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President Maithripala Sirisena, I am writing this letter to you

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President Maithripala Sirisena, I am writing this letter to you, but I am fully aware you may never read it. Just as you pardoned my sister’s murderer on a Saturday night and chose to do it on a long weekend in Sri Lanka so you could avoid facing what you have done for as long as possible. I cannot begin to understand how a father of two daughters reached the decision to release this monster? I know every single injury my sister sustained that night. I could write the extensive list right here, it is tragically clear in my memory, but I need to protect my parents from having to go through it all again. I can’t stop thinking about what she went through that night. She fought for her life, even running from her attacker with broken ankles. I know you didn’t follow due process for this murderer’s release, but did you even take the time to look into this case at all?

No one will ever truly understand the impact a murder has on a family and how loss follows loss. We lost friends who themselves couldn’t cope, our country which we called home and ourselves over and over again. My parents and I occupy ourselves every moment so we don’t sink into dark thoughts. Pretending to be fine and normal has its own weight and repercussions. We know this too well but it has been the only way to make sure that the murderer didn’t take more from us. I watch my father be so strong in front of people, but behind closed doors, he is a broken man. President, do you know how many years it took for my father to stop crying in his sleep? My mother has been unable to express herself or fathom what had happened to her firstborn child. She is highly protective of me and rightly so. People close to us never understood this, but I have always stuck by my mother’s side because I understand. I understand it even more now being a mother to a little girl.

I remember feeling this hollow and lost when my sister died. Since I heard the news confirming the pardon, I have felt completely on edge and I haven’t stopped shaking. It took me about 10 years to start to feel close to normal, but now here I am, in this same dark hole again. Worst of all, I have a 4-month-old daughter that needs her mother, so I’m aware that this will be the greatest test of my inner strength. I have come to live with this pain and it has become a part of who I am today. This type of pain never heals, it matures with you. I dealt with it as a teenager, then as a young adult and now as a parent and I know I will continue feeling its strife whilst it transforms itself until I am at rest.

Finally President, now that you have once again inflicted this unbearable pain on my family, I think we and all the people who have expressed concern with the recent events, deserve to know the true reasons you involved yourself in this case. There are countless Sri Lankans in custody for lesser crimes, yet you have chosen to pardon a prisoner convicted of premeditated murder, and in doing so undermined the highest level of judiciary in the country. The reasons given in your public speech in no way justify the pardoning of a murderer. Your silence on the matter since your speech makes me fear we may never know the truth behind your decision, but you will now be attached to this case forever and for all of the wrong reasons. It would be impossible for any action to make better what happened to my sister and the subsequent pain for my family, but you have used your Presidential power and ended your term by succeeding in making it even worse.


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    • (எம்.மனோசித்ரா) மக்கள் ஆணையை ஏற்று பாராளுமன்ற தேர்தலுக்குச் செல்வதே பொறுத்தமானதாக இருக்கும் எனக் கருதுவதாகத் தெரிவித்த எதிர்க்கட்சி தலைவர் மஹிந்த ராஜபக்ஷ, ஜனாதிபதியும் பிரதமரும் வெவ்வேறு கட்சிகளைப் பிரதிநிதித்துவப்படுத்தி இரு அரசாங்கம் தற்போது காணப்படுவதால் வேலைத்திட்டங்களை ஆரம்பிக்க முடியாது என்றும் குறிப்பிட்டார்.  பழைய அரசாங்கமே இன்னும் காணப்படுகிறது. ரணில் விக்கிரமசிங்க பிரதமராக இருக்கிறார். எனினும் இது வரையில் ஐந்திற்கும் மேற்பட்ட அமைச்சர்கள் பதவி விலகியிருக்கின்றனர். எதிர்வரும் நாட்களில் என்ன நடக்கவிருக்கிறது என்பதை அவதானிக்க வேண்டும். மக்களின் நிலைப்பாட்டை ஏற்று அதற்கேற்ப தீர்மானங்கள் எடுக்கப்படும் என்றும் அவர் கூறினார்.
