Several incidents of politicians interfering with the Police Department and its activities have been reported in the newspapers. Editorials have reserved their precious space to dwell upon the disadvantages and iniquities arising out of politicians tampering with Police decisions, action et al.
The law is adequate for any Sri Lankan to resort to legal remedies against injustice. Human rights violations can be challenged in a Court of Law and if the Police are indicted of such charges they could be hauled before the law. Therefore Political interference in the guise of affording protection to persons against Police misdemeanour is unwarranted. The media has gone to town about the kind of political patronage given to the underworld by certain politicians.
Times are legion when policemen performing their duty by the State in the maintenance of law and order have been transferred out as punishment to uncongenial stations. Such styming and brow beating have reduced the long arm of the law to a paralysed state, being compelled to answer the bidding of political clout. Offering kickbacks and other unfair inducements like over-the-head-promotions for currying favour with politicians have injected corruption to the entire Police fabric. If the Police Service is allowed to do justice to its avowed role in the keeping law and order, this beleaguered country is sure to be rid of the flotsam of murder, mayhem, drug related crime etc. that have smeared its image from what it was not so long ago.
It is believed that assigning Police Officers to make up security outfits of Politicians may be one of the reasons affecting the 'independence' of the Police Service. It inevitably breeds sycophancy and servile bootlicking. Obligations to each other and trying to please each other will be high on the agenda of both the Policeman and the Politician which invariably nurtures corruption willy nilly.
Therefore, if all politicians are given an allowance to 'organize' their own security arrangements with reputed and licenced security organizations approved by the State, the large number of Policemen now providing security to Politicians would be free to attend to their 'genuine' police work.
Then there will be hordes of strong-bodied young men who will be willing to join such private security organizations which will therefore be in a position to foot the bill of the security requirements of the politicians at large.
The vote of confidence won by President Chandrika Kumaratunga after two and a half years in office is an approval by the country of what she has attempted during this period of nation building. Facing problems primarily the war in the North, her flexible proposals in a package have been conveyed to the International community by her foreign Minister-par excellence- and has drawn fortification against International Terrorism. The noble offer of President Yasser Arafat to mediate to end the war is sound proof of our good will built since the Non-aligned Conference of 1976.
We now find that the NCP that borders on the war-torn North has spoken loud and clear through the ballot- quite contrary to the pistol packing politics of the last decade.
What is more revealing in this most recent poll is that the UNP has just managed to secure a mere 164,476 votes more than their candidate Srima Dissanayake polled in the Presidential poll of 1994, when the President faced a mid term poll with more than her share of problems to grapple with, that could have caused a major shift of the floating vote away from the P.A.
However in its hour of triumph the Government must bear in mind that of the 47 lakhs polled in the presidential election it has lost 13 lakhs, of which only a loss of 5 lakhs could be accounted for, as 'carried away' by the JVP, MEP and Independents. This is merely an indication that thumping majorities gained in the Presidential have been slashed considerably.
Even with bread at Rs. 7.00- double the reduced price soon after the general election of 1994 - we should be proud of 34 lakhs mainly drawn from rural Sri Lanka, who have not paid any heed to the rising COL, but have told the President that she is right- and on the correct path.
Eight months after the general election of 1956 the City of Colombo voted against the People's Government, and it was SWRD who with his stoic calm stated that the strength of the SLFP was enshrined in the villages (with the Pancha Maha Balavegaya behind it for all times.)
Forty years later it has been proved SWRD was right! In the process of providing leadership for the emancipation of the common man, fit to be placed upon a throne- in the words of Robert Knox; the father, mother, and daughter have run through a fortune, built up by Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike - the Maha Mudliyar who moved with Royalty, and gifted a worthy son to the Nation.
The PA leadership and her political stalwarts lambasted the faults of the U.N.P regime during the local government election campaign thus seeking a fresh mandate from the people to establish a violence free disciplined society.
However, it is rather unfortunate that the PA leadership did a ninety degree turn at the PA' s final rally at the Campbell Park on the eve of the local government elections and made an attempt to assassinate the character of Karu Jayasuriya who led a team of contestants for the Colombo Municipal Council from the UNP.
