Letters to the Editor


Sons and fathers who go berserk
As a firm believer in the democratic way of life, I was flabbergasted by the unbecoming action of Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva who lambasted a number of our electronic media institutions and their owners using foul language in public, in the full glare of television cameras.

This is not the first time the Deputy Minister has threatened the media. Ironically the Deputy Minister's temper has flared, due to his son's and his supporters skirmish with a group of Police Narcotics Bureau officers at a five star hotel.

Such daredevil sons of politicians, carrying arms with their cohorts at these night clubs, have sadly become a current trend in our thrice blessed country rather than an exception, and ironically time and again such acts of violence committed by these prodigal sons have been hushed up, with the connivance of the law enforcing authorities.

The Deputy Minister who has breached the norms of decency and also flouted the existing laws of media freedom enshrined in our Constitution, should apologize unconditionally to the media.

Undoubtedly the best course of action to be followed by any decent politician who has committed hara-kiri by intimidating the media with aplomb, is to resign from his post bowing down to public wrath, but sadly such statesmanship is an ideal which is increasingly rejected with disdain by our politicians. If this type of politician is allowed to go berserk at random, without being taken to task by the government in power, the prospects of our country making headway in any sphere will remain an idle proposition.

Ranjan Amarasinghe

Flawed statistics give wrong picture of the East
This is in response to H.M. Mauroof's article titled "New Electoral Reforms may marginalize Muslims" that was published in The Sunday Times of August 7. Mr. Mauroof deceptively asserts that Muslims constitute the single largest group in the Eastern Province. He relies on flawed demographic data in a perverse effort to undermine the numerically dominant Tamil community there. He has repeatedly claimed this in his flurry of recent articles.

I am not sure how he arrived at these "statistics". The Department of Census and Statistics did not complete the 2001 census in the East. At least 200,000 Tamils in the East were not enumerated in that census. The figures for the region are therefore incomplete.

One could turn to the annual statistics collected by the three Government Agents instead, two of whom are Sinhalese. The Statistical Handbook of the North East Province, which relies on these figures, indicates that Tamils formed 42% of the Eastern Province in 2001, while Muslims were 34% and Sinhalese 24%. Tamils are the single largest ethnic group in the Eastern Province. In fact, the TNA won a majority of seats in the province. It won four out of five parliamentary seats in Batticaloa and two out of four seats in Trincomalee last year.

The Colombo-based National Muslim Movement, which in reality is only a one man show, needs to understand that Tamils numerically dominate the Eastern Province. While truth will hurt prejudiced minds, any constitutional solution to the ethnic issue will need to take into account that Tamils were 42% of the East in 2001 and the single largest community there despite the high Muslim birth rate.

Should Ampara be detached from the Eastern Province and merged with Uva Province instead, the Tamil percentage in the East would rise to 59%.

D. Kandiah
Colombo 12

Merci beaucoup for a job well done
Recently there were many hostile articles in newspapers regarding French visas. I feel obliged to narrate my experience as well. My daughter who is 17 years old submitted necessary papers to the VFS office to obtain a Schengen visa on July 12. They were accepted after scrutiny and her interview at the French Embassy was scheduled at 10.10 on July 19.

She was asked to collect her passport on July 20. She obtained her multiple entry Schengen visa on the 20th and went to France via Germany leaving Sri Lanka on July 23.

Can the service be more efficient? VFS staff were very courteous and helpful to her. The French lady who interviewed her appreciated her proficiency in the French language! I am grateful for their expeditious service and can only say Merci Beaucoup.

Ranjith Wettewa

Did no one find employment during Ranil’s rule?
Switching on the television to Eye Channel, with the intention of having a look at the second ODI between India and the West Indies, I happened to see Eye Channel News and the Prime Minister addressing a gathering where he proclaimed that "the only government that did not give any jobs was the government under Ranil Wickremesinghe”.

I do not hold a brief for the UNP or its leader and for that matter to me all parties and their leaders are the same - who put self before the country. After all didn’t all 225 Members of Parliament want their super luxury cars when the tsunami victims are still living in tents?

One of the curses of this country has been pre-election promises given by parties to give jobs if elected to power. There is no application of the law of supply and demand; even if there is no demand the supply must be taken care of!! This has always resulted in the overstaffing of government departments and corporations, resulting in these institutions incurring increasing losses.
A government's duty is not to give jobs but create employment opportunities.
Can the Prime Minister truthfully state that during the time the UNP was in power, no one found employment?

W.R. De Silva

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