    • This project will not increase the country’s growth rate immediately. It will simply address solutions to some of the most critical constraints which the country’s economy faces today. It is a facilitator and not a final solution provider Intelligent children, unlike some of the adults, are curious, probing and questioning. They do not jump to conclusions until and unless they are convinced of facts that have been presented to them. Asani, a student in the Advanced Level class in a leading school, is such a curious child. She had heard and read much about the Millennium Challenge Corporation or MCC Compact Grant for Sri Lanka and had not been convinced of the arguments made by those who stood for it or who criticised it. She wanted to explore it by herself.  Fortunately for her grandfather – Sarath Mahaththaya, an ex-Director at the Department of External Resources – visited her family allowing her to question him on some of the grey areas in her mind about the MCC Compact Grant. This is the conversation between Asani and Sarath Mahaththaya:  Asani: Sri Lanka’s main political leaders have been in one voice against the MCC Compact Grant. This is a unique situation in which they have spoken the same language on an issue. What is the reason behind their objection to this grant? Sarath Mahaththaya: This is quite natural because Sri Lanka is presently going through an election process. There are some people who are suspicious of anything relating to Americans. Even if Americans come with good intentions, these people have fear that there is some ulterior motive behind it. This is some weakness in human beings, though they have now evolved into what is known as Homo sapiens or Man the Wise. In this uncertain world, there are all kinds of risks and dangers faced by them. Hence, their brains are programmed to be cautious and that has been done for their own good.  But, many have overcome this weakness and can look at things from an open mind and make rational and logical choices. Unfortunately, it is these people who harbour fear are the most vociferous. At an election time when the clock is clicking fast, no candidate can spend time in explaining matters to these people. Therefore, they take the most pragmatic action. That is to silence them by giving into their fears. It allows them to spend time for other important matters relating to the election campaign.   This is exactly what the four leading candidates in the present Presidential Election have done. It does not necessarily mean that they are convinced of the stand they have taken regarding MCC Compact Grant.  A: That’s interesting, Grandpa. But what will happen after one of them gets elected? Do they have to continue with the same stand or change it? S: Once in power, they have no luxury of rejecting everything that comes in their way. Their policy advisors, if they are worth of their salt, have to take an impassioned view on MCC Compact Grant. During the election time, all these candidates were in a dream world thinking that they were the most powerful. But, after getting elected, they’ve to face the reality of the country’s economic conditions and come up with programs to help the people who have elected them. However, they’ve to do it without losing face.  So, my reading is that they’ll just pretend that they are renegotiating the compact grant with MCC authorities to take out the harmful conditions. My guess is that they would sign the same agreement but proclaim that it was a renegotiated one. This happened in 1970 during the July elections. The United Front led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike was highly critical of Dudley Senanayake government that the latter had sold Sri Lanka out to the World Bank by signing the loan agreement for the Mahaweli Project. But after they came to power, they implemented the project with a renewed vigour and urgency. Hence, whoever who will come to power at the election will have to be pragmatic. A: Grandpa, my teacher said that we don’t have to get American support to build our country. Her point was that if King Parakramabahu the Great could build reservoirs as big as oceans without foreign support, why can’t Sri Lanka do it now? I think she is correct. S: Asani Duwe, your teacher is both right and wrong. She is right about King Parakramabahu building those reservoirs without foreign aid and using purely domestic resources. But those days, there weren’t foreign aid facilities or foreign or domestic capital markets. Hence, the question of borrowing or getting foreign grants was out of order. She was wrong because she hadn’t explained to you that King Parakramabahu’s budgetary policies were completely different from the type of budgetary policies being followed by modern governments.  