Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I have not seen any comments on “the Sri Lanka Central Bank reserve management profits are the highest in the world for 2011”

Have I not seen any laughs at the above statement that appeared on Sunday’s Observer because it is so farcical or because no one reads the papers today? That CBSL had the nerve to even make a statement by using a series of percentages is stupifying. Any finance man worth his salt knows that percentages can be deceptive. 100% increase of Rs1 is Rs 1, but a 1% increase from 1 trillion is 10Billion. So it is to this logic that a Rs1 CBSL of Ajit Nivard Cabral stoops to put a press release by comparing our 6.6% on a tiny reserve to the .9% of the Federal Reserve Bank, USA. I do not wish to go into all the percentages of all the central banks all over the world but just to say that we seem to find daily statistics to suit and fool our foolish reader.

I had a person of some education tell me that our stock market was the world’s best performing for last week, (a few weeks ago) when in fact in terms of the overall performance this year it is pretty low on the scale. So picking on a week, the world’s worst performing market if it gains 10% from a very low base can claim to be the world’s top.

I plead with journalists to stop reporting such misleading news items as it just disgraces this country and their profession. Do they not have any self respect for their craft?  It is time we educate people that most of the information put out by this government is just false propaganda aimed at fooling people inside Sri Lanka. Those living overseas will not be fooled by such claptrap. It is therefore traitorous to report such incorrect so called facts that are believed primarily by gullible Sri Lankans. I know it is done deliberately, but I do not accept that it should be so.

The article goes on to use the words, “the CBSL made a massive profit of US$430M from its reserve management”. How much of that is luck, or due to changes in the exchange rate not at all under the control of the CBSL? I am not privy enough to the breakdown of the profit to comment, but it would not surprise me if that is the case.

In a world already rife with disinformation, misinformation, and attempts at hoodwinking a gullible public in all aspects of life, it must be incumbent upon the government not to add to this deception. Let us hope that those whose business is to hoodwink their bosses, like Cabraal trying to hoodwink MR into believing he is good, stop this nonsense!!! They kid themselves!!

The Plot thickens – will she be pushed out, asked to take a long vacation or just plain disposed of –with the Govt. you don’t know what to expect!

I said first that the CJ will step aside if she has some self-respect. Then I said that she will not resign on principal as she sees this as a below the belt dirty conspiracy to force her to toe the line with the Govt. and will therefore resist any push at all costs.

Then I noted in the previous blog entry of the Asian Human Rights Commission reporting the letter sent to Parliament anonymously, that the CJs husband is behind the assault on the Secretary of the JSC as the CJ was having an affair with him. Now Jayaratne Herath the MP who tabled it to the speaker along with two letters is saying he did nothing of the kind!

The latest is that 118 signatures have been collected from MPs to impeach the CJ if she does not resign. I also understand that the Govt. has got retired AG Asoka de Silva ready to take on the yes man CJ role by forcing the CJ to take a leave of absence. Technically a retired person cannot be appointed the CJ, but as it is only for a temporary period then it may be OK or the saying goes. This is a joke! Anyway at present only Asoka de Silva thinks so.

So once Asoka comes on board he is to sign off on the Divi Neguma and the Govt. gets what it wants yet again. This game continues like Rome burns while Nero fiddles!

Anyway what of the CJ herself? How is she taking this unprecedented attack? She was appointed as a yes man and some of her earlier judgments were to the Govts bidding or liking, now has she seen the light and turned, just like Sarath Silva did after he left? It seems. What are her motives? Is it what history will judge her by? What else has she to live by? Is she gung ho on getting even at the way her rather simple thinking husband has been treated and taken to the cleaners and now spat out by the administration?

It is time others in the administration realize that they could be next. No one is sure of their own position. The power rule is only by fear, and those in favor today, could have their throats slit tomorrow. That comes with the territory. It is therefore safe to watch at a distance and comment on this merry making as I have nothing to gain or lose in telling the truth. I owe it to my country and her citizens to point out failings and if sufficient people understand them we can agitate for real change for the better.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Can the Asian Human Rights Commission Item - about the Govt. using Parliamentary privilege to defame the CJ be true?

The article I have inserted here which is too long to be included here, but hugely embarrassing for a self respecting country if true, must require a response from the Govt. If not it means that the Govt. is now resorting to unsubstantiated allegations that the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission was attacked by persons at the behest of the Husband of the Chief Justice, for having an affair with his wife the Chief Justice!!!

The AHRC report

Surely such gross misuse of Parliamentary Privilege by the Govt. calls for an immediate outcry, however it seems that even the Press in Sri Lanka have resorted to be quiet, the facts are all there in Hansard, so it is not reporting any lies, just the truth. So for the Media in Sri Lanka to be threatened not to print this information as there would be other more serious action taken against them smacks of terror tactics on the part of the Govt. of Sri Lanka in suppressing real and truthful news.

When will the Sri Lankan population wake up and realize what is happening under their very noses, and we in Sri Lanka have to resort to outside sources to report what is going on inside this Country? The people act ignorant and that is unforgivable. When we struggle to get the news out to the people of this country under insurmountable odds, it is the duty of the Law Abiding people of this country to make a stand.

This Govt. is trying to frighten the CJ into permitting the Divi Neguma Bill, by accusing her Husband of Bribery, when he was fronting senior govt. sycophants, and now accusing the poor nincompoop of a husband who cannot organize a piss up in a brewery, to have alleged to have organized the attack on the JSC Secretary is beyond the PALE!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

What is the deal? Will she resign or will she face an impeachment?

In my previous blog entry I called for the resignation of the Chief Justice on the grounds that she finds her position untenable. There is however another side of the story. Supposing her husband is innocent, and he is used as a scapegoat for the wrongs of more weighty personalities, then should she resign knowing full well this is a set up either to force her to resign or be put into an untenable situation?

So I do not believe she will resign, and the Govt. is looking for a two thirds majority to impeach the Chief Justice, on what grounds I know not, but for this govt. does one need justifiable grounds anyway?

