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Tuesday April 16th, 2024

Sri Lanka may consider hangwomen if execution starts: State Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka may consider hangwomen for executioner posts for the first time in its history if capital punishment is resumed in future instead of current hangmen who have no work at all, State Minister of Justice and Prison Affairs Anuradha Jayaratne said. 

Sri Lanka hired two hangmen in July 2019 for executions in the country that has never seen penalty in 44 years. The hangmen, who are near their 40 years with a basic monthly salary of Rs. 24,250 ($80), have yet to be trained for execution because Sri Lanka has not seen any.

“I don’t see any reason why a woman can’t be in that position. But since it’s not in the practice, that question has not come to us. But, one day if we start this execution and it comes to the ministry, we would consider it as long as the woman is fit and even we do consider they are fit,” Jayaratne told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Thursday (14).

“They (women) are already equally treated in Sri Lanka. So, I personally believe they are fit for that.”

When the hangmen were recruited in 2019, the government specifically advertised for two men.

The Prisons Department began the recruitment process early in 2019 following the previous hangman quit in 2014, citing stress after seeing the gallows for the first time. Another, hired in 2018, never turned up for work.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena in 2019 announced an end to a death penalty moratorium in force since 1976 to execute four people who were convicted for drug offences. But that never happened.

Local and international rights groups, along with former colonial master Britain, Canada, the European Union and United Nations have raised concerns about Colombo’s restoration of capital punishment.

NO TRAINING 

Jayaratne said the current hangmen have not been trained because “there are no humans to train with.

“But, if the time comes, they will be trained, but, at any given time we are in a position to carry out (executions). We don’t have an issue in carrying it out. It’s just a matter of giving the order,” he said.

“Right now we are working on a commitment that we will not go for any executions and especially if it needs to happen, we need to get the consent from the President. He has to give his order to carry out the execution. that has not happened for quite a lot of years.”

“And the president has given his commitment that an execution shouldn’t happen.”

Capital punishment still exists in Sri Lanka’s judiciary system, but it has always been changed to be arrested for lifetime in prison.

“If there is an execution order, we give a pardon in a number of stages.  If its death penalty, we make it to 20 years after 20 years we change it to condemned,” Jayaratne said.

“After that, we have another special committee where they see all the behavior if we could rate them in a higher scale.” (Colombo/March 14/2024)

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IMF urged Sri Lanka to preserve “hard earned gains” after economic crisis: State FinMin

ECONOMYNEXT – The International Monetary Fund has urged Sri Lanka to preserve the hard earned gains after an unprecedented economic crisis under the global lender’s programme, State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe said.

The Sri Lankan delegation led by Shehan Semasinghe met Kenji Okamura, the Deputy Managjng Director of the IMF on the first day of the IMF and  World Bank Spring meeting.

“Mr. Okamura commended the Sri Lankan authorities on strong programme implementation and excellent reform progress. He emphasised the need to preserve the hard earned gains Sri Lanka has experienced since the beginning of the IMF programme and continue strong ownership,” the State Minister said in his X (Twitter) platform.

He said the Sri Lankan delegation including Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe and Secretary to the Treasury Mahinda Siriwardana explained the recent socio-economic developments to Okamura.

He also affirmed the IMF top official on the authorities’ commitment to ensuring continuity and consistency of macroeconomic policies and reforms undertaken under the programme. (Colombo/April 16/2024)

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Sri Lanka State FinMin meets BCIU in US; discusses post-crisis investment prospects 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe met Business Council for International Understanding( BCIU) in Washington on the sideline of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings late on Monday and discussed investment prospects in the island nation which is gradually recovering from an unprecedented economic crisis.
“Our discussion centered on the potential that Sri Lanka offers for international investors. Explored various sectors, including education, tourism, renewable energy, agriculture and technology, where strategic investments can drive sustainable economic growth and development,” Semasinghe said in his X (Twitter) platform. 
“We reviewed the current macro-economic landscape of Sri Lanka, including recent reforms that have transformed to results. Glad to concluded the forum by marking constructive dialogue and a shared commitment to support the economic development of Sri Lanka.” 
“We thank participants, stakeholders holders and global partners for the significant interest shown in unlocking the full potential of the Sri Lankan economy and fostering greater international understanding and cooperation.” (Colombo/April 16/2024) 
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India allows Sri Lanka to import 10,000MT of onions

ECONOMYNEXT – India has relaxed an export ban allowing 10,000 metric tonnes of onions to be shipped to Sri Lanka, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“The exemption for Sri Lanka reiterated India’s Neighbourhood First policy, adding to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festivities here,” the statement said.

Onion prices went up in Sri Lanka after India and Pakistan banned exports.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has issued a notice allowing National Co-operative Exports Limited to ship 10,000 MT of onions.

The UAE has also been allowed to import 10,000MT of onions on top of 24,400MT already permitted.

A large Indian and South Asian expat community lives in the UAE. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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