Connect with us


The New Cabinet: Somewhat lean, poorly structured, and rather untalented



The new Cabinet of Ministers: Sitting from the left – SM Chandrasena, CB Ratnayake, Bandula Gunawardena, Janaka Bandara Thennakoon, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chamal Rajapaksa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Wimal Weerawansa, Prof GL Peiris, Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Gamini Lokuge. Standing from left – Dullas Alahapperuma, Namal Rajapaksa, Ali Sabry, Prasanna Ranatunga, Mahindananda Aluthgamage. Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Keheliya Rambukwella, Mahinda Amaraweera, Udaya Gammanpila, Johnston Fernando, Ramesh Pathirana and Douglas Devananda

by Rajan Philips

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa gets full marks for creating a comparatively lean and applaudably mean cabinet. Leaving out the likes of Maithripala Sirisena and Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa is among the best cabinet making decisions in Sri Lanka’s 73-year history of cabinet government. The less said of them the better, and, hopefully, there will be no second thought on the matter. After ten years of sickeningly bloated cabinets, five under Mahinda Rajapaksa monarchy and five more under Sirisena-Wickremesinghe dyarchy, the new cabinet looks lean and trimmed. There is room for more trimming, and what was trimmed as ministers has been more than padded as state ministers. What is more lacking, however, is structure and talent. There is much room for structural improvement. Talent is all the dearer considering the twin challenges facing the country – a globally uncertain pandemic and an equally global crippling of the economy.

But what more can the President do? To paraphrase Pieter Keuneman’s timeless wit, you cannot perform a cabinet miracle with a pack of jokers and no aces. At the same time, and in spite of all the constraints, the Administration would seem to have missed a great opportunity in not using the long interval between dissolution (in March) and elections (in August) to create a well thought out cabinet design, identifying requisite portfolios and matching them with available talent and experience. Unfortunately, the new cabinet does not indicate much functional thinking or purpose behind it.

We know from Sir Ivor Jennings that DS Senanayake wanted to limit the cabinet size to 20 in the constitution, but was advised against it by colonial officials. It would be restrictive for future governments given the reality of expanding government roles. That was the reasoning against too small a cabinet. AJ Wilson used to say that Mr. Senanayake was a master manager of men (as Ministers) and that he ‘federalized’ the cabinet to mirror the plurality of Sri Lankan society – its religions, languages, castes, and locales. After the first cabinet of DS Senanayake, the most stable cabinet was under Dudley Senanayake in 1965. The cabinets in between were not necessarily unstable, but chaotic.

The United Front cabinet (1970-1975) was the most programmatic cabinet in that it bore a direct correspondence to the UF Manifesto on which it won the election. And the cabinet had both talent and experience due to the presence of the Left Parties. NM, Leslie Goonewardene, Bernard Soysa (NM’s alter ego at Finance) and Pieter Keuneman knew how the government worked inside out; Colvin was known to master any file in a matter of minutes. An unintended shortcoming of that cabinet, however, was that the distribution of portfolios went along Party lines at the expense of cabinet ‘federalization.’

President Jayewardene had started identifying Ministers for his cabinet even before the 1977 elections and before some of them became MPs. A few of them were from outside the UNP. And his cabinet was ‘federalized’, talented, and experienced, including first time Ministers who had earlier been senior Civil Servants or senior professionals. All of them were elected in the last first-past-the-post election that was held under the parliamentary system. That was also the last time Sri Lanka had a cabinet government, that Jennings wrote a textbook on, and which had sunk strong roots in Sri Lanka. Cabinet government was left to wither and die thereafter in Sri Lanka, under the presidential system that President Jayewardene left behind.

The new cabinet is by no means a restoration of the old cabinet government. No one expects that. But is it sufficiently structured and enabled to deliver on all the lavish promises that the SLPP has been making? And all the expectations that people have been made to project on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa? On all the matters that need to be done and have been promised to be done? How will the new cabinet and its ministers relate to the various Tasks Forces that were established in the pretext of the pandemic, when parliament was dissolved? These are the questions that are arising in the early days of the new government. Answers will come eventually in the actions of the government and their results, and not out of speculation.

