Tilak S Fernando

SOLVING ECONOMIC CRISIS – By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando For weeks, motorists in Sri Lanka continuously lined up in long queues to obtain diesel and petrol. It has turned out to be a daily routine at present. Many women line up in rows to receive LP Gas or kerosene while their husbands spend long hours in petrol queues. Thanks to swift action by the authorities, it appears that mile-long queues are diminishing gradually for petrol. Meanwhile, diesel queues are getting longer and longer. All of these were due to the adamant policies adopted by the authorities, causing a scarcity of dollars in Government coffers. Some blame the ex-Minister of Finance, Basil Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the ex-Governor of the Central Bank, Nivard Cabraal, for the current adversity. Leaving aside who is to blame for the current adversity, the sudden increase in the Cost of Living has caused ...

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SRI LANKA NEEDS FEWER POLITICIANS AND MORE TECHNOLOGISTS – By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   “There are rumours that Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had to take over the finance portfolio since no member of the Sri Lankan Parliament was willing to take up this challenge of managing the country’s finances. Instead of looking at the scenario negatively, it would be appropriate to think that the Prime Minister taking over the finance portfolio is also a progressive step, as the finance portfolio requires the maximum attention at this stage,” says veteran Indian journalist N.S. Venkataramanin in his latest article, which landed in my email ‘in box’. He further states that ‘when the Sri Lankan Government negotiated with the IMF to obtain financial support, the present scenario appears to be that the IMF is procrastinating the issue and has not given a firm assurance to the Sri Lankan Government. When ...

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Taking a closer look at ‘aragalaya’ – By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   The ‘Aragalaya’ or the protest by peaceful demonstrators in front of the Presidential Secretariat has exceeded fifty days and continues. The protesters claim the 6.9 million who voted for a change and for Gotabaya Rajapaksa failed to deliver what was promised on election platforms.  Fuel prices have gone up several times to unprecedented levels. Consequently, people stand in long queues mainly for petrol, gas and milk-food, while consumer prices are sky high. The scarcity of medicines in hospitals is also flashing red lights. People complain they have to spend their time in queues constantly. The poor cannot afford the wave of fuel and consumer price hikes. Yet, it is the fault of all Governments since Ceylon became independent in 1948 for not implementing robust economic policies. Still, everyone blames the present President in a matter of three ...

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CAN RANIL PULL THROUGH THE PRESENT PANDEMONIUM? – By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando Photo Source:bbc.com    Everyone doesn’t Ranil Wickremasinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister. He was the only member of Parliament ( from the national list) when the whole group of UNP candidates lost their parliamentary seats. It took nearly a year to fill the  UNP National list vacancy. In the end, the  UNP recommended Ranil Wickremasinghe’s name. Likewise, everyone blames the Opposition Leader for dilly-dallying the issue by presenting numerous excuses, such as ” the President should leave.”  By the time he agreed to accept the Prime Minister’s position (still under several clauses), the stable was closed and the horse had bolted. Usually, an opposition leader understands the Constitution of a country. For example, there is a shadow cabinet in England, and the opposition leader takes immense responsibility for national issues. He may disagree in Parliament over political issues ...

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What’s Happening to Cricket?- By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   Everyone in Sri Lanka, from children to grown-ups, know about cricket. Though volleyball is known as Sri Lanka’s national game, cricket took its place due to its popularity. There was a time when even Kussi Ammas were engrossed in the game whenever cricket matches appeared on TV screens.  When players such as Duleep Mendis, Kumar Sangakkara, Roshan Mahanama, Bandula Warnapura, Sanath Jayasuriya, Brenden Kuruppu or Arjuna Ranatunge batted, crowds were enthusiastic. The game’s enthusiasm peaked when Arjuna Ranatunge won the world cup in 1996. Cricket is a pitch and tosses game, where one team wins today and the rivals win tomorrow.  The rule book says that players must act on numerous regulations and disciplinary codes vested upon the umpires, captains, and the Governing bodies. The game needs to be played according to the game’s rules and within the spirit of ...

