An Echelon Media Company
Friday August 19th, 2022

Committee to study PCoI report panned by Church and Opposition

Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith adressing the faithful at Katuwapitiya.

ECONOMYNEXT – The six-man committee appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Committee of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attacks has a wide mandate but has already been panned by critics.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith whose congregants were the main target of the blasts has said that some members of the committee had limited education.

“Some of them have not even passed their Ordinary Level examinations,” he sniffed demanding that a copy of the report be handed over to him so that he may know what the findings are.

“The report was prepared by people with great intellectual capabilities, how can we let this committee report on that,” the Bishop said.

The committee comprises government Ministers and is headed by the President’s older brother Chamal Rajapaksa. The other members are Johnston Fernando, Udaya Gammanpila, Ramesh Pathirana, Prasanna Ranatunga and Rohitha Abeygunawardena.

In a media release issued on Monday, the Presidential Secretariat said that the committee has been entrusted with identifying “the overall process including the measures that need to be taken by various agencies and authorities” to avert a repeat of a national catastrophe of such magnitude.

The release added that the members were “selected considering factors such as their political maturity, experience and high level of knowledge in various fields.”

“These recommendations cannot be successfully implemented by any entity single-handedly,” the release said.

The President’s office said that events such as this “opens the door to external interference that is detrimental to the country’s sovereignty and stability. In order to ensure peace and security as well as economic prosperity within the territory of the State of Sri Lanka, all avenues leading to recurrence of such extremist violence must entirely be closed.”

It went on to say this “requires a complete cessation of religious extremism and associated terrorist violence, hate speech aiming different ethnic communities and foreign funding for such groups.”

The statement noted that the PCoI has “identified what each state institution and authority should do and the level of priority to be given to each task to achieve these broad objectives. If the existing administrative machinery is not adequate to follow the recommended course of action, necessary amendments need to be made in the administrative mechanism. The responsibility entrusted with the Parliamentary Committee appointed by the President is to study in-depth the content of the Report of the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks and to report on how action should be taken to prevent such a tragedy from happening again and to ensure long-lasting peace, security and stability in Sri Lanka.”

Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya Member of Parliament Manusha Nanayakkara criticized the process charging that the President has appointed a committee so that he can implement what he wants from the recommendations.

“Is it that the government is trying to protect the masterminds behind the attacks? Why doesn’t the government allow Zaharan’s wife to finish her testimony to relate what led up to the attack? Why don’t they bring back Sara the wife of one of the attackers from India and question her?” he asked.

The President’s office says the “prosecution and trial of the accused as per the recommendations of the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks will take place in accordance with the standard judicial procedures.” (Colombo, February 23, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Sri Lanka schedules 3-hour power cuts for Aug 20, 21: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will impose power cuts of up to three hours on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said.

All areas (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V and W) will have power cuts of 1 hours and 40 minutes between 10.30 am and 06.00 pm and 1 hour 20 minutes from 06.00pm to 10.00 pm.

Click here for a detailed schedule.

The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said supply interruption time and restoration time will vary within 30 minutes as indicated above.

Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts that were reduced to one hour in July with power generation from hydro power plants contributing more than 50 percent to the main grid reducing thermal power plant use was extended to three hours last week due to a breakdown at the Norochcholai coal power plant.

According to officials, the breakdown happened in Unit 1 of Norochcholai which will take around two weeks to repair.

The Minister of Power & Energy said Unit 2 is undergoing scheduled maintenance work while Unit 3 will continue to operate. West Coast and other fuel power pPlants will be used to manage the supply, the ministry said. (Colombo/Aug02/2022)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka guidance peg edges T-bond yield edge down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions edged down on Friday (19), while yields in Treasury bonds picked up slightly and in T-bill remain unquoted in dull trade, a day after the Central Bank announced the policy rates will remain stable, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01. 06. 2025 closed at 27.95/28.05 percent on Friday, slightly up from 27.90/28.00 percent on Thursday.

No T-bills were quoted on Friday, dealers said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s central bank announced a guidance peg for interbank transactions further weakened by three cents to 361.00 rupees against the US dollar on Friday from 360.97 rupees.

Data showed that commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 368.00 and 370.00 for small transactions.  (Colombo/ Aug 19/2022)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka records 10 new COVID-19 deaths in 48 hours as case numbers rise

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka recorded 10 COVID-19 deaths in the 48 hours from August 17 to 19 taking the country’s pandemic death toll to 16,640, health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka is experiencing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases with the relaxation of public health restrictions relating to face masks and public gatherings.

Health authorities said the situation will be monitored constantly and have asked the general public to continue to follow basic hygiene measures in order to control the spread of the virus again in the community.

In August alone 2,924 new cases were recorded in Sri Lanka, with 84 deaths attributed to the disease.

So far in 2022, from January onward, health authorities have identified 81,157 patients to date.

Epidemiology unit data showed that 874 patients are currently receiving treatment, out of which 716 are receiving home based care.

The spread of the virus has increased with the use of public transport rising after an easing of a fuel crisis.

Sri Lanka is also facing difficulties in securing essential medicine supplies for the health sector due to a forex shortage.

Health officials said if the number of COVID-19 patients rise to a level the health sector cannot manage,  with the added issues of fuel and medical shortages, the health system might collapse.

“It is the responsibility of us all. There is no use trying to forcibly control people. We all have the responsibility to reduce or stop the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. We have been living with it for the past two years,” Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

Continue Reading