Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Blooming of “Thamil Eelam” ; the “Lotus Bud” and Rajapaksa’s Sinhala Buddhist Image in Sri Lanka

It was this history that Sampanthan summed up in one simple sentence. Continuous efforts by Tamil leaders to find a political solution within an “undivided, indivisible, single country” was thwarted by Sinhala leaders in their quest to consolidate themselves as Sinhala Buddhist leaders wooing Sinhala Buddhist votes.

by Kusal Perera- 
( February 21, 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) This caption sounds insane on the face of it. But it cannot be ruled out, the way veteran Tamil politician and leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan said it in parliament on Monday 19 February during the debate on LG elections and its aftermath. This emotion packed, very strong statement by Sampanthan unfortunately was not given its due importance in Sri Lankan mainstream media. Sinhala media of course cannot be expected to have it as important, unless with a spin.
Sampanthan said he wants to have it on record that Rajapaksa’s brand of Sinhala politics not only deceived the “innocent Sinhala people”, but also Rajapaksa himself. And if he persists with this Sinhala agenda, Sampanthan said, “Eelam will bloom, not on account of us, but on account of your Lotus Bud.” Sampanthan had a very valid point in that with historical validation.
Since independence, for over 03 long decades till 1976, no Tamil nationalist political campaign ever demanded a “Separate Tamil State”. It was extremely frustrated C.Suntheralingam MP who said a “Thamil Eelam” would be the only answer, the way Sinhala leaders treat Tamil people when in 1956, the newly elected Bandaranayake government legislated Sinhala as the only official language. Dissociating with Suntheralingam, the ITAK leadership in 1957 sat with PM Bandaranayake to discuss “regional administrative powers”. Having agreed to a compromised solution on regional councils for North and East, PM Bandaranayake reneged on the B-C Pact giving into a small protest in front of his residence led by some Buddhist monks. This B-C Pact was possible only because ITAK rejected the “Thamil Eelam” proposal by Suntheralingam. As TULF leader Appapillai Amirthalingam told the APC chaired by President Jayawardne and attended by leading Buddhist monks as well on 19 January 1984, “But we who were members of the Federal Party (ITAK) and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress resisted the demand for a separate State. We wanted to preserve the unity and the integrity of the island.
Tracing the history of Tamil politics that sought a decent and a dignified solution to their problems, Amirthalingam in that same statement to the APC said, “That is the sordid history of pacts and solemn undertakings given by successive governments to the Tamil people. No honourable person can be happy about this record. The introduction of the 1972 Constitution removing the safeguards against discriminatory legislation ‘contained in the Soulbury Constitution’ resulted in all the Tamil Parties getting together and forming the Tamil United Front. We submitted six (06) demands, very modest ones, for inclusion in the Constitution. They were not even acknowledged.” [unedited full text of this statement is appended in my book ‘Rajapaksa the Sinhala Selfie’]
That history is about the first 30 years in independent Ceylon. History of Sinhala political leaders breaking all promises and all agreements and pacts the Tamil leaders compromised in settling with a permanent solution to their issues. That period of finding answers came to an end, with TULF for the first time on 14 May 1976 resolving to restore as Amirthalingam said, “the sovereign State that they (Tamil people) had before the European arrival and conquest of the country” (ibid). The youth by then had decided, there can be no serious political negotiations and answers found with the Sinhala political leadership. That resolution for a separate Thamil State was put to the Tamil people for a mandate at the 1977 parliamentary election when the TULF won 18 seats out of the 19 Tamil seats in the North and the East. The TULF leadership was thus given a resounding “YES” vote to proceed to establish a separate Thamil Eelam State.
It was this history that Sampanthan summed up in one simple sentence. Continuous efforts by Tamil leaders to find a political solution within an “undivided, indivisible, single country” was thwarted by Sinhala leaders in their quest to consolidate themselves as Sinhala Buddhist leaders wooing Sinhala Buddhist votes. That Sinhala racist politics which continuously denied a justifiable solution to Tamil people after 20 years pushed even the TULF in 1976 to adopt a resolution for a “separate Thamil State” a stand they kept rejecting from 1956.
