Kamalasabeyson replied this letter stating that the Director General to the bribery commission, irrespective of the fact whether his designation was an acting appointment, is entitled to the full salary of the said post. Coomaraswamy added in this instance, that the acting Director General on the advice of the Attorney General had written to the Bribery Commission asking for a full salary, but that he as Chairman of the Commission had pointed out that it was not possible as financial regulations did not provide for a public servant to obtain more than one salary.
Coomaraswamy amazingly chose to hide the fact that it was he who on three separate occasions, had personally and repeatedly written to three different public officials including the AG, requesting that the full salary normally paid to the Director General of the Commission be remitted to the Acting Director General, Reinzie Arsecularatne. As controversy continues to evolve around the partiality of the commissioners attached to the bribery commission, The Sunday Leader learns that a group of lawyers are to file a plaint under section 1 a of the criminal procedure against Minister Mangala Samaraweera on the credit card issue.
Clause 1 a specifies proceedings in a Magistrates Court shall be instituted on a complaint being made orally or in writing to a Magistrate of such court that an offence has been committed which such court has jurisdiction either to inquire into or try. The lawyers have been moved to take this stand and demand a statement be recorded from Mangala Samaraweera since the bribery commission refuses to move in the matter and act in an impartial manner despite a report by former Acting Director Rienzie Arsecularatne that there is a prima facie case of corruption against Samaraweera.
Ranasinghe appears to have completely ignored a report to the Chairman of the bribery commission by the former Director General, Rienzie Arsecularatne, which clearly states there was a prima facie case with regard to Mangala Samaraweera and that the Minister's statement should be recorded.
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Arsecularatne stated in this report that the Minister had benefited by using two credit cards issued by the Bank of Ceylon on a request by H. Samaraweera who at the time served as the Minister to Posts and Telecommunications, was granted a Cey Bank Visa credit card just before he was due to attend a summit meeting in Hong Kong in Samaraweera thereafter used the card to the tune of Rs.
These monies had been spent both locally and abroad for clothes, hotel accommodation, Internet access and food. This was despite the fact that Samaraweera during his sojourns abroad had also obtained the relevant government payments due to him as an allowance for overseas travel. Arsecularatne during his tenure as Acting Director General to the bribery commission noted in writing to the Chairman of the Commission that Mangala Samaraweera as a cabinet minister and a public servant cannot be entitled to benefit monetarily or otherwise from any outside agency.
Piyasena Ranasinghe, the new Director General to the Commission however states, that a probe into this matter is still being conducted by the Investigations Branch at the Commission and he can do nothing until this is complete. Moves to stifle probe on national carrier. Separately The Sunday Leader has found that another case this time in relation to the controversial partnership between Air Lanka and Emirates Airlines is also being pushed under the carpet by Ananda Coomaraswamy, Chairman to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.
Jayasekera noted that since the Directors of Emirates Airlines were foreign nationals the Commission did not have the power to bring a case against them. She said however that an inquiry should begin against the others named in the complaint. Jayasekera in her observations to the Chairman of the Commission noted some of the points highlighted as per the complaint.
Bondaman who made a specific request for information including other parties who showed an interest were not given an opportunity of making fresh bids as per the terms offered to Emirates Airlines. The commitment to purchase Airbuses had never transpired in any of the documents or negotiations with other bidders. The purchase of aircraft was in violation of procurement procedure of the government and Air Lanka.
Jayasekera recommended an investigation to ascertain if an offence had indeed been made under the Bribery Act. Ananda Coomaraswamy, as Chairman authorised the Commission to commence an investigation into the matter a few days after Ms. Jayasekera had made known her legal observations. However, soon after, verbal instructions were received by the Chairman to refrain from proceeding with the case. In fact it is recorded that when one investigating officer discussed the investigation with the Director of the Investigations branch at the Commission he was instructed not to proceed till further instructions were received from the Chairman.
Coomaraswamy did nothing about the matter for one year because general elections were due in October It is also pertinent to note that President's Secretary, K. Balapatabendi as a Director of Airlanka is also a subject for investigation.
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Finally with Arsecularatne proceeding with the inquiries, together with the cases involving Mangala Samaraweera and Ronnie Peiris, he was moved out on false pretexes. Only in May this year, he gave instructions to the investigations department to go ahead with this investigation. Can we change the stars?
The PA government has not only created hell on earth by a rising cost of living and a daily powercut, but has even attempted to juggle the planets and place them in positions favourable to them. But it seems like changing the course of nature is not as easy as giving hell on earth for the people. Almost immediately after, Wijayasiri Jayasinghe, editor of Ira Handa confessed that he and his publication had been forced to concoct stories of PA victories, several astrologers claimed that it was in fact the UNP that will come to power after the December 5, general elections.
