government spends so much money for alcohol and
smoke related diseases in Sri Lanka and this money
could well be spent to save people from any other
diseases rather than smoking and alcohol related
diseases. It has been proved that the main cause for
lunge cancer is smoking and kidney and liver failure
due to alcohol.
The Health Department
should also conduct rehabilitation centres for those
who like to give up smoking and drinking
habits. Scientists have proved that passive
smoking also causes damage to the health of people.
It is time legal provision is made for spouses and
children to complain against their spouses, fathers
or mothers who smoke inside the house putting
innocent children’s health at a risk. I am so
happy to hear that the duty free shops at Katunayake
International Airport have stopped selling tobacco
products to locals, and the government should
introduce a total ban of smoking in all restaurants
and hotels islandwide.
I saw a letter from another
reader complaining that some people still smoke
inside trains. Passengers should be encouraged to
stand against these law breakers and ban people
smoking anywhere on public transport.
Mr. President I salute you
for taking this very important decision for the sake
of our health and hope you will support more and
more to build a healthy nation.
of these ‘honourable’ gentlemen
What exactly are we to make
of the UNP crossers-overs? The prominent political
issue that arises is whether President Rajapakse has
made the right move on the political chessboard as
opposed to the uninterrupted continuance of the MOU
with the UNP.
While on behalf of
President Rajapakse it may be said that in seducing
the UNP’s crossers-over he is engaged in political
power-play to keep afloat, a huge ethical cloud
would certainly hang over the crossing MPs of the
United National Party raising concerns for the
government and wider society. The SLMC has always
been a capricious decision-maker and one need not
waste time in writing about the latter.
Muralidah Reddy, a
reputed Indian political analyst writing to the Hindu
newspaper (on January 29), takes the
position that President Rajapakse has made a move
which is going to be counterproductive and
eventually costly to him. Reddy states that it would
have been better had the President continued
graciously with the MOU signed with Ranil
Wickremesinghe rather than abrogating it this way.
Reddy’s conclusion is
based on assumptions such as that the defecting UNP
group is likely to retain a different identity and a
different stand on the key issues critical to the
country today, especially the national question.
My own view is that
Reddy may be wrong in the latter assumption. It has
been patently clear from the outset that this
breakaway group had been eager to get into the seats
of power and enjoy the perks for hopefully the rest
of their career rather than remain in opposition.
This group will therefore be very much part of the
establishment and will kowtow to President Rajapakse
at every turn.
called ‘the Karu Group’ this group is far from
homogenous and each one will go their own way to
further their personal interests.
From the outset, a
discerning observer could have spotted no genuine
concern for the party by this group. The protests
about the need for reform within the party have been
in my view mere hocus-pocus.
Firstly, until the time of
Ranil Wickremesinghe’s (RW) election defeat the
latter had been good and Mahinda Rajapakse was evil.
People like Rajitha, Lokuge etc. slandered Mahinda
Rajapakse during the campaign. With RW’s defeat,
the latter suddenly became terribly bad and suddenly
the party gravely needed large-scale reform.
The fact is that from the
point of view of the aggregate electorate (voting
and non-voting electors) RW had in fact won, the
loss was more of a technical nature. Hence, RW did
not do badly although he may be judged as having had
bad luck, whatever metaphysical meaning that may
have. Besides, RW had eventually agreed on a
timeframe for reform and the group had collectively
expressed assent to that.
I suppose one cannot
expect any morals from our ‘pollies’ these days.
The right thing for dissenting party members to do
is to resign, as people like Gamini Jayasuriya did
in the bygone era of honourable leaders. The
crossers-over had been elected primarily because of
their party and only on a preference basis as
individuals. The party did not become bad suddenly
after the elections; it was the same party.
Had this group joined
government eschewing portfolios they would have
looked better. Even their threat of signing a MOU
with the President is now seen in retrospect as a
face-saving bluff as it never materialised. On the
other hand, they clamoured for the plums of office.
The next step is to get the cars, positions for
their family members and the whole works.
implications and consequences are nakedly clear.
These politicians have deceived the electorate for
their own gain. In this sense, they have undermined
the working of the country’s fledgling democracy.
From a wider societal point
of view, these ‘crossies’ have sent down the
wrong message to our young and old, namely that no
act is inherently right or wrong and that it is only
thinking that makes something right or wrong. This
is a dangerous message to our society at large
will have to watch these guys as they are going to
milk the government and, if possible, be smarter
than him. Milinda Moragoda is particularly to be
watched as he is allegedly the man who spoiled RW’s
chances by announcing at election time that the
latter had manipulated Karuna’s break away thereby
angering the LTTE which blocked the Tamils in the
north- east from voting for RW.
