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Fixing cockpit off nation right is need of the hour



By Lacille de Silva

Our constitution is a written instrument of the state. It embodies the fundamental principles and laws that determine the powers and duties of the government. It guarantees specific rights, privileges of the citizens. It lays down the role of the Executive President, the executive government and the composition of the legislature. It also defines how the Provincial Councils share power and the functions of the judiciary, including the nine independent commissions.

The fundamental characteristic of a constitutional government is the rule of law. The Constitution is considered to be the supreme law of the land. It outlines the make-up of government and spells out the powers, authority and the duties of government. It also spells out the distribution of power among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

J.R. Jayewardene, the architect of the present Constitution, said, “I can do anything except make man a woman or a woman a man”. After four decades, having promulgated the 2nd Republican Constitution, the Constitution is simply a bundle of papers of little value for the politicians in our country. As electors, we only have to elect Presidents, Parliament, Provincial Councils and local government bodies at an exorbitant cost.

Ours is the oldest democracy in Asia, having achieved universal franchise in 1931. We became one of the first countries to hold elections, in Asia, to run a constitutional government. A Cabinet of Ministers, made up of members of the Parliament, which is answerable to the Parliament, had also been established under the Donoughmore Constitution.

The Cabinet is an important element of the government. It is usually made up of the senior members of the ruling party. It is the highest decision-making body that approves policies with collective responsibility.  After decisions are accordingly approved, by the Cabinet, every single member is required to stand by the decisions, without any reservation.

Ministers are required to achieve coherent long term policies, plans and procedures.  The Cabinet is chaired by the President. Constitutionally, the Cabinet cannot exceed 30 Ministers at present. Their powers derive from Parliament through the Constitution and other laws. All such powers are subject to limits and constraints. Abuse of such powers could be challenged in courts. Ministers are allowed to spend public money, only for the purpose authorised by Parliament.

The Westminster system requires that the ministers are chosen only if they have the capacity, ability, expertise, knowledge, including the skills, to give directions to run the government machinery.

Ministers are also expected to carry out their duties in such a way that they uphold the highest standards of propriety, while ensuring that no conflict of interest would arise between their official functions and their private interests. They are also required to abide by all laws and have a duty to be accountable and answerable to Parliament for the policies, decisions and actions taken in their Ministries and all departments and other institutions coming under them.

 It is also necessary to ensure ‘individual responsibility’, which implies that each minister is individually responsible and answerable for lapses, departures from policies and procedures in all the institutions under the purview of the relevant minister.  In New Zealand, Health Minister David Clark, under similar circumstances, during the coronavirus pandemic, resigned from his portfolio.

The ministers are expected to accept responsibility for any failure in administration. Ministerial responsibility specifies, under the constitutional doctrine of responsible government, that they are totally answerable to the Parliament. It must be emphasized that there are both legal and conventional obligations attached to the performance of ministers. It is also the practice to give accurate and truthful information to the Parliament. Making a deliberate untruth is considered a contempt of Parliament. Ministers who deliberately mislead Parliament are expected to resign from their Cabinet portfolio.

If in case, a minister does not agree to abide by collective decisions, it is a tradition that the relevant minister tenders resignation from the Cabinet. All ministers are, therefore, required to carry out their duties, based on the guiding principles of integrity, honesty, objectivity, and impartiality with a long term vision for the betterment of the citizens.

In Sri Lanka, when the ministers who had acted contrary to the public trust had subsequently  been given appointments again without being dealt with by the law. Ministers in the UK are not allowed to accept any gifts or  hospitality which could compromise their judgement or which could place them under an improper obligation. There are also specific guidelines issued that they should not use government resources, too, for political purposes in their political campaigns.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, in a letter addressed to his Cabinet colleagues, having enclosed a MINISTERIAL CODE, has stated, “We will make our country the greatest place to invest or set up business, the greatest place to send your kids to school, and greatest place in the world to live and bring up a family.  To fulfil this mission… we must uphold the highest standards of propriety…. Time has come to act, to take decisions, and to give strong leadership to change this country for the better”.

In Sri Lanka, politicians think lying and dishonesty work. It is a tragedy that they have lied for decades to gain power. It is integrity which is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership.  We need honest hardworking leaders in our Cabinet. Because it is a global phenomena that a Cabinet of Ministers is essentially a small one in size. We need Cabinet Ministers who can produce more leaders. Such leaders should help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help  those who are doing well to do even better. Such a Cabinet could enable better policy outcomes and efficient and effective decision making.  It is the ‘cockpit of the nation’.  We need that fixed very well.