Subject matters

In the allocation of ministerial subjects, the President has assigned himself Defense, the bogey of the 19th Amendment notwithstanding. A glaring omission in the constitution. This is odd. The SLPP vigorously campaigned for a two-thirds majority, to overhaul the constitution and go beyond even the limits of JR. In the new cabinet, the constitutional file is not assigned to any Minister. A logical location for it would be the portfolio of Justice. But assigning it to the new Minister of Justice, Ali Sabry, would raise the hackles of Sinhala Buddhist organizations who are already protesting the appointment of a Muslim to the Justice portfolio.

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) is also concerned about Mr. Sabry’s appointment, but not for ethno-religious reasons; it is over ethical concerns. Ali Sabry was the defence lawyer for apparently 14 SLPP politicians who were unsuccessfully arraigned on charges of corruption under the last government. Another oddity, at least optically, is appointing a supportive Muslim lawyer to Justice while trying to prosecute a politically unfavourable Muslim lawyer, Hejaz Hizbullah, allegedly based on his professional work as a lawyer. Stepping over professional courtesy, a senior government lawyer even compared Mr. Hizbullah’s professional work to that of the LTTE’s Anton Balasingham. That was not a legal argument but political grandstanding. Not that Mr. Sabry is going to have anything to do with Mr. Hizbullah’s case, given the depoliticized independence of the Attorney General’s Department that is only too well known. But it is difficult to miss the awkward appearances of conflicts of interest whenever Rajapaksas are in power.

To get back to the Constitution, if there is no Minister assigned to the subject, is it being outsourced to a task force? One headed by the non-playing coach of all departments of the game, Basil Rajapaksa. Is there a realization of the pitfalls of constitution-changing and an internal decision has been made to step slowly on the constitutional pedal? Or, are there internal differences about the scope and extent of constitutional changes that need to be resolved within the family before embarking on a formal public process? There are areas, such as the electoral system, where changes are needed and on which it would be possible to achieve a broad consensus in parliament. A minister in charge of the file would be the person to stickhandle the passage of positive changes. May be the President and the Prime Minister do not find anyone in the current parliament who could be entrusted with this task.

G.L. Peiris looks too burnt out for the constitutional task now, not quite the new spark that he was when he forayed into politics from the academia in 1994. So, he is now assigned education. It seems a comprehensive assignment, and not the chop suey that Ranil Wickremesinghe created when he cut education into pieces and stitched up higher education and highways in one ministry. While education is one subject, it is not clear whether the two State Ministers on related subjects – Piyal Nishantha de Silva (Women and Child Development, Pre-School and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and School Services), and Seetha Arambepola (Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation) – are supposed to work with the Minister of Education, or independently on their own. There is also no indication of the parliamentary support to the Minister in the core areas of the Ministry: schools and universities.

The distribution of support responsibilities is similarly unclear in the other social infrastructure portfolio – Health. Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi continues as Minister despite the spat she ran into with Public Health Inspectors during the election. There is no indication of the parliamentary support she will have in the core areas of the Health sector. The one State Ministry role in related area involves – Promotion of Indigenous Medicine, Development of Rural Ayurvedic Hospitals and Community Health, and is assigned to Sisira Jayakody. There is no special mention of anything regarding the current pandemic situation either as specific responsibility, or as an individual assignment. This is the pattern of linkages between all the cabinet ministers and the state ministers.

In the old system, each Minister had a Deputy Minister, or Parliamentary Secretary, and occasionally more than one if the Ministry had multiple subjects. State Ministries were created after 1978 to address specific subjects or undertake critical projects over a limited period of time. Now they seem to have morphed into another layer of sub-ministerial positions as pseudo-ministerial rewards to MPs for their political loyalty, and not for any special project assignment. The cabinet portfolios are limited to 28 (with the Prime Minister looking after three of them), while the number of state ministers is kept at 40, along with another 23 MPs appointed as District Co-ordinating Committee Chairmen (no one seems to have been assigned to Batticaloa).

There is no intelligible correspondence between subjects looked after by cabinet Ministers and those assigned to State Ministers. The oldest Rajapaksa brother, Chamal. is both the Minister for Irrigation and State Minister for Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management. This is another pickle portfolio like Highways and Higher Education in the same Ministry during the last government.

That said, the state ministry system has been used to serve a special presidential purpose in the new cabinet: that of accommodating Viyath Maga MPs, all but one of whom are newly elected, as Ministers of State (three elected MPs and two National List MPs) and as Chairman of District Committees (three elected MPs).

