3rd November 1996

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Whims of our times

Even meticulously planned schedules in keeping with the finest military traditions, have to give way when it comes to keeping appointments in Sri Lanka.

At least this is what a top military General who was in Colombo last week discovered. The highly decorated man whose area of command covers the entire Pacific, arrived in an Air Force jet from his country.

The schedule which included meetings with local security forces top brass and defence officials went off well. Alas, a meeting with a VVIP was delayed by over an hour. Needless to say all other engagements had to be one hour later.

The VVIP delay has little to do with time changes or changing with the times. It's a case of others having to wait for time good and glad tidings.

Manna from papa

Even if one accused many politicos of the previous UNP regime of being corrupt or of receiving kick- backs, it appears that in the PA, the charge cannot be levelled in the same way. It is not because allegations are few and they are singing praise for the newcomers.

At least in a few instances, a novel method has been adopted by some to rake in the shekels. At first it concerned the son of a bureaucrat and the multi-billion dollar deal.

Now comes the shocking story of the son of a politico. With papa's blessings he is having a whale of a business. Those winning business deals know that the commission should be paid to him. The papa gets organisations under him to do the needful.

Recently the decision makers put a multi-million dollar deal on, because world market prices were cheaper than the source from which the politico wanted the purchases made. "They are trying to ensure their daily bread for the next couple of decades," said one wag.

Akila's bombers

Remember Akila, the woman LTTE cadre who is one of the most wanted in the assassination of the then Indian Premier, Rajiv Gandhi? Well, she died during 'Operation Riviresa' last year.

NIB officials said LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has a group of 25 female cadres to undertake suicide missions. Their aim is to avenge the killing of Akila.

Sleuths say some members of this group have either entered the City or are planning to do so. All Police stations have been alerted. No wonder there was commotion in Kollupitiya a few weeks ago leading to the closure of some roads. The talk went that some female suicide bombers have arrived.

Good debut

There was kudos all round for the new military spokesman, Brigadier Tissa Jayatunga, after he made his maiden debut at a briefing for Defence Attaches of Colombo-based diplomatic missions.

"For once there was no reference to I, me and myself," declared one diplomat who has attended the briefings regularly.

He was more realistic and gave a dispassionate view on what was going on, said another.

Of course, in the months past, there were claims of "I did this and I did that."

Return to the Editorial/Opinion contents page