6th July, 2003 Volume 9, Issue 51
many murders, brutal assaults and other serious criminal acts have we seen
recently where the police have been forced to turn a blind eye? How many
times have ministers, MPs, their supporters and their children run amok
breaking the law, willy nilly? The police have been transformed into
doormats for ministers, MPs, etc., to wipe their feet on.
minister in charge, himself a prime suspect where such actions are
concerned, sanctimoniously announces 'Everyone is equal in the eyes of the
law' when questioned by the media. The IGP in his role of Robot Scarecrow
utters similar inanities. Another minister, speaking of his son's brutal
assault on someone who roused his ire at a hotel, pronounces "Boys will
be boys" and the son goes merrily on his criminal way.
time the minister interviewed about a minister firing in the air after an
incident at a hotel, announces it was a trivial incident as no one was hurt
by the shooting.
supremely asinine statements are indicative of the attitude adopted by such
another time, a minister assaults hotel staff and the police present
interrupt their free feasting to announce their support for his action.
the Prime Minister possibly be unaware of the dangerous situation? Or is it
that his failure to ensure action tacitly indicates his approval of such
law-breaking by the law makers and law enforcers?
he appoint another committee to look into it, whose report will never see
the light of day?
time is fast approaching when it will be too late to remedy the situation.
His gang of cohorts is leading the country into anarchy.
come, Mr. P.M. act now before it's too late. As a first and essential step
change the minister in charge of the police. He has made the police a band
of pambayas, the biggest of them being the IGP.
on UNF governance
am writing to place on record in the warmest manner possible my appreciation
of your absolutely devastating and stunning editorials of
June 22 and 29, exposing the myth of the UNF government's claim to be
to a corrupt free and efficient administration. The fact that it appeared in
The Sunday Leader, which is often identified as being pro-government, makes
it even more credible than if it were to appear in a paper normally given to
criticising the government. Your editorials were pieces of rare journalistic
last time I read an editorial of such candour and power was way back in 1953
when Tarzie Vittachchi, who was then editor of the Evening Observer, wrote
an editorial when Sir John Kotelawala assumed office as prime minister,
criticising the allocation of portfolios in the new cabinet. That editorial
caused Sir John to sack two of his cabinet ministers the following morning!
Actually, your editorials are even more devastating than what Tarzie wrote
then, and if Ranil Wickremesinghe and his ministers have any sense of shame,
they should have bowed out already.
no such luck, considering that politicians of today have skins that must
make crocodiles very envious. I would ask you most earnestly, in the
interest of the country, that you run your editorials of June 22 and 29
in several consecutive issues of your paper, even if it requires the
abrogation of normal journalistic practice to do so. Basically, as I
understand them, you made four points in your editorials.
Trust Fund and medical scheme
is very heartening to note that a trust fund for pensioners has been
launched in the Matara area. Likewise such a fund should be launched in
other areas too as soon as possible for the benefit of poor pensioners.
will be a great relief to the pensioners as they will be covered with a
medical reimbursement insurance scheme at a nominal charge.
is a well known fact that most of the pensioners are over 60 and there are
some over 80. These feeble and helpless people are very often not able to
get themselves absorbed in most of the medical schemes due to their age
factor. Therefore, they have to bear the exorbitant medical costs they incur
very often for their various ailments.
are solely depending on their monthly pension (Rs. 3,000 to 4,500 drawn by
those who have retired previous to 1983). Most of them have to pay this
amount for their meals and accommodation when they stay with their kith and
kin or with their own children due to the high cost of living. So when they
fall sick they become an additional burden to them and are unable to get
proper treatment because nowadays they have no access to prompt and proper
when they pass away, they become a big liability because the funeral
expenses are also borne by either their children or kith and kin. In this
case the government can launch a death donation fund for these pensioners
and a nominal sum can be deducted from their pension.
months of peace talks have proved futile
of this country breathed a sigh of relief when the UNF government was
returned by popular vote at the last general election held in December 2001.