Meanwhile one-time Ira Handa's Wijayasiri, who had confessed to 'fooling the public for a protracted period of time' by 'predicting' PA victories on the instructions of the PA government itself said that "We all know that the PA will not win this time. The UNP will definitely win. Though they may try to move heaven and earth to come back to power, several leading astrologers are fixed in their predictions that the PA will be eclipsed and the colours will change from hues of red blue and purple to a more natural green at the forthcoming elections.
Nandana Viduruwan, an astrologer for three decades, who predicted not only the divorce of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, but also a revolution in our own Parliament in June predicts that the UNP will come to power at the December 5 general elections. He said that Sri Lanka has a horoscope and her lagna is Kumbha or Aquarius. In , when Jupiter was in the fifth house, it was the UNP under the leaderships of Dudley Senanayake and Sir John, again after 12 years, in when Jupiter came to the fifth house, it was the United National Party under the leadership of Dudley Senanayake," explained Viduruwan.
Now it is twelve years later after , and if things worked according to the planets and according to the nature of this, it has to be the UNP coming back to power, with the Jupiter in the fifth house again. Contrary to one-time Irahanda's Editor Wijayasiri Jayasinghe's 'concocted predictions': Founder editor of Irahanda Dayananda Satharasinghe who has worked for years at Iranama and been an astrologer for about 35 years is today the consultant editor of Sampatha.
He said that it is the UNP that will come to power at the December 5, general elections. This year, it is and the resulting number is 3 and if the natural course of events took place, it is the UNP that will win," he said.
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Editor Dayananda Satharasinghe, on October 5 predicted the proroguing of parliament on October 10, he also predicted a general election in December. Satharasinghe said that planetary changes in the year suggest a complete change and this complete change should mean a change in government. He explained that because President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's powerful planet is mercury, every election held todate has been on a Tuesday.
But this time for some reason or the other, the election is to be held on a Wednesday. Nandana Viduruwan who has done an analysis of the horoscopes of both President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremasinghe said that when the President was born her lagna was Kataka or Cancer and mars was very powerful. But now the time has come for the power to fade away. The Jupiter has come to the 12th house of the President's horoscope. Jupiter gives wisdom and power and creates a sense of attraction.
But Jupiter being in the 12th house is not a good position. From next June - for seven and a half years, the Senasura will begin. The president has to be careful about losing power, about her health and it is a time when mental agony will begin," explained Viduruwan. He also said that in June, Jupiter came to the fourth house of Wickremasinghe's horoscope.
In too when Jupiter came to the 4th house, Wickremasinghe became the leader of the house. On election day, December 5, Sun, Mercury and Venus will be in good placing - in the 9th house and Jupiter will be in the 4th house. According to Viduruwan, these are very good signs and predicts, power and a general liking by the people and help from his followers. He has to be careful of enemies," stressed the astrologer. There were several other astrologers who predicted a victory for the United National party, but did not wish to be quoted for fear of life.
We are scared, please don't quote me," said another. Speaking of victories another astrologer said that the way things are going 'Yaka thamai danne More murder and mayhem. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence has reported that by the end of the third week of the campaign period of the Parliamentary General Election, incidents of election related violence have been reported to the CMEV as of November 21, Of these, The fact that election violence this time around is far greater than it was in October , is undisputed even with the police.
The Police Elections Secretariat had received complaints of election related violence by Thursday, November 22, This was since election campaigns began for the December 5, general election. The incidents of violence have ranged from north to south, with the central province and the district of Chilaw and Puttalam recording the highest number of election related violence. Last week, the United National Party's chief candidate for Jaffna electoral district, Maheswaran complained to the police of intimidation from armed cadres of the EPDP. Maheswaran said that when his supporters and polling agents had gone to Kayts in Jaffna on November 20, to observe postal voting they were threatened by cadres of the EPDP.
Maheswaran charges that the EPDP, similar to the last general election, has planned vote rigging in Kayts and in islands off the Jaffna peninsula. Separately, on Thursday, November 22, a postman at Kokkuvil in Jaffna was held up by armed men and some polling cards stolen from his bag. Matanarasa as well as the police. Apprehensions were also expressed by other candidates and members of the public in Jaffna, concerning the opportunity for election malpractice by the EPDP arising from the large disparity in the number of polling cards issued in the peninsula and the number of eligible voters presently residing there.
These allegations were denied by EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda, who countered with the charge that all the other parties contesting the election were determined to 'provoke' the EPDP and tarnish its image with false allegations of election related violence and malpractice. Minister Devananda pointed out that he and his candidates were targets of the LTTE and therefore required armed protection and alleged that other parties in effect received and relied on armed protection by virtue of their support of the LTTE.
He also argued that the accusation of EPDP malpractice arising from the 'excess' of polling cards and ballot papers was an unsubstantiated and baseless charge given the votes polled and the number of votes received by other parties in the past elections in the Kayts and Delft polling divisions.
