Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sri Lankan soldier arrested for kidnap and sexual abuse of Tamil schoolgirl

The soldier, identified as 27 year old Sivarasa Sivathas

31 March 2016
A Sri Lankan army soldier has been arrested on Wednesday over the kidnap and sexual abuse of a Tamil schoolgirl in Jaffna, two weeks after her disappearance.

The parents of the 16 year old girl had reported as missing two weeks ago, when they registered her disappearance with Chavakachcheri police.

After the police launched search operations, the girl was eventually found held at a home belonging to a Sri Lankan soldier in Maravanpulavu. Police report that she had been sexually abused.

The soldier, identified as 27 year old Sivarasa Sivathas, was serving at the Sri Lankan military camp based at KKS, in the northern peninsula.
The village was also the scene of the discovery of explosives on Tuesday evening, and has seen the increased presence of security forces. 

Good Governance Is Not A Utopia!

Colombo Telegraph
By Laksiri Fernando –March 31, 2016
Dr. Laksiri Fernando
Dr. Laksiri Fernando
Good governance or ‘Yahapalana’ is not and should not be a ‘utopia,’ to mean an ‘ideal state,’ which is according to some, ‘never reachable.’ Of course like democracy, the achievements of ‘good governance’ are measured and should be measured by the degree. Not in absolute terms, but in relative achievements. The measurements can be hazy or largely subjective, unless they are grounded on (measurable) objective criteria.
It is true that like democracy, there is no all agreeable definition on ‘good governance.’ But this ‘imperfection’ is not a reason to cynically discount the value of ‘good governance,’ whatever the reason. There are very clear cut principles and all modern democratic governments are expected to follow these principles. ‘Good governance’ is not just an ‘effective electoral slogan’ to hoodwink the masses and then consider it as a ‘lodestar’ to go to other destinations.
To describe ‘good governance’ as a utopia is simply misleading, whatever the intention. By doing so an enormous distances is unnecessarily created between the present reality and the objectives of ‘good governance.’ To borrow the Marxist terminology, more ‘scientific approach’ needs to be adopted instead of a ‘utopian’ conception, to make the objectives of good governance achievable.
The Case of Sri Lanka
The catalytic change in Sri Lanka in January 2015 came about by promising “A Compassionate ‘Maithri’ Governance.” That was the title of the manifesto (in English). Of course the present government or the President is undoubtedly ‘compassionate’ (relatively) compared to the brutality of the Rajapaksa administration. That is however not enough.
The title of the above manifesto didn’t say directly about ‘good governance.’ However it was synonymous. It didn’t say ‘government,’ but ‘governance.’ Governance means the process of government and not merely the structure or the personnel. The prognosis of the manifesto was correct and it was all about converting ‘bad governance’ into ‘good governance’ as stated follows.
“A large number of deviations such as the total breakdown of the rule of law, fraud, corruption, wastage, inability to identify national priorities, environmental degradation, moral and spiritual degradation have merged as obstacles to our country’s march forward.”

NP Governor: Chava explosives meant to cause destruction 

Governor Cooray

By Shamindra Ferdinando-March 31, 2016

Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray yesterday said that the deadly cache detected at Meesalai, Chavakachcheri had been brought there to cause destruction. 

The armaments couldn’t have been brought in for a peaceful purpose, Governor Cooray said, asserting that moderates always attracted the wrath of extremists. The NP Governor was addressing the media at his Battaramulla office.

 Asked whether President Maithripala Sirisena could have been targeted by the LTTE, Governor Cooray said various theories could be propagated. The former minister said that he could claim that he was being targeted whereas others may claim that various other individuals and places were the likely targets.

 Cooray recently succeeded H. M. G. S. Palihakkara, former Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the NP Governor. 

Responding to criticism that the Chavakachcheri detection underscored a severe threat posed to national security, Governor Cooray said that a vast majority of people supported on-going post-war national reconciliation process.

However, those who could not stomach the reconciliation process had been engaged in a campaign to sabotage the process, Governor Cooray said. Fresh violence could cause irreparable damage to the on-going initiatives, Governor Cooray said, adding that the vast majority of victims were ordinary civilians from different communities. 

Political party leaders had been provided with security, he said. In an obvious reference to extremists on both sides, Governor Cooray said that the on-going reconciliation process was being ridiculed and undermined and the imminent revival of terrorism propagated to cause anxiety among the people. 