That being the final rally, Colombo voters were intelligent enough to realise that the allegations levelled against Mr. Jayasuriya were one-sided and distinctively unreasonable. The wide and apparently lopsided publicity and personal tirade, perhaps unparalleled in the history of the local government election campaigns, against a highly respected gentleman within the business fraternity and the Colombo community and a former diplomat who brought much image and credit to the motherland during his diplomatic career, had definitely pushed the PA into a situation where it earned the wrath of the Colombo voters.
The Colombo voters did not hesitate to take sweet vengeance against these irresponsible utterances and this was manifestly demonstrated by the majority of mammoth votes bagged by Mr. Jayasuriya.
It is also a matter for complacency that neither the UNP nor Mr. Jayasuriya did get provoked by such puerile accusations. Instead, they maintained an equanimity with a spirit of forgiveness thus displaying their political maturity.
On the other hand, advisors to the PA hierarchy should have equally realised that this type of politically motivated character assassinations against reputed personalities who seek entry to the political mainstream could be detrimental to the discipline of their own party and in fact could smear the reputation, the PA leadership has won over the last few years under very trying circumstances.
Magnanimity of those in power to their political opponents in opposition is always considered a matter of greatness.
He's done it again! The film version of Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient" received twelve Oscar nominations - the highest ever. Finally, the film won nine Oscars - including the coveted Best Picture award and Best Director Oscar for Anthony Minghella.
As a Sri Lankan I felt immense pride when "The English Patient" was once again put on the world map. First the Booker Prize and now the Oscars. How honoured we are that a Sri Lankan-born author wrote this splendid sensitive book, which has now been turned into what must be an unforgettable film. Events such as this, give our spirits that much needed boost at a time when the world seems to be interested only in warfare and destruction.
I am sure I speak on behalf on all the film-loving public here, when I earnestly appeal to the National Film Corporation to give the people of Sri Lanka a chance to see "The English Patient" at our local cinemas as soon as possible.
The plight of the people visiting Vavuniya is pathetic. When one goes to Vavuniya a one day pass is issued at the Railway station. You can extend it by three days - each in two stages by standing half a day to do it. If you extend it further, you can't come out without spending time to go through the refugee camps providing documentary proof to establish that one has to go out of Vavuniya. This does not permit a person to concentrate on his purpose of going there. So, one has to get out of Vavuniya and go back to get fresh passes to continue his work. This causes waste of time, unwanted expenditure, endurance, and mental tension. A person who has come back working overseas and to visit his displaced family living in Vavuniya for more than one year, is also treated under the same regulations.
Further, I reliably know that a family who has been in Vavuniya for more than six months and wanted to migrate, has been refused a pass on the grounds that they should produce the tickets. How can they do it without getting out of Vavuniya?
Even people who are coming out of Vanni should be screened and sent to wherever they want to go without any delay. There is no comparison in any part of the world for this type of apathy.
All the refugee camps are sited close to the schools. This is an environmental hazard and the contamination has affected the school children who are getting various diseases regularly.
I understand that these problems were represented by the Tamil MPs who are supporting the Govt. The Govt. always replies that the problems will be solved and necessary orders will be given to the officers concerned, but nothing happens. Consequently the govt. appointed a high-powered committee to sort out those problems. Nothing seems to have been done yet.
Referring to the letter "Stop this Menace" by A.W.G. Mudiyanse in The Sunday Times of March 9, I would like to thank him for writing it at the correct time about the traffic block in Kandy on the eve of the Municipality polls.
I would also like to remind him that the reasons for the traffic block is not the car sale people or the Police. The Police are doing their best to overcome this problem, but the real remedy for the same is in the hands of the new councils formed after March 21.
The other thing I want to correct is Panchikawatte is a place where scrap is sold, and Katugastota Road is a place where finished and conditioned vehicles are sold. Therefore it is not Panchikawatte it is 'Nagoya' of Sri Lanka.
More letters to the editor * Allow appeals to the Third Umpire * It's not the first time * The Third Force * Mr. Professor, you are in dreamland * Sri Lanka cricket: living in a fools paradise
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