Secrecy, The Secret To Absolute Power

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,MORE OPINION,Opinion |

By N. Vivekanandan

It was a pleasure for the Managers’ Forum to Cohost with the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (Vadakkin Chapter) a discussion on the new RTI Act on 1 April, 2017. With peace, Jaffna is developing its own resources. The speaker was Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole of the Election Commission who lives in Jaffna.

The meeting was chaired by Eng. S. Suntharakumar, Director, Buildings Department, Northern Province. He extolled what his department has been doing after RTI. He mentioned staff training, noticeboards guiding lodging a request, revising the Establishments Code, and spreading awareness. After Hoole, Hoole was introduced, he congratulated Suntharakumar for being far ahead of many in Colombo in implementing RTI.

Hoole proceeded to give a captivating introduction to the nature of power, starting from Lord Acton’s “Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts absolutely.” Saying the secret to holding absolute power is secrecy itself, he argued that in a democracy centers of power are broken-up (decentralization) and information made freely available. As an example of the latter he cited how, although he was a member of the Faculty Board at Peradeniya, when he sought data on how Tamils were kept out of Production Engineering by teaching in Sinhalese, the man responsible who had become Dean ordered that he should not have access to the Faculty Board minutes. Even though denial of minutes was illegal even then, under RTI there are prescribed punishments. He reminded listeners of Albert Einstein’s dictum that ones ego is inversely proportional to ones knowledge. It is ignorant administrators with inflated egos who hide behind confidentiality and “you do not need to know.”

It is the urge to hold on to power that has set this good governance government off course by including corrupt persons in the cabinet and makes it difficult for the Prime Minister to be rid of them, he said. Mr. S. Thavarajah of the NPC asked how the RTI request to the Prime Minister’s Office for his declaration of assets was denied and replied by the Speaker. Hoole answered that there is no basis for the Speaker to be the Information Officer for the Prime Minister’s Office. Absolute Power has corrupted absolutely.

Hoole elaborated on his appointment as VC/Jaffna in 2006. He fled owing to LTTE death threats. His appointment was terminated a year later backdated to July 2006. He could not understand how a person was claiming in that year’s period to be Acting VC. To hold an Acting appointment, no one must be in that position. He wrote to the UGC for his status and never had a reply. It was years later that through court action he was able to access his papers. They showed the replacement appointment to be, correctly, to cover his duties, but the person so appointed and University of Jaffna claimed that person was Acting VC. In his biting humor, Hoole said that person was truly Acting as VC. On 2 Feb. 2016 the USAB ruled that Hoole
“is entitled to be recognized as Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna and accordingly direct the [University of Jaffna] to take cognizance that the Applicant was duly appointed as Vice Chancellor of the [University] from 12th March 2006 to 16th July 2006 and, that his name be recognized in the official records of the [University] as having served as Vice Chancellor and that he be paid all his salary and other emoluments and perquisites for that period.”

After many complaints over a period of 11 months, in Dec. 2016, the UGC got the salary paid but even today, 13 months later, the university lists the usurper as “Acting VC” and the UGC seems unable to “regulate the administration” of Jaffna, probably because the usurper is a member of the UGC.

That was Hoole’s point. Administrators cover up for each other and scratch each other’s back. The right to information is therefore most important and is the greatest development in Sri Lanka’s progress towards democracy. It is the way to break the mafia of administrators running our lives. As the UGC Chairman confirmed in a letter to Chandrika Kumaratunga, Hoole showed through an affidavit by Carlo Fonseka, Jaffna is doing this because he is a Christian.

Past Vice Chancellors of Jaffna: Hoole’s place Usurped by a UGC Member 13 months after USAB Order

Thereafter Hoole described the RTI Act, covering its scope, how to request, processing of requests and its exclusions. It was a very useful exchange as the audience raised questions.

Hoole asked whether voter lists held by the Election Commission need to be released. It has been argued that companies will make money from this information selling mailing lists. However, Hoole held that the law makes no exception for people making money from information obtained through RTI. Our thinking a law is bad, is no excuse to break the law.

There are other objections to releasing voter lists, however. One is that the voter rolls may indicate that an elderly woman is living alone, and that information may expose her to danger. Therefore it is argued that it is “Personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the larger public interest justifies the disclosure” (Section 5(1)(a) of the RTI Act).

