgetary position will remain perilous.

Rationale of tax cut by Gotabaya administration

The tax cuts offered by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration in January 2020 has been a contentious issue. The rationale presented by his policy advisors for these unsolicited tax concessions goes as follows. The previous tax regime introduced by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had planned to attain fiscal consolidation – action taken to reduce the budget deficit to an affordable level and thereby check on debt accumulation – by increasing tax revenue. This is because the administration at that time had felt that attaining that objective by curtailing Government expenditure was considered an impractical strategy. But the administration had paid attention to rationalising Government expenditure as a means of improving the productivity of the sector. Accordingly, in the medium term, tax revenue was to be raised from 11.8% of GDP in 2018 to 15% by 2023.

However, such a high tax level was viewed as an unnecessary burden imposed on real economic activities by Gota’s policy advisors. Hence, instead of seeking to attain fiscal consolidation by increasing revenue, a strategy aiming at curtailing Government expenditure was planned. On the revenue side, it was planned to concentrate on a small number of large taxpayers and recover the tax loss by collecting the maximum from them. The rationale behind this strategy was that when tax rates are reduced, people would pay more taxes leading to an increase in the total tax revenue, a concept proposed by economist Arthur Laffer and now known as Laffer curve strategy.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe should come up with a road map to improve the real sector in the economy and introduce new technology and align Sri Lanka’s economy to the global economy within the shortest time possible.’ »

Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga sentenced to two-year imprisonment suspended for five years by by Colombo High Court over an indictment filed by the Attorney General

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga was today sentenced to two-year imprisonment suspended for five years by Colombo High Court over an indictment filed by the Attorney General.

Minister Ranatunga was convicted for the thirteenth count out of fifteen by High Court Judge Manjula Tillekaratne over an indictment filed for threatening a businessman over the phone and demanding Rs.64 million in 2015.

The Court further ordered the Minister to pay a fine of Rs.25 million. In the event of defaulting the fine, the Minister was ordered to serve nine months imprisonment. The Minister was further ordered to pay a compensation of one million rupees to the virtual complaint of the case.

Continue reading ‘Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga sentenced to two-year imprisonment suspended for five years by by Colombo High Court over an indictment filed by the Attorney General’ »

Assassination of Journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan in Broad Daylight 18 Years ago

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The death of any member of the journalistic fraternity is distressing. More so when a scribe is gunned down in broad daylight by ‘unknown’ assassins for the ‘crime’ of writing something that displeased people with pretensions of power.

The sadness is even more acute when the journalist was someone known to you for more than 25 years and had been immensely helpful as a source of accurate news and stimulating views.

Aiyathurai Nadesan who served as Batticaloa correspondent of the Tamil daily “Virakesari” was killed in broad daylight 18 years ago in the heart of Batticaloa town. He was commemorated on Sunday May 29th at an event organized by fellow journalists in the Batticaloa Library Auditorium. A book was released in his memory.

Continue reading ‘Assassination of Journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan in Broad Daylight 18 Years ago’ »

47 SLPP Parliamentarians Regarded as Basil Rajapaksa Supporters Engage in Covert and Overt Moves to Scuttle or Dilute the Proposed 21st Constitutional Amendment that Seeks to Reduce Powers of the Executive Presidency

By the “Sunday Times”Political Editor

There was a difference when the two friends – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sagala Ratnayake, the newly appointed Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – met days ago at the Janadipathi Mandiriya (President’s House). The old camaraderie apart, there was a note of grim seriousness.

Beleaguered Rajapaksa politely delivered a message of caution and urged Ratnayake to convey it to Premier Wickremesinghe. The “deal makers” who had during their yahapalana (good governance) era, brought disrepute, were back again. The President named one prominent United National Party (UNP) stalwart and declared he had reliable information that he had already started money-making deals. He has secured for himself an office in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat at Flower Road. Pointing out that “we cannot go on this journey with that old clique,” the President warned that such people might put Wickremesinghe in trouble. It should not happen a second time, the first being under their own government, he pointed out.

President Rajapaksa and the Premier’s Chief of Staff Ratnayake have remained friends. When he was a minister in the yahapalana government’s cabinet, the issue came up on more than one occasion at ministerial meetings. This was after reports that as minister, he had paid a visit to Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The former minister admitted then that he did so and declared he even addressed him as “Sir.” The only reason, he claimed, was because he had ended the separatist war against Tiger guerrillas. For this, he claimed, he would always show respect.

