Category Archives: parliamentary elections

Revamping Lanka’s Government Structures? CTF Proposals In. Prospects Dim.

Sanjana Hattoruwa,  in The Sunday Island, 7 January 2017, where the title is “A Report on Reconciliation“… with the highlighting below being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

chandrika manouri-muttetuwegama


Last week, the Consultations Task Force (CTF) handed over its final report to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike-Kumaratunga. It was supposed to be handed over to the President. However, he wasn’t present at the ceremony, on a date and time his office had negotiated after many delays spreading over months. As widely noted, the CTF comprised of eleven members drawn from civil society and was appointed by the Prime Minister in late January 2016, to seek the views and comments of the public on the proposed mechanisms for transitional justice and reconciliation, as per the October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, you would expect the PM, whose brainchild the CTF was, to be present at the handover ceremony. He wasn’t either. Continue reading

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Issues of Governance and Economic Management in Recent Years

Verite Researach courtesy of Daily Mirror, May 2016, where the title is “Economic mismanagement is a governance problem – It needs governance solutions”

Elected officials and selected bureaucrats are given a huge amount of power to act on behalf of the public – modern democracies function on this basis: that citizens hand over their power to elected representatives. But how can the citizens then protect themselves against those individuals misusing that power? This is the perennial problem of governance. The simple answer that is given to this question of governance is “elections” – that elections ensure the displacement of politicians who violate the public trust and thus create political incentives for better behaviour. This Insight provides an example, which explains why the answer cannot be that simple – the behaviour of officials during elections can both abuse public trust, as well as benefit these officials politically. As such, other governance solutions are needed.


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Tissa Chandrasoma’s Vignettes

Rajpal de Silva, in the Sunday Island, 3 April 2016, introducing a book Vignettes of the Ceylon Civil Service 1938 – 1957, prepared by Vijaya and Parakrama Chandrasoma,  and printed by Lazergraphic, Colombo., 2016.

This new handsome hard-cover publication by M. Chandrasoma’s sons, Vijaya and Parakrama, includes an Introduction and Postscript and six photographs showing Chandrasoma at various events during his career of nearly 20 years in the Ceylon Civil Service –which then comprised an elite group of individuals (usually an annual intake of 10) chosen from the cleverest of the Ceylon University’s recently qualified graduates. There was no political ‘input’ in this long bygone era – and hence the administration of the numerous and varied governmental departments whether they be Forestry, Fisheries, Agriculture, Public Works, Health or Revenue were managed by the best intellects that the island produced annually.

Manikkuwadumestri (Tissa) Chandrasoma’s original book, published in 1991, is once again reproduced in full. The original title, Vignettes, is most appropriate, considering that Chandrasoma’s book of 153 pages is sectionalized into 37 chapters.   Aaaa--VIGNETTES Continue reading

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DBS Jeyaraj’s Reflections on Sri Lanka’s Political History

DBS Jeyaraj, courtesy of his Facebook posting, 4 February 2016, where the title is “68 Years of Independence, Nation Building and the Future of Tamils in Sri Lanka”

DBSSri Lanka will celebrate its Sixty-eighth Anniversary of Independence from the United Kingdom this Thursday. The country then known as Ceylon obtained full freedom from the British on February 4th 1948.Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka / has faced many challenges and problems in the past 68 years. We have had military coup attempts, communal riots, pogroms, armed revolts, external military intervention, assassinations of heads of state, terrorist violence and above all a long secessionist war that threatened to tear apart the country. What Sri Lanka can be proud of as Asia’s oldest democracy is the fact that despite many formidable challenges and crises the country continues to be democratic. Flawed but Democratic! On January 8th last year the Sri Lankan people did the nation proud by voting out the incumbent executive president and bringing about effective regime change through the ballot amidst extremely difficult circumstances Continue reading

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Soulbury to Suntha on Sinhala Stupidity in April 1964