In Sri Lankan context,  these considerations have been disregarded. All we need is a change of direction. We need a serious change in our thought process. That is the required paradigm  shift at this juncture. Ministers are expected to uphold political impartiality and neutrality and allow public servants to act in the best interest of the citizens in accordance with the Constitution and other laws.

Nevertheless, our political leaders have always catered to the demands of self-centred politicians. They hold onto power  and leadership greedily while enjoying the privileges and rewards of a leadership role without meaningful involvement with their juniors. They are only keen to make the best use of the organization without putting value in. As such, they practice a leadership style where the leader allows the group members to take decisions. Researchers have proved that this leadership style leads to  the lowest productivity among such group members.

We have similar political leaders in our country in abundance. They do not follow the norms practiced globally in the best interest of the citizens. After being elected, they totally forget that they had been elected based on party manifestos they had presented. They do not take the trouble to run a legitimate government. The role of junior party members is also such that they do not support their elected leader to implement the manifesto presented to people.

Such political party leaders do not insist that the government Ministers must attend Parliament, particularly at the question time, to answer questions without fail. It is also vital to keep the Parliament always informed of any important decisions they have taken in the Government. Constitutionally, Government is required to seek Parliamentary approval for all executive actions.

The government is answerable to the Parliament and through it to the electors.  In this lies the distinctiveness of the Westminster model – the interrelation of the executive government and the Parliament. It is the essence of what in Westminster terms is called ‘parliamentary government’.

It is noteworthy, that the Civil Service, established by the colonial rulers, were able to perform their duties satisfactorily. The best proof for the purpose is Bradman Weerakoon, M. D. D. Peries had served as Secretaries to different Prime Ministers. They were competent to meet the heavy demands of their political leaders.

There had been several others who had served as Permanent Secretaries under different governments. They too had won the confidence of the Ministers in the past though the duties of the then Civil servants have been immensely numerous. They, too, had to assist various Ministers in different governments to perform their parliamentary duties.

They assist in preparation of necessary legislation. They also assist the relevant ministers during its passage through Parliament.  They produce briefs, drafts rules, regulations to strengthen accountability and constitutionality to run legitimate governance. All these need a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and practical judgement.

Top public Servants, in the past, were afforded with the opportunity to rise up and develop the necessary skills as they go up the ladder. They were therefore equipped to handle political, economic, social, scientific and technical problems with competence at the time. They were fully well aware of the needs, aspirations and even in regard to the developments overseas. They were able to  keep up with the rapid growth of new knowledge and had acquired the necessary skills etc to apply them in their day to day work.

The public service was not a place for the amateur. It was staffed by men and women who were truly professional. What went wrong? Since the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution,  appointments of Secretaries to Ministries have been assigned to the President under Article 52.  The appointments, transfers, disciplinary control of other top public officers have been entrusted to the Cabinet of Ministers under Article 55. The whole public service has therefore become totally politicised.

Being professional means two fundamental attributes, which in my view are extremely important in varying combinations to be a good public servant. One is being suitably skilled to perform his/her job, which usually is acquired with sustained experience and good training. The other is the possession of the necessary knowledge and the familiarity and the scrupulousness with the particular subject.

The work of government demands these qualities from the elected representatives and also from all types of appointed employees at all levels and in every public institution in the entire Island.  Sadly, this kind of professionalism is presently not found in the public service in most places at different levels.

However, it must be placed on record that in certain sectors such as medical, academic and other fields we have plenty of them, who have acquired specific qualifications and skills in the relevant fields. It is unfortunate that such valuable professionals too due to political instability, poor quality of life, lack of economic and other benefits leave Sri Lanka in search of greener pastures, where they have greater opportunities.

Owing to political appointments, there are obstacles in all areas where they cannot reach the top without political support which should be removed. Steps should be taken to empower men and women with wide experience, ability and necessary qualifications in running the government machinery to become the fully professional advisers of Ministers and other elected officials.

Recruitment to the public service should be totally independent. Reports published the world over had condemned nepotism, the incompetence and other similar defects in  the Public Service. We have experienced excessive politicization of the public service.

