Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 05 June 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Advice from the top

It was an auspicious night last Tuesday for Minister Rajitha Senaratne who was embroiled in controversy over the GMOA issue. He was pondering his modus operandi when he received an important visitor. It was President Maithripala Sirisena visiting his old friend, Rajitha, to pay his long overdue ‘Avurudu’ visit. The President was accompanied by his family, and Rajitha hosted them to dinner.

Among other things, the two discussed matters relating to the burning issue with the doctors. ‘It is better to find middle ground’, seems to be the advice given. The very next day, Wednesday, Rajitha fixed a meeting with the GMOA officials for that night. Saner counsel prevailed on both sides and middle ground was found. The doctors were advised to liaise with Dr. Amal Harsha De Silva and sort out the matter in a way that would not harm the egos of both sides.

The doctors claimed they won the battle. However, it was thanks to the President who averted a major crisis with his advice. The doctors had better guard their words now, and not create any more problems.

Workshop revelry

The Parliamentarians had a field day at the General’s House, Nuwara Eliya last week when they all met for a session on Human Rights. It was a rather difficult task for the people who conducted it to appease the MPs but it was quite exhilarating with questions pouring in on many matters connected with HR violations by the LTTE. The questions ranged from the Aranthalawa massacre to the murder of Policemen in the East, but, the organisers chose to ignore many questions.

The bulk of the Parliamentarians were not interested in dwelling on the subject. It was the UPFA rebel group or ‘Joint Opposition’ who were vociferous in the discussion, but with the setting sun, the politicians buried their differences to indulge in something more special to all of them. They partied all night long with song and revelry.

Staged performance

Last week it was the talk of the town. All spoke high of young Namal Rajapakse, the up and coming politician and the son of ex-President Mahinda Rajapakse. Namal had impressed with his seemingly mature disposition on Sri Lankan politics in a TV talk show. Some said his knowledge of the issues was extremely good and well balanced, while some UNPers were stunned by the performance.

But the next day the one-time Presidential scion met with a very senior prelate who had watched the TV talk show, and the same Namal was then found to be quite ‘dumb’ on the very same issues! On Tuesday, just prior to the weekly Cabinet meeting, the gathering Ministers speculated on this discrepancy in performance. A senior Minister who was privy to the background story disclosed that Namal was given a practice session a day before the programme was actually aired as a ‘live’ telecast.

All the questions were designed accordingly and he was coached at the rehearsal on how to answer. Having learnt the secret of this seeming intellectual ‘development’ by the young parliamentarian, the Ministers entered the Cabinet meeting room with wide grins. At least Namal had some brains for a repeat performance unlike many others.

Sampur skirmish

Eastern Chief Minister Ahmed Nazeer was yet another personality embroiled in controversy last week over his behaviour at a school function at Sampur where he publicly berated a Naval officer for not following the protocol.

The controversy dragged on when local defence authorities thought it fit to impose a ‘boycott’ of functions attended by the Chief Minister and not permit him to enter any security forces camp.

At this point there were rumblings in political circles as to whether those defence authorities are empowered to take political decisions, since the ‘boycott’ decision they had taken was of ‘political’ nature.

Later the Prime Minister cleared the air saying that such a decision could only be taken by the President, and the defence authorities promptly moved to rescind the order while the Chief Minister expressed his regrets. Meanwhile, some Buddhist monks in the East demonstrated in support of the ‘war hero’ Naval officer involved; some even met with the President demanding appropriate action against the Chief Minister.

There were also indications that the embers of communal hatred were being stirred, with an ex- President too issuing a statement on the importance of protecting the ‘dignity’ of the security forces personnel who won the war for the people. The political authorities deflected the issue stating that all that fuss was because the Chief minister happened to be a Muslim.

Some people cited examples of many such occasions where high ranking forces personnel were humiliated by people at the highest levels – but that was during the previous regime. After all that controversy Nazeer was hosted to lunch by the officers at the Trincomalee Navy base along with other guests including Minister Malik Samarawickrama and vising Singaporean Minister of Trade and Industry S. Iswaran.


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