Cooray said whatever the differences the contentious issues had to be resolved through negotiations.

The media had been divided and fighting a bitter battle with different political parties pursuing contradictory strategies at the expense of post-war national reconciliation. Although 30-year war had been brought to an end in May 2009, reconciliation was yet to be achieved, the former parliamentarian said. 

Governor Cooray castigated both Tamil media, including those based in the Jaffna peninsula and Sinhala mainstream media for propagating lies. The Governor cited as an example the recent controversy in the media pertaining to an alleged directive given by the Government Agent of Jaffna to the chief incumbent of Nagadeepa temple not to construct a Buddha statue. He said the media and various interested parties continued to manipulate public opinion for their personal gain. The SLFPer alleged that both Tamil and Sinhala media had failed to reflect actual public opinion much to the disappointment of those unable to express themselves. 

Cooray alleged that the coverage of the Nagadeepa controversy was meant to cause turmoil both in the North as well as the South. 

The Governor said President Maithripala Sirisena had earned the appreciation of Tamil speaking people and perhaps no other Sinhala leader had received such accolades.

The government was committed to pursuing the path of national reconciliation though challenges remained due to various reasons, particularly the failure on the part of political parties to reach consensus on the national issue, the Governor said.

Recovery Of Arms Cache May Impair De-Militarization Of North Lanka

By PK Balachandran-30th March 2016
The New Indian ExpressCOLOMBO: The accidental discovery of an arms cache, including three parcels of TNT and a suicide jacket, in a house at Chavakachcheri in Jaffna District on Wednesday, may hinder the demilitarization of the Northern Province which is one of the major post-war demands of Sri Lankan Tamils and which was promised to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by the Lankan government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Opponents of demilitarization like MP Namal Rajapaksa have already tweeted that the cache is a sign of the resurgence of the LTTE and that there is no case for lowering vigil.
Recently, President Sirisena himself said that the separatist "Eelam" mindset is still prevelant among the Tamils, but he was quick to add that the only way to neutralize it is the promotion of reconciliation.
The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is keen on demilitarization to the maximum extent, and has got the army, navy and air force to vacate hundreds of acres of land in favor of their former civilian owners.
But observers say that the military may not be entirely with the government in this.In fact, Maj Gen.Chaggi Gallage had an open spat with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at a meeting he had with troops at the army base in Palaly. He was transferred for "insubordination".
After the war ended in 2009, and especially after the exit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2015, the military has lost much of its power and influence.Despite assurances by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, the military top brass are not convinced that they will not be tried for war crimes by an international judicial mechanism set up by the UN.
In this context, incidents and discoveries showing resurgence of the LTTE, are expected to restore the relevance of the military in the affairs of the nation and prevent the government from bowing to the diktats of the West and the UNHRC.

Contending with Rejection and Exclusion: Take Two on the Kuliyapitiya Debacle

Featured image courtesy BBC

I preface this piece by acknowledging my own discomfort as an educator in addressing sticky issues of equity and justice in education. I was motivated to write this piece in view of recent events, particularly the rejection of the 6-year old boy (assumed to have AIDS), from public school. The point of this article is not to offer definitive conclusions concerning the issue that arose, rather it is an attempt to make visible complex socio-cultural realities that account for the processes which underlie unjust outcomes as experienced by this boy and his mother. To that extent this write-up is by no means a thorough analysis of the events surrounding this case; rather, I use this case as platform to draw attention to what might be are larger problem not only in how we “do” education, but perhaps more importantly, how we conduct the daily affairs of society.

There was much activity in taking up the plight of this young boy and to a lesser extent his mother, which I think is unfortunate. Here, I specifically target those who were outraged by the injustice caused as a means of expanding our understanding as we negotiate the sticky issues of social justice. While there is much to be appreciated in terms of how this event opened public debate on how issues of equality are taken up, what seemed to have gone unnoticed is the subtle under text that to me is worth troubling. The injustice which this boy and his mother were subjected to was attributed mostly to the lack of AIDS awareness, our flawed education system and the “ignorance” of the people in Kuliyapitiya. I argue, that the rejection of the boy and his mother calls for a nuanced analysis of the many factors that contributed to this turn of events. I seek to point out that the grave injustice imposed upon this boy and his mother is indicative of a far greater problem. The problem of how discourses of exclusion and rejection pervade our society and often go unnoticed unless it causes some kind of catastrophe. Sri Lanka has a long list of such cataclysms, which invoke significant backlash from those of us who consider ourselves, let’s say progressive (if an undertone of sarcasm is sensed, consider it intentional). However, this backlash at times lacks substance as we pay little or no attention to the actual practices and processes that generate them.