Their appointment as full cabinet ministers may have been vetoed by the Prime Minister to keep the cabinet positions open only to the older MPs not only from the SLPP (19), but also from the SLFP (two), and one-off ministries to the one-MP constituent parties (six) of the old UPFA. Vasudeva Nanyakkara gets Water Supply, while the old LSSP and the CP get nothing. Of the Viyathmaga MPs, even Sarath Weerasekera and Nalaka Godahewa who topped vote tallies in the Colombo District and Gampaha District, respectively, have had to settle for positions as State Ministers. So has Nivard Cabraal, who enters parliament for the first time but on the National List. Sarath Weerasekera, a former Rear Admiral in the Navy, and the only MP to vote against the 19th Amendment in 2015, is the new State Minister for Provincial Councils and Local Government Affairs. This is a mystifying appointment. Is he being set up to preside over the resuscitation of the Provincial Councils, or their liquidation? Time will tell.

Key Sectors and Old faces

There is nothing mystifying about the appointments in the key sectors of the economy and employment – finance, agriculture, industry, the export sector, and infrastructure. The old faces have returned generally to the same old, or occasionally new, positions. The structure and the composition of the ministries in these areas, in whatever thinking that may have gone into them, do not convey any sense of urgency in trying to come to grips with the current economic crisis. There is no clear lead minister in charge of such an effort. The Prime Minister takes charge of Finance, but not just Finance, as finance portfolios are universally assigned. He is also padded with Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, on the one hand, and Urban Development and Housing, on the other. The two additions could easily have been consolidated in other ministries.

Still better, Finance should have been assigned solely to a single Minister with economic gravitas – like JR Jayewardene (1947-52), UB Wanninayake (1965-70), NM Perera (1970-75), or Ronnie de Mel (1977-88). Not that they were infallible or their records are unblemished, but they conveyed the seriousness with which governments here and everywhere approach finance and economic management of the country. This is more so in the current context of a global economic crisis. It may be that there is no one else in the SLPP, other than the Prime Minister to tackle this task. In which case, the SLPP should have invited some new talent to the Party and enabled her/his entry to parliament at the last election.

There are about nine individual ministries (Agriculture, Plantations, Land Irrigation, Industry, Fisheries, Trade, Tourism, and Ports & Shipping) that are pertinent to the economy, employment, and export earnings. There are many more scattered across state ministries. They could have been easily consolidated into fewer portfolios with tighter mandates. The ministerial appointments are hardly inspirational, and it is mystifying why anyone of the Viyath Maga MPs could not have been considered for some of these positions. It is the same story in the areas of infrastructure, the environment and energy. I could not find the pigeonhole where airlines and aviation are nestled in; unless, they are already airborne in Ravana’s helicopter.

On the bright side, there might be more method and purpose in the making of the new cabinet that sideliners like us cannot quite see through. There is also the opportunity for creating cabinet sub-committees and parliamentary committees and tasking them (not as task forces) with specific responsibilities. There is no minimizing, however, the gravity of the challenges facing the government – preparing a credible budget, meeting debt payments, protecting jobs and redressing those whose jobs are not protected, ensuring food production, and preventing a collapse of the export sector. All of this and more while struggling to keep the new coronavirus at bay. It’s a tall order. One that dwarfs the two-thirds majority.



  • News Advertiesment

    See Kapruka’s top selling online shopping categories such as ToysGroceryFlowersBirthday CakesFruitsChocolatesClothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka’s unique online services such as Money Remittence,NewsCourier/DeliveryFood Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Islamophobia and the threat to democratic development



There’s an ill more dangerous and pervasive than the Coronavirus that’s currently sweeping Sri Lanka. That is the fear to express one’s convictions. Across the public sector of the country in particular many persons holding high office are stringently regulating and controlling the voices of their consciences and this bodes ill for all and the country.

The corrupting impact of fear was discussed in this column a couple of weeks ago when dealing with the military coup in Myanmar. It stands to the enduring credit of ousted Myanmarese Head of Government Aung San Suu Kyi that she, perhaps for the first time in the history of modern political thought, singled out fear, and not power, as the principal cause of corruption within the individual; powerful or otherwise.

To be sure, power corrupts but the corrupting impact of fear is graver and more devastating. For instance, the fear in a person holding ministerial office or in a senior public sector official, that he would lose position and power as a result of speaking out his convictions and sincere beliefs on matters of the first importance, would lead to a country’s ills going unaddressed and uncorrected.

