MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
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
UN VALUES COMPROMISED
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
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
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.
SUSPECT IS THE POLICE
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
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.
TIME TO PAY BACK
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
WILL MOON’S PANEL MAKE US SEE STARS?
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.