Hatch Removed From USAB Chairmanship By Minister Kiriella

Colombo Telegraph
Nigel Hatch, Chairman of the University Services Appeals Board or the USAB, was asked by MinisterLakshman Kiriella to resign and he has done so.
The USAB as a specialized court was established under the Universities Act. It was meant to be a simple tribunal without elaborate rules where university academics could write a letter, speak for themselves and be heard. If they did not know the law, the chairman, a lawyer or retired judge, and two retired administrative service officers on the 3-person USAB would help them. There was little formality. This was the case in the old days.
Nigel Hatch PC
Nigel Hatch PC
In our universities where the concept of autonomy is used by Vice Chancellors to do anything illegal with total impunity, the USAB formed a healthy check and balance – only for a while though!
For, under Judge G.W. Edirisuriya who was USAB Chairman for 2 terms of 5 years each, the USAB lost its simplicity where an ordinary academic could navigate the system without lawyers. Letters would no longer do. They had to be “motions.”Objections from the universities spoke of “in limine,” and “ab initio.” It became an expensive long drawn out process where lawyers made money. Even young lawyers from the Attorney General’s trying to overawe academics with their Latin, misspoke, writing garbled phrases, thereby adding to the pandemonium. Judgements tended to side the university and Edirisuriya’s second term saw only under 200 cases being filed because there seemed no point in filing cases.
With the new government, a fresh panel was appointed. Nigel Hatch, a President’s Counsel, was the pick when the law college saw scandals involving Namal Rajapaksa and he filled in as Acting Principal.
“Hatch did a fine job clearing cases very quickly, some ten years old. However, he faced several administrative hurdles as the university system, claiming to run in English, really cannot. Stenographers at court could not take down notes correctly and Hatch would be seen angrily reprimanding the staff. Even the UGC’s filings were in garbled English. Yet, issues were resolved quickly by Hatch. Some of the Board’s decisions went against universities for a change and this had angered the authorities.” a source closed UGC chairman told Colombo Telegraph on the condition of anonymity.

Tracing Fundamental Rights Beyond The Magna Carta

water_lillyby  Mass  L.  Usuf

( March 31, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Social Contract theory academically explained as the contract between the State and her subjects was propounded by Thomas Hobbes (1651), John Locke (1689), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), the most famous philosophers of contractarianism.  The principles of all were the same with different theoretical strains.
Interestingly, the simple basis was to consider man in his “state of nature” or “natural state.”  In this state of being, an individual does what he wants uninhibitedly.  The contract with the State comes in where man voluntarily surrenders this individual freedom to do whatever he wants for benefits in return from the State.  This trade off forms the social contract.  One could safely deduce that the Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental duties under Chapter VI of the Sri Lankan Constitution forms part of that contractual structure.

Under Article 29 of the Constitution it is clearly stated that the provisions of Chapter VI are not justiciable.   The State, however, should not violate the solemn understanding that binds the contract for example, by unduly restricting the citizen’s freedom.   These are the natural and inalienable rights enjoined by Article 4 (d) of the Constitution.  John Locke in fact theorized the right of rebellion against the State in case of the contract leading to tyranny.

Constitution of Medina

The Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for “the Great Charter of the Liberties”), a charter agreed by King John of England on 15 June 1215 was initially considered as the foundation document of human rights.  It was held in high esteem such that Lord Denning famously described the Charter as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.  As an addendum, Western scholasticism was inspired by the political thoughts of the above mentioned philosophers in the founding of human rights.

Scant or no reference is made in these circles about the great contribution of Islamic Jurisprudence to humanity.  The persuasive words of the eminent Jurist, Prof. C.G. Weeramantry in his seminal work, ‘Islamic Jurisprudence” is ample testimony.  He writes, “Although the Islamic system of Jurisprudence is one of the best developed and most adequate systems in the world, very little is known about it by Western law students”.