The note of caution through CoS Ratnayake came in the backdrop of another development. President Rajapaksa confided to a confidant that two senior party members, both onetime cabinet ministers, had met him recently. He did not identify them. The duo had spoken against the introduction of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution and implored him not to go ahead with it. They had argued that the President had won a mandate with 6.9 million votes whilst Premier Wickremesinghe received no mandate at the presidential election in November 2019. How then, they asked, could the Premier be more empowered through constitutional amendments. To the contrary, they argued, there should be provision to enable the President to remove a Prime Minister at any time.

One of the ex-ministers has been critical of the two Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) members – Harin Fernando and Manusha Nanayakkara – who joined the government. He had urged President Rajapaksa not to be “carried away” by threats issued by them to quit if 21A was not passed. He had argued that the duo had no place to go since they had abandoned their party. Were the two ex-ministers sent by ousted Finance Minister, Basil Rajapaksa?

Continue reading ‘47 SLPP Parliamentarians Regarded as Basil Rajapaksa Supporters Engage in Covert and Overt Moves to Scuttle or Dilute the Proposed 21st Constitutional Amendment that Seeks to Reduce Powers of the Executive Presidency’ »

The Sri Lankan political establishment’s ‘dirty tricks’ department seems to be in full swing as the nation is presented with a dizzying array of constitutional amendments under various titles

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The Sri Lankan political establishment’s ‘dirty tricks’ department seems to be in full swing as the nation is presented with a dizzying array of constitutional amendments, variously titled ’21st Amendment’, ‘21A’, ’21B’, ‘22A’ and so forth.

Constitutional Babel, ‘a confusion of tongues’

It says much for the combined idiocy underlying this process of ‘constitutional reform,’ (for want of a better term), that even the originators of these amendments are uncertain as to which clause belongs to what. Their bewildered faces and incoherent explanations when microphones are brandished before them, illustrates this very well.

Other politicians sitting in the opposition benches meanwhile enter into violent quarrels over the correct numbering of the amendments. All in all, this is constitutional Babel, in the Biblical sense of that term.

That is, ‘a confusion of tongues’ with no one meaning what they say and very few knowing what they mean. Clearly, there are two strands of disparate opinion which have emerged among the ‘faithful.’ The first urges the conditional acceptance of the Ministry of Justice’s constitutional amendment, one hesitates to give this a number in good conscience.

This looks at resuscitating the yahapalanaya’ inspired 19th Amendment with some devious twists. It disregards even the minimum balance of the 19th Amendment with the President being enabled to hold ministerial portfolios.

Continue reading ‘The Sri Lankan political establishment’s ‘dirty tricks’ department seems to be in full swing as the nation is presented with a dizzying array of constitutional amendments under various titles’ »

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda Meets Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in Chennai and thanks the CM and the people of Tamil Nadu for the humanitarian assistance worth of LKR two billion that they recently extended to Sri Lanka to help it manage the current economic crisis.

By P.K.Balachandran

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin told the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India Milinda Moragoda that more shipments of humanitarian aid from Tami; Nadu will be sent to Sri Lanka and Moragoda requested the Chief Minister to designate a focal point in the Tamil Nadu government to facilitate cooperation between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner met the Chief Minister on Saturday.

This was the first time that a Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi had met with the Chief Minister of the State of Tamil Nadu after 2011.

The courtesy call on the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu by the High Commissioner was part of the latter’s plan to expand Sri Lanka’s footprint at the level of the States to promote greater interactions between Sri Lanka and the States of the Indian Union, as stipulated in his policy road map entitled: “Integrated Country Strategy for Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions in India”.

The High Commissioner thanked the Chief Minister and the people of Tamil Nadu for the humanitarian assistance worth of LKR two billion that they recently extended to Sri Lanka to help it manage the current economic crisis.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda Meets Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in Chennai and thanks the CM and the people of Tamil Nadu for the humanitarian assistance worth of LKR two billion that they recently extended to Sri Lanka to help it manage the current economic crisis.’ »

How Ranil Wickremesinghe Became Prime Minister Again

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Return of Ranil : Remarkable Resilience od Premier Wickremesinghe. -Part Two

The first part of the article titled “Ranil Returns: Remarkable Resilience of Premier Wickremesinghe”published in the “DailyMirror” of May 21st 2022 resulted in my getting quite a lot of feedback during the week. Much more than usual. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive nature of the views expressed though some were negative too.

