meal allowance - a Titanic eyewash
is what flashed through my mind when I read a report in one of
the Sunday newspapers that an allowance was being considered
for MPs to meet increased prices. It has been decided to
increase the price of meals provided to the MPs because the
people saw on the TV how grand the meal supplied for Rs. 15
in the world do MPs have the privileges enjoyed by ours. Most
of them enter parliament like Idikatu Penchas of Mahadena
Mutta fame and within a short time become Rabbadaiyas. The
children of most of these MPs are being educated either
overseas or in international schools. With their allowance how
they manage this is something baffling.
to the question of giving an allowance to overcome the
increase in the price of the meals, it is a Titanic eyewash.
If the meals are to be charged according to prevailing market
prices, that is what the MPs must pay. To charge, say Rs. 500
for a lunch and give the MPs an allowance of Rs. 500 is utter
nonsense. As it is, the perks afforded to politicians are an
unnecessary burden on the toiling masses. The right course of
action for the MPs too, is to pay the market price for what
these highly underpriced meals, it is pertinent to ask:-
Is it only the MP who is entitled to this or can he bring any
number of his friends and feed them at this price?
Is the concession given every day of the year or only on days
when there is some activity in parliament?
What is the average cost of the meals given out at this price
for a month and what is the average amount charged from the
is worthwhile mentioning that two thosais or 10 string hoppers
with a dhal curry - the meal of the voter who is called the
master by the politicians, will cost more than the sumptuous
meal that the masters get for Rs. 15.
sinister Anti-Conversion Bill
hell bent on dividing Sri Lanka again
10 years after independence the first division began - The
Sinhala Only Act - an irrevocable mistake which was to isolate
and alienate the Sinhalese and bar them from access to most of
the scientific, technical, cultural, and sociological
innovations of the world and keep all communities in a state
of war and mired in Third World underdevelopment.
Bandaranaike, a Christian, converted to Buddhism (unethically?)to
gain a place in history by governing this country fooled the
Buddhist clergy into getting votes for him from the Buddhist
masses, only to be assassinated by a monk. The "socialist
democracy" he tried to promote was none other than the
national socialism advocated by Adolf Hitler, an atheist, who
dabbled with the dark arts, occultism, and Secret Societies
(the S.S. the Gestapo was not the only secret society he was a
racist policy was to drive most of the Burghers out of this
country - Sri Lanka's loss, the world's gain. Many Tamil and
Sinhalese professionals also started emigrating which added to
the brain drain which had gone on for 48 years from 1956
to-date. Bandaranaike himself sent his children to England and
France for their education. The Sinhala Only Act did not apply
to them! President Chandrika Kumaratunga's education and the
education of her son and daughter in England, was also in
English, mind you!
Sri Lanka could not fill its treasury through the ancient
system of waging war on nations and plundering their wealth,
they did the next best thing - they nationalised lucrative
private businesses, throwing their owners and proprietors on
to the streets literally, along with all their employees (my
father being one of the many thousands).
if that wasn't bad enough, farmers and land-owners were their
next target (under Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the Land Reform Commission was formed, headed by her daughter, the
incumbent President, Chandrika Kumaratunga) and overnight
Goigama and all other farmers had their best agricultural
lands purloined by the Bandaranikes. One such family were
family friends of ours and four members of that family -
father, two sons and a daughter - committed suicide. They were
have repeatedly lied to the Sinhala Buddhist masses (remember
the loaf of bread for Rs.3/50 which trebled in price?). They
have violated the fundamental rights of people for 48 years
and continue to do so to-date with their once again, divisive
have without any conscience repeatedly divided this country
through fascist dictatorship, set up one ethnic group against
the other; set up villagers against land-owning farmers who
gave them work and built schools, temples and clinics for
them. And now they are encouraging religious division and
hateful "national socialist" atheist policies of the
SLFP provided fodder for disgruntled youth from rural areas,
whom they did not hesitate to kill in large numbers (remember
1971) and leave their decomposing bodies to rot everywhere.