We now understand that the role of public service and the goals of a government have changed. The government is now compelled to take on vast new responsibilities. It is expected to achieve such general economic aims such as creation of  employment opportunities, a satisfactory rate of growth, stable food prices including a healthy balance of payments. If it is a government genuinely concerned about fullest possible development of human potential, all that involves a massive increase in public expenditure.

We do not handle public expenditure as desired. Extravagant and unnecessary expenditure have not been avoided. Public money has been wastefully invested for corrupt purposes other than public good. All successive governments have failed to keep its budget well-balanced. There had been ever-recurring deficits in the budgets for decades and decades.  Shouldn’t we put a stop to all that?


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What JVP-NPP needs to do to win



A JVP protest


A young academic at the Open University writing on a popular website has recently defined the NPP project as ‘Left populist’, a term which is very familiar to us at least from the writings of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. He also mentions several parallels and precursors internationally.

As one who has been advocating a ‘left populist’ project for years, I am disinclined to nit-pick about whether or not the JVP-NPP fits the bill. At the moment and in its current incarnation, it is indeed the closest we have to a ‘left populist’ project. Its competitor the SJB, which its founder-leader identifies as social democratic, would be as approximate –and as loose– a fit for the labels ‘progressive populist’, ‘moderate populist’ or ‘populist centrist’, as the JVP-NPP is for ‘left populist’. But that’s the deck of cards we have.

The points I seek to make are different, and may be said to boil down to a single theme or problematique.

Distorted Left Populism

My argument is that the JVP-NPP is as distant from ‘left populism’ globally as it was from ‘left revolutionism’ globally in an earlier incarnation. In both avatars, it is unique in its leftism but not in a positive or helpful way for its cause at any given time.

Mine is not intended as a damning indictment of the JVP-NPP. It is intended as a constructive criticism of a rectifiable error, the rectification of which is utterly urgent given the deadly threat posed by the Wickremesinghe administration and its project of dependent dictatorship.

The JVP-NPP has a structural absence that no ‘left populist’ enterprise, especially in Latin America, has ever had. It is an absence that has marked the JVP from its inception and has been carried over into the present NPP project.

It is not an absence unique to the JVP but figures more in Sri Lanka than it has almost anywhere else. I say this because the same ‘absence’ characterised the LTTE as well. In short, that factor or its radical absence has marred the anti-systemic forces of South and North on the island.

The homeland of left populism has been Latin America while its second home has been Southern Europe. With the exception of Greece, it may be said that ‘left populism’ has an Ibero-American or culturally Hispanic character, which some might trace to the ‘romanticism’ of that culture. But such considerations need not detain us here.

‘Left populism’ has had several identifiable sources and points of departure: the former guerrilla movements of the 1960s and 1970s; the non-guerrilla movements of resistance to dictatorships; parties and split-offs from parties of the Marxist left; left-oriented split-offs or the leftwing of broad flexible even centrist populist formations; leftwing experiments from within the militaries etc.

Populism, Pluralism & Unity

Despite this diversity, all experiments of a Left populist character in Latin America and Europe, have had one thing in common: various forms of unity – e.g., united fronts, blocs etc.—of political parties. I would take up far too much space if I were to list them, starting with the Frente Amplio (which means precisely ‘Broad Front’) initiated by the Tupamaros-MLN of Uruguay and containing the Uruguayan Communist party and headed by a military man, General Liber Seregni, in 1970. The Frente Amplio lasted through the decades of the darkest civil-military dictatorship up to the presidential electoral victories of Tabaré Vasquez and Mujica respectively. Another example would be El Salvador’s FMLN, which brought together several Marxist guerrilla movements into a single front under the stern insistence of Fidel Castro.

Though the roots of unity were back in the 1970s, the formula has only been strengthened in the 1990s and 21st century projects of Left populism. There is a theoretical-strategic logic for this. The polarisation of ‘us vs them’, the 99% vs. the 1%, the many not the few—in socioeconomic terms—is of course a hallmark of populism. But pro-NPP academics and ideologues are unaware of or omit its corollary everywhere from Uruguay to Greece and Spain. Namely, that socioeconomic ‘majoritarianism’ is not possible with a single party as agency.

