Author Archives: srilankatwo

A fight for ‘equal’ opportunity

A fight for ‘equal’ opportunity

Prof Carlo Fonseka supported the fascistic regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa and still believes that he has done the correct thing. Any person who could support criminal racist activities of Mahinda regime cannot be a rationalist leave apart being a Samasamajist.
While speaking among the ‘Polpot socialists’ of anti SAITM meeting, Carlo has lamented that 8,000 state medical students are sacrificed for the benefit of 1,000 private medical students. He has forgotten logic or mathematics or both. No one has sacrificed state sector medical student, except lunatics who have dragged them out for a cause that is unjust from top to bottom. There is and there was private education in parallel with free or non paid state sector education in this country; as it is common to many liberal bourgeoisie countries in the world.
Not only the bourgeoisie but also rich middle class parents did not want to compete with proletarians, and opted out for private education. When the percentage of rejects at the university entrance became massive, the private university education became the only avenue for the rejected but good A/Level qualified students. Obviously, this opening is only for those with means in this capitalist setup.
Higher studies
Thus higher studies became an attractive business and faculties develop for engineering, technology, management, accountancy, humanities, law etc. for medicine it was difficult with the requirement of heavy investment. But the necessity was real; because biology qualified students were in despair compared to private sector students in engineering and other subjects. In this scenario some people dared to invest in a college for medicine and SAITM was born. While, all those colleges in private sector for engineering, technology, etc are given helping hand by the professionals in each field, in medicine doctors got wild and created unimaginable stupidity, to not only to disrupt SAITM- the coming up private medical college, but also the education of the state sector medical students. All those are now dragging the country into a Polpotian terrorist revolution. How my senior Samsamajist, Carlo could fall into such mess and to imagine that he is in the last battle in the Marxian sense is beyond me.
While we are challenged by chauvinist politics which destroyed the old guard of leftist, mainly Samasamajist; in the western world new things are happening. Yes, racist chauvinists are still there, but challenge is positive. In western countries it is quite easy for the middle class intellectuals to brand the working class as the most rabidly chauvinist and racist group of the whites.
White supremacy
In US, however whether they’re brandishing Confederate flags or vociferously vowing to “Make America Great Again,” their beliefs about white supremacy are completely exposed for the world to witness. This is simplistic than serious; but it is much harder to see how those at the top in the economic pyramid not only greatly benefit from white supremacy but actually use racism to their advantage — generally from behind the scenes. Clearly, when these pandiths hold the working class responsible for white supremacy, other whites are absolved of racial wrongdoing. By allowing the spread of civic ignorance, by propagating historical lies and political untruths, and by spreading an insidious form of racism, upper class whites are undoubtedly just as culpable — if not more so — than working class whites in the quest to maintain white supremacy.
Certainly I am not defending the racism of working-class whites, or any excuse; but we must understand the ways in which white supremacy and power are completely intertwined. Throughout American history, or in general western history, the economic elite or the bourgeoisie have used vile forms of racism to perpetuate the current hierarchy — politically, socially and economically.
White supremacy is most commonly conceptualized and introduced as a way for lower-class whites to feel socially superior to people from other ethnic backgrounds. It is more important to recognize that white supremacy is a tried-and-tested means for upper class whites to grow their wealth and power.
Pitting labourers of different races against each other, raising racial fears through sensationalistic and profit-driven media projects and politically making scapegoat of entire nationalities, American and western white elite have successfully modernized age-old strategies of using racism to prevent the formation of a broad coalition of people along class lines. Thus they have undermined the Marxist clamour for the unity of the proletariat.
Jeremy Corbyn
Then after a turbulent period, somewhat suddenly arrived Bernie and his British counterpart Jeremy Corbyn, to challenge the white supremacist system in the western world. Since his grassroots presidential campaign took Bernie the world by storm, Senator Bernie Sanders has been widely credited with bringing socialism back into the mainstream of American politics and introducing an entire generation to left-wing politics.
As a major presidential candidate who unabashedly identified as a democratic socialist, Sanders essentially resurrected an idea that has been considered thrown out in American political discourse for many decades: that there is an alternative to capitalism and that is socialism. In the same time Jeremy Corbyn began his career as a representative delegate for various trade unions and workers federations. He became the Secretary of Hornsey Constituency Labour Party branch, and continued in both roles until elected MP for Islington North. As a backbench MP he was known for his activism and rebelliousness, frequently voting against the Labour whip, including when the party was in government under Tony Blair and Brown. Ideologically, Corbyn too self-identifies as a Democratic Socialist.
Of course be sure, the concept of white privilege must seem far-fetched to working-class whites who come from generations of cyclical poverty living in proletarian areas in the western world. They constantly are told that African-Americans or African Europeans are the primary recipients of welfare and social benefits, and that policies like affirmative action are greatly detrimental to all whites. By controlling key aspects of the economy, especially education, politics and the media, the white elite bourgeoisie often very easily manipulate less affluent whites.
Educational system
Firstly by governing and managing the education system in the western world, the upper classes remain in control of the equality of opportunity. While much of western world is plagued by an underfunded, failing public school system that gets exponentially worse the deeper area’s poverty, the affluent live in areas with higher property taxes, and thus, better local school systems.
Despite this disparity, the rich also are always able to send their children to private schools, escaping the bleak educational realities that most others are left to suffer. Secondly, elite authority over the educational system also means regulation over the teaching of subjects like history, government and civics. An overwhelming majority of citizens have shockingly little understanding of their own past and their own government, often leading to lower-class political apathy.
Thirdly, a small number of extremely wealthy white men control and operate much of the western media. With just a handful of corporations owning the majority of country’s media, it is worth remembering that news today is essentially a product to be sold, a commodity. The media monopoly obviously presents valid concerns about fair and balanced reporting. Each of the few very powerful, rich bourgeois has its own reasons for deciding what qualifies as “news.”
Finally, business owners and corporate leaders have historically sought to powerful tool in preventing unionism; to keep workers segregated, either physically or by job. Since industrial revolution times, masters attempted to engender racism between poor white labourers and enslaved blacks, trying to keep each side distrustful of the other. By perpetuating and encouraging a vile form of racism, they attempted to establish psychological segregation, ultimately thwarting the prospect of an interracial coalition. Even today, elites use white supremacy as a means to prevent the idea of same society or Samasamajism!
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Continuing Torture & Sexual Violence In Sri Lanka – Part V

