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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Redundancy of the 13th Amendment

With the eradication of terrorism and annihilating the LTTE and its leader megalomaniac Velupillai Prabhakaran by May 18, 2009, at Pudumathalan in Mullativu, we have been able to liberate Sri Lanka and its people and bring them under one flag by the continuous uninterrupted military action of our commanding forces led by General Sarath Fonseka, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunathilake guided by the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa with firm determination, commitment and strategy and no doubt with the determined leadership and inspiration given to the Security Forces to demolish the LTTE creating not only Sri Lankan history but setting an example to the whole world that even any of the powerful nations could not accomplish.

This historical victory was possible due to the unwavering stance of our President who as the Commander of the Armed Forces defending the country from all sorts of foreign interferences, mediations regarding their concerted efforts to protect the Tigers and thereby has brought once again freedom from all bonding specially Britain - who imagines still Sri Lanka to be a British colony.
Government of India too is highly satisfied on the events as their problems with the LTTE have been solved with Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman required by India as well as Interpol for the assassination of Rajiv Ghandi have been given the capital punishment by the Sri Lankan Government through its military victories in the final battle at Pudumathalan with the LTTE also freeing thousands of Tamil civilians taken hostage by them.

Most probably with respect to the statement made by the former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva made on the eve of his retirement recently that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is unsuitable to a small county like Sri Lanka which has been drafted by the Indian authority in a hurry and cannot be implemented, can be assumed as a declaration from and highest authorities in Sri Lanka in this context as the Chief Justice had given many landmark judgments affecting the unitary character as well as on the economic front of the island from time to time during his tenure.

Thus, following the above statement and the declaration made by the Indian authority - Foreign Secretary Shivashankar Menon - that Sri Lanka is an independent sovereign state and no other nation of the world has the right to interfere with the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and the solutions should be formulated by themselves to suite them and also not entertaining TNA MPs by the Indian PM Manmohan Singh a few days back signifies that the 13th Amendment brought by President J. R. Jayewardane Government as a solution to the North-East conflict creating Provincial Councils following the signing of Indo Lanka Accord on July 29, 1987 with Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi amidst island-wide protests and objections is unsuitable to Sri Lanka. Since then, as the PCs so implemented had been confined only to seven provinces other than the North and East and have become a white elephant unaffordable to Sri Lanka which needs rethinking and re-assessment.

Therefore Shivasankar Menon’s declaration following our former Chief Justices statement can be considered as a withdrawal of the pressure brought upon 13th Amendment imposed by the Indian authorities. The whole world is aware that Indian intervention in 1985 at the Vadamarachchi Operation of Denzil Kobbekaduwa to protect Prabhakaran at the last moment giving lifeline to intransigent Prabhakaran to become formidable for another two more decades who has never been able to step or move even and inch from his dream of Elam causing numerous hardships with crimes to the to his own community of Tamils living here and even in Tamil Nadu until his demise might have moved the Foreign Secretary Shivasankar Menon to take such a standpoint in favour of Sri Lanka.

What follows from the foregoing phenomena is that the implementation of 13th Amendment has become redundant and also null and void owing to the above obvious reasons.
Therefore, under the circumstances and on the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka it will be the best opportunity to do away with the PC system immediately by an Act in Parliament to nullify the 13th Amendment with a 2/3rd majority which could be easily done at this juncture.

Secondly, holding LG elections in the North (Jaffna and Vaunia etc.) and empowering the LG bodies throughout the country with more powers to develop their areas of administration according to their wishes with state aid and taxes.
Further, the necessity for APRC proposals too does not arise and has become redundant. It will also be evident that spending time and money anymore on finding political solutions, devolution or holding seminars, conferences will serve no purpose and will be a wastage of time and energy. Concentration on economic development of the country to build up the nation is the need of the hour for a glorious future as the obstacles and impediments have already been overcome by now.