But then, is our address personal? May be in Colombo, but not in rural areas where everyone knows who lives where. Remember, moreover, this is the information age. When we use the internet, our IP address makes public exactly where we are. When I Google for say shoes, the information that I am looking for shoes is sold, and I am soon inundated with advertisements for shoes. We now operate internationally and must interpret privacy accordingly.

Indeed, making mailing lists from voter registers might be argued to be a public activity to inform voters of policy issues or useful products. In the US Hoole used to get alerts when a child molester became his neighbor, And therefore such information is not an “unwarranted invasion of privacy.” Section 5(4) says “[A] request for information shall not be refused where the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the harm that would result from its disclosure.” Is harm not done when educating the public though mailing lists is aborted?

Hoole inclined to the view that whenever possible information should be released to strengthen RTI and democracy. Voter information, which is third party information to the Election Commission needs interpretation under Section 29(1): “Third Party Information which has been treated as confidential at the time received.” Therefore since no confidentiality was requested by voters or promised by the Commission during voter registration, information presently held has to be released. However, in future, the Election Commission may ask voters if their information is to be treated as confidential and then refuse as appropriate.

A point Hoole made is that with so many ways to interpret these rules, ultimately the courts will settle these issues. With such judicial decisions, our RTI ratings will change. Already the Ministry of Health has refused innocuous information. The RTI Commission needs to deal with it and how such appeals go will determine our RTI rights.

For now, we have a good law. As rated by Canada’s Centre for Law and Democracy, here is how some countries fare out of 150: 1) Mexico 136; 2) Serbia 135; 3) Sri Lanka 131; 5) India 128; 34) UK 100; 35) Russia 98; 49) Canada 90; 57/58) US 83; 57/58) Australia 83; 82) China 70; 89) Israel 66; 111) Austria 32 – the last of the RTI Countries. Singapore and Malaysia have no RTI Laws as to be expected.

Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 was the first RTI Law. The US does poorly because its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted in 1966 over opposition from President Lyndon B. Johnson and before the civil/human rights era. It has too many exclusions and applies only to Federal Institutions. As in Sri Lanka, in the US too, officials do not release information unless they really have to. For example when some university faculty suspected favouritism in the promotion of a woman, and asked for her dossier, the university blacked out almost all her evaluations on grounds of privacy. Professor-grade academics are evaluated there with 30% for teaching, 60% for research and 10% for committee work. This professor got 4/4 for teaching which was therefore not blacked out. But all evaluations for research, usually the only thing that matters, were. However, they forgot to redact “she is just beginning to publish,” thereby giving away the information that she had done no research. Bosses everywhere cheat and need monitoring.

Like muscles, we must exercise rights to make them grow, concluded Hoole. This is why the RTI Act prohibits asking why of someone requesting information. We need nobody’s permission to exercise rights.

Suntharakumar presented an IESL Thank-you Souvenir to Hoole.

N. Vivekanandan – The Managers’ Forum, Jaffna

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27 Responses to Secrecy, The Secret To Absolute Power

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    [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words.Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

    Kumar R.
    April 16, 2017 at 3:25 am
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    Prof. Hoole must be commended for his straight forward attitude. Yes, that was the quality causing the denial to function as the VC of Jaffna. All politicized outfits including the LTTE thinks that straight forward individuals are a set of trouble makers. The argument that the publicized voters’ list will result in a lot of junk mail is rubbish. I get a lot of junk mail in the form of flyers even without a voters’ list being publicized. Junk mailers in Sri Lanka do not use the postal service. They have cheaper options of distribution. In fact they need not know the real address. Dumping something into your mailbox is the simplest thing under the Sun now. In fact if you want, say 100,000 posters affixed in the walls of Colombo, all what one needs to provide is the posters and the payment for the same and Boy! The job is done far beyond your expectations. How many instances were there in the past where people were denied voting on the presumed allegation that the GSN blocked the entry into voters’ list on political grounds? So! Prof. Hoole! You have my support for publicising the voters list on line, even with info on possible site to vote in the event an election is held. In that respect I am informed that the Digital Minister is in the process of empowering the GSN’s with the necessary IT hard ware and software to effectively have an updated householders’ list which would form the basis of the voters’ list. I am also told that he has initiated in setting up necessary cloud computing facilities for the same. PROF. HOOLE! KEEP IT UP!

    Good Sense
    April 16, 2017 at 6:29 am
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    “It has too many exclusions and applies only to Federal Institutions.” Many states in the USA have their own versions of Right to Information laws.

