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Kiriella complains tabled report on political victimisation incomplete



By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament yesterday that the Report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI), which investigated the alleged incidents of political victimisation tabled by the government in Parliament, was incomplete.

When the report was tabled in Parliament by Leader of the House, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the Chief Opposition Whip said that the testimonies of the report had not been included in what had been tabled.

The first three volumes of the Sinhala version of the report were tabled by the Leader of the House Minister Gunawardena.

Chief Opposition Whip Kiriella requested the government for recordings of evidence of the PCoI reports. “Not even the volumes containing the records of testimonies of the report on the Easter Sunday terror attacks have been given. The Attorney General says he too has not been given them. How could he institute legal action without reading them? We have been repeatedly asking for the complete report.”

Leader of the House Minister Gunawardena said: We agreed at the Party leaders’ meeting to debate the Presidential Commission of inquiry report on Easter Sunday attacks for three days. The first day of debate is scheduled for Wednesday. The next two days will be allocated on the third next sitting week. That was the agreement and we would work according to that.

Chief Opposition Whip Kiriella:

Where are the sections containing the testimonies? They too should be given to us.

Leader of the House Minister Gunawardena:

That is a future issue.

A three-member Presidential Commission of Inquiry was appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in January 2020, to inquire into alleged political victimisations that took place from 2015 to 2019.

The Commission consisted of retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne, retired Court of Appeal Judge Daya Chandrasiri Jayatilake, and retired IGP Chandra Fernando.

The Commission was mandated to inquire into political victimisation as regards investigations conducted by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, FCID, CID, and the Special Investigation Unit of the Police from January 8, 2015, to November 16, 2019.

The Commission also investigated the cases of politically victimised public officers during the relevant period.

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Guardian report harshly critical of working conditions on tea estates



More than 300,000 people work in Sri Lanka’s tea plantations

Tetley says it has suspended work on some central estates

The respected British newspaper, Guardian last week ran a story strongly critical of Sri Lanka’s once British-owned tea industry focusing on its poorly paid labour force and the harsh living conditions they are forced to tolerate.The report was headlined: “We give our blood so they live comfortably’: Sri Lanka’s tea pickers say they go hungry and live in squalor.” It reported that Some of the world’s leading tea manufacturers, including Tetley and Lipton, are examining working conditions on the plantations of its Sri Lankan suppliers, following a Guardian investigation.

The report quoted Tetley saying it had suspended work with some central Sri Lankan estates while it conducted its own inquiries. Ekaterra, which owns Lipton and PG Tips, said it was in contact with the Rainforest Alliance over the findings. Yorkshire Tea, another company that sources tea from the estates the Guardian visited, said it was speaking to the plantations concerned.

Two global trade-certification schemes, Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance, are also conducting inquiries after it was revealed that some workers on 10 certified estates could not afford to eat and were living in squalid conditions, Guardian said.

Some of the pickers said they had so little money that they were having to skip meals and felt forced to send their children to work, the Guardian report said.

More than 300,000 people work in Sri Lanka’s tea plantations, which are mainly in the mountainous Central Highlands. In 2022, the industry generated £1.079bn in exports.

Some of the pickers said they had so little money that they were having to skip meals and felt forced to send their children to work, the report said.It was replete with quotations from workers complaining of harsh working conditions and poor remuneration. A sample:

Workers claimed some estate supervisors have tried to underpay workers. Lakshman Devanayagie, 33, said: “Even if we pick good tea leaves, they will say it’s not good enough, and they will tip it out, or that they are going to cut our pay.

“If we give them five kilos of tea leaves, they will only pay us for two or three. When we ask them, they say, ‘we’re doing as we’re told, so why don’t you do as you’re told?’,” she said, adding that she felt suicidal at times.

Rangasamy Puwaneshkanthy lives with her husband and three children in the hills above one tea estate. She said has had to take out loans to pay for food and regularly missed meals, adding that she often chose to forgo buying sanitary towels so she could buy food for her children.

“If there’s no food at home, then I don’t take any to work. I tell them [supervisors] I’m going home for a bit and then come back, because I can’t watch other people eating,” Puwaneshkanthy said.

She said pressure to pick quickly meant that she did not have time to watch out for leeches, which are common in the damp climate. Last year, her leg became infected from one and she had to walk for an hour to see a doctor because she could not afford a rickshaw ride.

“If we stop to pick the leech off, then we’ll be one kilo down – that’s how we’re thinking when we work,” said Puwaneshkanthy.

“We don’t know what to do. We’re working on the estate, but we have no salary. What are we meant to do?”

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Annual Poson Aloka Pooja at Sithulpauwwa



The Annual Poson illuminations of the historic Sithulpauwwa Raja Maha Viharaya, situated inside the Yala National Park, will be held on 02, 03 and 04 June 2023.These events are held under the guidance and the patronage of Chief Priest Venerable Agga Maha Pandita Mataramba Hemarathana Thera.

On the Poson Full Moon Day there will be an all-night pirith chanting to invoke the blessings of the Triple Gem on the country.

Upali Group of Companies will sponsor the illumination of Sithulpauwwa Temple for the 36th year. Vice President of the Sithulpauwwa Dayaka Sabha Dhammika Attygalle, along with Managing Director/CEO of Upali Group Nimal Welgama, will switch on the lights on the Poson Poya day.

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J’pura Uni’s Accounting Dept felicitates its alumnus



President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka Sanjaya Bandara arriving at the felicitation ceremony

The Department of Accounting of the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura recently felicitated Sanjaya Bandara, the 26th President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) for the term 2022/2023.

The event took place on March 24, at the University’s Senate Board Room in the presence of a distinguished audience comprising Past Presidents and Council Members of CA Sri Lanka, top government officials, business leaders, senior academics and administrative staff of the Sri Jayewardenepura university and other universities as well as members of AAA and present students of the Department of Accounting. Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunge (Chairman, University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka), and Manil Jayasinghe, (Immediate Past President, CA Sri Lanka and Managing Partner, Ernst and Young, Sri Lanka) graced the occasion as Chief Guest and Guest of Honour respectively.

The citation on the services rendered by Sanjaya Bandara was read by Emeritus Professor M W Wickramarachchi.

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