When the JVP and the NPP have the same leader, and the JVP leader was the founder of the NPP, I cannot regard it as a truly autonomous project, but a party project. Left populism globally, from its inception right up to Lula last year, is predicated on the admission of political, not just social plurality, and the fact that socioeconomic, i.e., popular majoritarianism is possible only as a pluri-party united front, platform or bloc.

This recognition of the imperative of unity as necessitating a convergence of political fractions and currents; that unity is impossible as a function of a single political party; that authentic majoritarianism i.e., “us” is possible only if “we” converge and combine as an ensemble of our organic political agencies, is a structural feature of Left Populism.

It is radically absent in the JVP-NPP and has been so from the JVP’s founding in 1965. It was also true of the LTTE.

It is this insistence on political unipolarity (to put it diplomatically) or political monopoly (to put it bluntly) is a genetic defect of the JVP which has been carried over into the NPP project.

I do not say this to contest the leading role and the main role that the JVP has earned in any left populist project. I say it to draw the Gramscian distinction between ‘leadership’ and ‘domination’. Only ‘leadership’ can create consensus and popular consent; domination through monopoly cannot.

The simple truth is that however ‘left populist’ you think you are; no single party can be said to represent the people or even a majority – as distinct from a mere plurality– of the people. Furthermore, the people are not a unitary subject, and therefore cannot have a unitary leadership. This is the importance of Fidel Castro’s insistence to the Latin American Left of a ‘united command’ which brings together the diverse segments of the left by reflecting plurality.

Anyone who knows the history of Syriza and Podemos knows that they are not outcrops of some single party of long-standing but the result of an organic process of convergences of factions.

Had the JVP had a policy of united fronts – within the Southern left and with the Northern left– it would not have been as decisively defeated as it was in its two insurrections, and might have even succeeded in its second attempt. Though it has formed the NPP which has brought some significant success, it is still POLITICALLY sectarian in that it has no political alliances, partnerships, i.e., NO POLITICAL RELATIONSHIPS outside of itself.

I must emphasize that here I am not speaking of a bloc with the SJB, though it is most desirable, to be recommended, and if this were Latin America would definitely be on the agenda of discussion.

Post-Aragalaya Left

Let us speak frankly. The most important phenomenon of recent times (since the victorious end of the war) was the Aragalaya of last year. The JVP, especially its student front the SYU, participated in that massive uprising which dislodged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, but it played a less decisive role in the Aragalaya than did the FSP and the IUSF which is close to it. This is by no means to say that the FSP led the Aragalaya, but to point out that it played a more decisive role – which included some mistakes– than did the JVP.

How then does one remain blind to the fact that the JVP-NPP’s ‘left populism’ does not include the FSP and by extension the IUSF? How can there be a ‘popular bloc’ – a key element of left populism—without the IUSF?

Given that Pubudu Jayagoda, Duminda Nagamuwa, Lahiru Weerasekara and Wasantha Mudalige are among the most successful public communicators today (especially on the left), what kind of ‘left’ is a ‘left populism’ devoid of their presence, participation and contribution?

What does it take to recognise that unity of some sort of these two streams of the Left could result in a most useful division of labour and a quantum leap in the hopes and morale of the increasingly left-oriented post-Aragalaya populace, especially the youth?

Surely the very sight of a platform with the leaders of the JVP-NPP and the FSP-IUSF (AKD and Kumar Gunaratnam, Eranga Gunasekara and Wasantha Mudalige, Wasantha Samarasinghe and Duminda Nagamuwa, Bimal Ratnayake and Pubudu Jayagoda) will take the Left populist project to the next level?

As a party the JVP from its birth, and by extension, the NPP today, have set aside one of the main weapons of leftist theory, strategy and political practice: the United Front. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Dimitrov, Gramsci, Togliatti, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro have founded and enriched this strategic concept.

It is difficult to accept that Rohana Wijeweera and Anura Kumara Dissanayake knew/know better than these giants, and that the JVP-NPP can dispense with this political sword and shield and yet prevail–or even survive the coming storm.

The JVP must present a LEFT option in the leadership of which is the major shareholder; not merely a JVP option or para-JVP option, which is what the NPP is. A credible, viable Left alternative cannot be reduced to a single party and its front/auxiliary; it cannot but be a United Left – a Left Front– alternative.


[Dr Dayan Jayatilleka is author of The Great Gramsci: Imagining an Alt-Left Project, in ‘On Public Imagination: A Political & Ethical Imperative’ eds Richard Falk et al, Routledge, New York, 2019.]

