Let not so called law-makers break all ‘new normal’ rules in the face of polls ‘COVID-19’ in its wake has already succeeded in injecting a sense of discipline, law and order to our lifestyles. Above all, our populace which is generally more inclined towards religious and cultural observances compared to other countries in the region, [...]


Letters to the Editor


Let not so called law-makers break all ‘new normal’ rules in the face of polls

‘COVID-19’ in its wake has already succeeded in injecting a sense of discipline, law and order to our lifestyles. Above all, our populace which is generally more inclined towards religious and cultural observances compared to other countries in the region, made the supreme sacrifice of compromising their democracy and human rights by confining themselves to their homes during their most revered festivals.

Chronologically speaking, the Christians didn’t attend their most sacred Easter services; the Sinhala and Tamil people refrained from engaging in their New Year rituals such as visiting parents, close relatives and engaging in games etc.; the Muslims didn’t have their compulsory religious observances during Ramadan; the Buddhists representing the main religion of the country  sacrificed their most revered open homage to Lord Buddha and age-old religious practices and rituals during both Vesak and Poson. Thus, all the devotees gave up many of their usual practices and found solace by being at home listening to sermons and watching appropriate programmes delivered by the mass media. They even sacrificed paying due respects to their departed kith and kin and complied with the Government regulations such as  limiting attendance at funerals.

The question now arises as to why our small coterie of politicians numbering less than 5,000 hide behind the shields of Democracy and ‘free and fair elections’ and  insist on their pound of flesh in terms of having public political meetings and house to house campaigns which undoubtedly are positive catalysts of ‘COVID Community Transmission’ during the oncoming General Elections. These so-called ‘law-makers’ have already set the norm and exhibited their penchant for breaking all the laws during the funeral of Minister Thondaman.

As we know, the Information Technology revolution now allows any information to be brought to any rural household with the availability of smart phones, TV and FM Radio. ‘Working from home’ and video conferencing are fast becoming the order of the day with improved productivity and numerous attendant benefits. Thus, the  present-day voter can easily make up his mind, provided the mass media inform them of each party’s election manifestos and the profiles of the candidates. This should be made available in simple language.

In this background, we urge the authorities to agree and adopt the following measures during the oncoming election campaign.

1)  Ban all public political meetings and house to house campaigning. Instead, provide free limited mileage to candidates and/or party heads in the radio and electronic media in an unbiased manner. This will save the time, money and energy of all monitors as well as of the public.

2) Provide free postal services to all head offices of contesting parties/alliances to distribute their manifestos and profiles of their candidates under the category of printed matter.

3)   All media institutions should cooperate with the Elections Commission to provide a balanced coverage for the contesting parties.

4)   All public poster campaigns should be banned. The benefits to the country and public are enormous and easily outweigh the drawbacks.

All the above ‘across the board’ measures should be subject to the guidelines of the Elections Commission who should monitor the entire process. They surely are gracious blessings in disguise that will herald a ‘new normal’ to Sri Lankan politics!

 Bernard Fernando   Moratuwa

Hong Kong was never a democracy under Chris Patten

“We are Hong Kong”, read the headline to the article by Chris Patten, in the Sunday Times of May 31.

And who, may I ask, are WE? The answer is obvious to Mr Patten – “We, the British!” – of course!

The startling and unexpected events of the previous week in Donald Trump’s America, have given a new twist to the diatribe by Patten, which appeared exclusively in the Sunday Times, on May 31, just before the nationwide riots in USA.

Will Lord Patten now roundly condemn the brutish violence of American cops, which the world saw on TV throughout this week?   I think not.

Who is Chris Patten, anyway?

Chris Patten was the 28th Governor of Hong Kong, (HK), a territory forcibly occupied by the British, since 1842. He won a scholarship to Oxford University and entered politics. Immediately after he lost his seat, after playing a role in the Conservative Party victory of the 1992 UK General Election, he was duly ‘rewarded’ with the HK Governor’s post.

