Thursday 14 June 2001
EDITORIAL, DAILY NEWS
steps on wildlife
of the reforms set in motion by the President in this vital sphere of
public concern is the radical reorganization of key State institutions
charged with wildlife preservation and conservation. For instance, the
Wild Life Department and the Zoological Gardens have been brought under
the direct supervision of the President.
It is also encouraging to learn that wildlife expert of international fame, Lyn de Alwis, who is also a former Director of Wild Life, has been given the key appointment of Advisor to the President on Wildlife Activities and Zoological Gardens. The President has also appointed him head of a committee dealing with problems relating to our elephant population. The other member of the committee is Jayantha Jayawardena.
public are bound to be glad for these moves to give substantial political
clout to our wildlife and nature conservation and protection efforts.
These measures are both timely and insightful because nature and
environment protection could no longer be pursued in isolation from the
wider development effort. It is quite some time since development came to
be viewed holistically with environment and nature protection constituting
an important aspect of development. For, development is no longer a mere
rise in the GNP per capita but sustainable and equitable economic activity
with safeguards against environmental damage figuring prominently in the
far too long wildlife and environment conservation efforts have been
impeded by powerful and rapacious interests, which have prevailed against
the authority of State institutions such as the Wild Life Department and
the police. Poaching and timber felling are only two areas where these
abuses are obvious. If these exploitative interests are to be defeated,
wildlife conservation authorities should be sufficiently empowered to
discharge their duties efficiently and effectively. This is the reason why
the move to bring the Wild Life Department under the supervision of the
President should be considered sensible.
close look at the Colombo Zoological Garden would convince one of the need
to launch drastic measures to ensure the sustained upkeep and maintenance
of these sanctuaries. Decay and neglect are all too evident at the
Dehiwala Zoo where some animals are being allowed to languish under
much spoken and commented on human - elephant conflict too is taking a
heavy toll on our conservation effort. It is obvious that unplanned
development efforts and projects are driving our elephant populations out
of their habitats. Besides forest denudation is continuing relentlessly.
time is ripe for decisive State action to end these abuses, which have
thrived in an atmosphere of benign neglect. We are glad that these
prolonged crises are now being squarely addressed.
Masses are Asses?
we go along with the Fonseka school of thought that rule by the masses,
however asinine it has been, has been of much greater benefit to humanity
than elitist upstarts, recent pronouncements and events in the Sri Lankan
political firmament have made us veer towards the Chandraprema school of
the unbelievable political comedy that was enacted on TV this week. On
Monday we had three youthful UNP Colombo Municipal Councillors appearing
on state controlled Rupavahini and making stirring speeches on why they
were crossing over to the PA. They were disillusioned with their own UNP
and inspired by the dynamism of Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, the three young
men proclaimed. But on Wednesday night this same trio appeared on TNL and
were saying that it was all a mistake that they had crossed over to the
PA. They had been ‘emotionally’ charged when they decided to leave the
UNP, which they now regretted, the three City Fathers said on TV. One City
father gave reasons: His father-in-law who was warded in hospital had been
very much upset by his decision and his wife had been haranguing him all
the time for crossing over! So the young City Fathers who crossed over
with garlands and much song and dance—orchestrated by a well-known
double-crosser Mr. Mervyn De Silva (SLFP to UNP and back to PA)—was back
in the arms of UNP leader Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe.
political buffoonery is indeed entertaining but what does it make of Sri
Lankan politics? More important: Do these politicians take the electorate
to be asses? The three concerned are supposed to be City Fathers of the
Colombo Municipal Council, which is said to be in the best-educated and
best-informed electoral districts not local yokels from the remote
backwoods. Do they expect the people to believe them? Most probably they
will seek re-election when the time comes and be returned to the Town Hall
or even elected to parliament!
masses being asses was best illustrated in a speech made by no less a
person than the Hon. Prime Minister, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake in
February this year. Addressing senior public servants on the role of
Public servants and the Challenges of Development he said: ‘Election
Manifestos are documents that declare professed policies of political
parties. These are vote-catching gimmicks. All political parties lie in
their manifestos and the party that utters better lies and more effective
lies is the side that wins the elections.’ Needless, to say, Mr.
