and Basil lobby EU for GSP+
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
a damning report compiled by a panel of experts on
renewing the GSP+ facility to Sri Lanka the government
in its effort to lobby the EU for an extension on the
Generalised Preference System Plus (GSP+) rushed
Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera and Senior
Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to Brussels last
Jayasundera and Rajapaksa returned to the island on
Friday after holding cordial discussions with high
ranking EU officials.
The Sunday Leader learns that the government will
continue discussions in its efforts to lobby EU
officials to consider granting an extension on the GSP+
facility to the country for a further three-year period.
The EU however last month submitted to the government an
interim report titled The Implementation Of Certain
Human Rights Conventions In Sri Lanka where experts
who conducted the inquiry have accused the country of
violating human rights which include incidents of
torture, rape, disappearances and extra judicial
However, while several senior government officials
travelled to Brussels to build a dialogue with EU
officials on retaining the GSP+ facility, Ambassador to
Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha and
Government Spokesperson, Minister Anura Priyadarshana
Yapa adopted a defiant stand saying the government would
not respond to the EU report.
Aryasinha told the Human Rights Sub-Committee at the
European Parliament at a hearing held on Sri Lanka on
October 1 that the four member Ministerial Committee
appointed recently by the President of Sri Lanka would
not respond to the experts’ report on the GSP+
investigation but that the government will continue to
engage on the issues of concern with the Commission.
“The government had not accepted the process of GSP+
investigation and a request for experts to visit Sri
Lanka as a matter of principle, as it was felt
inappropriate and unnecessary and the government was not
willing to compromise on its sovereignty,” Aryasinha had
He had however added that the Government has continued
to engage with the European Commission on the relevant
human rights conventions, through meetings at senior
officials’ level both in Brussels and Colombo, by
providing material which showed Sri Lanka’s compliance
with these conventions, refuted unfounded allegations,
and above all provided periodic reviews to UN bodies
which monitor these conventions.
The expert report prepared by the EU states that on the
basis of the material before the panel, it has been
concluded that the three conventions under scrutiny have
not been effectively implemented in Sri Lanka.
The report has looked at the implementation of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),
Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the
country, which are key among the 27 conventions that
need to be ratified as a prerequisite to receive the GSP+
exclusive details of the EU report on Sri Lanka on pages
Crisis ridden SriLankan looks at
purchasing new aircraft
By Raisa Wickrematunge
Despite suffering a massive financial loss running to
nearly Rs. 10 billion, the country’s national carrier
SriLankan is mulling the possibility of purchasing new
aircraft in an effort to update its present outdated
and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapakse told The Sunday
Leader that if SriLankan Airlines followed the business
plan it had drawn up for the current year, it would soon
be able to recover from its losses.
Rajapakse noted that the airline needed to invest in new
airplanes to match up with other international airlines.
asked how the airline would come up with the money for
this, Rajapakse said that he was confident that if the
airline followed its business plan it would be able to
self finance it.
are an independent entity,” Rajapakse said of the
airline and brushed off a possibility of the government
funding the new aircraft purchase.
Meanwhile, SriLankan Airlines CEO Manoj Gunawardena said
the refleeting programme for the airline was in two
phases. “The first step is to update the old A320 fleet
of five planes. We have replaced three, returned one,
and one is on a waitlist to Mihin Airlines. It will be
returned at the beginning of next year,” Gunawardena
added that the A320s were all on operating lease. The
CEO went on to say that the refleeting of the A330 and
340 would not be necessary immediately. “We have current
leases (on those models) until 2011.” Gunawardena said.
Basil appeals for continuous EU
Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapakse
has appealed for continuous European Union support to
Rajapakse who also serves as the chairman of the
Northern Task Force for Resettlement, Development and
Security, emphasised the need for the EU and the
European Parliament to strengthen Sri Lanka in its
endeavour to rebuild the country.
