Minister Ravi Karunanayake who arrived in Sri Lanka from Pakistan
on Friday was given a rousing welcome by fellow cabinet ministers
and parliamentarians at the airport. Picture shows Minister
Karunanayake being escorted out of the airport by Lands Minister
Rajitha Senaratne and Gampaha District parliamentarian Olitha
Photo by Lalith Perera
handbag with CBK
proof that President Chandrika Kumaratunga is in possession of the
ladies handbag with the hidden VH09 video colour camera has been
discovered by the Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DII).
investigation has also revealed that the handbag with the hidden video
camera was purchased just nine days after the election of the United
National Front government by the president’s security advisor T.V.
Sumanasekera and handed over to Kumaratunga a week later on December 20,
proof of the handbag with the hidden video colour camera having been
handed over to President Kumaratunga was also unearthed.
the Directorate of Internal Intelligence show that a quotation for the
equipment was called from Roshan Motha of General Engineers &
Suppliers on November 16 by Sumanasekera and accepted the same day. The
purchase was made on December 14, 2001.
reveal that a note was made by Police Sergeant 3498 Chandrasiri in the
file at the Technical Branch at the Directorate of Internal Intelligence
stating that the camera and a handbag had been handed over by T. V.
Sumanasekera to the president personally on December 20 at President’s
further reveal an endorsement was made by the OIC/Technical Aids, DII,
Inspector O.Y.R. Perera that one radio jamming equipment, a brief case,
video camera and a ladies camera bag were handed over to the
President’s Security Division on October 28, 2001, December 14, 2001
and December 20, 2001 respectively and that the ladies handbag is not
further adds that this camera was directly purchased by Sumanasekera and
that he handed over the same to the president on December 20, 2001,
thereby corroborating the version of Sergeant Chandrasiri.
further revealed that the local agent, Motha was taken into custody by
the CID somewhere in 1997/1998 and detained for three days when
Sumanasekera was the DIG, CID in connection with an inquiry into a
scandal on the procurement of body armour and related items to the army.
Minister Ravi Karunanayake the previous week accused President
Kumaratunga of bringing the handbag with the hidden video camera to
cabinet for the purpose of recording cabinet proceedings in violation of
president did not show her handbag to prove the minister wrong but
accused him 48 hours later of alleging that she brought a bomb to
cabinet to assassinate the prime minister, an allegation which has been
rejected by the cabinet of ministers as a falsehood.
want CBK taken to task
government ministers will this week meet with Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe and urge stringent action against President Chandrika
Kumaratunga following serious allegations levelled by the president
against several ministers.
ministers and UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema held a series of
discussions last week following President Kumaratunga’s speech in
Polonnaruwa and the fracas in parliament, where the consensus emerged
that it was no longer possible to cohabit with Kumaratunga.
ministers who participated in these discussions with the UNP chairman
and separately in parliament included Finance Minister K. N. Choksy,
Constitutional Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris, Labour Minister Mahinda
Samarasinghe, Justice Minister W. J. M. Lokubandara, Interior Minister
John Amaratunga, Lands Minister Rajitha Senaratne, Samurdhi Minister S.
B. Dissanayake and Western Province Regional Development Minister M. H.
proposed at these discussions that the ministers must meet the prime
minister in delegation and call for the immediate introduction of the
conscience vote, repealing the constitutional provision enabling the
president to dissolve parliament at the end of one year, and repealing
the immunity clause of the president with a view to prosecution for
corruption and abuse of power.
Choksy had also indicated that he would be informing the prime minister
of his intention to raise in cabinet the allegations the president made
against him in Polonnaruwa.
learns that several other ministers against whom the president made
allegations are also expected to raise the issue in cabinet next week.
president has defamed us and we cannot sit in the same cabinet with her
until the issue is resolved. It is our reputation that is at stake,” a
senior minister told The Sunday Leader.
to move ‘no faith’ on Jayalath
opposition People’s Alliance is planning to move a motion of no
confidence against Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Minister
Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena.
Leader Mahinda Rajapakse said this decision was taken at the last
parliamentary group meeting of the PA, where the matter was discussed
and a committee appointed to study the allegations and charges that have
surfaced, questioning Dr. Jayawardena’s credibility and integrity.
