BBC, do not judge us by your double standards The 2019 Presidential election has just been concluded.The international election monitors have confirmed that this was the most peaceful and trouble-free elections held in this country. In a sad twist of irony however, was the BBC broadcast following the election gave the world a completely biased [...]


Letters to the Editor


BBC, do not judge us by your double standards

The 2019 Presidential election has just been concluded.The international election monitors have confirmed that this was the most peaceful and trouble-free elections held in this country.

In a sad twist of irony however, was the BBC broadcast following the election gave the world a completely biased and distorted account of the situation, giving the impression that Sri Lanka is now under some kind of military rule. The report also made the deplorable attempt to attribute the victory to a racial divide in the country which is furthest from the truth. The minority communities voted for the current President. Without them he could never have secured the massive majority. His win symbolises the yearning of the people of Sri Lanka to live in an undivided land where all communities can live in dignity and peace.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is referred to as coming from the country’s  ‘most prominent military family’.This is not only incorrect but also highly misleading and is seen by many as an attempt to vitiate the results of a hard and cleanly fought election. There was a well orchestrated campaign to not only denigrate Rajapaksa in every way possible including fake news stories but also make statements ostensibly by the United States embassy which the spokesperson of the embassy had to appear in person at a news conference and refute.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a professional military officer who served in the Army with distinction 25 years ago, long before his brother ever became the President. He came back many years later and assumed the position of Defence Secretary. Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s younger son joined the Navy at a time when the battle for a separate state was raging.Mahinda Rajapaksa sought to give an example to the Sri Lankan public by sending his son to the Navy to serve the country at the time of war.

The Rajapaksa family is big. Many have served the country elected by the popular will of the people. There were only two members from a family of almost 25 who had anything to do with the military. To call them a prominent military family therefore is such an exaggerated and misleading statement calculated to add a military flavour to a family most of whose members served the country having been elected by the people in the most overwhelming manner. In fact the Rajapaksas defeated Premadasa in his own electorates in the Hambantota and Tissamaharama constituencies with the most convincing margins.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa gave strategic and administrative leadership as Defence Secretary to the 30- year bitter conflict that completely ravaged this country. The BBC also claimed that he was responsible for many acts of torture and disappearances and killings, a story completely refuted by Lord Naseby who went on to say that the Sri Lankan military fought the war in the most compassionate manner abiding by all the covenants of conflict. The BBC went on to use euphemisms like ‘ it is believed’. ‘It has been reported’ etc.

To say that President Gotabaya was elected exclusively by the Sinhala Buddhist votes is another attempt to deny his successful unification of the country. He got a considerable number of votes from the Tamil and Muslim communities living outside and in the Northern and Eastern provinces. The BBC comments have angered those Muslims and Tamils who selected Gotabaya as the best man to run Sri Lanka.

BBC, your Royal family is also a prominent military family more so than the Rajapaksas. Let me refresh your memory.

Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh was a naval officer.

  •  Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales was a Royal Naval officer.
  •  Prince Andrew is a career naval officer
  •  Prince Harry is an officer of the British Army.
  •  Sir Winston Churchill voted as the greatest Briton of all time was an Army officer.

The list is long BBC but you will not call them a prominent military family.

Sri Lanka, a land bountifully blessed by nature and God is just recovering from a four- year disastrous rule culminating in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks targeting innocent Catholics claiming over 300 lives. Gotabaya Rajapksa was elected because he has a proven track record of providing security to this country.

BBC report, report as much as you like but please remember we are a sovereign country and do not judge us by double standards.

Malinga Herman Gunaratne   Via email

Pension anomalies and glaring discriminatory policy

With the correction of pension anomalies in July this year,  some pensioners have been overlooked and side-lined causing a glaring injustice to them. The policy adopted by the Department of Pension in arriving at dues to the pensioner has been based on the number of service an employee had put in. It is said that a pensioner should have put in 25 or 30 years service to be eligible for the benefit under the pension anomalies policy.

There are many pensioners who had retired prematurely on multiple grounds. Some pensioners had retired in response to a circular issued by the Department of Public Administration in 1991 implementing a voluntary retirement scheme to prune down the number of public servants, while some others had retired prematurely due to several government departments being closed down. There are also some pensioners who retired on medical grounds. In all these cases, the number of years a pensioner had put in is less than 25 or 30 years, which the Department of Pension has stipulated to be eligible for anomaly benefits. This is highly unfair by the aforesaid categories of pensioners.With the implementation of the correction of salary anomalies of pensioners taking into consideration the number of years of service, a huge disparity between a pension of an officer in the clerical  and allied grades and that of a pensioner in minor employee grade who retired under normal circumstances has been created, thus giving rise to an anomaly within an anomaly. The claim by the government that all pensioners get a minimum increase of around Rs. 2,300 per month in incorrect. There are thousands of Pensioners who have not got one cent increase.

The first pension anomaly was corrected in the year 2015 and the aforesaid categories of pensioners were denied the anomaly benefit at that time also.

We, the suffering and disappointed pensioners, therefore, would request the Minister  of Finance to please consider the above  facts compassionately and direct the Director-General of Pension to do the needful to grant the pension increases of both 2015 and 2019 pension anomalies, to  the  affected pensioners.

Disappointed  pensioners   Via email

Let us support the new President

Now that the Presidential election is over, we have a new President of Sri Lanka. Other candidates will go back to their previous positions or jobs. They should not be harassed. It is our duty to protect them. All cannot win. We must be thankful to those who did not win. Their contribution was very important. This is democracy.

We all must support the winning candidate. He is the President of all Sri Lankans. He is not the President of UNP supporters or SLPP supporters. He is the President of all of us. That is the way people of successful countries behave.

In developed countries people behave in a very peaceful manner. We must show the world that we are educated and we know how to behave after the election.

Let all of us support the new President. He cannot perform well without our support.

D. Weeratunga   Nugegoda

Some thoughts on improving standard of English among students

The quality of education provided by the state schools of Sri Lanka is praiseworthy. Our students are able to compete with other countries and have proved their talents and capabilities.

But, our students’ knowledge of English is inadequate to face the global challenges. Considering this issue I would like to put forward some suggestions:

  •  English should be taught from Grade one in all government schools.
  • The syllabus should not only focus on reading and writing skills. Practical English should be a must at term tests and public examinations. Students who are excellent in the English language targeting only an A pass are unable or reluctant to speak the language since it is not tested.

If students of international schools can communicate why can’t other government school students?

Also, the number of subjects should be reduced from 13 to 8(from Grade 6).

The health authorities too have pointed out the health issues due to the weight of the text books and the amount of homework students have to cope with.

I hope the Minister of Education will take immediate measures to rectify these issues students face.

Jazeema Jaldeen   Raddolugama

Look on us with sympathy

I am a retired postmaster drawing a pension of Rs 20,000 a month. My next door kitchen maid is paid Rs. 25,000 per month with food plus a room with a fan. After I pay the utility bills- water, electricity, I am left with almost nothing.

Please look sympathetically on pensioners drawing less than Rs. 30,000 and consider giving them a boost of at least Rs. 5,000. My life is a pill-popping one, morning and evening, now that I am 80.

Please Minister of Finance, give us a favourable look in our last lap on earth.

M. Samarasinghe


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