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Wednesday July 24th, 2024

Sri Lanka police minister raps Catholic leaders for not revisiting Easter probe despite requests

BLAST EFFECT: Easter Sunday blasts by Islamist extremists generated widespread sympathy in the West giving Sri Lanka breathing space to follow better policy – if it wants to.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s State Minister for Public Security Tiran Alles criticized Catholic leaders for not heeding his repeated requests to jointly revisit the Easter Sunday attack probes and help the police to get their views on the flaws and shortcomings in the investigations.

Though police investigations and court process are in the process against the key suspects of easter Sunday attackers, most people led by Catholic leaders have expressed their dissatisfaction on the probes because they have failed to find the real culprits behind the carnage that killed at least 269 people and the reasons for the coordinated suicide bombing.

Local Islamic extremists led the multiple suicide attacks, but Catholic leaders have demanded the whole truth about the carnage.

Alles said the police criminal investigation department’s probe is almost completed 99 percent.

“But from the Catholic community, some hold press conferences and give voice cuts, saying that the investigations have not been done properly. This is why I handed over all the reports which were not earlier given to the Catholic leaders in consensus with President Ranil Wickremesimghe,” Alles told reporters in a media briefing on Monday (28).

The complete report of a Presidential Commission which investigated the Easter Sunday attacks, was handed over to the Catholic Church by Alles in April. The reports were not released under the former leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government.

“When I handed over and prior to that, I told the Catholic Church leaders to give us an opportunity to explain the investigations that we have done before the blast up to date. I told them when they go through the investigations, their Bishops or some other leaders could point out the loopholes in the investigations so that we can go forward with this investigations together.”

“Unfortunately, we have not given that opportunity so far.

Islamist extremists bombed three main churches and three high-end hotels across the country on the day of Easter Sunday – April, 21, 2019.

Alles said some people “who have different agenda” have been telling different stories and dragging the the investigations for a long time

“But I have repeatedly told them that if the Catholic leaders or Catholic community really want to know who was behind this and how did this happen, then they will have to revisit the investigation jointly. Once they go through they can tell us the deficiencies and we can rectify them.” (Colombo/August 29, 2023)

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  1. Cassim says:

    Why not publish the report for all to know the truth.

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  1. Cassim says:

    Why not publish the report for all to know the truth.

Sri Lanka presidential candidate cash deposits not updated in 43 years: MP

MP Dullas Alahapperuma

ECONOMYNEXT — The cash deposits Sri Lanka’s presidential candidates are required to pay have not been revised in 43 years, opposition MP Dullas Alahapperuma said, calling for a significant increase in order to save money and to prevent proxy candidates.

Alahapperuma told parliament on Wednesday July 24 that, as per the Presidential Elections Act No. 15 of 1981, a candidate nominated by a recognised political party has to deposit only 50,000 rupees while an independent candidate, or a candidate nominated by any other party or by an elector, must pay only 75,000 rupees.

The MP said the cabinet of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa had approved an amendment to the act to increase these amounts.

“The election commission proposed that this be increased to 2.5 million rupees for political parties and 3 million for independent candidates. This was a pertinent proposal. There were 35 candidates who contested the last election,” he said.

The Act notes that “Where the number of votes polled by any candidate does not exceed one-eighth of the total number of votes polled at the election, the deposit made in respect of such candidate shall be declared forfeit and shall be transferred by the Commissioner from the deposit account to the Consolidated Fund, and in every other case the deposit shall be returned to the person who made the deposit, as soon as may be after the result of the election is declared.”

At the 2019 presidential election, said Alahapperuma, the deposits made by all candidates besides the top two contenders were transferred to the Consolidated fund.

“The number of candidates might be 80 or 85 this election. Many candidates have no basis for contesting, and it costs a vast sum of money to print ballots and other expenses, not to mention the time consumed for counting votes. This is not just to prevent proxy parties from contesting but also to save a lot of national wealth,” he said.

Leader of the House Susil Premajayantha responding to Alahapperuma said, however, that it would not be possible to pass the proposed amendment in time for the 2024 presidential election.

“The election commission made this proposal some time ago. But we know that to gazette a bill, we need to first draft the bill, the cabinet has to decide on it, send it back to the Legal Draftsman, and receive clearance from the Attorney General. So there is no time to bring this amendment for the upcoming presidential election. You can propose it at the next one,” he said. (Colombo/Jul24/2024)

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Sri Lanka deaf driver license project to be expanded islandwide

ECONOMYNEXT – A pilot project that allowed hearing-impaired persons to obtain light-vehicle driving licenses has been successful and will be rolled out island-wide, Sri Lanka’s Motor Traffic Department said.

The project was implemented in the Gampaha District initially where 50 licenses were provided to drivers who qualified.

The project was expanded to the Kurunegala District, where 150 drivers obtained licences. The drivers were given a probation period.

“Actually, this was a very successful project. It has been almost a year and we haven’t received a single complaint yet,” Motor Traffic Department Commissioner – Driving Licence Wasantha Ariyarathna told reporters on Wednesday.

“We plan to roll it out to all 25 districts islandwide.”

The issuance of driver’s licenses to hearing impaired persons will be done on a bi-annual renewal basis.
(Colombo/Jul24/2024)

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Sri Lanka election commission to announce poll date before weekend

File photo of polling booth

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka’s Election Commission will announce the date of the election before the end of this week, commission chairman R M L Ratnayake told a private news network.

Ratnayake told the privately owned NewsFirst Wednesday July 24 morning that the gazette notification in this regard would be published before the weekend.

“As I stated before, we will announce the date before the end of this week. There is no backtracking at all. We have selected a date that is nearest and most suitable after September 17 for the election,” he said.

Ratnayake told the media at a press conference on July 16 that the commission will publish the notice announcing nomination and election dates before the end of July.

“Our first task is to publish the notice on the election. From the day the notice is published, nominations have to be accepted between 16 and 21 days. The election should be held within four to six weeks of from the day of accepting nominations,” said Ratnayake.

“The candidates must have enough time to do their campaigns after handing over nominations. Time is also needed to cast postal votes and carry out other duties. The election date should also be convenient for the voters. For the acceptance of nominations, we have to consider cultural factors unique to a country like Sri Lanka. Some people consider things like the Rahu period. So we have to find a date that is suitable for everyone,” he said.

Ratnayake said the election commission intends to issue the notice before the end of July.

“This notice will contain the nominations date and the election date. We plan to then hold the election on the most suitable day after September 17.

“Some people had suggested that we have delayed this to end July to the benefit of one party or another. I want to point out that we can delay we can extend it to August 20 if needed,” he said. (Colombo/Jul24/2024)

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