Reading about the indictment for murder brought against Hemasiri Fernando, former Secretary of Defence, and the former IGP, I was tempted to look up a legal dictionary which said that murder is an intentionally committed criminal offence, whereas manslaughter or homicide are offences committed unintentionally causing loss of life.
As a former public officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service, I remember a similar charge of intention to commit murder brought against a Minister or his deputy in the 1970s, when Felix Dias Bandaranaike was a senior minister of the Sirima Bandaranaike’s government, over the throwing of a chair by the Minister concerned on a trade unionist Teacher of the Department of Education. The case was thrown out if I remember right, on the ground that there was no such murderous intention on the part of the government politico.
It was pretty obvious then that the charge had been artfully magnified and manipulated to get the case thrown out of court.
Is this another such instance of pulling the wool over the eyes of the public, to forestall the case of charges being levelled against a former President?
The country they saved
Many YouTube videos are accessible on the Internet, which show interviews with retired/injured soldiers who were with the Sri Lanka Army during the period 2005-2009. They proudly talk about how they fought, how they got injured, how they re-joined the battle, after recovery, and how they saw their friends and higher officers get killed. Without any sadness in their voices, they show their wounded limbs and blinded eyes. Most of us who were not in the battlefield, too, can be somewhat satisfied by thinking about our much lesser contributions – donation of blood, donation of money towards various funds such as “Api Wenuwen Api” (although not sure what happened to those), helping families of soldiers, etc.
Many would now feel sad about those injured soldiers and the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard this country, when seeing how this country is managed by some politicians, who claim that they were the people who saved this country.
Special rules for UK-SL MPs cricket
The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK, Saroja Sirisena, responding to a call by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, met the Speaker on May 24 at his office at the House of Commons, while the Lion Flag fluttered in front of the House of Commons on the occasion. Our lady diplomat, as per The Island report on 31st May, proposed and, ‘…both agreed that a friendly exchange of cricket between the members of the two Parliaments would be a fine opportunity to celebrate there shared love of cricket.’
Being concerned of the risk of conversion of the gentlemen’s game into a “Parliamentarian’s one”, shall we propose an amended 13-point set of rules applicable only to our legislators.
1. “Scrap retired hurt” phenomenon altogether as they will never dream of ‘retiring’, worse they do not understand what ‘hurt’ means.
2. Out!, and back in the pavilion, can be re-called by the Captain under “National team player” to the middle, to continue batting.
3. Ministers, who rush Bills for speedy enactments are best suited as Pace bowlers, but they will have to compete with ‘swing both-ways’ experts.
4. Talented ‘googley’ bowlers are in abundance, but English MPs are good readers of the googley; more prudent choice would be a specialist ‘Chinamen’, [there is no dearth of them either], further, the opponents do have little experience in facing them and would naturally be extra nervous to hear the first syllable of the word.
5. Sixers should be banned altogether, for they being highly skilled masters of the art will effortlessly hit every ball for a ‘SIX’.
6. Sledging, supported by familiar un-parliamentary vocabulary can be used excessively, as the opponents will not understand them, however, as a precautionary measure, the stump microphone should be disconnected from commentary.
7. Media should be allowed in the field to get voice cuts blaming the opponents, after every bungling by themselves.
8. English team has done their ‘home-work’ using freely available data : will demand free access for Agents of Bookies at the Lanka dressing room, with the idea of winning the game easily. However, such motivation can be countered by displaying 11 ultra-luxury SUVs on the grounds [as prizes for the winners]
9. A special sitting of the House prior to the match, to propose and pass a handsome match-fee for the players, would be an added incentive.
10. To compensate for their lack of experience and knowledge in playing on a level field, a ‘20%’ [a familiar numerical] bonus of runs or wickets can be granted.
11. In fairness to the Englishmen, any attempt to play a Dil-scoop using more familiar hands, minus the bat, should not be allowed.
12. The two field umpires plus 3rd, 4th umpires and match referee should be provided with special security in the event of a loss to the local team.
13. The moment the English side appealed against a Lankan batsmen, before the Umpire delivered his verdict, the bodyguards should rush to the field to prevent untoward incidents happening.
‘Lockdown’ and spraying against mosquitoes
In the current efforts against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the public has quite rightly been requested to stay at home as much as possible. In this regard, it would help if responsible citizens, who wish to collaborate with the health authorities, are not caused problems by other citizens and officials.
While I was sitting in my kitchen last afternoon reading a book, I was amazed to see clouds of white ‘smoke’ billowing over the boundary wall separating our premises from the adjoining garden, which is known as a source of mosquitos. The ‘smoke’ was part of a pesticide spraying effort to combat the mosquito nuisance. It entered our kitchen and other areas and made them uninhabitable for a time, for fear of the possible damage to our health. Those responsible should be considerate to others in view of the difficult times we live in.
This experience brought to mind the publicised decision of the government to do away with the import of fertilizers and pesticides. These are matters of dispute, but as regards the control of mosquitoes without experiencing the health problems and financial burden associated with the usage of insecticides, one can refer to what has been termed the ‘sterile male technique’. This is based on the concept of producing large numbers of sterile males of the species of mosquito one desires to control, and releasing them into the surroundings. The sterile males will mate with ‘fertile’ female mosquitos but offspring will not result. Have our public health authorities and research establishments looked into the questions of the availability and the applicability of this technology for introduction in Sri Lanka?
Research on this approach to pesticide-free mosquito control was in progress some years ago, but this writer is not aware if applicable technology has been developed and put into use. (A Scottish colleague resident in Pennsylvania wrote to him some time back of spraying being conducted from helicopters to control the spread of West Nile Virus, which is mostly transmitted by species of Culex mosquitoes.)
In this regard, mention may also be made of the important conference ‘2nd Global Health Industry Cooperation Conference (GHICC2021) and China-CEEC Summit for Healthcare Industry Cooperation’ held in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China on the 9th June 2021, in the course of which discussions took place on possible collaborations on projects between Chinese organizations and individuals, and organizations around the world. This conference, to which the writer was an invited participant, offered great hope for developing successful joint collaborations between organizations and scientists around the world. Collaboration on pesticide-free control of mosquito-borne disease would be an ideal area for such joint collaborations. The results of such joint collaborations would be applicable for the control of both disease-vector and ‘nuisance’ mosquitoes around the world.
Dr. ROHANA H WICKRAMASINGHE
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