World Affairs








Rate-payers down a broken road

Gone are the days of safe pavements. Today, the roads and the pavements are being dug for various purposes by several government institutions but they are seldom covered after the job is done. Today, the pedestrian has to keep his eyeas to the ground when walking, otherwise he is sure to end up in hospital.

Ever since concrete slabs (which consist of concrete mixture of only about 25%) were laid to the pavements so as to reduce the cost, not only did the maintenance expenditure double or treble but it injured the pedestrians very often as they were broken, scattered or loose underneath. Slabs removed for underground works were not properly replaced hence causing serious injuries and sprains to the legs of people. Heavy vehicles parking on them too caused damage to the slabs.

The city of Colombo is in this  deplorable situation. Such carelessness opposite Lake House was once published in a newspaper  together with a picture and thereafter the situation was immediately put right.

As I walk along George De Silva Mawatha in  Colombo 13,  I see the following dangerous situations:

 Near the PABC (bank) the CEB has done some work and left all the slabs scattered.

 Near Shop Nos. 378, 386, 392 and 400 the  slabs are loose and  protruding (the worst condition)

 Near Shop 357 and 367  too the slabs are loose, protruding and the situation is worsened with lorries being halted over the pavements for loading and unloading. It ought to be tarred or preventive concrete posts planted to stop vehicles from  entering. Opposite the adjacent petrol shed there are no slabs, only a stretch of muddy ground.

Along the pavement  opposite the Sugathadasa indoor stadium the slabs are broken due to the parking of lorries, school vans and due to the excavations done by the CEB. Should not the pavements or roads around or leading to stadiums be maintained well as these are important places?

Pavements along Sangharaja Mawatha (from BMC towards Armour Street) too are in a deplorable situation. Armour Street near shop No.8 is a pond after  rainfall due to the broken and uneven condition of the pavement. Pedestrian find it very difficult to avoid the water and walk as two business carts are a hindrance. This is what I have seen when I move about in these areas. Similarly, there are other dangerous conditions in and around Colombo that are too numerous to record here.

How can the rate-payers expect services by the CMC when its administration is in confusion? Sometimes, I see CMC field officers on duty walking along such pavements ignoring their condition.  Even if  these matters are reported to the district engineer or the council no one seems to be bothered.

The reason why I have mentioned the assessment numbers are due to the fact that if the district engineers question their field officers the latter will take them to the comparatively new pavement areas and blame the writer for having published 'nonsense.'

Nazly Cassim

Colombo 13

Peace, harmony and unity are the needs  of the hour

Today our beloved motherland Sri Lanka is facing many critical problems. This is especially so as regards the situation in the  north and east.

What is most needed in our country today are peace and harmony.

If we do not restore peace, then our society and our  families will not be able to achieve  progress or see development.

Priority must be given by all Sri Lankans to the  peace process for the sake of the present and for the future generation too.

If we are to achieve unity as a nation, then what place has war in our society today?

All political parties must work together towards achieving peace and harmony. We ought to have a common programme. This means that we ought to forget all differences including the differences of political parties and political power. 

The situation today demands that we band together and work together towards a common aim.

All  political parties must come to an understanding and solve the burning issues of the country, and this includes the high cost of living that is causing immense hardship to the common man. The time has come for unity to solve the problems of the nation.

We kindly appeal to all the political parties to come to a common understanding for the formation of an all party national government which will be helpful in bringing about progress to the country and also bring happiness and peace to our people.

May all our political leaders realise the need of the hour, which are peace, unity and harmony.

K. Karunadasa


Sri Lanka Deshapremi Peramuna

Can injustice last forever?Can injustice last forever?

 As Nelson Mandela said: "No injustice can last forever and fighting against injustice and tyranny is sanctioned by humanity." The Lord Buddha also said: "Nothing is permanent and everything has an end." I hope that Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists who are responsible for this ethnic war will give it serious thought.

In Sri Lanka, ethnic violence between the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Tamil minority began after independence and happened every few years. Then in July 1983 it climaxed into a holocaust resulting in the deaths of over 2000 Tamils and the creation of over 500,000 Tamil refugees that even created an international refugee problem for the UN.