Minister Devananda also told CMEV that he had told his supporters to exercise restraint in the face of such provocation and that those making false allegations would be "taught a lesson after December 5. The Puttalam district is perhaps the worst affected by violence in the entire country, and Anamaduwa is clearly the most consistently violent electoral district during the general election campaign. At Sangattikulam, an election official was assaulted and a bomb was exploded by unidentified perpetrators, damaging an official vehicle on November 18, at 8.
Assistant Elections Commissioner, Anamaduwa, S. Bandulasena has requested protection for the lives and safety of his staff from both the Commissioner of Elections and the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Chilaw. Election officials staged a protest at the Puttalam Kachcheri on November 20, against this assault, resulting in postal voting being delayed by one day. Ratnayake denied the validity of this statement, asserting that since he had taken over the Anamaduwa Police Station on October 28, , no complaints had been received against Dassanayake, and one complaint against Ranga Bandara.
This contradiction marks some of the serious issues confronting the rule of law in the area, which is exacerbated by the manifest partisanship of the Anamaduwa police in favour of the People's Alliance and Dassanayake. On November 19, at Sarath had apparently been bludgeoned with a blunt instrument and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Baddegama Base Hospital.
Bandaratilleke, a UNP polling agent at the centre was assaulted and doused with used engine oil by a group of five persons, allegedly supporters of PA candidate Lalith Dissanayake and Minister Mahiepala Herath. According to CMEV polls monitoring observers the incident took place in full view of the public while eight police officers attached to the Mawanella Police Station looked on. Bandaratilleke was chased to the Nanayakkara Medical Centre in the Mawanella town, where he was badly beaten.
He was subsequently warded at the Kegalle hospital and still remains a patient there. He and his associates have identified the five assailants by name and description, but to date only one of them, Sarath Gamini, has been apprehended by the police and remanded on magistrate's order until November 26, The others, Madduma, Kithsiri, Stanley and Priyantha, remain at large.
Bandaratilleke alleges that the police have acted in a partisan manner and that they could easily have prevented the assault from taking place in full public view by intervening at the outset. Women in manifestos and women's manifestos. For the last two decades, lobbying and activism by women's NGOs and women's activists in particular, have resulted in the integration of women's issues into election manifestoes and clear appeals to women as a significant voting block.
The first political party to include women's issues in its manifesto was the United Left Front ULF - a union of the LSSP and the Communist Party for the purpose of contesting the elections - possibly as a result of the gender awareness created by the International Women's Year and the International Women's Decade during the s.
In the 's, the two mainstream political parties the UNP and the SLFP started to include women's issues and gender concerns in their respective party manifestoes. This was essentially as a result of representations made by women's groups. In the case of other political parties, for instance, the TULF has expanded its interest from specific issues faced by women affected by the ethnic conflict in the mids to encompass more general gender issues in the s.
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The JVP too, has incorporated women's concerns into their elections platforms since entering non-violent politics. However, the commitments made by political parties with regard to women and gender have so far not had an impact on the people's vote - in particular, on the women's vote.
Parties that have pledged hearty support to women's rights and gender equity have not won elections. One reason for this is that there has been no attempt to politicise women's issues during earlier election campaigns. Yet, it must be noted that this situation is changing - as noted during the last presidential elections in , when the two main candidates addressed women's issues in their campaigns. The year general elections also saw the espousal of gender and women's concerns, and political parties addressing women directly on specific issues such as banning the dowry, citizenship rights of the children of women married to foreign nationals, commitments to implement the Women's Charter, and so on.
A parallel development since the s has been the media intervention of women's groups during election time to highlight women's perspectives and urge their women-sisters to vote for non-violence. A significant development in the year was the formulation of a Women's Manifesto by women's groups, NGOs and feminist researchers. It is noteworthy that, so far, this year's general election campaign has seen the further politicisation of women's issues - through more general references to women's concerns in party manifestoes as well as through special emphasis on specific manifestoes for women.
Civil action on the part of women's groups and activists consist of the launching of a revised and updated women's manifesto to suit the current needs of today's women. Women's concerns are grouped under the titles of politics, law reform, violence, economy, media, health, education, culture and society, conflict and supportive measures.
It demands extensive changes in laws that discriminate against women such as amendments to abortion laws, raising the age of marriage to 18 without exception, the decriminalisation of homosexuality and lesbianism, changes to divorce laws, non-discrimination against foreign male spouses, and the recognition of both wife and husband as joint 'heads of household. The Women's Manifesto of reiterates the call for non-discrimination in wages, better working conditions and terms of work for all women workers including domestic workers ; training, access to skilled employment and managerial posts for women.
