Monday, 11 March 2002  
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Government - Gazette

Sunday Observer

Budusarana On-line Edition



Foreign Service Examination

I wish to draw your kind attention to the letter under above caption (DN Feb 26). The writer threatens the Public Service Commission that there would be "Rights applications" to the Supreme Court by the so called 17 candidates who are potential selectees. Some of the salient facts are as follows:

The written examination was held to call for candidates for an interview where 150 marks are allocated for the viva voce. The candidates for the interview is selected on the results of the written examination consisting of 5 papers which carries 450 marks.

As per provisions of the Establishments Code Chapter II para 5:4:2, 5 times the number of vacancies should be called up for the viva voce, where candidates should be interviewed by a panel consisting of the Secretary, Foreign Affairs and four other Secretaries to Ministries. The Board of interview is appointed by the Public Service Commission.

The chairman of the interview panel adopted a mischievous method of ascertaining the marks of candidates, as written marks are not made available to the interview board. First of all he called for a list of candidates who had obtained an average of 50 per cent at the written examination from the Commissioner General Examination.

Thereafter he called for a list of candidates who had obtained an average marks of 55 and 60 and thereby to ascertain where his favourite candidates are place. Thereafter he summoned above 262 candidates for the viva voce, to select his favourites where nepotism and favouritism prevailed. Now he knows where potential selectees are placed.

The first batch in order of merit were tested in computers where such testing is not stipulated in the notice calling for applications that appeared in the Government Gazette.

The candidates should be interviewed in the language in which they appeared for the written examination. But they were tested in the knowledge of foreign languages and very low marks ranging from 00 to 25 out of 150 were given, obviously they are eliminated at the final selection.

The candidates who appeared for the interview on the last date were given 121 out of 150 marks for the interview and saw that the candidates are included in the 17th to be selected.

The interview panel was not the same. Certain candidates were interviewed by one panel and others by another panel thereby creating a status of non-uniformity.

The viva voce for recruitment to the Public Service was abolished by the Public Administration circular of 15/90 where merit is decided by the marks obtained at the written examination or trade test. This methods of recruitment is adopted in selecting candidates to the Sri Lanka Administrative Service, General Clerical Service and other Combined Services under the Ministry of Public Administration and so far no one complains.

This policy is the accepted policy subsequent to the recommendation of the Youth Commission Report where nepotism and favouritism continued under the credibility of selection was in dispute.

Another factor was that the interview lasted more than a month. The first batch was tested in computers and the subsequent batch had the opportunity of getting acquaintance in any field within the probationary period of three years.

I earnestly request the Public Service Commission to select candidates on merit obtained at the written examination as holding of viva voce had led to accommodate foreign graduates to whom with respect I may say that their failure to get admission to Sri Lankan Universities led them to foreign universities with financial backing.

The writer presumes that there would be fundamental rights applications as the Foreign Ministry had indicated that seventeen candidates would be selected by calling for their personal particulars before the appointments are made by the duly constituted authority - the Public Service Commission.

Any such action would expose how interviews are being manipulated to get favourites appointed to senior posts in the Foreign Service.

R.C.C. - Moratuwa


Resignation of Renton de Alwis

I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of the resignation of Mr. Renton de Alwis as Chairman of Ceylon Tourist Board.

Whatever the circumstances that led to his resignation may be, I hope that Renton will reconsider his resignation and will continue to serve Mother Lanka. He was one of those rare individuals (with qualifications, experience, international exposure, aptitude and what not) who would have definitely been able to provide the much-needed boost to our ailing tourist industry.

Loss of Renton is indeed a tremendous setback to those who are looking forward to a revival of tourism in Sri Lanka. I sincerely hope that the authorities will forget their differences and do their utmost to retain the services of people with Renton's calibre.

M. AMEEN-Wehiwela.


Power cut

We belongs to the C Group as scheduled by the CEB totally five hours a day power cut at two and a half hours but almost every single day, the time limit exceeds more than five hours.

We, the taxpayers suffer a lot due to the cruel unlimited power cuts. We do not even know who is responsible for this carnage. Is there anyone kind enough to give some explanation?

