The fence made from cinnamon sticks – after their bark is scraped and cured as a spice – separates the seafront and the five-star Cinnamon Bey in Beruwala. In many ways, this idyllic location is the microcosm of what the country’s once burgeoning tourist industry faces after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. This is not just [...]


Five-star Cinnamon Bey and no star kiosks gone with the wind


The fence made from cinnamon sticks – after their bark is scraped and cured as a spice – separates the seafront and the five-star Cinnamon Bey in Beruwala.

In many ways, this idyllic location is the microcosm of what the country’s once burgeoning tourist industry faces after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. This is not just in Sri Lanka but the world over.

The hoarding explains it all. Right behind is the no star kiosk and left the coconut groves of Cinnamon Bey

Behind the cinnamon stick fence, the five-star Cinnamon Bey is striving hard to keep its well-known venture afloat. There are employees, apart from the billions that have gone in as investment, to worry about. They are focusing on domestic tourists and that is helping, though in a limited way.

On the other side of the fence, it is also the same story. At the gate that leads to a natural swimming pool, the result of a coral reef running parallel to land, hundreds of guests find safe haven. By the gate, as one steps out, is a small no star kiosk, operating behind a big hoarding. It sells pol roti and lunumiris at a much lower price. Some over-ripe pineapples and bananas lay hung. This is where budget tourists moving along the beach find their cheap food. Even they are hard hit.

The kiosks are run by families living along the coast. They eke out an existence and had a larger menu before including string hoppers and pittu. They are not available any longer because the customer flow has shrunk. Also, off from their makeshift shelf are Coca Cola, Lemonade, and bottled water.

The coral reef outside Cinnamon Bey forms a natural sea water pool.

The star class hotels along the coast co-exist with these no class kiosks alongside. One is with official authority. The other, the resident families, are protected by politicians in the area.

What about the hoarding? Our picture shows what it says: “Let’s protect the Barbarian reef – Beruwala.”

This is by no means a call by barbarians – men who are perceived to be uncivilised or primitive – who own it or are trying to save the environment.

It is all the result of a misunderstanding as one hotel staffer pointed out. It was meant to say those from Berberyn, the name that was used in the long past. It is here that in the 12th century that Muslim settlements by Arab traders were first discovered.

Somebody, funny enough, decided that those from Berberyn are Barbarians.

Much like saying those from Colombo are Colombians. But what would Colombia, a Latin American country, have to say?



Minister Bandula Gunawardena with Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon

Trade Minister talks ganja with Canadian envoy

Seldom does ganja, the local name for cannabis, become a subject when a government minister meets a diplomatic envoy.

It happened this week when Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena met Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon.

When the talk centred on non-traditional exports, Minister Gunawardena, who had done his homework before the meeting, spoke about cannabis and its medicinal values. High Commissioner McKinnon was to acknowledge that there was one variety of cannabis which was of medicinal value in Canada too.

He noted if that variety was grown in Sri Lanka, technology could be obtained to extract the medicinal value from the plant.

Minister Gunawardena was armed with a book on the medicinal value of cannabis.


Something fishy: Drug dealers on multi-day fishing trawlers

Some multi-day fishing trawler operators have found an easy way of making money apart from selling their fish.

Under hot pursuit from the Police, drug dealers are paying large amounts to travel on board these trawlers on deep sea fishing jaunts. Some have thus escaped the long arm of the law for weeks.

Their identities were discovered after Police arrested drug addicts and questioned them. Most had revealed the sources from whom they obtained their supplies.

Vanni district’s new MP unlocks dispute with former MP

Newly elected Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Vanni district Parliamentarian Kulasingham Thileepan, who went to take over the official residence assigned to him in Vavuniya, was in for a surprise.

He was handed over the keys of the building and accordingly went with a group of supporters to settle in.

Earlier, the district’s former Parliamentarian Nadesu Sivashakthy Anandan, representing the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), had returned the keys of the house to the District Secretariat.

When the new Parliamentarian unlocked the door and walked into the premises, he found the defeated MP conducting a meeting inside.  It was then that he realised that the former Parliamentarian was still in possession of a duplicate key to the house.

However, both of them were able to amicably settle the matter and the former Parliamentarian handed over the duplicate key also to the new Parliamentarian.

Roadside questions: Journalists get broadside from Minister and co-cabinet spokesman

Co-cabinet spokesman Udaya Gammanpila has called on the media to honour their part of the commitment on not provoking Ministers to make comments on the roadside soon after the cabinet meeting ends.

His comments were made at the Cabinet news conference when a journalist praised the Cabinet spokesman for having a media conference to announce the Cabinet decisions to the media.

Earlier, the media appealed to Ministers to refrain from making comments to the media on the roadside as there were different versions coming out regarding the Cabinet meeting.

Mr Gammanpila said the Govt. had kept to its end of the bargain but the journalists had not kept their promise. He said reporters with mics and recorders continue to wait outside the Presidential Secretariat seeking comments.

He said that one Minister was continuously besieged by the media about what happened at the Cabinet meeting. But the only comment he got from the Cabinet spokespersons was to wait for the Cabinet news conference.

“So it is now up to journalists to refrain from requesting for comments on the roadside,” he said.

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