Additional support for working women is recommended through the provision of creches and parental leave. There are further recommendations in the form of affirmative policies for female headed households, consciousness raising on reproductive rights and family planning methods, the enactment of a Domestic Violence Act, shelters for battered women, and more women's desks at police stations.
This women's manifesto recognises the importance of ideological and attitudinal change at all levels in society in order to bring about gender equity and justice, and suggests the sensitisation of judges, prosecutors, teachers, the media, etc. This is to be strengthened by the implementation of a code of conduct for media personnel and appeals to media personnel, advertising agencies and the Press Council to be sensitive to sexism in the media and to work towards its elimination. Other areas of reform and suggested abolition are: gender discriminatory cultural practices such as female circumcision among Muslims, the practice of giving dowries, virginity tests; as well as attitudes that promote male superiority, sex preference, social discrimination of widows, and other taboos and superstitions that discriminate against women.
At the political level, for the first time, the UNP has introduced its women's manifesto Diri Maga in the form of a broad policy framework and specific plans to address the needs and aspirations of women.
It combines together the expressed demands of women from various sectors and civil society; and focuses on policy issues at national level, political participation of women, economic empowerment and the situation of working women, as well as concerns of violence and safety. One of the most important political stands of this manifesto is the emphasis placed on violence against women, thereby, politicising the issue on the election platform. The manifesto provides an outline for the establishment of a network of Women's Centers named Diri Piyasa in all electorates to focus on redressing the numerous problems and obstacles that are specific to women - as women.
Special attention is to be paid to the needs of victims of violence abuse, women in conflict areas, war widows, migrant workers, and single women headed households. It is proposed that these centers will include women police officers to record complaints of violence, women lawyers and doctors to give support and liaise with appropriate government authorities and NGOs to implement the various aspects of this programme.
There are other complimentary commitments that further highlight the issue of gender violence such as the introduction of new laws and the amendment of existing laws to recognise domestic violence as a specific criminal offence; as well as the strengthening of laws regarding sexual harassment especially in workplaces and public areas. This includes the undertaking to strengthen and expand the network of women's desks to cover all police stations in the country within four years and the assurance of protection for women at checkpoints and police stations.
The UNP proposes the re-introduction of a Deputy Commissioner of Labour to oversee women's labour concerns and workplace issues. At the same time, there are plans to ensure special services to migrant women's families within the country by providing social workers to oversee the conditions of the families of the migrant workers. Government agencies and private enterprises will be encouraged to implement schemes to increase women at middle and upper managerial levels while there will be efforts to establish promotional ladders in women dominated vocations where there are currently no prospects of advancement.
At the national level, there are proposals to remove or amend discriminatory laws that are contrary to fundamental rights so as to eliminate discrimination and inequality in regard to gender. This include the proposed amendment of state land settlement laws, which currently favour men - especially when the state grants land, and the recognition of both husband and wife as 'heads of households. There is a further commitment to endorse the women's charter so as to promote the enjoyment of women's rights as human rights, and to ensure the fulfillment of women's needs and aspirations; as well as the establishment of a women's council to act in a consultative capacity to the legislature regarding bills and policies affecting women, and a women's executive to ensure the implementation of laws and measures to secure women's interests.
To further improve women's participation at decision making level, it is aimed to appoint suitably qualified women to all government regulatory and policy making boards, co-operations, councils, and advisory boards etc. Further steps are to be taken to increase the participation of women in the political process by creating an environment that would empower women to enter the political arena without fear.
In the rural areas, the manifesto aims to create self-employment opportunities and relief to women small entrepreneurs through easy access to bank credit and raw materials, and through increased credit levels and loans schemes for women; as well as through special business consultancy services to women to strengthen their position in accessing loans. Additionally, the party aims to provide direct agricultural extension schemes, new agri-technology as well as further training in other technologies, arts and crafts and other skills especially for women in rural areas. This year's PA manifesto for the general elections, under a section titled 'women and children' renews its commitment to the protection of the rights of women and children, and to take appropriate steps to enshrine the women's charter in the statute books.
There is further emphasis laid on minimising instances of sexual harassment faced by women and the various problems that are unique to Sri Lankan women employed in Middle Eastern countries. There is also a pledge to set up day care centers for small children throughout the country during the next five years. In the JVP manifesto of the year , under the chapter 'fundamental human rights,' there is a commitment to ensure the equal rights of women, and to eliminate discrimination, inequalities, obstacles, and pressures faced by women at all levels.
At the same time, there is the guarantee that working mothers will be given paid maternity leave as well as other benefits - irrespective of the number of children they have already given birth to. In another brief section entitled 'protecting the rights of women,' the JVP pledges to regulate advertising and other audio visual materials that encourage violence against women. It also proposes the immediate establishment of the necessary laws and charters to promote equal rights and social opportunities as well as education for women. While political campaigns intensify, The Sunday Leader has found that key individuals appointed by the government to head public institutions are playing a demanding role in furthering the election campaigns of political masters.