The responses ranged widely from a distinguished emeritus professor and author who observed “ Grusha may never carry that baby across the river, but at least her attempt to do so has been recorded,” to a retired Govt servant who opined, “What came into my mind at the 1st. instance of the news of his accepting the post of PM was ‘The Discarded Stone Became the Corner Stone’ as per Gospel”. A former Army officer had this to say “I agree with you. Ranil is the best person for the crisis. However I think he went about it the wrong way and has got everybody offside in typical RW fashion. “

Continue reading ‘How Ranil Wickremesinghe Became Prime Minister Again’ »

Remembering Legendary Trade Union Leader Bala Tampoe on his Birth Centenary

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The “Political Pulse”column focuses this week on a man who was perhaps the last of the great trade unionists. A legend in his lifetime who was at the helm of a vibrant trade union continuously for a period of sixty six years – an unsurpassed record! I am of course referring to comrade Bala Tampoe who was the Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU) General Secretary from 1948 to 2014. Though called the CMU still, the amended name of the union is now The Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union. The trade union firebrand is no more with us having passed away in September 2014. Bala Tampoe’s birth centenary was on May 23rd.


Bala Tampoe was a colourful personality of multiple dimensions.
Continue reading ‘Remembering Legendary Trade Union Leader Bala Tampoe on his Birth Centenary’ »

The Legal Prosecution, Judicial Conviction and Presidential “Absolution” of Duminda Silva.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This Article was written in July 2021 following the Presidential Pardon given to Convicted Murderer Duminda Silva by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa/It is being re-posted now in view of the historic interim order issued by the Supreme Court suspending the operation of the Presidential Pardon)

Arumadura Lawrence Romelo Duminda Silva known as Duminda Silva was the fortunate recipient of a munificent Presidential pardon on Poson Poya day. The convict on death row was released as a result of the Poson Poya pardon.

The Legal Prosecution, Judicial Conviction and Presidential “Absolution” of Duminda Silva – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

Duminda Silva, a former Parliamentarian and ex-Provincial Councillor, was involved in a shooting incident in October 2011 during Local Authority Elections, where former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three of his bodyguards were killed. The High Court of Sri Lanka convicted Duminda Silva and four of his associates for murder and imposed the death sentence on them in September 2016. Subsequently the sentence was appealed but a five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction of Silva in October 2018. Despite the High Court conviction of 2016 being upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018, Duminda Silva was a free man in 2021 on Poson Poya.

Continue reading ‘The Legal Prosecution, Judicial Conviction and Presidential “Absolution” of Duminda Silva.’ »

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to immediately provide Sri Lanka the fertilizer required for the Yala season cultivation says Statement Issued by President Rajapaksa’s Office


By

Meera Srinivasan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Sri Lanka of immediate supply of fertilizer, the Sri Lankan President has said, as the island braces for a food crisis amid a crushing economic meltdown.

“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to provide the fertilizer required for the Yala season cultivation immediately,” Mr. Rajapaksa’s office said. The fertilizer will be supplied under an “Indian loan facility” and is scheduled to be distributed to farmers within 20 days after the consignment arrives, according to a statement issued on the night of June 1.

India is yet to make any official statement in this regard. Official sources told The Hindu that New Delhi is considering the request from Colombo and “discussions are on.”

Continue reading ‘Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to immediately provide Sri Lanka the fertilizer required for the Yala season cultivation says Statement Issued by President Rajapaksa’s Office’ »

Manhunt Launched by Police to Apprehend Johnston Fernando Over the May 9 Attack on Galle Face Protesters;Two CID Teams Deployed in Kurunegala and Colombo Districts to Arrest Former Cabinet Minister and MP


By

Safrah Fazal

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested Colombo Municipal Councillor Mahinda Kahandagama yesterday (2) and appointed two CID teams to arrest former Minister and incumbent Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Johnston Fernando, with regard to the incidents of peaceful protestors being attacked by a group of SLPP supporters in Colombo on 9 May on Wednesday (1), The Morning learnt.
This followed the Attorney General’s Department informing the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court that Fernando and Kahandagama and two others have been named as suspects in the case filed over the attacks.

The two teams appointed to arrest Fernando had been dispatched to Colombo and Kurunegala as at yesterday evening (2), but at the time of printing, Fernando had not been arrested yet.