Continuing Torture & Sexual Violence In Sri Lanka – Part V

Continued from Wednesday 
Chapter 11  – Aftermath
“Family members in Sri Lanka remain under surveillance and intelligence services ask them where the victim has gone. This seems to be more about keeping the family silent and tracking the victim abroad, rather than investigating an escape which the security services themselves facilitated”
Suicide attempts
“The levels of trauma amongst recent torture victims from Sri Lanka, many of whom have attempted suicide, are alarming. Most of those we interviewed describe having contemplated suicide at some point. Typically the trigger is reprisals against relatives or being rejected for asylum……many victims describe themselves as suicidal and/or self harming. They must cope with the physical pain after torture as well as mental trauma and, on top of this, often find themselves in a foreign country.
Two of the 2016/17 torture cases tried to kill themselves almost immediately on arrival in the UK, one had to be hospitalised from the airport. It is worth noting that this is hardly the action of economic migrants desperate to reach Europe to secure a better life.
Immigration detention centres
“Being placed in immigration detention on arrival in the UK also exacerbated the suicidal feelings.”
I might add that asylum seekers arriving in Australia can remain in detention centres for years. I have described these detention centres, some in mainland Australia and some off shore in Christmas Island, Papua New Guinea (Manus Island), and in Nauru as ‘manufacturing centres for mental disease’. It is a gross violation of the UN Refugee Convention, signed and ratified by Australia (and the UK).
Re-traumatising
“The asylum application process is slow, leaving the victim in limbo, unable to work, unable to access support services effectively or reunite with loved ones”.
Australia’s asylum-seeker policy is an international disgrace, probably the worst in the world. There is an excellent book by Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong: “Refugees. Why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not”. I strongly recommend this book.
The next two Chapters are very important. I will quote from them extensively.
Chapter 12 – Conclusion
“The UN Investigation into Sri Lanka described the modus operandi of “white van” abductions and established that incidents of sexual violence were not isolated acts but part of a deliberate policy to inflict torture by the security forces. Nothing has been done by the new Government to break this culture of impunity, even when a torture site has been identified by the ITJP and corroborated by visiting International teams.
After two and a half years in office, the Government’s failure to investigate past allegations makes it complicit in the continuation of the violations.
There has also been no attempt to vet public officials despite the commitment in UN HRC Resolution 30/1 to do this. Instead, the Government has rewarded alleged torturers and officials allegedly implicated in war crimes. As the ITJP reports show, alleged perpetrators have been sent abroad as diplomats and members of delegations to UN committees.
The ITJP evidence base s built on hundreds of detailed witness statements, through which the ITJP has now identified several alleged perpetrators (direct and in positions of command responsibility) and torture sites, but there are regrettably no witness protection mechanism for witnesses and victims inside or outside to testify, be it to a truth commission or court. The evidence base has been amplified by insider witnesses who confirm the modus operandi and methodology as well as identity of many of the torturers.
The Government has excused its failure to investigate saying it is waiting for a special court to be set up. However, it is now clear that the Prime Minister and President have no intention of establishing a hybrid court as the (former) Foreign Minister promised in Geneva in 2015. The President reassured the security forces in person and in public that not one of them will be charged with human rights violations, which reinforces the culture of impunity. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has made it clear that another domestic mechanism will not have the trust of victims after so many have failed to deliver justice. Furthermore, the limitations in the current criminal justice system render it incapable of delivering justice for serious crimes.