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POWER CUT EFFECTS – by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   The Government   needs to refrain  from obtaining short-term at high  interest rates. It will further compound Sri Lanka’s woes and reflect on the foreign debt trap. The country became paralysed  by the Covid-19 Pandemic and a global economic  crisis. Rather than  repeating the same mantra repeatedly, Sri Lanka should re-negotiate and restructure the repayment of our sovereign debt by coming  to a moratorium  agreement. Reeling under its worst economic crisis Sri Lanka’s power cuts continue for up to 13 hours a day. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) indicated that power disruptions will be according to a zone system. Yet, invariably the power cuts and restoration times vary. It confuses the public as no one can organise anything properly.  Hungry and sweaty children have to use candlelight to attend to their schoolwork in the dark. Housewives cannot keep ...

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British Royal Debacle – by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on 21 April 1926. She married the Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947 and had four children. The young couple were on tour in Kenya, when they had to return to England to attend King George VI, her father’s, funeral. He died in his sleep on 6 February 1952. Princess Elizabeth’s coronation took place on 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey in London and she was crowned the Queen of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and Head of the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II goes down in British Royal history as the longest reigning monarch. She marks her 70 years on the throne on 6 February 2022. During her stint as the Queen of England, she toured thousands of miles in England and worldwide, shaking millions of hands. However, being the mother of Prince Andrew, ...

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Retired DIG’s Anguish – by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   The writer and his partner were invited on 1 January 2022 by the Ceylon oldest living Olympian boxer-retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Sumith Liyanage, with some guests. Our conversation at the lunch table discussed details of Sumith’s career in Sri Lanka’s Police Force. During the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Sumith Liyanage fought in the same ring where young Cassius Clay as an amateur fought (earlier )in the light heavyweight category. It was at the Palazzo Dello Sports arena against Poland’s Jerzy Adamski. Sumith Liyanage was an old Anandian and Nalandian. He showed his liveliness in cricket when he played for Ananda and Nalanda. He was an opening fiery right-hand bowler, but his forte was boxing.  Olympics During New Year’s lunch when the topic of Boxing came up, the writer asked Sumith Liyanage whether he ever confronted Cassius Clay in ...

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The Interminable Patriot is no more! – by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   Douglas Wickramaratne answered the final call from this world on 1 December 2021. He was born on 9 April 1938 in Colombo. He lived in North London and was an interminable patriot.  He always argued with the international community to safeguard the reputation of Sri Lanka. His funeral took place on  14 December at the West  Chappal of Golders Green, Crematorium,  London NW11. He was educated at Ananda College, Colombo and was the leader of the debating team for both Sinhala and English, until Dr Buddhadasa Bodhinayake succeeded him. After leaving  Ananda,  he worked at the Bank of Ceylon as a manager and subsequently with the National Savings Bank in Sri Lanka. Douglas arrived in London in 1970 to pursue further studies. Upon completing his studies in London, he joined the Lloyd’s Bank of London as a ...

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A Tribute to Podi hamuduruwo – By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando   When I was in London my niece Shyamala Fernando asked me to interview Dr Galagoda Gnanissara Thera when I visited Sri Lanka on holiday in 2000, one of the most respected Buddhist prelates in Sri Lanka. He’s popularly known as Podihamuduruwo, the Chief Incumbent at the Gangarama Temple.    Venerable Nayaka Thera was born on 14 December 1943, ordained in the village of Galagoda, Matara, on 8 November 1954. After completing his primary education, he entered Vidyodaya University in 1961 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He took up robes at the age of 10, graduated at 17 and had to take the reins of Gangarama Viharaya at the age of 17 when his guru Venerable Devundera Sri Vachissara passed away. Many admire his guidance. The Venerable helps orphans to face life with a strong sense ...

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