Chairman of BCC Lanka Limited, Rohan de Alwis, is one of those being willingly used by the present political administration for political gain. De Alwis has placed his signature on a number of official cheques for which monies are drawn from the official BCC account at the Bank of Ceylon Second Corporate Branch. The eight cheques which are in possession of The Sunday Leader are blank and undated. The company manufactures Snow White, Sovereign Bar soap and coconut oil. The Bank of Ceylon cheques bearing account number have been 'blindly' signed for an account that has an overdraft of Rs.
Bank officials said that cheques are still being drawn from this account and debited on a cash float of over rupees six million Rs. Not only has the account in question been now overdrawn by over Rs. The Sunday Leader learns that the cheques are being cashed to further the election campaign of Premier Ratnasiri Wickramanayake.
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How bank officials continue to encash cheques which are drawn in favour of this account is puzzling. When The Sunday Leader checked on this account on Thursday, November 22, , bank officers said that already written cheques signed by the chairman of BCC, Rohan de Alwis had arrived and would be cashed that day, despite the account being overdrawn by over Rs. Sources, who asked that they not be named, claimed that according to the accounts ledgers maintained at the BCC, a sum of over Rs.
The cheque nos. In addition, a sum of Rs. The identical sum of money was in fact paid twice over to D. The first instance was on August 10, and the second, six days later on August 16, The payments were authorised by Rohan de Alwis, as official payments and relevant proforma invoices written.
We however found in our investigation that there is no such person as a D. If indeed such advertising has been carried out, the relevant payment would need to be made to a company and not to an individual. Reliable sources within BCC Lanka Limited alleged that no such advertising was ever carried out by any person known as D.
Meanwhile, Rohan de Alwis appears to have suddenly struck gold last year when he purchased 12 perches of land at Police Park Avenue, Milagiriya for a sum of Rs. He built a plush, brand new house in less than a year and moved in. Rohan de Alwis could not be contacted by The Sunday Leader and his Secretary told us that de Alwis does not come into the BCC Lanka Limited offices these days "as he is involved in other ministerial work". She said company staff was under strict instructions not to give out any other telephone numbers on which de Alwis could be contacted for comment.
Vehicles bearing numbers, , , , , , , , , , , and are being used for election purposes but report to the BCC only to submit petrol claims. Hunting with the Tiger. By insisting there is a pact between the Greens and the Tigers, the People's Alliance hopes to alienate the nationalist element among those who would otherwise vote UNF. By doing so however, the PA has pulled the rug out from under the feet of the poor Sihala Urumaya, who are now left without a cause.
There is little to separate the war mongering Sihala Urumaya from the war mongering PA-JVP alliance, both of which appear to be committed to a military solution to the ethnic question. Problem is, not many of them are volunteering to go out there and fight for their cause, preferring instead to blow hot air from their armchairs in Colombo or, for that select few, their parliamentary seats.
Tempers are hot. Both Karu Jayasuriya and Ravi Karunanayake have pledged to resign their seats should it be proved that there is an agreement between the UNF and the Tigers. Mangala Samaraweera has offered to resign if it can be proved that there isn't. Samaraweera is astute. He might just as well have offered to resign if it could be proved that there isn't a silver teapot orbiting Mars, safe in the knowledge that proof in either direction is unlikely to pop up in his lifetime.
The latest twist has been 'documentary' evidence by way of an unsigned memo purported to have been written by Jayalath Jayawardena, complete with a photo of Jayawardena in the company of a group of men who, judging by their moustaches, are obviously senior rankers of the LTTE. For his part, Jayawardena has claimed that these are forgeries. From the point of view of any impartial observer, it does not matter: so innocuous is the content of the memo that Mother Theresa might have written it.
What is more, it is dated , a good long time ago. The fact that Mangala Samaraweera has chosen as a starting point is not without relevance. That was the year February 9, to be exact , that Chandrika Kumaratunga gave an interview to 'Time' magazine. In that exchange, Kumaratunga made some startling revelations. One was that she spends two hours each day learning Tamil well, four years hence we haven't seen much application of that; we wonder whether this is another element of her fantasy life, like that Sorbonne education. Another was that she is given to daydreams, the content of which involve "Walking on the streets of London or Paris or Sri Lanka, just looking at things.
But all that is hardly news. The punch line in her exchange with 'Time' was rather more startling. Three and a half years later, Kumaratunga has not denied this statement. Now she accuses the UNF of being willing to offer the LTTE an interim administration for three years with no mention even of absorbing the Tiger cadres into the police! If Ranil Wickremesinghe's alleged three-year offer is as evil as Kumaratunga claims, then surely her own ten-year offer is the mother of all evil? Sadly, the issue here is not one of an interim administration: it is one of an enduring peace.
