10 July, 2020

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President Silent On Daughter’s High-handedness

President Maithripala Sirisena has remained tight-lipped about the antics of his daughter Chathurika Sirisena who used her presidential connections to get government servants to accompany her on a visit to Welikanda, Polonnaruwa supposedly ‘to get first hand information about the problems of villagers’.

Chthirika Sirisena and Maithripala SirisenaShe stated to the media that she had not come ‘just to show face with an entourage’, but had come instead to share her father’s dream in helping to solve the problems of the people. She added that this is why she was accompanied by state officials.

The move drew a lot of flak since such abuse was roundly condemned by Sirisena during his presidential campaign where he vowed that if elected he would put an end to nepotism and family bandyism.

Colombo Telegraph launched an investigation and questioned the President’s Media Unit regarding Chathurika Sirisena’s official stance. We asked the Head of President’s media to tell us on what basis/capacity does she go around the country accompanied with state officials. The President’s office is yet to answer queries that were put forward by Colombo Telegraph.

Related posts;

MTV Newsfirst Removes President’s Daughter Chathu’s “Boasting Video” From Facebook

Maithri’s Daughter Chathu Kicks “Own-Goal” With Daddy’s Powers

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Latest comments

  • 36
    17

    CT – Should not make a mountain out of a mole hill over the incident
    where the president’ daughter got involved in a fact finding mission, she embarked in neighboring villages in Pollanaruwa. The govt.servants
    are used to stand to attention at the snap of a finger of a VVIP in the past decade or so and they cannot be blamed for joining the entourage. This young lady should apologise for the breakdown in the
    procedure and continue her good work on humanitarian issues in villages
    in and around Pollanaruwa, which is a large electorate with poor farmers working on the fields. It is fair that the President makes a
    statement on this issue and also make a statement on the selection of
    100 odd ministers. The party became first for the President over good
    governance. Its a disgrace that MPs who lost their seats in the election, indicted for crimes and corruption, political thugs and
    people involved in murders are all included in the “acharu” cabinet as against their slogan of “good governance’ . The people are shocked at the change of heart of the President. PM Ranil became a puppet by accepting corrupt people of SLFP in his cabinet tho’ he was trumpeting of providing good governance with decent and educated people in the cabinet prior to the election. How much of public money is going to be wasted for this madness of maintaining 100 ministers in a small country
    of ours. India has 38 ministers for a people of 1.3 billion people and
    proportionately we should have 20 or less ministers. The funniest part
    is that people with no clue on certain subjects are given portfolios
    to handle the same subject. Every body knows where this will lead to -once again to corruption, intimidation and nepotism.

    • 15
      8

      Absolutely agree. This is just a case of CT making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

      There are far more pressing issues to press upon, if CT wishes to apply pressure on the President; such as ensuring that justice is not selective in this land anymore.

    • 1
      2

      [Edited out]

      • 0
        0

        [Edited out]

    • 2
      0

      Lanka Watch and Justice and Fairplay
      Please don’t be hypocrites, trying to justify the high handed behaviour of President Sirisena’s children. His daughter is acting in a manner to humiliate senior government officials by ordering them around and the son Daham (is he the one who assaulted the son of a senior Army officer, but rescued by the President without his son being charged?)is now part of Sri Lankan delegation to the UN. These are only early days of Yahapalanaya, not yet one year completed. We have to wait and see what other irregular family behaviour to experience in the coming years.
      Though you want to. this daughter of the President may not have room within Polonnaruwa district to engage in public activities as, if the reports are true, Presidents siblings are already engaged in many of the lucrative ventures.

  • 14
    44

    Wow! That saree alone would cost a bomb ! And imagine, a woman who until yesterday was only a village Menike whose father rode a push bicycle to his work twenty years ago. How fortunes change!

    • 34
      6

      You all never had the opportunity to comment on Shiranti Ariyawa’s clothes and the expensive clothes she wore. Now this saree that you speak of is relatively less expensive than what Shiranthi wore. I don’t think you would dare to do so.

      • 22
        6

        What would a sari cost, compared to all the gold that they displayed?

        Just let this lass, no more than a kid compared to us, enjoy life when she’s young. Of course, they’d have better material things now than they had. What the hell!

