By Saman Indrajith
People now have make a vital decision about their future at the Aug 5 election, says NPP Kalutara District candidate Dr Nalinda Jayatissa in a brief interview with The Island. “If they want their new parliament to be something akin to what they had earlier, they have several parties to vote for, but if they are desirous of a radical change, then they have to vote for the NPP. We hear that the public servants have wisely cast their postal votes. I think people will do so at the upcoming election.”
“The last parliament was like a prison. It was full of those who should have been serving jail terms. There was the biggest narcotic dealer as an MP. Another MP was the biggest illegal sand and miner. We had the biggest bookie owner.
“There were members involved in timber rackets that destroyed our forests. There were also many who should have been behind bars for the biggest financial scam ever in the known history of this country – the Central Bank Treasury Bond scams. There were MPs with links to the beedi industry. Many of them should have been in prison. If people want such a parliament then there are many to be chosen.”
Asked how the NPP would expect to better its electoral performance at the past few elections, Dr Jayatissa said: “The situation is changing and it is changing faster. In response to that change, political consciousness of the people change. There is nothing static in politics, which is a process. I think people now know that candidates of two main parties promise everything and anything to them to get their votes. The ruling party won the presidential polls promising to punish the wrongdoers including those who misappropriated public funds. They also promised one law for the country. They promised to jail the corrupt and thieves especially those who robbed the Central Bank. They did nothing of the sort. The UNP and the SJB would not change this political culture. The votes cast for these two parties would finally help Mahinda Mahaththaya (Mahinda Rajapaksa), who is planning to effect crossovers. People thought Sajith Premadasa had a political future when they saw media reports of him distributing houses and many other things among the Hambantota people. He has got exposed. People who watched him on TV thought that he had actually done something. The real story is known to only people in Hambantota. They gave loans to people to build houses and with the amount they spent on one house, eight houses could have been constructed. He has no vision and he would say anything that comes to his mouth. I think by this time entire country knows that SJB would do no better than the SLPP or UNP in power. So now it’s up to the people to decide what is good for them.
“See for an example in the recent issue of destruction to archaeologically important site at Kurnegala. It is said by experts that the building at the site was built by King Buvenekabahu II. There are reports that it has been demolished. This is a national crime.
The demolition occurred at Kurnegala and the site belongs to the Department of Archaeology that comes under the purview of the Prime Minister, who is contesting from the same district. In such a situation, they seem hell bent on re-writing the history to save their man responsible for this crime. They have vowed in public to ensure that not even a hair of the criminal would be harmed. There is a criminal act and the culprit is known and can easily be identified but no action has been taken. This administration shields its men at any cost. It is to change that political culture, the people should vote for the JVP led NPP.”
Asked to explain his party’s promise to develop the national economy which according to him is in tatters, Dr Jayatissa said that only the NPP had a plan to do so. “We have put forward a sound economic plan and people would see that it is the only plan which could help build a national economy. The country’s economy should be replaced with a new national economy to do away with disparities. We do not think it is practical to envision that an economy of a country alone would revive all by itself while all other sectors are in a mess. An economy does not exist in a vacuum. It is on the basis of those realities that we have formulated NPP’s economic policy plan.
“We propose the revival of three main areas to improve the economy. They will act like pillars bearing an economy. The first of these pillars signify the changes that we intend to introduce to change the existing political culture. Today, politics has become a business. It should be transformed into a public service. The second stands for our drive to restore and strengthen democracy and rule of law. Third pillar is the commitment to achieving national reconciliation by promoting the idea of a pan-Sri Lankan national identity. We do not think that a sound economy would exist in this country without improving the imperatives from those three main areas.
“In developing the Sri Lankan economy, we should take into consideration the country’s geo-strategic location, its resources and its human resource. We plan to formulate policies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of resources in a manner that would ensure national interests.