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Obtaining fresh mandate unavoidable requirement



Protesters demanding local goverment elections

by Jehan Perera

The government’s plans for reviving the economy show signs of working out for the time being. The long-awaited IMF loan is about to be granted. This would enable the government to access other loans to tide over the current economic difficulties. The challenge will be to ensure that both the old loans and new ones will be repayable. To this end the government has begun to implement its new tax policy which increases the tax burden significantly on income earners who can barely make ends meet, even without the taxes, in the aftermath of the rise in price levels. The government is also giving signals that it plans to downsize the government bureaucracy and loss-making state enterprises. These are reforms that may be necessary to balance the budget, but they are not likely to gain the government the favour of the affected people. The World Bank has warned that many are at risk of falling back into poverty, with 40 percent of the population living on less than 225 rupees per person per day.

The problem for the government is that the economic policies, required to stabilize the economy, are not popular ones. They are also politically difficult ones. The failure to analyse the past does not help us to ascertain reasons for our failures and also avoids taking action against those who had misused, or damaged, the system unfairly. The costs of this economic restructuring, to make the country financially viable, is falling heavily, if not disproportionately, on those who are middle class and below. Fixed income earners are particularly affected as they bear a double burden in being taxed at higher levels, at a time when the cost of living has soared. Unlike those in the business sector, and independent professionals, who can pass on cost increases to their clients, those in fixed incomes find it impossible to make ends meet. Emigration statistics show that over 1.2 million people, or five percent of the population, left the country, for foreign employment, last year.

The economic hardships, experienced by the people, has led to the mobilization of traditional trade unions and professionals’ organisations. They are all up in arms against the government’s income generation, at their expense. Last week’s strike, described as a token strike, was successful in that it evoked a conciliatory response from the government. Many workers did not keep away from work, perhaps due to the apprehension that they might not only lose their jobs, but also their properties, as threatened by one government member, who is close to the President. There was a precedent for this in 1981 when the government warned striking workers that they would be sacked. The government carried out its threat and over 40,000 government officials lost their jobs. They and their families were condemned to a long time in penury. The rest of society went along with the repression as the government was one with an overwhelming mandate from the people.


The striking unions have explained their decision to temporarily discontinue their strike action due to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s willingness to reconsider their economic grievances. More than 40 trade unions, in several sectors, joined the strike. They explained they had been compelled to resort to strike action as there was no positive response from the government to their demands. Due to the strike, services such as health, posts, and railways were affected. Workers in other sectors, including education, port, power, water supply, petroleum, road development, and banking services, also joined the strike. The striking unions have said they would take up the President’s offer to discuss their concerns with the government and temporarily called a halt to their strike action. This would give the government an opportunity to rethink its strategy. Unlike the government in 1981 this one has no popular mandate. In the aftermath of the protest movement, it has only a legal mandate.

So far, the government has been unyielding in the face of public discontent. Public protests have been suppressed. Protest leaders have been arrested and price and tax hikes have gone ahead as planned. The government has been justifying the rigid positions it has been taking on the basis of its prioritization of economic recovery for which both political stability and financial resources are necessary. However, by refusing to heed public opinion the government has been putting itself on a course of confrontation with organized forces, be they trade unions or political parties. The severity of the economic burden, placed on the larger section of society, even as other sectors of society appear to be relatively unaffected, creates a perception of injustice that needs to be mitigated. Engaging in discussion with the trade unions and reconsidering its approach to those who have been involved in public protests could be peace making gestures in the current situation.

On the other hand, exacerbating the political crisis is the government’s continuing refusal to hold the local government elections, as scheduled, on two occasions now by the Elections Commission and demanded by law. The government’s stance is even in contradiction to the Supreme Court’s directives that the government should release the financial resources necessary for the purpose leading to an ever-widening opposition to it. The government’s determination to thwart the local government elections stems from its pragmatic concerns regarding its ability to fare well at them. Public opinion polls show the government parties obtaining much lower support than the opposition parties. Except for the President, the rest of the government consists of the same political parties and government members that faced the wrath of the people’s movement a year ago and had to resign in ignominy.


