Time to leave and let an interim “theocratic group” bail the country out It is time that that our current leaders bow out gracefully. The following tale of woe should impel them to make a safe and honourable exit. It is hoped that the three comrades in arms –  the brothers also follow suit. A [...]


Letters to the Editor


Time to leave and let an interim “theocratic group” bail the country out

It is time that that our current leaders bow out gracefully. The following tale of woe should impel them to make a safe and honourable exit. It is hoped that the three comrades in arms –  the brothers also follow suit. A safe and honourable exit can be guaranteed by an interim “theocratic group” as suggested by a writer to the Sunday Times of 19/5/22, till an election is held.

My wife, a septuagenarian who has had bypass surgery one year ago, needed to have her teeth operated on by a well known dental surgeon in Wellawatte, Colombo. Our daughter drove her and me, an octogenarian, to Colombo on the appointed day. After leaving us at the dental clinic she drove around to find petrol without success. She came back to take us for lunch and to drive back home to Negombo.

But she needed to have some petrol pumped in to a half empty tank. She joined a petrol queue at Pepiliyana which was moving slowly. After about one and half hours in the queue we were unlucky when the car in front was the last to be served. My wife and I took turns to keep standing around as the heat inside the car became intolerable. Then our daughter joined another queue close to the Highway at Arangala, Athurugiriya. After about two hours in the queue, the petrol shed closed as there was no more petrol left.

We stayed the night at the house of a friend of our daughter in Pannipitiya. Early the following morning our daughter got news of a petrol shed in Maharagama issuing petrol. This time she succeeded and we returned home.

On the morning of 8/6/22 my wife had to join the queue at a petrol shed close to our home to get gas. Our daughter could not attend to the matter as she was working online. As she couldn’t stay long in the queue, my wife persuaded our “lady help” to queue up on her behalf assuming that gas would arrive. Towards evening my wife and I walked up to the shed and found that a young man was collecting Rs.100 for each cylinder for looking after the empty cylinders overnight. It is known that there were rogues waiting to steal cylinders kept in the queue. So far there has been no gas available. Up to this day (20/6) we have not received the gas.

The government was elected to govern this country, the pearl of the Indian ocean. But they have forfeited the right to govern as the large majority of this country have found them to be incompetent: the basic necessities to lead a simple life are not available to the young and old. It may be that members of the “Viyath maga” have given bad advice. I have stood in bread queues and milk food queues in the 1973/74 period when the SLFP government was in power. Then there was enough strength in me to withstand the stress. Now there are queues for basic essentials like gas, diesel, kerosene and petrol.

They have failed to deliver the goods.

All this is due to the shortage of dollars which seem to have evaporated due to the vanity  projects initiated by the government steered by the Rajapaksa brothers. Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, when he was only an MP had declared that the Rajapaksas had initiated vanity projects to earn commissions. They have not been able to bring back the looted dollars.

Please listen to the protests of the young and the old and bow out gracefully. Our theocratic group will ensure a safe exit.

Naaki Seeya  Nakiyaddeniya, Negombo

Need to open up avenues to collect Australian pensions in Sri Lanka

I wish to draw public attention to the lack of an International Social Security Agreement between Australia and Sri Lanka, and the urgent need to have one. Australia currently has 31 bilateral international social security agreements, with several more under negotiation.

These agreements allow an Australian citizen to claim an Australian Govt. (Centrelink) payment while he or she lives overseas, provided the claimant lives in an agreement country.

Sri Lanka, unfortunately, is not one of these 31 countries despite a large and fairly visible Sri Lankan population spread across Australia but fairly well concentrated in Melbourne and Sydney.

Generally, these agreements allow Australian residents to maximize their income by helping them to claim payments from other countries where they have spent a part of their working life.

There is a large number of people of Sri Lankan origin who are eligible for an Australian pension but cannot return to Australia due to force of circumstances.

Likewise there is a larger number of people of Sri Lanka origin with funds at their disposal who have now retired from employment in Australia and want to return to Sri Lanka, but are unwilling to do so because they cannot collect their Australian pension in
Sri Lanka under the present set of rules.

One cannot claim an Australian pension unless one is residing in Australia or in an agreement country.

It will be good if the respective Governments of Sri Lanka and Australia were to enter into an International Social Security Agreement just like 31 other countries have done to date with Australia.

It will bring a financial income and great relief to the elderly and aged Sri Lankans (with Australian resident or citizenship rights ) but currently resident in Sri Lanka, and in turn result in the country gaining more foreign exchange.

Sri Lanka is desperately in need of foreign exchange today and this avenue of collecting Australian Pensions in Sri Lanka is one sure way of earning such valuable foreign exchange.

This issue deserves to be treated as a matter of utmost urgency by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the best interest of Sri Lanka.

Senaka Weeraratna  Via email

Make dual citizens in SL feel more welcome

Dual citizens who retire back in
Sri Lanka are a good source of Forex as their retirement savings and monthly pensions etc., are in hard currency. So while pleading for foreign tourists and other sundry foreigners to come here, are the dual citizens who are already in Sri Lanka feeling welcome? Unfortunately not.

They have to undergo bureaucratic processes that other citizens do not have to:

  •    They have to obtain a new ID card as if they never had one before and this involves several steps which can be very tedious and time-consuming.
  •    Once the new NIC is obtained, they have to go to each institution that has the old ID number on record to change it to the new one
  •    The passport issued to dual citizens is valid only for five years, compared to ten for other citizens
  •    Once their hard-earned Forex is deposited in a bank, various rules become applicable that thwart the free use of their own money. Dual citizens are accustomed to using their funds as they please in host countries.

I hope that someone in authority will see this letter and make the necessary changes. It will encourage more professional expatriates who are now retired in foreign lands to return to Mother Lanka bringing with them their savings and pensions that will provide a steady stream of Forex to this country.

D.C.  Via email



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