It is battle stations, people must take sides and if the impeachment is based on flimsy premises, all law abiding citizens of Sri Lanka must defend the Judiciary, despite its past track record as being a lap dog of the Administration.

It will be an interesting fight, and I cannot predict the winner, except to say that the Govt. will put pressure on its own members to vote the way they say and not according to their conscience as it is the way things are done here. You either accept the MR way or you have NO way.

With the courts muzzled, with the press muzzled it is very difficult to go against the Govt. However if the numbers opposing the way they do business are large, it will give those with a clear conscience the strength of character and will to fight for justice against an increasingly autocratic, schizophrenic state that is looking under the beds for their enemies and making enemies out of everyone as they go along.

The lack of education and understanding of the people to the real goings on here is the unknown factor in not being able to be sure of the people’s backing and the agitation on the streets which our people have not shown an inclination lately to engage in, out of fear or out of ignorance as to the action taking place affecting their daily lives.

Let us hope it is not too long for this issue to be resolved and the people to get back to some semblance of normalcy.  

It’s a shame the Chief Justice MUST resign to save face!!! - Just when we thought the Judiciary was trying to become independant

I pointed out at the time the CJ was appointed that it was BAD for Sri Lanka to have her husband serve as a political appointee as Chairman of the National Savings Bank. (NSB) He should have resigned and found a job in the private sector in NO compromising capacity to protect his wife’s position if he had any sense.

Events have proved prophetic, as he had to resign earlier in the Scandal where the EPF were involved in deals to put together The Finance and NSB in some sort of alliance, and it was done NOT as an arm’s length transaction, but under severely questionable circumstances. Now he is accused of taking a bribe to support it.

Today’s announcement that the former Chairman of the NSB, the largest deposit taking institution in the Country with assets (people’s money) exceeding Rs500Billion, is being taken to court by the Bribery Commission is shocking. HOW CAN HIS WIFE SERVE IN ANY CAPACITY AS A JUDGE LET ALONE THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THIS COUNTRY?

It is surprising that no journalist or opposition politician is asking this question. It has to be asked, and answered with rational legal and moral argument of good governance. IT CANNOT BE ANSWERED so it is a clear case of the CHIEF JUSTICE BEING FORCED TO STEP ASIDE UNTIL THIS CASE IS RESOLVED ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

I am not saying that the former Chairman of the NSB is guilty. I will give him the courtesy that you are innocent until proven guilty, unlike in the Rajapakse Government you are guilty even before being accused, and you are dealt death without being able to answer any allegation. So until the case is heard, and a ruling is made, it is the duty of the Chief Justice to resign. I expect her to do so shortly if she has any conscience, and if she does not at least summarily divorce her man just to look as if she is not tainted by him.

I am sad it had to come to this, but it is the President of Sri Lanka who did not heed my advice and get him to resign long ago. I am told the guy is a decent chap, a bit of a simpleton, who can be easily manipulated by others. In that sense he may be the fall guy for a much bigger scandal that he is either covering up or has been used as a tool of other more powerful people. Who can that be? ANY GUESSES?


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Columbian false sense of security is just a temporary illusion

The new development at the racecourse to take an example looks very flashy on the surface but looks can be deceptive. I am not questioning that the eye sore that once was is finally being redeveloped into a complex of up-market shops and an international Rugby Ground with the old racecourse grandstand now part of the Stadium Stand with more being constructed on a similar theme.

No doubt the moneyed Columbians will be enjoying more shopping, and unless we can attract more Indian Tourists we will not be able to make them financially viable with the high rents being commanded. Further the Army being used to develop the property, questions the real cost of such developments and who the beneficiaries of the business plan are?

The intermingled jumble of the UDA, and Ministry of Defense with NO transparency between the two as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense is also in charge of the UDA which is under his direct orbit. Further the CMC’s  (Colombo Municipal Council) role in this is not clear, as rates are payable to the CMC for the shops and the Rugby Stadium, both for tickets and general rates. Will any of this be done on an arm’s length basis, as would be the case if it were managed by a private concern? NO answers are even asked by any  Columbian I spoke to as they are ignorant and don’t care. (2nd page of Daily Mirror of October 25th said that the Govt.institutes owe the CMC over Rs1B)

The tragedy is that many of these people live on deposit interest with no idea of how real people in the real world live, and commend the Government for everything as their lives are made easy by the developments that take place. Little do they realize that the day the Govt. decides to take over all the deposit taking institutions by an edict of the President, all their money will also be history! Along with their lifestyle!

They would say that the Govt. will not dare do such a thing. However I say in light of the lack of checks and balances of the Constitutional Amendments that the Govt has done away with, anything goes. That is what a dictatorship means. They may like autocracy, but when it comes to their homes, that are taken over using some excuse, then there will be no one left to defend their tightly held material possessions.

It is therefore important to defend the Rule of Law and ensure that we fight for the Independence of the Judiciary from the Legislature and Executive.

(a Columbian is an upper Middle Class, smug resident of Colombo who is far removed from the reality that is Sri Lanka!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sajith Premadasa steps into the debate of the violations of the Flora and Fauna Act in Parliament yesterday.

Whilst in my earlier blog article I was castigating the President for a hasty decision to ban safari camps without notice, Sajith in Parliament seems to commend the President for this act, without looking at the whole issue more closely, and the underlying reasons for such action.

I suggested they look into the whole aspect of safaris and what is and isn’t within the law, and if the law needs to be amended to take account of certain types of camps that exist all over the world in similar situations to benefit from high value tourists, while keeping it expensive exclusive and therefore of limited spaces not to or at least minimal interference with the local wildlife balance. We know that most animals not seen during the day, come out only after 6pm when the parks are closed, and therefore a premium few at premium prices is the way to go to protect animal privacy, whilst obtaining needed tourists dollars for the country.

A public debate should have been held and a decision made thereafter, but now that licenses are given, fees collected and tourists attracted, a different sort of evaluation from a decree banning should have been made.

