SriLankan Airlines pilots have declared that they have “no confidence” in their Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Captain Suren Ratwatte over what they claim is his “derogatory and unprofessional conduct.” The accusations are contained in a letter Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) President, Captain Renuke Senanayake, wrote to SriLankan Chairman Ajit Dias after the [...]


SriLankan pilots divided: Guild writes to Chairman


SriLankan Airlines pilots have declared that they have “no confidence” in their Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Captain Suren Ratwatte over what they claim is his “derogatory and unprofessional conduct.”

The accusations are contained in a letter Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) President, Captain Renuke Senanayake, wrote to SriLankan Chairman Ajit Dias after the pilots held an extraordinary general meeting.
A section of the membership is now up in arms with their own president following allegations that he “compromised” the Guild’s position when the Guild letter prompted a response from Chairman Dias.

First to the Guild President Senanayake’s April 26th letter to the Chairman: It was also copied to the Secretary to the Ministry of Enterprise Development and the Board of Directors.

“Dear Sir,
“Subsequent to the conduct and statements of the CEO at the meeting held with the pilots, on 21st April 2016 at the BMICH, which is also on record, we wish to state the following which is of serious concern and seek clarification of the below comments made by him:

“1. The CEO stated that there was no proof of corruption/malpractices as highlighted by the Weliamuna report, mandated by the Government.

“The CEO stated that the Honourable Prime Minister has intimated that he would close down the Airline in the event of any industrial action by any union of SriLankan Airlines.

“3. The CEO stated that he was in active discussion for the induction of a new type of aircraft (Bomabardier C Series) into the SriLankan fleet.

“Apart from the above, the CEO during this meeting made statements that were threatening and demeaning to the pilot community present.

“Based on the above statements, the antagonistic and threatening language used by the CEO, and his demonstrated lack of competency in his capacity, the ALPGSL membership has unanimously decided to place on record our loss of confidence in the current CEO.

“This derogatory and unprofessional conduct of the CEO has occurred while the pilots have been continuously willing to extend goodwill in support of the airline.

Thank you
Capt. Renuke Senanayake
President – ALPGSL”

The Sunday Times asked Captain Suren Ratwatte, formerly a pilot at Emirates Airlines, to respond to the accusations of the Guild and also whether his tenure of office, despite a probationary period, had been confirmed at a recent meeting of the SriLankan Airlines board. His response: “You should be speaking to Mr Saminda (Perera – head of corporate communications).
The Sunday Times: “This relates personally to you.”

Captain Ratwatte: “Sorry, no comment.”
The ALPGSL President’s letter drew a response to him within three hours from SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajit Dias. Evidently he does not understand what “loss of confidence” means. He said, “I am in receipt of your letter and contents noted. Please let me know what you mean by loss of confidence in Captain Ratwatte.”

ALPGSL President Captain Senanayake replied; “Reference to your request of clarification of the loss of confidence in Capt Ratwatte, as stated in our correspondence addressed to you, I wish to state the following:

“Despite the events that transpired at the meeting between the CEO and the pilots, the ALPGSL wishes to state that it was not intended to seek the removal of the CEO nor an intimation of no future co-operation with him.

“The loss of confidence was in fact due to the seemingly less favourable response the CEO displayed towards the good intentions of the ALPGSL and the entire pilot community, in assisting the management in their unenviable task of turning the fortunes of a mismanaged, debt ridden airline back to profitability.

“The earlier correspondence was therefore intended to merely state our stance and seek better cooperation and mutual professional respect from the CEO in future. Whilst I hope this would suffice in clarifying the previous correspondence, I wish to remind you that the ALPGSL is yet to receive a response to the points raised therein, regarding three specific statements made by the CEO.”

Members decided at their extraordinary meeting that they would meet President Maithripala Sirisena after ascertaining the response of Chairman Dias.

Esala new Foreign Secretary

Ms. Wagiswara

Esala Weerakoon

Esala Weerakoon, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in New Delhi, will be the new Foreign Secretary.
He will assume office after the incumbent Chitranganee Wagiswara retires on May 30. Thereafter, she is to be named the new Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India.

One among two senior career officers who were next in seniority to Ms Wagiswara is being given an overseas posting. The other will remain at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Government sources said more changes in the Foreign Service are likely in the coming weeks.

Media freedom: Obituaries still on Lanka’s front page
As the United Nations marked World Press Freedom Day last Tuesday, Sri Lanka did not escape the scrutiny of human rights organisations focusing on the safety and protection of journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 1,189 journalists were killed worldwide since 1992, both by terrorist organisations and governments in power.
Of the 20 deadliest countries for journalists, Iraq claimed the largest number: 174 killed. Sri Lanka was among the 20, with 19 journalists killed.

Still, the worst offenders in Asia were North Korea and Turkmenistan described as “enforcers of blanket press censorship.” Josette Sheeran, the President and CEO of Asia Society, was quoted as saying: “The Asian nation that saw greatest improvement? That was Sri Lanka – jumping 24 places, to #141, thanks to a lessening climate of fear that had gripped many journalists covering the government.”

But the lingering questions is: what action has the present government taken to either find missing journalists or bring to justice the killers, most of whom are still at large? Journalists in Sri Lanka are also awaiting an answer; or is it an unanswerable question?

PM responds to Champika’s complaint
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday assured ministers he would discuss with them recent fiscal measures adopted by the Government. The idea is to explain the reasons necessitating them.

The move follows an issue raised by Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development.
He said that Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had written a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over fiscal measures to be adopted. He alleged that ministers were not consulted on the matter.

Pujith’s poojas push him to be police chief

The new Police chief Pujith Jayasundera was being feted by old boys of his alma mater, Dharmaraja College in Kandy.
In a jovial mood, he revealed, that there was a secret he had to share on how he became the Inspector General of Police.
He forgot about his usual physical training as he woke up in the mornings. Instead, he rose at 3.30 a.m. and was ready with 35 pooja mallas or floral baskets for offering to the deities.

He went to temple after temple and first recited jayapiritha followed by atavasipiritha. The last such piritha or offering to the deities was on April 18. That divine help made him become the IGP, he said as the guests at the ceremony laughed.
Mr Jayasundera’s nearest rival, senior DIG S.M. Wickremesinghe also had a similar ceremony at the Devinuwara Vishnu Temple at 4.30 a.m. Yet, he was not successful.

It transpired that a person under investigation by the FCID, the former chairman of a state corporation, had arranged the Devinuwara ceremonies.

A scene from the movie Dheepan

Dheepan gets rave  reviews in New York
A movie about a former LTTE fighter, coping with life as a refugee in the backstreets of Paris, opened in New York theatres last week to rave reviews. Titled “Dheepan”, the film won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year but took almost a year to hit the screens in the US.

According to the New York Times, the lead role is played by a former Tamil Tiger who went by the code name Antonythasan Jesuthasan, described as a guy with the “charisma of a Hollywood gunslinger”.

The irony of the story is that the Sri Lankan arrives in France in search of peace and quiet but finds himself living in squalid quarters in a neighbourhood resembling a war zone populated by asylum-seeking immigrants. The wife, also a Tamil from the Northern Province, wears a hijab even though she is not a Muslim but the head scarf helps her to blend in with the migrant Muslim population in the Paris housing project.

The movie has been described as “an immensely powerful thriller” and “a radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head.” Directed by reputed French film maker Jacques Audiard, the movie is in French with English sub titles.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Post Comment

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.