A. P. Subasinghe

****

A profession forgotten after battle

The end of the 30-year scourge of war has now come to an end. Thousands have lost their lives and limbs. A new trend has now come into fashion and everybody involved in the war has been recognised by various organisations such as their schools, professional institutions, religious bodies, respective armed forces and even eminent dignitaries including the President himself.
But, alas! No mention has been made anywhere of the members of the medical profession attached to the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Special Task Force (Sri Lanka Police) who risked their lives to save the injured on the battle field and dispatch them safely to hospitals in safe areas, where there were thousands of people willing to help.

This small band of medical professionals who have worked on the field to save so many lives and with whose confidence the soldiers had gone on to the battle field are today a forgotten lot. Neither the armed forces that they belong to nor professional bodies such as the Sri Lanka Medical Council have honoured or recognised them. There is a saying that “a doctor’s job is a thankless job.”

We, the small band of medical professionals are only human and would appreciate at least a word of thanks.
A medical professional in the Armed Forces

****

Travails of Grama Sevaka Niladharis

Recently, there was an article in the newspapers stating that the Grama Sevaka Niladharis commencing from July 1, 2009, are required to work on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays (from 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m.) and Saturdays (8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.) instead of the earlier practice of working on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the morning hours only. Apparently, people feel that it is difficult to contact them on these three days and that often, some of the Grama Sevakas do not turn up which leaves the people seeking their assistance high and dry! Therefore, the government feels that they must work additional days to serve the people in a better manner. The fact that the government has taken note of the lapses and wishes to rectify short comings is highly commendable.

In fairness to these public servants we need to admit that the vast majority of Grama Sevakas are performing a tremendous service to the country and residents coming under their purview and the actions of a minority of truants or miscreants must and should not vilify the entire category of “Grama Sevaka Niladhari” (GNs) who are doing a yeomen service with the barest of facilities given to them by the government which is in itself unfair. “To give an inch and expect a yard” of service from them, is unfair by any standards given the fact that many other categories of public servants enjoy much more perks but their productivity is far from satisfactory and hardly anyone dares to point these out.
Let us look at how well the government is looking after their needs and judge whether or not, their performance is satisfactory before criticising them.

If we call them “gypsies” we are not far from the truth because they have no decent place called their “office” where they can establish a proper working environment which naturally would give them the much needed incentive to work. Most of them perform their public duties in village temples (some times three to four GNs share the same facility) in the Dharmasala or similar places which they are expected to call their “office” and they are given a desk and two chairs (one for them to sit and the other for their visitor to sit on) plus a small cupboard. The Rs.500 they are given per month as office rent under the current social set-up; Rs.200 per month as a travelling allowance; Rs.1,000 per month for procurement of required stationery items is about all they get from the government which expects these Grama Niladharis to service families of 500, 1,500, 1,800 or even as much as 2,000 households of the GN divisions that are demarcated and allocated to them! As a basic salary they are paid Rs.13,120 per month.
They are not provided with a mode of transport whether it be a simple push bicycle or motor bike but are expected to cover the areas mentioned above and many are the times we have seen them trudging along on foot down the in-roads of villages or towns in the sweltering heat to visit houses to gather information/data or distribute Householder’s Lists. It is not often that householders even offer a smile to these public servants when the door bells ring to hand over the said forms!

If the government (all governments past and present) wish to get a better service from these public servants, would it be possible to consider providing an independent common office space/building/rented house with proper water, electricity and a fan (luxury of course!) for the GNs covering one Pradeshiya Sabha to work and set up their office in a dignified manner? Sometimes there are two, three, four or even five GNs who cover one Pradeshiya Sabha area and it would help if they are housed under one roof to enable them to discuss common problems within the region.

Hopefully, these office facilities must be independent from political interference for them to perform their duties impartially to all households that come under their purview. If this is done, there will definitely be a difference in the attitudes of these GNs who can lock up their documents at the end of their duties on the days stipulated at the beginning of this article without having to cart confidential files to and from their homes as they are required to do now.