Further as Sajith rightly said, the lack of a Director General of Wildlife for the past 14 months is not helping matters. I pointed this out at the time the previous incumbent was removed, as it seemed to be done for some inexplicable incident.

It further seems strange to make ad hoc changes to the Acts without thinking through a series of aspects, and taking into account the objections and recommendations of environmentalists whose whole aim is to protect wildlife and not any personal agenda, whilst the Govt. is full of personal agendas bordering on greed in everything they do, and could not be further from the National Interest.

If we had a fool proof system of checks and balances, such incidents will not occur. It appears not part of the govt. to do set in place such a system, as its rampant corruption, and poor governance will be further emerge to haunt them. It is sadly the heavy price Sri Lanka has to pay for a complete breakdown in the application of the law, when such incidents occur. Let us hope our legislators have a conscience to make good decisions.

The banning of the exclusive up-market tented safaris inside parks without warning is a typical example of decision making of idiots!

Without warning without notice, a sudden decision to immediately ban tented safaris operating inside National Parks, has become another hammer that the President and his merry cheerleaders, family and all sorts has dealt against the hospitality (tourist) industry that this schizophrenic government had decided is important to the Country’s growth and future development.

It was intimated that other politicians had given permission, but that they were not authorized to do so, and further that the Wildlife Department whilst accepting huge fees Rs millions a year from them, had upset existing operators who were not granted licenses for cheap campsites with unproven safety and ecological safeguards and that they led by local pols were out to get the big guys! I do not know the undercurrents and looking at the action and damage caused to Sri Lanka in this report.

The background of licensing and irregularities if any must be investigated and a solution sought. However, the leader of this country DOES NOT understand business, which has to be generated over a long term, with advanced bookings by tourists over a year ahead. One cannot suddenly stop their bookings, especially when the type of tourist coming for this holiday is paying huge sums, to hire planes, helicopters and come on the exclusive safaris, some over US$500 a day with US$50 per day as park fees alone!

The President of this country does not understand the word Exclusive as he probably has never received any real exclusive treatment! This is another to add to the list of unpatriotic acts by the head of state ostensibly to show patriotism. We cannot run a country at the whims of a dictator of a Banana Republic. We must have laws, rules and justice in order to do business. We have no future in a country with this kind of autocratic dictatorial action.

It is alleged that this was banned, primarily due to the Yala business being lucrative to the operators and Namal Rajapakse wanted part of the money action. So he could ban these and setup his own or ask those going out of business as a result to sell the business to him for nothing. This is further reinforced by Namal involving himself in the decision by influencing the President his father in such illegal acts. Why does the country have to pay such a heavy price for these types of village idiots who purport to defend this country, when they attack the CORE of this country, the hardworking people who bring in much needed business and foreign exchange?

Don’t the citizens finally realize that there is NO future with the current incumbents engaging in acts that are detrimental for the future of this country. They are influenced by local people in hoc with local politicians who are only interested in stuffing their pockets without doing anything for it, be it for the country or even to the people they represent. Short sighted unplanned ad hoc, keen jerk reactions MUST be stopped, please!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Abolishing the Executive Presidency is just a pipe dream

It was obvious that the Mahinda Chinthanaya included the abolition of the Executive Presidency as part of its main themes, as it was a politically popular move, crafted to get votes and nothing else. Once in power the Govt. had NO intention of doing so. So it must be said of anyone else in the opposition making it a plank of their cry. Whilst SF appears to make it one of his main aims, we know from practice the utterings of SF during the last Presidential Election, of nothing but dictatorial promises, that could not be further from the theme set forth above.

So it is with this recent rally, which was staged for the abolition as one of its main aims. These people are barking up the wrong tree here. It requires consensus amongst many parties for a near unanimous vote. It is unlikely to happen. It is completely within the power of the current incumbent so to do, however he shows not the slightest inclination to do so, enjoying the near dictatorial powers to do as he pleases.

It is another question if he feels fallible enough to do so when his life span runs out and he greedily does not wish another incumbent to have the level of power he does. I somehow doubt that age will change the stance, as then it is dynastic politics he will be aiming for.

It is one thing to know what is good, what is needed and what can have a positive impact on the political future of this country, but it is a wholly different concept to believe it is possible and doable under the present system. People now wish for the old pre 1972 constitution with a dual chamber, the senate and the first past the post. We have gone through the whole circle and found ourselves with more than we bargained for, as we made huge assumptions about the sincerity of our politicians and the honesty of those in elected office. We were hugely mistaken about both and we have got the system that we can least justify using a common sense approach.

The only ray of hope lies in a UNP manifesto, which if it includes the abolition of the Executive Presidency, it will in fact be attempted, and it will only be parliament that will ultimately decide, once it is put for a free vote and hopefully secret ballot of MPs. There is hope yet, but the current set of rascals who claim to take the moral high ground are the least likely to carry it through. The people of Sri Lanka on the other hand may prefer a strong leader, if they believe that a change will permit coalition and indecision.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Those who have been cast out into the wilderness got what they deserve!

It was reported today that 3 UNP MP’s a couple of Provincial Councilors and other elected officials amounting to 17 have had their party membership suspended due to their disobeying the whip requesting that they not attend the rally at Hyde Park organized by the breakaway faction from the UNP called the United Bhikku Front!

If one looks at this action dispassionately, it was the correct action to take in light of the breaking of the rule which elected members of the party are bound by, namely the Constitution of the Party. These pouting transgressors intend taking Court action to prevent the suspension. Why do they have to resort to a Kangaroo Court that follows the dictats of Govt. to decide their fate. That step is itself playing right into the hands of the Autocratic Presidency, which was what the rally was ostensibly meant to agitate against, but which had more covert overtones, in attempting to discredit the UNP which in all conscience could not support a rally organizes by a front critical of the leadership.

What prompted these people, when their leaders, Sajith Premadasa, Karu Jayasuriya and Dayasiri Jayasekera to abandon them for self preservation is beyond my comprehension. The future of these people is over as far as being elected in future in any form. They must know that. Their attempt at being martyred will not work either, so it is to their pig headedness, realizing they have been caught by the short and curlies by their nemesis that they could not stand and stepped right into the ring of fire.

