Thursday, 22 May 2003  
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Death sentence

I am a housewife having two grown up daughters. I follow with much concern the debate on the death sentence. The discontinuation of the death sentence has really led a huge wave of crime such as gruesome murder, rape, contract killing, child abuse etc.

Though we call ourselves very religious, I feel our society has become extremely violent. Perhaps this may be due to the war that was dragged on for 20 years. The country is now full of army deserters estimated at 60,000 or so who are armed with latest sophisticated weapons and terrorize the entire nation.

Thanks to the Prime Minister, we can breathe a little, as there is no war now. But I am very frightened. Like politicians and wealthy businessmen, I have no security service, so I am very concerned about the safety of my two girls. When you read the newspapers, you find that every day girls are being raped and murdered (in addition to all types of other brutal killings, which neither the State nor the NGOs and the Clergy could contain). So, I believe my fear is well founded.

When the sun is setting and my daughters are getting late after tuition classes, I am really frightened. There is a stretch of about 1 km. from the main road up to my residence, which is really a cart road. This runs through desolate coconut estates where the fences are really shrub jungles in which even the elephants can hide. There is a stream and a jungle patch as well. Who knows whether any body is hiding to grab young girls?

There are no house nearby. I am unable to walk up to the bus halt everyday as there is a problem with my knee cap. Whenever I can I go but it is not sufficient protection. I wish to raise my voice and say, please re-introduce the death sentence to combat the crimes. When the village girls are being dragged into the jungles, so called "intellectuals", the clergy and the society ladies or the politicians will never come to our rescue. Police Station is five miles away. It is only a deterrent punishment such as the death sentence that will safeguard the weaker parties like us and innocent village girls who are still in their teens and school going.

Please introduce the death sentence, for murder, rape and child abuse. Do not listen to the town-bred affluent people who cannot understand our plight.


24-hour lit Super City

No, not a page out of Arabian Fables. It is happening at the Mattegoda Housing Scheme.

Since about a month's time street lights are not switched off at dawn at the Mattegoda Housing Scheme. They are kept on the whole 24 hours.

At a time when we are commemorating the tenth death anniversary of President Premadasa it may not be out of place to reflect on the sorry mess this housing scheme is in today. Of course no fault of the present government. It is due to the ill-conceived ideas of the successive Housing Ministers of the previous government.

President Premadasa had a vision when he built the five massive housing schemes. To others it was a case of disposal of houses for money and palming off of managerial responsibility. Today, the management if there is any and chores of these housing schemes are split between different bodies. Houses to one, land to another. Supermarket buildings are nobody's babies and electricity and some roads are supposed to be looked after by the Pradeshiya Sabhas.

All problems started when the previous government made the Housing Authority divest itself of most responsibilities regarding the housing schemes.

Five years back Sri Lanka Telecom paid over Rs. 40 lakhs to pave the roads damaged by them within the Mattegoda HS. But not a rupee was spent on repairing the damage.

With each successive rain damage to the roads worsened. Two months back the new Homagama Pradeshiya Sabha (UNF) repaired a meagre 50 metres. No one has bothered to look into why the previous Pradeshiya Sabha (UF) did not repair the roads or what they did with the Rs. 40 lakhs. Some stretches are so broken up that with the next two or three heavy showers there is a danger of parts of the roadway getting washed off to the paddy fields below.

The Super Market Building is so neglected that the roof could come down anytime. Till recently a person who is a resident of the scheme and appointed by the CEB (on the recommendation of Al-Fassy Sheriff) attended to switching on and off of street lights to attend to replacement of burnt out bulbs etc. for a small allowance. Recently his services were discontinued. Now there is no one to switch on and off the street lights. Therefore the bulbs burn all the 24 hours a day until they burn out one by one. Those burnt out are not replaced either. The one silver lining is the regular removal of garbage by a team of well behaved workers employed by the Pradeshiya Sabha.

Metthananda Wijekulasuriya, 

Pope John Paul II the living miracle

Pope John Paul II is a living miracle. At 89 years of age he has visited ninety six countries. Unique an achievement that should adorn the Guiness Book of Records.

He did not do the globe - trotting for pleasure cum business but purely to promote the Catholic faith to infuse and foster peace. Even in some Marxist countries that shouted hoarse saying religion is the opium of the masses, invited His Holiness the Pope, many have returned to religion and sanity.

One of the greatest qualities of the Pope is that he never yields to pressure groups or power blocks. He is a strong man of steel fortitude firm and unshakable in his convictions.

He has been a staunch supporter of celibacy, deadly against abortions and convenient divorce.