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STORYSPHERE: Education at Risk 

STORYSPHERE: Education at Risk 

GROUNDVIEWS on 08/17/2017
As part of a series marking 150 years of tea production in Sri Lanka, Groundviews used StorySphere, an immersive storytelling platform created by Google to showcase 360 degree imagery.
Here, Vice Principal Thiruchelvam describes the difficulties faced by Maymallay School, which is located in an area vulnerable to landslides. The Government has promised to relocate the school, but has taken no action yet. As a result, the school struggles to function with less than adequate facilities for its students.
View the StorySphere here, or below.
image
2017 marks 150 years of tea production in Sri Lanka. To mark this anniversary, there have been several celebratory events and activities, including a Global Tea Party, an International Tea Convention and a charity auction organised by a variety of stakeholders including the Ceylon Tea Traders Association, the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Tourist Board and tea companies. While these events have received wide coverage, there is little mention of the tea plantation workers, without whose contribution the industry would not exist.
With this in mind, Groundviews launched a series of audiovisual stories aimed at raising awareness on the difficulties faced by estate workers and the changes in the industry (or lack thereof) over the past 150 years.
To view the rest of the series, click here.
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NEW Movement critical of yahapalana govt’s journey

NEW Movement critical of yahapalana govt’s journey

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2017-08-18
The present ‘Yahapalana Government’ completed a period of two and half years. But as the Government passed its two-year mark a question of credibility has risen in the mind of the general public against the Government. Present Yahapalana leaders had overthrown the previous regime by making certain election promises to the people. As the election manifesto of the Government had promised, they were to enforce the law strictly and follow policies of good governance. Those found to be corrupt in the previous regime were to be punished. The present Government leaders earlier stated that they wouldn’t allow anyone to corrupt law and order by using political powers and privileges. But as the Government is running through its third year, people pose the question whether the promises mentioned in their election manifesto, were only a rhetoric, or not?
During a recent ‘sathyagrahaya’ titled ‘Heta Delakshaya Seeruwen’ staged in front of the Viharamahadevi Park, several Political leaders from the ‘Yahapalana Government’, activists and civil society organizations voiced their views influencing the authorities to fulfill the election manifesto which they had provided during the last presidential election. The ‘sathyagrahaya’ was organized by the “Movement for the Protection of Convention among 6.2 million people” in collaboration with many civil society organizations who had assisted the’ Yahapalana concept’ to form a Government.
Here are some important statements made during the event.

“Transparency of a Govt. can be measured by actions taken by the present political leaders”
– Ven. Dr. Dambara Amila Thera , Prof. of Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura  

“The transparency of a Government can be measured by the action taken by the political leaders in the present government,”  Ven. Dr. Dambara Amila Thera said.
Ven. Amila Thera said that after the formation of the coalition Government, commissions such as the FCID and PRECIFAC have been established to probe into the corruption by politicians which occurred during the former Government. Everyday it’s reported that the politicians from the former regime had appeared at theses commissions where statements were recorded. However, the Government had failed to bring corrupt politicians to book and that investigations hadn’t produced any results up to now.    “The Government isn’t moving on the correct track right now. The Government came into power to have good governance in the country and to avoid undemocratic practices like abusing the powers of the Executive Presidency,” the Thera said.
The Government has the power to appoint commissions to carry out investigations. There is an independent Judicial System in the country. Despite possessing all these powers the Government has disappointed the public because it has failed to take stern decisions and bring politicians who have corruption charges to face the law, the Thera said.
The Thera added that the transparency of the Government can be measured by actions taken by the present political leaders.”Therefore we would urge the Government to deliver on its promises according to the election manifesto,” the Thera said.

 

“Public wants AG’S Department to show same efficiency as in the past”
–  Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne

 

“Government is considering setting up of a special Court in the High Court to hear higher corruption cases involving top politicians and officials of the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime,” Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
He said that the FCID had completed investigating as many as 43 files related to corruption cases. These corruptions had occurred during the previous regime and these files had been forwarded to the AG’s Department, two years ago. Senaratne expressed his disappointment and disapproval regarding the recent method adopted by the AG’s Department in connection with the cases against politicians and top officials of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.
Minister Senaratne said that the entire country and the Government expected the AG’S Department to show the same efficiency as in the past when filing charges against corrupt ministers and officials. He said that those accused had allegedly committed various crimes including murder and misappropriating public money amounting to billions of rupees.
“The Government is considering setting up of two Trials- at- Bar at the Special Court to hear cases of murder, embezzlement and other financial crimes- including fraud and corruptions- which allegedly had been committed during the previous regime,” he said.

