World Affairs








JVP stands exposed

Thanks to the proportional representation system, the JVP is in parliament today and able to criticise all those who are not in agreement with their policies.

Their political power is dependent on the poverty of the poor and chaos in administration as a result of an unstable government. When a stable government is in power, the JVP is seen shouting slogans and holding placards at Lipton Circus, places of work and the universities, protesting against imaginary ‘problems’ and demanding ‘justice.’

They cherish holding any government hostage until it surrenders to their terms such as ‘unplugging’ World Bank connections, bringing down the cost of living, crushing the Tamils militarily etc.

They supported President Kumaratunga to topple the UNP government in an undemocratic manner when they saw there was some stability in the country and a solution to the ethnic problem was in sight.

They are always for war and disorder because they thrive purely on the misery of the masses. A war brings in its wake death, destruction, poverty, lawlessness, loss to the economy and the country, and chaos in civil society, all of which provide fertile soil for the JVP to grow, and stand up as the saviours of the poor.

This provides ample space for them to appear as the champions of the poor and then adopt strategies to garner the votes of the poor.

Their economic plan to salvage the country and solve all problems is uprooting all tea plantations and planting manioc trees, unplugging the World Bank connection and stopping the import of oil and gas, making people walk or use bullock carts for their transportation and using coconut husks and firewood for cooking.

Marxism has miserably failed in its country of origin, breaking the mighty USSR to pieces; so much so that Russia and China are now openly inviting capitalist investment in their countries. They are offering ample opportunities and concessions for multinationals to invest in their countries for they know that their well-being and survival depend purely on the inflow of foreign capital.

May be the JVP is focusing its activities on the young students in the universities because they hate to have intellectuals as was the case in Mao’s China in the 1950s. Under Mao’s influence China drove all intellectuals and professionals such as scientists, engineers and professors to work with farmers and labourers while the Red Guards staged the Cultural Revolution.

The Soviet Union too harassed all intellectuals there because it considered them a hindrance. The JVP did the same thing here in 1970 and again in 1989/90 and murdered all academics who refused to toe their line.

The JVP’s attitude all along has been to ‘sit on the horn and to chew the ear.’ When the JVP is helpless and impotent, it works to sabotage the activities in the country pushing it down the precipice and then present themselves as patriots and good Samaritans to win the votes of the people.



That ‘tsunami account’ at the Central Bank

With reference to your lead story on Page 1 of The Sunday Leader of December 30, 2007, it is rather odd — even peculiar — that tsunami relief funds have been placed by President Kumaratunga in a ‘presidential account’ at the Central Bank as though it were an official checking account. This is virtually a current account wherein funds are received and paid out, and all the entries are simple Cash Book affairs!

Since when is the Central Bank into these ‘doings’ when the bank’s function is to connect with the entire banking sector institutionally and have a clearing department for all cheques paid ‘in’ and ‘out’ in the country’s banking sector?

The Central Bank also determines monetary policy etc. inclusive of money supply. Did the former president want them to feel these tsunami ducats as ‘money supply?’

My own experience of a government cheque has been a pay order drawn on a bank such as the Bank of Ceylon and issued in my name! But I never have known the governor of the Central Bank to have signed any government cheques unless it is a modern practice!

May be the World Bank will kindly elucidate on this novel method adopted by former President Kumaratunga who was the finance minister with the WB’s formal overseeing.

Alternatively, we could ask the former administrator of the tsunami fund, before President Kumaratunga retired, to throw some light on this.

Rohan Jayawardana


Doctors and drug prescriptions

Doctors are reluctant to prescribe drugs by their generic names conscious of the unpalatable fact the pharmacist, dispenser or salesman will eagerly dispense the brand drug of his choice with the inducement of the brand drug importers. To the advantage of the pharmacist, stocks of generic named drugs are meagre and scarce. He cannot be faulted for using his professional discretion and pharmacological prejudices.

Sri Lanka has a glut of registered drugs with brand names, from India, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Cyprus. These have been approved by the Drug Authority for quality. Despite this, discriminating doctors and patients opt for the traditional brands. The British National Formulary, the prescribing handbook cherished by doctors, contains brands which are the most sought after for treatment. Virtually all the Asian brand drugs contained in The CIMS, MIMS, Drugs Today, and IDR are available here.

While the National Medicinal Drug Policy is being formulated, the Drug Authority is liberal in granting registration to superfluous brands, so much so, that one generic has an excess of brands competing for prescription appearance.

Asian brand drugs are launched with a bang. Some of them are prescribed for some time depending on the intensity of the promotion. Others disappear abruptly without a whimper. Some others become victims of quality failure and are consigned to oblivion.

The current prescribing fad by a few is for dietary supplements, which mainstream allopathy rejects as they are incompatible with evidence based medicine. There is a difference between prescribing motivated by principles, ideals and values, and prescribing impelled by promotional persuasion. Patients are medicated on these two aspirations.

Mervyn Burrows


The APRC is not representative enough

As mentioned in an article in the press some time ago, the APRC as the name implies, is now not an All Party Representative Committee headed by Prof. Tissa Vitharana. It is a mere collection of persons, some unknown, who are supporters of the present government.

