Democracy is many things

Published : 12:11 am  June 10, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  541 views  |  
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“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many, for appointment by the corrupt few” – George Bernard Shaw Many a visitor to this island has observed the overwhelming power of the State as reflected in the armed strength displayed so openly. In a relatively peaceful country, where the possession of a firearm is strictly controlled, the armed forces act as if anticipating a ‘high noon’ at any moment. Even when investigating the most trivial offence it is not unusual for the Police to arrive at the scene of the crime, armed as if to do battle with a small army. The bodyguard provided for various politicians and high officials of the State are so teeth-rattling fearsome that they... 


Sri Lanka’s Governance Scorecard: The declining indicators should ring warning bells for everyone

Published : 12:00 am  June 9, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, W. A. Wijewardena  |  3 Comments  |  5,884 views  |  
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Real growth should improve quality of life All countries aspire to attain high economic growth in the belief that high growth will improve the welfare of the people. For instance, Sri Lanka’s avowed economic goal has been to double the per capita income or PCI from $ 2,000 six years ago to $ 4,000 by 2015 and increase the size of its economy from $ 67 billion in 2013 to $ 100 billion by 2016. These are noble goals since they make available a bigger volume of material goods and services to people on average if one ignores the disparity among different segments in society in the sharing of that high material prosperity. The presence of disparities tarnishes the quality of growth. Issues relating... 


Dramatic changes in the global economic landscape

Published : 12:00 am  June 7, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,196 views  |  

Next generation of reforms in Sri Lanka The World Bank has just published the Report from its International Comparison Program (ICP). It confirms a number of aspects of the conventional wisdom regarding the trends that have emerged in recent years while challenging others.     ‘Dragonising’ the World The most eye-catching change is the likelihood that China would become the largest economy in the world, in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, by end 2014. The US has held this position since 1872. The ICP Report, based on 2011 data, estimated that China’s economy was less than 14% smaller than the US in that year. In PPP terms the Chinese economy stood at $ 13.5 trillion in 2011,... 


MR regime utterly incompetent to solve many pressing problems of people

Published : 12:00 am  June 7, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  440 views  |  

According to Buddhist belief, natural disasters such as famine, floods and untimely rains occur in a country when it is ruled by unjust, wicked, corrupt and dishonest rulers. Isn’t that what is happening in our motherland today? I have no intention whatsoever to gain any political advantage from the disasters that our land is facing today, yet it must be emphasised that the pitiful victims of all these disasters are our innocent people who have been subjected to untold injustice and they remain helpless. If one pays even scant attention to what’s been happening recently in the country, it is patently obvious that the rulers of today have totally forgotten the fact that it was on the... 


Questions to Minister Hakeem

Published : 12:00 am  June 7, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  489 views  |  

I wish to refer to the news item titled “Hakeem takes the battle to Government, Opposition” in The Daily Financial Times, of Thursday 5 June, and make a few observations and also pose a few questions. Mr. Hakeem is worried not about the Dambulla Mosque, but his position as a Party Leader. Over 50% of the members of the Government are those who were elected to Opposition parties and were bought over by the Government with the offer of portfolios and the perks that go with it. I would like answers to a few questions: How do you define a sacred area? Within sacred areas are there not people living there and do they not have toilets? Are there not any activities taking place within sacred areas... 


Tower apartments for slum dwellers

Published : 12:00 am  June 6, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,743 views  |  
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Recently, the foundation stone was laid for the redevelopment of lands in Slave Island – formerly occupied by low-income settlements – as an undertaking by the Indian giant ‘Tata Housing’ with a proposed investment of $ 430 million. The Government claimed that the project, having accumulated nearly 500 small land plots for development, is the first of its kind. Prior to the event, a number of newspaper articles featured the Government’s program; however, spokesmen for Opposition parties and articles by local organisations with foreign connections were highly critical of the resettlement process. Colonial era housing During early British times, urban Colombo stretched from Port to Mattakkuliya,... 


The uncommon problem

Published : 12:27 am  June 5, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion  |  4 Comments  |  2,418 views  |  
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“You don’t want to run the risk of sclerosis in a democratic society. You want to keep the blood running. You don’t want to get the idea that any country…is dependent on any one person. You look at a lot of these dictators that have been deposed in the last few years…almost all of them at one time were young and idealistic and incredibly capable. And they really meant to do something good. They just kind of outstayed their welcome” – Former US President Bill Clinton on why presidential term limits are important, in an interview with CNN in September 2012 The die is cast, unofficially at least for a presidential election in January 2015.                   When... 


Niranjan wins again, making European Parliament history

Published : 12:00 am  June 4, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  751 views  |  

Sri Lankan born Niranjan de Silva Deva Aditya has made history again by going against the trend and increasing his share of the vote in the European Parliament election held last Sunday throughout Europe when the 500 million people of the European Union went to the polls to elect Members to the European Parliament. Hailing from an old  political family in Sri Lanka where his maternal Grandfather was UNP  Senator Dr. M.G. Perera of the 1948 independence Senate and paternally descended from Thakura the slayer of Mitta who put his nephew Bhuveneka Bahu the VI on the throne of Yapahuwa in 1236 as described in the Mahawamsa and later Chevalier Jusey de Silva, Sir Charles de Soysa and David de Silva... 


Delegating land and police powers without facilitating separatism

Published : 12:00 am  June 4, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  381 views  |  

By Damien Fernando After the meeting the President had with the new Prime Minister of India, once again the talk of delegation of police and land powers to the provincial councils is doing the rounds. The need and also the motives of people demanding delegation of such powers in a small country like Sri Lanka are debatable. However, the current situation may require finding a middle ground. Considering the activities of the Tamil Nadu Government and the separatist diaspora, delegating full police powers, especially to the Northern Provincial Council, could end up with rejuvenating separatism. Rather than hiding the reasons, the Government should bring these concerns into the open. Thereafter,... 


Champika calls for “corporate nationalism”

Published : 12:00 am  June 4, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists, Opinion  |  3 Comments  |  1,657 views  |  
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Minister of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka said the country needs sustainable and achievable economic targets based on the corporate nationalism concept and therefore we can no longer concentrate on carpeting roads and beautifying cities. The Jathika Hela Urumaya bigwig added: “We have bigger tasks to achieve. We have to break the middle income trap. Technology-based innovations are essential for that. We have to absorb technology and go for investments. Playing with numbers will never take us beyond the middle income barrier.” Following are excerpts from the interview: Q: What are the achievements and the main challenges you have faced as the Minister of... 


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