Thursday, 26 February 2004  
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Mihintalava - The Birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhist Civilization

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UNP /Front General Elections - 2001 and 2004

It was reported in a newspaper of Feb.13 that the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has told at a meeting held at Siri Kotha on 12.02.2004 to grant UNP membership to an ex-PA Member of Parliament that the United National Party / United National Front polled 50,000 more votes than those polled jointly by People's Alliance and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna during the 5.12.2001 general elections.

I failed to understand from where the leader of the UNP obtained these figures. According to official results of the Parliamentary Elections 2001 and published in the daily newspapers at that time the total votes obtained by the major parties were as follows:

Above figures clearly indicate that the total votes polled by the PA/JVP was 3,330,816 + 815,353 = 4,146,169 which was 4,146,169 - 4,086,026 = 60,143 votes more than these polled by the UNP/UNF.

Hence the actual truth is just the opposite of what the Prime Minister had stated at the meeting.

What is the guarantee that all those who supported and voted for the UNP in 2001 will do the same thing in April 2004.

Specially because the UNP and the Prime Minister forgot most of the people who supported and worked for the UNP in 2001, and helped only a certain class of people who were either classmates/schoolmates of Ranil Wickremesinghe forgetting the genuine contribution made by others towards the victory of the UNP.

Further more, this time there are about 470,000 new voters who are mainly school leavers who are looking for jobs and the poor record of the UNP government during the last two years in providing jobs for the unemployed, these new voters would definitely look elsewhere for their future aspirations.

With this background how could the UNP hopes to win the April 2004 General Election and form the next government? I think the writing is on the wall for the UNP Government and they are certainly aware of this but are only trying to mislead the people by false utterances.

No Name of political party Votes polled No. of bonus seats

1. United National Party 4,086,026 13

2. People's Alliance 3,330,816 11

3. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna 815,353 03

4. Tamil National Alliance / TNA 348,164 01

5. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 105,346 01

6. Votes obtained by other parties/groups 270,164 00

7. Total valid votes/Total seats 8,955,869 29

8. Total rejected votes 493,944

9. Total polled 9,449,813

10. Total No. of registered electors 12,428,762

C.V. - Colombo 8.

Why a Ministry of Public Utility?

A Ministry for Public Utility has been established to supervise on two projects which had already been completed.

At the commencement of the Ministry in 2001, there was no office, staff nor vehicles. An office was established and a large amount of resources was allocated by the Treasury.

The resources that go into administering a Ministry for the first time is superfluous specially when the projects brought under the Ministry has already been completed.

The cost of Ministerial staff, vehicles etc. which was expended in the past two years was enormous, while the output was negligible.

It should not be the practice of satisfying individuals by allocating Ministerial Portfolios, knowing very well, where there are no functions.

We appeal to the President not to permit this type of wastage in the future, as resources of the state are extremely precious in the current context.

A. R. M. FAROOK - Colombo 10.

Getting foreign aid

In reply to Nalin D. Jayasuriya's letter I would like to update the facts of life:-

A government Finance Minister, is charged with arranging foreign aid, to maintain the economic running of the country on a day-to-day basis.

Most third world Finance Ministers are already products of western education, and are only too ready to borrow western money, on a commission basis from the lender, and also receives a commission from the government, so in a sense 1 1/2 per cent from the lender, and 1 per cent from the government 2 1/2 per cent in all.

Most third world MPs scramble to be elected to parliament for one reason, and only one - "money".

Given the length of time between the elections, which is about 5 years, the MPs look round for the quickest way to make money, and more money. in fact they will even sell their souls.

The MPs are appointed from the national list, who do not have to face the people at an election, are the most mistrusted.

I agree that children yet unborn, will have a huge debt around their necks, because of creed and religion.

Let's assume a loan of Sterling Pound 10,000,000 is borrowed from UK Banks by the Finance Minister on a 20 year repayment, with interest whatever.

The total commission the Finance Minister will get is about 46 million rupees, and this is only one minister. What about the others, loans of all sorts can be arranged from donor countries, for water, electricity, rebuilding coastal defences against soil erosion, etc. Its endless and easy.

The constitution should be amended to stop MPs being appointed, without facing the election. It's undemocratic and gives suspicion as to the reason for why the people are afraid to face the electorate.

What we need to understand, is this:-

A person appointed MP on a party basis, does not have an area for which they have a responsibility, so when questioned by reporters, it comes out, that they have been given a licence to print money, because they are relations of senior members of the party.

Foreign bank accounts money laundering, dual passports, houses worth millions in other countries - bribery - to list a few.

In short parliament is a gravy train!


Media must not jeopardize the future of the country

We always have to reap what we sow. If we manage to send honest, wise, just persons to the Parliament we will have peace, prosperity and a healthy nation. But if we send persons who are thieves, cunning, dishonest and sick in mind to the parliament we will have war, poverty and an utterly sick society.

Who goes to the parliament depends who become registered in the minds of people as a suitable candidate. The media has every opportunity to lead the people in the correct path.

If by only thinking of one's self the media does mislead the people the nation will have to bear its consequences.

I sincerely hope that no media person will have to regret for what he or she has done around this time next year.

'Sorry won't heal or repair the damages'.


Postal frauds and delays

There have been numerous letters regarding the loss of letters, parcels, money orders, postal orders, birthday cards and drafts sent from UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Middle East and other countries but no action whatsoever has been taken by the authorities to nab the culprits.

The lower grade postal sorters, higher grade sorter superiors and finally the postman have perfected the art of detecting foreign mail containing, postal orders, drafts and foreign currency notes.

What a lot of people, I am aware of, have lost their monies during the Christmas and New Year season, let alone the greeting cards that have never reached them and mind you it is the lower middle classes who are by no means better off and are poor who are the losers.

On two occasions I posted letters from Dehiwala to Kohuwala, Dehiwala and they were delivered 2-3 days later.

Surely, something is rotten in the Postal department and the sooner a 'cleansing program' is initiated the better for everybody.

VERNIE - Dehiwala.

Media and two Prime Ministers

In page 3 of (DN Feb. 19) information is given about the present Prime Minister of the UNP and his decision to boycott state media.

In the late 1950s the newspapers exercised themselves to eternally criticise the then Prime Minister, the inimitable SWRD, who was not UNP.

SWRD appreciated the criticisms, the satirical cartoons, and respected the newspapers. He did not in any way boycott them. But that was because he was a true intellectual.

Now that does not mean that another Prime Minister who is not an SWRD but only a PM should appreciate criticism and should respect newspapers and should not boycott them, specially when they do not take his side. After all, intellectualism of the UNP is not intellectualism of SWRD.

It therefore must follow that the present Prime Minister is not disentitled to reject or boycott any media which he chooses to reject or boycott.

DENROY - Kotte.

Frills - free polls

What the beleaguered public wants is honesty, transparency and a government that serves the public.

We want good living standards, a clean and safe environment, proper recreational facilities particularly for the youth, tax-free public utilities, a police force free of bribery and corruption and a future we can look forward to with hope and optimism.

So let us have a frills-free polls - for a change!

LINDA VAN SCHAGEN - Mount Lavinia.

British Council

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