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Church of Ceylon commends govt. for conducting an accelerated vaccination programme

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The Church of Ceylon on Monday commended the government for conducting the vaccination programme in an accelerated manner to cover all parts of the country.

“We now urge the authorities to take necessary steps to secure a vaccination that can be safely administered to all above the age of 12 years as the next important phase of the vaccination drive,” the Church of Ceylon said in a statement.

The statement signed by Bishop of Kurunagala and Colombo Rev Keerthisiri Fernando and Presiding Bishop of Church of Ceylon Rev Dushantha Rodrigo said: We note with grave concern the present situation regarding the spread of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka. We are disturbed by the rising number of deaths per day and the alarming increase in the number of new cases reported. It is imperative that we all take serious note of the current situation and act with responsibility since this country cannot afford to lose our valuable human resources and drain our limited financial resources. The management and control of this virus is now the responsibility of all sections of society.

As such, we appeal to all Sri Lankans to unite in our fight against this virus by adhering to the following:

1. Take all health guidelines seriously and adhere to the laid down protocol strictly through self-discipline and responsible conduct.

2. Refrain from engaging in non-essential transactions and limit movements even when there is no

Lockdown in the country.

3. Submit themselves to the vaccination programme without having reservations unless due to medical reasons.

4. Help each other by offering social and psychological support to our neighbours and those in our communities who may be recovering in their homes and also comforting those who may have lost loved ones. This is not the time to stigmatise the afflicted but the time to assist those who need our help.

We commend the State for conducting the vaccination programme in an accelerated manner to cover all parts of the country. We now urge the authorities to take necessary steps to secure a vaccine that can be safely administered to all above the age of 12 years as the next important phase of the vaccination drive. We are deeply concerned that school education has now been disrupted for over a year which will have far-reaching implications for the progress of our nation. Therefore, it is imperative that we explore all avenues to reopen schools without any further delay. It is also an opportune moment to device innovative mechanisms as alternatives for public examinations recognising the disruption that has already been caused due to the pandemic.

We hope that the State will ensure the steady supply of drugs, oxygen and equipment to all parts of the country to avoid any inequity in the supply of necessary medication and care to our people. Priority has to be given to protect the frontline medical staff who are exposed to the virus more than others including the provision of booster vaccinations based on medical practice. Given the extent of the crisis, the costs of drugs and hospitalisation and the need to allow for creativity on the part of our medical experts to respond to this crisis, we request that health authorities and medical experts be provided the space and opportunity to explore alternative treatments and strategies in managing the situation as a medical emergency.

It is common knowledge that our hospitals are now overcrowded and health services are stretched beyond limits owing to the high number of Covid patients. We offer to the health authorities the facilities of our church across the country to be used as make-shift hospitals, intermediate medical centres or quarantine centres which can be managed by health officials and supported by our institutions and personnel so that hospitals are reserved for those who really need them.

We urge the Media to demonstrate sensitivity in its reporting as they play a vital role in educating the people. We should not allow the contracting of this virus to be viewed as a crime but seek to promote responsible conduct in our day- to-day affairs. The dignity of life should be respected at all times particularly in relation to news reporting on those being afflicted and those who succumb to the virus.

Our congregations will continue to engage in prayer upholding our health workers and those engaged in frontline duties and seeking wisdom for those in charge of formulating policies. We pray that the grace of our Lord will carry this nation and the world through this phase of hardship.

 

 



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Explanation sought over Monetary Board Secy.’s sudden transfer

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Rohini calls for social media campaign against govt. move

By Shamindra Ferdinando

 The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has sought an explanation from the government over the sudden removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, K.M.A.N. Daulagala on16 Sept.

Matale District lawmaker Rohini Kaviratne yesterday (19) questioned the rationale behind Assistant Governor Daulagala’s removal. The former UNP MP emphasised that Daulagala had played a critically important role in the Central Bank’s response in the wake of Treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016. Therefore, her removal was quite suspicious and might facilitate efforts to suppress those scams as well as future frauds as well.

MP Kaviratne represented the UNP during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Prime Minister (2015-2019).

Declaring that Daulagaha had been at the forefront of the efforts to create a clean administration, Kaviratne stressed that she was second only to Rohini Nanayakkara of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and earned the respect of all for courageously taking a stand against fraudulent practices.

The SJB spokesperson said that Daulagala, in her capacity as the head of the non-banking sector financial institutions, handled the ETI investigation at the onset (2010-2012) of the probe. In the wake of her recommendations pertaining to the ETI being rejected by the Central Bank, she received a transfer to another section, MP Kaviratne said.

