Category Archives: governance

Momentous Changes in Ceylon instituted by the Donoughmore Commisison

Leelananda de Silva, in Sunday Times, 5 July 2020

The Donoughmore Commission which came to Sri Lanka in the late 1920s made far reaching and far seeing recommendations, which changed the political, economic and social landscape of Ceylon. The present generation is largely unaware of its role and it is time that they refresh their understanding of the tremendous changes brought in by Donoughmore.

The Earl of Donoughmore

It was a commission consisting of three Britons — the Earl of Donoughmore, Drummond Shields and Burrows. They were political personalities well known in Britain at the time and were not colonial civil servants. They had the political and social vision to overcome the objections of both the colonial masters in Sri Lanka and the local dominant political personalities who were also not in favour of radical reforms.

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Free Education for Ceylon: Tales Missing

Prabhath de Silva, in Island, 11 July 2020, where the title is “Unsung And Forgotten Heroes of Free Education and Sri Lanka’s Missed Opportunities”

Much has been said and written about Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara for his role in the introduction of the Free Education Bill in the State Council (Sri Lanka’s legislature under the Donoughmore Constitution from 1931 to 1947) and implementation of the free education policy here. The nation owes a debt of gratitude to him but there are other unsung and forgotten heroes behind this story.

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Achtung! Whiffs of Tiger Militarism and Tamil Federalism in Recent Talk and Action

ONE: Camelia Nathaniel, in Daily News, 9 July 2020, which carries this title Resurrection of LTTE’s Agenda of Violence”

The LTTE network overseas has been planning a series of attacks in Sri Lanka since the war ended in May 2009. The latest attempt to disrupt peace and stability in Sri Lanka was on July 4, 2020. A former member of the Tamil Tigers Thangarajah Thevathashan was preparing to conduct a bombing to mark the Black Tigers Day. The foreign handlers knew Thangarajah Thevathashan by his LTTE name Gangai Athman alias Kavinjan. He was serving in the LTTE Intelligence wing, notorious for the assassinations of several leaders including the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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Passing the Covid with the Cricket Ball?

Simon Kolstoe, in The Conversation, 6 July 2020, where the title reads Do cricket balls really spread coronavirus

Cricket is now back on in England, despite Boris Johnson declaring cricket balls a “natural vector of disease”. His statement has frustrated cricket fans and players, but has also raised the wider question of which activities spread COVID-19. After all, unlike other activities that the UK government is actively encouraging, such as visiting pubs or restaurants, cricket is an outdoor sport where players are very unlikely to come into contact with each other.

Cricket balls showing various amounts of deterioration after play. Acabashi/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA

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Authoritarian Populism is the Danger Ahead

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 6 July 2020, where the title runs “Regimes in Times of Crisis: Authoritarian Populism, Bonapartism and Fascism”

The crisis we face now is like a tectonic shift in the economy. Global production, the labour used for it, and the demand to realise it, are all in free fall. What will be the political consequences, and what kind of regimes will emerge out of such a deep crisis?
In Sri Lanka, as we approach a significant parliamentary election, my question is not about the character of the parties and the personalities of the candidates that may win or lose. The victory of the SLPP and its consolidation is a bygone fact; that battle was lost with the presidential election last November.

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Police Grillings in Lanka: Contrasts on Front and Back Pages of The Island, 3rd July 2020

The Back Page displays a masked Kumar Sangakkara emerging vigorously after a nine-hour session based on the patently spurious claims of one Aluthgamage

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The Rhodes Statue and Battle Lines in Oxford University: Aristocratic Brits face Black Extremists

Anonymous Oriel College Collective …….The letter (below) is a response from [one part of] Oxford University to black students attending as Rhodes Scholars who demand the university removes the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes.

Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on precisely the same topic. The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was “Oxford will not rewrite history”.  Lord Patten commented: “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not  a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should  have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice.”

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Imbalanced Task Forces in Sri Lanka?

Jehan Perera, in Island, 30 June 2020, with this title “The Need For Better Representation In Divided Societies”

There has been a trend of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa making senior appointments in which those who are outside the established administrative systems are being brought in to provide leadership and ensure effective and non-corrupt practices.  As a large number of these appointments have been from the security forces this has given rise to a perception that the country is heading towards eventual military rule. There is a concern that the forthcoming general elections will be followed by constitutional changes that will entrench the military in governance as in some other countries such as Myanmar. This is unlikely to be the case in Sri Lanka as democratic traditions upholding civilian control of government are deeply ingrained in the fabric of political society.

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Gotabaya’s Governance in Groundviews Gunsights

Borella Junction 24.25 July 1983  —Pix by Chandragupta Amarasinghe –here juxtaposed with the Pix deployed by GV which, in my reading, may not be from the July pogrom but from other moments of violence

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Sri Lanka And The US: A Pogrom And A Black Death At The Hands Of A White Policeman: Salutary Lessons

The Scene The morning of July the 25th 1983 is etched in my brain. I saw a group of people running or walking very fast away from the environs of Colombo. On…

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Tamil Migrant Thuraissigiam denied Asylum Rights by US Supreme Court

Hassina Leelarathna, in Sri Lanka Express, 25 June 2020, where the title is “US Supreme Court rules against SL Tamil in landmark asylum case”

 The US Supreme Court in a landmark decision today voted in favor of the administration in its appeal against a lower court ruling that allowed a Sri Lankan the right to have a judge review the government’s handling of his asylum bid.

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