        Perhaps I should put down here something that I have to do tomorrow, because it has a bearing on the criticisms that are being made of pretty Chathu, but I don’t want, by saying this to cause a problem for some of the “officials” concerned.

        There are these plays produced for English Days. In my District there are two largish towns 18 miles apart, and right in the middle between them, there is a school that I have to visit tomorrow (I retired from service a few years ago). My task is to polish the production for performance in Colombo. I think that I will be paid a small amount to supplement my still inadequate pension.

        When I was told that transport would be provided, I said “no, that wasn’t necessary” because the slow buses starting from my town every 15 minutes (or even more frequently) are usually empty when they leave my town – let’s call it town B. Town A is slightly larger. Those wanting to travel all the 18 miles there,
        usually stand at a different halt where they are picked up either by buses coming from Colombo, or by “inter-city” buses.

        So, now tomorrow morning, I have to get on my motor-bike and go 2 miles to the Zonal Education Office. A van, which would have been sent all the way from Town A will pick me up – and today somebody said it would remain at that school until I finish that bit of Thespian Activity. Madness, of course! Many’s the time I’ve had to rock to and fro in overcrowded buses, and here’s a journey that would be as simple as could be, and I’m being treated as though I were a celebrity! Also, of course, there have been occasions when I have walked ten miles to certain schools – both Sinhala and Tamil media, incidentally!

        That’s government service for you!

        Definitely, Maithri ought to get his family to do the occasional walk-about so that he gets authentic feedback. It may be he ought to arrange it so that it doesn’t allow his foes to capital of it.

        • 4
          0

          This is just to update my earlier comment:

          Friday, the 11th: A Mitsubishi Pajero took me to the village school. There was just one play by Primary kids: Little Red Riding Hood, where the Woolf isn’t killed: he promises to become a harmless vegetarian! But then, they had put him in to the only costume available: denoted a Leopard, spots and all! I changed “Woolf” to Tiger, and told the teachers no political harm done, either, because the one-time Tigers are now our pets. Pajero brought lunch packets for the entire cast of little kids and me from Town A. Usual problem of too much rice in the packets. By 1.20 p.m. I had done all the work possible, so didn’t stay until 3.30 p.m. (that was the justification for the lunch). However, I kept the Pajero until 1.45 p.m. and returned to Town B with six teachers, who would normally have had to get in to a crowded bus at the mid-point of the A to B journey, and had to catch a second bus from B.

          Tuesday, 15th Sept. 2015: Workshop in the Local English Resource Centre: Lots of students had turned up, for various activities. I had to deal with Recitation and Drama, with a younger, more qualified colleague – a very decent kid. I had to warn against “over-correction” in the use of diphthongs. “Elocution” is a menace!

          Before proceeding further, I must tell you that Town B is reputed to have “the Best Climate in the World”. During the War, there was a dog fight between some Japanese planes and a squadron of RAF fighters. A Jap plane fell on the Big Club Grounds of the School by the Sea. Thereafter, in 1942, a lot of prestigious Colombo Schools moved outstations. S. Thomas’ sent Sub-Warden Dr R.L. Hayman (Oxford PhD – Physics:he taught me and Rajan Hoole, among others) to a remote Muslim village in Uva, where a benefactor, Leslie de Saram, gifted a fantastic farm to the school. STPS, Colpetty, had been founded by a Mt Lavinia teacher, William Thomas Keble; he moved up to Town B, where Herbert A.J. Hulugalle, lent him some property. My father became a teacher there in 1945 and my Birth Certificate actually states, in Sinhala, that I was born there a little later. WTK was my Godfather, and our neighbour. Keble was shrewd and left in 1956, handing over to my pater. But the said pater ran the school (very well) for less than a year. He didn’t have the Academic Qualifications necessary, and also the only “vehicle” he ever possessed was a Raleigh (made in Nottingham, England – but a “Second-hand Push Cycle” of that ilk). Hayman, rather more naive (but how sincere and well-meaning!) lingered until 1963, and was awarded an MBE, after he taught a few more years in Bournemouth, until students pointed out a few mistakes that he had made on the blackboard.

          Never mind all that: Royal College came up to a place where there is, arguably, now the best school in the Province, which I visited, yesterday (Wednesday, the 16th) to improve their “Macbeth”, which did need improving! Bishop’s College, came up, but went back to “Boyd Place”. So did Vishakha.