The Charter of Medina also known as the Constitution of Medina, was drafted by Prophet Muhammad in 622 CE.  This was the first written Constitution of democracy in the history of constitutional law.  It was written almost 600 years before the Magna Carta and a 1000 years before the famous Western philosophers even started to speak of human rights and develop the ‘Social Contract theory’.

Pluralistic Society

Like Sri Lanka today with its race and religious diversity, at the time of promulgating the constitution, Medina too had a pluralistic society.  The citizenship consisted of the various communities, principally Muslim Arabs from Mecca (the Muhajirin or Immigrants), Muslim Arabs from Medina (the Ansar or Helpers), other monotheists from Medina (i.e. the Jews and Christians) and others who must be at that time still pagans.  Out of the nearly 50 Clauses in the Constitution, Clauses 1, 2 and 39 stated the formation of a sovereign nation-state with a common pluralistic citizenship.  This constitution gave equal rights to every citizen as well as giving them a say in governmental matters without discrimination.  The Quran totally prohibits any form of discrimination.  It states,

“O people, We created you from the same male and female and rendered you into distinct peoples and tribes that you may recognize one another. The best of you in the sight of God is the most righteous.” (Chapter 49 Verse 13), Al-Quran.

Human rights in its fullest form had already been promulgated in Islam several centuries even before the West knew about it.  Islam thus created a society founded on the principles of justice, equality and freedom.  It was with this governing principle that Prophet Muhammed nurtured a society which later on spread a civilisation that today everyone is benefitting from.  Sadly, no one appreciates the source from which such civilisation was bestowed on mankind.


“The vast surge of learning that swept the Islamic world from the 9th to the 12th centuries was one of the outstanding chapters in the world’s scholastic history.  All branches of scholarship – mathematics, medicine, physics, chemistry, astronomy, philosophy, sociology, theology and law – blossomed in a manner rarely witnessed before in world history”. C.G. Weeramantry (Islam and the Judicial process, Sunday Times (2015)).   The words of a famous Historian acknowledge with disdain the prejudice of the Western scholars, thinkers and politicians.   “The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only.”  Thomas Carlyle (1840) in ‘Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History’.  This disgrace continues even today.

Sri Lankan context

Tracing the history of fundamental rights through the lens of Islamic worldview gives an interesting insight into another phenomenon.  That is the phenomenon of the reality of the application of human rights in a pluralistic society.  Through the Medinite constitution it has been practically proven that pluralistic society is not a problem for mankind.  The problem lies not in pluralism per se but in the attitude of man towards pluralism.  Even those who worship western thoughts can mull on the idea of man being in his fictional ‘natural state’.  Or, for those who are theists, to simply accept that all men are created equal by God.  This then would be a common platform for all to unite.  The ideal for man if he is a believer in one God is to focus on what God wants from him.  For the atheists, agnostics and nihilists to focus on simply living a life in the state of a ‘natural man’.  This is not utopia; it has been proven as doable.

Within this framework, the shades of race, language, culture, caste would be treated only as variety to recognise each other and not to be used as a tool for domination or subjugation.   Look at the comparison of Sri Lanka’s social pluralism with the more diverse constitutional pluralism in Europe, it is obvious that the latter is more complex.  They were however, civilised enough to work themselves through it when forming the Union.   In the Sri Lankan context while we strive to make this island the ‘wonder of Asia’, taking a cue from Thomas Carlyle, we must strenuously and bravely work towards not disgracing ourselves as a nation by failing to acknowledge the need for a clean pluralistic society.


