The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 2

2
Sunday, March 22, 2015
100 DAYS
1. President will take oaths
Done, on Jan 9. Earlier
2. A Cabinet of no
more than 25 members
Done, on Jan 12. Late.
27 Cabinet Ministers
Satu
r
day January 10
Su
nday January 11
1
2
3. National Advisory
Council meets
Done on Jan 15. Late
3
4.Parliament will meet
Done on Jan 20. Late
Mon
day January 19
4
5
5.Standing orders will be
amended
T
u
e
sday Ja
n
uary 20
Monday January 12
6.Process of abolishing Executive
Presidency begins with
19th Amendment*
Wednesday January 21
6
7. An all party to replace the current
Preferential Vote
7
Wednesday January 28
8
8. An interim budget
T
h
ursday January 29
Monday February 2
9
10. Commission on Corruption**
Thursday February 5
10
11. National Drugs Policy Bill will be tabled.
Done on March 6 (one Month late)
Friday February 6
11
12. Independent Commissions will be established
12
Wednesday February 18
13.The National Audit Bill will be introduced
Thursday February 19
13
14. The Right to Information Bill will be
introduced***
Friday February 20
14
15
16
17
18
19
* Government promised to bring the 19th Amendment by first week of March
** A High Powered Committee was appointed, but still no Commission
*** Draft has been released
**** Postponed to early April
Not done
Done
The Nation is watching
Graphics by Pushpika Karunaratne
36.8%
Monday March 02
Tuesday March 17
Wednesday March 18
Thursday March 19
Friday March 20
15. Introduction of new
Electoral laws
16. Election system
amendments in
Parliment
17. National Drug
Policy to be adopted.
Done on March 6
18. National Audit Bill to
be passed
19. Right to information Act
to be passed ****
9. An Ethical Code of Conduct for people’s representatives
The United States inaugurated
a clean water assistance program
for at-risk communities in the
Batticaloa district on March 19.
The project is funded through
USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign
Disaster Assistance and comple-
ments an earlier Rs.63 million
($487,735) USAID grant that pro-
vided 2,762water connections and
constructed 40 wells and 420 toi-
lets from 2012-2014 in Batticaloa.
As noted that residents face
significant challenges brought by
intense flooding in the past few
years, requiring long-term solu-
tions to ensure stable, cleanwater
and sanitation access, they have
initiated the move.
“Batticaloa is one of the most
disaster-prone districts in Sri
Lanka, so many people here are
unable to ever recover from pov-
erty since their livelihoods are
so dependent on weather,” said
Government Agent for Batticaloa
P.S.M. Charles. “We welcome
USAID’s long-term support in di-
saster response and risk mitiga-
tion.”
Due the increasing frequency
of floods, an important goal of
this project is to strengthenwater
and sanitation infrastructures
to help reduce the risks from fu-
ture natural disasters. Working
through the PALM Foundation,
theRs.13million ($100,000) project
will provide clean drinkingwater,
better sanitation facilities, educa-
tion on good hygiene practices
and livelihoods assistance.
“This initiative is going to
enhance villages’ resilience to
cycles of drought and floods in
this part of the country,” said Pui
ManWong from the United States
Agency for International Devel-
opment (USAID). “We look for-
ward to working with local com-
munities and local government to
ensure access to clean water and
maintenance to these facilities.”
T
he Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called
upon individuals with severely compromised
integrity to be on a panel tasked to discuss the
proposed Right to Information Act.
One of the panelists invited, all powerful and pa-
tently unaccountable Executive Director of the Cen-
tre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Paikiasothy Sarava-
namuttu, is amanunder a heavy cloud for stubbornly
refusing to part with relevant documents pertaining
to irregular financial transactions, all of which were
highlighted in
Colombo Telegraph
. Saravanamuttu’s
behaving in this regard has been highly suspicious
and marked with strange delays, promises to reveal,
long silences, etc.
The President of the Bar Association, an ardent
critic of the previous regime duly rewarded with a
high post immediately following Maithripala Siris-
ena’s electoral victory, himself is severely compro-
mised, according to Colombo based human rights
activists.
When questioned about Jayantha Dhanapala‘s lack
of integrity in continuing to sit on the board of Dia-
log even as that company was complicit in the then
Government’s moves to block
Colombo Telegraph
,
Jayasuriya had pointed out that he, Dhanapala had
resigned.
Inviting to be a panelist of the today’s Public Fo-
rum on Right to Information organized by the BASL,
its Research Manager wrote to
Colombo Telegraph
editor Uvindu Kurukulasuriya; “Professor Camena
Gunerathna, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and Dr.
Mario Gomez have confirmed their participation in
the panel.”
