Very recently all retired past Commanders of all three Forces, were
promoted from whatever rank they held at the time of retirement, to the
ranks of General, Admiral and Air Chief Marshal, respectively.
A little later their pensions too were raised or adjusted, to keep
with their new ranks.
However, in this action we see a great ommission and a grave anomaly
in that, the past deceased Commanders, including the first Sri Lankan
Commanders who took over Command from the British Commanders and
shouldered the responsibility of establishing, strengthening and making
for growth of the Forces, despite the limited resources, were not
considered for such promotion, though posthumus. Would not their kith
and kin, those who served under them and even the Forces being glad to
see them also given the higher rank - even if only in future reference
to them or to be engraved on their tombstones?
Another relevant and material point is that if these deceased, left
out Commanders had also been awarded the same promotion and this had
reflection on their pensions or the widows pensions, then the surviving
widows would probably receive an enhanced pension which would be most
welcome in these days.
We request the authorities to note and review this matter favourably
for the goodwill of all.
This refers to the article published recently (DN Oct. 28) is a very
positive move in the right direction. I recall the Daily News reporting
this requirement somewhere last year, where it was stated that around
rupees thirty million are being spent annually for the import of pears
only. This is in spite of ideal climatic conditions available here for
the growing of same, which is most pathetic.
I remember, local pears was a crop that was freely available in the
good old days, which was allowed to disappear, requiring the necessity
for the importation of same. However, with the implementation of the
above proposal, these crops together with others could be easily
reintroduced once again, saving much needed foreign exchange. Also
giving the opportunity for the people to enjoy once again juicy and
tastier fruits, unlike the ones that are presently imported. Needless to
mention, that it would provide an additional income to the people as
I suggest that plantation companies too who manage most estates in
the mid and upcountry are also entrusted with the above assignment of
growing both these crops including peachers, on their respective
plantations, which I am certain would become a success, as they believe
in growing for positive results, thereby achieving the desired results.
Tommy Wanigesinghe Kurunegala
This communication relates to the Letter to the Editor titled 'Why
lose our intellectual children' by Tissa Jayaweera, Chairman,
International Chamber of Commerce in the Daily News October 20.
I do agree wholeheartedly with some of the sentiments expressed but
would be grateful for the opportunity of presenting some related
intricacies of the logistics of provision of private higher educational
facilities, particularly medical education, to our children. True
enough, there is a collosal drain of our scarce monetary resources in
trying to educate some of our children abroad as they are not able to
get admission to our universities. This is particularly true of basic
medical education. Quite a significant number of our young adolescents
are sent abroad every year for a medical degree. The parents have to
fork out a fortune in the process.
Medical education in a country should be geared to the needs of that
country. Planning for the future needs to take into account the number
of qualified doctors that we need for the future, make allowances for
those who give up the profession, for those who are lost due to
retirement or death and for those who elect to leave the country seeking
greener pastures abroad after getting the basic qualification in this
country. True enough, we do need more doctors, especially to bring up
the doctor to population ratio to the levels enjoyed by the Western
countries. However, there would always be a limit to this. At some stage
in the future, a saturation point would be reached and then there would
be medical unemployment. The Ministry of Health is already hinting at
the possibility of not being able to employ all the doctors qualifying
through our own universities in a few years time. An unemployed doctor
is generally not good or adequately trained for anything else apart from
If, at any time, private medical education institutions become a
reality in this country, it would be absolutely necessary to cater their
intake and facilities towards the National Plan for the health sevices
over the next few decades.
Uncontrolled mushroom proliferation of private medical higher
education institutions would be an absolute disaster. They would be like
'Medical Tutories' churning out inferior doctors. In an anological sense
we do not want another set of 'Sakvithi' episodes in this land. Very
strict control of the facilities, staff and the curricula would need to
be implemented as an absolutely essential pre-requisite.
The teaching staff would need to be of the same calibre as those of
our State universities and the teaching methods should be comparable to
those of the universities. There can never be a half-way house here. The
various examinations too will need to be as stringent as those of our
universities. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to have external
examiners from the State universities, so that the assessments of the
future doctors is somewhat equitable.
As for training of private medical students, I strongly disagree with
Mr. Jayaweera that any of our private hospitals could ever function
satisfactorily as teaching centres for medical students. True enough,
some of them may have sophisticated investigative and treatment
facilities but they lack woefully in the numbers and the diversity of
patients in our State teaching hospitals that train medical students.
However glamorous their facades may be, they are no match whatsoever to
the State medical institutions. No private hospital in Sri Lanka can
hope to even vaguely approach the availability of clinical material ever
present in the State hospitals. Medical students need to see large
numbers of patients with different diseases and not CT scans, MRI scans
and fancy treatment modalities in Intensive Care Units.
However, there is no need for the private medical institutions to be
centered in Colombo, Kandy, Galle or Jaffna. These institutions could be
set up in any of the major towns that boasts of a provincial hospital
and entice the Government to allow them to use the material and
facilities that are available in those hospitals. Of course, the private
institution will have to pay the Government for the courtesies extended.
Thus Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Badulla, Ratnapura, etc., would be quite
suitable. The hospitals in those towns do have the necessary clinical
As for examinations, it is unrealistic and logistically quite tricky
for the private medical students to sit for the same examinations as the
State university medical undergraduates. In fact, the many different
State universities have their own medical examinations.
The private institutions will need to have their own examinations but
these will need to be strictly supervised by higher education
authorities. The doctors who qualify from these private institutions
will also need to do their internship in State hospitals and not in
private hospitals. One learns a great deal during the internship and
this could be provided only by a surplus of clinical material available
only in the State hospitals.
Though rational and perhaps a dire need, provision of private medical
education in this country is likely to be plagued by a plethora of
The logistics alone are likely to be quite a burden. Yet for all
that, these problems are perhaps not insurmountable. There must be
complete transparency in the processes adopted and a healthy dialogue
among all stakeholders. These are absolutely mandatory. There should not
be any room for shady deals, partisanship and dealing out of favours. A
properly planned endeavour would be that much beneficial to all
The writer is a doctor who was lucky enough to secure admission to
the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Colombo. He is acutely
conscious of the incomparable training that was provided for him and how
much he has gained from the experience gathered from the State
hospitals. After working for long years in both public and private
sectors, he is also aware of the woeful inadequacy of private hospitals
for extensive medical undergraduate training.
Dr. B.J.C. Perera Rajagiriya
"Lordy, Lordy, these be 'mazin times". So spake a character in
Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" perhaps Shakespeare was making a
1). India asks UN to ban all terrorists.
2).That genius Bush who discovered Weapons of Mass Destruction in
Iraq has declared that "Any Government which sponsors and aids
terrorists will be held accountable."
W. Gooneratne Kollupitiya