30th April 2015

Collective guilt?

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Prof. Susirith Mendis One of my good and sincere friends, now a self-exiled expatriate, growing an amazingly beautiful and typical ‘English Garden’ in, I believe, Great Yarmouth, UK, had made the following comment rhetorically to a post I put on Facebook of an article by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke titled “Most Tamil Moderates, Liberals and Progressives are Tamils First, and Moderates, Liberals and Progressives Later”: “Are the Sinhalese any different? Minorities in any community are more conscious of their minority status, in SL the majority community suffer from a minority mentally, they keep frightening each other by comparing their numbers with Tamil population of Tamil Nadu.” Yes, Sinhalese do have a ‘minority mindset’. They are a singularly miniscule minority of about 15 million people in […]

19A shuts out Gota

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed in Parliament on Tuesday with an overwhelming majority, has barred former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa from contesting Parliamentary elections. The section of the 19th Amendment disqualifying dual citizens from becoming Parliamentarians remained unchanged during the Committee Stages of the debate. When contacted by the Daily News, Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka yesterday confirmed that the former Defence Secretary is a dual citizen. Therefore, the 19th Amendment disqualifies him from contesting the forthcoming Parliamentary election as a candidate of any registered party or independent group. Rajapaksa spent over 10 years in the US after he retired from the Sri Lankan Army of which he was a Lieutenant Colonel. He returned to Sri Lanka in 2005 […]

President thwarted last minute bid to sabotage 19 A – Rajitha

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando The government yesterday accused an influential section of the UPFA parliamentary group of having made a desperate bid to sabotage the 19 Amendment to the Constitution. President Maithripala Sirisena, however, in his capacity as the leader of the SLFP had succeeded in thwarting dissidents, government spokesperson and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told the media yesterday. Addressing the media at the Government Information Department, Dr. Senaratne alleged that the dissident group had made a bid to refrain from backing the Bill at a meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament on Tuesday. Some of those who had caused a major scene at the onset of the meeting, subsequently pledged their allegiance to President Sirisena, the government spokesman said, adding: “Subsequently, the dissident […]

Racist Mahinda can never be a President again!

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, trying hard to come back, suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Parliament passed the 19th Constitutional Amendment (19A), which prevents him from standing for the Presidency again. “No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the People,” the 19A says. To add to his woes, Rajapaksa’s own party,  the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and his grand coalition, the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), voted for the 19A. However, the SLFP and UPFA MPs tried hard to scuttle the 19A, coming up with various objections. Their trump card was the majority they enjoyed in Parliament. Without their support President […]

Kerry Hopes to Reset US Relations With Sri Lanka

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

STATE DEPARTMENT— A senior U.S. State Department official said Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry was traveling to Sri Lanka to show that the U.S. “applauds the vision” of that country’s new government. Kerry will visit Colombo on Saturday as part of a weeklong trip that includes stops in Kenya and Djibouti.  He will be the first secretary of state to visit Sri Lanka since Colin Powell did so in 2004. In Sri Lanka, Kerry will meet with the country’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, who took office in January after defeating longtime leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sirisena, who quit Rajapaksa’s government to challenge him in elections, vowed to carry out reforms that he said would reverse his predecessor’s autocratic and authoritarian-style government. Sirisena enacted a […]

Sri Lanka’s new rulers confident of regaining GSP Plus next year: Harsha de Silva

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Apr 30, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s new administration is confident about retrieving the GSP plus trade concessions by mid or late next year, Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of policy planning and economic development said. “We are trying to get GSP plus back and I am very happy to report to you that we had very productive discussions in Brussels and with the EU (European Union) political leadership,” De Silva said on Wednesday.“By late this year or early next year we hope to get the ball rolling in this regard and by mid or end of next year we are very confident of getting the GSP plus back,” “These are the concessions that our exporters have been waiting for a long time.” GSP Plus […]

Ranil Wickremesinghe: The good, the bad or the ugly?

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is considered a political strategist by many. LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran once feared his actions. He takes certain bold decisions in the situations where other leaders are reluctant to act. On the other hand, he acts in selfless manner in certain situations where even ordinary politicians do not behave in such a way, let alone political strategists. However, his strategies did not work in favour of him in critical stages. When he became the Prime Minister in 2001 with the majority in the Parliament, the President was Chandrika Kumaratunga. At that time the Sri Lankan Army was defeated on several fronts by the LTTE. The Government lost major camps in the Northern Province including Elephant Pass. Katunayake Airport was attacked by […]

What Does A Rajapaksa Return Entail

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The inevitable yet politically well-timed arrest of one or all of the Rajapaksa brothers, legal action against all on all and sundry causes and cases had all been written into the script when common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena won the presidential polls. For the new government, it was at the very top of their poll promises and for the people that voted him it was their fervent hopes, expectation and anticipation. For President Sirisena’s poll-time under-writer and post-poll partner in government, it was (also) an electoral necessity, to say the least. It does not necessarily flow that such harassment of the nation’s most-acknowledged war-hero would ensure President Rajapaksa’s electoral return early on if only he threw his hat into the ring. The nation did not […]

The 19A: Did Maithripala Sell Out?

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Hilmy Ahamed – The historic passage of the watered down 19th amendment on 28th April 2015 is probably the single most successful parliamentary endevour, undertaken by our legislators in many years. It augurs well for Sri Lanka and its democracy that was reestablished after a decade of Rajapaksa tyranny on the 9th of January 2015. Whatever barriers the opposition mustered during the last one hundred and seven days against the passage of the 19th amendment by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government fell apart under President Maithripala Sirisena’s resolve to ensure its smooth passage. It also brought out the strong leadership and diplomatic skills of President Sirisena. This would also probably ensure the successful trial of the national government concept under the Maithripala Sirisena presidency. There is […]

After 100 days the stark contrast between the Rajapakse and Sirisena Administrations

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The conclusion of the one hundred (100) days is a good time to compare and indeed contrast the Maithripala Sirisena Administration from the Rajapakse rule that it replaced. This is particularly relevant in the context that Brother number two (no pun intended), Gotabhaya Rajapakse, has suggested that Mahinda Rajapakse should be prime minister, under President Sirisena. This suggestion of the Mahinda Rajapakse premiership is also what motivates the small appendages of the UPFA, the MEP, the NFF, the EPDP etc and a section of a Rajapakse old guard of about thirty SLFP MPs and declining following the removal of some of their number from the SLFP Central Committee. Negating the people’s mandate  The biggest objection of course to a Mahinda Rajapakse premiership is that it […]