 

  • In most countries, the opposition party provides a solid challenge to the party that forms the Government

  • We all know the Government has changed the country to some level

  • The Government isn’t travelling on the correct track right now

 

“Present Govt. has failed to complete at least one corruption investigation”
– J.C. Weliamuna, President’s Counsel

“The trade unions, professional and civil society groups and left organizations rallied around the Government to have a country with good governance and democracy, and make the authorities take punitive action against corrupt members of the Rajapaksa Government,” said J.C. Weliamuna.  Weliamuna said that the present Government was formed by collaboration of two main political parties and the Government had made several changes in the country. Especially the Government had formed several commissions and the Police have taken measures to investigate critical corruption cases in the country.
“In most countries, the opposition party provides a solid challenge to the party that forms the Government. But in Sri Lanka, the former President’s joint opposition party is constantly trying to buckle the plans of the present Government,” he said.
Weliamuna said that the Government should immediately complete the investigations against officials of the previous regime who have corruption charges. “The present Government has been in power for two and a half years, but has still failed to complete at least one corruption investigation related to the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime,” he said.
He said that the people voted for the ‘Yahapalana Government’ to have a country with good governance and democracy. The trade unions, professionals, civil society groups and left organizations rallied around the Government to have a country with good governance, democracy, and one that promises to take punitive action against corrupt members of the Rajapaksa Government. “Therefore the Government should appoint a separate Court to immediately carry out investigations against those who have corruption charges,” he said.

 

“Continuous criticism can distance citizens
from Govt.

– Saman Rathanapriya, Chairman of Government Nursing Officers Association  

“This isn’t the democracy or the ‘Yahapalanaya’ which we had asked for,” Chairman of Government Nursing Officers Association Saman Rathanapriya said.
Rathanapriya said that the civil society organizations, gathered for the ‘Sathyagrahaya’, represented the 6.2 million people who voted in favour of forming the ‘Yahapalana Government.’
“We will pressurize the Government and the Executive President to complete the plans keeping with the election manifesto. We had requested the Government to reform the constitution and make a platform for national reconciliation. The level of corruption which took place during the former regime was one of the main issues highlighted during the present Government’s election campaign. The trade unions and civil society organizations had rallied around the ‘Yahapalana Government’ because of these reasons,” he pointed out.
He expressed that the former Government had connections in most cases such as the murder of the national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, the disappearence of journalists Prageeth Ekaneligoda and the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga, the Welikada Prison massacre among other corruptions and fraud cases. He said that the country’s judicial system had failed to file charges against those higher persons of the former Government.
“Investigations have been completed in most cases, but the authorities still haven’t been able to go public with the reports. This isn’t democracy or ‘Yahapalnaya’ which we had asked for,” he affirmed.
The majority had decided to form the coalition Government, but now the regime is being criticized by many civil society organizations regarding broken promises. The Government should make more commitments to protect ‘Yahapalanaya’ in the country. Otherwise the citizens will distance themselves from the Government.

 

“We had formed this Government and we need to take it on to the right track”
-K.W. Janaranjana, Ravaya Editor –

Expressing his views on the matter, Ravaya Editor K.W. Janaranjana said that the Government had taken certain initiatives to get the country onto a proper democratic platform. He also added that citizens are happy moving ahead with the challenge taken in 2015 to change the country using good governance.
”We can appreciate what the ‘Yahapalana Government’ has done throughout these two and a half years, but we can’t accept it when Government leaders use political powers and privileges for their own satisfaction. We can see the Government has forgotten about their election manifesto and is trying to move in a different direction. We  formed this Government and we need to take it on to the right track. As civil society organizations we will raise our voices constantly to take the Government on to the right track. We will urge leaders to deliver on their promises in keeping with their election manifesto,” Janaranjana said.

 

“We urge the Govt. to implement a separate Court to  probe corruption  during the previous regime”
-Dr. Nimalka Fernando, Human Rights Activist and Attorney-at-Law

 