aftermath of those nationalist-socialist ideologies has made
it impossible for anyone to govern this divided country. The
SLFP is itself a failed party, kept alive by a Marxist group
created as a result of those policies.
a country like Singapore followed national-socialist (fascist
and racist) politics, it would never have developed the way it
has and would never have been able to boast of a foreign
reserve of over US$100 billion, inclusive of gold reserves. We
barely have two months foreign exchange reserves!
have the highest suicide rate in the world (double the global
average) and a shocking crime rate of murders, rape-murders,
child molestation, child soldiers, burglaries etc. People are
being gunned down on our streets! And yet we have a conviction
rate of under 4%!!
understand that the present government has borrowed (I would
call it purloined) US$300 million from NRFC accounts of
citizens who have worked hard and often at degrading jobs and
have failed to pay back the US$100 million due in June.
the JVP and JHU not been in power, the President would not
have hesitated to agree to the ISGA proposals of the LTTE if
it meant filling the coffers with the World Bank and the IMF
loan offer of US$4.5 billion. The SLFP, much to their chagrin,
is closely scrutinised by the JVP, JHU, the UNF, and indeed
all of us little people. This time around their hands are tied
so there will not be a new presidential palace or a new
speaker's palace (no one ever talks about the half-finished
palaces which cost the taxpayer millions of rupees in the late
now enough has been said. We have another attempt at dividing
the people of this country with the Anti-Conversion Bill to
foster religious disharmony. It is our chance to oppose it and
any other attempts to divide this country on ethnic and
religious grounds, Sri Lanka stays united, not divided!
railway should be privatised
as a daily train traveller request any employee of the Railway
Department to give good reasons as to why it should not be
privatised. I list below some of my reasons:-
The compartments are dirty.
Some of the windows cannot be opened or
The seats are damaged.
When it rains, the use of an umbrella becomes essential
The toilets are filthy.
Some trains have no water.
In the night trains, some lights do not work.
The lethargic attitude of the workers.
There is no change in the counter when you buy a
Late to start and late to reach the destination.
No proper time table outside the Fort railway station.
The number of railway compartments covered
by long grass and creepers.
The decayed sleepers that can cause derailments.
Some trains do not have first class compartments.
The numbers of compartments are not in-
creased, according to need.
Second class passengers are compelled to travelstanding
while third class passengers occupy
Waiting at the counter for a long time till somebody
attends to you.
can say many more things regarding the railway service.
Therefore, it is high time it goes into private hands or it is
necessary to wake up all the employees who are sleeping and
get rid of those who are not national minded. Having flower
gardens in stations is not the only thing that will bring
credit to the department.
- the place for monks, not parliament
proper place for bhikkhus is the temple where their followers
show due respect to them even by bending into two.
when these monks come out of their 'sacred bowers' and enter
parliament, they are not only assaulted, but also their
private parts are squeezed, causing them excruciating pain, by
the rowdy elements in parliament when they vote contrary to
the wishes of the latter.
is indeed a deplorable situation!
crime: NPC must not neglect responsibility
The Sunday Leader of July 17 under the headline "Police
Commission blames IGP for inaction" by Shehan Moses,
there appears several comments relating to the constitutional
powers of the National Police Commission made by the NPC
Chairman, Ranjit Abeysuriya. Abeysuriya has been quoted as
saying that "acts of torture are carried out by officers
below the rank of inspector and that the commission has no
provision to take action below this rank."
statement is quite in conflict with Article 155G(1)(a) of the
Sri Lankan Constitution as amended, which vests disciplinary
control of police officers other than the Inspector General of
Police (IGP) with the NPC. The article further states that
such power will be exercised in consultation with the IGP. To
claim that the NPC has no provision to take action against
officers below the rank of inspector goes against
constitutional provisions, which give power over all police
officers except the IGP to the commission.
fact, in terms of disciplinary control the constitution has
been even more specific in stating in Section 155G(2) that
"The commission shall establish procedures to entertain
and investigate public complaints and complaints of any
aggrieved person made against a police officer or the police
service, and provide redress in accordance with the provisions
of any law enacted by parliament for such purpose."
