By Sujeeva Nivunhella
reporting from London
Councilor Desmond Paul of Sri Lankan origin was elected Pontypridd Town Mayor recently at the Annual General Meeting of Pontypridd Town Council. Desmond represents the Treforest Ward and is a member of the Welsh Labour group.
Former Flight Lieutenant in the Air Force in Sri Lanka, Commanding Officer in charge of re-establishing the Sri Lankan Air Force operational division in Koggala moved to London in 1985 and worked as a chief security officer for British Airways. After two years, he moved to Wales at the request of his sister who was living there at the time. He started his own business in Treforest – Desmond’s Newsagents, which he ran for 35 years.
Talking to Sunday Island, the Mayor of Pontypridd, South Wales, Desmond Paul said, “I want to do something significant to help the community. I’m supporting three charities as Mayor. First, I want to do something to help end homelessness in the area, to help all those who are vulnerable, young and old to have a better life. So I’m supporting the homelessness charity The Wallich.
“I’m also supporting the MND Association, a charity that helps people with motor neuron disease. I particularly want to support this charity as my cousin, Ramesh Vethanayagam, has recently been diagnosed, He is only 60-years old and is now in a wheelchair. So raising as much as possible and being able to donate something to that charity is a priority.
“My third charity is Cerebral Palsy Cymru, and that is in support of my grandson Isaac Paul. My son has twins who were born prematurely, and Isaac has had a lot of complications. He’s been helped a lot by this charity, who have helped to improve his health.
“Also, as I’m a veteran of the Air Force, I will be supporting the Armed Forces veterans. I’m an active member of Valley Veterans RCT and the Royal Welsh Veterans, Caerphilly branch and I will do whatever I can to support veterans as well as my main charities.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to leave a legacy from my time as Mayor. I’m so proud to be the first Sri Lankan Mayor of Pontypridd.”
He said that he was happy that his wife, Anoma Paul, has agreed to become Mayor Consort.
Train services on coastal line delayed
The Railway Department has announced that train services on the coastal line will be delayed due a derailment between Kollupitiya and Colombo Fort this morning (27).
It also said that trains bound to Colombo will be given priority and requested South bound passengers to make use of alternate modes of transportation until the situation is rectified.
Chinese ship visit: Sabry contradicts Defence Ministry
India consulted, concerns raised by US
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, has denied that the government granted permission for Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 6 to visit the Colombo port late next month.
Sabry told the media in New York on Monday (26) that Colombo had not given permission for the Chinese vessel to dock. He said India’s security concerns were important for Sri Lanka.
The Defence Ministry on 27 August announced that approval for the Chinese ship to dock in Colombo had been granted
The media quoted Sabry as having said there was a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the government consulted many friends including India.
“That’s a conversation going on for some period of time. India has expressed its concerns over a long time, but we have come out with the SOP. When we were making it, we consulted many of our friends, including India. So, as long as it complies with the SOP, we have no problem. But if it doesn’t comply with the SOP, we have a problem,” Ali Sabry told ANI.
“So, therefore, as far as I know, we have not given permission for the vessel to come to Sri Lanka during October. Negotiations are going on. Indian security concerns, which are legitimate, are very, very important to us. We have always said that because we want to keep our region a zone of peace,” said Ali Sabry.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, has said that an SPO was worked out for foreign vessels.
The Chinese research vessel was expected in Sri Lanka in October to conduct research along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).
US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, during her meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, had raised concerns regarding Shi Yan 6’s visit.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Victoria Nuland stated, “The US supports a strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Sabry told Nuland that Sri Lanka had worked out the SOP to be followed by foreign ships and aircraft in carrying out any activity in Sri Lankan territory, according to a Daily Mirror report.
Last year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, while commenting on Chinese vessel Yuan Wang-5 which had docked in Sri Lanka, said that any developments that have a bearing on India’s security are “obviously of an interest to us”.
“What happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our security obviously are of an interest to us,” Mr. Jaishankar said at a joint press conference after the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting.
India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at the Sri Lankan port as it was shown as a research vessel with the capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. The Chinese research ship had docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.
Court bans Thileepan commemorations in Trinco
The Trincomalee Magistrate’s Court yesterday (26) prohibited the commemoration of LTTE cadre ‘Thileepan’ who died on 26 Sept., 1987, during a fast against the IPKF. The court order came as several events were scheduled to be held in Trincomalee yesterday.
The Trincomalee Court banned any sort of celebrations, demonstrations, parades or protests commemorating Thileepan in the Kulakottan Hall and the Gandhi Roundabout within the Trincomalee Harbour Police division, and within the Trincomalee police division.
The relevant order was issued against several activists, including
President of the Trincomalee District Tamil People’s Forum R. F. Jerome, Ramesh Nicholas, Suhirdha Priya, Krishna Pillai Sri Prasath, Kandaiyya Kandeepan alias ‘Pamaparasan’, Karthik Kalkiriyan and others.
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