Kahandagama, meanwhile, was placed under arrest after he surrendered to the CID yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Manhunt Launched by Police to Apprehend Johnston Fernando Over the May 9 Attack on Galle Face Protesters;Two CID Teams Deployed in Kurunegala and Colombo Districts to Arrest Former Cabinet Minister and MP’ »

Arrested Ex – MP Duminda Silva I Continues to receive Medical treatment at the Neurological Ward of the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital under the special Guard of of Prisons Dept Officials.

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Former MP Duminda Silva, who was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) following the special presidential pardon granted to him by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa being suspended through a Supreme Court (SC) interim order, is currently receiving treatment at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital under the special protection of Prison Officers, said the Prisons Department.

Commissioner of Prisons (Administration, Rehabilitation, and Skill Development) (Covering Up Duties) and Prisons Department Media Spokesman Chandana Ekanayaka stated that Silva, who was taken into the custody of Prisons Officers, is currently receiving treatment at the hospital under their special protection.

Silva had been arrested by the CID when he was being treated at the said hospital on Wednesday (1). At the time of the arrest, the former MP was at the neurological ward of the hospital.

Continue reading ‘Arrested Ex – MP Duminda Silva I Continues to receive Medical treatment at the Neurological Ward of the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital under the special Guard of of Prisons Dept Officials.’ »

The executive presidency must go. The only question is how. Realistically, the only option is to push for the best possible 21st Amendment as an interim measure and as a bridge to a new constitution.


By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Alas poor country!

Almost afraid to know itself.

It cannot,

Be call’d our mother, but our grave.”

– Shakespeare (Macbeth)

Sri Lanka: 2019, a lower middle income country; 2020, a bankrupted, beggared land, dependent on international charity for survival.

“Poor politics has shattered my life and this is my only hope to put food on the table for my children.” The speaker is a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman who was forced by the unravelling economy to become a sex worker (The Telegraph – 28.5.2022).

Poor politics resulting in bad economics – that was what caused Sri Lanka’s dizzying slide from relative success to absolute failure. At a recent COPE meeting, Central Bank officials and Monetary Board members talked of the massive tax cut and the wasting of billions in foreign reserves to maintain the rupee at 203 to a dollar. Add mass money printing and an abracadabra-style fertiliser policy and you have it: How to ruin a country in four steps.

Dr. Ranee Jayamaha of the Monetary Board informed COPE that the IMF refused to give Sri Lanka a loan for balance of payment support under its Rapid Financing Instrument citing debt unsustainability. That was in the first half of 2020. That warning was swept under the carpet. The Rajapaksas, like the fox in the sour grapes story, cried, ‘Who needs the IMF!’

Why go over that old ground? The house is burnt, gutted; we should focus on putting up a basic shelter to shield ourselves from the worst of the storms. That is the Rajapaksa argument. But unless we understand why the house caught fire, how can we take measures to protect the new shelter from a similar calamity?

Bad politics breed bad economics. One family landed Sri Lanka in this mess. In February 2022, the pharmacy owners association warned that current medicine stocks were enough only for three months. By that time the Central Bank has already sold half of our gold reserves. The Government was too busy to take note. In February, Namal Rajapaksa inaugurated a water sports centre at the Colombo Port City “offering a range of exhilarating sea-borne experiences…aimed at filling an unmet need.” In the same month the President inaugurated the Dharmapala Park in Galle, renovated at Rs. 200 million, under his Strategic Cities Development Program. Even as late as end March, President Gotabaya was planning another visit to a State institution. A letter was issued to the staff of the Central Environment Authority telling them to get the COVID-19 booster shot and undergo an antigen test. The visit, scheduled for April Fool’s Day, was prevented only by the Mirihana protest.

Continue reading ‘The executive presidency must go. The only question is how. Realistically, the only option is to push for the best possible 21st Amendment as an interim measure and as a bridge to a new constitution.’ »

Attorney General instructs Police to file charges under Section 291A of the Penal Code against Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, for uttering words that were harmful to religious sentiments.


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Police’s Colombo Crime Prevention Division informed Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday (31 May) that the Attorney General (AG) has instructed to file charges under Section 291A of the Penal Code against Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, for allegedly using words that are harmful to religious sentiments.

Sections 291A reads thus: “Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person, or makes any gesture in the sight of that person, or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished” if convicted, with a maximum term of imprisonment of one year and/or a fine.

