25th January 1998

Outside Politics

By Epicurus

Problem prince

Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe's displeasure over Prince Charles' visit to take part in the Golden Jubilee independence celebrations in Kandy has raised eye brows not only in Colombo but also in London.

After all, the United National Party claims linkage to the Conservative Party in the UK- an affinity forged long after independence in 1948. Perhaps the handiwork of the new backroom boys giving the UNP a new designer image.

Well that's one contradictory line. Here's, another. There are UNP Parliamentarians who not only want the Prince of Wales to add colour and glory to our independence celebrations but also want a share of it, I mean a bigger share.

Take for example the Kandy Mayor, Harindra Dunuville. He approached PA leaders to persuade them to ask Prince Charles to alight from his motorcade before the Peradeniya bridge. That was to welcome him to Kandy. The request did not meet the favour though PA bosses were pleased at the request.

As one of them explained, "we would have problems if we allowed that. Imagine other UNP Chairman of local bodies along the Colombo-Kandy Road wanting us to make stops. His Royal Highness will not reach Kandy on freedom day."

All's well that ends well

Master blaster Sanath Jayasuriya sampled a "taste of paradise" as he flew to the cooler climes of Switzerland.

His Sri Lankan fans there had organised a big end of the year do.

But some of the things the hosts did, Sanath found, wasnot cricket. He was irked that the Airlanka crew who were at the same hotel awaiting their next flight were not invited. He refused to take part.

The embarrassed hosts quickly sent out invitations. The top batsmen went with the UL fans to meet others. Alls well that ends well.

In all directions

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga did not mince her words when she spoke on administrative reforms at a seminr at the BMICH last week.

She charged that pleas for fundamental rights have now become an industry. One could not transfer a State official, not even from the Presidential Secretariat, without their resorting to fundamental rights applications. Courts were adjudicating on these cases adding to the problems. But her Attorney General was delivering a different message, also this week.

Addressing newly passed out lawyers at a seminar, he extolled the virtues of the Government's devolution proposals. They contained very elaborate proposals to safeguard human rights. A case of the right hand not knowing what the left did. It was not so long ago that the President berated the Attorney General for not responding to her letters on taking action on the recommendations made by Presidential Commission of Inquiry. It transpired later that the AG had in fact replied, and the President did not know.

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