    Lone Wolf
    April 16, 2017 at 6:36 am
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    An innocent comment! Secrecy is the greatest drawback in governance. I deliberately used the term “Governance” instead of “Government”. Good Governance includes Governments as well as private Sector and Civil y including Local and International NGOs as well?. RTI will automatically lead to transparency, accountability and rule of law- some key elements of Good Governance and therefore a praiseworthy development. Private Sector and Civil society organizations are not the paragons of virtue; they may be the worst culprits, worse than the governments. The Government, Private Sector and Civil Society are the key actors in service delivery as well as in development process. They are equals in all respects as far as the communities they claim to serve are concerned. Why these equals should be treated unequally. If Private Sectors and Civil Societies are excluded Good Governance and RTI Acts become meaningless. An amendment to include Private Sector and Civil Society within the ambit of RTI Act is the need of the hour!

    S.Krishnananthan
    April 16, 2017 at 9:30 am
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      @S.Krishnananthan – Lanka’s RTI Act does indeed include NGOs and the private sector. February 3rd Regulations of the Commission talks of proactively disclosing info also. It is better in that way than India’s Act which is limited to only private sector companies and NGOs receiving state funds. From all the discussions that I can see on social media, NGOs were not happy they were included but kept quiet. In many other countries, NGOs have to abide by strict law and Codes. Let us hope that this RTI process in Lanka will lead to those initiatives. I agree. It is not only Government which needs to be publicly accountable.

      Prameetha
      April 16, 2017 at 5:53 pm
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        Prameetha, “February 3rd Regulations of the Commission talks of proactively disclosing info also.” I believe that the “automatic disclosure” might actually be more important than the RTI requests. The idea of course is that there will be less need for requests because so much information will be on line or otherwise available at public authorities. Again implementation will be the problem. Publishing information on, for instance, all rs 500,000+ projects of the public sector is a major task even if the will is there and I have doubts about the will.

        Lone Wolf
        April 16, 2017 at 9:53 pm
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      I think some foreign govts do not want the SL govt to include their NGOs. that leads to problems.

      jimsofty
      April 17, 2017 at 8:04 am
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    Dear Mr. Vivekanandan, The RTI initiatives are very progressive and the steps to raise awareness, promote and implement the Act seem a very worthy topic for the forum. Further, if as stated in the article, Jaffna is “far ahead of many in Colombo in implementing RTI” then certainly that is much laudable However, when such noble initiatives for the betterment of a society as a whole get discussed with rather narrow and such undue concentration on singular and personal issues, especially cantankerous ones that had been exhaustively discussed, if not repeated many a time, my fear is that it become not merely a discomfort to the audience, but they tend to distract, weaken and, perhaps eclipse and tarnish the legitimacy and relevance of the primary issue. Adding insult to injury you also thought it appropriate to include in your write-up “as the UGC Chairman confirmed in a letter to Chandrika Kumaratunga, Hoole showed through an affidavit by Carlo Fonseka, Jaffna is doing this because he is a Christian.” BECAUSE HE IS A CHRISTIAN?! Really?!! Does this really make sense? Has Jaffna routinely kept Christians out of high-positions? Isn’t this mere paranoia? Your choosing to write this is not just short sighted, but rather ugly and perhaps even inciting – not unlike a paragraph that Hoole himself thought fit to include in his article where he unduly and explicitly disparaged all Katubedda women, both “girls and even married women”. That paragraph was so vile that CT itself now routinely censors any citation from that and seems shy to even publish any reference to that paragraph.

    Kumar R.
    April 16, 2017 at 10:27 am
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    “Hoole elaborated on his appointment as VC/Jaffna in 2006” We need to hear his submission/elaboration. He was appointed, without due process – advertisement of the vacancy, perusal of applicants’ qualifications etc. Former President Mahinda Rajapakse personally appointed him as advised by Prof. Carlo Fonseka. Hoole had no experience in university or any other type of administration. “Super” qualification (only) in any one discipline does not necessarily make anyone ‘qualified’ to become a VC. “He fled owing to LTTE death threats” LTTE was against his denigration of Hinduism and Hindu savants of the past, and his extolling of Christian missionaries – this was the reason. Christian – mainly catholic – clergy silently supported the LTTE.

