Tangible benefits from CHOGM

Published : 12:00 am  November 8, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  10,352 views  |  

The External Affairs Ministry has been in the news more often of late, mostly due to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). But on Wednesday its Secretary was quoted as being thankful that a decision to impose a 3,000 pound levy on Sri Lankan travellers to the UK has been dismissed. Yet there is little being done to improve the lot of the average traveller by these officials, as studies have shown. Anyone who believes that Sri Lanka’s international reputation has improved magnificently by the end of the war has only to take a look at a recent study done on passports to know that such optimism needs to be taken with a large dose of salt. Government officials including those at... 


Incredible injustice

Published : 12:00 am  November 7, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  818 views  |  

When politically powerful people act like fools, the innocent suffer. There are multiple examples of this in Sri Lanka’s society, but none more heartbreaking that the tale of Samurdhi officer Mohammad Irshad. Many will be confused over his name until they are told why he is famous – or infamous, as the case may be. He was the public official who was tied to a tree by Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva for failing to show up for a dengue eradication program on 3 August 2010. For the first time he tells his side of the story in a tearful interview posted on Groundviews and shames not just the political system in Sri Lanka but the voters who allow it to exist in impunity. Irshad did not... 


Crime and punishment

Published : 12:00 am  November 6, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  522 views  |  

A teacher cuts a student’s pants while another splits an eardrum through a hearty slap. These are some of the headlines that shocked readers see in newspapers on a daily basis. How has discipline become such a deplorable act? Why are children punished in such cruel and humiliating ways and what can be done about it? Sri Lanka’s schools are already a morass of problems. Stepping up the fight against corruption and indiscipline in education is necessary not only to keep kids in school and meet literacy and development goals, but also to ensure that the next generation is prepared to be good citizens. No doubt the majority of teachers are kinder to their students and it is equally likely that... 


Amnesty leftovers

Published : 12:01 am  November 5, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  436 views  |  

As the amnesty given to migrant workers by Saudi Arabia ends, there are concerns over the fate of thousands of Sri Lankans left as illegal employees. As demand exploded for the amnesty, reports indicate that at least 16,000 Sri Lankans registered at the Sri Lankan Embassy to be sent home. When the amnesty ended on Sunday, officials indicated that only 10,000 made it back to Sri Lanka on time, leaving the rest to face a fine of Rs. 3 million and a one-year prison sentence. Stark results indeed. The tragic execution of Rizana Nafeek aside, the increase of migrant workers to the Middle East is worrying for several reasons. One is that despite Government attempts to regularise recruitment agents,... 


A breath of hope

Published : 12:00 am  November 4, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,308 views  |  

Rebuilding the United National Party (UNP) has gained unprecedented impetus with the latest election defeats. The mediations, painful at times, have nonetheless yielded a crucial discussion today, which the country will be watching with mixed feelings of hope. Bludgeoned by a record number of elections defeats on a trot, the UNP leadership finally yielded. Wickremesinghe’s view that he is willing to step aside should a competent replacement be found finally brought hope to party stalwarts who have been pushing reforms in vain. But it also sparked fear among a faction that watched the moves of UNP MP Sajith Premadasa and viewed them as being vengeful and lacking in political acumen. Premadasa,... 


The Indian effect

Published : 12:00 am  November 2, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  689 views  |  

India is rarely absent from headlines in Sri Lanka’s newspapers, especially as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) draws closer. Fortunately on Thursday it hit headlines for a positive reason, a ruling by the highest court in the world’s largest democracy to combat corruption. India’s track record for tackling corruption is one of the worst in the world but it shows progress on a level that Sri Lanka can still learn from, if it wishes to. In a landmark ruling, India’s Supreme Court decided that civil servants should not act on the verbal orders given by their Ministers and opened up refreshing avenues for fighting corruption at an unprecedented level. This liberating... 


Look beyond the numbers

Published : 12:00 am  November 1, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  730 views  |  

Most issues in Sri Lanka seem to dwindle into a numbers game. In the latest chapter, it is keeping a tally of how many countries will or will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) rather than making a concentrated effort to promote Sri Lanka’s reputation internationally. Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was upbeat on Thursday that the number of confirmed attendees had reached 37. He argued that this exceeds the total number of countries that attended the Australian CHOGM in Perth and provided the number as evidence that Sri Lanka’s reputation was still glowing despite the lack of commitment from India. The Economic Development Ministry and Industry... 


An epic fail?  

Published : 12:00 am  October 31, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  821 views  |  

The Norochcholai power plant is what the younger generation would commonly refer to as an “epic fail”. The latest breakdown, which took place just hours after the plant commenced operations after a maintenance break of over two months, has increased fear that the US$ 1.35 billion project will only be a burden to the people. Built by China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation or CMEC, the project ran into hitches well before it was even opened. A large fire broke out on 24 October 2010. According to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), there were no casualties but construction had to be sped up to meet the opening deadline. On 22 July 2012, the power station ceased... 


Ranking competence

Published : 12:00 am  October 30, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  795 views  |  

THE Ease of Doing Business in Sri Lanka took a hit on Tuesday when the latest report compiled by the World Bank saw the island slip four places to 85 from 81 the previous year. This shows that the Government’s aim of improving the investment climate has not served up the expected dividends and more worryingly that the rest of the world is outpacing local reforms. While Sri Lanka remains in a healthy position regarding the rest of South Asia, managing to stay just head of Maldives and Nepal, it nonetheless has fallen behind its own lofty goals. When Sri Lanka made inroads on the Ease of Doing Business after the end of a three-decade war, the Government was upbeat it could steer the turning tide. With... 


Seeing red

Published : 12:27 am  October 29, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  10,880 views  |  

Red tape must serve a purpose but what it does more often is disrupt smooth flowing of activities. When red tape is coupled with inconsistent policy making, people stuck in it often see red. Sadly, this same set of events seems to have transpired in connection to Sri Lanka’s lucrative tourism wedding industry, opening up the possibility that the post-war honeymoon period for the sector may be coming to an end. For several years Sri Lanka has been the most recommended wedding destination for couples by world’s leading tour operator Kuoni, bringing high-end tourists and valuable foreign exchange earnings for the tourism sector.  However, Sri Lanka appears to have stopped playing the cupid’s... 


Page 30 of 125« First...1020...2829303132...405060...Last »