“We would like to urge the government to implement a separate court to probe the corruption which had occurred during the previous regime,”  Dr. Nimalka Fernando said.
Presenting a proclamation with the collection of ideas from several civil society organizations, Dr. Fernando pointed out that the present Government was formed in 2015 largely due to the fact that their manifesto mentioned as top priority, defeating the Rajapaksa Government over its uncontrolled corruption, strict policies and attacks on democratic rights. People had backed the government to establish a peaceful country sans extremist influences. “We all know the Government has changed the country to some level. Some important changes can be highlighted. Through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution we saw the dilution of many powers of Executive Presidency. The Government had relocated some people again in North- East Provinces. The Government had introduced the Victims and Witnesses Protection Act. We also appreciate the step taken to reform the constitution and they are working on it by forming a Public Representation Committee. But with all these positive changes the Government is doing things to descend from a top pedestal like not dealing with politicians and officials of the previous regime who were involved in corruption,” she said.
Fernando pointed out that they had reported on how the Government was meddling with issues where the corrupt should be put before court. She also said that several key figures in the present Government were involved in corruption issues.
“By staging this ‘Sathyagrahaya’ we would like to urge the Government to implement a separate Court to probe corruption which had occurred during the previous regime and the corruption that has occurred in the present regime,” she said.
She said that some parties in the Government were also trying to halt constitutional reforms. “This Government was formed by uniting two major political parties in the country. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed to abolish the Executive Presidency through a constitutional reform. We aren’t allowing the ‘Yahapalana Government’ to move out without abolishing the Executive Presidency,” she said.
“We have highly condemned the fact that the present Government lacks transparency in its dealings with the financial sector. The Government has still failed to establish the National Audit Act. Also the Government has failed to abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act which is a harmful act in our country. The Government has also failed to hold the Provincial Council Elections and this isn’t good for the country’s democracy,” she said.

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Renegade Dealdasa to resign on Monday- Tells Gota his destroyer cum advisor ‘I am finished Sir ‘

Renegade Dealdasa to resign on Monday- Tells Gota his destroyer cum advisor ‘I am finished Sir ‘

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News – 19.Aug.2017, 2.00PM)  Rajapakse Wijedasa alias Dealdasa ( a nickname given to him owing to his illicit wheeler dealer activities and rackets) has decided to  resign his portfolio of minister of justice and Buddha Sasana on Monday after making a special statement in parliament  based on reports reaching Lanka e news inside information division.
Wijedasa has intimated this to a business friend and his wife when they  visited his home on  17 th night. ( Only the relatives of his wife Hallawa Ralalage Mala visit his house. Because his wife has an aversion  to Wijedasa’s relatives coming to their home , Wijedasa’s relatives visiting his home  is taboo).When Gotabaya via a mobile telephone of a businessman inquired about the situation , Wijedasa  replied  ‘I am finished Sir.’
Since  Wijedasa was discussing until midnight that day on what should  be done next, his sugar level too has shot up. Wijedasa being a diabetic patient takes insulin injections to control the sugar level . When his family doctor Mathew , who is the owner of Blue Cross medical center ,Rajagiriya was informed by phone his sugar level has risen , the doctor told him to increase the insulin dose to combat it.
Wijedasa’s wife Mala had advised her husband to resign from the post , and accept whatever ministry portfolio Ranil decides to give him later , so that he  can  continue enjoying ministerial perks and privileges.  Following this sudden development , Mrs. Wijedasa was in deep sorrow because the opportunities for illicit deals and massive earnings while her husband  was a minister will now have to terminate.  Wijedasa’s elder son  Rakitha was also  in a state of fear and panic that with his father losing the portfolio he too may be dismissed from the defense ministry secretary post  as well as from the ICTA director post .Therefore he advised his father not to resign until he is removed from the ministerial post. Rakkitha also advised Wijedasa to leave the UNP and join the SLFP of Maithri faction. Wijedasa who flew into a rage scolded Rakkitha ..  ‘’Yakko, president must call me. Without that , am I to go behind him and ask , shall I come , shall I come..”
In any event next Monday he will resign his portfolio and for some time remain as a backbencher M.P., when he would  decide what measures  should be taken thereafter  . But he will not change his present programs , Wijedasa has told his close friends.

The ‘program’ he meant was the sly and slimy activities he had been engaging in all along to impede the progress and  programs of the government .In fact even at his final meeting on the 16 th at the ministry of justice he criticized the government .He revealed  the GSP concessions the government secured is not going to confer any benefits on the country.

Meanwhile Ranjan Ramanayake expressing his views following the adoption of the resolution unanimously at the UNP working committee and parliamentary group meeting against Wijedasa , said at the media briefing yesterday  , Wijedasa being given the women’s affairs portfolio will not be an issue. Ajit Perera declared if Wijedasa has any sense of shame he should tender his resignation.
On the other contrary the pro good governance masses said in one voice that an individual like Wijedasa alias Dealdasa who is  best known for  his worst illicit deals and as a renegade should not be allocated any ministry . There is a plethora of talented youngsters in the UNP who deserve those portfolios , they pointed out.
(By an inside information division reporter of Lanka e news)
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by     (2017-08-19 08:36:48)
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How Sri Lanka has moved on in accountability?

How Sri Lanka has moved on in accountability?