King Parakramabahu and all other ancient Sri Lankan kings ran surplus budgets by spending less than what they got as tax revenue and profits from their enterprises. Hence, there wasn’t other source than using domestic resources to build those reservoirs. Their tax policy was very prohibitive. Since all the lands in the country belonged to the king, those who tilled the lands had to pay a very high tax. Farmers had to pay a tax of up to 40% of the harvest to the king.  In addition, there was the compulsory king’s service or Rajakari Kramaya in which all the able-bodied males had to serve the king up to six months without getting paid. That was similar to the modern day polls taxes in which all those who have a body had to pay a tax to the government. The Rajakari Kramaya imposed an effective income tax of up to 50% on all able bodied males. With that kind of high tax system, kings could easily use only the domestic resources for building the nation. Modern governments haven’t got that luxury.  A: Why do you say that modern Sri Lanka hasn’t got the luxury of using its own resources for economic development? S: Because Sri Lanka is poor not only with respect to resources but also with respect to savings. At the time the country gained independence in 1948, the British rulers had left it with the largest amount of foreign reserves sufficient to finance 17 months of future imports. During that period, the country didn’t have problems of domestic resources and the Galoya Project, the massive multipurpose project was financed out of completely domestic resources. Since then, Sri Lanka ate up all its savings and today, it is in eternal deficit with respect to foreign payments. As a result, if it does not borrow, it cannot make its payments.  The Government is a notorious consumer using more than its revenue for consumption. The private sector on average consumes about Rs. 78 if it earns Rs. 100. Thus, the nation as a whole saves only about Rs. 20 if it earns Rs. 100. This is insufficient for the country to undertake investments on the scale it has to do. Therefore, Sri Lanka has to depend on savings transferred to the country by foreigners.  If it wants to use only domestic savings for investment, it has to cut down its consumption drastically like modern day Singapore or China. Those two countries practically have savings rates of about 40 to 50% of their earnings. For Sri Lanka, unless people are willing to tighten their belts, they have to use savings by other countries, no matter whether it is from Americans, Indians or Chinese or any other nation.  But people are unwilling to cut their present consumption levels. That is why it is a luxury for modern Sri Lanka to finance its investments purely out of domestic resources.  A: My teacher also said that USA has an ulterior motive in giving this grant to Sri Lanka. Why should they do it? She believes that USA is trying to convert Sri Lanka to an American colony through this type of aid. S: Once again your teacher is perfectly right. World’s aid flows have been determined not on sympathy or economic factors but on country interests. This is true whether it is from India, China, Russia, EU or USA. Sri Lanka being a non-aligned neutral country during the whole of its post-independence history has tapped all these sources to get resources for its investments. China saves more than it invests in the domestic economy and therefore has to transfer its excess savings to other countries. That’s why its presence is pretty much seen in Asia, Africa and even in USA.  But it has tilted the geopolitical balance in the region badly towards that country. Americans and Indians don’t like it and want to stop the spread of Chinese influence in the region. So, both are competing to maintain their grip on the countries in the region. So, India is lending huge amounts of money to Sri Lanka. Similarly, USA also has entered the fray now.  So, it is pragmatic for Sri Lankan leaders to welcome both these donors and receive funding from them for investment. That is why I said that Sri Lankan leaders also do not enjoy the luxury which they had in criticising these countries prior to election once they are elected to office. A: Grandpa, I read some people arguing that USA is trying to militarily intervene in Sri Lanka’s affairs compromising its sovereignty. They have said that Sri Lanka should stop this invasion at all costs. S: Asani Duwe, there’s a point in what you say. But economic choices involve calculating costs and benefits and choosing the one which is least costly. In this case, getting US aid is the least costly option available to Sri Lanka compared to confronting them. On the other hand, with the advancements in technology today, USA doesn’t have to come to Sri Lanka in the guise of giving aid to dominate it. It has the capacity to collect all the necessary data if it wants to control Sri Lanka.  