The failure of our foreign
The hostile reaction of the international community
the triumph of the Sri Lankan military over the LTTE
terrorists is food for thought to all serious thinking
persons on the manner our foreign policy affairs are
conducted by this government. When the outside world
should be encouraging and supporting us on the hard
fought war over a murderous terrorist group why are they
so hostile to the government?
Why are they not persuaded by the integrity of the
government’s war efforts? Why does the world at large
support a small terrorist group over the claims of a
large state with over 20 million people?
I think a good part of the blame must go to the
amateurish, unprofessional manner in which the present
regime is approaching this vital issue.
To begin with, we have as our minister in charge a
person who seems to be hell bent on enjoying every
benefit and perk that comes his way. When his profile is
submitted to foreign governments by their embassies here
they would surely know the kind of person they are
dealing with. An empty windbag is not a good diplomat.
We need personalities the world will respect. It is a
national tragedy that we do not have persons of the
calibre of late Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar who was a
credit to the country.
Then we have so many political appointees as
ambassadors who are not only non English speaking but
are also clueless about diplomacy. There is no point in
saying that ambassadors of some other countries do not
Our need now is to tell the world the truth about the
situation in this small, insignificant island. If we can
tell our long story to an impatient world in Sinhala,
it’s well and good. But can we?
The same goes for getting aid and assistance. It
seems the only countries that listen to our pleadings
for help in the vernacular language are Libya, Myanmar,
Iran, Nepal and perhaps North Korea.
Besides their language difficulties many of the
recent diplomatic appointees have dubious backgrounds.
They are mostly failed businessmen, shameless
sycophants, unprincipled operatives who will do anything
for their political masters, relatives of VIPs cashing
in on the good fortune of their politician kinsmen, or
simple bureaucrats desiring to obtain a better education
for their children abroad. Who really works for the
Is it any wonder that this kind of corrupt,
Alice-in-Wonderland approach to foreign policy has
resulted in Sri Lanka having no friends in the world at
our hour of need ?
Jayantha De Silva
(Ex public servant)
Portrait of a confidence trickster
Lalith Kotelawala sports the face of a cherub with an
angelic look of some female from heaven that may sprout
wings and vanish into the clouds above. May be the
ambrosia they feed on, that his wife dear Sicille too
has those angelic cherubic features, but is absconding
Lalith is in jail for his role in the Golden Key
scam, but he has not lost his furtive ways, for
he uses the money of investors he pauperised to bribe
his way through all obstacles in his pathway. Some
medical doctor, who has forgotten the Hippocratic Oath
which binds him, has issued a medical certificate
declaring that the man is sick, though not physically,
That enabled the man to escape from the cage and
comfortably relax in the Merchants’ Ward of the Colombo
National Hospital, reminiscing on the mighty array of
friends he has built up both in the government and
private sector, at the expense of thousands of gullible
Jail birds cannot carry money, but he however seems
to have plenty of it and everyone in the prison
respectfully addresses him as "Sir." The money he uses
is the hard-earned money, mostly of retirees of both the
state and private sectors, of small time businessmen,
workers and the peasantry, who proudly sported what was
believed to be an unassailable document guaranteeing the
return of the money together with interest in the
It appears it was not learning but money that bought
both Cherubs, Doctorates which serve as an invaluable
sesame to open the doors of all money-safes. The
government has bestowed the male Cherub with the title
Deshamanya and his Cherubic wife has got the title Lady.
The destitute investors now look to the government for
The public anxiously await a government Gazette
to be informed that he has been stripped of his
‘Deshamanya’ title, for Sri Lanka cannot honour crooks.
Still his medical certificate has not been questioned.
Is it that Sri Lanka does not have a single doctor who
will stand up and challenge the fictitious medical
certificate, or is it that the GMOA will expel the
honest truthful doctor who will question the
If so is Sri Lanka a country of dishonest rogues in
the upper echelons of society, where medical doctors are
dishonest with an equally corrupt Corporate World of
CEOs who attract investors by offering high interest
rates on their deposits, only to deprive them of both
their investment and interest and pauperise the poor
This begs the question — What did the Central Bank do
while this daylight robbery was taking place? Did the
Finance Ministry and the Monetary Board know about it?