Crossed-Flag-Pins Sri-Lanka-Buddhism

Corruption was endemic in Sri Lanka for decades as a way of life? Corruption had affected both public and private sectors in Sri Lanka. The increasing participation and the relevance of Trade Unions in the vanguard for fighting corruption and nepotism, and recently civil society organisations, has been a noticeable feature. In the complex post conflict situation in Sri Lanka, fighting corruption was difficult, in fact dangerous.

by Victor Cherubim-Aug 19, 2017

Aug 19, 2017

( August 19, 2017, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) If Britain has bus lanes, Sri Lanka must have at some stage similar or better bus lanes, whether our roads can accommodate all types of road users, including cows. If in San Francisco they have Mexican Taco, a corn or wheat “tortilla” folded or rolled around a filling of some sort, is it “must visit” a Taco in Colombo? If in Caracas, women were seen out on the streets, we too saw some days ago, women in numbers outside Matara town, shouting slogans, rightly about Samurdhi, whether they are young mothers or grandmothers. If they built the Shard at London Bridge, should we also turn Galle Face into a charade of high rise luxury penthouses to better the Shard or Dubay?
Is it collective wisdom or was it the “way to do things”? It is anybody’s guess? Collusion between businesses around the world and politicians is witnessed as they siphoned off billions in revenue from national economies benefitting “the few at the expense of the many.” Corruption it seemed endemic, perhaps, as a form of “Crowd Culture” everywhere? We see the correction mechanism, the Panama Papers and the Pakistani connection. But what about the Indian “gulabi” bakskis”?
Corruption and inequality
“The connection between corruption and inequality which feed off each other to create a vicious circle between both, and the unequal distribution of power in society and unequal distribution of wealth”, is nothing new.”
“In too many countries around the world, people who are deprived of their most basic needs, while the powerful and the corrupt enjoy lavish life styles with impunity,” was the observation of Jose Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
How corrupt is Sri Lanka?
When politicians fail to tackle corruption, people grow cynical. To see corrupt practices taking root in Sri Lanka like in many other parts of the globe. was not unusual.
Transparency International rated Sri Lanka very high in its Corruption Perception Index (CPI).How far are we down or up the ladder?
Corruption was endemic in Sri Lanka for decades as a way of life? Corruption had affected both public and private sectors in Sri Lanka. The increasing participation and the relevance of Trade Unions in the vanguard for fighting corruption and nepotism, and recently civil society organisations, has been a noticeable feature. In the complex post conflict situation in Sri Lanka, fighting corruption was difficult, in fact dangerous.
Several segments of society joined in the fight against corruption, including activists, academics, and journalists. In December 2014 the MOU signed by the “Good Governance Party” with 49 other political parties and civil society organisations had four basic tasks mainly to fight corruption. Its hope was immediately to prevent through greater transparency and accountability, the earning of “commissions,” as well as wastage of public funds and for the law to take action against abuses.
How far have we gone down this road, other than a Minsters’ resignation? Former Minister Ravi Karunaratna’s removal, is hardly or in any way, an admission of guilt? We now hear that the Yahapalanya Government is no better at fighting corruption than Great Mahinda’s Chintana? Can we in Sri Lanka, change human nature?
The way corruption has thrived was by intimidation, deception of the general public, by manipulating information. Corruption has fuelled social exclusion. The conditions seemed right during the war years and since for corruption with impunity. Have we now got the political will to put it right?
The bribers and the bribed
In Sri Lanka for decades political parties did bribe voters during elections by distributing/donating food parcels, dry rations and most of all liquor, recently money. We see it was the applications for jobs, particularly housing, in fact obtaining bank loans, cement bags and even permits for sand, zinc and asbestos sheets? What prevailed in making appointments to government and State owned institutions is well known. We were never weaned off the “Government Service” culture. Even as a qualification for marriage, we had to be in government service. Why go far, getting a child admitted to school. hardly to mention Royal, or St.Thomas’ College, or even getting an application processed within a reasonable timeframe, all needed a back hander. Nepotism and Cronyism was part of our way of working, so when during the days of the Rajapaksa regime, the need to pay a ransom to “be free.” it was not unusual? Do we really know what to do with these “compliments of the season?”
What was the expectation?
They say “the fear of the unknown is often worse than the reality of a situation”.
In Sri Lanka, there is the quid pro quo? Politicians don’t do something for nothing? They expect “something in return for their service.” There was a time nothing could be done without a back hander. The business of spin or a system designed to make money at the expense of the poor was considered the norm. The poor were “conned,”
with Samurdhi?
But since and after the conflict, the country needed infrastructure and big money was on offer to our politicians, which they naturally accepted with glee. The “giving and the taking” was the order of the day. The givers were international business; the takers were Sri Lankan politicians. The givers were unscrupulous in their methods, most with double standards. Unfortunately, or even fortunately, the takers were novices. Number Index Bank accounts were set up overseas for the accumulation of “commissions. We reliably learn if these secret numbers were lost, the accounts were forfeit. Good luck for these special accounts? We saw regular monitoring visits by politicians’ visits abroad, purportedly on the pretext of medical checks, but to check balances. The rest is history.
That which could not be ignored is pursued?
Thus came about COPE (The Parliamentary Committee of Public Enterprises), The Bribery Commission, The CID, The FCID, The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIAOBC). No notable prosecutions have taken place and the public is concerned. Does it mean that delay is inevitable due to proper investigation? Does it mean, the cases in question, the evidence is weak? Or as JVP Leader, Anura Dissanayake, stated yesterday at Ratnapura, ”appey ammah?
All these bodies currently deal with accountability issues. The Parliamentary oversight Committee on Financial Matters promoted increased transparency, and then came the birth pangs and passing of legislation on the Right of Information Act. Civil organisations and NGO’s local and foreign are also the invigilators, the Moderators?
Too many observers, not enough clout?
We hear the names of Transparency International Sri Lanka (Asoka Obeyasekera) former FCID’s Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe, not to mention Saman Rathnapriya, HSTUA (Health Services Trade Union Alliance) also among others the Federation of University Teachers Associations. few among the many, who have all been involved in setting up their functions to bring about accountability and compliance to curb corruption.
But, it appears. the functions are limited. COPE seems to have been thwarted, FCID may have funding problems, TISL has produced many confidential reports but find it difficult to implement them for fear of prosecution. The wait is on. But now the weight is on the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCI) with two eminent justices and a retired Auditor General to try to bring to book the culprits and enforce accountability. It is a hideous, thankless but a worthwhile task. But, there is much more to be done and done fast. But, if the Attorney General’s Department can be given separate powers, in the not too distant future, as in England, to separate its functions, we may see progress.
If we can try out bus lanes, for a start, we may be able to separate the AG’s Dept. functions? It is currently the Nations’ Prosecution and the Government’s Legal Advisor. There seems an obvious “conflict of interest” situation in Sri Lanka? But is it that easy to separate its current duties? Who knows, it is easier said than done?
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AG’s latest salvo to save Audit Bill