The government’s response to the pressures it is under has been to repress the protest movement through police action that is especially intolerant of street protests. It has also put pressure on state institutions to conform to its will, regardless of the law. The decisions of the Election Commission to set dates for the local government elections have been disregarded once, and the elections now appear to have to be postponed yet again. The government is also defying summons upon its ministers by the Human Rights Commission which has been acting independently to hold the government to account to the best extent it can. The government’s refusal to abide by the judicial decision not to block financial resources for election purposes is a blow to the rule of law that will be to the longer-term detriment of the country. These are all negative trends that are recipes for future strife and lawlessness. These would have long term and unexpected implications not to the best for the development of the country or its values.

There are indications that President Wickremesinghe is cognizant of the precariousness of the situation. The accumulation of pressures needs to be avoided, be it for gas at homes or issues in the country. As an experienced political leader, student of international politics, he would be aware of the dangers posed by precipitating a clash involving the three branches of government. A confrontation with the judiciary, or a negation of its decisions, would erode the confidence in the entire legal system. It would damage the confidence of investors and the international community alike in the stability of the polity and its commitment to the rule of law. The public exhortations of the US ambassador with regard to the need to conduct the local government elections would have driven this point home.

It is also likely that the US position on the importance of holding elections on time is also held by the other Western countries and Japan. Sri Lanka is dependent on these countries, still the wealthiest in the world, for its economic sustenance, trade and aid, in the form of concessional financing and benefits, such as the GSP Plus tariff concession. Therefore, the pressures coming from both the ground level in the country and the international community, may push the government in the direction of elections and seeking a mandate from the people. Strengthening the legitimacy of the government to govern effectively and engage in problem solving in the national interest requires an electoral mandate. The mandate sought may not be at the local government level, where public opinion polls show the government at its weakest, but at the national level which the President can exercise at his discretion.

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Sing-along… Down Memory Lane



Sing-alongs have turned out to be hugely popular, in the local showbiz scene, and, I would say, it’s mainly because they are family events, and also the opportunity given to guests to shine, in the vocal spotlight, for a minute, or two!

I first experienced a sing-along when I was invited to check out the famous Rhythm World Dance School sing-along evening.

It was, indeed, something different, with Sohan & The X-Periments doing the needful, and, today, Sohan and his outfit are considered the No.1 band for sing-along events.

Melantha Perera: President of Moratuwa Arts Forum

I’m told that the first ever sing-along concert, in Sri Lanka, was held on 27th April, 1997, and it was called Down Memory Lane (DML), presented by the Moratuwa Arts Forum (MAF),

The year 2023 is a landmark year for the MAF and, I’m informed, they will be celebrating their Silver Jubilee with a memorable concert, on 29th April, 2023, at the Grand Bolgoda Resort, Moratuwa.

Due to the Covid pandemic, their sing-along series had to be cancelled, as well as their planned concert for 2019. However, the organisers say the delayed 25th Jubilee Celebration concert is poised to be a thriller, scheduled to be held on 29th April, 2023.

During the past 25 years, 18 DML concerts had been held, and the 25th Jubilee Celebration concert will be the 19th in the series.

Famous, and much-loved, ‘golden oldies’, will be sung by the audience of music lovers, at this two and a half hours programme.

Down Memory Lane was the brainchild of musician Priya Peiris, (of ‘Cock-a-Doodle-Do’ fame) and the MAF became the pioneers of sing-along concerts in Sri Lanka.

The repertoire of songs for the 25th Jubilee Celebration concert will include a vast selection of international favourites, Cowboy and old American Plantation hits, Calypsos, Negro Spirituals, everybody’s favourites, from the ’60s and ’70s era, Sinhala evergreens, etc.

Down Memory Lane


Fun time for the audience Down Memory Lane

Singers from the Moratuwa Arts Forum will be on stage to urge the audience to sing. The band Echo Steel will provide the musical accompaniment for the audience to join in the singing, supported by Brian Coorey, the left handed electric bass guitarist, and Ramany Soysa on grand piano.

The organisers say that every participant will get a free songbook. There would also be a raffle draw, with several prizes to be won,

Arun Dias Bandaranaike will be the master of ceremonies.

President of the Moratuwa Arts Forum, Melantha Perera, back from Australia, after a successful tour, says: “All music lovers, especially Golden Oldies enthusiasts, are cordially invited to come with their families, and friends, to have an enjoyable evening, and to experience heartwarming fellowship and bonhomie.”

Further details could be obtained from MAF Treasurer, Laksiri Fernando (077 376 22 75).

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