Wickremanayake’s party won the elections.
have the vociferous supporters of the Peoples Alliance as well as the
silent dignified supporters have to say to these revelations of the Prime
Minister? The Prime Minister, at least has been candid enough to openly
state the truth whereas other politicians dupe themselves into believing
that the people take what they say as the absolute truth and their
political manifestos as holy texts. The masses however keep voting in
their old political parties knowing well they are returning rogues back
again to the august assembly, because of party loyalty and the hate of
their political rivals
the context of this brazen political chicanery, what is to be made out
pronouncements of national importance being made by top ranking
politicians? Readers will recall that The Island since the North-East
conflict commenced in 1983, has been advocating bi-partisan consensus
between the UNP and the SLFP (later the PA) on national issues. A common
position had to be adopted on the resolution of this issue, we have
stressed. At times we have called for a national government, in national
will be recalled that President Kumaratunga, having escaped the attempt by
terrorists to assassinate her and on winning the general election stressed
on the need for national unity and called on the UNP to join hands with
her to work in the interests of the nation. The Island going on this
appeal made a strong plea for the formation of a national government. But
a few days later President Kumaratunga said: ‘Divainata jaatika anduwe
gane Vallipuawa gahala’ (Divaina-implying The Island—has developed
epilepsy over the formation of a national government).
we have reports of Mr. S.B. Dissanayake making strong pleas for the
formation of a national government. The cause for this sudden burst of
inspiration we are not aware of. Some say that it is the realisation of
the need for unity to resolve the on going North-East conflict while
others say its the no confidence motions that are being moved against the
what can the people and the media make out of this proposal of Mr
Dissanayake? If we do support the proposal, we may be suspected of
developing ‘epileptic fits’. Prior to any move the government must
show consistent rationality in their pronouncements and build up its
out of the political quagmire
Further moves are being made by either side of the political divided to strengthen their ranks by fishing in members to their respective camps. Each side claims that several members are waiting in the wings to cross the street. However, they refrain from naming names. What these frequent crossovers of politicians clearly show its the mockery to which the political party system in this country has been reduced.
Most of these crossovers throughout, one could safely say, have been motivated by reasons other than the national interest. Very often it is the loss of one’s position in the party that makes one to change over to another. Although there have been instances in the past when politicians have crossed over as a result of their disagreement with their parties on controversial national issues, such occasions have been few and far between. Another factor facilitating crossovers have been the absence of major differences in policies pursued by different political parties, particularly by traditional rightist parties. Therefore, what is needed is a minor modification of their outpourings on public occasions. A UNPer crossing over to PA will not find it difficult to feel quite at home in the new camp, as demonstrated by those who recently crossed the floor in parliament.
While these attempts are set afloat to increase the numbers by both sides, intensified moves are also being made now to from a national government. There is, in fact, no serious obstacle other than the personal differences and animosities that prevalent these parties from getting together in a combined administration, to help the nation to get over its present predicament. As senior UNP MP Tyronne Fernando correctly puts it, “When the place is on fire, you don’t play political games. First, you should get together and put out the fire.” We may add that when a house is on fire, nobody is concerned about the colour of the persons bringing water to douse the fire.
Although the need for such collective action is appropriate, logical and urgent, the chances of such a salutary event materialising appear to be remote in the present context of heightened party conflict, caused particularly by the ongoing opposition effort to impeach the Chief Justice and to topple the PA government through a no-confidence motion. But the present moves to form a national government should be supported and encouraged by all those who have the nation’s interest at heart.
The present proposal, coming as it does, publicly from the General Secretary of the main PA partner, SLFP, S. B. Dissanayake, the suggestion has to be taken up with greater seriousness. It is indeed a fact that almost all the past leaders of this country have from time advocated a common approach to the country’s problems although their party affiliations have throughout thwarted such efforts.