For instance, if a farmer in Polonnaruwa goes out of his house in the night to enjoy the open air, US satellites can photograph the mosquito sitting on his nose even before the farmer notices a mosquito there. If USA wants, it can really punish Sri Lanka through other means. We export about a quarter of our products to USA amounting to about $ 3 billion every year and import about $ 500 million from that country. So, we have a huge trade surplus of about $ 2.5 billion in trade with that country and we use it to import medicines from India and cars from Japan.  I shudder to think what happens to Sri Lanka if USA imposes trade sanctions the way it has done to Iran or Venezuela. That would really kill all of us. It is therefore in our interest to do trade in collaboration with that giant instead of confronting it. Our political leaders are totally aware of this ground reality. That is why they don’t speak anything against USA openly and have allowed some rabble-rousers within the respective party to do the job for them.  A: Thanks, Grandpa, for the explanation. Can you tell me about this MCC Compact Grant to Sri Lanka? S: MCC is a new aid disbursement agency created by US Congress in 2004 similar to the US Agency for International Development or US AID which has been in operation in Sri Lanka for a long time. MCC provides grants to eligible countries for development projects that aim to improve the living of people. A country which is still a lower middle income country or below is eligible to receive support from MCC provided it has passed 20 tests covering three major areas, namely, economic freedom, ruling justly and investing in people.  Economic freedom component has six sub-components, fiscal policy, inflation, trade policy, how women are treated in the economy, land rights and access, access to credit and ease of starting up business. Ruling justly contains political rights, civil liberties, control of corruption, government effectiveness, rule of law, and freedom of information. The last criterion – investing in people – has six sub components such as health expenditures, primary education expenditures, natural resource protection, immunisation rates, girls’ secondary education enrolment rates and child health.  A country becomes eligible to receive assistance if it has passed at least 12 out of 20. For this purpose, MCC prepares a country scorecard and what is available for Sri Lanka is the one prepared for 2019.In that scorecard, Sri Lanka has passed 13 and failed in the case of fiscal policy, gender in the economy, land rights and access, freedom of information, health expenditures, and primary education expenditures. These seven areas should be improved in the future. Sri Lanka had attempted to obtain MCC funding as far back as 2005 but could not because it could not pass a minimum of 12 tests.  However, in 2016, MCC Board had approved Sri Lanka as an eligible country and, to receive the funding, Sri Lanka Government in 2017 had completed an analysis which a country should do compulsorily before receiving assistance known as a ‘Constraints Analysis’. This analysis is important for any development policy implementation because without identifying the constraints the country is facing, it cannot implement the policy.  Experts on this subject say that if a country does not tackle the constraints, the constraints will tackle the countries. It should be mentioned that the past development policies have not been successful because the country had not been able to tackle constraints successfully.  A: But what is this neck-breaking hurry which Sri Lanka Government has shown in bringing this compact into force? S: We have to be clear on one thing, Asani Duwe. That’s, Sri Lanka passed the threshold of the lower middle income country to become a higher middle income country in June 2019. Therefore, it is no longer eligible to receive MCC support. Hence, after 1 January 2020, Sri Lanka cannot expect to receive this facility. The present Compact is being considered by MCC because the work in connection with the Compact was started in 2016.  