The dangers of allowing dual citizens to become members of parliament The proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka includes a clause that “Dual Citizens” will be permitted to be sworn in as Members of our Parliament. In my opinion this is a very short sighted and ill-conceived proposal. The doors will be [...]


Letters to the Editor


The dangers of allowing dual citizens to become members of parliament

The proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka includes a clause that “Dual Citizens” will be permitted to be sworn in as Members of our Parliament. In my opinion this is a very short sighted and ill-conceived proposal. The doors will be wide open for members of the Tamil diaspora presently resident in USA, UK, Australia, Europe and in any other part of the world who are dual citizens of Sri Lanka to contest our Parliamentary elections. There is no doubt that these persons have strong links with our citizens living in the Northern and possibly some areas of the Eastern province.

It is quite probable that they may eclipse the political parties presently elected from these two areas. If they get about 15 “dual citizens” elected, it may be a foregone conclusion that they will initially strongly lobby for a Federal form of Government. They together with their fellow citizens will strongly lobby the governments of the countries in which they are domiciled to support their cause. Their point will be very convincing as some of these countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia have a Federal form of government. Initially they will not lobby for a separate state and hence they cannot be sacked from Parliament as they have not violated our constitution.

I was the Director of Ground Operations of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) for a decade ending in 1990. In the course of duties I had close links with Army Officers such as Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Vijaya Wimalaratna and many others who have laid down their lives to prevent such a catastrophe. Of course, it also included several brave Air Force Officers with whom I interacted very closely who have crossed the great divide. Mention must also be made of a substantial number of “other ranks” of the Air Force and the other services and Police who unhesitatingly paid the supreme sacrifice or are “maimed for life”.

In such circumstances, even the concept of dual citizens being permitted to enter our Legislature is in my view absolutely traitorous. Those biased politicos will be opening the legendary “Pandora’s Box” or a “can of worms”. Those who say “aye” to this ill-considered amendment may be haunted by the souls of almost 100,000 service and policemen who fought tooth and nail for a united Sri Lanka. In this context, it is ironic that in the cenotaphs in most parts of the world including ours it is prominently inscribed as follows “We gave our today for your tomorrow” or words to that effect.

Legal luminaries will argue till the legendary “cows come home”. What is the purpose of war memorial services and commemorative parades, when the reality is that some of our legislators could be classified as hypocrites and heretics whose priorities are questionable and self-centered.

 A.B. Sosa   Air Vice Marshal (Retd) psc, VSV

Mr. President, we are voters too so please give ear to our woes

 First and foremost let me congratulate you on your landslide victory. May you go from strength to strength to serve Sri Lanka and make the citizens lead a comfortable and carefree life.

I am an 81 – year-old English Trained Teacher who retired prior to 1990 receiving a paltry pension. There are so many who belong to this most unfortunate category, a neglected lot who have been left in the lurch.

I earnestly hope the benevolent President will give a kind hearing to my tale of woe although it is too early to burden you with our problems. With the maiden budget of the new government around the corner, Mr. President I thought of keeping you informed about the hardships the pensioners have been undergoing, because we are also voters.

I have been writing letters to the editor, not only I, most of the other pensioners who are in the same boat have been expressing their sufferings which seem to have fallen on the deaf ears of the authorities, like pouring water on a duck’s back.

The previous governments came into power, promising that they would rectify the anomalies and bring relief to the hapless pensioners. But once they came into power, they got all their perks–car permits, allowance for water and electricity, free meals, an allowance for each sitting in parliament, free fuel and security, just to name a few. We pensioners don’t ask for any luxuries. We need some nutritious food and medicine. With the daily sky rocketing cost of living it is difficult to afford even a square meal a day.  Pensioners have been thrown from the frying pan into the fire, with the interest rate on fixed deposits brought down. Only on Rs. 1.5 m do pensioners get 15%. Most of them live on the monthly interest. Even for the senior citizens the interest for the rest of the fixed deposit is low.

It is heartbreaking to hear that parliamentarians get their full pension after five years whereas the government servants have to toil hard for more than 30 years to get the full pension. Is this fair?

In the last budget the Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera promised to rectify the anamolies in the pensions and said there would be a minimum increase of Rs. 2800 and a maximum of Rs. 20,000. Lo and behold! All the castles the pensioners were building in the air were shattered when we got the pension. I got only Rs. 1174 whereas my husband got nothing. When he retired his salary was more than mine. It was the case with so many others.

 Hilda Gunawardhana   Rajagiriya

Power generation: It’s time for winds of change

I brought up the issue of wind and solar power in January, in the Sunday Times, after reading an article in the papers where the Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and Bishop Valence Mendis had met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding the environmental pollution caused by the Norochcholai Coal Power Plants, which resulted in many respiratory problems to the inhabitants of the area.

When I visited Holland in 1977 I was surprised to see windmills all over the coast line, and was told that it was to generate electricity. Holland does not have an ocean all round the country. We can easily contact the Dutch Government and get the information.

When my letter was published, I immediately contacted the Cardinal and Bishop and sent a copy to President Gotabaya. I read in the newspapers in June that the then Minister of Power & Energy, Mahinda Amaraweera stated that the President was installing a wind power plant in Mannar.

We have been depending on coal power and hydropower all these years. Hydropower is dependent on the rain and so often in dry weather the hydropower plant does not work. After the electricity failure we had, just after elections for nearly 7 hours, due to failure of the Norochcholai coal power plants which have all the time given trouble, yet still the electricity maintaining authorities are determined to instal more coal power plants which are detrimental to the health of our people due to environmental pollution. Most countries in the world have given up the use of coal power because of this and depend on solar power and wind power for the generation of electricity.

I installed solar power in my residence six years ago at a cost of Rs.1.5 million, thereby cutting down my electricity bill from Rs.20,000 to around Rs.2,000 depending on the sunshine. This system is guaranteed for 20 years and I will be able to recover the money I spent in around eight years. I hope many in this country, will instal solar power in their homes and institutions in the near future and that many private companies will instal windmills in various parts of the coastline in the country.

 Prof. Wilfred Perera   Via email



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