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Sunday December 4th, 2022

Sri Lanka police in unique move to tackle rising road fatalities

ECONOMYNEXT – After failing to implement basic lane discipline, Sri Lanka’s police has come up with a unique way to reduce fatal accidents – in future all passengers will be criminally prosecuted along with offending drivers.

The first test case is reported from Opanayake in the Ratnapura district where the passenger of an army jeep was arrested and remanded because his driver was involved in an accident that killed a five-year-old girl on February 18.

Where the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) traffic feared to tread, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera rushed to order the officer in charge of the Opanayake police to immediately arrest the passenger, an army major, and his driver.

According to witness statements, the only “crime” committed by the passenger was to use his phone while his driver was at the wheel when the crash occurred, but Gunasekera got him arrested under section 298 of the Penal Code (Causing death by negligence.).

Assistant Superintendent Gunasekera who went above the traffic DIG is now qualified for the 2016 innovation award for coming up with this unique scheme to prosecute passengers.

When asked if he had in fact ordered the arrest, Gunasekera told a local newspaper that he not only ordered the arrest, but asked the Opanayake OIC to record it in his note book. Such is the courage of a trail blazer.

Gunasekera could take his initiative to its logical conclusion by calling for the arrest of the army commander Krishantha Silva too as the registered owner of the vehicle that caused the fatal injury. There could be an army of politicians in jail given that many VVIP convoys are involved in many fatal accidents.

About  2,500 people die on Sri Lankan roads annually and the numbers are rising with the huge influx of vehicles in recent years.  The deterrent effect of Gunasekera’s novel move should not be underestimated.

After all, he is also an attorney-at-law who only last month tried his hand at appearing for the police in what is turning out to be the worst police brutality case under the Sirisena administration. Inspector General N. K.  Illangakoon bowed to public pressure and withdrew Gunasekera from the Embilipitiya case after his conduct was challenged by fellow lawyers, but he is still full of ideas.

Traffic cases could now be shifted to high courts or all traffic courts could also be co-opted to hear criminal traffic cases. Every passenger is now a potential suspect aiding and abetting murder under section 298 of the Penal Code. 

The controversial private medical college at Malabe could consider turning its students into lawyers and this would be a win-win situation to end that controversy too. ASP Gunasekera is not only a lawyer, but a political trouble shooter.

In April 2005 marking a rare exception, police prosecuted a bus conductor in the fatal bus-train collision at Alawwa that led to the deaths of 37 and wounded 40.

In that case, the conductor was also held criminally responsible because he moved the rail barrier and egged the driver to move while a train approached the level crossing.

Being a lawyer in addition to being the police spokesman, Gunasekera must know what he is doing even though he has been brave to bypass the police chain of command, one can only hope his innovative idea pays dividends and he is not taken out of his post.

But unlike other cops, he can still have a practice at the traffic courts. (Colombo/Mar04/2016)

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Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium on Sri Lanka debt, 15 years of debt restructuring

ECONOMYNEXT — The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis, India’s The Hindustan Times reported.

While the Paris Club has yet to formally reach out to India and China, Colombo has yet to initiate a formal dialogue with the Xi Jinping regime, the newspaper reported on Saturday December 03, inferring that the chances of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approving its 2.9 billion dollar extended fund facility for Sri Lanka in December now ranges from very low to nonexistent.

“This means that Sri Lanka will have to wait for the March IMF meeting of the IMF before any aid is extended by the Bretton Woods institution,” the newspaper reported.

“Fact is that for Sri Lanka to revive, creditors will have to take a huge hair cut with Paris Club clearly hinting that global south should also take the same cut as global north notwithstanding the inequitable distribution of wealth. In the meantime, as Colombo is still to get its act together and initiate a dialogue and debt reconciliation with China, it will need bridge funding to sustain the next three month before the IMF executive board meeting in March 2023. Clearly, things will get much worse for Sri Lanka before they get any better—both economically and politically,” the report said. (Colombo/Dec04/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea prices up amid low volumes

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka tea prices picked up at the last auction in November amid low volumes, brokers said.