Or were those officials too ‘silenced’?
The military action to destroy the LTTE will soon be
over and the terrorist leader would have his just
desserts. Then the President would be free to cleanse
the country of corrupt people like the Kotelawalas. The
President as the Minister of Finance and Head of the
Security Forces has a duty by the country, to see that
the swindling scamps and knaves are incarcerated.
CB using force
The real story behind the perception of the many
failed registered and unregistered companies in the
financial sector of the Ceylinco Group is that force is
being used to deny the depositors their monies at
Draconian rules have been set by those Central Bank
agents who unlawfully hold back and deny the depositors
of their hard-earned money on the maturity of these
It is high time that matured deposits are restored to
their rightful owners, on request. Discretion is a world
unknown to the insensitive agents who try to lord it
over the depositors that appeal to them to restore their
rightful dues at the maturity of their deposits.
Five months have passed. How long are the depositors
expected to wait to gain access to their own money? You
cannot fool the people all the time, for the shameful
reality is that people are suffering both mentally and
financially because the Central Bank has its own way.
Shame! Shame! Shame!
F&G depositors need help
Some people seem to be rejoicing over the fate that
has befallen the Golden Key depositors. During the time
of President Kumaratunga the interest on savings that
was 16% per annum was reduced to 8% per annum and the
present government made it a mere 4% per annum. So if
someone deposited Rs.250,000 he would get Rs. 1500 per
month, just enough to buy a cylinder of gas. The
interest on FDs was 14% for three month deposits.
This is what prompted me to invest with Golden Key,
for a mere 17.5 % and not 30% as stated in news reports.
Why didn’t a particular newspaper publish the names of
the numerous small depositors? How could anyone say this
was greed and black money?
Most of the monies, say less than Rs.500,000 was
money deposited by Middle East returnees, who have been
out there for 15-20 years. Most of the deposits that are
less than Rs.1 million are mostly Provident Fund
contributions, accumulated through the years for which
PAYE tax has already been paid.
My small deposits with GK yielded me just enough for
various blood tests every other month and for life long
medication. If I got hospitalised it was a tidy
Rs.50,000 just for two days. You can imagine my plight
without that money. So this is the story of the interest
I received from GK. It is not through greed that I
invested with GK but to keep my head above water.
Many people who have nothing to do with GK seem to
the very interested in other people’s monies, and keep
writing negatively to the newspapers not knowing the
full facts. Haven’t they better things to do?
Church money in private accounts
I fully endorse the views expressed by Ananda M.N.
Perera whose letter entitled ‘Father forgive them...’
appeared in the May 3 issue of The Sunday Leader.
If the Revd. Bishop does not answer the three questions,
the Catholic Church should furnish a reply, as this is a
matter concerning the money collected from poor
parishoners, and not ‘tithe’ money, mentioned in the
Bible, collected from rich landowners.
What has to be clarified is whether money collected
from church tills and from parishoners’ Family Books,
masses, burials etc. could be held in a priest’s
personal bank account to earn interest. The amount
mentioned is a massive Rs. 40 mn. collected from a poor
diocese and the monthly interest accrued will be over Rs.
700,000 per month. How was this money utilised? Was it
all spent by the priests who are entitled to use money
paid for masses etc?
It was also revealed that some Buddhist monks too had
deposited millions in this corrupt credit card company
and collected huge sums monthly as accrued interest. Can
Buddhist monks handle money or operate bank accounts,
when they are expected to renounce worldly life and live
Can they make personal use of what is donated to them
which becomes saangeeka? One JHU monk proclaimed
over the electronic media that "our government could
manage without IMF or WB loans by selling gold Buddha
When the Fatima secrets were revealed in 1917
to three village children, one secret was never
revealed to the public. I think its time the present
Pope reveals this third secret and reforms his curia.
Preserving Galle Fort
My attention has been drawn to a letter written by
Mr. D.H. Gunadasa of Hikkaduwa, a valued reader of your
publication, which has been published in The Sunday
Leader of May 10, 2009.