This ethnic violence against the Tamils was supported by certain people in power.

As a result the Tamils - a hitherto docile people were forced to take up arms and demand a free state as there seemed to be no other option.

After the introduction of the 'Sinhala Only' language policy the Tamils asked for a federal state within the unitary state of Sri Lanka, but that was opposed violently. This resulted in the creation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (LTTE)

Now the Sinhalese who created the LTTE feel they are the victims of terrorism but are fully prepared for 'state terrorism' against the Tamils. Even the 'Sinhala Only' language policy could be considered an 'act of terrorism' against the Tamil-speaking minority.

Instead of following the solution of the IRA problem in Ireland and making an effort to make peace, the government together with the JVP and the Buddhist priests of the JHU party are today opposing negotiations. The LTTE are quite fed up with negotiations because promises are made but never implemented as the state seems to have no desire to stop the war. That is why they killed the LTTE political wing leader Tamilselvan in an airforce bombing raid in Kilinochchi.

The Tamils feel that even a federal solution will not guarantee them security from Sinhala aggression. The Tamils therefore feel that only separation can  set them free, where they can have their own military force in the defence of their people. It is the duty of every Sinhala person to use their brain and think rationally instead of allowing emotion to overcome reason.

J.N. Selvadurai


Why is the JVP silent as the common man burns?

People's liberation movements and rebellions were born and thrived in countries all over the world where anarchy, corruption, fraud and injustice prevailed in society. In such situations angry citizens put czars, monarchs and feudal lords to  a cruel death along with their families, history records.

The JVP at various demonstrations vociferously shouted slogans such as Kolombata Kiri, Gamata Kekiri in the past often to highlight the plight of the peasantry; the village and the poor who were being neglected while Colombo got the best of everything from successive governments. This position is not untrue altogether as  today there are many villages in this country which suffer badly for want of infrastructure facilities such as roads, clean water, medical care and electricity among others.

The message carried down - especially to the trodden masses - by JVP is that they are the only 'saviours' who stand against such social injustices towards the poor. They entered parliament in the year 2000 forming an alliance with President Kumaratunga to bring their stand into focus and was instrumental in toppling the UNP government. They later left President Kumaratunga in the lurch when she was becoming unpopular with the masses. Subsequently, they joined hands with the Rajapakse Company and tried to twist the arm of that government too, by dictating and demanding surrender to their terms and conditions in which attempt they miserably failed.

However in connivance with the government they were successful in enticing the UNP deserters to cross over treacherously on the promise of portfolios, abandoning millions of voters who placed their trust in the democratic process.

They are now in a quandary because the Rajapakse regime that they helped to bring into power is ignoring them and also stinks of corruption, fraud and waste of public funds on joy rides in addition to the jumbo cabinet, the burden of which the people have to shoulder.

These 'saviours of the masses' who were vociferous, demanding relief for the people, are now unusually quiet except for making whimpering noises in parliament and through the media about corruption in the government while concentrating full time on strategies for their own survival.

However, in the final vote on the budget on December 14 they abstained from voting purely for fear of losing their seats in parliament if a general election were to follow the defeat of the Rajapakse government.

However the JVP now stands exposed for its hypocrisy and duplicity by its silence at a time when the people suffer in silence in the face of the price increases on essential items imposed on them by the Rajapakse government purely to prop up the flagging ego of a fanciful President and the tottering government that is fighting for survival.

The writing is on the wall for the JVP, clean and clear for everyone to see.

Concerned Citizen


What is the going 'rate' of a kilo of currency?

With reference to business page of The Sunday Leader of January 6, 2008, it is very pleasing to learn that the Governor of the Central Bank, Nivard Cabraal has organised a 'buffer stock of currency" for 2008.

I daresay that at the festivities at Sinhala New Year and Wesak there will be ample provisions of sugar, toys, rice and parippu via the process of buffer stocks alongside the parcels of currency.

However, I am a bit unclear abut the outlet. Can I please know via your publication where I could purchase a kilogram of currency, and the estimated sale price - at least at the current going rate?