Under the circumstances mentioned above, can we blame or criticise these public servants who are in reality, the one category of public servants who are actually working closest to the householders and performing a tremendous service? It is the sincere wish of the writer that the relevant government authorities will think seriously about providing them a better deal to perform their duties. How much have authorities taken into consideration the many odds against which they are expected to perform their duties or we the citizens of this country thought about their woes? It is high time we did!

Dharmitha
Kotte

****

Certificates and prizes for using text books carefully

It was reported in a recent issue of a Sinhala newspaper that students who maintain textbooks, which are given free by the Educational Publications department, were given certificates last year, which was Commissioner General of Educational Publications, Jayantha Pushpa Kumara’s, brainwave.
This year, the Department has decided to reward the students who use the textbooks carefully with prizes in addition to certificates, says the above news item. It was reported, there is a lot of saving as the reprint order quantity for the following year is substantially reduced.

It is no doubt, a very good idea to encourage students to keep the books neat and tidy, free of scribbles, etc. But, I would like to suggest that we reward students not only for maintaining the books spick and span but also for punctuality as well.
We also should not forget the teachers to be adequately looked after by presenting gifts annually or the Department of Education should come out with novel ideas of rewarding the teachers, so that it will be an inducement for the teachers to be punctual and be more dedicated. It was alleged by some teachers at a symposium sponsored by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung that they are the lowest paid in the state sector.

I suggest that the Department of Education formulate and implement new steps to reward the teachers. Once the teachers are dedicated, students’ dependence on private tuition can be reduced to a great extent. It’s my wish that we do away with private tutories, the way we did away with terrorism, by completely eradicating it from our country.

Mohamed Zahran
Colombo 3

****

Interpol - Of what use?

In recent times, our newspapers have often referred to Interpol. Several fugitives who have escaped from Sri Lankan justice are supposed to be wanted by Interpol. So often have newspapers referred to these criminals as ‘wanted by Interpol’ it appears as if this has become a qualification, particularly for our master swindlers.

What is Interpol? Perhaps many have only heard about it. Its full name is The International Criminal Police Organisation. It is the world’s largest international police organisation with 187 member countries. Created in 1923, it facilitates cross-border police co-operation and assists organisations that prevent and combat international crime.

The General Secretariat of Interpol is located in Lyon, France and operates 24 hours a day under the Secretary General. Each member country maintains a National Central Bureau staffed by its local police officers. This is the contact point for the General Secretariat, regional offices and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives.

Sri Lanka is a member country of Interpol paying a substantial annual subscription fee. Its NCB is located within the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and this is considered one of the latter’s important desks. Delegates from Sri Lanka attend the annual General Assembly Sessions at which all important decisions related to policy, resources, working methods, finances, activities and programmes are determined.

The worrying question is, why can’t this prestigious, exclusive and powerful international police organisation arrest the few big Sri Lankan swindlers who are at large? More than even these swindlers, it has failed to arrest one of the world’s most wanted international terrorists and gun runners K.P. the Sri Lankan Tiger.
To Sri Lankans, Interpol is just an empty name. The General Assembly should take note of this and get the Executive Committee and General Secretariat rid the organisation of its lethargy.

Edward Gunawardena
Battaramulla

****

Why blame USA for our faults?

I find the statements made by some government officials not only amusing but most embarrassing. Take the case of the recent ‘travel advisory’ apparently issued by the USA to its travelling citizens. It appears that US citizens have been told to be watchful of travelling within Sri Lanka due to possible terror attacks. This has upset government officials who are up in arms objecting to it on the grounds that it is over a month since the LTTE terrorists were destroyed and that such a statement was unnecessary as the ground situation is entirely different.

Was it not recently that our ministers when asked at a news conference as to why security was still heightened, barricades still on and roads suddenly closed causing inconvenience to the public, responded stating that Intelligence Reports indicate the presence of LTTE cells in the South and that there were possibilities of attacks in revenge.
When will those in power learn that it cannot relate one story for locals and another for foreigners?
No one can blame either the Americans or anyone else for taking precautions especially when the very government in power admits to such insecurity.