Continue reading ‘Attorney General instructs Police to file charges under Section 291A of the Penal Code against Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, for uttering words that were harmful to religious sentiments.’ »

CID Arrests Duminda Silva While Being Warded for Treatment at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital; CID Report to be Submitted to Supreme Court


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), acting on the order given by the Supreme Court (SC) to arrest former MP Duminda Silva following the special Presidential pardon granted to him by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa being suspended through an interim order, arrested Silva at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital yesterday (1).

Speaking to The Morning, Police Media Spokesman, Senior Superintendent of Police and Attorney-at-Law Nihal Thalduwa said that the suspect had been arrested by the CID when he was being treated at the said hospital last evening. He also said that the CID would make relevant submissions to the SC accordingly.
Sources at the hospital told The Morning yesterday that Silva, who had been admitted to the hospital yesterday morning, was at the neurological ward as of yesterday afternoon.

Continue reading ‘CID Arrests Duminda Silva While Being Warded for Treatment at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital; CID Report to be Submitted to Supreme Court’ »

Ex-Cabinet Minister Johnston Fernando’s Combative words at “Temple Trees” May 9 Meeting “let’s get rid of this (the protest sites) if the President cannot”, on the day of the attacks referred to two psychiatrists and the Govt Analyst for expert opinion by Attorney -General


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Attorney General’s Department has informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court that former Minister and incumbent Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Johnston Fernando, Colombo Municipal Councillor Mahinda Kahandagama, and two others have been named as suspects in the case filed with regard to the incidents of peaceful protestors being attacked by a group of SLPP supporters in Colombo on 9 May.

Additional Solicitor General Ayesha Jinasena PC also informed the Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Thilina Gamage that a statement made by Fernando at the Temple Trees to the effect of “let’s get rid of this (the protest sites) if the President cannot”, on the day of the attacks, has been referred to two psychiatrists for expert opinion, adding that the same has also been referred to the Government Analyst.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Cabinet Minister Johnston Fernando’s Combative words at “Temple Trees” May 9 Meeting “let’s get rid of this (the protest sites) if the President cannot”, on the day of the attacks referred to two psychiatrists and the Govt Analyst for expert opinion by Attorney -General’ »

People’s Anger and Resentment Against Rajapaksa Clan on the Rise in Home District of Hambantota.

Meera Srinivasan reporting From Weeraketiya

Paddy farmer S.D. Weerawansa has made a livelihood decision and a political pledge in recent weeks — he will not sow in the coming season, and he will never back a Rajapaksa again.

The destroyed memorial of the Rajapaksas’ parents in Weeraketiya, Hambantota district. | Photo Credit: Meera Srinivasan

They aren’t unrelated. His crop has fallen by 50% this harvest, a consequence of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ban on chemical fertilizers last year. The ban was revoked months later, following farmers’ protests and wide criticism from experts, but that did not save the crop. The annual yield of paddy and tea, crucial for Sri Lanka’s food security and foreign exchange, have dropped by half, according to farmers and crop scientists.

Continue reading ‘People’s Anger and Resentment Against Rajapaksa Clan on the Rise in Home District of Hambantota.’ »

Supreme Court issues Historic Interim Order suspending the operation of the Presidential Pardon granted by President Rajapaksa to Duminda Silva and directs the CID to place Murder Convict under the custody of prisons with immediate effect


By
Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Supreme Court today issued an Interim Order directing the CID to place Duminda Silva under the custody of prisons with immediate effect.

The Attorney General was directed to assist the CID to implement this interim order while reporting to court the progress of the implementation of the Interim Order.

The Court also issued an Interim Order impounding Duminda Silva’s passport.

In a historical order, the Supreme Court issued an Interim Order suspending the operation of the Presidential Pardon granted by the President to former parliamentarian Duminda Silva.
This order will be effective until the final determination of the three Fundamental Rights petitions.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court issues Historic Interim Order suspending the operation of the Presidential Pardon granted by President Rajapaksa to Duminda Silva and directs the CID to place Murder Convict under the custody of prisons with immediate effect’ »

Key Taxation Changes Announced by PM and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ;govt hopes to raise Rupees 125 billion from taxes for the rest of 2022 and 195 billion rupees in a full year


Sri Lanka is raising value added tax to 12 percent, corporate tax to 30 percent and the highest personal income tax rate to 34 percent from 18 percent, in a bid to raise 195 billion rupees as money printed to pay state worker salaries trigger forex shortages.