And the only way that can be negotiated is through talks. For all Kumaratunga's and Samaraweera's hysteria about the alleged LTTE-UNF pact, any kind of solution to the ethnic problem necessarily involves constitutional reform. And any far-reaching amendment to the Constitution must have the consent of a two-thirds majority of parliament, the Supreme Court and the country at a referendum. It is hardly the kind of reform that can be implemented purely through an agreement between the UNF and the LTTE, even if such does exist.
What is more, now that both the UNF and the LTTE have formally denied that such a pact exists, Wickremesinghe could hardly draw it from his hat and 'betray the country' after he wins the election. The issue is dead. Nevertheless, Kumaratunga and the PA continue to harp on it because they have nothing else to offer the electorate. No progress, no development, no success of any kind. Sadly for its cause, the UNF's commitment to 'gentleman politics' is letting it down rather. If Wickremesinghe chose to fight back, he could cite not just Kumaratunga's ten-year offer mentioned above, but her husband Vijaya's visit to Jaffna where, at an LTTE training camp, he picked up an LTTE T and used it for target practice, the target being the effigy of a Sri Lankan soldier.
That is on photographic record. Ditto for Kumaratunga, who allowed herself to be photographed seated on the same bed with the LTTE's leaders. The UNF has also been too genteel to mention the widespread perception that the LTTE was instigated by senior ranks of the PA to assassinate Gamini Dissanayake, Kumaratunga's rival at the presidential election, clearing the way for her to become president.
Bandaranaike, with typical clumsiness, was caught out and exposed. At every election since, the SLFP by whatever name has attempted to cut deals with the Tigers so as to promote its own parochial interests, never the national interest. In , the rewards far exceeded mere tacit support: the UNP candidate and fifty others were blown up to the PA Government's patent delight.
It was despite that, that Kumaratunga boasted of having facilitated Anton Balasingham's exit from Sri Lanka for medical treatment, a subject his wife Adele writes about in her memoirs. No secret pact there! The reason why gentleman politics is no counter to Kumaratunga is because she would not recognise a gentleman if he were served to her on a silver platter with watercress garnish. She not only leads the most corrupt administration that has ever been visited on Sri Lanka, but she is to boot an extraordinarily fluent liar. Her only achievement of note these past seven years has been to construct a multi-billion rupee presidential palace for herself, and such is her inefficiency that even that is nowhere near complete.
This is a woman who, on her own admission, has discussed with equanimity the murder of newspaper editors with her ministers. Just last week she talked of killing people who, in her opinion, were killers. Her law is the law of the jungle, and it is not to Debrett's 'Book of Etiquette' that gentlemen must turn in learning how to deal with her. Kumaratunga takes the people for fools, claiming a family history stretching back years in fact, it cannot be traced for even a third of that.
The people are told the most outrageous lies in the belief that it is the serf's duty to believe his master, no matter what. By December 6, she will have forgotten all about it. Until the next election. Given that the PA and JVP are fighting on a common platform with the hope of forming the next government together, the JVP too, is mouthing the same propaganda. Eventually, so as to take the wind out of their sails, Ranasinghe Premadasa unilaterally did expel the IPKF, ensuring that the war would continue for the next decade with the loss of thousands of lives.
The PA and JVP have now joined forces in a raw thirst for power with nothing to offer the nation but invective. They have cast aside the prospect of peace for a continuation of the war, to the prosecution of which Kumaratunga's contribution has been to send her son off to the safety of a British University. War is for other mothers' sons.
CBK-Kadi clash over Rs. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's million dollar public relations disaster in England early this month has led to serious differences of opinion with Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and left open both the president and the foreign ministry open to charges of corruption for violating financial regulations. Despite warnings by Foreign Minister Kadirgamar to President Kumaratunga and Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in London Mangala Moonesinghe regarding the importance of sticking to time tested conventions on protocol during the British visit, Kumaratunga threw caution to the winds and walked right into a public relations disaster that set back by decades Kadirgamar's carefully crafted image of the country over the years.
Apart from the president as head of state paying second fiddle to the Home Secretary of Britain, David Blunkett by visiting the minister at his office contrary to advise tendered by Foreign Minister Kadirgamar, she also blundered big time in the Hard Talk programme, giving the LTTE huge mileage internationally on the government's sorry human rights track record. Ironically it was Foreign Minister Kadirgamar who was involved at the initial stages of planning the president's visit to Britain and agreed to recruiting the public relations outfit Bell Pottinger at a huge cost of Rs.
Though Kadirgamar was initially sceptical of hiring public relations outfit Bell Pottinger given the fact, they planned the UNP campaigns in and , the president and Tittawela insisted and the foreign minister willingly complied. Towards meeting this end, Kadirgamar subsequently authorised Foreign Secretary L. Accordingly, the foreign secretary despatched the Rs. This has led to the chief accountant of the Foreign Ministry, P.