True to what was expected, the LTTE unilaterally declared a 'ceasefire' duly
reciprocated by the government declaring a 'cessation of hostilities.' The
temporary truce paved the way for the infamous MOU entered into between the
government and the LTTE on February 22, 2002. Despite warnings and
cautioning from all corners, the UNF in their quest of the coveted 'peace'
took the biggest risk in lifting the ban imposed on the LTTE as a terrorist
movement, thus effectively making them appear to be a non-violent
is well known that 'peace' cannot be achieved overnight, in a day ot two, or
in a few months after two decades of guerilla warfare which ravaged the
country. But deliberations would definitely take a much longer time. Already
16 months have elapsed since the signing of the MOU. Six rounds of talks
extending up to three days each were held in a carnival atmosphere with the
parties to the conflict globe-trotting. At whose expense? At the expense of
the poor taxpayer of Sri Lanka and may be some host nations too footing a
part of these colossal bills.
who cares or dares when all negotiations boil down to zero? What progress
has been achieved so far during the last 16 months of talks? Nil, Absolutely
nothing. We are back to square one after aimlessly circling on a 'merry - go
- round' of sorts according to various statements sttributed to LTTE Chief
Negotiator, Anton Balasingham. In contrast our Chief Negotiator, Minister
G.L. Peiris spared no pains to paint to the world a totally different
picture. He tried to show us a rosy situation adverting to consensus
purported to have been arrived at after each round of talks most of which,
however, has been blatantly denied by Anton B. in his addresses at various
was proved beyond doubt when the LTTE suddenly pulled themselves out of the
peace moves and point blank refused to participate in the recently concluded
Tokyo donor confab paying scant respect to repeated representations, appeals
and pleas made by the so-called international community through high-powered
diplomatic channels and through foreign ministers and special emissaries.
have audaciously rejected a wide powered 'interim administrative structure'
with LTTE control suggested by the UNF within the framework of the normal
law and order situation and as per the proviso of the constitution of Sri
Lanka. They are yet to heed to a stern call by the US to resume peace talks
staff employed by GPs
wish to bring to your notice a matter of grave public
concern, the employment by GPs of unqualified personnel, posing to
the general public as nurses, dispensers, lab assistants etc.
personnel are least qualified to perform the medical duties entrusted. Some
do not have even GCE O'Level and lack the knowledge of English. They mislead
patients by giving wrong advice regarding instructions given by the GP. The
dispensers thus employed deal in modern life saving drugs for which they do
not possess any knowledge at all including dosages and uses.
are several cases of patients suffering due to wrong administration of
drugs. by unqualified staff. Also, the public is made to believe they are
getting the services of qualified staff and charged fees accordingly.
would be a good thing if a survey is taken of the dispensaries in and around
Negombo and Kochchikade areas to expose the injustice caused to patients.
will there be sahanaya?
photographs of the President and PM in some daily papers attending an
opening ceremony at Sahanaya would have made many readers ask the question,
when will there be sahanaya to the nation with these two quarreling all the
time? The perception of many is that one of the two needs to visit Sahanaya
more often if the nation is to have sahanaya from the many hardships faced
by them. Therefore, for the sake of peace, the other considered to be of
sound mind should be more understanding and share credit on achievements,
irrespective of who was responsible.
the political leadership we have, it's no wonder that our country has a very
high percentage of mentally imbalanced persons when compared to other
countries in the region.
from the usual funds related shortcomings inherent in the railway, I being a
daily train traveller for quite a long time, feel that inefficiency, lack of
responsibility and utter disrespect for commuter convenience and
satisfaction on the part of the railwaymen accumulated over the years
prevent the SLR from maintaining a satisfactory service to its commuters, at
least by Sri Lankan standards, with the available rolling stock.
is not the increase or the decrease of the number of trains that run which
satisfies the commuter. Operating the available trains in a sensible and a
viable manner, most importantly without delays is what the commuter needs.