    justice
    April 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm
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      Justice? From which of the three worlds is your justice? Atala Patalam? Are you part of the new VC selection too? So you are in the LTTE propaganda machinery for MURDER COVERAGE. Hoodwinking the Tamil people still? The lie you say was concocted by Kuruthiharan to justify the murder he was planning in such minute detail on Prof. Hoole and his baby – Kuruthi karan could not complete the kill for God would not permit it. First they threatened us not to vote for Hoole. Then when Prof. Hoole was appointed after we voted, they made up the story MR appointed him without elections. The election and results were in so many papers daily and we were reading them daily on campus and talking about it and hoping. They think we can’ read at the university. RTI allows anyone to ask for the records. But still they are boldly lying to the world. The best of the three candidates was appointed as required by regulations.Then they performed the death dance for days at the campus waiting for the kill. Even the students were ashamed of what the self elected student leaders were doing. LTTE propaganda machinery in Sri Lanka, Canada, Australia and other countries puts out lies before they murder people. Truth is alien to their nature though they will quote the Baghavad Gita and sing the Thiruvasagam with ash and carry the ther chapparam and pose as the guardians of Hinduism and Tamil culture. Where is the Batticaloa VC Raveenthiran- abducted around the same time? Killed. He was a soft-spoken angel. Neelan Thiruchelvam played the Sitar like a gandharva. Who kills a kalaignan/arignan like that and then pretends to high Tamil culture? Lying has destroyed a whole people as we have learnt in Jaffna.

      Kuruthi karan
      April 20, 2017 at 6:06 pm
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        I do not like personal attacks on anyone. But MR did not appoint the top candidate. I think that the choice was rather curious. It was in MR’s time that Eastern University VC Raveendranath was abducted, not by the LTTE by their rivals. A for lying, the people of Jaffna have been lied to for over a century by their leaders.

        SJ
        April 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm
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    Thanks Prameetha,

    S.Krishnananthan
    April 16, 2017 at 10:07 pm
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    Dear Mr. Vivekanandan, You state “After many complaints over a period of 11 months, in Dec. 2016, the UGC got the salary paid”. So, in effect, I guess what you are informing us is that Jeevan got paid for several months although during those moths Jeevan did not contribute to either the teaching or administrative tasks at the university. Now, consider the following. Hoole has worked and earned as a Diaspora during almost the entirety of this professional life. He has also claimed that his return to the country in retirement was driven by his altruistic conviction of patriotic obligation to repay the community that funded his early education. You are also not unaware that many officials from the North routinely go to various Diaspora pleading for contributions for the desperately ill-resourced education system in the North, among other initiatives. Given that background (first, the need of the long-deprived education facilities in the North and second, Hoole’s claim his return was driven by his earnest desire to repay his community) now that Hoole has won his legal battle with UGC, would it not be only gracious for Hoole to be illustriously and illustratively generous and donate that entire payment towards the needs of Northern educational institutions of his own choice. After all, Jeevan’s academic services were effectively never available to the Community even though they as tax payers ultimately paid through the USG. Would such generosity be an unreasonable expectation? That decision is of course not my call – rather, just my thought! Perhaps Jeevan has already beaten me to that thought. I certainly hope so!

    Kumar R.
    April 17, 2017 at 12:58 am
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    Ratnajeevan applied when the post of VC was advertised. The Council voted, he came number three, just 2 or so votes behind the first two. It was felt by many of us that he had done very well because the first two were members of the Council working togher and who had voted for themselves and had an unfair advantage as internal candidates. Ratnajeevan’s qualifications together with his commitment to society marked him as the most deserving for appointment. Rajapakse did not bring Ratnajeevan from nowhere to appoint him. I am glad that Justice has exposed himself by his own writing. Please do not put out misinformation to feed your therapeutic needs. What you write is the stuff and nonsense put out by the LTTE and shows where you get your information from. Kumar R is another in like mould. Ratnajeevan had served at Peradeniya for many years. He did not serve in Jaffna only because when he applied and was the only applicant, they cancelled the advertisement (This is referred to by an editorial in Colombo Telegraph now (18-Apr-2017). He was paid only for the few months he was displaced and had no other earnings: not from Peradeniya or Jaffna. I think it was for the 4 months that the courts decided he was the VC. Would you begrudge him that after all that he suffered? We now have good reason to toss out anything these two persons write. They are both driven by lack of character, not a patch on the man they cannot stand because his example shows them both to be empty vessels making a lot of noise. What saddens e a lot more is that there are many in this forum who know at least that Ratnajeevan was selected by the process laid down in the regulations. However, no one will speak up? What respect do we deserve?