With thanks to COLOMBO TELEGRAPH, May 2013 … yes 2013, lively body of blog comments in that site

soulbury Lord Soulbury BANDA ++ Bandaranaike, Soulbury & Dudley Senanayake in earnest conversation —Pic from

Dear Mr. Suntharalingham,
I have read the dozen documents in the folder which I now return to you – with much interest and also much sorrow. During my tenure of the office as Governor-General of Ceylon I never expected that there would be such a bitter cleavage between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities – and you are quite right when you say that the cause must be laid at the door of Sir John Kotalawala and his government. But if he chastised the Tamils with the whips, the late Mr. Bandaranaike chastised them with scorpions. The Sinhalese behaviour to the Tamils has been excessively short-sighted and foolish. When as Chairman of the Commission on the reform of the Constitution of Ceylon in 1945 I studied the relations of the two communities. I was much impressed by the important contribution  that the Tamils had made and were making to the economy of Ceylon – and I was aware that the Ceylon Tamils were better educated and more industrious than the Sinhalese – in many ways they were playing the part of the Scots had played and still play in the economy of England. In fact during 18th and part of 19th century – the English were rather jealous of the Scots – who were getting a greater share of the jobs going in England than their population warranted. The reason, I Think, was that the Scots were better educated and more industrious – Northern folk often work harder than Southerners; the climate and soil compel them to do so. But the English were never so stupid as to antagonise the Scots.  Had they behaved like Sinhalese to the Tamils, Britain would never have achieved a tittle of her prosperity at home or overseas in the Empire.

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Was the “Federal” Party a separatist party from the outset, or NOT?

Chandre Dharmawardana

 “Those in the forefront of the Tamils’ agitation for devolution of power have always been  vague, deliberately or unconsciously, in the terminology used in their arguments, and the distinction between provincial autonomy, states’ rights in a federal union, and a separate state have been blurred by a fog of verbiage, and obfuscation K. M. de Silva [1]”

ITAKfront page

In this essay I will try to give an account of how the “Federalist” politics of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi is seen by me, an outsider who had no real access to the main players, except indirectly. In my reading, it  is incorrect to claim that Federalism or  Eelam was the clear aim of the 1949 Maradana resolution. Both tendencies existed. The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) name was deliberate, and satisfied the separatist ginger group of the ITAK, while the “Federal” name in English satisfied the moderate politicians from Colombo-7.  Mr. V. Navaratnam is representative of the important separatist  group inside the ITAK as he was the early theoretician of the ITAK.  He wrote the then well-known book  “Ceylon Faces Crisis”, with an Eelam Map distributed in 1957 [2].  A Separatist Postage stamp was designed by Navaratnam in 1956, and issued in 1961 [3]. Continue reading


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Rajan Philips on Lanka’s Current Dilemmas

Rajan Philips, courtesy of the Sunday Island, 14 February 2016, where the title is War Crimes and War Heroes: Horns of Sri Lanka’s dilemma”

Even for those of us who are not (western) classists, it would make sense to know that the resolution of a dilemma in logic and rhetoric involves either taking the left horn, the right horn, or going in between the two, not to mention (rhetorically) distracting the proverbial bull. Transcending from the ‘precocious’ world of ancient Greece to the pernicious world of contemporary Sri Lankan politics (where good things can still happen from time to time – as Professor Carlo Fonseka realized and reminded us last week), we could identify the vested interests hanging on to one or the other of the two horns of our country’s dilemma, as well as hanging on to both. The Rajapaksa forces have hung on to the horn of war heroes ever since 2009 and won two (2010) and lost two elections (2015). The Wickremasinghe forces were impaled on the heroic horn twice in 2010, and have now caught the horn of war crimes after their double resurrection in 2015. President Sirisena, although it requires some research to see if he commands any (political) forces, is by far the only player of consequence today who has been on the winning side in all the four contests in 2010 and in 2015. Reduced to being less than insignificant in the Rajapaksa universe in 2010, Sirisena emerged as more than a hero for the common opposition in 2015. He is now trying to hang on to the two horns of the nation’s dilemma. Continue reading

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