child bride
(A young Muslim bride; a file photo)
Sri Lanka Brief
Establishing the minimum age of marriage for all citizens is foremost a State responsibility.
Women Action Network (WAN*) welcomes and appreciates the actions of Member of Parliament (MP) Hirunika Premachandra during a workshop with parliamentarians on the formation of Constitution, held on 29th March 2016 wherein she raised the concerns that Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) allows for Muslim girls and boys below the age of 18 to be married. MP Hirunika’s comments come in light of the fact that under the Penal Code (Section 363) of Sri Lanka, sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 16 (with or without her consent) amounts to statutory rape, therefore the provision of early marriages for Muslims is contradictory and requires attention in this regard. As a concerned MP, it demonstrates her apprehension about the practical and potential problems faced by the minority Muslim women and children in the country with regard to lack of minimum age of marriage.
For over two decades, these concerns have been raised at multiple forums including with religious leaders and Muslim MPs, and are usually ignored on the basis that early marriage is not happening in the Muslim community. However, Muslim women’s groups who have been working very closely at the community come across many cases of early marriage on a regular basis. High prevalence of early marriage has also been noted in districts such as Batticaloa, Puttalam and parts of Colombo.  In some areas the number of early marriages have in fact increased from 2014 to 2015, and a look at the data on registration of Muslim marriages will reveal the facts and figures. In most cases of early marriage, young girls are removed from schools in order to be married. Thus, early marriage is also closely associated with a denial of educational opportunities and other social, economic and cultural rights. In addition, girls are more vulnerable as a result of their age, inexperience and lack of awareness to reproductive and health problems, gender-based violence, harassment within marriage, economic challenges in case of divorce, or non-maintenance by husbands.
WAN advocates that minimum age of marriage is first and foremost a serious child rights concern, which the State has the principal obligation to protect and NOT one that should be left at the discretion of any particular community.
We are therefore highly disappointed at the counterargument of Minister Rauff Hakeem in response to MP Hirunika, when he stated that the issue of age of marriage is a concern that is being dealt with by the Muslim community through reforms of the MMDA. Reforms to the MMDA have been overdue for 64+ years and we are also saddened that little action was taken by Minister Hakeem during his time as Minister of Justice to expedite the process.
While we are aware that there is a Muslim Personal Law Reforms Committee that was established in 2009 by then the Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda tasked with recommending reforms to the MMDA, we are unaware of the progress that has been made by this committee in the past 7 years. The broader Muslim community has very little information on the work of the committee thus far, timeline of when its report will be delivered to the Government and whether or not it recommends the protection of rights of Muslim children on par with the rest of the children of Sri Lanka.
Given these concerns and significant delay to reforms, many Muslim women’s and victims of the injustices faced under the MMDA have gone before the Public Representation Committee on constitutional reforms in district level hearings in Puttalam and the North and East. They have made oral and written submissions demanding immediate reform of the MMDA or to give Muslims the option of choose to marry under Sri Lankan General Marriage Ordinance. It is highly problematic that when it comes to marriage and divorce, Sri Lankan Muslims are governed only by an outdated MMDA with discriminatory provision that especially violates the rights of Muslim women in many ways (such as allowing early marriages). In Sri Lanka fundamental rights should apply to ALL citizens of the country and not be left to the discretion of minority personal laws. This had to be one of the primary concerns addressed in constitutional reforms.
We reiterate that the issue of age of marriage is NOT a ‘Muslim issue’ but rather one of human rights and child rights. Sri Lanka is required to adhere to global benchmarks set for implementing child rights through a number of human rights instruments and international commitments, such as the Child Rights Convention (CRC) and Convention for Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Such rights should apply to ALL citizens of the country. Women of minority communities should not be left out of the protection of their rights. In fact in 2010, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the forty-fifth session, reminded Sri Lanka that when it comes to statutory and personal laws which allow early marriage of girls as young as 12 years old are discriminatory against women and, and restricts their economic, social and cultural rights. They went on to say that repealing such laws “…is an immediate obligation of the State parties which cannot be conditioned to willingness of concerned communities to amend their laws”.
Thus it is illogical that a different minimum age of marriage applies for a minority community than to the rest of Sri Lankan citizens and this discrimination needs to be questioned and raised as a concern by many more MPs. Action also needs to be taken by relevant government agencies such as the National Child Protection Authority to understand the implication of such a discriminatory provision under State laws.
WAN also calls on more political and community leaders to take due effort to understand the situation of minority communities and with this knowledge and awareness raise issues pertaining to the violations of rights. While calling for empathy and understanding, we insist that ‘cultural sensitivity’ should not be used as a cover for not raising concerns and asking important questions. When it comes to human rights issues of any citizen, it is the duty of ALL elected representatives to urge Government to promote laws that treat citizens of this country equally irrespective of their class, religion, ethnicity or gender.
*WAN is a collective of 8 women’s organisations that are working in the north and east”
Steps to take to ensure a strong capital market



Today our capital market could do a lot more to rev up our economy like in some other markets in the region. Market capitalisation to GDP currently is less than 25%; in 2010 it was around 39%. In Singapore it is over 250% and Malaysia 160%. 