Also against women entering the priesthood. For even Jesus Christ selected disciples all males.

He said go ye and teach all nations the word of God. And this has been very successfully and gloriously done with divine power. The cross has been planted in every country.

The Pope at 89 though feeble and weak and even suffering from Parkinsons disease is still mentally very alert.

That is purely divine inspiration, though weak and frail he spends ample time on prayer and meditation.

Great is His devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Kings, Emperors, Queens and world leaders have come to seek audience since with Him.

The Catholic Church is going from strength to strength led by this exemplary leader. All pray for Him may he go full swing for many more years. May God bless him abundantly.


Political pressure

In a news item (DN, May 2) which states that President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has warned that if Government failed to prevent the unreasonable and unjust interference and political pressure applied on the Police Department she would have to intervene to halt this developing trend. It is very strange that she has so quickly forgotten the past where the Govt. led by her party interfered in the Police Department to the maximum.

How about Kandy where the former Defence Minister and his sons ruled the place and the Police were pressurized to look on helplessly. Organized crime was rampant in Kandy and the police were helpless as these were done by political stooges of the then Defence Minister. The situation in Kandy deteriorated so much that at that time people were afraid to get out in the dark.

Opposition supporters were eliminated and there were no cases filed. People were assaulted by thugs on the road and police were helpless.


"Future World Leaders"

This is in response to a letter by Deshapriya Rajapaksha of Colombo 6 (DN, May 20).

The selection criteria to attend the Future World Leader Summit in Washington D.C. had been published many times in all English newspapers in Sri Lanka since year 2000 including the Daily News. Furthermore the full details of the summit, selected delegates and the detail selection criteria has been freely available on our website since year 2001.

For the benefit of the readers of the Daily News the criteria for selection to attend the Future World Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. USA, is that, a student must be within the age group 16-19 years at the time of the summit, have an excellent command of the English Language (which is a must) and come, within the first 25% of the class or have an above B average in academic studies.

In addition he or she should have shown leadership ability in civic and sports organizations in school or community and must be ready to learn the finer skills of leadership in a democratic society. All delegates who apply to attend the Future World Leaders Summit must be recommended by their respective school head and supported by the parents by signing the application form. All applicants are called for an interview at our office.

Since year 2000 all the Sri Lankan student leaders who attended this summit have returned to Sri Lanka after the summit. This is not very common in these modern days where many Sri Lankans of this age group and above have disappeared in foreign lands when they were sent to represent the country and return.

This speaks well for our selection criteria and of the disciplined and cultured family backgrounds these selected Future World Leaders come from, that has brought honour and credit to our nation. Out of 106 students from Sri Lanka who have attended this summit 41 are today studying in universities in America, United Kingdom and Australia on scholarships.

They all returned to Sri Lanka after the summit and applied for foreign colleges and received admission and scholarships. 59 of the 106 students who have attended this summit were from Public Schools from different parts of Sri Lanka.

One of the highlights of this summit is the Country presentations each delegation makes on the first day to depict the culture, history and the traditions of each nation. Over 35 countries take part in this summit. Since the year 2001 Sri Lankan country presentation has been the most outstanding. To achieve this the selected Sri Lankan Future World Leaders had to have a sound knowledge of our heritage and traditions.

Furthermore since year 2000 all Sri Lankan delegations who participated in this summit have been voted as one of the best dressed and most friendliest delegations. In July 2002 when the delegation was in transit in Zurich Airport an Australian Teacher couple had stopped and asked the delegation manager "Where do these well dressed and well mannered children come from" and she had said "Sri Lanka mam". Then the couple had said "this must be the last of the cream of young men and women on earth.

We will visit your country someday to meet more well mannered people like these children." Am sure many Sri Lankans will be proud to read of this experience. The Future World Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. is held every year in March and July at the Georgetown University the oldest Jesuit education center in America that has maintained very high standards of youth discipline and tradition.

It is organized by Presidential Classroom Inc. the oldest civic education organization in America incorporated in 1968. Since then over 100,000 high school students from 41 countries have graduated from their leadership programers and most of them today are leaders of the global society based in different countries and networked by the Presidential Classroom Alumni.

We are confident that majority of the Sri Lankan Future World Leaders will come back to Sri Lanka after they complete their higher education to take up leadership roles in their chosen vocations. If any reader or civic conscious citizen needs more information of the summit or the delegates please feel free to contact us direct by email [email protected] or Telephone 0777-379359 or 0777-787515 or 820246 or visit our website given above.

South Asia Representative, Presidential Classroom Inc. USA

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