However, there are two requirements which Sri Lanka has to satisfy before 15 December 2019 to receive this facility. One is the signing of the Agreement by Sri Lanka and having the necessary laws passed by Parliament. MCC Board is expected to meet later in December and by that time these two requirements should have been met. This is the reason for the hurry with which the present Government is working. If the Government cannot do it before the deadline, Sri Lanka will lose MCC Compact forever. A: Grandpa, can you describe what this Compact means? S: Out of $ 480 million, $350 million will be used for road development component. It has three main components. One is the easing of the traffic congestion in the Western Province which is in fact a menace. The project doesn’t aim at eradicating the menace but to provide a relief so that the country will have a breathing space to implement a permanent solution. Accordingly, the eight main roads that feed the city of Colombo will be improved and traffic causing 132 junctions will be widened to allow traffic to pass easily.  In addition, 50 places in which there are pedestrian crossings that cause traffic to move slowly will be provided with overhead or underground crossings without impact on the vehicles passing those sections. In addition, public bus service, both CTB and privately owned, will be modernised by using advanced information and communication technology to issue e-tickets and better coordination of time tables. The third one is the development of a ring road net connecting major towns like Dambulla-Mahiyangana-Bibile-Moneragala-Rathnapura-Kegalla-Kurunegala-Dambulla with a class A road net and connecting them to Western Province where there is the major market in the country. In the case land title modernisation, moneys will be used to convert the present paper based title deeds to e-titles and improving the valuation capacity of the Valuation Department.  This project will not increase the country’s growth rate immediately. It will simply address solutions to some of the most critical constraints which the country’s economy faces today. It is a facilitator and not a final solution provider.  A: Do you think this Compact will increase the country’s growth rate to a higher level? S: Don’t have such high expectations. The Compact will certainly help Sri Lanka to lay foundation for high economic growth. There’re many more which Sri Lanka has to do in order to accelerate economic growth. Combined with those strategies, This Compact will help Sri Lanka to attain a higher prosperity in the years to come. A: Thanks Grandpa for your explanation. I now know what MCC Compact Grant means. S: You’re an intelligent girl and keep this thirst for knowledge going unquenched. Go by what Steve Jobs of Apple fame told the passing out graduates from the Stanford University: “Stay hungry; stay foolish”.  (The writer, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at
    • (எம்.எப்.எம்.பஸீர்) தமிழீழ விடுதலை புலிகளின் முன்னாள் உப தலைவரும் முன்னாள் பிரதி அமைச்சருமான கருணா அம்மான் என அறியப்படும் மினாயகமூர்த்தி முரளிதரன் முஸ்லிம்களை இலக்கு வைத்து வெளியிட்டதாக கூறப்படும் கருத்துக்கள் தொடர்பில் விஷேட விசாரணைகள் ஆரம்பிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.  பொலிஸ் தலைமையகத்துக்கு தேர்தல்கள் ஆணைக் குழுவின் ஆணையாளர்களில் ஒருவரான பேராசிரியர் ரத்னஜீவன் ஹூல்  அனுப்பியுள்ள முறைப்பாட்டுக்கு அமைய இந்த விசாரணைகள் ஆரம்பிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. அதன்படி குறித்த முறைப்பாடு தொடர்பில் விசாரணைகளை முன்னெடுக்கும் பொறுப்பு பொலிஸ் தலைமையகத்தினால் குற்றப் புலனாய்வுப் பிரிவுக்கு ஒப்படைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளதாகவும் பொலிஸ் தலைமையகத்தின் உயர் அதிகாரி ஒருவர் தெரிவித்தார்.
    • பட்டது + படிச்சது + பிடித்தது - 202   தமிழரை வாட்டும் மூடுமந்திரம்??   எல்லாமே திட்டமிட்டபடி...?? மகிந்த ஐனாதிபதி இடையில் புகுந்து மகிந்தவின் வளர்ப்பு மைத்திரி ஐனாதிபதி மகிந்தவின் தம்பி கோத்தபாய ஐனாதிபதி அடுத்தது அனைத்து அதிகாரங்களையும் கொண்ட பிரதமர் மகிந்த இன்னொரு கால் நூற்றாண்டுக்கு ராஐபக்சக்களே ஆட்சி   இதை அறியாமல் உணராமல் தமிழர்களுக்கு வாழ்வில்லை   இனியாவது அடுத்த கட்டங்களை உணர்ந்து ஆதரிக்காவிட்டாலும் தவிர்த்து செல்வதே வாழ வழி.   சிறுபான்மை இனம் என்பது முதலில் தன்னை தங்கவைக்கணும். இருப்பதையாவது காப்பாற்றணும்.   தமிழினம் இதைத்தான் கூட்டமைப்பினரிடமும் சரி வடமாகாண முதலமைச்சராக இருந்த விக்கினேசுவரனிடமும் சரி எதிர்பார்த்தது. ஆனால் அவர்கள் தத்தமது அரசியலை அல்லது பிரபாகரனாலேயே முடியாது போன போராட்டத்தை செய்கிறார்களே தவிர.....????????????   ஆனால் எம்மவர்கள் எம்மவர் ஒருத்தர் எடுத்த முடிவை மற்றவர் குளப்ப அல்லது அதற்கு மாற்றாக செயற்படுத்தும் செயல்களுக்கு கொடுக்கும் முக்கியத்துவத்தை மக்களுக்கு தாம் செய்யவேண்டிய காலத்தின் பணி சார்ந்து சிந்திப்பதே இல்லையே... இதிலிருந்து தமிழருக்கு விடிவு எப்பொழுது????