Yet, they did not embark on a separate State. Instead the TULF leadership used that mandate as bargaining power for a solution within a united system of power sharing. That was how the TULF in 1981 came to accept the District Development Councils (DDC) as devolved power for Tamil people, 04 years after they were mandated by their own people to establish a separate Thamil State. Sinhala political leaders were never grateful for such accommodative Tamil politics. Running amok in Jaffna town, attacking the TULF head office and MP Yogeswarana’s house, looting Tamil shops and committing the most dastardly act of burning one of Asia’s most privileged libraries, the DDC’s were marked for a quick death, once again leaving democratic Tamil politics utterly helpless. Probably President Jayawardne and his henchmen like ministers Cyril Mathew and Gamini Dissanayake were naïve in believing, such would end the call for “Devolved power” by Tamil people and make them “Sinhala heroes”.
What they did not understand or did not want to understand is, where democratic politics is suppressed, it is the hard line anti democratic politics that gain space. Thus came the armed Tamil youth groups to the fore. Jayawardne fumbling in his foreign policy ignoring geo politics of ‘Bay of Bengal’, these armed Tamil groups got the privilege of enjoying New Delhi patronage. Rest is history written in its saddest and tragic language.
Over 25 years of a prolonged, protracted war in its bloodiest form, left an ethno-religiously polarised country, many thousand innocent women, men and children unnecessarily killed, yet another few thousands without limbs and over a hundred thousand war widows on both sides of the barricades in a war devastated country still talking of resettlement and reconciliation. Still watching war affected families continuously protesting for over one year, demanding answers from the Colombo government about their “missing” family members.
This is no background for any serious politician bargaining for political power to raise racist slogans that would drag this country deeper into the mire it is already in. This country in the South is no happier with its own sorry fate too. As I have written before, Rajapaksa’s Sinhala image was not without other conditions applied to it. Other conditions paved the way for his loss at the Uva PC elections in 2014 September before his defeat at the 2015 January presidential elections that gathered the usually pro SLFP Southern Muslim vote from the time of late Badiudin Mahmud, also against Rajapaksa.
Uva PC election setback for Rajapaksa thus had other factors at play. Cost of living was on the increase while the rural economy had no answers for livelihood of the people. “Whole of the rural society thus lived with the large pay packet the young soldiers brought home once in 03 months till the war was concluded and for now with remittances from Mid East the toiling young women send home and the meagre savings the female workers send from sweat shop factories,” I wrote. And then added, “This had two evil side effects that changed the old value system not for the better, but for worse. One, it made youth search for quick money for a fast consumer life, never mind how. This increased domestic migration with youth trekking to Colombo and suburbs in search of whatever livelihood possible. Two, it allowed for politicising of local life leading to a lawless, corrupt rural society. In a corrupt rural society tied to political control of life, two things grow quite fast. One is illegal trade and business sidestepping law enforcement and two, increase in sexual abuse of children, rape of women and underage marriages. All that taken together breeds dependency, frustration and an “anti State” feeling.
That “frustration and an “anti State” feeling brokered the rural Sinhala shift away from Rajapaksa in the presidential elections too. That same Sinhala shift was seen against this Sirisena-Wickramasinghe government over their failures during the past 03 years. Bottom line is, the Sinhala Buddhist patriarchal image alone does not decide electoral politics. Rajapaksa image though tailor made for the Sinhala Buddhist psyche does not have a monopoly over Sinhala Buddhist votes. What he gained this time too isn’t the majority Sinhala Buddhist vote that can decide a parliamentary election for him.
Playing for Sinhala Buddhist votes will not provide answers for the economically and socially ailing Sinhala village. Sinhala Buddhist vote will not provide the Sinhala Buddhist rural society any improvement in their living. Will not bring them better schools, better hospitals, better public transport. Will not make their villages economically better and prosperous. Moreover, Sinhala Buddhist politics will not even rid their villages of increasing sexual abuse of children, rape of women, underage marriages and drug peddling.
Added is the debt trap this country has been dragged into with ethno-religious politics. Year 2018 will come to end piling a debt service requirement of 03 trillion rupees. Therefore it is prudent and beneficial for the Sinhala South to accept the fact, this country needs a national political leadership instead of a Sinhala political leadership that has no clue what “national socio economic and cultural development” is. Accept that Sinhala leaderships have exploited the Sinhala voter for the benefit of political power that has not made the life of the Sinhala majority any better.
It would have therefore been a complete statement if Sampanthan said, “Eelam will bloom, not on account of us, but on account of your Lotus Bud, that will not be of any benefit to the Sinhala Buddhist people either, who had been deceived by Sinhala leaders ever since independence”.