A party needs to enforce discipline and it is better late than never for the UNP to take a stand and speak with one voice to their very confused flock, who await a clearing up of the dead wood and a reinvigorated party with a new theme, and direction, which can only happen when the cancer that is dissidents are reformed or evicted. It is a tough choice, but in the interests of party unity it is a timely move. It is important that such a clear out took place to face a prospect of political agitation in 2013, when the worst of the excesses of the present regime will become more apparent to the masses when the honeymoon period people have been in so far ends and reality begins to bite.

It is all positive from now and the General has only one option if he is to fulfill his ambition for the country, to join the UNP and work with them.

A sorry SF questions the assertion that the UNP made a mistake in hindsight in supporting SF’s candidature for Presidency.

It is no secret that the UNP grossly miscalculated the possibility of how much damage SF himself could do to his campaign, and therefore concluded after the elections that they should not have fielded him. Even RW would have polled more votes in that election, just as he had polled over half a million more votes in the previous Presidential Election, which he only lost due to the cunning of MR to convince Praba with millions in cash to prevent Tamils from voting.

For SF to question this fact now seems to be too little too late on an issue that is done and dusted long ago. So using the rally to convince himself that he was robbed of his presidency is just hallucinating with the facts.

SFs pontifications on the eve of the elections, put off a lot of UNP voters from voting in that election, and further the many who could not stomach to vote for a swan when they can only do for an elephant!

I am just pointing to the absurdity of these statements when the finger must be pointed at the daily activities of this Govt. and how it is robbing the people blind. The UNP is playing that card, not hard enough I feel, but given the meager resources at their disposal today, they are engaged in as good a job as any. So it is the duty of the SF camp to lend support to them to fight this fight, rather than attempt to fight a campaign with leadership that they cannot even hope to provide.

The rally was fruitless, as the objectives are already in focus and a fight has begun. SF not content with playing second fiddle to Sajith is hoping this would give him sufficient credibility to supplant Sajith from the Deputy Leader position in the UNP, and is trying an entry through the back door. This attempt clearly failed, before it began, due to the failure of the rally to garner sufficient support, with NO notable figures, other than SF at the rally.

Let us hope that a combined opposition can truly be formed with the UNP taking its leadership to challenge the legitimacy of the administration to govern in light of the recent revelations, which question some of the Supreme Court rulings in favor of those in power. It is the duty of the opposition to inform the public of the failings in Govt., point by point for the people to determine the right and wrongs and make up their minds.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SF is only strengthening MR’s hand not weakening it - The outcome of the Hyde Park Rally

A rational observer who went to the Hyde Park Rally yesterday, organized by the United Bhikku Front a non-existent organization must feel that the Maha Sangha in the form of the Bhikkus should not get involved in this sort of divisive politics. It should have been organized by Sarath Fonseka himself so why use a number of breakaway monks to do this task?

Its latest theme was to fight the dictatorial executive presidency system. Well this theme has already been taken up and a united opposition with the leadership of the UNP, the largest single political party has already begun that fight. So why compete with that and try to usurp its leadership?

These are hallmarks of failed direction and vision on the part of the organizers and participants, who have been mistakenly lead by a group who believe they can perform miracles of their own in galvanizing a third force.

It must be noted that even the JVP who is so much against the executive presidency DID NOT support this, when they are part of the DNA coalition with the SF front. Further Tiran Alles the principal sponsor of the DNA failed to come and therefore to support this event.

It is only a fact that politicians who have left their mother find temporary solace in these antics which have completely left them out in the cold, with no party to hold onto and in reality left to drift in the ocean with NO anchor.

It is a matter of time when SF will realize it is only through the UNP that he can have any traction in the future especially as he is not permitted to contest any election for a further 7 years which will effectively leave him permanently out in the cold. So those sad followers will again be left in the lurch, in just the same way Sajith left them out in the cold after they came out in support of him. It is very foolish in politics to support a person who one knows will abandon ship.

Let us face facts. It is MR that benefitted from the rally, not SF or the UNP. To that extent SF supported MR is a shameful testament to the direction which the UBF took him like a lamb to slaughter to further make him look silly in contesting the results of the last Presidential Elections, when there is no doubt as to who did the most damage to his cause, SF harmed himself only as he was his worst enemy and with hindsight that fact is clear.

The final nail in the superstitious coffin was when the heavens opened up and rained buckets when the rally began!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

KJ Decides not to attend the Hyde Park Rally – does he fear the rain, the lightening or the thunder from the scene or after the event?

I had a sms a few minutes before the start of the Hyde Park Rally organized by the non-existent and misnamed United Bhikku Front (why a religious party would organize such a rally is really beyond my comprehension) that Karu Jayasuriya MP would NOT attend the rally. He was billed as the most prominent UNP politician who will attend, especially as Sajith Premadasa had already concluded his political life would be over if he did attend and chose the route of least resistance by not attending. One must remember that for a leader the route of least resistance is not showing good leadership, just cowardice and therefore I personally do not believe whatever the poor man does hence he can ever get the support of a reasonable majority of anyone for his cause.

Let us look into the rally which was regretfully marred by the weather, which gives a great excuse for the organizers to pretend that the numbers would have been 10X greater had it not rained!

We should therefore look at the fall out. It was clear that this is an attempt to divide the opposition. It was at a similar rally held by the UNP on behalf of the General that even his wife did not turn up giving a hardly credible excuse and therefore showed the true colors of the Fonseka team in callous disregard to the campaign to free him. Now they have the cheek to complain that the UNP, the main opposition in Sri Lanka has decided not to support a campaign by a Bhiikku Front that is clearly opposed to the policies of the UNP and was in the posters that had been printed and pasted, made assertions that were patently untrue, further infuriating the UNP into believing that they wished to use the good will of the UNP to fill in their ranks and then take the credit for themselves alone.

