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Where is Ranil’s so-called vision?

Herds of elephants have crossed over to Chinthana territory, while the ‘mahout’ was globe-trotting. First, it was Tanzania (to see wild elephants!), then it was India, Nepal and again India.

All this time, the grand old party was in turmoil, but the leader did not seem to have a care in the world, sojourning in cuckoo land. It is entirely Ranil Wickremesinghe’s intransigence and stubbornness that has led to the crossing over of some of the ablest people in the UNP.

The reforms to democratise the party have been discussed for well over two years now, but Ranil and his cohorts have seen to it that nothing meaningful was done.

‘Ranil is a man with a vision for the country’ is repeated ad nauseam by his supporters - but I and many others in the country are beginning to seriously doubt this. Which other party leader will stubbornly refuse to step down, after repeatedly losing elections over a period of 12 years or more? (Of course, he did make a half-hearted offer, but his supporters were quick to knock it down!)

All what the reformists asked for was for the party constitution to be amended, to that decisions are made democratically, not by Ranil and his clique alone. But, this was strongly opposed by his hangers-on, who would have lost their privileged positions in the party hierarchy.

Now, the MoU, the UNP signed with the Government has been ceremoniously torn up - not that it mattered.

Ranil allowed the Government to do as it pleased, ignoring even the most basic tenets of good governance. The Constitutional Council remains defunct and the Independent Commissions are controlled by the Government, despite the clause on good governance in the MoU.

I am afraid that the Grand Old Party is now in for hard times - I cannot see any hope for it as long as Ranil remains leader.

C. L. JAYARATNE

Colombo 7


Grant redress to hapless pensioners

I seldom indulge in praises, hosannas and hallelujahs for politicians as I have been apolitical throughout. Today, I hasten to congratulate the newly appointed Minister of Public Administration.

Dear Sir, you have earned the admiration of the masses with your gentle elegance, intellectual brilliance, sincerity of purpose laced with unshakeable commitment to a cause and absolute integrity devoid of even a trace of sophistry. Above all, I admire your sober mode of speech as against frequent vitriolic and vituperative diatribe of your fraternity which the commoners detest and loathe.

I consider you as the beacon of hope for us at this juncture and venture to pay homage to the President for the adroit move in appointing you to the much coveted position. I hope and pray that your goodself will grant redress to the hapless pensioners exuding political maturity and common sense.

I shall not dwell at length but try to be concise and precise as much as possible. We poor pensioners are experiencing the worst ever period for pensioners. (Perhaps your goodself would have come across the numerous letters in the print media)

The decision to do away with the pension receipt is so draft that it is reckoned by the discerning as an infringement of one’s human rights.

The pension receipt consisted of eleven columns. It furnished the pension, various allowances and above all deductions - the most important item.

Some pensioners obtain loans from various beneficiary organisations and are being recovered in monthly instalments. Eg. the Government Officers’ Benefit Association and the Public Servants’ Mutual Provident Association.

The absolute need for a statement of payments and deductions has become elusive in the farrago of official chicanery. It is a parlous state of affairs dominated by inaction and insouciance.

The potty potentates perversely persist in the error even though the lapse is plain enough and glaring. They have been deaf, blind and mute about the travesty of justice so blatantly sprung on the pensioners.

Only your goodself could extricate themselves from the spiders’ web they have fallen into by their own stupidity. Up to now, they have behaved in a manner suggestive of hubris and chutzpah.

Let them realise the folly and eat humble pie. Under your benevolent stewardship, please give us the indispensable pension receipt.

You may even recover its cost and postage.

NANDA NANAYAKKARA

Panadura


Polythene again

The penalty for using polythene - fines and a jail term - made everybody think that the authorities has at last reached a solution. But alas! the remedy to use thicker polythene instead means that the menace remains.

From all accounts, the thicker polythene degrades, but only after it has done all the mischief of the thinner variety.

It will continue to cause damage and there will be animals running around with bits of it peeking out from their behinds, if it does not kill them before reaching that far.

After a good dose of polythene, elephants are known to have crumpled up, never to get up.