Corporal Punishment As A Disciplinary Measure In Sri Lanka

By Amanda De Moore –
Amanda De Moore
logoCorporal punishment in any form is a violation of Human Rights. Banning corporal punishment was a main issue discussed at the recently convened meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. While corporal punishment is used as a means of maintaining discipline, it is indisputable that it is a violation of the fundamental rights of a child.
According to a press release published on 30th January 2018, the Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority declared that the NCPA takes tough action on corporal punishment in all schools. She further stated that the NCPA’s investigation on corporal punishment was in relation to a student’s complaint regarding an incident in an international school where a teacher made nine children kneel down and pulled their ears as punishment for forgetting to bring the reading books. The incident was a topic of controversy due to both international and domestic legal provisions that ensure the protection of the right of the child to enjoy freedom from any form of physical and mental harm.
Corporal Punishment and the Rights of the Child
A child is a “minor”. According to Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights Child (CRC), “a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”
Moreover Article 19 (1) of the Convention provides that “States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child”.
Further, placed within the context of human rights, corporal punishment can be perceived as a violation of children’s fundamental right to physical integrity and human dignity, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These international conventions guarantee that the fundamental rights of the child encompass protection against all forms of torture and inhuman and degrading activities.
Legal Framework in Sri Lanka
The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka guarantees the fundamental rights of Sri Lankan citizens in Article 11 of chapter three, where it states that “no person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.  Thus, the constitution the supreme law of the country, sets the legal background to protect fundamental rights.
Corporal punishment includes beating, spanking, rapping on the head and slapping which could be defined as torture. However in the sense of Article 11 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka corporal punishment is therefore a violation of the fundamental rights of any person, including children.
International Discussion and Measures
Corporal punishment was discussed at the 77th session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on protecting rights of the child, which convened in Geneva in January 2018. 
The UNCRC consists of 18 independent experts that monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State Parties. They also monitor the implementation of two optional protocols to the Convention, one on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) and one on the sale of children for child prostitution and child pornography. Sri Lanka became a Party to this convention in 1990.
Importantly, at the above-mentioned session of the UNCRC it was highlighted that Sri Lanka has not taken proper measures to ban corporal punishment and recommendations were made to take necessary measures to ban corporal punishment to children at their homes as well as in schools.
Effects and Consequences of Corporal Punishment
Scientific research highlight that physical punishment is neither an appropriate nor an effective method to maintain discipline. Research conducted on physical punishment in the United States along with the phoenix Children’s Hospital have concluded after decades of research regarding this issue, that parents and caregivers need to make every effort to avoid physical punishment.
Moreover, interviews with parents of children age 3 to 7 from more than 100 families  have found that children who are being punished physically are more likely resort to  beating or physical punishment as a means of resolving their disputes. The researchers have further found that parents who had experienced frequent physical punishment during their childhood were more likely to believe it was acceptable, and they frequently spanked their children, and their children, in turn, often believed spanking was an appropriate disciplinary method. This highlights that when adults use corporal punishment as a disciplinary method it gives children the impression that beating is a suitable means of punishing.

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Families of the disappeared mark 1 year of protests in Kilinochchi

Home20Feb 2018

Families of the disappeared in Kilinochchi marked today one year of continuous protests calling on the government to release information on the whereabouts of their missing loved ones. 
Mothers, children and partners held banners condemning the lack of government action despite pledges made by the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirsena. 

“Yahapalanaya” to continue UNP and UPFA confirm in Parliament

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

logoBy Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent-Thursday, 22 February 2018 

Contracting parties to the agreement which formed the Unity Government, the United National Party (UNP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) informed Parliament that the agreement to form the national Government is valid and operational.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, bringing the curtain down on the speculations on the efforts of forming new Governments and possible crossovers to strengthen the much wanted 113 Parliamentary seats, informed the House yesterday that the UNP’s agreement with the UPFA is solid and active as per the provisions of the Constitution.
“The Unity Government is continued as per an approval received from the House. The motion presented is valid and is not cancelled. I don’t think that a necessity has arisen to revoke it. I propose if the Secretary General read out the motion we passed as per Article 46 (4) of the Constitution. We follow the Article 46 (4). I don’t think the basis of this agreement has changed. What followed was to get an approval for a national Government where both parties have agreed to move forward with an agreement. The motion presented in the Parliament was to increase the number of ministerial portfolios. But there is no requirement to table this agreement between the signatories,” said Wickremesinghe.

Confirming the Prime Minister’s statement, UPFA General Secretary, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister and Mahaweli Development State Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said: “We have entered into an agreement with the United National Party. It was presented and has received approval from the Parliament. We will uphold the agreement and continue to follow it. The UPFA and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party haven’t exited the agreement yet.”

However, in the absence of an agreement tabled before Parliament when the resolution to increase the ministerial portfolios was passed two years ago, followed by the explicit extension of the respective resolution from last September, Chief Opposition Whip JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake challenged the decisions reached by the Government during the period of the last four months, citing them as unconstitutional.

“On the 2nd of September 2015, the approval was given for two years. This was reported in the Hansards. But having failed to present a new agreement by 2nd September last year, the initial approval came to an end. It is true that the participants of this agreement took part in the Government but there is no validity with the expiry of the agreement. So, the conduct of the 48 ministers during this period is unconstitutional. You could have extended the agreement immediately after the expiry. The Parliament approved to increase the number of ministers from 30 to 48 and also the state and the deputy minister increased from 40 to 45 for two years,” held Dissanayake.

Trying to ease the growing tension on the request of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake, citing the resolution passed by the House after having taken a division by name, where on 3 September 2015 143 lawmakers were in favour and 16 against, read out: “Whereas the United National Party which obtained the highest number of seats in Parliament has formed a National Government, Parliament determines in terms of Article 46(4) of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka that the number of Ministers in the Cabinet of Ministers shall not exceed 48 and the number of Ministers who are not Cabinet Ministers and the number of Deputy Ministers shall not exceed 45.”

Unable to agree with the resolution passed without an agreement, which was not tabled in Parliament, UPFA Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardena charged the Government for not disclosing a public document. “The Constitution is not a joke, but it is not the time to joke with the Constitution. On par with Article 46 of the Constitution, we would prefer to see the agreement related to the motion moved on the 3rd September. We seek tabling of the particular agreement, which is important for this House and a document of Parliament. But the other party went public with the intentions to discontinue the agreement, which lapsed in last September,” said Gunawardena.

