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Lanka's Police Academy: A comedy of errors

The words Police Academy became famous after the cinema comedy series. When Sri Lanka opened its own Police Academy at Katana just days ago, some of the scenes that occurred were fit enough for that series.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the chief guest who declared it open. The academy offers higher study courses on a variety of matters concerning the Police. He had to call a halt to the use of the loudspeaker system because the echo was deafening.

One of the DIGs gave a welcome speech. He kept on referring to the Commander of the Army as Sarath Weerasekera. Naturally, the Commander, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, who was present, was most embarrassed. He was sure no successor has been named to his post.

No Sarath Weerasekera had been a contender in any way either. "Has retired Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, now MP, become the new Army Commander?" asked one SSP from a colleague. He was a former Commandant of the Civil Defence Force. He laughed too loud drawing the attention of the others and was forced to put on a serious face.

When the traditional oil lamp was lit, armed forces chiefs who were guest of honour were not invited. They stood, like all other invitees, further away from the scene.

Then, when it came to parade time, a DIG fainted. Others nearly fainted at what happened thereafter.
Plates were handed out to the VIP invitees. They were serving their short eats. Some had even served and were eating them. Just then, the national anthem was played. Some held their plates on one hand and stood to attention. Others had cakes and patties in their mouths.

Needless to say that the Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya, was the most embarrassed man in uniform. He was not happy with those who made the arrangements.

Police chief in extended singing mood

The peduru party (or a party seated on mats) has invaded even the Police Department. This week they had one for most senior officers at the Senior Officers’ Mess near the Summit Flats in Colombo.

Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya was in a jovial mood. He was overheard telling some of his top men that he has won a three-year extended term in office.

However, other defence sources said the matter was still pending before the Ministry of Defence. On Friday, Mr. Balasuriya summoned all Officers-in-charge of Police Stations countrywide to Police Headquarters for a detailed briefing on future plans of the Police.

Externalised external affairs

The latest products to be 'Made in England', believe it or not, are news releases issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in Sri Lanka. Some 58 years after independence from British rule, the Government has now contracted with a British public relations firm - Bell Pottinger - to do its news releases.

Hours after Dr. G.L. Peiris addressed a news conference at his Ministry last week, the media release was emailed to the local media from London.

As a wag in the Ministry says, it seems the External Affairs Ministry does not believe its own staff is capable of formulating their own news releases. Soon it will be outsourcing diplomacy too, remarked another bitterly.

Coat-tale of GL

New External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris is so rushed these days and burdens of office on his shoulders. Last week, he arrived at a five-star hotel for a lunch engagement.

When he alighted from his car, one security staffer was there to open the door. There were two others holding each end of his coat. Before one could say Mamma Mia, he was fully attired.

All Dr. Peiris had to do was slip his arms into the coat and rush to the Italian restaurant.

The General's JR jars JVP

Retired General Sarath Fonseka, now a Parliamentarian and leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), took the Government by surprise on Thursday. He held a news conference in Committee Room 8 at the Parliamentary Complex at Kotte-Sri Jayawardhanapura. He had earlier obtained a Parliament library book written by the late J.R. Jayewardene.

A journalist asked him whether he approved the policies of Jayewardene. This naturally embarrassed his partners in politics, leaders of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). Gampaha District Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath was seen by journalists writing a hurried note and passing it to Gen. (retd.) Fonseka who was at the same table.

The note said "den JR gena katha keruwa athi" (now, its enough talking about JR). It was too much for the JVPers who were bitter critics of the late President.

Spectacle fiasco at wedding table

Politics is forgotten at weddings especially when biriyani is the fare. Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was at the same table with Ravi Karunanayake, Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, A.H.M. Fowzie and former Minister Sirisena Cooray at the wedding of former Colombo Central UNP MP M.E. Maharoof's daughter.

Mr. Cooray raised the question as to how the UNP selected its list for the last CMC elections. That was indeed a major faux pas by the UNP when the party's list for the biggest local council in the country was rejected and the Grand Old Party had to eventually back a party, appropriately with the spectacle symbol and support a three-wheeler driver to be the Mayor.

Mr. Wickremesinghe nonchalantly pointed his finger towards Moragoda and said "ask him". There was no talk thereafter as they all tucked into the Baked Alaska that followed for dessert. Mind you, no more watalappam at these Hilton weddings.

Basil goes for big business

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa met corporate big wigs at Cinnamon Grand on Thursday at 8.30 p.m. for a pow-wow.

It was organised by the local corporate giant John Keells. Interestingly enough, the same big wigs attended a pre-presidential polls meeting of retired General Sarath Fonseka, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Somawansa Amerasinghe at the same hotel.

That meeting prompted an aside from President Rajapaksa that he was with the bada-iringu eating people and not the sausage eating folks -- a reference to his grassroots support rather than Colombo corporate circle.

But Basil sure needs the sausage eating entrepreneurs for development. A notable participant was Milinda Moragoda -- the defeated former Justice Minister -- who they believe will shortly be appointed as an Economic Advisor to the Government.

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Lanka's Police Academy: A comedy of errors


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