    Elder
    April 18, 2017 at 9:00 am
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      Elder, “However, no one will speak up? What respect do we deserve?” I stopped reading Kumar R. some time ago. Recently I decided to discontinue my efforts to correct the factual errors Justice. My hypothesis is that Kumar R. and Justice are the same person but quite frankly I don’t care.

      Lone Wolf
      April 18, 2017 at 9:16 pm
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        How are you so sure that either is not one of my aliases as insisted upon by some people not long ago? Now I like that story. Although it irritated me initially, I find that it better matches the “truth-processing” that goes on here.

        SJ
        April 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm
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      Elder, You are just another in the line of many surrogates and manifestations (remember Erasmus?) trying to BS your way side stepping the issues resorting to spineless, baseless distractions. Every social issue should not end up as unidirectional segues to resolve Jeevan’s singular aspiration by evicting his imagined mortal-enemies at the Campus. If the University admin has failed the society, that needs to be addressed independent of whether Jeevan is entitled or not! There are very many ills and lapses in the society. Compared to even those at the bottom end of that list Jeevan’s personal ones pale rather rapidly into oblivion. Under that circumstance, Jeevan repeatedly and unabashedly whining on his personal issues and entitlements every chance he gets, unfailingly hi-jacking even distantly related issues to stretch to his goal-line, is nauseating. On the money issue, there is no question Jeevan has every right for that payment, as the legal system has clearly ruled. However, (a) The funds are tax-payer funded, even if paid via the UGC. Jeevan did not have to provide any teaching or admin tasks, for whatever reason. Jeevan was free to engage himself in any productive activity of his choice during that period. (b) Jeevan himself had claimed that his return to the country, sacrificing his high-earning potential in the West, was based on his conviction of an obligation to repay his community, especially in education. (c) Jeevan has been a privileged high-wage earning professional Diaspora. Will it be unreasonable to expect him to show good-faith in and contribute this to some Northern educational institution? If not, how could the Tamil leaders convince much lower-wage earning Diaspora in the west to contribute to such deserving causes? Or perhaps has the dictum “talk is cheap” has found another affirmation?!

      Kumar R.
      April 19, 2017 at 9:29 pm
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    Elder I agree that Kumar & Justice have got some of Hoole’s carer details wrong. Yet, some clarification from you will help: “just 2 or so votes” May I know many make an ‘or so’? “was felt by many of us” Kindly, tell me how many make a ‘many of us’ and what comprised the “us”?

    SJ
    April 18, 2017 at 11:50 am
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      Two or so is two or so. It cannot be less clear. The voting was Kumaravadivel 17, Kandasamy 16 and Hoole 15. It was 10 years ago but I am confident of my recollection. It was in the interest of accuracy that I said 2 or so rather than 1 or 2. May be someone can confirm this exactly. SJ is one of those who sat on Hoole’s selection committee despite the conflict of interest. SJ’s selection committee found Hoole unqualified even for senior lecturer, first without reason and then because he had not applied through his employer although the UGC had written that it is not a valid requirement from applicants from outside. He even claimed that Hoole has not taught electrical engineering for many years! SJ’s shamelessness is detailed in the CT editorial on University of Jaffna now up on the same page SJ is a shameless person who is participating in these arguments like Justice and Kumar R To sow more confusion. He does not mind when it is obvious to us all that he is cheating and ruining the university. He is like the Rakapaksas — carrying on with their crookedness while talking like a saint. SJ, please write if you have something useful to say or just disappear somewhere. You are now fully exposed after the editorial on this page, without your pants to cover your evil ways.

      Elder
      April 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm
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        Thanks for being specific. That is very mature. So, in fairness Kumaravadivel should have been VC. Why did it not happen? Can there be sound academic reasons! From what I saw of Prof Kandasamy’s endurance in setting up a new faculty at Kilinochchi, he would have made a good VC too. In the end, all the short-circuitry left UoJ without a VC until someone was nominated in 2007. Am I right? (Do not yell at me if you disagree– it can be very bad for some part of the body for an elder.) May some of the questions above have an answer to my earlier unanswered question? If you cannot answer the question, say so, the way i do with reasons, or without reason. This is not an exam. Nobody is awarding marks. Take it easy. When one jumps up and down in anger and swears at people, those watching the fun could think that there is something to hide. Shnthi Snanthi Shanthi— I hope that helps