Joining the debate, Deputy Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ajith Perera explained to the House that it is not mandatory to table an agreement, but the resolution was limited to the extension of the number of ministerial posts.

“According to the resolution, which was passed, it is clear that the Cabinet of Ministers shall not exceed 48 and the number of Ministers who are not Cabinet Ministers and the number of Deputy Ministers will not exceed 45. In this motion, no limitation of two years is found mentioned. In the absence of such limitation in writing, it is baseless to prove that the conduct of the Minister during the last four months was unconstitutional. All this time, the debate was about a myth that limited the period of this national Government to two years,” said Perera.

Endorsing the fact that the national Government is operational in the eyes of the law, Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha said: “If it was prerequisite, the agreement would have been tabled at the time this resolution was passed in the Parliament. The agreement could be either orally or in writing. If the parties to the agreement say that they want to agree to continue, then the particular agreement is operational.”

“It is only the contracting parties who could come before the Speaker and say if the agreement is non-existent. It is not for the third parties to interpret the agreement before this House and say that it is not operational. Here, both contracting parties have stated that it is operational, and therefore the third-party statements have no consequence, and also the fact that these agreements were not tabled at the time that this resolution was passed, does not make it a mandatory prerequisite that the agreement is tabled,” he added. 


Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, Brigadier Priyankara Fernando has been recalled to Sri Lanka for consultations.

Military Spokesperson, Brigadier Sumith Atapattu addressing the weekly media briefing said no inquiry was being held against the Defence Attaché, “We just want to talk to him about what happened”.

He explained that while there was diplomatic pressure, the impact the incident had on the image of the country needed to be discussed. As far as the military was concerned, this was not a ‘serious crime’, he said.

“There have been people who supported him as well as criticised him for that and we just want to find out what happened given the circumstances”, said Brigadier Atapattu.

In early February Brigadier Fernando was filmed whilst making a gesture which symbolized the ‘cutting of a throat’, in response to a group of Tamil protesters outside the High Commission.
Though the Foreign Ministry at the time immediately recalled him from service, the President later reinstated him.

The Country Does Not Deserve Anything Less Than Success From Us

Lacille de Silva
logoThe wrong people teach us best lessons. As a clever Nation, we had always used our ballot and chased wrong people away, when they nose-dived. Despite a few progressive steps taken, such as improved democratic space, MS/RW government is a good case study for bad governance. There is disappointment and disillusionment all over. They have wasted three years in office. In Parliament too, there appears to be big-time confusion. If the promised political reforms had been carried out credibly, i.e., the abolition of Executive Presidency, elimination of corruption, returning to parliamentary system of governance etc., all that could have created a significant impact on the State, the culture of impunity and governance.
The government failed to consider the need to look into promised economic revival, creation of employment, reduction of cost of living. They ignored confidence building measures while moving forward. The government also delayed local government elections, which has subsequently resulted in a political impasse, which is also a creation by choice unwisely. They  furthermore began changing the ‘political will’ to investigate high-profile corruption cases and  their mindset of taking legal action against perpetrators even before the expiry of the first year in office. The first step in that direction, was my removal from PRECIFAC w. e .f 1st March 2016. All these, no doubt was ‘political bungling’ and had now bounced back on the government causing irreparable damage. 
The legislative process in Sri Lanka is based on constitutional provisions and the Standing Orders adopted by the Parliament in terms of Article 74 of the Constitution. Standing Orders are the rules and guidelines for conducting the day to day business of the House, in an orderly manner. In Parliament, the Speaker, who is expected to  act with impartiality and authority, on the guidance of the Secretary-General, should not allow the members to engage in politics. Parliamentary politics is necessarily permitted only if members fall in line with the rules, regulations and practices of parliamentary procedure.
Speaker has the power to rule members for “unparliamentary” language and conduct and suspend a members when they disobey the orders wilfully – which is commonly called naming. Parliamentary practice is inherently procedural.  Since we follow our mother Parliament, being a Westminster model parliamentary system, we need to rely greatly for reference and apply the processes etc., in the “Treatise upon the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usages of Parliament” by the Secretary-General on a daily basis. And it is not meant to be kept under the pillow. It is an essential tool for understanding the foundational concepts of parliamentary practice and procedure and seek guidance on a regular basis. Why don’t they apply the guidelines therein and prevent the parliamentary system from decay and destruction?
Thomas Erskine May (1815 – 1886), who had joined the House Commons, in the United Kingdom, as Assistant Librarian in 1831 (at the age of sixteen) had risen up through the ranks, having eventually ended up, as the most senior official, the Clerk of the House (1871 – 1886).  He had been nominated to the staff by the then Mr. Speaker Manners Sutton. Treatise written by May, had been venerated with biblical solemnity, since it was first published in 1844.
The Treatise had subsequently ceased to be the work of May. It is now an expression of the collective wisdom of the Clerks throughout the history. It is also an account of developments that had taken place in parliamentary practice and procedure. The Clerks  since the first identified Clerk of the House of Commons could be described as multi-tasked doyens, such as advice-giver to the Speaker, the Chief Executive Officer – a technocrat, to say the least. In Sri Lanka too, we continued with the same designation and was subsequently re-designated, in order to add more glamour and prestige, as Secretary-General of Parliament.
May had strongly supported the rhetorical view of Parliament as an exemplary deliberative assembly, and had praised the freedom of debate in the Westminster Parliament. Rules of Parliament had been designed to afford every legitimate opportunity for discussions, freedom of debate, generous regard for liberty of individual members, tolerance, within the walls of Parliament. He had added that the members nevertheless could be interrupted during the debate by crying “Order!” “Order!” if the debate is not in line with the procedure.