Speaking at an inauguration of a photographic exhibition
titled ‘Sri Lanka: facets of Post-conflict Development’
in the European Parliament premises in Brussels on
Wednesday, the presidential advisor said de-militarisation
had been successfully achieved in the north and a lot of
democratic activity was taking place in the province.
exhibition was jointly inaugurated by Rajapakse and
Vice-President of the European Parliament Dr. Libor
exhibition was organised by the Sri Lanka Embassy in
Brussels, with the sponsorship of Elisabetta Gardini,
MEP and the ‘Friends of Sri Lanka’ group in the European
his stay in
Rajapakse also met European External Relations
Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner where he briefed the
Commissioner in detail regarding the government’s effort
to assist and resettle the displaced.
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner impressed on the need for
speedy re-settlement of the displaced and was reportedly
supportive of the government’s initiatives relating to
the IDP resettlement programme and development
priorities in the North. She indicated that the EU would
extend greater assistance.
Harry J wants strays gunned!
By Cassie Mascarenhas
Controversial businessman Harry Jayawardena who serves
as Chairman of the Aitken Spence conglomerate is alleged
to have ordered municipal authorities to gun down all
stray dogs loitering around his business premises
situated in Colombo 2, animal activists charged Friday.
alleged move has sparked massive outrage among the
country’s animal loving public. However Aitken Spence
Deputy Chairman/Managing Director Rajan Brito shot down
the allegations saying that everyone at Aitken Spence
were dog lovers and thus the allegations levelled were
Jayawardena would never dream of doing such a thing. Yes
we do have a problem regarding stray dogs outside Aitken
Spence but no such measures will be taken,” Brito
Jayawardena is known for his gun strutting moves, and
was at the centre of controversy some years back when he
had pulled out a gun and threatened several customs
officers who were conducting an inquiry into an alleged
under-invoicing scam by a subsidiary of Distilleries
Company of Sri Lanka (DCSL) which cost the government
millions of rupees in duties.
25,000 military personnel removed from
By Raisa Wickrematunge
staggering 25,000 service personnel from the army, navy
and airforce who deserted the forces have been removed
from the payroll and Defence Ministry records in an
attempt to overhaul the country’s defence sector,
military officials told The Sunday Leader.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said that
the deserters were made up of 20,000 army personnel and
5000 navy and airforce personnel.
said that all those who made use of the amnesty period
and surrendered were discharged formally from service
after they turned in their respective identity cards,
mobile phones and money, which belonged to the forces.
from Friday, all those who failed to surrender during
the amnesty period will be arrested and punished
accordingly,” he said.
Military sources said that the aim of this move was to
make way for new recruits.
New lease of life for Tamil youth in
By Nirmala Kannangara
a lapse of 30 years Tamil youths from Jaffna are to be
recruited to the Police Department, Police Spokesperson
Senior DIG Nimal Mediwaka told The Sunday Leader.
hundred Tamil youths have been selected for recruitment
as Police Constables, Women Police Constables and Police
Drivers at an interview held in Thellippalai, Point
Kayts and Chavakachcheri on September 28.
“Although there are many Tamils in the police force, the
department did not recruit Tamils from
since 1979 due to the insurgency. However since the
victory over the LTTE, the Police Department decided to
give an opportunity to the Tamil youth in Jaffna to join
the police force,” added DIG Mediwaka.
According to the Police Spokesperson, 717 male and 37
female Tamil applicants were interviewed in five police
stations in Jaffna but only 600 were selected.
queried as to how long it would take for these youth to
report to duty, DIG Mediwaka said that this would take a
considerable amount of time as the authenticity of the
details furnished by the applicants have to be
of the 600 applicants selected we have to find out
whether the documents produced to us are accurate and
whether there are criminal charges against them. We also
need to find out whether these selected Tamil youth have
a link to any anti government forces before absorbing
them to the police force,” he added.
