immediate steps to enhance professionalism in VVIP security
National security and VVIP security have reached rock bottom, although
the armed forces, the police and intelligence services count nearly
25 years in tackling terrorism.
it not time for Sri Lanka to be the advisors to other countries
in countering terrorism rather than show signs of still learning
the basics in VVIP security and national security?
gathering must be done by covert means, secret reconnaissance and
espionage networks. Intelligence gathering is a process of collection,
collation, assessment and dissemination of information. Has the
standard of intelligence gathering deteriorated due to lack of professionalism?
intelligence alone will not suffice to counter terrorism; it must
be channelled to the right authorities for action without delay.
Intelligence, if delayed, is a futile exercise and will lose its
Ministerial Security Division and the Army unit which provided security
to the late Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar lacked professionalism
because they never anticipated an assassination from a neighbouring
house. If the IGP says that they were in possession of a photograph
taken by suspected persons of the late Minister’s residence
and that he had alerted the Minister, what other action was taken
to pursue the matter with the MSD and the local police? Were they
briefed? If so, the IGP knowing that the late minister was a prime
target should have issued clear instructions to
ascertain the names of the occupants and visitors in the houses
in the vicinity
search these houses
monitor the movements of the visitors to these houses
carry out regular checks of the occupants of this house
inform the VVIP Security Division and local police always to carry
out searches in the vicinity and post personnel in these houses
block the road or close the road to traffic hours before the late
is time that the IGP sought the assistance of the experts who have
experience in VVIP security in the police. Retired DIGs S.K. Chandrasekera
and Mithra Ariyasena are two of them.
Government should appoint a commission of inquiry to:
(a) ascertain the lapses
probe why the systems failed
recommend methods and systems necessary for providing VVIP security,
intelligence gathering and making use of the intelligence thus gathered.
ascertain how to avoid and prevent such incidents in the future.
Those responsible for these lapses must be identified and appropriate
disciplinary action taken.
should be done in the interest of national security and as a deterrent.
A President, several ministers and a Navy Commander among others
have been assassinated but there were no commissions of inquiry
to ascertain the truth, the exact failures or omissions in the proper
implementation of VVIP security and gathering of intelligence.
government on its part must expose the LTTE atrocities at international
forums and ensure that these murderous deeds are brought to a halt.
Our message to the United Nations and other international organizations
should be that if terrorism is to be eradicated globally then all
forms of terrorism must be eradicated with the world community acting
as a united force.
time is ripe for the government to set about this task in a highly
professional manner if we are to learn from our mistakes. It is
time that Sri Lanka had its own training school for officers handling
police, especially the IGP, must take the bigger share of the blame
for not taking sufficient precautions to prevent the assassination.
Merely blaming the late minister for not heeding his advice is indeed
a poor excuse from a head of department entrusted with national
the preventive measures adopted by the police and armed services,
they lacked professionalism. At least at this juncture let the Police,
Armed services and the intelligence services bear in mind that they
cannot be complacent just because there is a ceasefire. This is
certainly a “wake up call” to them.
F.N. De Alwis
before the terrorists strike again
It began sometime ago and then it was the tragic killing of Lt.
Col. Muthalif, followed by the cruel mutilation of SSP Charles Wijewardena
and finally the most high profile assassination of Foreign Minister
our day, the forces made sure that carelessness and failure to perform
duties were subjected to court-martial and the guilty were severely
punished. So others following knew the score and avoided repetitions.
It is time now to get back to these basics or lessons will never
common factor responsible for these tragedies is the apparent and
surprising failure to adhere to basic principles of personal protection.
In the first case despite the Commander's instruction for special
protection there was no protection provided.
the second incident the group providing security to the late SSP
forgot the most basic feature of personal protection in that you
don't trust your enemy. However, I agree with the STF Commandant's
proclamation that if they were with the SSP he would be alive today.
The watch- word is simply professionalism.
in the most high profile incident, a simple failure to pre-check
an abandoned part of a neighbouring house and not having an adequate
security strength at the crucial moment, proved fatal and caused
an irreplaceable loss. The colossal expenditure on his security
good friend Colonel Lucky Rajasinghe and his brother late Colonel
Daya Rajasinghe (both proven sniper experts) provided security supervision
in the most tension-filled period of an on-going war (unlike the
"peace" we have now!), to the late minister. He was then
safe and sound because they were professionals.
lawmakers and security experts 'passing the buck' are drawing red
herrings to gain mileage by blaming circumstances, targeting journalists
and opponents, which to the intelligent is nothing but 'baloney'.
late President Premadasa, when advised by a police official not
to travel to a suspect area, calmly reminded him that it was his
job to protect him, but if he was thus incapable, he should then
resign his post. Thereafter he would appoint a capable person.
was a retired Special Forces Brigade Commander, who told national
television that we were up there and the terra was down here; now
we are down here and the terra is up there!
wake up call is long overdue. Unless the security establishment
realises the belated fact that the terrorists are focused and are
ruthlessly efficient and acts accordingly, history can and will
on water: Legal or illegal?
It is heartening to note that the Government has decided to exempt
diesel, powdered milk and L.P Gas from VAT. This will definitely
cushion the cost-of-living burden to some extent.
much the Government initiates measures to grant relief to the people,
the resultant benefit does not come down to the people because of
Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Policy Planning and Implementation
issued two notices which were published in The Daily News of January
30, 2004 and The Sunday Times of January 11, 2004, announcing the
removal of VAT from water bills.
these announcements, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board
continues to impose VAT on water bills and ignores queries raised
by me regarding this levy. Moreover, the Water Board does not even
state the amount of VAT levied in the water bill but simply adds
VAT to the charges.
a letter to Finance Ministry Secretary P. B. Jayasundera on June
16, asking him whether the decision to remove VAT from water bills
had been cancelled, rescinded or suspended but there has been no
reply up to date.
On behalf of the consumers, I appeal to the authorities to clarify
whether the Water Board is legally authorised to add VAT on water
bills despite the two public announcements.
air link with Bangladesh
There are hundreds of Sri Lankan students in Bangladesh. It's a
pity these students have to go to Bangladesh through Bangkok, spending
more for their airfare.
Airlines operate a number of flights to India daily. Bangladesh
is a member of the SAARC and surely, SriLankan Airlines can make
arrangements to fly there at least once a week. It will do a great
favour to the poor students.
An agreement with Bangladesh could be entered into in November when
that country hosts the SAARC summit.
this suggestion will be given serious consideration.
What is expected of a leader aspiring to be the next executive president?
He should be a man with a vision, who has the capacity to make that
vision a reality.
who does not prostitute religion for political gain and who treats
all the people as Sri Lankans. A man with clean hands, who has not
misappropriated funds meant for the people.
who could earn the respect of world leaders. Meet and talk with
them as equals. A man who does not bend his knee to insolent might.
all – a benevolent Dictator, who could lead the people to
leap to a single bugle, march to a single drum.
to the Editor' should be brief and to the point.
Address them to:
'Letters to the Editor,
The Sunday Times,
P.O.Box 1136, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Or e-mail to
Please note that letters cannot be acknowledged or returned.