However, Minister Dissanayake’s present proposal, which accompanies a condemnation of the alleged attempts made by smaller parties to hold the government to ransom, is likely to raise fears and doubts among minority parties. If the proposal is to be proceeded with seriously, these fears have to be assuaged. A government cannot be truly national, is the power is to shared between the two main parties. Every attempt should be made to ensure that all shades of opinion and interests are represented in such an administration.
Whether these attempts will succeed or not, we can be certain of one thing. Judging from the past behaviour of our political parties, the expected and even assured, Opposition cooperation for solving the ethnic problem is unlikely to be a reality, unless the existing opposition is also made a responsible partner in the administration through an national government. Otherwise the opposition will cooperate for some time only to withdraw from the process of reaching consensus when it appears to them that their future electoral success will be at stake.
EDITORIAL, LANKADEEPA (Sinhala Daily)
govt., the need of the hour
All rulers and those aspiring to rule should follow this noble advice for the good and welfare of everyone. At a time when the country is faced with an intense and disruptive separatist war, everyone should unite to fight the common enemy. We are at a most decisive moment in the history of our country and nation. Mr. S. B. Dissanayake had said that a National Government should be formed to develop the country into one with a robust economy, for the sake of the future generations.
During the Second World War from 1939 to 1945, the British Opposition unreservedly supported British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s policy against the deadly Nazi threats. All political parties should eschew their partisan attitude and join together as a National Government, to save the country from the ruthless separatist war.
EDITORIAL, DIVAINA (Sinhala Daily)
for being dutiful
Strict security measures are observed at the Sri Dalada Maligawa since it continues to be under great threats from Tigers. However, police officers who had examined the vehicle of a Deputy Minister, before entering into this high security area, have been found fault with, by this Deputy Minister and reported to higher authorities who have taken disciplinary action against these dutiful officers.
This is grossly unfair, since these officers have only been carrying out their duty. In fact, they should be expected to do so, with no consideration for the level or status of the persons they examine. As such, this unfair treatment of these police officers should be considered to set a very bad example. It will also serve to demoralize the security forces.
EDITORIAL, DINAMINA (Sinhala Daily)
Powerful forces are behind the relentless worldwide promotion of drugs under brand names. Billions of Dollars are spent on such promotional campaigns. Many things are done openly, as well as surreptitiously, to maintain the brand image of drugs. In fact, the death of Prof. Senaka Bibile, champion for the use of generic name, under most suspicious circumstances is still a mystery.
Use of the generic name will ease the burdens placed on poor patients, who are compelled to spend stupendous amounts, merely to purchase drugs under their brand name.
EDITORIAL, LAKBIMA (Sinhala Daily)
These items may also have been imported by irregular means and through false declarations. As such, a complete and comprehensive investigation should be conducted to find out whether racketeering was the cause for such valuable items being allowed to perish, uncleared. Action also should be taken to block all avenues of wrongfully imported goods from being spirited out of the Customs.
EDITORIAL VIRAKESARI (Tamil Daily)
to holding census in Tamil areas
It is a fact that a substantial portion of the people in the North-East have migrated to other areas, due to the war. In addition, several thousands have been rendered as refugees and living away from home. A census taken in this context will not reflect the actual permanent residency of the Tamil people. It is also a known fact that several assessments and decisions are based on statistics collected during a census of population and housing. The objection to conducting the census in the Tamil areas, under these circumstances, is nothing but reasonable.
EDITORIAL THINAKARAN (Tamil Daily)
who fleece the consumers
We hope the Cabinet Sub-Committee that has been entrusted with the responsibility of bringing down the prices of essential commodities, will be able to arrest the fleecing of consumers by profiteering traders.
EDITORIAL THINAKKURAL (Tamil Daily)
The UNESCO has declared year 2001 as the Year of Languages. This declaration, meaning only European languages, has no doubt, influenced the obsession in this country of teaching in the English language. However, the fact that the English language, while acting as the link-language in this country, is also an international language cannot be gainsaid. But, care should be taken to see that the English language does not foreshadow the national languages.
The reintroduction of the English language into the school curriculum should also be seen as a welcome alternative to the repressive measure of trying to thrust the Sinhala language on the Tamils. The present trend of thinking in terms of three languages should be fostered. The option for the English language is also timely with globalization.
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