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‘ISF is a recognized service organization in protecting commercial institutions’ – Lalith Bandaranayake

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by Steve A. Morrell

The Industrial Security Foundation (ISF), an umbrella organization, was formed to ensure security to both public and private institutions in the commercial sector.

The ISF is a recognized security wing convened as an essential adjunct to general security services and is in place through an Act of Parliament. It is officially recognized as the fourth security level after the armed forces and police. The organization was formed to ensure round the clock security to economic undertakings of all financial establishments.

Former ISF president, Lalith Bandaranayake, said the organization was formed 45 years ago as a vital component to provide security to various financial institutions as it was considered impractical for the government alone to shoulder the task due to existing limitations.

“The ISF has been recognized as an indispensable service organization in the sphere of protecting commercial institutions”, he told a news conference in Colombo last week.

Bandaranayake said that when taking into consideration the number of public and private companies, it was not an over estimation to say that billions of rupees come under the protective custody of ISF personnel on a regular routine.

The ISF comprises retired security personnel who guide its functions in conjunction with each establishment. Banks, both state and private, are within its protective wing. Additionally, key installations, for example Rupavahini, ITN and many other important organizations are within ISF’s protective network.

Asked by the media on the use of firearms in the line of duty, and the instance of a bank being burgled resulting in the death of a security officer, he said the unfortunate incident was promptly brought under control through police intervention.

“Such risks are expected”, the former ISF president stressed.

There are 450 security organizations under the wing of the ISF, Bandaranayake outlined, while conceding that there are many other similar security entities not recognized by the organization also operating in the country.

The ISF ensured the protection of its workforce, who are mostly former security personnel. They retired at 55 years, but are active to be on duty and functioned as required, he noted.

He cited the example of one such person, who was given Rs. 1.5 million in compensation after he was injured in the line of duty. Similarly, their welfare measures included distribution of free school books to children of their families.

Training in operative security is part of persons recruited. Additionally, the ISF is now considering extending training to degree level to fit into jobs within the sphere. This is in addition to their physical attributes, said Tony Perera, ISF general secretary.

Major (retd.) Ravi Jayasuriya explained the background of ISF’s functions. He said honesty, integrity, vigilance, creativity and innovation were all aspects of each person trained before being appointed to a position as part of the security team.

Major (retd.) Tilak Senanayake, Consultant Media and Training, also addressed the news conference.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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