Irudina journalist threatened at
Reporters Without Borders has expressed their concern
for the safety of Dileesha Abeysundera, a journalist
working for the Sinhala-language weekly Irudina, who may
have been the target of a kidnapping attempt when
unidentified men tried to force their way into her
Borella home on the night of September 28. She reported
the incident to the police.
abduction of journalist and press freedom activist
Poddala Jayantha in June showed that this kind of threat
is to be taken seriously,” Reporters Without Borders
said. “Political gangs continue to intimidate
journalists and human rights activists with complete
impunity. We urge the authorities to carry out a
thorough investigation in response to Dileesha
Several men arrived outside Abeysundera’s home in a
white van shortly before midnight, called out her name
repeatedly and tried to force open the gate before
Abeysundera thinks she is being threatened because of
her role in campaigns for media freedom and against the
government’s plan to restore the Press Council.
newspaper that Abeysundera works for is part of the
Leader Publications group, which also owns The Sunday
Leader. She is deputy secretary of the Free Media
Movement and secretary, National Forum for Journalists.
investigation into the murder of The Sunday Leader
Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge nine months ago has
meanwhile stalled without any suspect being arrested.
CEB unions threaten blackout
By Nirmala Kannangara
Electricity Board (CEB) trade unions may resort to
crippling the country’s electricity supply in the event
the Power and Energy Ministry fails to heed demands made
by the unions for a salary increment.
JVP affiliated Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya (LVSS)
Convener, Ranjan Jayalal told The Sunday Leader that the
unions have tentatively scheduled to launch trade union
action in November, if their continuous appeals for a
pay hike falls onto deaf ears.
Jayalal warned that unless Power and Energy Minister
John Seneviratne gives an assurance to the trade unions
that their demands would be met, the trade union would
be compelled to initiate a three-day strike early next
High flying couple’s maid alleges
By Faraz Shauketaly
flying Sri Lankan couple who are based in Abu Dhabi, UAE,
are at the centre of a storm over the alleged
mistreatment of a local housemaid.
daughter of former senior DIG Kotakadeniya and Soma
Kotakadeniya who herself was a former Commissioner of
Motor Traffic is at the centre of the allegation made by
the housemaid. Miss Kotakadeniya is married to an
airline pilot, who is also from a highly connected and
respected family. Captain Weerasingha is the son of
Major General (Retired) Ananda Weerasingha, and is a
pilot with his base in Abu Dhabi.
Weerasingha apart from being a retired Army Officer is
in retirement, an ordained Buddhist monk.
Kotakadeniya after a fairly successful career in the
police force joined the semi-extremist, Hela Urumaya
party. He is one of the most vociferous exponents of the
Hela Urumaya policies and programmes and is now a
housemaid in question, has alleged abusive treatment and
managed to raise the alarm with the police before ending
up at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Abu Dhabi, seeking
we contact DIG Kotakadeniya, he told us that the maid
had signed a three year contract of employment and was
now trying to rid herself of this contract. DIG
Kotakadeniya also stated that his home was a home of
great comfort for domestic workers where they were
treated with dignity and kindness. He added that the
maid did not have to incur any costs as they were all
met by his son-in-law. Confirming that the young couple
had three children the oldest of whom was 10 years, he
said that his daughter was an active participant in the
household chores in
Abu Dhabi, especially since her husband was out of the UAE for
around three weeks in any given month. He speculated
that the reason the maid was making these unfounded
claims was that despite signing for a 3 year contract,
she had now made up her money to pay off a housing loan
and therefore she had little financial impetus to
continue with her overseas employment with the
Despite laws, sexual harassment is
here to stay
By Raisa Wickrematunge
years ago, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the
Employer’s Federation of Ceylon (EFC) launched a Code
of Conduct to combat sexual harassment at the work
place. At the time around 42 companies agreed to adopt
with a framework of conduct, sexual abuse is a murky
area. Victims of sexual abuse often feel afraid to speak
out for themselves. In addition, allegations of
harassment often rely on the word of the victim. This
places the victim in the spotlight, not a situation many
Despite the Code of Conduct, therefore, incidents of
sexual harassment at the work place continue. And now
the spotlight falls on prominent garments manufacturing
been alleged that Gamini Dassanayake, a Personnel
Manager at Next, had harassed W.M.P Weerasinghe, a 35
year old Technical Officer.