Besides, the individual concerned would be devaluing himself in the eyes of all irrevocably and revealing himself to be a person who would be willing to compromise his moral integrity for petty worldly gain or a ‘mess of pottage’. This happens all the while in Lankan public life. Some of those who have wielded and are wielding immense power in Sri Lanka leave very much to be desired from these standards.

It could be said that fear has prevented Sri Lanka from growing in every vital respect over the decades and has earned for itself the notoriety of being a directionless country.

All these ills and more are contained in the current controversy in Sri Lanka over the disposal of the bodies of Covid victims, for example. The Sri Lankan polity has no choice but to abide by scientific advice on this question. Since authorities of the standing of even the WHO have declared that the burial of the bodies of those dying of Covid could not prove to be injurious to the wider public, the Sri Lankan health authorities could go ahead and sanction the burying of the bodies concerned. What’s preventing the local authorities from taking this course since they claim to be on the side of science? Who or what are they fearing? This is the issue that’s crying out to be probed and answered.

Considering the need for absolute truthfulness and honesty on the part of all relevant persons and quarters in matters such as these, the latter have no choice but to resign from their positions if they are prevented from following the dictates of their consciences. If they are firmly convinced that burials could bring no harm, they are obliged to take up the position that burials should be allowed.

If any ‘higher authority’ is preventing them from allowing burials, our ministers and officials are conscience-bound to renounce their positions in protest, rather than behave compromisingly and engage in ‘double think’ and ‘double talk’. By adopting the latter course they are helping none but keeping the country in a state of chronic uncertainty, which is a handy recipe for social instabiliy and division.

In the Sri Lankan context, the failure on the part of the quarters that matter to follow scientific advice on the burials question could result in the aggravation of Islamophobia, or hatred of the practitioners of Islam, in the country. Sri Lanka could do without this latter phobia and hatred on account of its implications for national stability and development. The 30 year war against separatist forces was all about the prevention by military means of ‘nation-breaking’. The disastrous results for Sri Lanka from this war are continuing to weigh it down and are part of the international offensive against Sri Lanka in the UNHCR.

However, Islamophobia is an almost world wide phenomenon. It was greatly strengthened during Donald Trump’s presidential tenure in the US. While in office Trump resorted to the divisive ruling strategy of quite a few populist authoritarian rulers of the South. Essentially, the manoeuvre is to divide and rule by pandering to the racial prejudices of majority communities.

It has happened continually in Sri Lanka. In the initial post-independence years and for several decades after, it was a case of some populist politicians of the South whipping-up anti-Tamil sentiments. Some Tamil politicians did likewise in respect of the majority community. No doubt, both such quarters have done Sri Lanka immeasurable harm. By failing to follow scientific advice on the burial question and by not doing what is right, Sri Lanka’s current authorities are opening themselves to the charge that they are pandering to religious extremists among the majority community.

The murderous, destructive course of action adopted by some extremist sections among Muslim communities world wide, including of course Sri Lanka, has not earned the condemnation it deserves from moderate Muslims who make-up the preponderant majority in the Muslim community. It is up to moderate opinion in the latter collectivity to come out more strongly and persuasively against religious extremists in their midst. It will prove to have a cementing and unifying impact among communities.

It is not sufficiently appreciated by governments in the global South in particular that by voicing for religious and racial unity and by working consistently towards it, they would be strengthening democratic development, which is an essential condition for a country’s growth in all senses.

A ‘divided house’ is doomed to fall; this is the lesson of history. ‘National security’ cannot be had without human security and peaceful living among communities is central to the latter. There cannot be any ‘double talk’ or ‘politically correct’ opinions on this question. Truth and falsehood are the only valid categories of thought and speech.

Those in authority everywhere claiming to be democratic need to adopt a scientific outlook on this issue as well. Studies conducted on plural societies in South Asia, for example, reveal that the promotion of friendly, cordial ties among communities invariably brings about healing among estranged groups and produces social peace. This is the truth that is waiting to be acted upon.


Continue Reading


Pakistan’s love of Sri Lanka



By Sanjeewa Jayaweera

It was on 3rd January 1972 that our family arrived in Karachi from Moscow. Our departure from Moscow had been delayed for a few weeks due to the military confrontation between Pakistan and India. It ended on 16th December 1971. After that, international flights were not permitted for some time.