“Auction offerings continued to record a further decline and totalled 4.2 million Kilograms, of which Ex-Estate offerings comprised of 0.6 million Kilograms. There was good demand,” Forbes and Walker Tea brokers said.

“In the Ex-Estate catalogues, overall quality of teas showed no appreciable change. Here again, there was good demand in the backdrop of extremely low volumes.”

High Growns

BOP Best Westerns were firm to 50 rupees per kg dearer. Below best and plainer types were Rs.50/- per kg easier on last.

Nuwara Eliya’s were firm.

BOPF Best Westerns were firm to selectively dearer. Below best and plainer teas declined by 50 rupees per kg.

Uva/Uda Pussellawas’ were generally firm and price variances were often reflective of quality with the exception of Select Best Uva BOPF’s which were firm and up to 50 rupees per kilogram dearer.

CTC teas, in general, were mostly firm.

“Most regular buyers were active, with perhaps a slightly more forceful trend from the local trade,” brokers said.

Corresponding OP1’s met with improved demand. Well-made OP/OPA’s in general were fully firm, whilst the Below Best varieties and poorer sorts met with improved demand. PEK/PEK1’s, in general, were fully firm to selectively dearer.

In the Tippy catalogues, well-made FBOP/FF1’s sold around last levels, whilst the cleaner Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated. Balance too were dearer to a lesser extent.

In the Premium catalogues, very Tippy teas continued to attract good demand. Best were firm to selectively dearer, whilst the Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated

Low Growns

Low Growns comprised 1.8 million Kilograms. Market met with improved demand, in general.

In the Leafy & Semi Leafy catalogues, select Best BOP1/OP1’s were fully firm, whilst the Below Best/bolder BOP1’s were barely steady.

Low-grown teas, farmed mainly by smallholders and exported to the Middle East and Central Asia, are the most sought-after and expensive Ceylon Teas.

Low-grown CTC prices have gained this week to 982.80 per kilogram this week from 934.76 per kilogram last week.

Few Select best BOP1s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower. Poorer types maintained.

BOPF’s in general, firm market.

FBOPF/FBOPF1’s select best and best increased in value, whilst the below best and bottom held firm.

Selected best BOP1’s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower.Poorer types maintained.

OP1’s selects best together with best and below best were firm to dearer. Poorer sorts were fully firm.

Medium Growns

BOPF’s, select best gained by 50 rupees per kilogram. Others maintained.

BOP1’s select best dearer by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others moved up by 50 rupees per kg.

OP1: select best gained by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others dearer by 100 rupees per kg.

OP/OPA’s in general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg whilst the poorer sorts were firm.

PEK’s Select best gained by 50 rupees per kg whilst all others maintained. PEK1: In general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg. (Colombo/Dec 04/2022)



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Sri Lanka Ports Authority East Terminal contractor paid: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Authority had paid a deposit for a gantry crane and made the required payment for the contractor to complete building the East Container Terminal, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.

The East Container Terminal, a part of which is already built is being completed as a fully SLPA owned terminal at a cost of 480 million dollars Ports and Shipping Minister de Silva said.

“ECT we are funding with money available in the ports authority,” he said.

“Up to now we have paid an advance for the gantry crane. And for the construction we have paid all the money agreed with the contractor. So that is going on well.”

Sri Lanka is undergoing the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s soft-pegged (flexible exchange rate) central bank which has created difficulties in funding the project.

“Every penny we collect as dollars we are keeping them separately and utilizing that for the Eastern Terminal work,” Minister de Silva said.

“We are confident that the ECT will be completed within the envisaged time. It is a difficult task in view of the dollar problem.

Banks were also not releasing the dollar deposits of the SLPA earlier but are now doing so, he said.

“Our deposits in banks they have utilized for urgent other national purposes,” he said.

“So they are releasing that money slowly. I am happy that they are releasing that money little by little. So with that we will be able to manage that.”

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