As a goal we would like to see market capitalisation at least around 50% of GDP in the next few years. Therefore, the question is, what do we need to do to get there? Generally, capital markets channel funds from savers to firms, which use the funds to finance projects. 

As a goal we would like to see market capitalisation at least around 50% of GDP in the next few years. Therefore, the question is, what do we need to do to get there? Generally, capital markets channel funds from savers to firms, which use the funds to finance projects. fguj

Informational efficiency is necessary if funds, allocated through the capital market, are to flow to the highest-valued projects. Shareholders want management to maximise stock prices and thus will attempt to ensure that their managements undertake only projects (decisions) that increase the value of their stock. 

Management compensation packages tied to stock performance are one way in which stockholders align management’s interests with their own. However, maximisation of stock prices can result in the capital market directing funds to the most valuable projects only if stocks are efficiently priced, in the sense of accurately reflecting the fundamental value of all future cash flows.

Thus, for example, if capital markets are efficient, there is no reason for executives to focus on the short run at the expense of long-term projects. Additionally, efficient capital markets make it easier for firms to raise capital because the markets determine the prices at which existing and potential security holders are willing to exchange claims on a firm’s future cash flows.

The role of the government in a developed or in a developing market involves developing, implementing and promoting a consistent set of regulation, providing oversight and enforcement in order to protect all investors, maintain fair, efficient and transparent markets, and addressing any systemic risks that may exist in the market from time to time. 

In order to achieve these, the regulator who is entrusted with the job should have operational independence and accountability in the exercise of its powers and functions and observe the highest professional standards and demonstrate competence. The regulator on the other hand should not overstep the responsibility instead allow the markets to evolve within the accepted parameters and support business to raise capital via the market. 

The ever-increasing cost of compliance is often a big challenge for most SME businesses to grow and expand. The regulator would therefore need to continuously educate the SMEs about the benefits of listing and about the role of capital markets, because compliance has a cost but the benefits of listing outweigh those costs. 

It is actually lack of awareness of opportunities that prevent most companies coming to the market. Also rebuilding public confidence and reactivating mass scale retail participation must be a priority for the regulator.

The regulator should also continue to promote more liquidity for potential foreign investors to attract more FDI into the country. The approach could be threefold.

A. Maintain a minimum public float. This is expected to release more closely held stocks to the market and a strategy to promote more IPOs into the market targeting a large number of successful but non listed companies.

B. While they encourage more companies to list they also need to support to build capacity in the boardroom to safeguard the interest of the public and the investor.

C. Motivate MNCs having entities in Sri Lanka to list by offering incentives and also encouraging PLCs to have robust dividend policies.

The regulator should also study the rules imposed by regional counterparts like Vietnam and Singapore related to new market initiatives, digital strategy, board room capacity and the listing rules to assess what new initiatives are required in this area.

Some of the areas that need focus are:

A. Strategies to strengthen the corporate debt market

B. Demutualisation of the Colombo Stock Exchange

C. Incentives to get retail investors to the market.

In addition;
  • Strengthening the broker back office system through harmonisation amongst the brokering houses by using the latest technology
  • Enhancing capital market education and improving financial literacy in the sector
  • Introduction of a central counter party CCP system which is critical to broad base the product portfolio
  • Changes to the SEC act to further fine-tune the regulatory framework where major emphasis would be to provide civil and administrative enforcement powers
  • Create a framework to boost the unit trust industry
  • Facilitate derivatives and expand the bond products, introducing ETF, introducing REITS, etc.
  • Initiative to Increase the number of listed companies in the market, currently at 290+
  • A clear strategy to attract new investors both local and foreign to expand the capital markets by setting up of a private public capital market development council.
  • Consistency in policy implementation
  • Building HR regulatory capacity
(The writer is a Senior Company Director)

Women who came for training to go overseas hospitalized due to food poison

Women who came for training to go overseas hospitalized due to food poison

Mar 31, 2016
26 women who came to undergo a residential training conducted by the foreign employment bureau office situated at Tangalle Godigamuwa prior to their foreign employment, has caused food poison and hospitalized at the Tangalle hospital.