The British exploited Hong Kong for 156 years, mainly because  Queeen Victoria’s government decided to forcibly export opium from the British-colonized Indian subcontinent into China. It was a lucrative trade on which the Empire was built. To this day, areas thousands of miles away from Britain, such as the “Falklands” (part of Argentina), and Gibraltar, are held by the Brits, proving the warning of Chairman Mao  – “political power flows out of the barrel of a gun”.

Nevertheless, it must be noted that the Brits were the “best” colonialists, and it can be argued that we ourselves would have been better off, economically, had they remained longer than they did! (The Brits did not exhibit the systematic brutality of the Belgians in the Congo, or the Spanish, or Turkey whose genocide against the Armenians is nowadays well recognized.

During his stint as Governor of HK, Patten acted with an impudence which Hong Kong’s rightful owners, (the Chinese),  bore with remarkable fortitude.

And the hypocrisy that is typical when Britannia rules the waves.(i.e- the waiving of the rules), is all too evident. For example Patten laments in the Sunday Times,  that, (in Hong Kong)  – “The Police, whose behaviour including the unchecked use of teargas and pepper spray- led to a small minority of the protesters to resort to unacceptable violence”.

Readers should note Patten’s oblique justification of the violent protests while ‘covering his back’ with the use of the one word “unacceptable”. (In the first place, the demonstrators who rioted violently in HK were NOT a “small minority”, and the good Lord Patten knows that only too well!).

If the US can unilaterally back out of a nuclear treaty, the World Health Organization, and missile treaty, what is a joint declaration in comparison? And,  even while he was their British  governor, Hong Kong people had NO vote. It was never a Democracy!

Patten refers to the “Rule of Law and the “freedoms” it protects as he calls it. Under Chris Patten,  this NEVER included the Hong Kong people’s right to a free, democratic vote.

Patten has the audacity to conclude with Confucius’s words- “A gentleman would be ashamed, should his deeds not match his words”…Well….!

Jayanta Kurukulasuriya   Rajagiriya

Ode to the human spirit

Our lives were happy and peaceful
When came a virus, deadly and fearful
Fever and cough were its game
COVID-19 was its name.

Face-masks and sanitizers were simply a must
In handwashing and distancing, we placed our trust
Curfews and lockdowns were strictly enforced
Pick-me and Uber delivered food unexposed

Doctors and nurses worked through the storm
Attendants and labourers were in fine form
The police and army did more than their share
Of street-vendors and traders, we are aware

We wait in hope of a breakthrough or miracle
Hydroxychloroquine was more of a debacle
Remdesivir is a drug that holds promise
The holy grail, a vaccine, we will cherish

The human spirit is an indomitable force
From plague and pestilence, we still arose
COVID-19 may have us in a spin
In the end, however, humans will win

Dr. Imtiaz Ismail   Via email

Drug lords and empty political rhetoric

This government promised to take action against drug lords. Although they have shortcomings, two politicians who spoke against these drug lords – Ranjan Ramanayake and Dr. Rajitha Senaratne are now under pressure.

These drug lords have immense influence in the media and politics. The former President said he would hang drug traffickers who conduct drug business from prisons, and tried to release one of these drug lords with immense influence in the media. Now certain politicians also want to release some of these drug lords from prison.

It is in the interest of the country and its people to take action against these drug lords.

Pujitha Devendra

Road widening should  not be at the cost  of landowners

The Wadduwa-Morontuduwa road was rehabilitated and completed in December 2019. The acquisition of land was done under the Land Acquisition Act about two years ago.

I am one of the landowners who have not been paid compensation up to now. Road widening is good but not by putting the innocent landowners in trouble.

It is with great pain of mind that I write this letter. I would be thankful to the minister in charge if action is taken and the money is paid at least now.

 M.D.B.Goonetilleke   Wadduwa


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