Columnists

The uncommon problem

Views - 7163 Thursday, 5 June 2014 00:27

“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 depo


Honeymoon with Modi?

Views - 3051 Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00

President Mahinda Rajapaksa may have metaphorically leapt into new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arms this week, but in the beginning there was Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. The Congress Party won Parliamentary elections in 2004, return


Vae victis

Views - 2919 Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:09

The double-edged sword  that is ‘Victory Day’     Beside the aquamarine seas of Keerimalai, at the island’s northernmost tip stands a Hindu holy of holies. One of five Sivan kovils in Sri Lanka, the unique convergence


“Counter diaspora influence with strong domestic process”: EU Ambassador

Views - 3059 Thursday, 8 May 2014 00:00

Head of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka, Ambassador David Daly, speaks to the Daily FT about the bloc’s motivations to rigorously pursue accountability, the promotion of human rights and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, underscoring the need


Mob rule and the ‘Hambantota Doctrine’

Views - 4976 Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:14

Marauding saffron armies and increasingly unruly pro-Government mobs are casting long shadows on Sri Lanka’s future Hambantota is Rajapaksa country. The rest of Sri Lanka may be in the vice grip of a raging personality cult, but the southern


Jinxing the game

Views - 3394 Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:48

“Our cricket embodied everything in our lives, our laughter and tears, our hospitality our generosity, our music, our food and drink. It was normality and hope and inspiration in a war-ravaged island. In it was our culture and heritage, enriched by


A chink in the armour!

Views - 3869 Thursday, 3 April 2014 00:12

The Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is having a spectacularly bad week. Technically, with the two assemblies lapsing in late April, March 29 elections for the Western and Southern Provincial Councils took place on schedule. But the polls w


Geneva 2014: First whispers of an impending storm

Views - 3699 Thursday, 27 March 2014 01:11

  Since 2004, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been on a remarkable winning streak. In April that year he wrested the Premiership from former Foreign Minister and Chandrika Kumaratunga confidant, Lakshman Kadirgamar, after the newly-const


The inglorious self-goal

Views - 2959 Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:26

So perfectly orchestrated and precisely timed, the detention of human rights campaigners in Sri Lanka over the past week almost looks like internal sabotage to ruin the country’s faltering chances at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva


The two Sri Lankas

Views - 8391 Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00

Strongly opposing views north and south of the island about human rights, the US draft resolution and the prospect of international intervention tells a damning story about how deep ethnic and ideological divisions run in Sri Lanka five years afte


A crisis of expectations

Views - 2466 Thursday, 6 March 2014 00:00

Months of anticipation for human rights campaigners, the Tamil Diaspora communities and the country’s main Tamil party ended in an anti-climax when despite international pledges and dire warnings, the US draft resolution at the Human Rights Council


A litany of broken promises!

Views - 2764 Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:51

When history is being written one day about this particular chapter of Sri Lanka’s chequered dealings with the international community, historians will discover that the road to Geneva and beyond was littered with promises made and broken by the


Elections and the Geneva advantage

Views - 2296 Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:01

As long suspected, allegiances are shifting far right in the upper echelons of the ruling administration. As the country gears up for battle in two key provinces and a frantic effort to rescue a deteriorating situation overseas, Geneva offers the


The Road from Geneva

Views - 2617 Thursday, 6 February 2014 00:00

As preoccupied as the Government is with UNHRC Sessions in March, staving off an international war crimes inquiry may prove the least of its troubles. Having alienated its most crucial ally across the straits and with inaction by Colombo forcing 


A pauper’s choice

Views - 7499 Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

“Today, only money talks. Intelligent people no longer come forward to contest elections. Women don’t contest. It’s only rich thugs who enter the fray” - Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunesekera, 31 August 2013. On 31 August 2013, with less than a


Freedom Party blues

Views - 5592 Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:17

For years reams have been written about the crisis within the main opposition United National Party. Long winters in Opposition make parties prone to internal rifts and leadership battles. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main party in the rul


Legacies of impunity

Views - 3546 Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out- Because I was not a Jew - Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) Bible burning and church razing – that is the horrific legacy of 18 months of carte blanche for extremist forces masquerading as Buddhi


The pallbearers’ legacy

Views - 2041 Thursday, 9 January 2014 00:00

 Lasantha Wickrematunge may have been killed, but his spirit lives on in those he left behind. Lasantha’s tribe, some of them exiled in far off lands, others – brow-beaten, hunted and still pushing the boundaries at home, continue to be a tho


Constitutional tangles in an election year

Views - 2387 Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:00

    On 19 November 2010, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had been President elect for 10 long months since the dramatic 26 January poll, took his oaths on the steps of the Presidential Secretariat. The entrance to the historic building th


Lead, be led or get out of the way

Views - 2208 Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:39

As the UNP Leadership Council attempts to effect real change in the main Opposition party for the first time in years, why is Sajith Premadasa insisting on becoming a stumbling block?   In these troubled times, when Sri Lanka’s democr


Mandela: Whose hero?

Views - 3252 Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:55

“It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well” – US President Barack Obama   The Sri Lankan Government is taking some aspects of its role a Chair in Office of the Commonwealth of Nations very ser


Hail, the emperor!

Views - 21028 Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00

Crowned emperor of the new Commonwealth and with a war crimes inquiry in the offing next March, at home President Mahinda Rajapaksa is looking more invincible than ever       There’s a new emperor  in town The po


‘Step into my parlour’

Views - 8293 Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:16

President Rajapaksa’s benevolent smiles and warm hospitality as he welcomes world leaders to his showpiece summit may mask the grimmer realities facing the people living in the shadow of the new Chair of the Commonwealth    


UNP: The war within a war

Views - 2709 Thursday, 7 November 2013 00:05

“Politicians are like children; you can’t just give them what they want – it only encourages them” – Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn (Yes Minister) Standing at the podium of the Business Today Top 25 Awards to recognise the country’s to


CHOGM and the Indian conundrum

Views - 2538 Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

For the Sri Lankan Government and the Commonwealth Secretary General, the absence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at CHOGM 2013 will be keenly felt   The decision by Indian Premier Manmohan Singh to remain mysterious about his C


Pinwheels of fortune

Views - 12075 Thursday, 24 October 2013 00:00

If there is one thing the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa loves, it is to put on a grand show. Domestically and internationally, the regime has excelled at marketing its smallest successes to great effect. As it prepares to strut upon the g


UNP: A changing of the guard?

Views - 3049 Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00

UNP Chief Ranil Wickremesinghe left on a two-day visit to Singapore after a marathon day of discussions that centred on his leadership of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party on Tuesday (15). Nearly two weeks ago, the United National Party’s intern


A pivotal moment

Views - 7698 Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:00

 As the main opposition United National Party attempts to undertake major reform to resolve its present leadership crisis, Sajith Premadasa may need to rethink his political strategy There is an old story in UNP circles about Sajith Premadasa


Changing the game

Views - 2778 Thursday, 3 October 2013 00:00

If the TNA can keep ploughing the politically mature path, push the Rajapaksa Administration to reciprocate and ensure they exercise their writ over the Northern Province with responsibility and accountability, the party could reinvent the image a


Time to press the reset button

Views - 1703 Thursday, 26 September 2013 00:34

  With the TNA flushed with victory in the north and the President’s popular support reinforced in the south after Saturday’s provincial elections, the time has never been more opportune for the country’s main Tamil party and its rulin


Today's Columnists

Bringing beedi into tax net can yield Rs. 40 b in revenue

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Last week, the Financial Times quoted an AFP article that stated Sri Lanka will start regulating the toddy industry to boost tax revenues from the informal sector. This same principle should be applied to the beedi trade, which has also grown unabate


Grade 5 Scholarship examination and the future of the country

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Grade 5 scholarship examination results have been released recently. Although this is known as the “Mothers’ exam,” the mentality of the children can be well articulated when children come from the examination halls after the exams. Today w


Need for tax reforms: Government should not lose it this time but go for them early

Monday, 23 October 2017

In the first economic policy statement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made a number of pledges related to taxes and tax reforms. One was that the Government would review whether the tax concessions given to investors have really delivered the e


Lessons from Geneva

Saturday, 21 October 2017

‘Mission Impossible – Geneva’ is an inspiring account of developments at the Human Rights Council in Geneva when Dayan Jayatilleka was our Permanent Representative there. It is written by his wife Sanja, which provides for fascinating insights


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