THE British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Dominic John Chilcott is
reported to have made comments which range from inaccurate
representations of history to gross interference in the internal affairs
of Sri Lanka by supporting the separatists terrorist's ideology in an
interview with a Sunday newspaper.
He states that "When the British came to Ceylon in 1796, there were
three distinct kingdoms. The British made it one country for purposes of
This is a grossly inaccurate statement given that when the British
arrived in Sri Lanka. There was only the Sinhala Kingdom in the Hill
country while the Dutch East India Company controlled the coastal areas.
We can only speculate at the intention of making such an inaccurate
statement and hope that it was not done to further the terrorist LTTE's
claim for an independent Tamil homeland.
He has gone on to accuse successive Sri Lankan Governments of not
safeguarding the rights of minorities, particularly of the Tamils, but
has played down the role of the British colonial policy of 'divide and
rule' as a pre-condition to the terrorism facing Sri Lanka today.
This is an inaccurate, harsh and unjust indictment of Sri Lanka
Governments since independence.
Sri Lanka is a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic country
and Sri Lankan constitutions that followed the Soulbury Commission have
by and large reflected that and have not caused grievances that are
different to those that are faced by minorities in the UK and in other
so-called developed countries.
He has gone on to state that the current political system has to
change and that they would like to see a federal system within a united
Sri Lanka implemented.
This is a blatant interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka
as the type of solution must be determined by the people of Sri Lanka
taking into account the national interests of Sri Lanka.
Perhaps Mr. Chilcott needs reminding that he is merely the High
Commissioner of the UK in Sri Lanka and is not a viceroy.
His comment that the terrorist LTTE's chief negotiator and political
strategist Anton Balasingham, is free to live in London as he is a
citizen of the UK despite the LTTE being a banned organisation in the
UK, leaves us astounded and smacks of double standards.
We wonder what the purpose of the UK's ban on the LTTE is, when the
ban isn't enforced against a known member of the LTTE who is openly
espousing and strategising terrorism and death to members of the
legitimate government of Sri Lanka from London.
We would be extremely surprised if a strategist of the Al-Qaeda would
be allowed to operate in the same manner as the LTTE's Anton Balasingham
does in London.
We request the UK Government and its representatives in Sri Lanka not
to make pronouncements that justify and legitimise the LTTE's terrorism
and to allow Sri Lankans to work out the best solution by themselves.
If the UK wishes to genuinely be of assistance to a fellow democracy
and a fellow member of the Commonwealth, it needs to stop or minimise
the LTTE's fund raising and propaganda activities in the UK and to
provide military, economic and political assistance to Sri Lanka in its
legitimate fight against the cruel separatist terrorism of the LTTE.
In view of the above, we request the Government of Sri Lanka to
reject the High Commissioner's statements and to impress upon the High
Commissioner that such statements are not acceptable and are unbecoming
of his position.
MALIN ABEYATUNGE, Secretary (SPUR Vic) - Australia
THE Colombo National Hospital informs the patients to get their
prescribed tests from the branch of Durdans Hospital which is at a
stone's throw. Even during midnight its services are offered which is a
great consolation to the desperate kith and kin of the suffering
But the Lady Ridgeway - the childrens' hospital, requires their tests
done at Asiri Hospital, Narahenpita, which has a travelling of more than
10 bus halts.
Why cannot the Lady Ridgeway also make it to the Durdans which is
only one halt and that could save the precious time of the parents
Therefore, the health authorities should insist the Lady Ridgeway to
get their tests done at Durdans.
However, the authorities is still unable to provide the poor people
their required tests done free in the hospitals itself.
As it seems the authorities should see that the poor is completely
treated free. The maintenance of the hospitals are very much improved
and the care and treatment of the doctors, nurses and other staff are
The non-availability of medicines is a matter to feel sad.
Health is wealth and for those poor people to possess' that wealth'
the authorities should provide all the necessities that are required to
such hospitals, specially the essential equipments and other life saving
NAZLY CASSIM - Colombo 13
I was in Thailand recently and what struck me most was how this
country has made advances in tourism. What I refer here should serve as
food for thought for our tourist authorities.
Thailand has laid stress on thematic tourism. Attractions are galore.
Elephant shows, cobra shows, crocodile farms etc. are cases in point. In
this regard my mind goes to our Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. We too
should think of showing more on our elephant life through this
Shopping by the side of canals more popularly known as 'floating
markets' has attracted many tourists. We too should be innovative and
exploit the waterways around the City of Colombo such as the Hamilton
Canal for this purpose. All Thai fruits are on display in these floating
markets. even packeted riped jak (waraka) is sold.
Hotels in Thailand provide a top quality service and are
comparatively cheaper than those in Sri Lanka. I think this is the major
reason why there is a glut of tourists in Thailand. They are looked
after well from the arrival to their final departure.
Buddhist shrines in Thailand draw many visitors. They are well
maintained and visiting them is not a hassle. I wish to refer here to
the trials and tribulations faced by the pilgrims at our shrines at
Ayutthia in Thailand can be compared to our Polonnaruwa since the
shrines there had been subject to attack by a foreign invader. As far as
maintenance is concerned Polonnaruwa is I should say far behind Ayutthia.
In Thailand I met tourists from far flung places in the world - from
Mexico to New Zealand. I interviewed several who told me that they have
avoided Sri Lanka because of adverse publicity.
They are concerned with the on going war here. I allayed their fears
but this is a matter in the hands of the top hierarchy. A vigorous
publicity campaign becomes a sine qua non here. It should be a
promotional drive assuring and reassuring that tourists are safe here.
Highways in Thailand are excellent specially in Bangkok. There are
enough super highways and flyovers. There are no potholes to make
driving a nightmare. There is a lot of traffic and jams are cleared sans
What is admirable in Thailand are the plans and devices made to
prevent pollution. Piles of garbage are not seen along the roadways.
Many mini food outlets are found on the pavements of busy roads and we
do not see any food leftovers thrown away indiscriminately.
I think we should not consider it infra dig to take a cue from
Thailand in developing our tourism. The need of the hour is to build up
our parlous economy and in doing so let us learn from others.
D. P. GANKANDA - Polgasowita
THE well recognized Mercantile establishments in Colombo which
imported motor vehicles into Sri Lanka, had their workshops and service
stations along with their establishments.
These workshops which were in Colombo were all shifted away from the
city for environmental reasons. Now the workshops of those companies are
established out of the City limits but the authorities of the CMC and
the CEA had allowed unauthorized workshops and garages to operate on the
pavements of the City of Colombo depriving the public of the pavement of
a safe walk.
Are these illegal workshops not posing health risks or not harmful to
the environment? From recently Motor Cycle workshops have sprung up
along most of the pavements and some stooges of politicians and henchmen
of the underworld characters charge a monthly rental by leasing
suchplaces to these servicemen.
Why should the authorities allow these types of activities in their
areas which are a threat to the nation as well as being illegal?
A. R. P. - Colombo