M. ABDUL HASHIM-Pottuvil - 1


'Beg' match season

With reference to the above subject, it is a fact that the incidents mentioned in your issue (DN - Feb. 25) do take place during school Big Matches, but it is wrong to fix responsibility on either the students or the young old boys. These acts are committed by young hooligans, drug addicts, and other questionable characters who have no connection at all with the schools.

Most of these delinquents have convictions for various offenses and continue to collect funds to finance their drug habit. The correct action would be for those who are pestered by these hoodlums, to hand them over to the Police, and it is up to the Police to nab these miscreants on sight.



Copyright of songs

Much has been written and spoken about "Clarence Wijewardene's" songs. May I say that copyright to the cream of his compositions belong to us. That is "Kanda Suriduni, Dilhani, Sigiriya, Pemkathawa, Maga Pelpathe, Gonwassa, Muhudu Rella, Iru Dina, Kalu Mama" and many others by virtue of written agreements between us.

Any party who wishes to perform or record these songs must get our permission. All these songs were originally recorded on the "Sooriya" label.



Ensure that your dog wears a collar

It is the responsibility of all dog owners to ensure that their pet wears a collar. This collar will indicate ownership and keep that wretched dog pound van at bay. I have been told that sometimes collars are either stolen or lost and this could be prevented by just securing it firmly with a piece of wire.

Recently, when they were clearing Independence Square for National Day celebrations a sturdy cross-bred boxer who resisted the dog pound van catchers was so severely beaten up that when his owners found him crouching at the dog pound he had no teeth and one of his eyes was also out. His eventually death after a week of veterinary care could have been prevented had he worn a collar.



President and Prime Minister

Some time before the last general election the 'numbers game' was being played in Parliament. Concerned members of the general public, commercial institutions, welfare organisations promoted the idea of a National Government, but this failed.

From the time of nominations until elections, Madam Chandrika stated, quite emphatically, at all her propaganda meetings that she will never be able to work with a UNP government, definitely not with Ranil Wickremesinghe. Her brother Anura speaking on PA platforms repeatedly stated that the President will keep on dissolving Parliament at the end of every year in case any party other than the PA forms the government.

This was not contradicted. Ranil Wickremesinghe, for his part, spelt out his policies in his own style placing emphasis on Peace. Doubts were expressed about his capability as a leader. The voters listened to everything that was said and finally voted the UNF government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Because of his temperate nature, amiable qualities and approach the UNF Leader avoided what might have been a confrontation at the very outset. He was able to prevail and persuade the President to work with him. A most welcome move. He is now an accredited leader.

The PA was let down by some trusted lieutenants and other allied groups. They made a pretense of their loyalty to the leader as part of their strategy. To any human being these things would cause hurt and anger. This is being aggravated by the actions, demands and rude remarks of some of the present Cabinet colleagues. This is characteristic of Sri Lanka's game of party politics.

On Friday 22nd February the Prime Minister, with confidence and courage, took a meaningful step to sign the MoU. On a previous occasion the President herself made such a move and was hailed for it. Now the President finds fault.

It is in the best interest of Sri Lanka that this foolish fighting between its own people should end. Those in the N/E lost confidence because of in fighting in the South; this was Prabhakaran's trump card. Madam Chandrika has experience and leadership qualities.

She should review her approach. She has to relegate to the background about being the PA leader and be a reasonable President. The voters have chosen Ranil Wickremesinghe's leadership. They have right to expect H.E. to work with the P.M. The whole country is yearning for peace.

The move by the PM has received international support. What is this peace we are all longing for. That is the normal and natural way of life. It is quite understandable that young politicians, who have been during wartime and given toy guns and pistols to play about to promote a war because it is the 'normal' way of life they have been born into.

They are also frustrated without employment. But senior and matured politicians should not make the move for peace a party issue. That is treachery.

The need is to create goodwill and understanding; built bridges, roads, railroads of friendship; remove the black spots such as refugee camps; restore the damaged places of worship; enable children to go to school; bring back liberty and civil order; resurrect the Pearl of the Orient Let us all work to that end. That is my plea, prayer.

S. Thambyrajah - Colombo - 03.


Road to Jaffna

Thanks for your editorial, "Road to Jaffna". It was well-received by those of us living half way across the world.

What memories I have travelling on that famous road from Kandy! Those were the days when we did not have to hide from assailants on the way or report at check points. We were free Sri Lankans eating and living off the same foods whether it was kos from the south or murunga from the North.