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Uncivilized uncouth ‘Polonnaruwa frog in the well’ pushing country to stone age ! Hits below the belt of students and teachers !

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News - 21.Feb.2018, 11.00PM)  Maithripala Sirisena alias Sillysena who is now begging on a 4 %  has by now proved beyond any trace of doubt that he is a rare specimen of a president . What he says in the night is not what he says during day , hereby he has demonstrated he cannot be trusted  even for a moment . Driven by  his uncivilized, uncultured and  uncouth traits, unbelievably yesterday he (20) rescinded a  proposal approved by the cabinet on the 14 th . This action of his  not only put the country on the reverse gear but is also leading the   country to the stone age. Moreover  ,  he betrayed his  baser instincts, in addition to displaying ,his  cruel hostility and enmity towards   the P.M. has not still ended. 
To the consternation of all , the  project he venomously rejected was that of the UNP  which  was to distribute computer tabs free to 159, 078 A/L students and 36,070 teachers . In the 2017 budget , a sum of Rs. 5 billion was allocated towards that , and on  the 14 th the cabinet approved Rs. 4 billion through the  procurement system.
It is to be noted , it is when one or two  corrupt officers were trying to make these purchases from  Metropolitan Co. at a cost higher than what was passed in the budget , following the intervention of the minister of education , the proposal was re-submitted to the Cabinet procurement board and approval was obtained on the 14 th to purchase each tab at Rs. 27000.00 . 
It is therefore imperative that  a separate investigation into whether the president well noted for his venal propensities even compromising national interests , capitulated  to the corrupt scoundrels based on  his inordinate greed  for filthy lucre in respect of the tender bids.

Sirisena the uncultured, uncouth uncivilized villainous president of the country  , yesterday ironically and cruelly rejected a project which was designed for the advancement and betterment  of society . This most callous and cursed president is so barbaric and backward that he could not realize, in his vindictive attempt to take revenge on the P.M. and the minister , he was ruthlessly wrecking and ruining the precious educational  interests of the student generation  and the teaching staff  in this advanced world.

Castrating the bullocks and buffalos of Polonnaruwa after they have wreaked havoc !

The ‘frog in the well’ president in his characteristic stone age style had pointed out in his defense ,  following the local government election results , technology and WiFi  are not the basic needs of the people. The president had further stated such a large sum of money can be used for other purposes.  The UNP ministers realizing silence is the answer to a fool have remained quiet. Nevertheless  the UNP ministers giving in is reprehensible.
It is a pity the president who always leaps like a frog in the well before thinking , after muddling up  and making a hash of his own whole manipulation to change the P.M. is now trying another deplorable and despicable machination- to hinder and hamper the projects of the UNP ministers ,and this rejection is  the first of the series he is contemplating. 
On the other hand if the UNP ministers are to remain meek and silent ,  they will have to continue to castrate the bullocks and buffalos  of Polonnaruwa only  after they have wreaked havoc to the detriment of the entire country.
Sirisena the frog  in the well of  Polonnaruwa who knows nothing and cares nothing for progress and advancement in the modern world bore testimony to this  by his rejection of  this salutary project of free tab distribution .Earlier on he even  stifled the program to make the whole country a WiFi zone. The UNP too was dumbfounded then. 
It is well to recall it was no less a person than Sirisena alias Sillysena who scuttled the Google balloon project too to provide free WiFi to the entire country . The electronic wave frequency alias  Spectrum which should be provided by the government in that connection  was instead given  by the Telecom Regulatory Commission of Sirisena to wheeler dealer Kili Maharaja for a meager sum  of Rs.10 million. 
The mahajara ( most foul and filthy) Sirasa channel of Kili took upon themselves the task of unrelentingly slandering  and castigating  the Google balloon project. Finally Google Co. left the shores of SL along with  the project . It is  therefore very  clear the free WiFi facility that was on the ready and offered on a platter to the people of SL was deprived by none other than Sirisena , yet the UNP ministers remained dumb without exposing in order not to hurt him.
Sadly , though to our ‘frog in the well’ president from the Polonnaruwa  backwater,  Computer tabs and WiFi seem unnecessary , in developed countries like Britain even the students in grade 2 and 3 are taught about the use of Tabs and WiFi. Because those children are accustomed to those latest  devices at that tender age , they can be  taught the use of the social media in the proper direction sans misuse. 
This  frog in the well president who took laxatives to defecate on the heads of the UNP finally  shat with all his might only on the young generation and their future knowingly or unknowingly. The president who is so ignorant and educated as not to know how many millions make a trillion , via  the   decision taken by him today has acted in a manner that is tantamount  to rejecting the use of a calculator by someone in the seventies.
The public are earnestly waiting for the backlash from the teachers and students associations against the retrograde and regressive actions of this barbaric brute of a president who is in his imbecility and lunacy blasting the future of the youth generation. 
It is best at least at this belated stage , Sirisena realizes he was made president by the people of the country not to continue with a presidency through him  but to abolish it within 100 days. Sirisena now rightly  dubbed Sillysena should remember this well  even when  he is now begging on a 4 %.
by     (2018-02-21 19:02:42)

