Category Archives: island economy

Devanee Jayathilaka stands firm … and the Video Tale goes viral

Malinda Seneviratne, in Daily Mirror, 13 February 2020, with this title “Devanee vs Sanath: who do you want to back, Citizen?”

A YouTube video going viral on social media has a state official going one-on-one with a politician.  Well, not exactly one-on-one because the politician had in his corner what could be assumed was a section of his constituency. Not exactly in the corner. They were in the ring, so to speak. 

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Jehan Perera evaluates New President’s Cautious Approach

Jehan Perera, in Island, 28 January 2020, where the title is “Adopt a problem solving approach for the north”

Contrary to expectations the government is treading a cautious path with regard to past commitments on controversial matters made by the previous government. This may be disappointing to its more nationalist supporters. They might have expected an immediate change of approach and rescinding of agreements they see as unfair or not in the national interest. In the run up to the presidential election campaign, the present government’s front line campaigners claimed that the MCC grant of USD 450 million by the US government that had just received cabinet approval would endanger the country’s national security. Members of the government and their nationalist supporters were emphatic in saying that the former government had betrayed the country. This effectively sank any prospect of election victory that the former government’s presidential candidate may have had.

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Today’s Bureaucratic Subservience in Sri Lanka: The Tale of Its Emergence and Entrenchment

H. L. Seneviratne reviewing Your Obedient Servant: The Fate of the Bureaucrat in Sri Lanka by Suren Sumithraarachchi, Sarasavi Publishers 2019 …. Courtesy of Colombo Telegraph = https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/book-review-politics-the-bureaucracy/

This book deals with the higher bureaucracy in Sri Lanka, and its focus is bureaucratic behavior. It is about local bureaucrats, not those of British origin — bureaucrats who historically inhabited the bureaucratic terrain with decreasing density as colonial rule waned. It considers loyalty to a set of rules, rather than to a person, the marker of ideal bureaucratic behavior, one that the vocabulary of sociology calls “rational-legal”.

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The Medium of Learning in Sri Lanka for Sri Lanka: Journeys

Wilfrid Jayasuriya, in Daily Mirror Epaper, 18 January 2020, where the title is “English as the medium of modern education”

We are glad that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hit the nail on the head about the meaning of education. Not a promising opening sentence? I do not wish to get into a harangue on education but just want to say there is an alternative to the education modus operandi which we practise by and large for more than a century. That alternative is the United States’ system as opposed to the British colonial model which was the foundation of our lay education for the last two centuries. Suffice to say that in my own family history, my maternal grandfather was a postmaster who worked in the English medium and my paternal grandfather was a school teacher who practised in Sinhala and English media. My father passed the Senior School Certificate in both English and Sinhala media and my mother passed the Junior School Certificate in English medium. I have both certificate documents and they are signed by the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University because education in Ceylon had been allocated to Cambridge University!

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Sri Lanka as a Potential Argentinian Case?

Arvind Subramanian, in Project Syndicate  on 19 November 2019 [check?] at https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/sri-lanka-economic-instability-argentina-by-arvind-subramanian-2019-11where the title is Is Sri Lanka the Next Argentina?”

As Sri Lanka makes another crucial political transition, it faces a major risk of macroeconomic instability. Minimizing that risk will depend, above all, on whether the country’s newly elected president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, can defy his reputation and embrace inclusive politics.

Lady Justice reading a book

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Naseby and Sheikh bat for Sri Lanka in the House of Lords

House of Lords, 7th January 2020

Lord Naseby spoke about Sri Lanka in the Queen’s Speech debate in the House of Lords: “We’ve now got two new leaders, one here in the UK with the drive, determination and commitment and you have an almost identical philosophy in the newly elected Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a man of proven leadership an ability with an agenda to keep the peace to keep an inclusive policy for minorities etc. I see huge opportunities for trade – my noble friend Lord Sheikh raised some of them, I concur with those. There is a huge opportunity but only… … ONLY if the UNHRC project is wound up. I say to the house and my noble friend on the front bench – this year is the year for UK to have faith in Sri Lanka and its newly elected executive president.”

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Bracegirdle and the Early LSSP in Anti-Colonial Thrusts

Vinod Moonesinghe, courtesy of Roar, 21 May 2017, where the title reads “Bracegirdle: The Young Anglo-Australian Behind Sri Lanka’s Independence Struggle”

After the Matale Revolt of 1848, the independence struggle in Sri Lanka was quiescent until the 1930s. Only in 1931 did the short-lived Jaffna Youth Congress call for total independence (poorana swaraj) and boycotted the general election.However, in far-away America, a young Sri Lankan student, Philip Gunawardena, had already joined the League Against Imperialism and For National Independence, an international organisation committed to the complete national independence of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples, including Sri Lankans. He later went to Britain and worked for the League. He belonged to a Sri Lankan group called the “Cosmopolitan Crew”, mainly students such as himself, including N. M. Perera, Colvin R. de Silva and Leslie Goonewardena.

Bracegirdle with L.S.S.P. leaders in Horana. Image courtesy Victor Ivan

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