Jayaratne and Deputy Secretary to the Treasury S. Divaratne having to appeal to Treasury Secretary P. Jayasundera to find a way of overcoming the problem. At the time Kadirgamar authorised the release of the Rs. And in order to justify doling out Rs. Wijayasiri requested High Commissioner Mangala Moonesinghe to send him a copy of the agreement with Bell Pottinger for legal clearance but that was not to be. On the request being made, High Commissioner Moonesinghe was to meekly reply that the Rs.
Thus, apart from the verbal directive of Kadirgamar, the foreign ministry and the treasury did not have any records of the Rs. More so since, she used state funds not to build Sri Lanka's image but attack her political opponents. The point made by Kadirgamar was that it would be a serious down-grading of the president's standing as a Head of State to go to London and not call on Prime Minister Tony Blair but on two of his ministers. At that time, President Kumaratunga told Minister Kadirgamar she had no intention of visiting the two ministers and added, "We could get out of the visits.
Online edition of Daily News - Features
As for Bell Pottinger, in organising the visits and Kumaratunga's programme at a cost of Rs. The PR company had merely said, "there are plenty of examples of heads of state visiting British Secretaries of State in their offices, so let's not get caught up in too much protocol talk.
Kadirgamar was livid and was to on October 24, just 48 hours before Kumaratunga's departure, write as follows to High Commissioner Moonesinghe:. And then the Oxford educated Kadirgamar follows it up with a sucker punch on Bell's insistence on not wanting to get bogged down of protocol. Says he, "Bell's observation, 'Lets not get up in too much protocol talk, coming from a mere PR agency, betrays, at best, ignorance of, at worst, disdain for, the diplomatic rules and norms that govern relations between sovereign states Mind you, Kadirgamar's ire is aimed at what he perceives as ignorance and incompetence of a PR company to which the government had already doled out Rs.
But ironically, it was Kadirgamar, for all his well meaning advise and adherence to protocol, who ended up in the ropes with Kumaratunga agreeing with Pottinger to meet Home Secretary Blunkett at his office. Thus to Kadirgamar, the president too like Bell Pottinger, had an "exaggerated notion," on the importance of British Secretaries of State, not to mention "at best ignorance of, at worst disdain for, the diplomatic rules and norms that govern relations between sovereign states," See box for Kadirgamar's full note to High Commissioner Mangala Moonesinghe.
I was in the faction supporting Chandrika. We used to ask Rajitha Senaratne and the other leaders of the Chandrika faction when Chandrika was coming back? But she never came. At times we were told that she was going to come soon. At other times we were told she was going to come VERY soon. We all waited in anticipation, but the lady never turned up as the party higher-ups promised.
I now forget what we expected her to do after coming back. The JVP terror campaign was in full swing and there was nothing much she could have done anyway, except dodging bullets and sharing the terror with us. Years later Rajitha Senaratne told me that Chandrika had said that her raja yogaya would take effect in and that there was little point in her being in Sri Lanka before that. Chandrika was still the leader of the United Socialist Alliance in her capacity as the Leader of the BNP, but now she was the leader of a splinter of a splinter of an opposition party.
Given the fact that Chandrika had to leave first the party formed by her father and then the party founded by her husband, whatever raja yogaya she had seemed to be going in reverse, at that stage. In , after the JVP insurgency was crushed, the country returned to normalcy in record time. Throughout the UNP regime of , the opposition remained very strong in organizational terms but they were weak in their ability to capture votes.
It was not Chandrika who galvanized the opposition into action in the early nineties, rather, it was another event, which weakened the hitherto monolithic UNP. More than anything else, this was the event that infused some badly needed dynamism into the opposition. Chandrika began to visit Sri Lanka and get increasingly involved in politics from the beginning of onwards, after the JVP leadership had been eliminated and the threat to her life removed.
But it was not Chandrika who infused oxygen into the dormant opposition. While it was true that the SLFP had not suffered as badly at the hands of the JVP as much as the United Socialist Alliance, they, too, had been affected because their defeat at the Presidential election had been caused at least in part by the JVP. In a situation where the SLFP and the left parties were lying prostrate, it was Gamini Dissanayake and Laith Athulathmudali who gave the opposition a badly needed B injection. From late to early , Chandrika had absolutely no chance against Lalith and Gamini.
Had Lalith Athulathmudali not been assassinated in April , Chandrika would never have become the Chief Minister of the Western province in the PC elections held that year. If President Premadasa, Lalith and Gamini had all survived, even on opposite sides of the political divide, the government and the opposition would have been dominated by these giants that JRJ created. This is where even I believe that what propelled Chandrika to the forefront was her raja yogaya and nothing else. The point at which her raja yogaya really began to take effect was when a section of the SLFP began to look for a new face to put forward at elections.
