COVER STORIES

Should Provincial Councils Be Abolished?

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
Born out of the Indo-Lanka Accord, the 13th amendment to the Constitution facilitated the setting up of Provincial Councils (PC) and the devolution of power away from the Centre.  It was an attempt to address the ethno-cultural aspirations of the people, mostly those of the Tamil community, who for long have been agitating for a separate homeland. While there was vociferous opposition to the 13th amendment even in 1987 when it was introduced, with an aggrieved “Sinhala nation” alleging power sharing was a first step ...Continued

A Big Win for Women and ‘Generation Never Give Up”

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
The Registrar General issued a clarification on July 23 that the planned new birth certificates will not carry the ethnicity of the individual.  This was somewhat different to what the Registrar General, N C Vithanage is reported to have told the media on July 22, where he is alleged to have said that along with the removal of the “are parents married” clause the Birth Certificate would also only state Sri Lankan. But, Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the National Freedom Front, an alliance partner ...Continued

The Challenging Issue of Stranded Migrant Workers

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
Ever since COVID-19 spread in tentacles around the world, many Sri Lankans working and studying overseas have been pleading to return home. Amongst this group were also Sri Lankans who were visiting family, touring the world, and those on various government sponsored training programmes. And some were fortunate; they were repatriated early enough and escaped being infected. However, a large number of Sri Lankans are still stranded overseas, particularly in the Middle East.  In the last count, at least 1700 migrant workers had caught the ...Continued

Low-Income and at-risk groups need better protections says WMC

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
  Amongst a set of recommendations released by the Women and Media Collective (WMC) for low-income communities living in Colombo and who were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 related restrictions is a proposal that daily wage earners be supported for a minimum of 6 months (April to September) with a monthly stipend to help re-start their livelihoods without getting into debt. The Collective also states that any aid from the President’s fund or cabinet approved funding must not be politicised or attributed to any political ...Continued

Should “Residual Forests” be managed by District Secretariats?

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
Environmentalists, political parties and even Forest Conservationists are wary of the government’s proposed plan to transfer powers to District Secretariats from the Forest Department that currently manage ‘residuals forests.’ The bone of contention is the cabinet decision taken on July 2 this year, which states, “Administrations of the state Residual Forests, which managed by Divisional Secretaries has been brought under the Department of Forest conservation in terms of the provisions of the circular No. 05/2001 dated 10.08.2001 issued by the secretary to the then Ministry ...Continued

Vote to Safeguard Parliamentary Democracy – Freedom, People’s Collective

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
The ‘Freedom, People’s Collective’ is calling on voters, come August 5th, to ensure that it does not ‘mark the beginning of the end of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary democracy.’ Launching the People’s Collective at the New Town Hall on July 8, speakers extolled the virtues of the 19th amendment and warned that plans by the current government’s leaders to abolish it, would pave the way to restoring the Executive Presidency and the unfettered powers that go with it. Democratic governance, as experienced in Sri Lanka has ...Continued

JCT’s Gantry Cranes for the East Container Terminal

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
A strike action by Port workers was called off today, July 3 following assurances that the three gantry cranes which had arrived at the Colombo Harbour would be unloaded as per their demands.  The Unions want the cranes, which had been ordered by the government to replace three older cranes of the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT), to be installed instead at the East Container Terminal (ECT). Informed sources speaking on condition of anonymity told Counterpoint that the cranes are ‘eminently unsuitable for and sub-optimise the ...Continued

Abolish Provincial Council System says Milinda Moragoda

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The 13th Amendment should be repealed paving the way for the abolishment of Provincial Councils, argues former Cabinet Minister and Founder of the Pathfinder Foundation, Milinda Moragoda. Issuing a statement, Mr. Moragoda points out that the 13th Amendment, originally introduced with a view to creating more provincial autonomy and addressing the country’s ethnic problem, has instead proven to be more ‘superfluous, expensive, divisive, and fraught with inefficiency.’ He is proposing that a more viable democratic framework, namely an ‘empowered senate/upper house, that could address critical ...Continued

CEJ Goes to Court Over the Mt. Lavinia Beach Nourishment...

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) has filed a case in the Court of Appeal against the Mt. Lavinia Beach Nourishment project (CA/WRT/128/2020). The case filed on June 19th  this year is against the Coast Conservation Department (CCD), the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), the Minister of Environment and the Attorney General regarding “beach pollution and the failed sand filling of the Mount Lavinia beach without following due procedure,’ according to a  media notice on the CEJ’s website. The CEJ ...Continued

In the Best Interest of the Child

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
If there is one thing that is clear, following the recent interactions the police had with children, it is that Sri Lanka has a long way to go in terms of raising awareness amongst the public, and more so the with public officers in child rights and  interactions with children. “Child Protection in Sri Lanka is a National Crisis!” says Dr. Tush Wickramanyake, Founder Chairperson of the Stop Child Cruelty Trust. “One of the fundamental principles of Child Protection endorsed globally “in the BEST interest ...Continued

Only The Fast And The Nimble Will Survive, Says PATHFINDER

Cover Story
Now that Sri Lanka has achieved notable success in containing the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the health of the nation, the time has come for a concerted and decisive focus on reviving the economy.  This is particularly timely now that the economy has been removed from its “induced coma” with the elimination of daytime curfew throughout the island. A Pathfinder Foundation Study Group produced a report which set out a new economic vision for post-COVID-19 Sri Lanka.  It has been shared with ...Continued

Alleged Assault of Autistic Boy – Three Policemen Interdicted

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
Three police officers connected with the alleged assault of a teenaged autistic boy in Dharga Town have been interdicted, according to a statement from Police Headquarters released at 7.45 p.m on June 5th. The interdiction follows an investigation into the incident, where dereliction of duties on the part of the three officers has been determined, says the statement.  The three involved in the incident are a Sub Inspector of Police and a Sergeant, both attached to the Police College at Kalutara, who were on secondment ...Continued

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