The contrast between Moscow and Karachi was unbelievable. First and foremost, Moscow’s temperature was near minus 40 degrees centigrade, while in Karachi, it was sunny and a warm 28 degrees centigrade. However, what struck us most was the extreme warmth with which the airport authorities greeted our family. As my father was a diplomat, we were quickly ushered to the airport’s VIP Lounge. We were in transit on our way to Rawalpindi, the airport serving the capital of Islamabad.

We quickly realized that the word “we are from Sri Lanka” opened all doors just as saying “open sesame” gained entry to Aladdin’s cave! The broad smile, extreme courtesy, and genuine warmth we received from the Pakistani people were unbelievable.

This was all to do with Mrs Sirima Bandaranaike’s decision to allow Pakistani aircraft to land in Colombo to refuel on the way to Dhaka in East Pakistan during the military confrontation between Pakistan and India. It was a brave decision by Mrs Bandaranaike (Mrs B), and the successive governments and Sri Lanka people are still enjoying the fruits of it. Pakistan has been a steadfast and loyal supporter of our country. They have come to our assistance time and again in times of great need when many have turned their back on us. They have indeed been an “all-weather” friend of our country.

Getting back to 1972, I was an early beneficiary of Pakistani people’s love for Sri Lankans. I failed the entrance exam to gain entry to the only English medium school in Islamabad! However, when I met the Principal, along with my father, he said, “Sanjeewa, although you failed the entrance exam, I will this time make an exception as Sri Lankans are our dear friends.” After that, the joke around the family dinner table was that I owed my education in Pakistan to Mrs B!

At school, my brother and I were extended a warm welcome and always greeted “our good friends from Sri Lanka.” I felt when playing cricket for our college; our runs were cheered more loudly than of others.

One particular incident that I remember well was when the Embassy received a telex from the Foreign inistry. It requested that our High Commissioner seek an immediate meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Zulifikar Ali Bhutto (ZB), and convey a message from Mrs B. The message requested that an urgent shipment of rice be dispatched to Sri Lanka as there would be an imminent rice shortage. As the Ambassador was not in the station, the responsibility devolved on my father.

It usually takes about a week or more to get an audience with the Prime Minister (PM) of a foreign country due to their busy schedule. However, given the urgency, my father spoke to the Foreign Ministry’s Permanent Sectary, who fortunately was our neighbour and sought an urgent appointment. My father received a call from the PM’s secretary around 10 P.M asking him to come over to the PM’s residence. My father met ZB around midnight. ZB was about to retire to bed and, as such, was in his pyjamas and gown enjoying a cigar! He had greeted my father and had asked, “Mr Jayaweera, what can we do for great friend Madam Bandaranaike?. My father conveyed the message from Colombo and quietly mentioned that there would be riots in the country if there is no rice!

ZB had immediately got the Food Commissioner of Pakistan on the line and said, “I want a shipload of rice to be in Colombo within the next 72 hours!” The Food Commissioner reverted within a few minutes, saying that nothing was available and the last export shipment had left the port only a few hours ago to another country. ZB had instructed to turn the ship around and send it to Colombo. This despite protests from the Food Commissioner about terms and conditions of the Letter of Credit prohibiting non-delivery. Sri Lanka got its delivery of rice!

The next was the visit of Mrs B to Pakistan. On arrival in Rawalpindi airport, she was given a hero’s welcome, which Pakistan had previously only offered to President Gaddafi of Libya, who financially backed Pakistan with his oil money. That day, I missed school and accompanied my parents to the airport. On our way, we witnessed thousands of people had gathered by the roadside to welcome Mrs B.

When we walked to the airport’s tarmac, thousands of people were standing in temporary stands waving Sri Lanka and Pakistan flags and chanting “Sri Lanka Pakistan Zindabad.” The noise emanating from the crowd was as loud and passionate as the cheering that the Pakistani cricket team received during a test match. It was electric!

I believe she was only the second head of state given the privilege of addressing both assemblies of Parliament. The other being Gaddafi. There was genuine affection from Mrs B amongst the people of Pakistan.

I always remember the indefatigable efforts of Mr Abdul Haffez Kardar, a cabinet minister and the President of the Pakistan Cricket Board. From around 1973 onwards, he passionately championed Sri Lanka’s cause to be admitted as a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and granted test status. Every year, he would propose at the ICC’s annual meeting, but England and Australia’s veto kept us out until 1981.