          These workshops have been worthwhile. Lunch was provided for all participants (well over a hundred on Wednesday) at Government expense. “Can we afford it?” is what Dr Indrajith Coomaraswamy (ex Harrow and Cambbridge Uni) had asked a few days ago, speaking with that perfect upper class British accent of his. Anyway, the Provincial Office has the “Best Director of Education Ever” (no irony in the badge) who has ensured that all this catering is done from a carefully selected source in each town (here the Zonal Office Canteen), so it’s not really money wasted. Yes, it was a worthwhile experience.

          Today, I had hoped to work on a Martin Luther King speech in “my village school”, but my outburst against the Executive Committee of the OBA, at the workshop, has scared the lovely man who is the current Headmaster. We had a 24 minute chat last night; he won’t be in the school today, and on Tuesday, the 22nd, and he seemed terrified at the prospect of me roaming the school. He did seem to agree that the cheating and lying OBA was a disgrace to the (now bloated) school, of which he, too, like Mahesan Niranjan, and Mahesan Nirmalan, are past students.

          Besides he’s a priest, and my diatribes against clergy wouldn’t help, would they? (Remember this? https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/bishop-shantha-francis-and-the-diaspora/)

          Anyway, tomorrow, Friday, the 18th, I go back to the site of war-time Royal College. Yesterday, I counted 12 “smart new” cars belonging to teachers, parked there. Mine was the only motor-bike (and an old one at that – but still an improvement on the pater’s transport!), but I must necessarily have missed the motor-bike parking area. I called the guy who’d been the Principal of the school around 1980, and he was very happy that the lot of teachers has improved. {Let’s forget caveats like “All teachers? or only those in Prestigious Schools?”}. In 1982, this guy was moved in to D.S.Senanayake College, by then Minister of Education, Ranil Wickremasinghe, who hated his Primary Teacher, Handi-craft Trained Genius, Ralph Alles. My friend was never allowed to settle down at “D.S.” and lasted only a year there, but retains his fierce independence – and still teaches Chemistry – now in English for London. He had a full time-table as Principal, as did Dr Hayman, whom my friend had met in England – that strange country that I have never had the privilege of visiting, owing to one of our favourite Sri Lankan past-times, “throat-cutting”.

          Monday, 21st, a repeat of last Tuesday’s programme. Let’s see if Elocution or Content has prevailed! I had also advocated using the Internet to fill in the gaps: far too many poems had been written by the ubiquitous “Mr Anonymous”.

          Wednesday, 23rd: Back to “Little Red Riding Hood”, but I have made it very clear that I spend thirty rupees for the bus in the morning – no Pajero!

          I’ve just found this blog, which also raised interesting issues of Education and Ethnicity:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/17/us/texas-student-is-under-police-investigation-for-building-a-clock.html?_r=0

          But aren’t we supposed to discuss pretty Chathu Sirisena? Have I just produced the longest ever non-sequitur?

          • 3
            0

            That earlier update was a hotch-potch that few will be able follow. Therefore, let me detail the modest contribution that I made by visiting Bandarawela M.M.V. twice.

            I myself had judged the play twice, at Zonal and Provincial Levels, as the “Best of a Bad Lot”! The mixed cast consisted of those students who had been interested enough to stay back after school for rehearsal. King Duncan was a hefty guy who wasn’t even acting “old”. His build was more suited for Macbeth who was played by a little guy who seemed to have studied his role reasonably well. The Chief English teacher of the school had made just one appearance ages ago and told me that all the actors knew the play and had seen a video of the entire play.

            In actual fact none of the cast had been shown how to understand the significance of what they were displaying to the handful of judges for whom this “drama” was being produced. It is almost impossible to persuade teachers to use the simpler word “play”. More seriously, this school has become unwieldy; over 4,000 pupils in it. The new Principal and his battalion of Vice Principals are well-meaning but hardly know who’s who among the Army of Teachers. The Drama Teacher of the school is still away in Colombo marking Advanced Level scripts. She had never been invited to help by the “Kaduwa Teachers”.