Dodangoda, Nimal Siripala de Silva, John Seneviratne and two others will
comprise those nominated by the PA to probe the charges against
confidence motion will be on specific charges,” Rajapakse said, adding
that the northern road contract given to Jayawardena’s family will
figure when this committee sits, including the allegations of
commissions Jayawardena has been accused of picking up on rice deals to
the northern peninsula and the fact that Jayawardena uses a luxury flat
under the name of Ravi Wethasinghe at the JAIC Hilton.
Chandrika Kumaratunga last week summoned an emergency meeting at
President’s House at 7 p.m. with her most trusted confidantes and
discussed the possibility of proroguing parliament next month.
placed sources revealed that members of her ‘inner cabinet’ namely,
Harim Peiris, Mangala Samaraweera, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Lukshman
Kadirgamar, Nimal Siripala De Silva, Tara De Mel and Maithripala
Sirisena were part of this top secret meeting where proposals were put
forward to divert attention from the present crisis situation
Kumaratunga is facing.
member, presently evolving as a key advisor to the president had at this
meeting put forward three proposals. The first suggestion was for the
president to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the basis that
as head of cabinet she no longer has confidence in Wickremesinghe’s
ability to govern.
proposal centered around the possibility of sacking Consumer Affairs
Minister Ravi Karunanayake, thereby creating a constitutional crisis.
The third suggestion is for Kumaratunga to appoint Deputy Leader
of the United National Party, Karu Jayasuriya as prime minister after
having sacked Wickremesinghe.
together with these members of her inner cabinet, thereafter discussed
the possibility of simulating a series of crisis situations over the
next few weeks, which would then enable Kumaratunga to prorogue
parliament on the basis that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has
lost control in government.
the brawl between opposition and government parliamentarians in the well
of the House was the first step initiated towards this end.
also moves being made for the president to get rid of her long time
Secretary, Kusumsiri Balapatabendi.
The latter has fallen out of favour with Kumaratunga after he
refused to sign a letter on her behalf in relation to the luxury vehicle
Sunday Leader contacted Harim Peiris he said he would neither deny nor
confirm such a meeting took place.
and Livestock development minister S B Dissanayake has openly challenged
President Chandrika Kumaratunge for a debate, over allegations leveled
against him by President Kumaratunge, described by the minister as
minister made this announcement on Friday at a press conference held at
his ministry at Battaramulla.
to Dissanayake, President Kumaratunge had denied any connections with a
businessman who had helped her financially while contesting the
minister said that President Kumaratunge, after winning the election
ended all connections with the businessman due to a fall out with him.
“The very man whom she had presented her gold pen and ‘green
chair’ to, before the election received nothing after she fell out
with him, as even the little benefits he received were all withdrawn.
to the Minister the businessman had come to him with a hope of solving
his problems with the president. “But at the time I went to the
president to discus about this, the president said she had no
connections with such a person,” he said.
have told the president that if she denies having any connections with
the businessman I will show the entire nation with valid photos and
documents her involvement with the man” Minister Dissanayake said.
minister said the businessman had spent nearly one billion and supplied
50 lunch packets, 25 dinner packets and three whiskey bottles for the
people helping out during the election campaigns. He told the
journalists that the businessman had also given two benz cars to the
also said that there was no truth in the speech made by President
Kumaratunge in Pollonnaruwa referring to him and his wife, going to the
President’s office and ‘begging and worshipping’ her to return his
letter of resignation.
further said the President’s speech was aired repeatedly on TV with
the intention of creating disrepute to his wife and himself regarding a
the true story is, my wife wrote the letter and I signed it. Even though
many people at the Ministry wanted me to stay on, I made a firm stand
and said I have made up my mind” Dissanayake said.
to Minister Dissanayake he gave his resignation because he was not
allowed to run the Samurdhi Ministry the way he wanted, adding however
it was President Kumaratunge who came to his house and returned
him the resignation letter and pleaded
him to come back to the Ministry and run it the way he wants.
and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake has demanded Rs. 1,000
million from former Minister Mangala Samaraweera for the latter’s
statements made recently at a press conference, described by Minister
Karunanayake as “damaging” and “baseless”.
statement made by Samaraweera was published in a daily newspaper on July
a letter addressed to Samaraweera, Karunanayake’s lawyer states
Samaraweera’s statement saying that Karunanayake is obviously trying
to sabotage an increasingly good relationship that has been established
between the prime minister and the president is false.
to another statement of Samaraweera that says that the minister has
accused the president of being a suicide bomber and trying to kill the
prime minister, the cabinet and herself is also false.
to another allegation of Samaraweera, that the prime minister has fully
agreed with the president that this amateur and third grade behaviour of
Karunanayake must stop, the lawyer says is also false.