This would also eliminate overcrowding in trains to a great extent. Avoiding
train delays, therefore, is the key to a satisfactory service.
train delays commencing at the starting point Maradana itself is the order
of the day. The train compartments are ready to leave with the passengers
onboard but no engine! When the train, complete with the engine, is
available the guard or the compartment inspector is missing. Is there no
procedure that ensures that operating personnel arrive on time to take over
the train and leave on time in a manner that aircraft personnel are required
to? If not, why not introduce such a system?
the railwaymen including the engineering staff at the yard do not follow the
system let the person or persons responsible for the resultant delay be
punished. As we commuters can see, the operating staff have developed this
apathetic state among themselves, because the required disciplinary
reprimand is lacking. Fair and strict disciplinary action and punishment
would certainly instil the required sense of responsibility, lost efficiency
and the desired respect for the satisfaction of the commuter among the
are also instances where delays generated while the train is moving can be
avoided specially within the double track sections by efficient, vigilant
and clever personnel at the control room.
is imperative that the train engineer and the guard should be made
accountable for anything over a justifiable delay of a train. They should
file separate reports on the delay giving the reasons for the delay and any
action that could have been taken to avoid it, if at all. It may not be
extravagant to establish a set of procedures to assist in cutting down train
delays and a permanent board of inquiry appointed to take action on such
delays and bring the defaulters to book.
the SLR is interested in salvaging the deteriorating train services, railway
personnel should be securely saddled with accountability for the delays and
strict disciplinary action taken against errant employees.
is with profound grief and shock that I heard of the death of my friend and
one-time fellow banker, Tissa Ariyaratne on May 6 after a recurrent illness.
who was born in 1931 hailed from Matale and was the youngest in a family of
six. His father was a most respected postmaster. Educated at St. Peter's
College, Bambalapitiya, he excelled in his studies while taking an active
part in sports and cultural activities.
completing his studies he opted for a professional career in banking and was
selected to the Bank of Ceylon in 1951 and appointed a junior clerk at the
age of 20. During that era the top management of the Bank of Ceylon
consisted mostly of competent British nationals. The standards of work and
discipline were very high. Tissa as a young banker was dedicated and
committed to handle difficult tasks entrusted to him. He was able to adjust
to tough challenges and soon became conversant in many areas of banking
was appointed chief clerk of the Bank of Ceylon Negombo branch in the
mid-sixties. Subsequently he was elevated to the rank of 'officer.' I was
extremely privileged and fortunate to work directly under Tissa in 1968 at
the Foreign Department. I observed him to be an extremely dedicated and
committed officer who willingly imparted his knowledge to those who had
opted to pursue banking as a career.
set an example, leading from the front and inspired his subordinates with
his characteristic attributes. He possessed an exemplary character. His
charismatic and pragmatic approach together with his pleasing disposition
towards all subordinate staff and clients bore ample testimony to the
correct approach he adopted to perform his duties to almost perfection.
Always calm, cool and composed, he had a fine sense of humour.
served the Bank of Ceylon for 40 years up to 1991. During his career he held
several prestigious positions mostly in the head office. At the time of
retirement, he was the chief manager of the Premises Department. He believed
in motivation and persuasion rather than compulsion. Although he was
flexible, he never made hollow promises. He realised that in certain areas,
compromise was not possible. During his long tenure of service, he rendered
great service to uplift the image of the institution. After retirement from
the Bank of Ceylon he joined Sampath
Bank for a period of 10 years in the loans recovery department. He was also
vice-president of the Ex-Bankers Association for over three years.
versatile sportsman, he excelled in long distance swimming, water polo,
rowing and life saving. He was the president of the Kinross Swimming Club
for a number of years. He possessed stamina in abundance and could swim for
miles at a stretch. He was fond of classical music, singing, dancing and
often attended piano recitals. He was a live wire at wedding receptions,
parties and family occasions. Tissa married Ranjini Rajawasam in 1968 and
lived at Ratmalana since then. His only daughter, Anoja who excels in
pianoforte is a piano teacher par excellence.
death is an irreparable loss to his devoted wife Ranjini and daughter Anoja.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.
ashes were scattered in the sea opposite Kinross Swimming Club
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