            The actors were all using the front bit of the apron of the stage for all their acting. The uninitiated usually assume that all members of the cast must be “down stage” (actually few know any technical terms relating to theatre) so that they are “seen and heard”. I had to tell them something of how “blocking” should be done and advised them to invite the Drama teacher (Sinhala Medium, therefore considered “unfashionable”) to show them how to move around the stage before they perform “somewhere” in Colombo on the 3rd of October. I expect it to be in the Nalanda College Auditorium, which is very good, but there will be just a few fixed “Fresnel Lights” (they are known as “kos gedi” in Sri Lankan theatre parlance – and perhaps by the Drama teacher as well. The students know nothing!)

            The students had a lap top and I had a tablet. We found that this 1983 BBC version was available for free:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Television_Shakespeare#Macbeth

            I said that it was not great (unlike the 1971 Polanski film), but it would do. My memories of Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire, as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were vague. Subsequently, I watched it last Friday night – starting Mid-night because 4 of the 7 GB per month that I can use have to be utilised between mid-night and 8.00 a.m. This time, seeing it after fifteen years, I thought the film actually quite good. The students had better Internet connections, and had been asked to access, download, share and discuss.

            The next night I saw this, and found it quite enthralling:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macbeth_%282010_film%29

            I’m sure that the kids will find it interesting, too. Now I must send them the information. If possible, I will drop in at the school, but I’ve already bought a ticket for the mid-night bus to Colombo tomorrow. If I’m still in Colombo when they perform, I will, perhaps, visit the venue and discuss the play a few hours before they perform – and probably come last. One can’t perform miracles, but as Hamlet said, “the play’s the thing”. Hopefully, the eyes of the students would have been opened and they will snowball (am I not to be allowed the Shakespearean licence to mix metaphors?).

            Yesterday, at the Recitation and Oratory workshop in the Bandarawela RESC, I filled in the vouchers: I will be paid Rs 1,200/= for each of the four “official days”. I’m sure that it is going to be money honestly earned when I get it.

    • 13
      17

      The only decent politician in this country is Ranil, only he can fix this country!!

      • 17
        1

        Real Peace – Yes he (Ranil) right royally fixed the country in style with appointing 100 ministers to run the country and the poor masses will have to pay for their maintenance. Duty free car, free accommodation, free petrol, free office and some of the older children of the higher ups get free education abroad, under the pretext of security, and subsidized meals at the parliament,
        are some of the perks they enjoy while they warm their chairs in the parliament.

        This is the “good governance’ he was preaching all these days
        from Jan/2015. He has also got many released from the clutches of the law to get his recruit Mahendran Gov. CB ,released from his sins. This is the Ranil you are talking about.

      • 2
        4

        Real Peace, what has your comment got to do with the captioned article?

        What id Ranil dies? Is that the end of the country?

        No one is indispensable and Ranil knows it more than most. When the ‘Giants’ were murdered, the UNP didn’t fold up. It survived and bobbed up.

        I believe President Sirisena is a very decent politician. We have seen out the indecent men.

    • 7
      2

      The fact that her father rode a push bicycle to his work twenty years ago should not be a disqualification for that father to become the President of the country.

      Her father being the President of the country will naturally afford to buy a good saree for her but in this case it does not look that expensive.

      Are you implying that Maithri is a corrupt person? I have not heard anyone accusing him of corruption or amassing wealth from the positions he held.

      I may find fault with him for backstabbing Mahinda and being dictatorial but not for amassing wealth from the positions he held.

      I wish readers do not descend to such low level to make unwarranted accusations against anyone let alone the President of this country.

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

    • 3
      1

      JaraaPassa, what exactly are you implying? Jealousy at its worst I assume!

      Remember what were you on, 20 years ago?

      There should be a limit to one’s pettiness.

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out]

      • 3
        0

        Oh, dear. Edited out for using Roman Characters to say in Sinhalese that Jarapassa, has indeed given himself an apt name!

  • 17
    3

    Maithripala, keep your children out of politics. They have no business there. Let us not turn this into another Mahinda-Rajapakistan. Ask her to stay off and mind her own business!!!

  • 20
    0

    She could not have made this move without her father’s blessings. Since MS has chosen to domesticate his wife, there has to be someone from his family who should be the conduit to him from Polonnaruwa.

    This is just a badly handled PR mess. She should have done this in low key and grabbed the headlines after something had been accomplished. In true Sri Lankan style her advisors chose to go for the cheap publicity instead getting some work done. Oh yes…there must be plenty of hangers-on advising her as well as her brother about their golden futures in politics!