G.G.Arulpragasam’s letter states as follows; “The aforesaid
statements have been made mala fide and maliciously with a view to
discrediting my client. In the circumstances my client has suffered loss
of reputation both as a person and as a politician. My client estimates
the damages at Rs. 1,000 million.”
Board of Social Responsibility of the Kollupitiya Methodist Church
presents “Sing for Joy”, a musical extravaganza for the whole
family, at the Methodist College auditorium, at 6.00 pm, on Saturday,
popular artists will make a remarkable contribution of their talents to
raise funds for social projects.
programme will end with a “Sing for Joy” of golden oldies.
EFL oppose UKP
the special committee appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
to investigate the Upper Kotmale Project (UKP) has given its approval
for the project to be implemented, Housing Minister Arumugam Thondaman
and Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) have shown vehement
opposition to it.
Thondaman warned he would go to the extent of mobilising the entire hill
country and outside to oppose the Upper Kotmale Project, if the project
takes off the ground prior to the prime minister agreeing to the
implementation of the project.
told The Sunday Leader that the committee was appointed by the prime
minister and the subsequent findings of the committee should also be
studied by the premier. “It is the prime minister who should give the
green light to the project and not others. I understand that the
government plans to commence the project by August 15. I will not let it
happen,” he said.
has said if the government starts the project, even before the prime
minister goes through the committee report, he would strongly oppose and
ensure that the project does not take off the ground at all.
EFL, also voicing its strong opposition to the project has said that it
believes the committee that was appointed to look into it itself is
biased since the project director is from the Ceylon Electricity Board.
further states that it cannot agree to the implementation of the project
because the committee has not considered the recent documents and the
letters sent to the prime minister by the EFL in addition to ignoring a
letter of a former environmental consultant of the project.
EFL has also stated in a document that the committee recommendations are
totally based on assurances provided by the CEB prepared by the project
director who is a member of the committee.
EFL document signed by its Chairman Ravi Algama has also said that it
cannot accept the recommendations made by the committee because he
understands that the consortium of Japanese construction companies,
Finance Ministry personnel and a certain politician have pressurised the
committee to agree to the project.
European Union is against the project since there has not been an open
bidding process. In fact, the Japanese ambassador openly stated that the
EU objected to the project loan. The aid for this project is only for
the Japanese contractors and we have reason to believe that those
constructers have already come up with a winning entity (HKK-Hazama,
Kumagai &Kajima) whose plans to bid the lowest under three other
contractors who for consideration will make frivolous higher bids. It is
believed that HKK’s bid will be at least 50 percent higher than a
although the cabinet has so far not approved the project, the secretary
to the Ministry of Power and Energy has already requested the Japanese
government to provide their favorite consultants to the project. We
therefore, have reason to believe that this project is guided by an
unseen hand,” Algama has said in his statement to the press.
newly elected Indian President, Professor Abdul Kalam has a unique hobby
of meeting little children. He is determined to personally meet 100,000
children in order to guide them towards creating a peaceful world.
Affairs minister A.H.M.Azwer in his congratulatory message to the new
Indian President Professor Abdul Kalam has said following the traditions
set by Jawaharlal Nehru, it is pleasing to note that the new President
loves to mingle with children and understand their minds.
Cherished desire to talk to them and to learn from their views to build
a better future for your motherland is a true manifestation of an
exceptional mind. This is also reflected in your book ‘India in the
year 2020’ which is dedicated to a child who once told you that her
future ambition is to live in a developed India,” he has said.
Photo 2002 Exhibition in Sri Lanka
World Press Photo 2002 Exhibition will be held at the Barefoot Gallery
in Colombo from August 2 to 21.
annual exhibition is held each year at about 70 venues in 35 countries
all over the world, subject to the condition that all prize-winning
entries are exhibited without any form of censorship. This year’s
exhibition contains nearly 200 photographs. The exhibition not only
shows the best in press photography in the past year, it can also be
seen as a collection of historical documents containing the world’s
main events during year 2001, a press release from The Barefoot Gallery
Damayanthi is suffering from an advanced cancer in the salivary gland,
infiltrating the brain.
has failed to respond to frontline treatment and needs extensive surgery
to remove the part of the tumor inside the brain.
surgery according to medical experts is to cost around one million
rupees. The public is requested to make financial contributions to Bank
of Ceylon - Borella Branch, A/C No.100381178557.