It is acts such as this that led the UNP to completely disown the campaign and prevent their elected officials from attending, and merely requested that other supporters desist from doing so. It impossible to keep party discipline by condoning acts of defiance and this time the Oppostion Leader took the correct stand by saying he would read the riot act as far as their standing in the party was concerned. Anyone as we know is free to do anything. However if they belong to a society or party or club that has rules and if those rules are broken they can be subjected to disciplinary action of that organization, no matter what the Asgiriya Malwatte prelates may say.

The Blogosphere in all three Languages MUST become the conscience of a humiliated nation – take courage we must take stand!–it will roll on

Where are we heading? The speed of the logic defying antics of the administration has taken on a new dimension and has gathered pace.

As if the KP statement that there are NO criminal proceedings is not enough, we have the ex- CJ admitting that he had enough on MR to ban him from ever seeking office, due to the ‘Helping Hambantota’ daylight robbery. Then there are the ridiculous statements about banning tuition in the last week of exams, from the Tuition Master turned politician. As if that was not enough, the FUTA has been tricked, the proposed budget in fact is cutting education as a percentage of GDP, it is increasing the Defence Spending by leaps and bounds in a time of peace, with Fonseka being used by MR to play his divide and rule games that is just this week.

The list is just getting longer and longer, tempers are getting shorter and shorter, people are wondering how to make ends meet and the leaders are just acting as if nothing has changed, and the fleets and size and budgets of the spending politicians just get bigger. Even the President’s Office has asked for a stupendous increase in their allocation alone for next year and the deficit is ballooning out of control.

The Ada paper noted that EVERY Sri Lankan man, woman and child has a noose of Rs300,000 debt on their heads that the Govt. now owes which ultimately has to be paid. So the largess of all these years spending and wastage is all from the pockets of the working population of Sri Lanka.

The Fourth Estate, the Media is clearly impotent. They have been crushed into submission and are unable to tell the truth to the people. It is now completely up to the bloggers to let the people know what is going on. Once the people realize the true news is in the blogosphere they will turn to it in droves to find real news. Let us be responsible in what we report and ask people to use their common sense and make their own conclusions when in some instances we cannot verify the story that we have heard and put in the blog. We can also ask bloggers for some verification from their personal knowledge and experience to corroborate what is written.

The time is now the year is 2012, and the plan is to inform, and ask the readership to just consider, not believe what is in the blogs and make their own minds up, and come to their own conclusions.

Pattapalboru – the campaign of lies and deception the State is engaged in! of course sponsored by none other than those in Power!

The main plank of the Government’s popularity has been a concerted effort, in a manner never done in the past, to deceive the public of its true intentions. This has meant that all media, private and government have been complicit knowingly or unknowingly due to the enormous pressure put on the media to comply.

For example the full page ads put into all the newspapers, some which depend solely on them for survival are part of the misinformation of the public. Often the cost of the project being advertised is less than the advertisement itself, but gains a level of public perception as a government that is actually doing something.

One must always remember that in the past work was constantly been done, as today, without the publicity it garners today due to the efforts of the govt. so people get a misunderstanding as to the work done in the past as compared with the work that is done at present. In fact more was done then than now.

Granted many roads have been built, with money borrowed and huge commissions made with many of the Govt. supporters making fortunes out of the people’s money that is borrowed usually at high rates of interest to support these untoward profits and commissions and bribes, all indistinguishable one from the other.

It is important that people understand what is normal, what is special and what is actually attributable to the government. Whilst it is not easy to know the facts as none of us can pretend to be psychic, we can get an idea after a fashion on the rights and wrongs of how things are done. It is important to have the tools to distinguish between what is likely to be correct or deceptive and then research further if one is troubled about the facts presented. This is the normal inquisitive mind at work, when presented with tall tales of right and wrong. A person who is educated sufficiently to look behind what is fed is able to get at the truth easier and more assuredly than one who is not.

Let us all take time to look into how we lead our lives, decide on right and wrong and then determine if the people making statements are more likely to be telling the truth or lying. Therein lies the answer to many a problem.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Mawbima attempts are so lame!

On Saturday the Mawbima on Sunday paper's lambasts were laid bare and similarly the Ceylon Today on Sunday (14th October 2012) had the similar story attributed the same person in English which I show in full below:

I am giving the article more publicity as the paper does not sell at all and is running on empty except for the coffers their patrons are willing to lose as part of their attack on the opposition and are willing to spend what it takes to sling mud, with people's money as the there is no legitimate money that is financing this rag!

It will take a little time for the Editor to realize the error of his ways but until then we will just have to contend with this puerile attempt at slander. Let the reader judge for him/herself.

By Devaka Lankathilaka

On Monday, a day after the attack on Manjula Tillekeratne, Secretary, Judicial Services Commission (JSC), a friend of mine, who is also a lawyer and quite close to the hierarchy of the United National Party (UNP), called me with some interesting information. He said there were some reports in Monday’s papers to the effect that UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, was planning to make a special statement in Parliament the following day, on the assault on the JSC Secretary. He said it would be a good idea for me to watch out for it. 

Given the fact that Wickremesinghe is a lawyer and because of his extensive knowledge and considerable familiarity with judicial independence, my interest was kindled. I bought the paper on Wednesday, expecting to read his hard hitting speech in Parliament, condemning the assault on Tillekaratne and the affront to the judiciary. Imagine the let down, when the reports only revealed a wimpy and lacklustre speech that didn’t make any reference, even in passing, to the attack on Manjula Tillekaratne or criticize government interference in the Judiciary. 

Instead his diatribe, it appeared, was directed at three concerns, all of which had nothing to do with the attack on the Judiciary.

Attacked the former CJ

Wickremesinghe first attacked the former Chief Justice (CJ), Sarath N. Silva.  He told the House that certain judgements given by Silva had caused serious damage to the UNP. His second was the judiciary, which he blamed for losing its exalted position in the country. And his third, and perhaps the most unlikely, was the Mawbima newspaper and its editor, over a question of how the latter had come to know about the attack on the JSC Secretary. Reading the contents, I was, to put it mildly, flabbergasted.

