Restructuring the presidency

Published : 12:00 am  January 26, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  719 views  |  
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There are at least two fundamental challenges facing the new Sri Lankan Government and both are of long standing. One is the North-South question, which is my shorthand for what is variously called the Tamil National Question or the ethnic problem. The other is the South-South Question. While this latter naturally embraces the party political competition, which is now intra-party as well as an inter-party issue, that is not the hub of the problem. The crux of the South-South problem today is that of forms of government: Presidential or parliamentary. The North-South and South-South problems intersect and interact because they combine into problems not merely of forms of government, but forms... 


Development without democracy is poverty

Published : 12:00 am  January 26, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  94 views  |  
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Development without democracy is poverty To quote the great late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, “To men freedom in their own land is the pinnacle of all their ambitions.” Development has many definitions; sure it does not however include development of roads, flyovers, ports and airports at inflated costs. When the debt servicing expenditure of a nation is greater than its revenue it is not rocket science to comprehend that something is radically wrong in the system. What is saddening is when some choose to support this model for selfish, partisan gains. Besides, when the leadership of a nation does not understand the difference between accountancy and economics and choose to... 


Social friendly market economy: Can be done

Published : 12:00 am  January 26, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  98 views  |  
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Social friendly governance must ensure national policies are in place Competition and regulatory rules to be laid out for transparency Since 1997, I have had the privilege of working with multiple regimes and institutions as an individual as well as a representative of numerous trade associations.   The experience Our experience is that, in most cases, political will was not focused towards putting in national policies before carrying out ad hoc reforms for no more than mere political and personal interest. The governance structure was such that if one party in power puts a reform agenda the other used it as a short-term political weapon. These negative party politics of Sri Lanka... 


The new Government’s real agenda

Published : 3:39 am  January 24, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  11 Comments  |  1,477 views  |  
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Who and what do we take more seriously? Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s promise made to the Sri Lankan Parliament of ‘the implementation of the 13th Amendment within the unitary state’, or that which his Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has disclosed in New Delhi, India, while “talking to a select group of journalists”? I’d go with the latter, not only because of the venue, but also because Samaraweera is known to be the bridge between Wickremesinghe and his influential political ally and partner, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.                           The Foreign Minister has given us the first clear... 


JVP disgusted by greed and fight to grab best ministries: Anura Kumara

Published : 12:01 am  January 23, 2015  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists  |  12 Comments  |  2,326 views  |  
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The JVP has certain concerns about the newly-appointed Cabinet of Ministers, stated JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Despite the Cabinet only being an interim one formed for just 100 days, the fight to grab the best ministries has disgusted the party, he asserted. “The Minister of Education barely has one school term to carry out his work. The Minister of Agriculture doesn’t have one farming season. The Maha season has already commenced and before the Yala season Parliament will be dissolved. The Minister of Housing will not be able to lay the foundation to build a house within this 100 day period. This clearly shows how temporary this is. Unfortunately, when we see how greedy they have... 


Building credible mechanisms for domestic accountability and transitional justice: Prosecutions and criminal justice

Published : 12:00 am  January 23, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  1,992 views  |  
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This article is the first in a series by the author that focuses on the set of measures that together form the core of transitional justice. In particular, it considers the benchmarks that the new Sri Lankan administration must set itself, but also to which the Government must be held if their claims about an effective domestic process are to be credible. In doing so, it points to areas where international support for the Government and Sri Lankan civil society – financial, personnel or technical – are most needed and may meaningfully be deployed. This article deals with prosecutions and criminal justice   Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has already signalled to the Indian media... 


Mangala should get Sri Lanka’s Foreign Service back to work

Published : 12:00 am  January 23, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Dinesh Weerakkody  |  2 Comments  |  969 views  |  
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During the last administration, of the 49 posts, 35 heads of diplomatic missions were filled with political appointees, and this practice turned the Foreign Service into a branch of the UPFA. The politicisation of the Foreign Service led to the dismal state in the foreign relations sphere in the country. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera   Diplomacy plays a direct role in addressing the root cause of insecurity. Diplomatic initiatives build partnerships so nations can work together to address bilateral and multilateral issues. Diplomacy refers to communication or negotiations tactics that use political and legal channels to address both bilateral and multilateral issues. Good diplomacy... 


What’s next: The role and future of HR

Published : 12:00 am  January 23, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  730 views  |  
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HR professionals: The challenge of today and the vision of tomorrow     Introduction While the term ‘Strategic Human Resource Management’ (SHRM) may sound like an oxymoron to some, many companies recognise that effective HRM is key to their competitiveness. It is widely acknowledged and accepted in business that the sources of sustained competitive advantage lie not only in access to finance or capital, but within the organisation, in people and processes capable of delivering business strategies such as customer satisfaction or rapid innovation (Bawany, 2004). HR professionals who have the business acumen to contribute to business strategy at the highest organisational levels are... 


How should appointments be made under Yahapalanaya?

Published : 12:00 am  January 23, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  1,168 views  |  
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Certain circles in Colombo are abuzz in conversations about who should be appointed to what positions. If one is part of these circles, one feels important. If not, one feels excluded and angry about the wrong decisions being made. This is part of the ritual of the changing of the guard in Sri Lanka. But should it continue in the context of how bad the results of the capricious appointments have been and the Yahapalanaya promises that were the centerpiece of the successful campaign? The Government owns certain companies (e.g., SriLankan Airlines and the ICT Agency) and corporations. Exercise control in the same way that any entity owning shares in a company exercises control: appoint members... 


How do you solve a problem like the Chief Justice?

Published : 1:39 am  January 22, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians  |  4 Comments  |  3,072 views  |  
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Two years ago on 15 January, the Rajapaksa Government had to deploy elite police guards, water cannons and barricades to install Mohan Peiris in the Chief Justice’s chair at Hulftsdorp. As police prevented lawyers and journalists from entering through the main gates of the Supreme Court, Peiris was driven in through a side entrance and hustled up to the fifth floor of the superior courts complex. Outside the barred gates, activist lawyers who had fought hard against the illegal sacking of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake lit candles in bright sunlight to symbolise the onset of ‘darkness at noon’ as Sri Lanka’s upper judiciary tumbled into the hands of the incumbent regime. The intervening... 


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