All this, while our smart artisans are raring to start producing eco-friendly substitutes from banana, paper, coconut, palmyrah, cotton, cane, rattan etc. So why does not the Government help them to do so? Surely, the taxpayer will be happy that his contribution is being put to good use of his country? The polythene problem cannot solve itself. Our clever manufacturer of elephant-dung paper recently won the first prize for his product, beating contestants worldwide.

Is it not the duty of the authorities to give incentive and support to those having remedies to the country’s hazards and to improve existing conditions? With the added advantage of their solution proving a hit exportwise, too.

PREMA RANAWAKA-DAS


Sri Lankan diaspora

The article ‘An assessment of the role of the Sri Lankan diaspora’ by Maxwell Keegel was an interesting tone for someone who is part of this diaspora. (Reference DN Jan. 30).

In Melbourne Victoria, the majority of the migrants have settled very well and is doing proud to the Motherland. They are well respected and is accepted by the locals. Of course, there is an element of ‘trouble makers’ as well as those who are going all out to discredit Sri Lanka but they are I believe a minority.

For example, the Sri Lanka National Day on February 4 is celebrated by two of the Sinhala organisations while the rumour goes that a Tamil group is planning a demonstration outside the Victoria parliament on the same day. Victoria currently have a Sri Lankan born as their Governor (Prof David De Kretser) and a member of the state Parliament (Jude Perera).

For activities of the Sri Lankan community in Australia, please visit www.srilankaevents.com

HEMAL GURUSINGHE

via email


Cleanliness: The key to image building

Bravo! Anjalika Silva for the excellent letter about the promotion of tourism in Sri Lanka (Reference DN Feb.05) First as you very righty said cleanliness is the key to image building. Everything is ‘Image’ and ‘Brand’ today.

For our Motherland to become a prestigious brandname in tourism which has great potential many drastic changes has to take place. Fortunately today we have great team President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister Milinda Moragoda to turn around things completely. Thus, providing the people direct and indirect employment through tourism.

Learn from countries like Dubai where tourists come again and again for holidays and shopping in great deals.

Open the market completely in Gold, Diamonds and gemstones import and export. We have a great potential in the Indian subcontinent. Free market and tourism go hand in hand. Make Sri Lanka the no. 1 destination in the world of tourism.

MOHAMED ROSHAN RAZAK

via email


Unemployed graduates

The article ‘Absorbing unemployed graduates into public sector: Does it really solve the problem?’ by Sajith de Mel (DN Feb. 05) is to be commended. I agree that absorbing these graduates into the public service, mostly for non-productive jobs, sends the wrong message.

More importantly, the Universities have a significant role to play in improving both the curricula as well as the quality of the graduates, so that they will be more enterprising in seeking opportunities in the private sector.

The main reason Sri Lanka is unable to capitalize on the vast outsourcing and offshoring opportunities now available, is the poor quality of these graduates. Compare this with India where large strides have been made in securing very lucrative employment for the educated youth.

SAM PILLAI

Canada

via email


Child soldiers

It is not surprising that a ‘civilised’ country like Great Britain is also indulging in the business of sending child soldiers to war. While preaching to the world about civilised behaviour and democracy, the Western powers continue to break all the laws with impunity.

When civilians are killed by them its plain ‘collateral damage’ when civilians are killed by others, then its ‘butchery’, ‘slaughter’, ‘savagery’, ‘barbaric’ etc. There seems to be no end to the hypocrisy of the Western world. The religious bigotry and racism of the West is at its peak now.

MOHAMED ADHAM

via email


Unwanted holidays!

There was a letter about National Day patriotism, and our banks (Dn Feb. 3). The writer has pointed out about the unwanted declaration of the special bank holiday on February 5 due to the Independence Day that was held on Sunday, February 4. It is true that the people like us only get into difficulty due to such unwanted holidays.

I really want to thank Dr. L. A. W. Sirisena for understanding the people’s problems and writing such a meaningful letter on behalf of every one. Thank you once again, Dr. Sirisena for your boldness. We need people like you for our Nation.

ZAKIRA

Bambalapitiya

via email

 

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