AG’s latest salvo to save Audit Bill

  • Dept. unable to carry out regular operations smoothly due to lack of legislations 
  • Short staffed, department unable to promote, hire or give salary increments 
  • AG says if the bill was passed in 2003 much of the corruption would have been prevented 
  • Draft already gone through 22 rounds of amendments but no sign of being finalised
  • Former AG Mayadune appeals to MPs to bring it as a Private Bill 

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By Chathuri Dissanayake –Saturday, 19 August 2017

As the proposed Audit Bll continues to shuttle between offices for repeated amendments, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe yesterday complained his department is unable to function at full capacity without the legislation being passed by Parliament.

“We are here nor there. The 19th Amendment made the older legislations redundant. We cannot move forward as the new act has yet to be passed. We are in a very difficult situation now,” Wijesisghe told reporters at a press conference in Colombo yesterday.

Following to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which established the Audit Commission, the Audit Act was to be passed in Parliament to provide subsequent provisions for the Department to operate. However, as the proposed Bill has yet to be passed, the Auditor General Department is unable to carry out its functions effectively.

“We could have worked under the previous law, but the 19th Amendment has changed the law. This has left us immobile and we are unable to carry out our functions in the current state, as we have no legislation on the Audit department,” Wijesisghe said.

Although the Commission has been appointed, provisions to hold meetings and carry out its functions are to be outlined in the proposed Act, he said.
He added that his Department is unable to fill existing vacancies, give promotions or increments to existing staff without the legislation.

At present, only one Deputy Auditor General is working, where there should be a total of 15 officers.

“One officer has been forced to carry out the work of 14 more officers,” Wijesinghe said, giving examples of constraints the Department is faced with in the absence of the legislation.

Stressing on the need of a strong and independent audit arm for the state service, the Auditor General said that the establishment of the legislation is needed to reintroduce good governance practices to the state service.

“The new mechanism should be in place to bring back good governance practices to the state, and this is the way forward. If there is a doubt we can test the mechanism, and if it is not acceptable, we can remove problematic elements later,” he said, adding that provisions are available for amendment.

Wijesinghe also said that much of the corruption that took place during the recent past could have been avoided, had the bill which was first drafted in 2003, during UNP-led Government had been passed. According to former Auditor General Sarath Mayadunne, the main architect of the original draft in 2003, although cabinet agreed on the draft in principle, the bill was shelved.