Putting ‘Yaha’ into ‘Palanaya’ – could standards be the trick?

logoThursday, 22 February 2018

I will from the outset indicate that this is not about politics, even though popular terminology cannot be resisted if one is to get the message across. We are driven by emotions and the media is only adding fuel to the fire.

If one takes a step back and views dispassionately, we could see we simply lack coherence, display very little intelligence and act on the spur of the moment. Bulls in china shops fare much better in my view. That is no way to succeed in difficult times and irrespective of elections or results we are plumb in the middle of a real difficult time period as a nation.

I do see why emotions rule the moment. I hear of parents where the father is a policeman and the mother a nurse in the health service who has had to incur a Rs. 7 lakh payment to get their son into a leading school in Colombo.

Then you hear of another story where the annual bonus is about Rs. 300 million (yes, you read right!) to a single person. Now of course you hear these and there are no receipts to prove these.

A very poor country with very rich people

The rumour mill is in full flow and when the ‘Pol’ for the ever-needed ‘Sambol’ too goes missing, there is mayhem on the table! Seeing behaviour and abilities, to me, Sri Lanka is a poor country with rich people but I now redefine this to Sri Lanka as a very poor country with very rich people!

Now making ends meet and making ill-gotten gains to count for more, only dubious processes take centre stage as other pathways of course cannot yield what is required to any party. It is not easy to place ‘yaha’ into ‘palanaya’ under these conditions.

We also heard that Sri Lanka has been slapped with another dubious classification as a ‘high risk’ country for money laundering. Our associates in the same category may not be exciting to read.

However, we always proclaim that we are going to learn and make a strong comeback etc. Reminds me of one of the quotes wrongly attributed to Einstein – it is only a madman who expects different results by doing the same thing over and over again. Simply you need to act differently and bring in effectiveness.

An argument for the scientific method

One can always argue for the scientific method. It is not a coincidence that the United Nations, when declaring the Sustainability Goals for 2030 in 2015, introduced for the first time specifically the concept of science, technology, and innovation in bringing about the desired sustainability by 2030.

Now, that does not mean placing the entire population into a classroom and a laboratory and teaching science all over again. It spelt out a possible and a recommended pathway and it is not a recommendation to be taken lightly. Beckoning science to show the way in a society where we look at the clock not to work but to refrain from doing work – to give time to Rahu on a platter – is going to be challenging indeed.

Quality mindset

ISO standards and the brand name are well known and the association is with the construction, expression, and demonstration of quality. Under Deming’s tutelage, the Japanese businessmen transformed their country in ten years after falling to zero, after two nuclear strikes, by sticking to the concept of quality.

A quality mindset can propel you to be the best in international class provided there is teamwork, shared mindset, and a determined purposeful work ethic.

Now the desired list of characteristics for us may be getting longer as I unfold requirements. Today, ISO is ready with standards to usher in good governance.

The challenge for us is made simple – embrace the process. A scientific rational mechanism has been made available to transform one organisation after another and in parallel too.

Not only do these standards allow one to measure and improve but also assess the level of quality of governance. As we relate stories that cause anger and disgust and perhaps many types of irrational responses, given an opportunity can now be tackled by a business tool as per ISO.

ISO 37001 is the first international anti-bribery management system standard designed to help organisations combat bribery risk. The standard can support coverage throughout the global value chain as well. There are many who consider ISO 37001’s ability to improve anti-corruption practices.

From Microsoft to Singapore the followers are growing. It can be said in no uncertain terms that corruption sinks economic development. World Bank estimates the annual bribery globally to be around $ 1.5 trillion. This figure far exceeds the global economic assistance and indicates the value of fighting corruption upfront rather than writing grant proposals.

We have also had observed situations where money paid as bribes in international operations was tax deductible. This of course is no more legal in this developed economy.

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the world’s largest anti-fraud organisation and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education, – again better to get some real training and insights than fluffy business reports from global companies at this juncture for us too – bribery leads to substantial financial and reputational damage more than any other type of occupational fraud.

‘Getting business moving’ through bribery affects competition, lands you with sub-standard goods and services, significant price distortions, and evaporation of capital.

ISO 37001 offers a common global language against ineffective national legislation. It also has the ability to prevent, mitigate, and remediate the menace in all its forms and at any level.

Maybe as a government with a new challenge of winning, the trust may learn from Peru in this regard. Peru is one of the first countries to implement the ISO anti-corruption standard.