Chamila Thushari is a member of Da Bindu, a women’s
rights group at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone. Da Bindu
is supporting Weerasinghe’s case, which has been taken
to courts. Thushari said that Dassanayake had on some
occasions groped Weerasinghe, sent her lewd text
messages and had even asked her to come to a hotel room
Weerasinghe had then gone to the Katunayake Police
Station, and attempted to lodge a complaint against
Dassanayake. Inexplicably, she was prevented from doing
so, Thushari says. She had accordingly gone to the
Peliyagoda police, who then contacted Katunayake police
asking why they had refused to record Weerasinghe’s
Offensive text messages
Thereafter, Weerasinghe went back to Katunayake. This
time she was successful. Thushari said Weerasinghe was
able to produce the offensive text messages to show the
police. An investigation ensued, and Dassanayake was
arrested for five days.
far, so good. Weerasinghe’s claims were investigated and
Dassanayake was punished accordingly.
However, Thushari said, three of Weerasinghe’s
superiors, one of them a female, had asked Weerasinghe
to withdraw her complaint. Weerasinghe had then gone
back to the Katunayake police. The three superiors were
called upon to give statements, but a mutual
understanding had been reached between the parties.
well that ends well? Not quite. The next day, Thushari
says, Weerasinghe arrived at work only to be told that
she had been dismissed. What’s more, Dassanayake had
been reinstated at his post.
Weerasinghe herself was unavailable for comment, having
switched off her mobile phone. However, The Sunday
Leader was able to contact Gamini Dassanayake, who was
indeed back at work at Next. He refuted the allegations,
saying “This is completely wrong information. An inside
investigation was done and I was released.” Dassanayake
added that he was unable to go into detail as
Weerasinghe’s complaints had led to a court case, which
Court case ongoing
Sergeant, Manufacturing Director at Next, spoke on
behalf of the company. “Although we aren’t able to
comment on specific cases, Next Manufacturing has a
robust grievance mechanism where any such complaints
would be thoroughly investigated through an independent
external inquiry, and the findings and recommendations
of such an inquiry fairly applied,” Sergeant said.
we have a situation in which the parties involved place
blame squarely on someone else.
indeed, Weerasinghe was dismissed from work simply
because she dared to complain of Dassanayake’s
inappropriate conduct, this is surely an outright
violation of her rights as an employee. However, once
again we have to depend on the word of the victim, who
for the time-being, remains in shadow. Next and
Dassanayake claim that appropriate action was taken. A
court case is currently ongoing, and the parties must
now look to the legal system to ensure that justice is
Minority parties unite to free
leading minority parties in the country have appealed
for the immediate release and resettlement of thousands
of Tamil and Muslim Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
who languish in temporary camps in various parts of the
appeal titled ‘Let our people free’ released last week,
leaders of the five parties, namely the Tamil United
Liberation Front (TULF), Democratic People’s Front (DPF),
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Akhila Ilankai Tamil
United Front (AITUF) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
emphasised that the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka
have suffered great hardships for many decades since
independence including discrimination, ethnic riots,
pogroms and ethnic cleansing and despite seeing an end
to the country’s nearly three decade long conflict,
these people continue to suffer from unbearable pain to
parties stated that the forcible detention of hundreds
of thousands of Tamil citizens of
in camps for Internally Displaced Persons is illegal,
without basis in the Constitution and in gross violation
of international human rights norms.
people should be released immediately to return to their
homes and permitted to resume without hindrance their
traditional livelihood activities such as farming and
fishing, or to take up residence with friends and
relatives, or to exercise their lawful right to abode
elsewhere at their discretion. Those likely to face
criminal charges should be produced in a court of law
without further delay,” the minority party leaders said.