Oswald Gomis was installed as the new Archbishop of Colombo yesterday at
a ceremony held at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Kotahena, attended by tens
and thousands of religious dignitaries, politicians and other diplomats.
Gomis was appointed as Archbishop by Pope John Paul II. The new
archbishop would be the head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka
comprising 11 dioceses ranging from Jaffna in the north to Galle in the
to the time of his elevation Bishop Gomis was also Bishop of
Anuradhapura and was also the elected leader of the Catholic Bishop’s
Conference in Sri Lanka.
new archbishop is head of the Catholic Church as the Secretary General
to the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference, which has no president.
archbishop joined the seminary after academic studies at St. Joseph’s
College, Colombo and completed his priestly training at St. Bernard’s
Seminary, Borella and the National Seminary Kandy.
son of Vincent and Florinda Gomis of Kelaniya, the archbishop grew up in
the shadow of Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya and continues to be a regular
visitor there and has a good relationship with all religions.
did his Masters degree in education at Adamson University in the
Philippines and Taiwan based Fu Jen Catholic University awarded him a
Ph.D for his outstanding contribution to church communications in Asia.
to bring down unauthorised structures
Urban Development Authority (UDA) is to carry out an islanwide programme
to demolish all unauthorised structures, UDA Chairman Tudor Munasinghe
chairman said it is the UDA’s responsibility to bring down these
structures and also added that he has planned to revamp the Unauthorised
Structures Unit of the UDA to carry out this programme more effectively.
said the unit has not been very active under the Peoples’ Alliance
The Sunday Leader learns, has plans to implement this programme to bring
these structures down with the assistance of the police, Land
Reclamation Authority and the local authorities.
present the UDA is holding discussions with
Colombo Mayor Prassana Gunawardena, planning out strategies to
carry out this plan in Colombo and suburbs where it is an acute problem.
chairman stated he wants to commence this programme in Colombo and then
move to the suburbs such as Kotte, Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia.
The UDA will also be looking into towns like Kandy, Nuwara-Eliya
and Galle as Munasinghe said a number of local authorities have
complained to him about these structures coming up without proper
approval from the state.
present, Munasinghe points out, the UDA acts
on the complaints received from respective local authorities. He
said after receiving such a formal complaint, a team from the UDA would
visit the scene for further inspections. Upon confirming that the
structures are unauthorised, the UDA he says, would initially issue a
warning and if nothing is done thereafter, UDA would resort to taking
legal action against the violators.
Deputy Mayor of Colombo, Azath
Sally says that the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) in association with
the UDA holds regular meetings
to plan out how they are going to clean the city and bring down the
unauthorised structures in Colombo.
increase in abortions
the Catholic Church and civil society is perturbed over the alarmingly
increasing number of abortions being performed in Sri Lanka every day,
the Family Planning Association and certain other medical experts say
the government should seriously look into legalising abortions.
to unconfirmed figures, over 1,200 abortions are carried out a day and
the Catholic Church is of the view that this would lead to a ‘ruthless
medical doctors and clergy from religious places of worship, who wished
to remain anonymous said that abortions are taking place under the guise
of ‘menstrual regulation’ and added there are 23 such
centres in Sri Lanka - namely at Deal Place and Grandpass in
Colombo, Moratuwa, Ja-Ela, Hatton, Dehiwela, Matale, Kurunegala, Kegalle,
Galle, Kandy, Ratnapura and in Negombo.
also alleged that these illegal abortion clinics continue to operate by
bribing police officers who give them the support, while the law of the
land specifically states that this is unlawful.
Director, Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka, Dr. Daya Abewickrema
says the government should look into the possibility of legalising
abortions. He says by legalising abortion, better standards could be
expected from such operators who now operate under cover.
the present rise in abortions, he said the government should have a
close tab on abortionists and set some regulations and better standards
that may lead to such abortionists resorting to proper methods of
carrying out their activities.