Since the writer has requested the local UNESCO focal
point to enlighten the readers as to whether any other
country in the world has proposed and obtained
nominations of sites constructed by invaders or foreign
rulers or included remnants of actions that have caused
immense pain or damage, to their countries, to be listed
as World Heritage, a few examples from various
continents of the world, are cited as follows;
India: The World Heritage Sites of Taj Mahal,
Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Humayans Tomb and Qutub Minar
(comprising mosque buildings made out of materials
belonging to 20 Brahman Temples) are creations of the
Mughal Empires, who invaded Northern India, took over
the rule from the Rajputs and held the reigns during the
times of Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and
Japan: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial was the only
structure left standing in the area where the first
atomic bomb exploded on August 6, 1945. Not only is it a
stark reminder of the most destructive force ever
created by humankind, it also expresses the hope for
world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear
Sri Lanka: The Old Town of Galle and its
fortifications, founded in the 16th
century by the Portuguese, is the best example of a
fortified city, built by Europeans in South and South
East Asia, showing the interactions between European
architectural styles and South Asian traditions and is
still a unique living fortress showcasing Chinese,
Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch and British Architecture of
the times and also, well inhabited by Sri Lankans today.
South Africa: Robben Island is of particular note
as it is where the former South African President and
Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela, alongside many other
political prisoners, spent decades imprisoned during the
racist apartheid era.
Morocco: The Portuguese City of Mazagan is an
outstanding example of the influences between European
and Moroccan cultures and one of the early settlements
of Portuguese settlers in West Africa, on the route to
Poland: Auschwitz - Birkenean Complexes,
established as extermination camps in the 1940s, reminds
the world of the worst horrors of history, never to be
France: The Roman Theater of Orange is the best
preserved Roman Theater in the Western World, built
under the Roman Emperor Augustus, in the 1st
Also, the Roman City of Arles and its Monuments in
the South of France, who took the town from the Greeks
in 535 B.C. The Town was formally established as a
colony for veterans of the Roman Legion, which had its
Having provided the requested information and whilst
reiterating that heritage is our inheritance and is much
a part of history, which must be preserved for the
future generations to learn from history, I wish to
leave it to the readers to judge the importance of
history and heritage, and the need to preserve it.
No doubt, the game of cricket is also an inheritance
from our colonial rulers, but we play it with much
aplomb and enjoy watching it with great reverence.
National Commission for UNESCO
Institute of Education Complex
Brigadier R. T. Tambiah
It brought us tremendous sorrow when news of the
death of Brigadier R.T. Tambiah, VSV, a former Army
Surgeon; Director, Army Medical Services and Commanding
Officer of the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps reached us
on March 27, from Sydney, Australia.
During his service in the army he took a keen
interest and dedication in maintaining his medical
profession in addition to the military duties involved.
I was very fortunate to have served under his command.
He was an honest and a loyal officer, who commanded
respect not only in his corps, but also of the entire
army. His humane concern for patients made him a
popular medical officer. He was a strict
disciplinarian, where regimental duties were concerned,
but as a medical doctor he was very sympathetic towards
his patients with human kindness.
He has been very helpful to those dedicated officers
and other rankers, who worked under him and saw to their
welfare, at all times.
He was a product of Jaffna Central College and took
part in sports, mainly football and on joining the army
he continued to play in the Inter Regimental Tournament
After his retirement from the army he was offered a
Senior Lecturer’s post in Anatomy at the North Colombo
Medical College, Ragama, where he imparted his wide
knowledge to the medical students with dedication.
Though he loved to live in Sri Lanka he reluctantly
migrated to Australia in 1996 due to the compulsion of
his immediate family members.
I was fortunate enough to have had served under him
as chief clerk at the Military Hospital and I have no
hesitation in declaring that he was a ‘Gentleman and an
Officer’ with a sense of pride.
He was a past president of the Sri Lanka Army Medical
Corps Association and took great interest in the affairs
of the association.
May the turf lie softly on him and may God help him
to enter paradise.
Army Medical Corps Association