In which country do you find a 42-year-old aircraft being permitted to fly as a commercial cargo carrier when the country’s laws clearly stipulate that no plane more than 15 years old can be registered? The answer folks, you all will have to ask from the Director General of Civil Aviation, H. M. C. Nimalasiri, who even served as an international consultant till recently. While you all are at it please also ask him as to who will collect the insurance if the flying jalopy crashes or who will pay for the losses if it crashes in a populated area.


One may expect the UN to be the citadel of just hope, fair play, transparency and good governance, but it continues to prove that it is none of the above and its employees even in Colombo are literally terrorised to submit to a coterie that manipulates it.
One of the latest intrigues to come out of its Colombo office is about what almost happened to the position of its National Information Officer after its incumbent the amiable Mohan Samaranayake retired at the end of January. The vacancy was advertised in the latter part of last year to select a suitable candidate for the post, but what happened even a much maligned local politician couldn’t have done. From what is filtering out of the place outwardly the organisation had appointed an interview panel to screen the applicants who were first long listed and then from that a handful had been short listed for the final interview.
It was here that the attempted coup was staged by suddenly deciding to allow an outgoing big shot to interview the finalists. Claiming he was hard pressed for time he had interviewed just two and he had selected one of them for the job, who just happened to be an assistant in his own division!
But among the finalists who had been overlooked is a Fulbright scholar with much experience in media circles and those overlooked are ones who have held similar posts in international organizations, whereas the favourite selected for the post had no such qualification.
When the high-handed act of the ex-boss was discovered at least some employees of the organization had the guts to protest and the result had been the organization has decided to go through the entire selection process once again.
Will justice be done the second time? Meanwhile someone is acting in that post as to who it is your guess is as good as ours.
UN Acting Resident Coordinator Douglas Keh, however, maintained that all reports which claimed that recruitment of the information officer had been done without following formal procedures and that it denied an opportunity for well qualified scholars to obtain the post are inaccurate and false. “We want to select the best for the job and even though there are gaps for certain posts, the recruitment process which is still going on is rigorously carried out. I can assure that these reports are inaccurate”, he said refusing to go into any details.


Many of us we are certain have not seen how gamblers exploit poor village funeral houses to stage a gambling tournaments of sort where real game karayas from around the country converge in their dozens if not hundreds to gamble away for days without having to worry about the law raiding such places.
There was such a funeral house in our neighbourhood close to the capital city, but what we did not bargain for was having to put up with seven nonstop sleepless nights as at least two gambling tables even extended to adjoining lanes, under two street lights. No one dared to complain thinking they would be taken as bad neighbours, but it became apparent soon as to what was happening as every morning the neighbours had to clean up discarded beer cans, cigarette packs, cigarette butts, etc.
Despite sleepless nights no one wanted to complain especially with dozens of unknown characters descending there after dark standing in every nook and corner waiting for a turn at a gambling table. We could only mostly make out shadows moving in the dark with lit cigarettes. No neighbour dared to complain especially to the police knowing very well that if any one was to do it within minutes the cops would inform the underworld running the operation as to who complained.
But the strangest part was that cops are now supposed to patrol the area regularly after the residence of a recently retired senior admiral in the vicinity was burgled in broad daylight. Of course after the daring burglary the cops rounded up a group of “usual suspects” to please the establishment and the officer, who is now a senior consultant to the Defence Ministry.
So this is how the cops miss a golden opportunity to catch many a game karaya possibly wanted by the law? Many of these gamblers would have taken the opportunity to scout potential houses as future targets to recoup what they lost at the card tables.
So, next time when our houses are robbed and the cops come and ask their standard question: ‘whom do you suspect?’ we can say now itself, it is the police.
There was an excellent OIC here earlier who showed zero tolerance to criminal elements, but Chief Inspector Ranjith Dassanayake was given a lightning transfer to a Siberia station because some politico did not like him.


The presidency of the UN General Assembly is up for election and it is a tussle between the ambassador of Qatar and a politician from Nepal, but observers are wondering whether Sri Lanka will vote with Nepal considering our strong religious links with that country even though such links did not apparently prevent that country from voting in favour of Bangladesh when it came to selecting a country to site the headquarters of the regional grouping BIMSTEC, which Sri Lanka had been eyeing for more than five years. It is believed two other Buddhist nations Bhutan and Thailand also voted in favour of Dacca, effectively giving Bangladesh the Secretariat in a three to two vote with only India and Burma believing to have supported our cause. One can understand the behaviour of Thailand as it has always prostituted itself having turned a blind eye to LTTE operating openly from that country for weapons smuggling and other nefarious activities during the almost the entire length of our war. But like the West it is now paying dearly with its own terror problem.

Rev. Moon’s controversial panel that was appointed to probe and advise the Secretary General on alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka, while nothing is being done about for example the illegal invasion of Iraq and the resultant massacring of hundreds of thousands of innocent people of that country, was expected to wind up its job this month, but according to reports they will take at least another three to four weeks to come up with their report. There is no hurry either as each member of the panel is paid US$500 per day for their work. They have already had one extension so far so don’t be surprised about further extensions. But folks don’t expect any surprises as what they write will have to ensure that they get their next assignment.
Naturally they will have to please the international community made up of a handful of Western countries and their NGO lobby.