Private Hospitals - Ministry of Health, Dr. Harsha de Silva said the
government is aware that though abortion is illegal, it does take place
in an unprecedented way. He said this is because of the present social
said the government should look into the laws that prevent abortions and
find out ways and means of amending them for the better.
said abortions should not be ignored, adding some regulatory body should
be appointed to have a record of abortions. “This must be brought
under a body that would have a grip of the whole situation. Since there
is nothing of this sort, abortions are taking place at an alarming rate
and that could be dangerous to society,” he said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary, Bishop’s Conference, Rev. Neil Dias
Karunaratne said even if it is one abortion per day it is
‘horrifying’ and the action is akin to a murder. “Any attempt to
deliberately destroy a foetus is equal to a ‘murder’ said
Karunaratne. “We must have respect for life and regard for human
beings. This is something that is lacking in our contemporary society.
In our society, all respect and regard for life is gone,” he said.
also said there is no reason to be ‘surprised’ over abortions that
takes place, when a society is involved in ‘contract killings’ and
other ways of taking human life.
said the abortion rate is ever increasing because there is a breakdown
of the social system in Sri Lanka. “How can an unborn child be a
threat to anyone?” he asked.
said the Catholic Church has done everything possible to either curb or
prevent this menace, but sadly it only keeps increasing day by day.
have also taken up this issue with the United Nations (UN). But our
society wants to choose the easy way and not the other,” he added.
stops exam fee hike
attempt by the director, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) to
increase the examination and course fee for
post graduate training by an additional Rs.30,000 has been turned
down by the government.
a sum of Rs.10,000 was levied from those candidates who were qualified
to sit for the post graduate examination but the PGIM Director, Dr. J.
B. Peiris increased the amount to Rs.40,000. But intervention by the
Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), Higher Education
Ministry, Ministry of
Health and the University Grants Commission prevented Dr. Peiris from
implementing this system.
Secretary, GMOA, Dr.
Anuruddha Padeniya told The Sunday Leader, that at a time when the
country lacks consultants, the post graduate training must be encouraged
and added a decision to increase the fee would only put an end to this.
said in foreign countries less than one third of a doctor’s salary is
kept apart for this type of training and added in Sri Lanka this cannot
be done as a doctor gets only Rs. 17,000. Therefore he said, either the
fee charge should be kept at Rs. 10,000 or the salaries of the doctors
should be increased.
further said the sustainability of the post graduate training programme
should be safeguarded because it only costs around Rs. 1 million to
fully train a doctor, while it costs more than that amount to send a
patient out of the country for treatment.
UGC Vice Chairman, Prof. L. L. Ratnayake in a letter addressed to PGIM
Director, Dr. J. B. Peiris has instructed to amend all PGIM circulars
with regard to examination and course fees to maintain the previous rate
until the proposed examination fee structure is discussed and finalised.
“It was suggested to make recommendations before 01.08.2002 by the
same representatives who attended the earlier meeting,” the letter said.
earlier meeting took place on May 30, 2002, to discuss the new
examination fees structure proposed by the PGIM director.
TV crew biased - Azwer
Affairs Minister A. H. M. Azwer has made an oral complaint to
Speaker Joseph Michael Perera saying that the parliamentary
television crew is biased and the crew failed to focus on some of the
People’s Alliance and JVP MPs who were the cause for the pandemonium
in parliament last Wednesday.
Speaker, Azwer told The Sunday Leader, had admitted to him of the biased
reportage of the incident by the television crew.
Wednesday, July 24, opposition members staged a noisy protest in the
well of the House. Members also traded punches and kicks and several
from both sides were injured as a result of the turmoil.
minister said the TV camera was focussed only on the Speaker and not on
the incident. He said the TV crew should have also focussed on the
incident and highlighted the members who were involved in the brawl.
further said that last week’s incident was initiated, conspired and
maneuvered by the JVP, who he described as “Janadhipathi Vimukthi
Peramuna (JVP), led by Anura Bandaranaike.
said that the JVP and the PA resorted to disrupt the sittings in
parliament because of sheer jealousy over the fact that the present UNF
government is able to do things that could not be done by them during
their time in government.
said even during the time the
UNP was occupying the opposition bench, esthe members displayed placards
but never targeted any particular member of parliament unlike how the PA
is doing now against some of the UNF members. “Also, our leader never
allowed us to get into the well to dance the devil,” he added.
film industry far behind time - Dr. Peiris
filmmaker Dr. Lester James Peiris says
the Sri Lankan film industry is nearly 30 years behind time and that to
resurrect the industry, additional capital is needed.