The invitation said:
“The audience will include Judges, Academics, Me-
dia Personnel, Members of the Bar and we intend to
invite the embassies, Chamber of Commerce, Mem-
bers of the OPA and other civil societies who regular
participate for BASL Public Forums.
“We take pleasure in inviting you to make a brief
10 minute presentation at this public forum and we
will share the agenda and the official invitation soon.
“The event is on Monday 16th March at 3.30pm (SL)
time.”
When asked, “Do you not agree that when speakers
are selected, they must be persons of outstanding in-
tegrity? i.e. How can Saravanmuttu be there, since he
himself is covering up reports we request? How can
he talk about RTI?”
The BASL research manager replied; “The objec-
tive of our symposium was to obtain the views of a
wide range of stakeholders.Whilstwe do respect your
views we apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
When pointed out that BASL president Upul Jayas-
uriya’s earlier conversation with
Colombo Telegraph
neither Upul nor BASL Research Manager has re-
plied to CT communications on the integrity issue
and therefore the moral right of the BASL to even
broach the subject of the right to information is ques-
tionable.
We publish below the relevant part of the conversa-
tion we had with Upul Jayasuriya;
Q
: Are the Public Forums announced to be
held by the BASL part of this initiative?
No.
Q
: How many of such forums have already
been held and where?
We have held two Forums. In Colombo and Kandy.
Q
: Who are the resource persons for these
meetings? Can you provide a list of such
speakers?
Dr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Jayantha Dhana-
pala,Dr. SavithriGunasekera,OPAPresidentGanesh,
Dr. ThamilselvamSelvam, Dr. Deepika Udugama, Mr.
KD Janaranjana, Saman Ratnapriya, Najith of Inter
University Federation, Mr. Chandra Jayaratna
Q
: Is it not true that Mr Jayantha Dhanapala
was a resource person at one such meeting
of the BASL held under this program recently?
That’s correct.
Q
: Do you not agree that when speakers are
selected, they must be persons of outstand-
ing integrity
Of course.
Q
: Are you aware that Mr Dhanapala recently
stepped down from the Board of Dialog in an
implicit acknowledgement that it was wrong for
him to serve on the Board of a company block-
ing internet sites in Sri Lanka while si-
multaneously being a member of groups
such as the Friday Forum which issues
public statements on protection of hu-
man rights?
We have implicit trust and regard for Mr.
Jayantha Dhanapala. As a member of board
of directors what he discusses at the board
of directors is confidential. There could be
disagreement among the board members.
Even if when one opposes or disagrees on
any issue that may come up at a meeting of
the board of directors, he cannot and shall
not divulge the same to a third party. If the
Company persists in continuing with any
stand that does not agree with a certain
member, the only alternative that is left to
such director is to tender resignation.
Q
: Are you aware that Mr Dhanapala
stepped down not of his own choos-
ing but after a sustained campaign by
Colombo Telegraph on the unethical
position that he was taking in this re-
gard?
If he had stepped down as a result of the
“sustain campaign” by Colombo Telegraph
it only goes to prove that he had bowed to
the public opinion in keeping with his con-
scious, for which he has to be respected.
“I think Upul’s answer to that last ques-
tion (Jayantha Dhanapala) is utterly dishon-
est. Dhanapala should have stepped down
of his own accord, not because CT pressed
the issue. Upul’s post-election acceptance
of the BOI chairmanship anyway shows the
extent of the problem.” Colombo based HR
activist told CT.
The reference is to an interview with
Jayasuriya on an ongoing CT’s investiga-
tion about how the BASL is using USAID
money as well as other BASL activities.
ColomboTelegraph
Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Bar Association promotes information
Names controversial
personalities in panel
Batticaloa villages receive
clean water assistance
By Sahla Ilham
National Gem Mining Orga-
nization is making an effort to
preserve the rights of laborers
working in gem mines. This en-
deavor aims at giving protection
to families who have lost mem-
bers due to death while working
in the mining industry.
According to workers of the
association, unexpected deaths
and accidents are usual occur-
rences in their livelihood while
engaging in the job. The orga-
nization plans to help families
affected by such bitter experi-
ences.
National Gem Mining Or-
ganization General Secretary
Swarna Mallikarachchi said
that they have noted that the
lack of knowledge on proper
safety equipment and measur-
ers of the employees are the
main reasons for such occur-
rences in the industry. “It is
very pathetic. Sometimes youth
are the victims,” he added.
Mallikarachchi also added
that it was high time to educate
the mining industry employ-
ees on safety, modern tools and
many other things. “They must
also have strong confidence in
themselves and we will work on
such issues,” Mallikarachchi
added.
The Organisation invites the
industry employees to send
their details to No 622, New
Town, Ratnapura. Further de-
tails can be obtained by calling
0713444110 or 0719600688.
Boost for gemminers
and their families
Pic
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