Concerned Citizen

Save Galle from development!

The Galle Fort which has received wide publicity in recent times is one amongst the seven UNESCO recognised World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka, the others being Sinharaja forest reserve, Ruwanweliseya, Anuradhapura, the  Sri Dalada Maligawa,  Polonnaruwa, Dambulla Ran Viharaya and  Sigiriya. This bears ample testimony to Sri Lanka being a rich repository of cultural treasures and monuments.,

Hover what is lamentable and cause for concern is the threat Galle Fort, the 38th World Heritage site is currently facing. It is speedily being transferred into a tourist resort with almost 100 houses and other premises now being foreign-owned. A number of these buildings have been converted into hotels, motels, bars and shops. Such commercial activity in this onetime highly residential area is a cause for deep concern amongst the locals who have resolved to stay put in the Fort inspite of these constraints. This much cherished heritage site is gradually losing its old world charm.

Although the government introduced a 100% levy on foreign purchases of property the foreign buying spree is going apace unabated. Has the government benefitted from the 100% tax? What we learn is that various ruses such as forming of BOI projects and buying on long leases have been adopted to avoid the tax .

It is universally accepted that a World Heritage Site is an invaluable asset a country can boast of. Its archaeological and historical value is  immeasurable and hence countries which possess such sites have introduced numerous measures to preserve those sites from natural decay and from other threats such as pressure for development, tourism etc. These antiquities and monuments are  also subject to neglect and sometimes wanton destruction due to lack of adequate physical and legal protection as rightly emphasised by the eminent Justice A.R.B  Amerasinghe  in his recent book  on cultural  heritage and cultural property. He also refers to the lack of public sensitivity as cause for neglect.

Justice Weeramantry in his review of the book authored  by Dr. Amerasinghe points out "In Sri Lanka there is a danger that exploitation of these resources may well occur in the areas of some of our precious historical sites. Whatever financial benefit to be gained from such an enterprise, we cannot afford it and this is a matter which needs most careful consideration not only by the authorities but by the general public as well."

Hence Galle Fort the only historical monument recognised as an archeological reserve and World Heritage Site in the whole of southern Sri Lanka needs to be preserved at all costs from the vagaries of modern development efforts and foreign cultural and social intrusion. The almost 90 acres of land and the buildings in the Fort of Galle are prime property and hence should be precluded from foreign ownership or in the alternative should attract a special levy over and above the current 100% tax applicable to foreign purchase of property.

Many important personalities who hailed from the Galle Fort and other intellectuals have from time to time highlighted the vulnerable position this invaluable monument is currently facing. However the response on the part of the authorities has so far been indifference and failure to comprehend the magnitude of the problem.




Elina Bandara Jayewardene

Elina Bandara Jayewardene is no more. Born Elina Rupasinghe, she married Junius Richard Jayewardene and despite being the First Lady from 1978 until President Jayewardene retired in 1989, she led her life in a truly characteristic, simple, and unassuming fashion.

The writer has known the Jayewardene family from childhood and it can be confidently said that Aunty Elin, as she was affectionately called, has, in the history of our nation inspired so much genuine affection and respect in the hearts of the people. To have known her is undoubtedly to love her. But even to those who have not had this privilege of associating with her closely, as I have, she has through the years become a symbol of serenity, simplicity and sincerity, which together form the very essence of humanity.

The inner glow and radiance which always lit up her face is proof that she was a person who felt immensely for people. This is evident in only a truly good person who spends much of her time helping people in need.

She spent much time in the service of the less fortunate. She had always done so, long before she became the wife of the first elected president of Sri Lanka, unheralded and without pomp or pageantry.

Elina Jayewardene was a person who also showed that it was possible for wives of politicians to be impeccably elegant in their dress whilst retaining simplicity.

Through the inevitable tides of President Jayewardene's political life, she stuck firmly by his side, giving him the strength and the inspiration he required to reach the height of success. Like in the old saying "Behind every successful man there is a woman."

Elina Jayewardene is no longer in our midst but she will always be remembered with love and affection and her memory will always remain in our hearts.

Brian Nicholas



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