The Government has begun a crackdown on non-governmental organisations, both foreign and local, by urging them to cut down on programmes they are now engaged in. The first salvo has already been fired in the Mullaitivu District where NGOs have been asked “minimise” programmes such as women empowerment, child rights, youth training, human rights, land [...]


Crackdown on NGOs and INGOs: Guidelines from District Secretaries


The Government has begun a crackdown on non-governmental organisations, both foreign and local, by urging them to cut down on programmes they are now engaged in.

The first salvo has already been fired in the Mullaitivu District where NGOs have been asked “minimise” programmes such as women empowerment, child rights, youth training, human rights, land rights training, formulation and strengthening of self-help groups.

Mullaitivu District Additional Secretary K. Kanakeshwaran has told all international and local non-governmental organisations that they should now embark on “social and economical programmes in the district.” He has set out eleven different areas:

  • Renovation of tanks
  • Renovation of agriculture roads
  • Construction of rural
  • access roads
  • Construction of wells for the vulnerable people
  • Repairing and deepening of wells
  • Construction of temporary shelters to the Indian returnees
  • Supply of Agriculture inputs
  • Livelihood support to women-headed families and families of missing persons
  • Preschool development programmes
  • Supply of equipment to disabled people
  • Supply of healthy food for pregnant mothers, lactating mothers and preschool children of rural villages.

NGOs and INGOs have been told that the Secretariat will not approve any action plan which does not contain “less than 70 %” of the guidelines set out.

A government source said similar instructions are to be sent out by other Districts Secretariats.

The Mullaitivu District is one of the areas where substantial work is being carried out by NGOs and INGOs.

One INGO representative, who did not wish to be identified, declared that they might be forced to cut back on their involvement. “It is our principals who identify the projects and programmes. It is only thereafter that they provide us the money. It is not within our writ to deal with matters beyond our purview.”



Lord Naseby is seen autographing his book at the House of Lords ceremony on Wednesday.

Lord Naseby’s book launch on auspicious day

The date of Lord Naseby’s book launch, Feb 26, was quite auspicious.

On the same day Lord Naseby’s name was mentioned in the speech made by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council. He referred to “information presented before the UK House of Lords by Lord Naseby, challenging among other things the vastly exaggerated civilian casualty figures.”

The title of Lord Naseby’s memoirs: Sri Lanka–Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained.  At the House of Lords ceremony, there were several peers and some MPs, British Sri Lankans and several friends and colleagues from a 50-year political career.

The guests also included two former British High Commissioners David Tatham and John Field, who served in Sri Lanka.

Govt. hit by another unsettled bill

As if the new Government does not have enough financial problems to begin with, it keeps getting hit with bills that have been left unsettled by the previous Yahapalana Government.

The latest of these is an invoice for unpaid bills amounting to US$ 715,000 (Rs 120 million) to Northern Star Consulting Corporation Ltd, which acted as a consulting agency for the previous Government on its relations between China. Among the occasions when the firm’s services were utlised were during then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visits to Beijing in April 2016 and for the 2017 Belt and Road Summit.

The firm had been retained for a monthly fee of USD 65,000. The new Government has now received an invoice by the company asking for USD 715,000 in unpaid bills for consultancy services.

The subject ministry has forwarded the invoice to the Finance Ministry asking it to see about settling the bill if finances permit.

Gem-studded wit from Ranil on Gota’s elephant

The crisis within the United National Party (UNP) notwithstanding, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, has not lost his wit or humour.

At last week’s National Law Conference, Sri Lanka Bar Association President Kalinga Indatissa told Mr. Wickremesinghe that they had given their chief guest, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a replica of a gem-studded elephant as a token of appreciation for attending. Mr. Wickremesinghe then remarked that it was perfectly in order as “everyone now wants the elephant”, an obvious reference to the goings on inside his party for a symbol at the forthcoming general elections.

Concern over military presence on job interview boards

Under the government programme for placement of 100,000 unemployed graduates and diploma holders, the interviewing process is underway at Divisional Secretariats by senior government officials with the participation of military officers on the interview board.

This raised concerns among those who came for the interview at a DS office in the North this week. It was also observed that military officers keep a separate file of the candidates.

When asked why the military officers keep separate files of candidates, it was said that since most of the candidates were claiming to be from poverty background, military officers would be visiting the residences to verify their family condition along with educational qualifications. The government has announced that those who are from poverty ridden families will be given priority in the appointments.

A candidate who sat for the interview in Jaffna among those 37,400 who applied asked his fellow mates what to do with the letter he obtained from his Grama Sevaka certifying his poor family background. Most of them were clueless about the process of selection as a whole and the role of the military in it.

Earlier it was announced that those selected would be appointed to ministries and departments at a monthly allowance of Rs 20,000 during the one year training period. The appointments will be granted on a district basis and it is a compulsory requirement for them to serve for five years in the district to which they are posted on their first appointment.

Foreign investment officer fired for watching porn

A prominent union leader holding a senior position of an agency tasked with attracting foreign investment has been interdicted after he was caught watching pornographic films on his computer in his office.

The man had evidently been engaged in this exercise for some time, leading someone to tip off the agency’s Internal Audit unit. Officials from the unit who investigated literally caught the culprit “red-handed” while watching pornography on his official computer.

Little wonder that the country struggles to attract investors when those tasked with doing so think their time is better served by watching porn at taxpayers’ expense.


No place for Raghavan on TNA list

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has turned down a request by the Northern Province’s onetime Governor Suren Raghavan. He was told the candidates lists had already been finalised.

The TNA will formally launch its campaign today with a meeting at Veerasingham Hall in Jaffna.

M.A. Sumanthiran is expected to address TNA members on what the alliance has been able to achieve in the past four and half years.


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