Value added taxes will be raised to 12 percent from 8 percent immediately through gazette notice in an administrative and it is expected to be rubber stamped by the parliament later, according to documents released by the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

A telecom levy will be hiked to 15 percent from 11.25 percent through a letter from the regulator to be rubber stamped by the parliament later.

Continue reading ‘Key Taxation Changes Announced by PM and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ;govt hopes to raise Rupees 125 billion from taxes for the rest of 2022 and 195 billion rupees in a full year’ »

Sri Lanka is recommending airlines to carry enough jet fuel to last return trips or re-fuel elsewhere;SriLankan Airlines ,Emirates, are among carriers forced to fill up overseas


By

Anusha Ondaatjie

Sri Lanka is recommending airlines carry enough jet fuel to last return trips or fill up elsewhere, as the island grapples with a shortage of everything from oil to food due to a foreign-exchange crisis.

“We’ve asked airlines to carry the required fuel while operating to Sri Lanka, because there is a shortage of aviation fuel, and we have to manage the situation,” Rayhan Wanniappa, a director of Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority, said in a phone interview Monday. “Airlines are bringing certain additional supplies, while we are also providing from our stocks.”

Airlines that fly to Sri Lanka, including Dubai’s Emirates Airline are tankering — carrying more fuel than required — while the island’s flag carrier is using the Southern Indian city of Chennai and Dubai to refuel for long-haul flights, people familiar with the matter said, declining to be identified as plans are confidential. There’s increased refueling at southern Indian airports by international flights to and from Colombo to offset the shortage, according to an official at Indian Oil Corp.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka is recommending airlines to carry enough jet fuel to last return trips or re-fuel elsewhere;SriLankan Airlines ,Emirates, are among carriers forced to fill up overseas’ »

The crux of today’s crisis is not about human frailty or unavoidable circumstances. It is about the calculated exploitation of parliamentary democracy by a devious set of ‘people’s representatives’.

by Bishop Duleep de Chickera

The myth

Parliamentary democracy is a system of governance through which people share resources, provide for their own needs, enhance their own interests and deal with unexpected contingencies, as far as possible on their own. Since an entire population cannot be set aside to do this, they appoint representatives to do so on their behalf.

When these representatives disregard or abuse this mandate, the people pay a heavy price. Life in Sri Lanka today, is about this price.

A major problem with our home grown parliamentary democracy is that national constitutions favour representatives in power. This is partly because people’s repesentatvies exercise the most influence in shaping constitutions, partly because the taste of power creates an appetite to stay in control and mostly because both, the constitution and the appetite have been manipulated to endow one person with more power than the rest of them.

Then, power is abused, accountability falls by the wayside and the esteemed democratic tradition of stepping down when those who appoint you want you to go, becomes a myth.

This is the crux of today’s crisis in democratic governance. An impoverished president and government, despised by the people for the unimaginable collapse of all things normal, continue to cling unto power.

Continue reading ‘The crux of today’s crisis is not about human frailty or unavoidable circumstances. It is about the calculated exploitation of parliamentary democracy by a devious set of ‘people’s representatives’.’ »

After Ruining Agriculture with his Disatrous Fertilizer Policy, President Gotabaya is once Again Getting set to Mess up things by Intervening in Food Security Measures


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday instructed officials to immediately launch a comprehensive public-private partnership effort to boost food security.

Noting that negotiations with several countries to meet the fertiliser requirement have been successful the President requested all farmers not to give up cultivation during the Yala Season due to a shortage of fertiliser or any other reason.

On-going and new initiatives to boost food security were discussed by the President at a top-level meeting yesterday. Rajapaksa’s initiative comes few days after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held a top level officials meeting to deal with the same issue on Friday. (See story below)

The President had pointed out that a National Fertiliser Policy should be formulated expeditiously for the importation, distribution, proper management, awareness, and coordination among farmers and officials. The President also said that the full involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture should be given to carry out cultivation activities using chemical or organic fertilisers as per the wishes of the farmers.

Continue reading ‘After Ruining Agriculture with his Disatrous Fertilizer Policy, President Gotabaya is once Again Getting set to Mess up things by Intervening in Food Security Measures’ »

Return of Ranil: Remarkable Resilience of Premier Wickremesinghe

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ranil Sriyan Wickremesinghe known as Ranil is in the seat of power again as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the sixth time. The new Prime Minister was neither elected to office by the people in a general election nor endorsed by a majority of MP’s in Parliament. Ranil is the leader of the United National Party(UNP) that had been roundly defeated at the last Parliamentary poll. He is the sole representative of the UNP in Parliament now. From Lone MP to new Prime Minister was how some newspapers described his assumption of office.