I immediately called my friend and asked him why he wanted me to read such a nonsensical speech, completely out of tangent with the issue under discussion.  He then admitted that Wickremesinghe as usual evaded the issue. Side stepped direct involvement, even at the UNP Parliamentary Group meeting, which was held on the same morning.

I then asked why Wickremesinghe was so ill-disposed towards the former Chief Justice; to which my friend replied that the UNP Leader has an axe to grind against the former CJ, whose judgements he believes had affected the UNP adversely, because, ironically, he could not prevent his MPs from  crossing over to the government.

Wickremesinghe’s third grouse

My next question was about Wickremesinghe’s third grouse; “Why did he attack the Mawbima and its Editor?  The response was prefaced with, what I assume was  a sarcastic smile, “Two things,” my lawyer friend said, pointing out that whenever there is a problem facing the country, Wickremesinghe runs away, while Mawbima digs deep to find out where he is at that particular moment, and then reveals it without any hesitation, unlike other papers. The other reason, he said, was the fact that Mawbima has become the greatest threat yet to his uncle’s newspaper, Lankadeepa.   “In the circulation war, ‘Mawbima’ is gaining ground on the Lankadeepa and moving ahead determinedly, that is why Wickremesinghe has launched a ‘Kamikaze’ type attack on Mawbima,” he elaborated.

I was not quite satisfied with my friends’ explanations, especially about the former CJ ruining Wickremesinghe’s political fortunes with his judgements and this compromising the Independence of Judiciary. Wickremesinghe’s hypocrisy poses several questions.

“If today, Wickremesinghe claims the former CJ, Sarath N. Silva, ruined the independence of  the judiciary and his own political fortunes in the process, can he explain his alliance with Silva at the 2010 Presidential election which also saw him getting on the stage with the  CJ ?

“How can Wickremesinghe bring such a person to Sirikotha to give political tuition to his party MPs? If he claims it is Sarath N. Silva, who is responsible for the destruction of the party, how many such despoilers are Wickremesinghe consorting with?   How many has he consorted with?” I wonder even as I dwelt on the Party Leader’s duplicitous history.

Then there was S.B Dissanayake? This is a person who was all out to destroy Wickremesinghe. In 2000, when Chandrika Kumaratunga introduced the constitutional reform package, he carried out an all out attack on the UNP and Wickremesinghe, in his bid to get the reform package approved.  After all this, Wickremesinghe  brought him to the UNP and appointed him National Organizer.

Mangala’s role

Then I recalled the association with Mangala Samaraweera.

Has there been anybody in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), who has destroyed the UNP more than Mangala Samaraweera? It was Samaraweera who induced Chandrika to dissolve the 2001 Wickremesinghe Government.   Threatening to resign, he cobbled an alliance with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), to send Wickremesinghe home. And later, when Mahinda Rajapaksa, held Samaraweera by the scruff of his neck and literally threw him out, wasn’t in Wickremesinghe who embraced him to the party? And today he is Wickremesinghe’s media chief...”

Then I remembered his association with Chandrika Kumaratunga.

“Didn’t he accompany Chandrika, the very same person who dissolved his government in 2004, to a ‘Kathikawa’ at the New Town Hall?”

I wondered if Wickremesinghe had forgotten the 1988 -1989 era when the JVP used to talk to the UNP at gun point. In 2004, Wickremesinghe’s Government was ousted because of the JVP. In 2005, if the JVP did not support Mahinda Rajapaksa, Wickremesinghe would have become President. Despite all this, didn’t he get on the stage with the JVP? I couldn’t help wondering the depths to which the ‘glorified’ leader he had descended when signed a peace agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who decimated the entire UNP leadership, R. Premadasa, Lalith Athulathmudali, Gamini Dissanayake, Ranjan Wijeratne, and so on.

If Wickremesinghe had no compunctions about doing the tango with known enemies of the party, of course, it would not be a big deal for him to dance to the tune of Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is more than obvious that Wickremesinghe has a deal with Rajapaksa. Whenever any matter of national interest crops up in the country,  Wickremesinghe always performs the role of the puppet, dancing to the tunes of the puppet master, Mahinda Rajapaksa,  I believe there  are two reasons for Wickremesinghe to make a deal with Rajapaksa.

Wijeya Newspapers

“First and foremost is to get Rajapaksa’s support to safeguard his position as the Party and Opposition Leader. He wants to keep the party leadership until that opportune moment when he can pass on the mantle of leadership to his uncle’s son, Ruwan Wijewardena. His other reason for the deal with Rajapaksa, is to get the latter’s help to maintain the number one position of the family business, Wijeya Newspapers, in the country. That is why Wickremesinghe always attacks Mawbima,” if that is not the case, why would a recent edition of the group’s English paper, the Sunday Times criticize the Mawbima group insinuating that it was in cahoots with the government.

A little bit of investigation had led me to the conclusion that the insinuation is the furthest from the truth, but that Ranjith Wijewardena has got several business deals with government patronage. I believe Mawbima, is a smoke screen to hide his connection to several deals with the government, “The Lankadeepa was at one time owned by the government. Ranjith Wijewardena took over the paper’s title from the then UNP Government. Then, during JR’s time, he started the Lankadeepa newspaper funded with a big chunk of compensation, collected from the J.R. Government, as the earlier government had nationalized Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. (Lake House), their family business.

Then during the Premadasa Government, in which Ranil was Minister of Industries, Wijewardena acquired some of the best tea and coconut estates in the country with the blessings of Wickremesinghe. During this time Wijewardena got a bigger piece of the pie for his sole benefit; that of printing cheques for banks, outside tender procedures.

Mangala Samaraweera had revealed these deals; not anyone else. At the 2010 Presidential Election, the Lankadeepa published a story about a secret agreement between Sarath Fonseka and the Tamil National Alliance, which helped Mahinda Rajapaksa immensely. At the time Samaraweera said it was a government contract.