Some of the unknown persons are Abdul Kalam, P. M. Podimahathaya and Ranjith Navaratne who were present at the meeting held at Temple Trees on January 9, which was headed by the President. This meeting could have taken place just for cosmetic purposes, since there is a lot of pressure from the outside world for a negotiated settlement.

People like Karu Jayasuriya who have little experience in politics and have no mandate from the UNP to represent the party were there. Most prominent parties like the UNP, TNA , JVP, and SLMC did not attended the meeting. The most affected parties like the TNA and SLMC where the majority of the Tamils from the north and east and the Muslims from the east are represented were not there to discuss the draft proposal or to air their views.

Hence, if the draft proposals are adopted, it will be a minority of the total representation of the country that will decide the future fate of Mother Lanka, and if put to a vote at a referendum will certainly be defeated.

It will be ridiculous to say that all parties have decided on the draft proposals. Everyone is aware that we have become the laughing stock of the international community and we will certainly be considered a nation of people who cannot manage our affairs, be it the economy or the peace process.

The world is also aware that a prominent personality accepted by the international community, like Jayantha Dhanapala who made some effort to bring in a settlement, has resigned from the Peace Secretariat as he did not want to be a part of the draft proposals.

The other question is, to whom will the proposals be presented for consideration when the government itself is going on an all out war with the LTTE? The TNA and the SLMC are not represented in the committee, and the UNP which polled over 4.7mn. votes in the last presidential election has had no hand in the preparation of the report. Apart from that the international mediator Norway and the aid group will not get involved in it with the abrogation of the CFA. So it will be a case of a minority deciding for the majority, like most of the affairs in the present government, where only the Rajapakse Brothers and Company decide on the affairs of the country, perhaps not for long!

The peace proposals may never see the light of the day, and will prove to be another great farce.


Mt. Lavinia

A violation of rights of shareholders

The Central Bank has published corporate governance rules for licenced commercial banks without due and proper consultation with the commercial banks. As a shareholder one would wonder what the intention of the Central Bank was, as the prudent act should have been for the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, in the first instance to insist on commercial banks to call an emergency general meeting and present the draft corporate governance for discussion and incorporate valuable suggestions of the shareholders for onward transmission to the Monetary Board. Thereafter the draft paper should have been a subject of public debate.

The directions are purported to have been issued by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under Section 46 (1) of the Banking Act No. 30 of 1988 as amended. The said Section 46 (1) specifies with utmost clarity the areas that the Monetary Board could issue directions.

Nowhere within the ambit of the said section has it empowered the Monetary Board to issue a direction on a board’s composition. The election of the board of directors is an exclusive preserve of the shareholders.

The said direction is not only a flagrant violation of the shareholders’ rights and also is in breach of a statue viz. the Companies’ Act. Corporate governance for the licenced commercial banks does not rest on the composition of the board.

On the contrary denial of the continuity of a board member may impair the long term vision of the bank and the very purpose that good corporate governance must seek to achieve.

Therefore we urge the CBSL to amend the direction issued on the composition of the directors of the commercial banks. Further a cursory glance would suffice to observe the failure to address the more important issues to protect and guide the economic and financial stability of the country.

J.J.S. de Silva



Doreen Ranasinghe nee Jayathilake

Doreen, the eldest daughter of the late Dr. and Mrs. W.A.T. F. Jayathilake of Kaleliya, Ja-ela, and the wife of Murielle Ranasinghe who retired as a Super Grade English stenographer in the Colombo Municipal Council, passed away on September 10, 2006.

In the Colombo Municipal Council, Doreen has worked in the Engineer’s Department, Water Works Department, Assessor’s Department and finally in the Secretary’s Department. She was so efficient in her stenography that President Ranasinghe Premadasa utilised her services to take down notes of important meetings of the government.

She came to work in the Assessor’s Department when I was working there. She was a good natured girl and impressed me as a modest and well behaved person. There were times when I was called upon to substitute for the chief correspondence clerk in his absence though I was not in the same service or immediately below him. This was mainly because of my knowledge of English and knowledge of the working of the different sections of the department. It is through this that I came to know Doreen.

Doreen was really good in her work and was a dedicated and a conscientious worker. She was also very religious, humble and kind to all. She had good values due to here nature and upbringing.

At the time Doreen joined the Colombo Municipal Council, the Municipal Sports Club was conducting ballroom dancing classes. The classes were conducted free of charge by the late N.P. Nagoor who was the Registrar at the Charity Commissioner’s Department, assisted by me. He used to tell sportsmen, especially cricketers that ballroom dancing would help them in their foot work and got sportsmen including the cricketers from Nomads Sports Club to learn dancing. He had a passion to impart the knowledge he had to others and he was my tutor too.

Although some of the girls in the CMC came to learn dancing, Doreen did not want to attend these classes through it was free and her friends coaxed her to come.

Her death is a great blow to her husband and her only child Shyamanthi. Doreen died of a sudden heart attack at the Ragama Hospital. On an earlier occasion the doctors there had made valiant efforts for nine hours and had saved her life. But this time she succumbed to the attack and died within three hours of admission to hospital.

By some misfortune I had failed to notice the obituary notice or the In Memoriam published in The Catholic Messenger. I came to know of her death through Stanley, a friend who worked with us, only recently.

I am sad that I could not pay my respects to her and hope to make amends by writing this appreciation.

May her husband and her daughter be comforted, and may her soul rest in peace.



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