Another area of definite improvement that should come is in procurement ( We do have situations where state organisations have been effectively milked dry by external private sector bodies – please no need to place the hat by everyone here. Again there is no clear till receipt to substantiate this.

Sustainable procurement

With all types of committees and methods in place, especially with a lower mindset of values, we buy our way into a worse world!

However, recently, Clare Naden, writing in the ISO Focus, had an interesting statement – picture a world where every product and appliance is environmentally friendly, where every supermarket item is fair trade, where corruption is an urban myth and poverty a long-distant memory. Hard to imagine? Technically, it is possible … If everyone adhered to sustainable procurement!

This is what Clare outlined and sustainable procurement appears to be an interesting magic wand! From anti-bribery to sustainable growth, ISO has delivered another standard to show us the way.

Sustainable procurement means making sure that the products and services we purchase deliver value for money and with the lowest environmental footprint and most positive social results.

When we consciously make decisions not only to optimise one parameter but three parameters of economic, environmental, and social, the end result appears to be a better world.

How simple this sounds; one can strongly argue for its validity. The difficulty is thinking and applying. We are not prepared. Therein again ISO reduces the burden by coming out with a standard. Then well laid down methods simplifies the tasks ahead of us. This is applicable from individuals, organisations to nations.

Enter ISO 20400, Sustainable Procurement – Guidance, the world’s first international standard from ISO to provide guidance on delivering sustainability objectives through the supply chain. At this stage ISO 20400 is a guidance standard and not a certification standard, which means that companies cannot be certified for compliance. The idea is to show the way.

At present our procurement processes has no real respect for time in my view. However, I can understand if those in procurement simply disregard my view saying that I am at best naïve if not absolutely foolish. However, I know and have felt the seriously negative difficulties that we have faced with trying to do work with the current procurement mechanisms in play.

I see the imperative for practice based on triple optimisation and if there is a well laid out mechanism as from a standard document, I almost feel relieved that now the growth – sustainable growth – we seek is within reach.

The true cost of character may be by knowing the power of standards how keen we would be in bringing this type of opportunities to our organisations and then changing the face of the nation.

A top down direction can really go a long way and ‘yaha’ may be within reach for the ‘palanaya!’ after all. The embracing of these schemes relieves the individual and allows the systems to push changes. No one can deny the power of systems approach.
The National Government formed by the UNP and the UPFA is intact and will be continued, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and UPFA General Secretary and Minister Mahinda Amaraweera confirmed in Parliament yesterday.
Making a ministerial statement on the request of the Speaker, to clarify on the continuation of the National Government, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe told the House that the Resolution passed on September 3, 2015 to give effect to National Government is still valid.
“We have not rescinded the Resolution. It is still operative. There is no set of circumstances yet that we have to cancel it,” the PM asserted.
Speaking after the PM, the UPFA General Secretary also confirmed Parliament that the UPFA still abides by the initial agreement signed between the two parties to work in a National Government. “We have not withdrawn from it,” he said.
The members in the Government benches thumped their desks expressing their pleasure over the official clarifications on the continuation of the National Government. Upon the request of the PM, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake read out the Resolution passed by Parliament on September 3, 2015 to the House for clarity.
However, Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake and Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardena argued that the MoU between the UNP and SLFP which led to the formation of the National Government specifically stated that it was for two years and any extension should have been approved by Parliament. MP Dissanayake argued that the Government violated the Constitution in the last four months by maintaining a Cabinet of Ministers exceeding 30 after the expiration of the MoU.
The PM responding to the argument said the Government acted in line with the provision 46 (4) of the Constitution and signing an MoU between the two parties or producing such a document to Parliament is not mandatory as per the Constitution.
Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faiszer Musthapha pointed out that both parties, who are privy to the agreement, have expressed their desire to continue in National Government and that per se is sufficient in terms of 46 (4) of the Constitution.
“The agreement between the parties could be in writing or oral.Third parties cannot intervene in this matter,” he added.
MP Dinesh Gunawardena maintained that the MoU was the base for the Parliamentary Resolution and therefore any renewal or changes to that document must be informed to Parliament.
Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera pointed out the Resolution passed by Parliament nowhere said that it was valid only for two years.Agreeing to this point MP Dissanayake however said the Resolution was meant to increase the number of Cabinet Ministers from 30 to 48 and the number of Deputy and State Ministers from 40 to 45.
“The Resolution was subsequent to the agreement of the two parties to work in a National Government. In the same manner you read out the Resolution, ask the Secretary General to read out the letter to the Speaker by then UPFA General Secretary late Wiswa Warnapala. It specifically states that the National Government is for two years. President Maithripala Sirisena, who addressed the House soon after the formation of National Government, said that exercise for consensual governance is for two years.
The PM at one time told the House that National Government is limited to two years. If you want to extend it further you must duly inform the House and get its approval,” Dissanayake argued.
The PM responding to the query noted the only document before the House on the day Parliament approved the formation of National Government was the Resolution presented by him.
“An MoU of the two parties is not mandatory and we signed it because this whole exercise was a new experience for us. National Governments existed in the UK Parliament in 1916, 1931 and 1940, but a written document was not available for any of them. That is the tradition,” he clarified.
JO MP Udaya Gammanpila said the absence of written agreement could set a bad precedence that the future PMs could exploit to increase the number of ministers in the guise of a National Government. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya finally stated that he stands by the official positions communicated to the House by the Prime Minister and the UPFA Secretary General on the continuation of National Government.
He said the UPFA, SLFP and UNP have confirmed him that they continue to work in National Government.
The Speaker however said he would look into other pertaining issues raised by the members.
SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake was also present in the House.