Income from the cheque printing business is shared by the Wijewardena family. It is printed at an associate company of Lake House, in which Wickremesinghe’s mother was a Director. Wickremesinghe gets his share too. He is working according to his uncle’s agenda,” I believe the  Opposition Leader is only a pawn in a bigger game and that the innocent reading public buys the Lankadeepa without knowing these ramifications and wheels within wheels wheeler dealings of the Wijewardena clan.

The biggest threat to the  Ranil-Ranjith combine comes from Mawbima and it’s no nonsense, warts and all, revelations of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s capers. That is why he launched an impromptu attack on Mawbima in Parliament, instead of focusing on the problems of the judiciary.

(The writer is an Attorney-at-Law)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Dregs of the Press - "Mawbima" at its usual tricks to fool the readership

The Rag Mawbima the Daily and Sunday Sinhala Paper of the Ceylon Newspapers Group owned by Tiran Alles now firmly with the Govt. and another sycophant of the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime is at it again to disguise its hand in glove love affair with the Autocrats. (started on Nov 18th last year on the Birthday of MR with a huge pull out praising his pretendership!)

Under its Rabidly anti Lankadeepa Editor, Thushara Guneratne who thankfully left the Wijeya Group purportedly for three times his prior salary to edit the Mawbima has today under an article purportedly written by a lawyer Devaka Lankatilleke spewed forth so much trash against  Thushara’s former employer Ranjit Wijewardene so as to make the article look silly. (The article in question is on page 15 of the Sunday Mawbima of 14th October 2012, which is on sale today, and I would recommend any reader who is able to read Sinhala and see through the news with some background to read)

The modus operandi today was to use a statement made by Ranil Wickremasinghe in Parliament on Tuesday over the real situation as it pertains to the Judiciary to hit at Ranil and the his uncle Ranjit, by digging up all Thushara’s bad dreams into print putting into focus the gutter press to which the Mawbima has stooped to.

It is time the reader of the papers realize the venom and anger the Editor has, which he finds some flimsy excuse such as an unrelated statement made by the Leader of the Opposition to get at the Wijeya Group. It is to the discredit of the ownership of the Ceylon Newspapers Group, which owes it to its readers to desist from personal attacks, that this still goes on.

Sadly we have too few rational and reasonable people in Sri Lanka to see through some of the rot that is the Press, and a Govt. which supports any rubbish said against anyone in opposition to them, as long as the mud does not stick on their filthy clothes that look snow white on the outside but has never been washed in the inside!

In Conclusion I can only see the level to which some of the gutter press in Sri Lanka is willing to stoop to achieve their limited short term goals, when the country needs to establish a sane, balanced and well rounded press to teach a thing or two to our people who have a lot to learn, not to believe what they read and to see behind the news. I hope that day dawns soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

All FUTA got was what had already been agreed to earlier– it was just a face saving exercise to pretend otherwise!!

The power and the cunning of the Government was clear for all to see. Despite the advance notification of a joint press conference, FUTA backed out at the last minute citing that they needed to get the approval of its membership to hold it jointly. – BULL SHIT

So now the excuse is that in the interests of the public they decided to go back to work. The only concession was that they will be paid their back pay which has already been allocated by the Treasury, as long as they do catch up on the lost work these past months, and begin marking the A level papers immediately.

The Govt. is also facing a dilemma, as if they give the Academics what they want there are other Public Sector workers who feel their relative positions then are in jeopardy creating an unending cycle of agitation.

As for the 6% it is a non starter and will remain so until the whole structure of education is changed, not to reflect 6% in future, but to take steps to create a truly educated work force, with allocation on a need basis.

This union activity was a salutary lesson nevertheless to bring into the open the education debate in Sri Lanka warts and all. People are now talking writing and making suggestions almost daily in the Newspapers on how we can improve our education system. Further the debate is a talking point in all area of gossip be it in buses or living rooms and we can only feel for the poor students being put through the mess we call education, and now we have the urge to change the structure as best as we can, as soon as we can.

I am therefore hopeful that there will eventually be a positive outcome for students who are at the receiving end of the poor education standards, lack of facilities and archaic syllabi, and have to compete in the global market place. They must be equipped with the tools to compete with their peers all over the world and to come out on top. It is creditable that many private schools are achieving this target, and the public school system can only emulate it and learn from it. New teaching tools using the Internet are timely and far less costly and can be adopted without delay and huge expense. Let us therefore hope that the novel teaching and learning experiences take hold in Sri Lanka immediately casting away the fossils of education in favor of the contemporary style.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ceylon Today Disposes – Has joined the Gutter Press!

Ceylon Today’s gutter journalists are at it again, with a head-line today of Sajith Proposes and Ranil Disposes. This refers to SP’s suggestion that the UNP make a hue and cry about the JSC Secretary’s beating up. (the reality by the way is a long way from the way the actual event transpired- but that is another story)

One must understand that the Leader of the Opposition does not behave like a jack in the box. He is more reasoned and considers both sides of the argument before jumping to conclusions. He is a seasoned politician, which most unseasoned politicians cannot understand as their perspective is still from the kindergarten or Montessori.

In RW’s view the Judiciary has been partial to the Govt. lately and particularly so against the Opposition. That is a far more serious allegation they have yet not been able to answer. Then there is a case where a Minister tried to knobble the judge in Mannar and when RW protested, the Judiciary in the form of the top law enforcer of the land slapped him in legal knots. In order to protect the judiciary which has acted so unfairly against the Opposition, to now take their side, when the opposition is not even asked to assist by the judiciary is calling for further embarrassment.

It is therefore correct for the Leader of the Opposition to desist from making direct comments against the action, but rather make the more reasoned comments which he did in Parliament calling for a Committee to look into the problems of good governance by preserving the independence of the Judiciary and Legislature from the Executive, the hallmarks of a mature functioning democracy. It was interesting that the Govt. benches also welcomed this request, and it sounds more like they (Govt. members) did not understand what they were welcoming. It was actually requesting that when the independence is compromised, it will take steps to correct the wrong when in fact none of the Govt. members were capable of doing so, without affecting their cosy relationship within Govt. as sycophants.