    Just because we have Yahapalanaya ruling the roost, Sri Lankans did not change their DNA.

  • 14
    7

    The suckers who are justifying what president’s daughter is doing doesn’t get it. One of the reason we got rid of MR because of nepotism. The president told that in the election campaign, he never going to involve his family in politics. Now what is going is that daughter is misusing government facilities for her personnel gain. If she wants to do whatever she is doing, she can do in her personnel capacity instead of involving with government officials. Instead of doing there officials duties, they are going behind this lady wasting their time. In a way this misuse of government money.

    At what capacity she is giving instructions to government officials to address the issues? She is not a government officer and it is illegal to give instructions to government officials by a private citizen. If she can do that, everybody else can do the same as private citizens. Next time she can call IGP and ask to drop cases against anybody in her body hometown.

    • 5
      3

      Poor English reflecting poor thinking.

      The even worse problem is that the likes of you are turning me also in to an awful person making nasty remarks!

  • 7
    0

    Can some one please explain as to why the President and the PM are
    maintaining stoic silence on the appointment of 100 odd ‘hoodlums’ into the cabinet at people’s expense.
    One wonders as to why PM Ranil, after bragging too much of good governance and elimination of corruption, nepotism & political thuggery
    had to stoop to this level, after getting 106 seats. He could have accommodated JVP & TNA and could have formed a minority govt. and another 20 or so would have crept in from other parties on their own w/o conditions. He should have allowed the SLFP/UPFA to fight their own battle.

    Now he has made a mockery of democracy by finding a loop hole in 19A.

    • 9
      0

      This lovely President of ours is simply courting disaster, getting close to a bunch of unworthies who were hooting obscenities at him just in the recent past.

      He is either a Bodhisattva or being simply too Naiive to see anything wrong about another.

    • 7
      0

      Why don’t all of us cultivate patience, and thank our stars that we didn’t become the President!

      Those who are disappointed are the naive who expected an overnight transformation of society.

      My view of Maithri is exactly the same as that of Justice & Fairplay.

  • 4
    2

    The President has talked over his head. He is now unable to keep up to it. Wait and see there are more surprises in store to come.

    • 4
      1

      Mason -You are absolutely right.They are certainly heading for disaster
      with 100 hoodlums, with a few exceptions, in the cabinet. How on earth the PM and the President made up their minds to add the undesirables to
      the cabinet, where as there was another alternative for Ranil/UNP to form a minority govt. They expect 2/3 majority and have high hopes to pass all the legislations they have in mind but, as you said, there will be more surprises & chaos in store for the govt.as the time passes
      with 100 cronies in the cabinet. These will pave way for MR for a easy
      return to power. This could end up as a one time govt. You also must read the explanation given by CBK for the formation of a jumbo cabinet,
      which will make you laugh.

      • 2
        2

        CBK s explanation is the truth.
        HOw can you go for a national govt wihtout allowing upfa snakes and idiots getting the posts. People of this country is well aware of the facts how megalomaniac MR abused the nation.
        All these will be clear ot very same stupid folks sooner than later.
        Now with all independent commissions being implemented by October, things will get its way shaped for the people of this country. If anyboudy would want MR s return that will stay as a dream WHICH would never become the reality.

        Today, the very same folks seem to start hating Rajapakshes. With the time, with getting crimes investigated, people will learn to know more about MR, siblings, and his offsprings.

  • 1
    0

    What so pitiful is comment that supporting the todays administration are so similar to the ones express by MR supporters when the CT started to point out the excesses of the late administration. It is almost a fact Sri Lankan way of thinking that some corruption should be accepted and defended to grater good of the country. Don’t blame the CT for reporting the facts supporters of any administration wiling to accept the ethos of corruption be honest and admit that you are fine with it. Don’t try to kill the messenger.

  • 0
    0

    Man don’t give a cheap comments on such a cheap things. we have lot more important things to talk. what to do with that village woman. what is a big deal about her family states.

  • 0
    2

    The young lady is trying to help people who are in need of help, not trying to help herself, whish we had more of her type, the country would be in a better place if that was so.

  • 4
    0

    Instead supporting her fathers wishes she seemed to take a path of political and social intrusion especially using the government agents in her voyage of discovery. Instead it is morally fine that she as citizen of the country uses her social activity with friends not government agents to do this type of social intrusion.
    I will give a failing mark.

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