Our plan envisions that economic policies for this country should focus on four main ills our national economy is suffering from. The first is the debt crisis. The revenue received by the Treasury is not sufficient to pay loan installments. The second is the mismatch between the country’s imports and exports. We spend around 20 billion US dollars on imports while our exports amount to only to 10 billion US dollars. The third problem is the collapse of our industrial sector. The fourth factor to be taken into consideration in formulating economic policies is the inequitable distribution of the national wealth. If you read it you would understand that we have covered all angles to develop this country’s economy – things that could be done.”
SL gets Rs 452 mn for saving ill-fated tanker: Rs. 3.4 bn asked for
By Ifham Nizam and Rathindra Kuruwita
The Marine Enviro-nment Protection Authority (MEPA) yesterday received Rs. 452 million from London for having saved MT New Diamond, a super oil tanker that caught fire in the Sri Lanka’s territorial waters last year.
MEPA General Manager, Dr. P. B. Terney Pradeep Kumara told The Island that Rs. 442 million had come for the services rendered by the Sri Lanka Navy, MEPA and Rs. 10 million by way of a fine imposed on the Ship’s Captain.
However, Sri Lanka has to receive a much larger amount for the damage caused to the marine environment, Dr. Kumara said. Following the incident, Sri Lankan authorities filed charges against the Captain of the ill-fated vessel and made a claim for $2.4 million from the ship’s owners for the firefighting and pollution prevention efforts.
Twenty experts from the Universities of Moratuwa, Ruhuna and Sri Jayewardenepura submitted their recommendations as regards the damage to the environment, to the Attorney General. Based on the report, the Attorney General’s Department had asked for Rs. 3.4 billion (around USD 19 million) as compensation for environmental damage, the Coordinating Officer for the Attorney General, state counsel Nishara Jayaratne said.
Soon they would have discussions with the lawyers of the shipping agent concerned on compensation for environmental damage caused, she said.
Dr. Kumara, who is the former Head of the Department of Oceanography/Marine Geology of the Ruhuna University, said that the incident had caused deaths among marine species due to spillage of some toxic fuel from the vessel.
The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 MT oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out in its engine room as the vessel was passing the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on September 3, 2020.
PSC on gender equality meets for the first time
State Minister, Fernandopulle flanked by two other PSC members
Special attention on microfinance
The Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to further gender equality, to investigate instances of discrimination against women and to present recommendations to Parliament, focused on microfinance loans that are currently affecting a large number of women in Sri Lanka, when they met for the first time in Parliament recently.
The meeting was chaired by the State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle.
It was also revealed that the Cabinet had approved the re-establishment of an institution to regulate Microfinance loans in Sri Lanka.
The MPs also discussed the role of the Select Committee. They decided that the primary role of the Committee should be to investigate women’s grievances and all forms of discrimination based on gender, including workplace violence.
Another task before this committee is to examine and review laws that can be used to enhance gender equality, encourage relevant ministries and authorities to formulate plans to further gender equality and to allocate financial resources.
The Committee will also try to encourage greater women’s representation in decision-making bodies at the national and provincial levels as well as in government, civil society and the private sector.
MPs Rohini Kaviratne, (Dr.) Harini Amarasuriya, M. Udayakumar, S. Sritharan, Rohana Bandara and the Secretary to the Committee, Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of the Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera were also present at the meeting.
A/L Examination from October 04 to 30
The 2021 GCE Advanced Level examination would be held from October 4 to 30, Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday addressing the media at his Ministry.
Minister Peiris said the examination was earlier scheduled to be held in August.
The Grade 5 scholarship examination would be held on October 03 and the 2021 GCE Ordinary Level (O/L) examination in the last week of January 2022, the Minister said.
“Usually, schools are open for academic activities for around 200 days a year. But in 2020, schools were open for about 150 days. It was around 130 days in the Western Province. We were not able to fill this gap with online classes due to lack of internet facilities in many parts of the country,” he said.
SL gets Rs 452 mn for saving ill-fated tanker: Rs. 3.4 bn asked for
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