Ranil was virtually catapulted into office through very peculiar circumstances. He faces formidable challenges as Prime Minister of a failed, bankrupt state. The ramifications of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister , the intricacies of the current political environment and the nature of play in Parliament in the future, would be delved into in greater detail in the second part of this article.

Continue reading ‘Return of Ranil: Remarkable Resilience of Premier Wickremesinghe’ »

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe outlines proposals to strengthen Parliament in Special Statement;says reintroduction of 19A and abolition of Executive Presidency are two main political issues; methodology to abolish Executive Presidency must be decided by party leaders

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday proposed several measures to strengthen Parliament which include the setting up of several new committees as well as an all-party National Council.

In a special televised address, the Prime Minister said that main issues in the country are not limited to the economic sphere but there are two major issues in the political sphere which include the reintroduction of the 19th Amendment as well as the abolition of the Executive Presidency.

“The functioning of the Parliament has been paralysed due to the weakening of the parliamentary powers by the 20th Amendment. The Executive has been given more powers. The main allegation today is that the Parliament has not acted to prevent the economic crisis,” Wickremesinghe said.

The Prime Minister said that party leaders are now preparing the 21st Amendment to reintroduce the 19th Amendment while the timing and methodology towards the abolition of the Executive Presidency must also be decided by the party leaders.

He said before the independence of Sri Lanka, there was a State Council from 1931 to 1947 which functioned following the committee system.

Continue reading ‘PM Ranil Wickremesinghe outlines proposals to strengthen Parliament in Special Statement;says reintroduction of 19A and abolition of Executive Presidency are two main political issues; methodology to abolish Executive Presidency must be decided by party leaders’ »

Thousands Including Professionals, artistes, students, members of trade unions and the religious clergy march about 3 km to Galle Face to mark the 50 th day of ongoing agitations against the government at the oceanfront

By

Meera Srinivasan

Thousands participated in a rally held in capital Colombo on Saturday to mark the 50 th day of ongoing agitations against the government at the oceanfront in the wake of a severe economic crisis.

Professionals, artistes, students, members of trade unions and the religious clergy marched about 3 km to Colombo’s seafront where demonstrators have been protesting against the government for almost two months now.

Citizens’ protests started several months ago in different parts of the island, as Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, triggered by to a balance of payments problem, intensified. Due to the dollar crunch, the government is struggling to pay for essential imports, leaving citizens amid acute shortages of food, fuel, and LPG cylinders. The protests intensified on April 9, with some demonstrators setting up a tent city adjacent to the President’s office, where they began protesting day and night. They named their agitation site ‘Gota go gama’ or Gota go village, after their chief demand that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resign for his “failed” response to the crisis.

“The government thinks they can fool us by just reshuffling the pack, but the struggle will go on. We need Gotabaya to go home,” said a protester. The anti-government protests in Sri Lanka have drawn citizens from very diverse backgrounds.

Continue reading ‘Thousands Including Professionals, artistes, students, members of trade unions and the religious clergy march about 3 km to Galle Face to mark the 50 th day of ongoing agitations against the government at the oceanfront’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Telld FT that “China has offered ‘a few hundred million dollars’ in lending to Sri Lanka to help alleviate a shortage of essential goods in the crisis-hit country,”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that China will help Sri Lanka weather the financial crisis.

“China has offered ‘a few hundred million dollars’ in lending to Sri Lanka to help alleviate a shortage of essential goods in the crisis-hit country,” the UK’s Financial Times said quoting Wickremesinghe. FT said Wickremesinghe hopes to finalise the Chinese loan as his Government seeks emergency aid to keep its economy going as it negotiates an IMF bailout. He added that talks with Beijing over additional lending were at an early stage.

“It’s quite substantial. It would be a few hundred million dollars,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “It’ll still help us get hold of essential consumer items, fertilisers… the Ministry of Finance is having discussions on some of the items.”

FT said Sri Lanka’s ties with Beijing, particularly its participation in the Belt and Road infrastructure project, have been a source of friction with neighbouring India, which views its rival’s activity on the island as a national security threat.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Telld FT that “China has offered ‘a few hundred million dollars’ in lending to Sri Lanka to help alleviate a shortage of essential goods in the crisis-hit country,”’ »