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Thursday May 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka political elites’ vested interests linked to weak institutional structures: Study

ECONOMYNEXT – Politically connected persons who declare commitments to address various types of economic crimes, often during election cycles, have vested interests in institutions that investigate and prosecute economic crimes, a recent study by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has found.

“Therefore, once these political elites are in office, they are often reluctant to invest in building capacities as any form of institutional strengthening could lead to their private gains being investigated as well.”

The study, Understanding Connections between Human Rights and Economic Crimes, combines the findings on key informant interviews (KIIs), and analysis of the challenges to the country’s efforts to combat corruption and ensure accountability within its governance framework.

“The key impediment to setting up a powerful, independent investigative and prosecutorial arm to address economic crimes is a direct result of the lack of commitment to capacitate and invest in existing institutional structures,” the study said.

The study further broke down the reasons for the continuous deliberate attempts to dismantle structures of accountability to address economic crimes in Sri Lanka as; vested interests in institutions, concerns regarding independence and integrity, and deliberate attempts to dismantle systems of accountability.

On institutional structures’ integrity and independence, the study found that combating economic crimes presents a challenge to the independence and integrity of institutional structures.

“Fundamental concerns regarding the impartiality and transparency of investigations exist, particularly as to what extent these inquiries are conducted without external interference. This also relates to a range of other issues such as securing the resourcing for any establishment/s to carry out independent investigations and prosecutions as well as investing in obtaining specialist knowledge,” the study found.

The skills, specialisation, and technical proficiency gaps between investigators and prosecutors are substantial, as this investigation found, particularly when it comes to handling intricate matters like economic crimes.

Even though there had been attempts to enhance the capacities of investigators in the past, such efforts have also been “deliberately undermined”.

“For example, the immediate transfer of the 60 officers, who were trained to investigate financial crimes under the former Financial Crimes Investigative Division (FCID), to other unrelated tasks evinces the deliberate obstruction of the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations.” (Colombo/Apr12/2024)

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Sri Lanka has power breakdowns amidst extreme weather

ECONOMYNEXT – The state-owned power utility, the Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last three days due to inclement weather in the island, the power minister said.

“Additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers,” Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera said on social media platform X (twitter).

Wijesekera said consumers could report power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, via SMS to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, or use the CEB Care app, or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk.

The South-East monsoon has seen floods, landslides and strong winds do damage to the utility provider’s infrastructure in the last week. (Colombo/May23?2024)

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Sri Lanka President calls for unity, sacrificing for a better tomorrow on Vesak day

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has recalled a sermon from the Buddha about sacrificing for a better tomorrow, and called for unity to heal and rebuild the country, as Buddhists celebrate Vesak.

Buddhists celebrate Vesak as commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha.

“At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow,” President Wickremesinghe said in his Vesak day message.

“We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day.

“Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. ”

The full statement is reproduced below:

The Vesak festival is a profoundly sacred day for Buddhists worldwide, commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, along with their brethren around the globe, celebrate Vesak with deep devotion. They spend this period engaging in religious observances and venerating the Buddha with fervent devotion.

At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.

We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day. Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. The principles of Lichchavi Raja Dharmaya will guide us in this endeavour.

Let us keep in mind that the primary aim of the Vesak festival is to foster spiritual growth and character development in a world rapidly advancing physically. I wish everyone a blessed Vesak festival.

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Sri Lanka to host foreign artistes, Sigiriya fashion show to promote tourism

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka plans to bring down international artistes, and hold water festivals to boost tourists, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu said.

“We will be hosting a few international artists in September to December,” Gajabahu told EconomyNext.

“We would also be having a fashion show in Sigiriya.”

Sri Lanka is targeting 2.3 million tourists in the year 2024 with expectations that it may go up to 2.5 million Gajabahu said.

Sri Lanka is also planning on having a water festival in coastal towns such as Trincomalee, Arugambay  and Kalpitiya in order to showcase Sri Lanka’s capacity for watersports, Gajabahu said. (Colombo/May22/2024)

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