        SJ
        April 18, 2017 at 4:12 pm
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          “So, in fairness Kumaravadivel should have been VC.” You are from Jaffna and do not know. Kumaravadivel insulted the academics so much and treated them like his coolies that one wanted him as VC/Jaffna. He had everything going for him but he killed it. Kottady Puththi they call it here. “Prof Kandasamy’s endurance in setting up a new faculty at Kilinochchi, he would have made a good VC too.” Stupid choice. Killinochchi was under LTTE. The government could not supervise and approve it so they said no. It was a no go from the start and utterly ignoring student interest. The plan was to catch the poor students for cutting bunkers and holding guns. Kandasamy is a gone case. Don’t whitewash. DON’T PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW ENGLISH> READ THE VC APPOINTMENT REGULATIONS> THE proven candidate gets the job. International recognition is required. Show the three CVs of the candidates to the public. Kumaravadivel and Kandasamy can’t hold pandang to Hoole in terms of stature. FIRST RELEASE THE CVs of Hoole, Kumaravadivel and that of Kandasamy to CT. DON”T HIDE BEHIND SECRECY. Are you paid by Jaffna University to lie so much. Pretending to be innocent and silly, you strike at Professor Hoole all the time with devious intent. You are blind with jealousy. You fool yourself into thinking that we academics can’t see through your wicked schemes here. Once the lady appointed twice by Dougie goes you will suck up to the next mediocrity. Birds of a feather flock together. Why can’t you learn to be a gentleman from Prof. Pratap Sivaprgasapillai? He has such class! Why don’t you ask K&K to come to Trincomalee and develop your campus there. Hometown first. You will never belong in Jaffna. DON”T HIDE BEHIND SECRECY. The best of the three candidates for VC, that is the rule. Cheating on that has got us nowhere. MAY HONESTY RETURN TO JAFFNA BY THE GRACE OF GOD.

          Kandan
          April 21, 2017 at 9:52 am
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            An election is an election is an election. The vote should be respected. Meddling at high levels is not good. On Kandasamy, I referred to what I saw in the past year or so re the Faculty of Technology. May be you are out of touch. As for the rest, I promised Pygmalion that I will not step on *** **** or *** ****.

            SJ
            April 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm
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    The subject to be discussed here is the “Right to Information” about all matters that legitimately ought to be in the public domain. Political matters are usually considered to be the most important, but it should be anything to do with any orgnisation. It is sad to see that all this has degenerated in to a discussion of the main speaker at a discussion of the subject. Prof. Hoole may have used mainly details from what he himself has experienced, but shouldn’t we go beyond that and focus on the more general points he was making? In politics we are still being kept in the dark about many things that are going on. Charitable organisations, large educational institutions that are privately run, but ostensibly as a public service, religious orgnisations that tend to be hierarchical, – all these are what ought to concern us. So, thanks for the article, and also for the comments that reveal so much about those making them!

    Sinhala_Man
    April 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm
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    SM I cannot agree more when you say The subject to be discussed here is the “Right to Information”. Invoking an affidavit (reportedly produced by Carlo Fonseka) by which “the UGC Chairman confirmed…to Chandrika Kumaratunga” that “Jaffna is doing this because he is a Christian”. When challenged, the affidavit was not produced, not even its text. It is such weak claims that are marginal to the issue at hand that provoke personal attack. (Not many had objected when certain people were attacked vilely, even without provocation, but some do the right thing in other contexts.) An ‘elder’ referred to a process which appeared to involve shady deals. When asked for clarification he/she hit the ceiling. The way things are going I fear that RTI like Fundamental Rights before it will be abused by vested interests.

    SJ
    April 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm
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    SJ says regarding the 2006 VC election “An election is an election is an election. The vote should be respected. Meddling at high levels is not good.” The law provides for the President to choose any of the three. Why? Because an internal vote will favour internal candidates and work against merit. The President chose Hoole because he had better qualifications and, as he told Gajendran when the TNA met his in March 2006, after allowing for Kumaravadivel and Kanthasamy’s votes including their own votes, Hoole had done very well.

    A Former Dean
    April 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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      Really — did K and K also vote in the election for VC in which they were candidates? I find it hard to believe. IF that were true in 2006, then the thamasha we see in 2017 is no big deal. Ten years is not enough for the evolutionary changes our people need!

      Tee Twenty
      April 22, 2017 at 6:47 pm
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        Yes they both did under the then operative circulars

        Siva
        April 24, 2017 at 10:18 am
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