    • ஜனாதிபதியாக பதவி ஏற்றுள்ள கோத்தாபயவுக்கு 100 நாட்கள் நாம் அவகாசம் வழங்குகின்றோம். நூறாவது நாள் முடிவதற்குள் தமிழர் இனப் பிரச்சனைக்கு தீர்வுக்கான உறுதியான நடவடிக்கையை எடுக்க வேண்டும். அதனை எடுக்க தவறினால் சர்வதேச ரீதியாக ஐ.நாவின் உதவியுடன் வடக்கு கிழக்கு பிராந்திய பகுதியில் பொதுசன வாக்கெடுப்பு நடத்துமாறு நாம் பகிரங்கமாக கோருவோம் என முன்னாள் பாராளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர் எம்.கே.சிவாஜிலிங்கம் தெரிவித்தார். யாழ்ப்பாணம் நல்லூரில் அமைந்துள்ள யாழ்.பாடி விருந்தினர் விடுதியில் இன்று நடைபெற்ற ஊடகவியாளர் சந்திப்பிலேயே அவர் இதனை தெரிவித்தார். அவர் மேலும் தெரிவிக்கையில், தமிழ் மக்கள் மீது இனப்படுகொலைகளில் ஈடுபட்ட போர்க் குற்றத்தில் ஈடுபட்ட ஓர் போர் குற்றவாளியால் இனப் பிரச்சனைக்கு சரியான தீர்வு நீதி கிடைக்கும் வரை எம்மால் வாழ்த்துக் கூற முடியாது.முன்னாள் பாதுகாப்பு செயலரின் வெற்றிக்காக வாழ்த்துகளை கூறும் மன நிலையில் தமிழ் மக்கள் இல்லை.நானும் அந்த மன நிலையில் இல்லை. ஓர் ஜனநாயக நாட்டிலே நாட்டின் ஜனாதிபதி ஆனதும் முதல் நூறு நாட்கள் வழங்கப்படும். அந்த நாட்காளில் அவருக்கு எதிரான பாரதுரமான போராட்டங்களோ, கருத்துக்களோ, விமர்சனங்களோ முன்வைக்கப்படுவதில்லை. ஆகவே தற்போது ஜனாதிபதியாக பதவி ஏற்றுள்ள கோத்தாபயவுக்கும் நூறு நாட்கள் நாம் வழங்குகின்றோம்.நூறாவது நாள் முடிவதற்குள் தமிழர் இனப் பிரச்சனைக்கு தீர்வுக்கான உறுதியான நடவடிக்கையை எடுக்க வேண்டும். அதனை எடுக்க தவறினால் சர்வதேச ரீதியாக ஐ.நாவின் உதவியுடன் வடக்கு கிழக்கு பிராந்திய பகுதியில் பொதுசன வாக்கெடுப்பு நடத்துமாறு நாம் பகிரங்கமாக கோரி இலங்கையிலும் சர்வதேச ரீதியாகவும் அழுத்தங்களை கோருவோம்.எந்த தடை வந்தாலும் சந்திக்க தயார்.ஆகக் குறைந்தது இணைப்பாட்சி,சமஸ்டியை கொண்டதான தீர்வையாவது ஐக்கிய இலங்கைக்குள் வழங்க முன்வரவேண்டும். பௌத்த மதம் ஆழமாக வேர் ஊன்றிய இடத்தில் வைத்து புதிய ஜனாதிபதி தனது பதவியை ஏற்றுள்ளார்.அனுராதபுரத்தில் துட்டகைமுனு நினைவுசின்னத்துக்கு முன்பாக பதவி ஏற்றுள்ளார். இதன் ஊடாக நவீன துட்டகைமுனுவாக மாறப் போகின்றாரா?அல்லது வாக்களித்தாலும் வாக்களிக்காது விட்டாலும் அனைத்து மக்களுக்கும் ஜனாதிபதியாக இருக்கப் போகின்றாரா?என்பதை பொறுத்திருந்தே பார்க்க வேண்டும் என்றார்.