This is an experience of the good and not so good side of the Police force in Sri Lanka.
Recently, two policemen visited St. Andrew’s Home for Elders in Rajagiriya..
They told the Matron that the President was due to pass the Home the following day. She was ordered to get the residents to clean the side of the road and drain outside the premises. When told there were no able-bodied persons around, the policemen told the Matron to hire outside labour for the job. The Matron said she was unable to do so, as the Home was run by a board of management, and the cops left, telling her to do the needful.
A few hours later, two other policemen came, saying they were sergeants from the Welikada Police and demanded Rs. 7,500 in order to hire men and equipment for the job. When the Matron expressed surprise at the sum demanded, she was told this was a special reduced rate.
One of the policemen spoke to a board member on the phone and re-iterated his conversation with the Matron, adding that he was carrying out orders given to the police because the President was passing that way.
As the chairperson of the board, I withheld payment until I had checked with the OIC Welikada. I called the OIC at 7 p.m. that night, and explained our plight, and the difficulty in paying this sum. I was pleasantly surprised at the re-assuring and courteous way this officer spoke to me. He said the Police never solicited money in this manner, and said he would take immediate action.
The next morning, the OIC had identified the policemen who had come to the Home and reprimanded them. The policeman concerned came to the Elders’ Home and said I had misunderstood him. He said he was only trying to help us by introducing a man who could arrange for a team of labourers to do the cleaning. But why did he come in civvies with this “catcher” when he tried to broker the deal?
I write this so the public will be aware of such scams.
Chairperson, St. Andrew’s Home for Elders
The Ceylon Electricity Board seems to be resorting to dishonest ways to rake in more money at the expense of the consumers.
It has been the practice for meter readers to come every 30 to 31 days, after the previous meter reading, unless it is a weekend.
For June 2011, the meter reader came after 34 days, and made a higher reading, pushing the consumer to a higher slab, and a higher bill resulted. I later heard that the Electricity Board will be making such readings in future.
If the Water Board and Telecom followed this policy, the consumer would be financially ruined. Pensioners and those who earn monthly salaries are directly hit, as well as daily wage earners.
I ask the Minister concerned, a Sinhala Urumaya stalwart, whether such practice is in keeping with the teachings of the Lord Buddha, about which he cries himself hoarse, day in and day out.
P. H. de Silva,
We can’t afford to host the Games
The Government has estimated the cost of holding the Commonwealth Games in our country at more than US$6 billion. Those most keen to conduct the Games here are persons connected to politics, and not sports. The media has quoted those who have expressed reservations, mainly because of the enormous expenditure entailed.
|Kalubowila Hospital, where patients wait for months for surgery: Building hospitals and providing them with necessary equipment are more important than hosting the Commonwealth Games
By holding the Games here, we hope to improve our image among the participating nations and attract foreign investors to start industrial and service enterprises, especially in the areas close to the Games site.
But such attractions will be limited and may not be high job-generating enterprises.
We need to save and use our money for more urgent matters.
The Kalubowila Hospital, for example, is overcrowded. Patients from Moratuwa, Piliyandala, Homagama and even Horana depend on the Kalubowila Hospital services. For even a minor operation, people have to wait for months. There are not enough beds. The sick sleep on mats on the floor.
We should invest in a fully equipped hospital located in the Piliyandala and Homagama areas. The majority of people are not interested in the Games.
The glamour of the Games is transitory. Few Sri Lankans will win medals anyway.
Politicians of Daha’s calibre are no more
After her coronation, Queen Elizabeth II toured the South-East Asian Commonwealth countries. She visited Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), and the Government made a big effort to welcome her.
The LSSP viewed the Government spending on that occasion as being excessive. The Member of Parliament for Galle, the late W. Dahanayake, an LSSP member, hoisted black flags in protest.
Police Sergeant W. A. Johnson Wijesinghe (my father-in-law) was detailed to arrest Mr. Dahanayaka. He went to Mr. Dahanayaka’s residence and declared, “Sir, I am ordered to arrest you.”
“Sergeant, you may do your duty,” replied Mr. Dahanayaka, offering both hands to be handcuffed. He offered no resistance, showed no resentment or hostility, or aggression, and uttered not one word to suggest he would attack the Sergeant.
That was the type of gentleman we had in politics in Galle in those days. We we don’t see their kind today.
P. A. Binduhewa,