Sunday, January 28, will be
written in Sri Lanka’s history books as one of the
most dramatic days in the political arena and ‘it
was all because of Ranil.’
Ranil may be the excuse
being used to defect by the UNP rebel MPs,but the
reality is that these jumbos cum federalists, couldn’t
resist the plum portfolios and perks that Mahinda
the genie was ready to offer.
It seems quite a waste of
any reader’s time in drawing attention to the
history of corruption and misdeeds that these
defectors have been party to not to mention the
parliamentarians in government. It is rather like a
big tea party where all the merry men and women have
now joined to fill their stomachs at the expense of
the public. That really is the ground reality and
undoubtedly the truth of the situation.
What will the ardent UNP
vote base which voted for these UNPers now say? Some
of these voters can only see green and are oblivious
to any other colour in the political arena — will
they too excuse the defectors and now put the blame
on Ranil? What good would it do anyway? The carpet
has slipped from Ranil’s feet and some of the UNP’s
best men are now holding very lucrative posts in the
‘Chinthana government’ that they were
laughing at not so long ago.
The genie is definitely
having the last laugh even though it will eventually
be at the expense of the poor public who will once
again have to suffer to upkeep the lifestyles of
these ministers, non-cabinet ministers, deputy
ministers and possibly more defectors for whom the
genie has still kept some vacancies. Would it not be
amusing if even Ranil ends up defecting and lands up
the prime minister of Sri Lanka!
What any voter today should
take serious note of is a simple truth. All politico’s
have no principles, no shame and certainly no
For the purpose of grabbing
votes, politicians use their rhetoric and at times
their physical prowess to fool the voters. This
happens time in and time out.
Our memories are too short,
but a brief look down memory lane would help us
remember how some of these UNPers were so critical
of the UPFA members and vice versa. Yet, that Sunday
they were shaking hands, indulging in small talk and
having the last laugh at our cost! What hypocrites!
With the reshuffling
Sri Lanka has the most number of ministers in the
India with a population of
1.1 billion has only 23 ministers.
Pakistan with a population
of 168 million has just 16; but Sri Lanka with a
population of only 20 million has 104 ministers (46%
of the total membership of the House are ministers
– 104 out of 225)
What more can we expect
from the sons and daughters of avarice!
open letter to the Trade Minister
Dear Mr Gunawardena,
I have during these
past 14 months listened to you with admiration at
the manner in which you dissected the Mahinda
Chinthana. According to you the country was
heading towards bankruptcy because of this Chinthana
and the printing of money by the Central Bank.
I now understand that
you and your colleagues have decided to support the Mahinda
Chinthana without any reservations.
I look forward to
listening to you in the future to be enlightened on
how the Chinthana will now solve the country’s
I wish you well in
your endeavours as the entire country is burdened by
the huge cost of living and we expect an economics
maestro such as you to put theory into practice and
provide the solution to this problem.
of fundamental rights
We the residents of
Baudhaloka Mawatha (Old Buller’s Road) are
compelled to bring to the notice of the public
through your newspaper the injustice done to us by
the residents of 36th Lane (off Old Bullers Road)
with the alleged connivance of the Colombo Municipal
Council (CMC) by erecting a gate preventing us from
getting through to Castle Street. After installing
the traffic lights at the Model Farm Road / Castle
Street / Shady Grove Avenue Junction the CMC has not
given us access to Castle Street towards Borella.
If 36th Lane is a private
road as claimed by the residents who have now barred
it, we are at a loss to understand how a ‘private
road’ was rehabilitated using public funds to tar
the road surface and install traffic lights. If the
residents of 36th Lane use public funds provided by
the government to a members of the Municipal Council
to enhance road facilities, then it’s only fair
that 36th Lane is opened to the public.
Furthermore this road has
never been closed and by sheer usage by the general
public for over 60 years it has become a public
thoroughfare. Hence it cannot be considered a
private road now and closed to other road users
In this matter we the
residents of Old Buller’s Road have petitioned the
Colombo Municipal Commissioner and the relevant
authorities to give us direct access to Castle
Street by relocating / shifting the traffic lights
fixed at Shady Grove Avenue to Old Buller’s
Road-Castle Street junction.
In the alternative the
Municipal Council together with the relative
authorities must see that 36th Lane is opened, as we
feel our fundamental rights which we have enjoyed
for over 60 years have been violated.
We are seeking to achieve
our lost privilege through your media so that saner
counsel will prevail.
Residents of Baudhaloka
Mawatha (Old Bullers Road)