The draft was only discussed again in 2015, following 19th Amendment to the Constitution, Wijesinghe said. Since then the Bill has already gone through 22 amendments and has yet to be approved by the Cabinet and tabled in Parliament.

There were a lot of amendments that diluted the powers of the Auditor General and the independence of the office; however, these have been rectified now, Wijesinghe assured.

“This was drafted by a committee which had international exposure on Audit matters, but then individuals who had no training in Audit who didn’t even have an understanding in basic concepts started amending it, that is why it got diluted. There were a lot of contradictions, even conflicting with the constitution. But now we have been able to fix it,” he said.

The main reason for the opposition for the Act comes due to a provision which gives the Auditor General power to issue surcharge certificates to recover losses to the state due to malpractices or illegal actions of government officials.

In a last ditch effort get the long delayed Audit bill passed through Parliament he appealed to the legislators to move with the draft without the clause which has raised fears.

Mayadunne too appealed to Members of the Parliament to present the bill as a private bill, to surpass the deadlock in the Government.

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Keith Noyahr To Testify After Witness Protection Act Is Amended 

Keith Noyahr To Testify After Witness Protection Act Is Amended 

Keith Noyahr, former Associate Editor, ‘The Nation,’ will be giving evidence on his abduction and torture, but only after the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act is amended, sources closed to Noyahr told Colombo Telegraph.

Noyahr was abducted and tortured in 2008. Five Army Intelligence officers including Major Prabhath Bulathwatte were arrested and remanded over the abduction, but later they were able to obtain bail due to Noyahr’s absence.
In February 2017 the Mount Lavinia Additional Magistrate instructed the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to request Noyahr to appear for an identification parade on March 3.  However, Noyahr has refused to appear in court.
If the proposed amendment to the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act was incorporated, it would provide for any witness living outside the county to testify within the premises of respective mission.  It is this provision that Noyahr would avail himself of, sources added.
The amendment reads: “Where any evidence or statement of any victim of crime or witness is to be recorded from any remote location outside Sri Lanka under subsection (1), it shall be recorded at the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in the country from where such victim of crime or witness seeks to testify or make the statement.” 

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Poojitha is more a rowdy and less an IGP ! He has inflicted torture on 70 officers including OIC before too

Poojitha is more a rowdy and less an IGP ! He has inflicted torture on 70 officers including OIC before too

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LEN logo(Lanka-e-News – 19.Aug.2017, 2.00PM)    IGP Poojitha Jayasundara even when he was a DIG has been shamelessly behaving like a rowdy assaulting and inflicting torture on the subordinates , based on reports reaching Lanka e news.
In September 2013 Poojitha had made  70 police officers including  the OIC of Kathankudy police station  to kneel down for more than an hour in public. 
By this action , the law enforcing officers were disgraced beyond measure before the pedestrians and people on the roads. Just because a lower rung officer committed a wrong , a superior police officer has no powers to insult or  make the subordinates kneel down.
The IGP Ilangakoon at that time dispatched his special investigating unit officers under him , and conducted an investigation into the incident aforementioned . The officers following their investigations submitted a report to Ilangakoon which held Poojitha was indeed  a wrongdoer. Ilangakoon made a written request at that time to the Public Service Commission to take action against Poojitha , but because Poojitha was sneaking on everyone to notorious corrupt  Mahinda Rajapakse the then president  who too had an affinity to inflict  cruelty and torture on  innocent citizens , Poojitha  somehow managed to suppress the incident.
It is evident therefore Poojitha is not only  an award winning IGP ( dubbed  Imbecile General of Police  because of his eccentric and hooligan  conduct)  for ruthlessly torturing  , insulting and assaulting police officers , but one who knows how to escape punishment too by shamelessly resorting to all the sordid and unscrupulous  activities.
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by     (2017-08-19 08:51:57)
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FCID officers drank whisky supplied by us – says Namal

FCID officers drank whisky supplied by us – says Namal

FCID officers drank whisky supplied by us - says Namal
Aug 19, 2017
Namal Rajapakse says that he and his brother Yoshitha supplied 50 bottles of VAT 69 Whisky to FCID Investigating Officer Sub Inspector Lalith Shantha who is conspiring to have him remanded with false allegations, as a gift for the wedding of his daughter, which he and his brother are prepared to divulge to the media.
Namal says the 50 bottles of whisky was bought from a liquor shop in Kalutara for which he has a receipt, and was transported by a trishaw to Sub Inspector Lalith Shanta’s residence in Kalutara South. Namal further says that he has a video clip as proof showing Officers of the FCID enjoying the Whisky supplied by him and his brother at the wedding celebration which they will share with the media friendly to them. In the event of him being remanded again Namal says he would not hesitate to expose to the media the real characters of all officers of the FCID from top to bottom.
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