Out of 16 patients who were hospitalized on the 29th, 13 women who got residential treatment has left the hospital yesterday 30th and another ten patients who were admitted yesterday 30th are still taking treatment, said a worker in the Tangalle hospital. He said the women were having diarrhea and vomiting symptoms and the hospital diagnosing the cause for the disease.

Prior to going for employment in Gulf, training would be provided to the women by the foreign employment bureau. There are 121 women who are undergoing this training at the Tangalle office.

The women who undergo training said, the foreign employment bureau give a 40 day residential training prior to the foreign employment and the bureau is charging Rs. 12,822 from each applicant. In addition to this, the bureau is charging another Rs. 12,000 for food. The women also said although we pay the foreign employment bureau they fail to provide us proper meals.

The women came for the training said the food is provided to the training center by a women residing in the Tangalle city. They said the food she supplies is unclean and stale. Although they have complained about this many times to the officers at the foreign employment bureau, they have not taken any consideration in to the matter.

The women who undergo the training say until they change the caterer and provide us with a clean meal they are going to protest against this. When we inquired this from the officer attached to the Tangalle immigration resource centre, he refrained giving us information.

“Earlier we got food in a blue basket, now we get food packets, we cannot eat those. We have paid for our food, therefore we need good food. Sometimes when I complain this I would not be able to go overseas” Said Swarnalatha, a women undergoing training.

When we inquired about this from Upul Deshapriya the spokesperson of the foreign employment bureau said “There was an official lady who supplied food for this training center. The manager of the Tangalle Godigamuwa office stopped this lady and gave the order to a man whose wife is working in our office. That cannot be like that. We inquired in to the matter and reappointed the old lady. On the same day this tragedy happened.

“We have informed the health officers to investigate in to the matter and report us. However the foreign employment bureau spokesperson Upul Deshapriya said he has given instructions to conduct an inquiry about the supply of food without following proper hygienic procedures”
CCTV footage on day of Rajagiriya accident erased - Police

CCTV footage on day of Rajagiriya accident erased - PolicelogoMarch 30, 2016
The case pertaining to the traffic collision in Rajagiriya involving a vehicle belonging to Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and a youth riding a motorcycle was taken up for hearing at the Colombo Traffic Court today (30).

 Welikada Police informed court that the Minister of Megapolis and Western Development was questioned regarding the incident and that a statement was recorded. 

Police further said that although footage obtained from CCTV cameras were used in the investigation, the footage from the day of the incident had already erased. 

 A report has also been obtained after analyzing 3 telephone numbers of the Minister as per a court order, police said. 

However, attorneys representing the victim declared to the court that the 3 phone numbers provided by the Minister were not used by him at that instance.   

They then submitted to the court 2 numbers allegedly used by the Minister at that time while the court ordered that those numbers also be analyzed and called for a report.

Patali questioned for 7 hours

Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was questioned for more than seven hours and a statement from him was recorded in connection with the hit-and-run accident at Rajagiriya late last month in which Sandeep Sampath and Manjula Minsuka Abeysundera were injured stated Welikada Police told Colombo Additional Magistrate Chandana Kalansuriya yesterday (30th). Sandeep Sampath is currently struggling for his life at the ICU of the Colombo National Hospital.
The police also told the Magistrate that they had questioned Police officers involved in initial inquiries related to the case as well as from eye witnesses. Altogether, a total of 37 persons had been questioned by the police.
It is alleged that Minister Ranawaka was at the wheel of his vehicle when the accident occurred injuring the two youths and the Minister drove on without stopping at the scene.
The Magistrate then ordered the Welikada Police to obtain a record of calls taken and received on the Minister's mobile phone on the day of the accident. The Magistrate said he would announce whether inquiries on the incident will be handed over to the CID or not at the next hearing.

Are The SLFP CC Members Naive & Day Dreaming?