to him Sri Lanka has still not been able to have a technologically
perfect studio to film movies that would be in par with other Bollywood
says the best cameras that are available are 10 years old and to film
movies, cameras are being hired from India.
said this is due to many theatres being burnt during the 1983 ethnic
riots because most of them were owned by Tamils.
also said that many reports on the industry have been submitted to the
government but so far no action has been taken to revive it. Citing an
example he pointed out to a proposal submitted to the government by
Prof. A. J. Gunewardene during late
President J. R. Jayewardene’s time, and added even this report, that
had the incentives to boost the industry, was not implemented.
said he is shocked that the local film industry has still not acquired
an archive to preserve films. “Right throughout I have been fighting
for this but so far we have not had one,” he said.
was of the view that as a result of the lack of an archive, the industry
was losing 80% of the films termed by him as “Sri Lanka’s
Peiris explained that the negatives could be reduced to powder. “This
is why we should have an archive that would preserve these films. They
ought to be preserved under stringent conditions,” he pointed out.
said if this industry is to survive, there must be an infusion of
capital, more investors involving themselves in the industry and above
also said though he sees a lot of young talents in this field, the
system is not in a position to motivate them due to lack of facilities.
I am glad that some of our films are being internationally recognised.
This gives some of us great joy,” he said.
TUs lock horns
trade unions have locked horns over a demand for a wage hike for the
some unions demand a wage hike of Rs. 150, some other unions are
demanding Rs. 200 per day.
Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) which is considered to be the largest
trade union in the plantation sector demands that a sum of Rs. 150
should be granted to overcome the rising cost of living.
the rival Ceylon Workers’ Alliance (CWA) that is affiliated to the
People’s Alliance (PA) says the private companies managing the estates
must grant the workers at least Rs. 200 per day to meet the spiraling
cost of living.
General Secretary and Housing Minister Arumugam Thondaman last week said
that his demand on behalf of the workers is reasonable as it will not
lead to the industry suffering. “While I make my demands, I will also
ensure that the tea industry is not killed,” Thondaman said.
the CWA Convenor S. Sathasivam said that since the cost of living index
has risen from 2055.4 in
2000 to 3292.1 this year, the workers deserve a hike of Rs. 200 per day.
explaining he said that the production that was 301 million kgs in the
year 2000, has increased to 306 million kgs this year. He also said that
a kilo of tea that was sold at Rs. 135 in the year 2000, is now sold at
I do not see any reason as to why the companies cannot give the workers
a decent increase, considering the fact that the cost of living has gone
so high, with the level of production also going up steadily,” he
in renewal of licences cost Rs. 10 million
to renew licences of foreign employment agencies attached to the Sri
Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) incurs the country a monthly
loss of Rs.10 million, The Sunday Leader learns.
loss, foreign employment agents allege, is mostly due to the
inefficiency of the chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB).
of the agents who are deprived of their licences, told The Sunday Leader
on condition of anonymity, that the FEB which is responsible for the
renewal of these licences, either fails to do it or delays the process.
They further said for the past six months there has been a major delay
in renewing the licenses.
However, countering this, Deputy Director, SLBFE
S. Batagoda said the agents would definitely face problems if they
submitted their relevant documents after the deadline, “If they are
submitted on time, the bureau ensures that their licensces are renewed
properly and methodically” said Batagoda.
many travel agents complain that even though their documents are passed
on to the Bureau, they face this delay because the SLBFE Chairman
Susantha Fernando does not sign the letters of approval on time. “Even
though he gives these agents a letter of approval for them to continue
business, he does not give a signed renewal for these agents,” they
further said that many attempts made by them to meet him have been
unsuccessful as he is said to be ‘too busy’ all the time.
explained that they were forced to hold back the job orders they
received from abroad, as a result of their licences not being renewed
and added this has also led to a loss of more than 5000 foreign jobs a
agents complain that without a renewed licence they cannot advertise for
recruitment and this prevents potential candidates from seeking foreign
jobs. Employment agents face
a severe crisis when they cannot meet their demand for job orders, which
is considered a major source of income to the country.
Sunday Leader learns that the Bureau’s lethargy results in the
delaying of at least by one month the renewal of a license of a job
agency. Furthermore, reliable sources attached to this trade said that
90% of the recruitment agents face this problem. They said their
licences are not renewed according to a strict time frame and the Bureau
does not give any valid reasons for the delays.
present there are around 600 licenced job agencies around the country
where many of them find it difficult to get their licence out in time.