This is a good opportunity for Sajith also to take a leaf from his leader’s book and look beyond his short term nose, to the long term consequences of his actions. This I am sure will mature him to make correct decisions out of reasoning and not of gut reaction. A sign of growing up! It further reinforces the obvious that there is time yet for someone of his caliber to take on the leadership mantle. It is better to let a known devil carry on rather than allow an unknown angel make a devil of himself due to impertinence.

FUTA have suspended their action and will report to work tomorrow!

FUTA pulled out of the press conference today, but nevertheless decided to suspend their action. Tomorrow’s papers will put a spin on this story to bamboozle the most finicky reader, but the reality is that FUTA were hurting, without pay for three or more months. They have bills to pay, school fees, car payment and the like, which most of us mortals also have and could not see a way out of this except the one line given by a craft govt. to end the dispute.

They called on the support of the opposition for it, which they gave, and thanks to the combined forces stacked against the govt. were able to get this far, and get this level of comfort, as that is all that is from the Govt., that their grievances would be looked into.

There is NO let up in the 6% slogan of allocating this percentage from GDP to education as there is a growing debate as to what this percentage should encompass, and who should be included in it and even if it is practical as the current system cannot absorb the funds allocated to it, due to organizational failures in the State University system to manage capital expenditure wisely.

What a relief to the students. They can resume lectures, they can return to their dorms and boarding houses and can resume their degrees. It is also time to allocate to the 5600 additional intake owing to the Z score fallout.

Then there is the marking of A level scripts. That is long overdue. We do not want another Z score crisis do we when the results are announced perhaps in January or February or will it be March 2013?

Let us all get back to our senses and look at the plight of the Undergraduate. He must first learn how precarious his position is. He must then realize that his state degree really does little to ready him to the world of employment and there is a lot more for him to do. Let us take the initiative and lead that undergraduate to the reality of the employment world today, before he seeks employment by holding weekly employment seminars within the University System to ready him or her to the outside world where there are NO MORE Govt. jobs with desks. They have to work in the fields with lap tops, mobile phones and other equipment to do their jobs, without one place of work. They will have to travel long distances and be productive in what they do. Let them know that in other countries the Postmen have Masters Degrees.

That is just the start. But let them know reality. That is the service we owe our State University Undergraduates. Even Doctors are not sure of employment anymore. Let reality dawn on them NOW.

Who does PBJ think he is to make the statement below? – Yesterday!

"I blame the government, Vice Chancellors of our universities and student leaders for not acting responsibly which started something which could have easily been avoided," Dr. Jayasundera said delivering the 9th Annual Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute last evening.

The pomposity and arrogance of our Treasury Secretary is apparent from the above statement. Humility is not part of his personality. He thinks he is not the Government whilst drafting many of the policy statements of the Govt. and also some of the thinking behind the heavy borrowing at exorbitant interest rates from Foreign Sources is all part of the burden which will be his legacy to Sri Lanka within a few years of his departure from the scene.

He is in a sufficiently senior position to have prevented this issue getting to this stage. Therefore it is obvious PBJ is DIRECTLY responsible for this delay in finding a resolution, which he could have speeded up without letting it drag on for so long with the resulting disastrous repercussions for the undergraduates and soon to enter undergraduates.

The FUTA issue has NOTHING to do with student leaders!! Why PBJ is dreaming it is their responsibility defies logic, especially as they have been the worst affected by the impasse. I believe he is in his waning years long past his sell by date and needs to go home to his village and start pottering around his garden without interfering in the affairs of state.

I cannot understand why we allow bureaucrats to feel they are so indispensable to their positions where there are hundreds who are able to perform the task possibly better than the aforesaid individual. It is important that no one stay too long in a position, like Treasury Secretary who has long outlived his usefulness to the detriment of the state. They become wedded to their jobs, believing that no one can do the job better. They must realize that there are many who can perform better than the incumbent.

The responsibility for his continuity rest squarely with his boss the President who should have realized the above if he is worthy of his position and be able to shuffle such positions amongst other people so that new thinking can come into the debate. It is not too late to get rid of the fossilized wood from the Ministry which is currently stifled for new thinking. An appeal to reason to see the light and stop this nonsense of long-stayers, is long overdue.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Joint Press Conference called for tomorrow(Oct11th 2012) – FUTA / GOVT

Always a lover of publicity to gain maximum exposure, both the Govt. and FUTA have decided to hold a joint press conference tomorrow to explain the deal that has been made. Whilst the Govt. spokesman will not want to show any climb down by them in agreeing to some of the more reasonable terms, FUTA will also want to be seen to have achieved their objectives, despite the lack of value in some of the statements and demands they made, especially in regards to the 6% of GDP for the state education allocation.

In this win win scenario, it will be interesting to see who the preferred spokesperson are for each side to clearly explain the resolution to the demands and the 4 months of work stoppage. Neither will accept blame.

In this game of bluff and counter bluff it is the University Students who have suffered the most, who have been turfed out of their hostels and other accommodation, with the need to provide some relief for them and ensure they do not delay their progress towards their hard fought degrees.

The Students supported the FUTA demands, and I would only expect the Lecturers to back the students this time to ensure they are not left out of the reckoning. The reality is that after the dust settles, it is the Undergraduates and the next batch about to enter the University, who have suffered from the turmoil of the past 6 months, and it does not look as if there is any relief for their grouses.

Let us now hope that this press conference provides a useful forum for the next step and not merely a face-saving exercise to prove each party’s point in the debate. It should address all the matters of interest now to the students who have suffered in this tug of war with solutions to their grievances in the overall context of better facilities, better teaching environment, better and more up to date syllabi, with employability as a goal for all students at the conclusion of their studies.

It is important therefore that the real beneficiaries and in the same vein those who suffered most from this action, the students and future students to the State University System come first. All steps MUST be taken to ensure that their rights are restored and they are able to resume their studies and are able to catch up with the lost classes so that there is NO delay in their graduation and future employment prospects as a result of the past union action.