H. Goonasekara
Etul Kotte

****

 Appreciation - Tissa Dias 

Third death anniversary

This year is a special year for us. Both our sons are sitting for the Advanced Level exam, in another two weeks time. ‘If you were here…’ that thought always come to my mind. You supported them as much as possible. Whenever you could, you picked them from their classes. Even last two days of your life you performed those duties.

I can remember how both of us discussed; laughed about everything of theirs. Especially you considered about their education. You always told them, “Sons, you should study well and live a better life than ours.”
The year you departed us was the younger son Nipun’s Ordinary Level exam. When his results were out, you were not with us. He passed the exam with very good results, but I really missed you that day because you always shared everything with me. I am happy that he fulfilled your expectations.

These days both sons are studying hard. They go to classes, together they study. You used to tell them, “Mother is there to coach you for one subject, so you get the maximum advantage of that,” whenever I teach them. I remind them those words. They do the same subjects for the exam and discuss about the difficult areas.

Not only studies but they also assist me in other things as well. They help me a lot like you were. Some days they drop me to the junction in the morning and help me with cooking. So I am lucky to have two sons like you. If you were here today, you would be very happy to see them as mature persons.

I know you liked to watch them going to the new class on the first day of every year from the day of admission to the school. After they came to higher classes still you wanted to watch them. When I told you, it would be late and go for work, but you still needed that feeling of happiness.

The first day, both sons came to my section of the school I missed your comments.
You had a note book, its name is “Supun and Nipun.” You had written all the special things of their life from small days. When I read the whole book after your demise I found an interesting sentence you have written. When you were writing the book, Nipun Putha had come there and told you “‘thattha’ is writing A, B, C.” So you wrote that also. He was very small then. When I read that book, I realised how much you loved them and admired them. I wish I could share those happy memories with you.

I believe that as the way you expected, they will fulfill your dreams. Elder son Supun is really working hard. He is a good example for others how to take a challenge and decided to sit the exam again, as he was unable to sit last year due to ill health, just two days prior to the exam.
I am sure our sons will become good citizens as they are blessed by you. We will remember you forever.

Champika Ramani Dias

****

Your memories heal my pain

Three years have gone by, since you left me and the world that loved you very much. But the memories that you and I shared help me to ease down the loneliness, the pain that I have to heal without you.
We had a bond, far beyond that was of a father and a son. We were best friends. We used to talk everything that matters life and work. You wanted me to know everything that would help me to stand on my own feet and achieve the major goals that are needed to succeed in my life.
You always told me to do whatever that I think is the best for myself. But you wanted one to remember that every action has its own consequences.

You sacrificed your time for the well-being of me and ‘malli’. You always wanted to provide everything we needed and yes; you provided everything we needed. Your teaching and advice has helped me to go through this painful period that I have to face alone without you. I knew that you are watching me. I know that you are right behind me; helping me to do my studies well; which is the most important thing now as the exams are getting closer. You never wanted me to give up and I didn’t give up. I wanted to do my exams well, no matter how many years it takes to succeed well. The last day that you and I talked, the day you left all of us, you told me to have a plan and start studying well as it was exactly a year for the A/L exam.

What you told me on that day helped me to motivate myself to study well. Even after three years, I am still with the exams. But this time I and ‘malli’ will be doing the exams together and we will so, it will, just for you, just as you wanted that you always wanted us to do was to do the exams well.

You had a ‘dream’ and we are committed to make that dream come true. You wanted us to climb to the top level that can be achieved in the field we have chosen to do. The exams will be the foundation to make that dream come true.

I promise you that I will look after mother and brother just the way you looked after them and I will keep them happy as ever.
For all what I am; I owe to you… I miss you a lot, but I love you more than anyone. I love you so much Thatha. You are the best father in the world.

Supun Hasantha Dias

****

 

 

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