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Government Gazette

Public complaints office to stop bureaucratic arrogance

The opening of a Public Complaints Office in the Ministry of Public Administration is a commendable step taken by the Minister in mobilizing public cooperation to curb corruption and inefficiency in the public service.

The hostile attitude shown to callers at public offices, indifference and the delay in attending to public business are deep rooted in almost every public office.

The experience of a lady pensioner who called at the Divisional Secretary's office, Thimbirigasyaya, illustrates the tribulations one has to undergo in transacting public business. She called at the pensions' branch of that office on the 15th to obtain her August pension as it was not paid on the due date due to bureaucratic bungling.

She signed stamped voucher as required by a clerk who promised to post the cheque to her bank at Kirillapone; and for that she had to spend about two hours in that crowded office.

It is now more than two weeks after signing the voucher, but the cheque has not been sent to the bank despite several telephone calls. Her telephone calls were picked up by a subordinate officer, as the Accountant, according to him, was too busy to answer the calls.

The officer answering the telephone always gives a curt reply and requests the pensioner to call over at his office and make inquiries.

When a cheque is due to be posted to the bank there is no conceivable reasons for her to call over at his office. Complaints made to the newly established Complaints Unit on two occasions proved futile.

This is the state-of-affairs prevailing in Government offices, including Thimbirigasyaya D.S. office which sad to state, are real constraints against the worthy objectives of the Minister in creating an efficient and clean public service.

Colombo 6.

Terrorism or Democracy

Terrorism is against law. Therefore, those who are engaged in terrorism and commit mass murder are punishable under criminal law.

No negotiations are possible with criminals, or terrorists who have taken up arms to find solutions to their ideologies.

It is the same as in the case of a murderer or for instance a kidnapper who has kidnapped a person and demands money threatening the life of the victim if the ransom is not paid.

We give into them for the purpose of saving the life of the innocent victim. But, there is no legal binding to let them go scot free for their act.

Terrorists fall into the category of criminals, and to negotiate with them is to give into their pattern of behaviour, and accept terrorism as a legal right to political, social or economic claims.

Further the terrorists who have taken up arms to vindicate the right of the people must do so with the backing of the people, if they are to be considered freedom fighters.

The support of the people for terrorism to win their rights is not assured, if the terrorists assassinate and murder those who are opposed to the means they have adopted to vindicate the rights of the people.

Hence, if a Government decides to negotiate with a terrorist group, it should first ask the terrorists to lay down their arms. If the Government has taken defensive action to protect the innocent people, and those that are likely to be assassinated by the terrorists, cannot possibly stop their defensive action, to make possible negotiations, as it would be like opening the flood gates. The terrorists will overflow into the Government areas.

Therefore, the continued demand by the International Community, that both parties should come to a negotiated settlement becomes an indirect means of accepting terrorism to win political rights. That may create a dangerous precedent.

In the modern civilized world, democracy has been recognised as a means to oppose Government policies that affect certain groups, or communities of the people. Therefore, to vindicate the rights of a section of the people, democratic means have to be applied.

If a group of persons takes up arms to vindicate their rights, which is not a civilised democratic means, they should first be asked to lay down their arms to come to a negotiated settlement.

In the event a Government is faced with a group of terrorists, who have taken uncivilised means of claiming their rights, the role of the International Community, is to ask them to fall in line with the civilized democratic political means, instead of asking the Government to negotiate with the ruthless barbaric savages.

In a way, though the Government may give into negotiations with the terrorists on humanitarian grounds, to save the innocent people being incessantly killed or subjected to suffering, it would be aiding and abetting terrorism. But, the moot point is what we are going to negotiate with terrorists?

We should know what the Tamil people want, not what the terrorists want.

The Tamil people may not want what the terrorists are demanding.

Therefore, there should be a period of time the terrorists should agree, for the Government to consult the people through a plebiscite.

via email.

Shopping bags and the environment

Shopping bags (as they are popularly known) have become the bane and the curse of the environment. They are available very freely and used limitlessly and haphazardly polluting waterways, drains, streets and every corner of the earth where they can fly to.

These bags take a long time to decay and destroy themselves due to their tough thermoplastic nature.

These bags have become so handy and easy to handle but the end result is disastrous. They become the eyesore in highways, mosquito breeding places, destroyer of natural beauty of water ways and blocking the water flow in the drains.

This subject has drawn the attention of the authorities but nothing tangible has happened other than discussions and proposals.

The polythene menace was introduced to Sri Lanka only about a decade ago. Till then our populace was used to the paper bag, jute bag, or the locally made pan malla. The boutique vendors used to packet their sell outs on what was then called as gotta made of newspaper and tie them with hessian strings for safety.

This arrangement made no repercussion or adverse effects on the environment or the nature.

Presently, our life styles have changed for the worse. Polythene has become part and parcel of day to day life beginning in the morning for rice wrapping, curry packing, tea packing, shopping so and so forth.

There were and there are options to polythene bags, but, our present generation is so lazy to give life to the better things of the past which went hand in glove with nature.

J. N.,

Ulf Henricsson's parting gift

I congratulate SL Gunasekera and Gomin Dayasiri for their well written article.

Now, the trick is to get this into internet news forums like BBCs World News and Al Jazeera English News. 'Perhaps editing it to make it look like a true news investigative report rather than an opinion by the writers could help. Good luck, SLG and Gomin.

via email.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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