Lanka pushing for sharing of maritime safety and security expertise
Foreign Secretary Prof. Admiral Jayanath Colombage recently emphasized the importance in bringing together like-minded persons interested in Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) issues.
With the US led powers and China seeking to consolidate power in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is under pressure from both parties to join them.
Foreign Secretary, Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage networking a meeting at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute taking forward Sri Lanka’s leadership role in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security (WGMSS), the Foreign Ministry said.
The following is the text of FM statement issued yesterday: “As the third largest ocean woven together by trade routes, The Indian Ocean commands control of major sea-lanes carrying half of the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two third of the world’s oil shipments, the Indian Ocean remains an important lifeline to international trade and transport.
“Considering these circumstances, realizing the importance of regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean for the development of the Indian Ocean littoral states the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) was established in 1997. Sri Lanka is a founding member of IORA. In 2011, IORA assigned Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) as the top priority area of focus.
“Foreign Secretary elaborated that as a part of the overall responsibilities of heading the IORA WGMSS, Sri Lanka has committed to bring together like-minded persons working on MSS related issues in order to organize a series of workshops/seminars on MSS locally and regionally, looking at how Sri Lanka can benefit from and contribute to regional cooperation on MSS.
Admiral Colombage further stated that this networking meeting, was to set in motion the process that would stimulate healthy discussions within IORA Member States and across Member States to eventually create a broad data base of MSS Experts in the region and to share experiences and expertise among the Member States.
“At the event, the Foreign Secretary also announced to the MSS fraternity that Sri Lanka is to assume the Vice Chair of IORA in the latter part of 2021, and thereafter Chair for the tenure of 2023 to 2025.
He further thanked The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Colombo and the German Think Tank Max Planck Foundation for their cooperation on MSS activities, including carrying out Sri Lanka’s responsibilities leading the IORA WGMSS.”
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
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