If someone were to go out this week to buy essentials, he or she may wonder if some sort of lockdown – let it be ‘conditional’ as Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella suggested this week, or a “Quarantine curfew” as someone else has described it – is effective in the country. Needless to say, the current ‘lockdown’, whatever its name, has been extended until October 1.
This was business as usual in many cases, except in areas where COVID-19 cases are high.
There were long lines outside liquor stores in many parts of the country on Friday when news spread that the stores had opened.
In many parts of the country, grocery stores and other stores that sell essential groceries have remained closed as large crowds lined up outside liquor stores without following COVID-19 guidelines.
Many did not wear face masks or lift them for informal discussions as mandatory social distancing was a forgotten topic. Police officers who arrived with military personnel in some towns left with a simple verbal warning.
Amid it all, a middle-aged man in a queue was busy explaining to his drinking buddies that the reason the government was allowing liquor stores to stay open was to collect revenue while state revenues declined dramatically during closures. “As a taxpayer citizen of the country, it is my duty to contribute in any way possible,” said the citizen-aware citizen.
Journalists baffled by multi-angle photoshoot of presidential spokesman
When the Presidential Media Center (PMC) at the all-red White House-style Presidential Media Center (PMC) was declared open recently, there were the usual questions about spending.
Previously, reporters complained that the Secretariat was selecting selected journalists for press conferences and that following recent blockages no in-person briefing had taken place.
The most recent was a virtual briefing held on Thursday where Foreign Ministry Secretary Admiral (Ret’d) Jayanath Colombage took part in ongoing UNHRC sessions. President Kingsly Rathnayaka’s spokesperson was the only person standing on the podium in the empty auditorium.
This is followed by the usual press releases from the PMC as well as nine photographs of the presidential spokesman including Twitter bio calls him a “media personality veteran”. The posed photographs were taken from different angles for greater effect.
Newsroom reporters did not understand why so many photographs of the spokesperson were attached in the first place to a statement that had nothing to do with him.
Vehicle gilmart behind the dismissal of the president of Mannar UC
Earlier this week, Northern Governor PSM Charles sacked Mannar Urban Council (UC) chairman Shahul Hameed Mujahir from his post through an extraordinary gazette notification over charges abuse of his office.
It emerged that what led to the impeachment of the UC president was that he gave misleading written directions to the police and the courts regarding the ownership of a vehicle used by a well-known local politician. who is currently in prison.
The vehicle was reportedly used for some illegal activity in the area and once it was seized by police, the UC President gave a written directive stating that the vehicle belonged to the Council and obtained its release.
A concerned citizen filed RTI requests with the Council and local authorities to establish that the vehicle never belonged to the Council. Subsequently, the Governor’s Secretariat was informed of the misuse of
A case of foreign currency buyers overtaking those looking to sell foreign currency in LKR
It is evident that the country’s economic woes are reflected in the purchasing power and spending of people as the cost of living has reached new heights in recent months. The latest development concerns local and international banks which have introduced spending limits when using their respective bank cards abroad.
A reputable international bank that has a significant number of branch networks locally recently sent a notice to its customers saying that the bank is currently experiencing a situation where customers looking to buy foreign currencies outnumber those looking to sell foreign currencies in LKR (Sri Lankan rupees).
A room full of people, but no one knew what the new governor of BC signed
The day after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received his letter of appointment on Wednesday, the newly appointed 16th Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) came to his office to take office. His office was filled with CBSL staff who wanted to congratulate him, reporters and photographers who wanted to witness his signing on a piece of paper.
COVID-19 regulations have been ignored and worse yet, no one has bothered to remind anyone of the need to adhere to the guidelines. No one was sure what he had signed either. It was certainly not a brand new rupee banknote, which he is entitled to sign as governor.
Restless customers get no response to buy 5 yogurts to get 400g of powdered milk
Taking advantage of the current shortage of imported powdered milk sachets, some importing companies have adopted a new tactic to increase the sale of other milk products.
Retail store owners have been urged to follow a new mandatory condition to purchase five packs of yogurt so that they can purchase a 400 gram packet of powdered milk. Many customers agreed because there was a shortage of powdered milk sachets on the market.
When some worried Jaffna customers questioned the move, retail store owners said the conditional mechanism was introduced by the company itself and had nothing to do with it. Restless customers asked what the Consumer Affairs Authority was doing about it, but there was no one to answer.
In Defense of Ratwatte: A Jewel in the Crown by Weerawansa!
Government ministers and MPs have been put in a difficult position this week because of the alleged antics committed by Lohan Ratwatte, who ultimately resigned his post as Minister of State for Prison Management (although he continues to retain his original portfolio as Minister of State for Gem & Jewelery Related Industries).
As opposition figures and activists condemned Ratwatte and called for his arrest, government ministers and lawmakers had to answer questions from the media about the incident. Since the Minister of State is accused of entering two prisons intoxicated and even holding prisoners at gunpoint and threatening to shoot them, he there was not much to say to defend him.
Many members of the government chose to say they were unaware of the incident and could not comment. Others said they only saw what was reported in the media and assumed that may not be all true. Some have said they will wait until the results of an investigation are made public before speaking out.
Then there were people like Industry Minister Wimal Weerawansa, whose defense of Mr. Ratwatte reached alarming proportions. The minister tried to present the whole event of Mr. Ratwatte’s resignation as an “example” of the country’s political culture. “What is more important is that he was humble enough to take responsibility and step down. There were no such examples of politicians doing so. He set a unique example for the political culture of this country, “Mr. Weerawansa told the media. When a reporter pointed out that Mr. Ratwatte still retained his portfolio as Minister of State responsible for the gemstone and jewelry industries, Mr. Weerawansa was unfazed. “If he had gone to commit jewelry theft, he would also have resigned from this post,” he joked.
… .And Godahewa puts his foot in his mouth, is silent on Twitter
Trying to give two cents on the Lohan Ratwatte saga, Minister of State Dr Nalaka Godahewa attempted to compare the incident with one that happened 14 years ago.
“When a politician went berserk on a TV station years ago, the government took no action and it didn’t work out well with the people. But today we are happy to see the President and the Prime Minister react quickly when such unacceptable incidents occur. Politicians shouldn’t feel above the law, ”Dr Godahewa wrote on Twitter.
He referred to the infamous 2007 incident when Minister Mervyn Silva and his bodyguards broke into the state-run Sri Lanka Rupahavahini Corporation. What he failed to mention was that Silva was a minister in the government headed by then President and current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Prime Minister Rajapaksa is also the leader of Dr Godahewa’s party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
The Minister of State did not respond to questions posed by Twitter users as to whether he was indirectly attacking his own prime minister and party leader for “not taking any action” against the politician at the time.