I always felt that our Cricket Board made a mistake by not inviting Pakistan to play our inaugural test match. We should have appreciated Mr Kardar and Pakistan’s efforts. In 1974 the Pakistan board invited our team for a tour involving three test matches and a few first-class games. Most of those who played in our first test match was part of that tour, and no doubt gained significant exposure playing against a highly talented Pakistani team.

Several Pakistani greats were part of the Pakistan and India team that played a match soon after the Central Bank bomb in Colombo to prove that it was safe to play cricket in Colombo. It was a magnificent gesture by both Pakistan and India. Our greatest cricket triumph was in Pakistan when we won the World Cup in 1996. I am sure the players and those who watched the match on TV will remember the passionate support our team received that night from the Pakistani crowd. It was like playing at home!

I also recall reading about how the Pakistani government air freighted several Multi Barrell artillery guns and ammunition to Sri Lanka when the A rmy camp in Jaffna was under severe threat from the LTTE. This was even more important than the shipload of rice that ZB sent. This was crucial as most other countries refused to sell arms to our country during the war.

Time and again, Pakistan has steadfastly supported our country’s cause at the UNHCR. No doubt this year, too, their diplomats will work tirelessly to assist our country.

We extend a warm welcome to Mr Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He is a truly inspirational individual who was undoubtedly an excellent cricketer. Since retirement from cricket, he has decided to get involved in politics, and after several years of patiently building up his support base, he won the last parliamentary elections. I hope that just as much as he galvanized Sri Lankan cricketers, his political journey would act as a catalyst for people like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to get involved in politics. Cricket has been called a “gentleman’s game.” Whilst politics is far from it!.


Continue Reading


Covid-19 health rules disregarded at entertainment venues?



Believe me, seeing certain videos, on social media, depicting action, on the dance floor, at some of these entertainment venues, got me wondering whether this Coronavirus pandemic is REAL!

To those having a good time, at these particular venues, and, I guess, the management, as well, what the world is experiencing now doesn’t seem to be their concerned.

Obviously, such irresponsible behaviour could create more problems for those who are battling to halt the spread of Covid-19, and the new viriant of Covid, in our part of the world.

The videos, on display, on social media, show certain venues, packed to capacity – with hardly anyone wearing a mask, and social distancing…only a dream..

How can one think of social distancing while gyrating, on a dance floor, that is over crowded!

If this trend continues, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Coronavirus makes its presence felt…at such venues.

And, then, what happens to the entertainment scene, and those involved in this field, especially the musicians? No work, whatsoever!

Lots of countries have closed nightclubs, and venues, where people gather, in order to curtail the spread of this deadly virus that has already claimed the lives of thousands.

Thailand did it and the country is still having lots of restrictions, where entertainment is concerned, and that is probably the reason why Thailand has been able to control the spread of the Coronavirus.

With a population of over 69 million, they have had (so far), a little over 25,000 cases, and 83 deaths, while we, with a population of around 21 million, have over 80,000 cases, and more than 450 deaths.

I’m not saying we should do away with entertainment – totally – but we need to follow a format, connected with the ‘new normal,’ where masks and social distancing are mandatory requirements at these venues. And, dancing, I believe, should be banned, at least temporarily, as one can’t maintain the required social distance, while on the dance floor, especially after drinks.

Police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana keeps emphasising, on TV, radio, and in the newspapers, the need to adhere to the health regulations, now in force, and that those who fail to do so would be penalised.

He has also stated that plainclothes officers would move around to apprehend such offenders.

Perhaps, he should instruct his officers to pay surprise visits to some of these entertainment venues.

He would certainly have more than a bus load of offenders to be whisked off for PCR/Rapid Antigen tests!

I need to quote what Dr. H.T. Wickremasinghe said in his article, published in The Island of Tuesday, February 16th, 2021:

“…let me conclude, while emphasising the need to continue our general public health measures, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowded gatherings, to reduce the risk of contact with an infected person.

“There is no science to beat common sense.”

But…do some of our folks have this thing called COMMON SENSE!


Continue Reading
  • HomePage Advertiesment – middle11


  • HomePage Advertiesment – middle11


  • HomePage Advertiesment – middle11