For Peace sake reply the president
Presidents spokesman Harim Peiris told a press briefing on Wednesday that the LTTE had increased its cadres by 10,000 personnel during the 12-month period after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. President Kumaratunga is known to make controversial remarks, particularly when carried away by her cheering faithful at public rallies. But his statement cannot be considered in that light because for her press secretary to make it facts should have been verified and its implications considered before the announcement.
How should The Island and the public consider this statement? Our critics who are not happy with our uncompromising stand on the Peace Process say that we should give peace a chance. Thus to give peace a chance should we ignore this statement of the presidents secretary?
We do not believe that the way to peace is to ignore as the peace lingo goes existential realities. All those interested in peace should endeavour to determine whether throughout the year children were being abducted into the armed ranks of the LTTE as the current UTHR (J) report serialised in this newspaper shows. Or not.
President Kumaratunga as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces has access to the intelligence agencies of the country and is no doubt quoting them. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe as well as Defence Minister Tilak Marapana too no doubt will be well briefed by the intelligence agencies. Thus, it will be very relevant to know what they have to say on this subject. The presidential statement should not and cannot be dismissed as a nonsensical observation. It involves the security of the nation, the safety of the people particularly those of the North and East as well as the armed forces who cannot afford to relax believing that the Peace Process is proceeding along smoothly.
The Peace Process as well as the international effort to build up the war ravaged areas by the international community become meaningless if preparations for war have been going apace with the peace efforts. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe himself should reply to the statement of the presidents secretary.
Tripping Karu and the nation
The recent islandwide blackouts have been attributed to tripping of electrical circuits at the Kelanitissa Thermal Power Station. An experienced and renowned Electrical engineer, Tilak Siyambalapitiya on Wednesday in an article in The Island explained that such tripping, resulting in the entire country being plunged for long hours into darkness, need not have happened and Electricity Board engineers had to take the blame.
We are completely ignorant of the subject but being political animals we are wondering whether some of those in the Electricity Board are tripping the genial minister of Power and Energy Karu Jayasuriya.
Mr. Jayasuriya being a layman may not be wise to what is happening behind all that complex gadgetry and has to depend on reliable advisors about issues like tripping.
But there are common-sense issues here Mr. Jayasuriya can judge for himself. For example, the General Manager of the CEB on Wednesday summoned a press conference and called upon all consumers to conserve as much electricity as possible. He warned of a possible disruption in the supply of oil from the Middle East.
Sri Lanka cannot afford to waste electricity, he had said pointing out that the CEB was not asking consumers not to use electricity but not to waste it.
This is a stupendous statement for a CEB official to make. Where on earth was he during the past seven to eight weeks when the streets of Colombo were lit gaily throughout the night to make it a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? This was for the first time that Colombo went to this extent to light up the streets and no one seemed to be worried about power consumption. The Island questioned the sense and sanity of all this gaiety but who cared? We were called spoilsports!
May be, the amount of electricity consumed most of it illegally tapped would not have been enormous but what of the stupid example set for the people to follow? Now two weeks later, the CEB gets the jitters about a breakdown in Middle East oil supplies as well and sounds dire warnings.
Even a schoolboy reading the newspapers would have known of such an impending fuel crisis with American President George Bush threatening a Gulf war months ahead.
In three months time it will be Wesak and if the rains dont come down we are in for another power crisis. Let the CEB try asking people to conserve power for Wesak after going to town during Christmas!
Mr. Karu Jayasuriya should be careful about those who may want to trip him along with the circuits and the country itself.
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