Colombo Telegraph
By Gamini Jayaweera –March 31, 2016
Gamini Jayaweera
Gamini Jayaweera
The SLFP rebel members well supported by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the “Gang of Four” namely Dinesh, Vasu, Wimal, and Udaya are ignoring and violating the official instructions, warnings, and deadlines given by the SLFP Leadership and the Central Committee on several issues which are detrimental to upholding the discipline and the unity of the party. The warning letters issued by the General Secretary of the SLFP based on the decisions taken by the Central Committee, were torn or burnt by the rebels in public thus humiliating the leadership and the CC of the party. The negative response exhibited by the SLFP rebel members for the recent announcement made by the SLFP CC banning the SLFP members’ participation in the anti-government rally at Hyde Park organized by the “Joint Opposition” need to be dealt with promptly and authoritatively, if the SLFP wants to survive as a major political force in the country. As Lance Armstrong said, “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say: Enough is enough.”
Pre-Rally Warnings
Mahinda MaithriOn Sunday 13 March, the General Secretary of the SLFP Mr. Duminda Dissanayake publically declared that all SLFP MPs including the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa had been informed that they would be barred from attending any meetings, rallies, conferences or discussions that were not organised by the SLFP. He went on to inform the media that the ban would also be applied to the forthcoming anti-government rally scheduled to be held on 17 March.
On 16 March, the Treasurer of the SLFP and Social Empowerment & Welfare Minister Mr. S. B. Dissanayake publically warned the SLFP parliamentarians that they could lose their parliamentary seats if they would attend the “Joint Opposition’s” rally at Hyde Park on 17 March. He went on to say “The SLFP Central Committee has taken a decision that no SLFP member should participate in a meeting or rally organised by other parties other than the SLFP without prior permission from the party,”.

Video: 45 liquor shops directly owned by politicians

Various governments that were in power since 1994 have issued 1098 liquor licenses and it is revealed that 45 of them have been reserved directly by senior politicians represented and representing Parliament. The list with names and addresses of politicians has been revealed and 13 of the 45 liquor licenses for politicians have been taken by 13 politicians representing Kurunegala District.
Despite information revealing that 45 liquor shops are owned by politicians, it is reported that most of the licenses for the liquor shops have been taken under the names of their relatives or close associates.
The attention of the cabinet meeting held yesterday (30th) had been drawn to politicians who possess liquor licenses and it is reported that the President and the Prime Minister possess a list of politicians owning liquor licenses.
At the election for Uva Provincial Council the Leader of the JVP candidates Samantha Viddyaratna revealed names and addresses of politicians in the province who own liquor shops.

Yahapalana 'DIPLOMUTTS' Galore

Yahapalana 'DIPLOMUTTS' Galore
 Mar 30, 2016
Present Government of Sri Lanka has sent an Ambassador to Afghanistan by the name of Mr Najimudeen, native of Akkaraipattu who has later moved to Polonnaruwa to do business.
He has taken his brother-in -law (brother of the wife) to Afghanistan having declared him as his cook. Cook accompanied him when he went to present the credentials to HE the President of Afghanistan. As a result, Protocol Officials of the ministry had to accord the formal welcome inline with the accepted norms although they knew that he was the personal cook of the ambassador.
Embassy of Sri Lanka do not have its own building and it is housed in a hotel in which diplomatic community from various countries live on long term rent. Ambassador patronizes the restaurant at times and he is seen in his sarong and slippers seated amongst the rest of the diplomatic community in the common area.
He is the only Ambassador who is accompanied by his wife and they cook in their room at times. Prior to cooking, Ambassador walks to the kitchen and ask for green chili and onions from the kitchen of the hotel.
According to the papers he has, Ambassador has studied up to the A/L but he introduces himself as a lawyer. This is completely unacceptable. He do not have the language skills or the character to communicate with the government officials of Afghanistan and he do not have any recognition amongst the diplomats present in the hotel or amongst the larger diplomatic corps in Afghanistan. Hotel staff do look-down upon him for reasons listed above.
During the reception held at the hotel to mark the Independence of Sri Lanka in February 2016, Ambassador walked up to the podium and 'wiped his face' on the national flag. His intention was to show that he is a 'patriot' but the grim picture he painted was beyond repair especially in front of the seasoned career diplomats who knew the degree of shame he brought to the diplomatic community.
Those who come to the embassy to obtain visa to travel to Sri Lanka are approached by the Ambassador. They are requested to take goods to Sri Lanka on his behalf that are purchased by the Ambassador for commercial purposes.
Sri Lankan expatriate community has earned respect of the Afghan Government and the diplomatic community. There are Sri Lankans who are now citizens of other countries, working in embassies holding responsible positions and all of them are deeply embarrassed including the Sri Lankan expatriate community living here by the behavior of the ambassador.
Hope the Government that came to power promising good governance will rectify this by recalling him forthwith.