Bouncing back from LG election drubbing

By Colonel R Hariharan-2018-02-21

After Mahinda Rajapaksa's fledgling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) handed out a shocking defeat to both the UNP and the SLFP in the Local Government (LG) elections, the three-way political power game has become more complex than before. A gloating Rajapaksa, past master in political manoeuvring, is demanding fresh elections after dissolving the Parliament, though he knows it would not happen as both the SLFP and UNP would never oblige him.

For President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, more than power, credibility has become the main issue. They are trying to retain their credibility on multiple fronts – as leaders of the unity coalition that set out to provide an alternative to Rajapaksa's autocratic rule, to survive as leaders of the party in the face of challengers making deals to dethrone them and to show the people that they can still deliver on what they promised before the end of this term.

The current situation faced by the three leaders – Rajapaksa, Sirisena and Wickremesinghe – may be aptly described as 'wheels in wheels' – a number of different influences, reasons and actions which together make a situation complicated and difficult to understand, as Collins dictionary says. But, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe duo has a bigger burden than Rajapaksa, who is at the barricades, heckling them from the periphery.

Notwithstanding their internal party leadership compulsions, the skills of both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe will be tested on many aspects in the coming months as political uncertainty looms large in the horizon. LG election results show, their rule has raised a whole lot of questions in the minds of people of all hues – Sinhalas, Muslims, Tamils and others who believed them and voted them to power. Both of them need to answer these questions.

Perhaps, both the leaders need the multi-tasking ability of Avadhānam practitioners of ancient India. Avadhānaṃ used to be a popular literary entertainment performed in ancient days in India. It is still performed in isolated pockets of Andhra and Tamil Nadu. It involves the partial improvisation of poetry using specific themes, metres, forms, or words.

The two performances of Avadhānam I had seen in Tamil Nadu were performed in Tamil, though originally it was the preserve of Sanskrit scholars in ancient India. In Andhra Pradesh it is still in vogue. In both the performances I saw, the scholars showcased their mastery of cognitive skills in observation, memory, multitasking, recapitulation and logical reasoning in literature, poetry, music, mathematical skills and solving conundrums - all at the same time! Typically, the second line of a verse from a Tamil classic like Tirukkuralor Kamba Ramayanam was quoted by the questioner (Prcchaka) and the Avadhani countered it with the first line of the verse. At the same time the Avadhani had to keep count of cowrie shells, continuously thrown on his back, while another questioner posed a mathematical problem on the black board. Surprisingly, the Avadhanis came out with very impressive performance.

After the LG election, the first priority for both the leaders is to consciously reassure, not only their followers, but also people who brought them to power and that their alliance was not one of convenience, but to deliver value.

Walking the talk

The second, but perhaps the most difficult priority is walking the talk. Most of the initiatives they had taken are held up due to pulls and pressures or tangled in bureaucratic maze. Nearly forty cases of corruption, misuse of power, human rights violations, economic crimes, cronyism and even murders, are stagnating in various stages of investigation or prosecution.

They need to be taken to their logical conclusion. People have been waiting for answers to serious allegations made by responsible ministers that Rajapaksa family members and others had indulged in many of these crimes. And three years is a long time. As we say in Hindi, time has come for Doodh ka doodh aur pani ka pani (making things crystal clear). Otherwise, when Sirisena and Wickremesinghe go to the hustings again, people would not believe them. In this context, the duo has to speed up the prosecutions of the accused in Bonds scam; then only the Unity Government can refurbish its tarnished image.

The third and equally difficult priority is to draft the new Constitution now before time runs out. There is need for some honest soul searching on this issue among the leaders of political, civil society and media. They should help speed up the process for an equitable constitution. Otherwise, the lessons of the civil war in which over 100, 000 Sri Lankan shed their blood would be wasted. A business process approach of transparency in interactions among the stakeholders including the people and encouraging periodic interaction to take the public into confidence will create a less politicized environment for evolving a new Constitution.

In the early days leading to World War II, when Russia's attitude to the brewing conflict was not known, Sir Winston Churchill speaking on the radio in October 1938 said, "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. The key is Russian national interests." The Sri Lankan situation may be compared to Churchill's Russian conundrum. Sri Lankan politicians would do well to remember that whatever they decide has to be in national interest; all other considerations are peripheral to this fundamental responsibility.

(Col R Hariharan, a retired MI specialist on South Asia, served as the head of Intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 90. He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the International Law and Strategic Analysis Institute, Chennai. E-mail: Blog: