Connect with us


13 mn US funding, training for 100 lobby correspondents, refurbishment of media centre



… ready to work with new govt

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The US provided funds to the tune of Rs 1.92 bn to Parliament at the request of the previous UNP-led yahapalana government. Funds were utilized to refurbish Parliament’s Media centre, training of more than 100 lobby correspondents on parliamentary procedures and strengthening of House staff research capabilities.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in late Nov. 2016 launched a Rs. 1.92 billion (USD$13 mn) partnership with the Parliament of Sri Lanka to strengthen accountability and democratic governance in Sri Lanka.

In response to several questions as regards US funding raised by The Island, the US Embassy has sent us the following statement: “The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other US Government agencies, has provided a range of assistance to Sri Lanka over the last 70 years.  The support to Sri Lanka’s Parliament supported by USAID was provided at the request of the Sri Lankan government and in consultation with the Secretariat of the Parliament.  It has included the refurbishment of Parliament’s media center, modernizing Parliament’s offices, the training of more than 100 lobby correspondents on parliamentary procedures, non-partisan support for increasing the political participation of women and other underrepresented groups, and strengthening parliamentary staff research capabilities.  We look forward to collaborating with the new Parliament as requested.  Assistance provided by USAID conforms to development assistance agreements concluded by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United States Government.”

The embassy was responding to the following questions that were submitted as requested:

Q: Did Sri Lanka parliament utilise the entire amount of funds provided by the USAID?

Q: Did Sri Lanka parliament seek additional funding after the completion of the three-year project?

Q: Will you extend the same facility to the new Parliament?

Q: Would it be possible to know how the funds were spent? And projects funded by it?

Q: Did Sri Lanka project meet US standards?

Q: Are you (US embassy) satisfied with Sri Lanka project and do you believe USAID project helped strengthen accountability and democratic governance in Sri Lanka and achieved objectives?

 Q: Why is aid given to Sri Lanka channelled almost entirely through NGO outfits?

Why is the legitimately elected government bypassed when it needs international help, especially at a time when the country is fighting a pandemic better than most countries?

 Q: Is Sarvodaya a credible NGO, being more or less a family run organisation? (Recently US announced USD 1.5 mn in support of Sarvodaya).


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


EC member Hoole moves SC against 20A



Petitions challenging 20A before five-judge bench of SC today 

By Chitra Weerarathne

Petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, will be called before a five-judge bench today.

These petitions have said that people’s approval at a referendum as well as a two-thirds majority in Parliament will be needed to enact the Bill.

All the petitions have basically said that the Bill has a section, which says a dual citizen can contest to enter the Parliament of Sri Lanka and run for President threatened national security.

The petitions challenge the powers vested in the President. The President could sack the Prime Minister and the Ministers. Once the Bill becomes law, fundamental rights petitions could not be filed to challenge an act of the President, the petitions have pointed out.

The investigating powers of the Auditor General have been curtailed. The powers vested in the Elections Commission when an election is on is also limited, the petitioners have argued.

The petitions have requested the Supreme Court to declare that a two-thirds majority in Parliament and people’s approval at a referendum will be needed to enact the proposed amendment.

Among the petitioners are Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, Mayantha Dissanayake, S. J. B. Member of Parliament for the Kandy District and also the President of the Youth League of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya.

The Supreme Court bench will comprise the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda.

Continue Reading


Senasinghe announces quitting politics



By Akitha Perera

Former non-cabinet minister of the yahapalana government Sujeewa Senasinghe announced yesterday that he would quit politics. 

He had also stepped down as the SJB Deputy Secretary, Senasinghe said. 

Senasinghe said that he intended to focus on his business in the future and that he would commence work on his PhD from January 2021. 

He unsuccessfully contested the Aug 05 general election from the Colombo district on SJB ticket.

Senasinghe commenced his political career as a member of the Western Provincial Council of the UNP. He was elected to Parliament twice from the same party. 

He earned notoriety by publishing a book denying the bond scam ever took place.

Continue Reading


Pujith insists his hands were tied during crucial period 



By Rathindra Kuruwita

He had been aware that the activities and preaching of Islamists would have an impact on reconciliation, but those in higher positions were convinced otherwise, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The ex-IGP said that although he too had received information about activities of Islamic extremists by late 2018, he had been barred from the National Security Council (NSC) by then.

“I couldn’t share the information I had and I didn’t know what was discussed there. I couldn’t even assign a senior officer to represent me there.”

Jayasundara added that after he had received, on April 09, a report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena about a possible terrorist attack, he forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latheef, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dasanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoke to them over the phone.

Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces. The witness added that he had wanted to ensure that there would not be a leak, causing unnecessary problems in society.

“For example, the letter I sent to the Special Protection Range (SPR) was leaked to the media after the attacks.”

Continue Reading