Open the camps
strongly urged authorities to open the camps for
relatives, religious functionaries, parliamentarians,
provincial councillors, civil society, UN agencies,
journalists, and national and international aid and
urge that immediate arrangements be made to allow the
Muslim people who were evicted from the north and have
suffered acute hardships for nearly two decades to
return to their homes and to resume their economic and
social activities without hindrance,” the appeal said.
Resettle those from the east
also urged that similar arrangements must be made to
re-settle in their original homes all those in the east,
who remain displaced and continue to suffer greatly.
restrictions on movement in and out of the Northern
Province and some locations in the east should be lifted
and the need for permits to enter or leave should be
rescinded forthwith. In particular, any form of
quarantine of the Northern Province is a violation of
basic rights and should be lifted,” the parties noted.
appeal said that curfew and other restrictions on
normality in many parts of the Northern Province and elsewhere are unjustified and emphasised on the need
to restore normality without delay.
call for an end to military administration and
restrictions placed on civilians, and we urge the
restoration of full civilian administration to
facilitate return to economic and social normality,” the
V. Anandasangaree, DPF’s Mano Ganesan, SLMC’s Rauf
Hakeem, AITUF’s K. Vigneswaran and R. Sampanthan of the
TNA signed the appeal.
Ruling party politician wants
‘certain castes’ thrown out
By Nirmala Kannangara
Allegations have been levelled against a member of the
ruling party for using the caste system at election
rallies in the Matara District in a bid to win more
preferential votes at the upcoming Southern Provincial
Council (SPC) elections.
Devinuwara Pradeshiya Sabha member Anura Gunarathna is
alleged to have told a public rally in Walgama, Matara
recently that the majority ‘Durawa’ and ‘Karawa’ cast
people have to be chased away from the district.
alleged statement has resulted in all round criticism
from opposition party politicians and members of civil
is the first time in the political history in this
district that a member of a political party has raised
caste issues for petty political gains,” a source from
the area who spoke on conditions of anonymity said.
Meanwhile Matara District Member of Parliament (MP)
Mangala Samaraweera told The Sunday Leader that
Gunarathna who is supposed to be a relative of President
Mahinda Rajapakse has no right to make such statements.
particular Gunarathna is also a member of the two
Rajapakse Organisations – ‘Rajapakse Foundation’ and
‘Rajapakse Parapura’ and if he is trying to get rid of
the people of certain castes then the people of this
country cannot expect a proper administration for their
betterment,” Samaraweera said.
Lasantha to be honoured in London
James Cameron Memorial Trust will honour Founder Editor
of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge on Wednesday
(7) for his courageous journalism by presenting this
year’s award posthumously.
event will be held at the
Northampton Square, London EC 1 and will start at 6.30
p.m, with tea and coffee served from 5.45 p.m.
event will be followed by a buffet supper for the
James Walter Cameron (June 17, 1911 – January 26, 1985)
was a prominent British journalist, in whose memory the
annual James Cameron Memorial Lecture is given.
Security strengthened at Sri
Lankan embassy in New Delhi
The Indian government has taken immediate steps to
strengthen security at Sri Lanka’s High Commission in
New Delhi after a group of protestors vandalized the
embassy on Friday afternoon.
India’s Minister for External Affairs S. M. Krishna
telephoned his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha
Bogollagama on Friday evening and assured that immediate
steps have been taken to strengthen security at the High
Commission and that action will be taken against the
“He further stated that the incident is contrary to the
cooperative relationship that exists between the two
countries and certainly does not reflect the close and
warm bi-lateral friendship that exists between India and
Sri Lanka,” a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry
in Colombo said.
Cruel litigant attempts to evict a
A gorgeous Ridgeback considered a third child by her
owner, a known social activist is the subject of cruel,
false allegations with intent to have her separated from
the owner and her two companions who are the children of
the owner and sent out of her home.
Given its animal rights day we are highlighting this
The owner wants to mobilize animal rights activists to
take on the case of Sasha and do justice by this
Ridgeback. He is likely to publish an advertisement next
week calling for activists to come forward to fight this
case, which has cruelty and vindictiveness written all
over. We have kept out the case details due to legal
stipulations prohibiting the publication of details.