Chandrika Kumaratunga had been elected Chief Minister of the Western province after the death of Lalith Athulathmudali and she seemed the natural choice. Sirima Bandaranaike had been defeated by Premadasa at the December Presidential elections and was also too old to be an effective leader. The same D. Sivaram, who asked me whether I was mad to identify myself with Chandrika in , was an ardent supporter of the PA in ! Such is politics! In almost all the democratic countries, the old conservative parties that had been in power for long years, were being ousted by revamped, reformist social democratic parties with young, polished, charismatic leaders.
In , Tony Blair swept into power defeating the Conservative party that had been in power from to In the USA, Britain and Sri Lanka, the conservative block had held power for long years on the success of a new capitalist ethos. So strong was this new wave of capitalism that it precipitated the demise of socialism and the collapse of the soviet block.
Even China, which is still ruled by the Communist party is today a bastion of capitalist success, thanks to this triumphant free market ethos of the late seventies and early eighties. Indeed, Bill Clinton proved himself to be as good as, if not better than his Republican predecessors at administering a capitalist economy. The same can be said about Tony Blair. The SLFP that came into power in , also had a reformist agenda. The policy declaration of the PA in started off by apologising to the public for the past and admitting that the socialist policies though implemented with the best of intentions, had not delivered the goods.
They openly pledged to continue the free market economy that had been put in place by the previous UNP regime. A saying attributed to her during her early days in power was that she was a good socialist in the past and that she would be an even better capitalist in the future. Every leader wants to be successful. Chandrika was much more fortunate in this respect. She did not leave behind her an economy in tatters. Despite the precipitous devaluation of the rupee during her tenure in power, Sri Lanka still managed to increase its per capita GNP to over the USD mark.
Even though things continued to work, during her tenure in power, she had to grapple with a negative perception of her regime among the investing public. If one takes her first phase in power from November to , the country was continuously in a state of economic slowdown. The perception was that hers was not a private sector friendly regime, even though in practice they were every bit as business friendly as the UNP. Throughout the seven years from to , land prices stagnated and the stock market went into major remission. Try as she might, Chandrika could do nothing to arrest this trend.
In conventional economic text books, we are told that there are four factors of production in a capitalist economy. There is the land, which from time immemorial has provided man with the means of sustenance and existence, capital meaning both operating money and things bought with it such as machinery labour meaning both intellectual and physical effort of individuals and finally, entrepreneurship which organises and brings together the other three factors of production. There was land, which the government was willing to give free to those with the ability to utilise it, there was plenty of trained labour available, there was capital, the banks were literally bursting at the seams with money they would have been only too happy to lend to business and there were entrepreneurs both local and foreign who should have been as active as they had ever been.
It was during these years that I realised that the economics text books I had studied in university had left out one other factor of production. There are five, not just four factors of production. And this was exactly what the PA did not have. They were faced with a crisis of confidence of immense proportions.
Because of this crisis of confidence, the PA spent its first seven years in power cultivating a siege mentality. But this was not to be. Chandrika thought herself called upon to keep the UNP at bay, by good means or bad, probably because she felt that there was a whole segment of society conspiring to bring the UNP back into power at the earliest possible opportunity.
Thus, she initiated commissions of inquiry against the UNP, and even one personally against the opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Elections were routinely rigged and marred with violence during those seven years because the PA thought they would lose without strong arm tactics. And more than any other single factor, it is economics that decides the success or otherwise of a government.
The UNP was kept under a state of siege, Journalists were attacked and intimidated. I too was targeted and persecuted by her government. The most dangerous and thing Chandrika did during her tenure was to attempt to imprison the leader of the Opposition during the election of August Had she succeeded in her attempt, she would have set a precedent that would have taken this country down the path of no return. Luckily for this country, she had entrusted the contract to a bunch of idiots who ended up imprisoning me for three months instead of Ranil Wickremasinghe and things did not work out the way she would have wanted.
No doubt this constant state of political turmoil that she created by unnecessarily targeting all those opposed to her would have contributed even more to the crisis of confidence among that important segment of the population that could make things happen on the economic front. Even her manner of speaking was such that would make many respectable ladies of her social background quail. Her speech was targeted at the lower orders of society whom she considered her main powerbase in the context where the urban classes were refusing to accept her bona fides as a pro free market leader.
Why labour the point? We all had to live through her public tantrums. Having continued like that until , she at last lost the Parliamentary elections held in December Losing that election was probably one of the best things that ever happened to her in her political career. Within the two and a half years or less that the UNP was in power from December to April , they convincingly showed the electorate and the investing public that the UNP was no longer what it had been in the past.