The Sinhala folk blended so well with the "panag kottes", .My best memories of that place was eating grapes from Tholagati and bathing in the hot springs near KKS. As one writer in the same journal puts it, the children of this generation do not know anything of what lies North of Maho junction.

When will those days come back again? When our politicians will learn to represent their people and country as true citizens and not use their privilege to plunder and kill like highway robbers.

I long for a day when I can return to my Sri Lanka, the resplendent isle and travel with nay inhibitions or fear of being caught without valid travel papers in my own country.

Do you know how long it takes me to cross from Windsor, Canada into Detroit, USA at the Ambassador Bridge? 10 seconds! Show your citizenship card, not your face or the colour of your skin or between your ethnic background.

Strange as it may seem the Sinhala and Tamil live so amicably well that we eat thalaguli and masala vadai from the same table as though we are kings and queens from Sri Elankai.



Physiotherapy unit needs urgent bypass surgery

It is sad to note that the Physiotherapy Department at the Panadura Hospital is in a pathetic condition. Having visited this Department every other day, for almost two months for treatment due to a torn ligament, I observed the following conditions prevailing there:

1. The unit is located in a small room about 20 feet by 15 feet.

2. In this small space, 2 short wave elect-magnetic machines; 2 electrical stimulators; an ultra-sound machine; 3 infra-red lamps; a wax bath; a static bicycle; and various other implements are cramped together.

3. Patients cannot exercise on the static bicycle or engage in chest physiotherapy exercises due to the very limited space available. There is no room whatsoever for any walking exercises.

4. In addition to all these gadgets, the usual office paraphernalia including a huge office table, several cupboards and even the patients' diagnostic bed are cramped into this room.

5. The unit is so pressed for space that the physiotherapists' rest room (15 x 10 feet) has also been sacrificed to accommodate some of these machines.

6. The only redeeming feature in this unit is that there are three dedicated and duty conscious physiotherapists trying their best to cope with over 50 patients daily. In spite of all these obstacles, it was pleasing to see these officers carrying out their duties with a smile.

Will the Department of Health and others responsible realise the importance of the Physiotherapy Department and shift this unit to a much more spacious location within the hospital so that patients could obtain the maximum benefit from these various machines and from the dedicated staff attached to the unit?.



Power crisis

A few days back an energy consultant, spoke over the TV on power crisis. His initials, before his name 'GAD' struck me as immediately, as in America God is referred to as GAD.He brought out a good suggestion. He said why not the metre readers, deliver CFL bulbs at the doorstep, when they call to read the metres? This wills ave us the trouble of calling at offices and depots to sign agreements etc.

RABIA, QASIM-Hirimbure.


ADB policies

The ADB being a major donor to Sri Lanka is playing a main role in development. It was also noted that the ADB is responsible for carving the Sri Lankan internal policies such as water, power, infrastructure, poverty-alleviation, and conservation sectors.

Although ADB has many policies to ensure the participation, transparency and good governance, we are sorry to see that they are not properly implemented in many occasion.

Recent controversy on the Southern transport development project is such an example which has now been brought to the ADB's inspection panel's notice. We have noted that we are loosing the trust of this inspection procedure, due to the incapability of the Bank to respect the time schedule, and even respond to the claims. Meanwhile the local agency responsible for the construction of the road is continuing their activities violating the bank policies again and again.

Also, the bank has failed to continue the dialogue with the public, especially with the NGOs in the recent past, and this situation has led to the controversy on certain projects, policies and procedures of the banks. The bank's limited democracy allows only a few selected NGOs to participate in the current dialogue, and which is also inhibited by the local implementing agencies.

Although the bank has accepted the importance of the advocacy, NGOs in the bank's process, it is not indicated in the recent events. We therefore request the bank to initiate such a dialogue, which will definitely enhance the current mal-communication.

Also we hope that the bank will use mediation and arbitration methods in solving disputes with the local communities, rather than neglecting them and allowing the local agencies to intimidate such communities. We also stress the need of monitoring the executing agencies for the compliance of ADB policies as the bank's local partner in development.

CONVENOR,Sri Lankan NGO Working Group on ADB

Crescat Development Ltd.

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