US Green Card lottery now open
Embassy announced that the Green Card lottery is now
open for applications and will accept them on-line
starting October 2.
2011 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Programme more
commonly known as the Green Card Lottery gives 50,000
randomly selected applicants a chance to legally live,
work or study in the United States. This is granted only
if the candidate is born in a qualifying country such as
Sri Lanka and has the required educational or work
sign up for the lottery, applicants must visit
www.dvlottery.state.gov. Registration is free and
applications will be accepted from October 2 to November
person is allowed to apply only once and if selected
will be informed via e-mail within May and July 2010
after which he will have one year to immigrate to the
BOI: Millions spent on promotion with
Startling revelations have come to the fore as to how
the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOISL) officials
have failed to bring investors to the country despite
their spending millions of rupees on promotional tours
abroad over the past two years.
Sunday Leader is in possession of the description of
visits and the expenditure incurred by Deputy Director
General (Promotion and Investment) A.M.C. Kulasekera,
Executive Director (Promotion and Mega Projects Unit) S.
de Silva and Executive Director (Promotion) D.
Ariyasinghe on these trips.
According to the statistics, Deputy Director General (DDG)
Kulasekera has gone to Israel, China, China and Vietnam,
Geneva, Japan, Singapore and Thailand, USA and Canada to
set up a special economic zone in Mirigama between March
22, 2008 and July 26 this year. This has cost the BOI a
colossal Rs.3.7 million while De Silva has spent nearly
Rs.8 lakhs on his
UK and Belgium visits between May 4, and June 11 this
Meanwhile Ariyasinghe’s trips to New Delhi, Singapore,
India, Germany, Turkey, Middle East region, Libya,
Sinagapore and Thailand, and USA and Canada from January
14, 2008 to July 30, this year has cost the BOI Rs.
2.8 million which brings the total expenditure to over
Rs. 6.7 million.
However according to an internal memorandum by Executive
Director (Finance) P.C. Matthias to the Board Secretary,
it is clear as to how these three officials have failed
to bring a single investor to the country although they
have spent several millions of rupees on foreign
promotional trips over the past two years.
According to Matthias’ internal memorandum to the Deputy
Director General (DDG), Kulasekera has tried to
exonerate himself from the accusation levelled against
him and the other officers under his supervision for
spending a colossal amount of public money on several
promotional missions but failing to satisfy the Board of
Directors, about the foreign investments that they have
brought during this period.
this connection I wish to state that I have given actual
figures and therefore if the DDG (Investment) has any
objections to the factual contents he should object with
facts and not with broad statements which do not answer
to the facts given. If he objects to the board paper I
have presented what he should do is to present the
foreign direct investments that have flowed into the
country from their visits,” states the internal
memorandum sent to the Board Secretary by Executive
Meanwhile Executive Director (Promotion and Mega
Projects Unit) S. de Silva and Executive Director
(Promotion) D. Ariyasinghe when contacted for a comment
on the allegations levelled against them refused to talk
to The Sunday Leader saying —
I am a public servant I do not have any authority even
to defend myself until I get Director General Dammika
Perera’s approval. No sooner I get the approval I will
speak to your paper to prove my innocence,” Ariyasinghe
told The Sunday Leader.
Silva however wanted the newspaper to contact the BOI
Director Media for a comment, as he too had to get the
approval to speak to the press.
there are allegations levelled against me the Media
Director would be able to give details but since I do
not have the right to speak to the media I am compelled
to be silent although I want to defend my self against
these baseless allegations,” De Silva told The Sunday
(Promotions and Investment) Kulasekera was not available
Executive Director (Finance) Matthias who did not wish
to comment on the issue told The Sunday Leader that the
issues raised were purely internal matters.
not want to talk about the internal matters to your
paper,” she said.
attempts to contact Dammika Perera for a comment by The
Sunday Leader failed.