The Monetary Board is responsible for making all policy decisions related to the management, operation and administration of the Central Bank. It comprises Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle, Sanjeeva Jayawardena, PC, Dr (Mrs) Ranee Jaymaha and Samantha Kumarasinghe.

Cabraal, who served as the Governor (2006-2014) recently replaced W.D. Lakshman on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request.

Kaviratne asked who had benefited from the removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board?

MP Kaviratne said that Daulagala had been involved in the internal process following the first Treasury bond scam and the subsequent developments, including the coordination between the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Department pertaining to the Treasury bond scams. Urging women’s organsations, civil society and law abiding citizens to take up Daulagala’s removal through social media, lawmaker Kaviratne said that the issue at hand should receive attention of the parliament.

“The Parliament is responsible for public finance. The Parliament cannot turn a blind eye to what is going on in the Central Bank. The national economy is in such a perilous state every effort should be made to investigate past frauds and thwart future adventures,” the MP said.

MP Kaviratne also recalled the role played by Deepa Seneviratne, Superintendent of Public Debt at the time of the first Treasury bond scam in exposing the then Governor’s culpability. “Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to change the direction regardless of exposure of past misdeeds,” she said.

Declaring that she had no intention of protecting any wrongdoer under any circumstances, MP Kaviratne said that the incumbent government should ensure transparency and accountability in public finance.

Examination of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), COPA (Committee on Public Accounts) and COPF (Committee on Public Finance) proceedings revealed a frightening picture, lawmaker Kaviratne said. Shocking revelations made by the watchdog committee should be examined against the backdrop of overall deterioration of the national economy over the past several years, the MP said.

She said that it would be a grave mistake on the government’s part to blame the current crisis on the raging Covid-19 epidemic. Acknowledging the difficulties caused by the economic downturn, MP Kaviratne said that the country was paying a huge price for unbridled waste, corruption, irregularities and negligence.

The MP asserted that the citizenry could play a bigger role in a political campaign on social media. The vast majority of those who use social media strengthened democratic opposition, she said. Removal of Daulagala could be a rallying point, she said, urging public onslaught on the SLPP government.

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Those responsible for Easter carnage will be haunted eternally – Bishop Galle

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Text and pictures by PRIYAN DE SILVA

The Chief Celebrant of the 114th annual feast of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara, Bishop of the Diocese of Galle, Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe told a virtual congregation that the conscience of those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage would never be at peace and it would haunt them eternally.

 The celebrations of the 114th annual Feast of the National shrine of Our Lady of Matara commenced on 05 September with the raising of the flagstaff and ended on Sunday 12 September. This year’s feast was held in keeping with strict health guidelines sans public participation.

 Rev Dr. Wickremasinghe reiterated that it was the wish of the general public, especially all Christians that those who carried out and those masterminded and those who knew but did not prevent the Easter Sunday carnage would be exposed and Justice served. “It is our prayer that the divine father guides the authorities in their endeavours” the Bishop added

 Rev. Wickremesinghe also called upon every person including decision-makers to heed the advice of the experts and act intelligently to overcome the pandemic.

 The Marian procession carrying the miraculous statue of our lady of Matara. accompanied by clergy and security personnel paraded the town, concluding this year’s festivities.

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Wild jumbos destroy houses in search of newly harvested paddy

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BY CYRIL WIMALASURENDRE

KANDY— Herds of wild elephants raid Ududumbara and Minipe area sdestroying houses in search of newly harvested paddy.

Farmers of Minipe, Hasalaka and Udadumbara keep paddy in their houses as they are without proper storage facilities.

Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon visited the house of a farmer destroyed by elepheants in Kongahaela, Hasalaka.

The victim informed the District Secretary Tennakoon that a herd of elephants including young ones were roaming had attacked his house.

Similar complaints were made to the District Secretary by farmers at Minipe, Hasalaka, Welgala, Ulpathagama and Udunuwara.

The farmers said at least they should be provided with an adequate number of elephant crackers to scare the elephants away. The farmers had to travel about 30 km to the Randenigala Wildlife Office office to receive one cracker each, they said, adding that they needed many more.

District secretary Tennakoon told the farmers that steps would be taken to resolve the issue this year by putting up an elephant  fence around the affected villages of Ududumbara, Medsadumbara, Minipe and Hasalaka sector.

The project would cost about Rs. 100 million. The length of the fence would be about 43 km, he said.

Divisional Secretary of Minipe Nuwan Hemachandra and Deputy Director of Plan Implementation Palitha Rajapakse were present.

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