Category Archives: centre-periphery relations

Initiating Marinas in Sri Lanka: Big Plans

Rajkumar Kanagasingam,  courtesy of Daily Mirror, 16 March 2017, where the title is “Establishing first-ever marinas in Sri Lanka

M “Establishing first-ever marinas in Sri Lankaarina is an unheard name to many Sri Lankans, but not anymore. Dr. Dietmar Doering, a German hotelier based in Marawila in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka, is venturing into establishing a first-ever marina in Marawila.  He pioneered sports tourism in Sri Lanka nearly three decades ago by establishing Asian-German Sports Exchange Programme; now it’s his turn for enhancing nautical tourism in Sri Lanka. Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga also has given the green light to make this marina venture a success. Generally, the Mediterranean region is famous for some of the world’s finest marinas; they are harbouring thousands of yachts and boats which are owned by rich and adventurous boaters around the world. Those boaters are not only cruising around the Mediterranean Seas but crossing the Suez Canal and entering into the Arabian Sea and many of them are venturing towards East Asia.  India and Sri Lanka are getting their importance because of their location but hardly any marinas to serve them other than the recently established Kochi International Marina in the Indian state of Kerala.

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Constitutional Reforms in the Melting Pot: Bulathsinghala and Perera

I. Frances Bulathsinghala: “A glimpse into the saga of Sri Lanka’s constitutional reforms,” South Asian Monitor, 24 February 2017,

The attempts by Sri Lanka’s National Unity government to draft a new constitution in order to seek a permanent solution to the long drawn Tamil ethnic question is afloat in the grey skies of ambiguity.

Although six subcommittees on various subjects had submitted their reports based on wide scale public consultations and the Steering Committee had drafted its own report based on the recommendations by the sub committees, plans of presenting the report to the Constitutional Assembly which comprises the current members of parliament, has been stalled.

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Unique Prime Ministerial Encounter at Manuka Oval in Canberra

An Unique Happening occurred at Manuka Oval and thereafter in Canberra on the 15th February 2017. It involved  1) a Courtesy extended by the Australian Prime Minister to a national team visiting for a very short tour;  2) The Toss being enacted by by the two Prime Ministers with the captains in attendance; and  3) a Group photograph of the teams with both Prime Ministers…. and 4) The presence at the match of the Governor General H.E Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove in addition to the two Prime Ministers and some members of both Parliaments.

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Constitutional Issues in the Limelight … Liyanage and CBK

ONE:  Constitutional Reforms: Would it be a solution to the national question?” by Sumanasiri Liyanage, in The Island, 16 February 2016

A German friend of mine whom I met after 7 years in the middle of our conversation asked me about the state reforms project of the Yahapalana government. He said that many people he met had been sanguine about them in spite of some minor difficulties. Lankans have been talking about the state reforms since the second republican constitution was promulgated in 1978. Three main questions have been posed, namely, (1) The executive presidential system and the  over-centralized architecture of the constitution; (2) the constitutional relevance in ethnically divided society; and (3) the representational deficiency in the system of election. After a heated debate in the 1980s and 1990, the heat of the constitutional debate has now subsided as many seem to believe that the present system has reached some stability. This may be partly due to the rigid character of the constitutional design. However, it is not totally true as we have had Parliaments with the necessary 2/3 majority [to effect change if requisite].

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Talaivar Pirapāharan embodied in Notebooks: One Mark of the LTTE’s Remarkable Propaganda Machinery

Michael Roberts

prabha-22 prabha-33 prabha-11

These three images adorn the cover of little notebooks, each 4 inches in height and 2.7 inches breadth, in my possession. They were purchased by me at Kilinochchi on 27th November 2004 when I visited the administrative capital of the state of Thamilīlam[1] during the ceasefire. The tale is recounted below as entry-point to a portrait of the LTTE’s remarkable innovations.

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The Anti-Tamil Gal Oya Riots of 1956

 tambiah-pic-22Stanley J. Tambiah[1]

My own first hand and indelible experience of ethnic riots happened in June 1956, when as a twenty-seven-year-old social scientist, recently returned from graduate studies in the United States, I took a team of thirty three students (twenty-six Sinhalese and seven Tamils) to conduct a survey of some newly settled peasant colonies in Gal Oya Valley.+ The Gal Oya Multipurpose Scheme was Sri Lanka’s first and largest post-independence development project, whose tasks were flood control, provision of irrigation for cultivating the “maximum acreage of land possible,” and generation of electricity for domestic and industrial use. The Gal Oya Development Board, appointed by the Sri Lankan government in 1949, was modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Damodar Valley Corporation, but was actually more circumscribed in its structure and powers than these two giant corporations. The largest component of the board’s agricultural plan was the settlement of landless peasants from depressed villages with families and some agricultural experience on small paddy and highland allotments. (Provision was also made for larger-scale cultivation, marketing, and processing of cash crops by cooperative agricultural and industrial undertakings.) gal-oya-44

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A Rejection of Reconciliation via Namo/Namo: Weeraratna’s Hardline Sinhala Majoritarian Statement*

Senaka Weeraratna … See Note ** at end

senaka-weeraratnaThe primordial national identity of this country is Sinhale and religious identity is Buddhist. These two historical identities should not be allowed to be dispensed with in order to embrace an artificial secular identity (Sri Lankan) that has neither roots to the soil of the country nor been shaped either by history, common values, heritage or destiny. Continue reading

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