is clear that the statement made by the NPC Chairman has no
basis in law at all. In fact the NPC is well aware of its
obligations under 155G(1)(a) and 155G(2) of the constitution;
two lawyers working in collaboration with the Asian Human
Rights Commission (AHRC), submitted a draft complaint
procedure under 155G(2) of the constitution to the commission
the Chairman of the commission claims there is no legal
provision granting the commission power over the lower ranks
of the police, this is a clear misunderstanding of the law as
enshrined in the 17th Amendment. However, if the commission
itself has handed back this power to the IGP, then this is a
completely different matter. If the commission has done so,
this is a decision, which is fundamentally flawed. However,
what seems to be the actual case is that the NPC has not
seriously taken any practical steps to use the power it has
for the disciplinary control of the police. Its time has been
mainly spent on matters relating to appointments, promotions
is suggested that the NPC face up to its constitutional
responsibility to exercise direct disciplinary control over
all officers. The major problem with the Sri Lankan police is
the breakdown of discipline. Nothing can save the institution
until this very serious problem is adequately addressed. There
is no constitutional authority other than the NPC that can
address this important task. To abdicate from this role is an
act of colossal neglect particularly at a time when the
country is faced with very serious problems of social
instability and increase of crime. Discipline, particularly
within the lower ranks of the police is an essential condition
for proper criminal investigations directed towards the
deterrence of crime. If the NPC neglects to take
responsibility for the disciplinary control of such officers,
the fight against crime has very little possibility of
Lankans treated like dirt at visa service centre!
wife and I were directed by the British High Commission
security to forward our visa application for travel at the new
location and were told that the measure was taken to improve
the service offered by the embassy.
our dismay we wonder whether it is an improved service or a
place where basic human dignity is not respected. All who deal
with visa applicants are dumb and sometimes clueless regarding
from the security guard to the persons who stand inside the
gates wearing ties with the Sri Lankan and British flags
pinned on to their ties show that they have authority to grant
visas above all. The personnel involved are so rude that they
lack basic manners.
play the role of High Commissioner inside. There are two lines
to pay the fees. For what? Is this improved service or are we
Sri Lankans treated like dirt?-By an organisation hired to
give service, which does not know what service is about?
is disgusting they do not know what interview schedules to
look for to give appointments or how to even call up
applications in the order of the tokens they themselves have
should Sri Lankans be treated like dirt and be tortured in
this manner when we have all the necessary approvals to visit
UK on business.
go there and see. It is unbearable.
Lanka controls AIDS
of the talking points following the recently concluded
International AIDS Conference is how Sri Lanka has managed to
control the AIDS problem.
UNAIDS/WHO figures for Sri Lankan adults and children living
with HIV/AIDS have shown a remarkable decline in the last few
years. In 2000 it was estimated to be 7500, in 2002 it was
4800 and the latest figure i.e. for 2004 is only 3500.
most countries in ASIA have shown a considerable increase
after promoting the ABC of prevention i.e. (1) Abstinence, (2)
Be faithful to one partner, (3) Condom use; Sri Lanka has
shown a decline by its own ABC
Abstain from preventive activities.
Be faithful to your executive chair in an air-conditioned
office (thanks to the World Bank). Do not leave your seat
unless it is to attend a conference abroad.
Confine your activities only around Colombo and con the Health
Ministry and UN
organisations that are easily taken for a ride by wrong
the Health Ministry is sending a team abroad to study how to
control dengue, they should invite HIV/AIDS staff from other
countries to see how Sri Lanka has controlled AIDS.
National Dengue Control Task Force should take a cue from the
AIDS programme. Do nothing and ultimately the cases will come
Province Doctors Group
year of remembrance, darling son, has dawned and its like yesterday
you left us. We pray and think of you every day and miss you so very
much. I feel you are still by my side, walking beside me, whispering
words of comfort and guiding me.
tears keep flowing at the thought of you, my precious gem, and I
keep longing for your gentle voice and loving smile.
know I am going closer to you and longing for the day to see you.
You had great hopes for me.
for us, my loving son from above.
memories of you linger on.