Process of making a better future
Extracts of an interview with the
President of the Police Seva Vanitha Unit, Attorney-At-Law Anoma
Goonetileke. She has been serving as a lawyer for a period of 30 years.
She was the only female Secretary of the Bar Association (2004 - 2005).
She took over the Presidency of the Police Seva Vanitha Unit in July
Q: What are the services done after
you were elected as the President of the Police Seva Vanitha Unit?
A: Police Families Welfare Association of the Police Seva
Vanitha Unit spent Rs. 235,000 to grant medical assistance for 13
officers since July 2008. The amount of funds spent for the education of
the children of disabled and dead officers is Rs. 118,500. Another
Rs.75,000 spent on university education of 15 children belong to
officers. First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa distributed educational
material for 15,130 children belong to police officers on December 2008.
First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa distributing books among children
during a ceremony organised by the Police Seva Vanitha Unit
The unit also donated Rs.175,000 as housing assistance for two
officers. Rs.19,000 granted as sports assistance for the children belong
to five officers while assistance for milk food worth Rs.27,250 granted
to twin children belong to 36 officers. The amount of funds granted as
funeral expenses is Rs.454,000 for 102 dead officers.
The Police Seva Vanitha unit has granted Rs.231,000 as medical
assistance for 18 officers while another Rs.175,000 granted to four
officers as housing assistance. The unit has paid Rs.270,000 for 13
disabled officers to construct toilets with commodes.
A colour television, a badminton set with other equipment, net ball,
carom board and other items were donated to Mulleriyawa Mental Hospital
on January this year.
The unit donated seven wheel-chairs to the Police Hospital and
another 10 wheel-chairs to Police Special Task Force to mark
Independence Day 2009. Gift parcels and milk powder distributed among
103 in-house patients. The unit organised several medical camps
countrywide including Colombo, Anuradhapura, Trincomalee.
The unit donated 159 gift parcels, another 91 parcels containing
sarong, T shirts etc, among the wounded soldiers of Armed Forces now
being treated at the Anuradhapura General Hospital. Another 150 parcels
containing various requirements were also donated at the same time.
The unit conducted a lottery draw in October 2008 and a musical show
at the BMICH, Colombo in March 2009 to raise funds. Financial assistance
has been granted the several officers and their families using those
There are around 74,000 police officers in the service at the moment.
The unit also ensures the welfare of retired police officers and their
Q: Why are those services important?
A: The police officers serving in difficult areas and the
conflict areas do not get an opportunity to come and get their work
done. Therefore it is important to bring services such as medical camps
to their locations.
For example, the members of the Armed Forces who are being treated at
Anuradhapura General Hospital have nothing apart from their destroyed
uniforms. This is because they had come to the hospital directly from
the battle field.
They need everything from food, cloths, tooth brushes, soap and
towels. This is why we have to care for them. The other fact is we have
to reach to the poorest of the poor. Retired officers, affected/disabled
officers and all their families. They need care and assistance.
President, Police Seva Vanitha Unit, Attorney-At-Law Anoma
Goonetileke. Picture by Sudath Nishantha
Q: What are the special projects or
programs you are aiming at?
A: I have already established 37 sub units of the Police Seva
Vanitha Unit at Provincial level. I have a plan to establish special
wards for police officers in all State hospitals. At the moment all
police officers have to visit the Police Hospital to seek medical
treatment and some of them travel from far away destinations.
After setting up special police wards at other hospitals, their
travelling problem can be solved. I also hope to build around 15 houses
for disabled personnel. The first house will be given to a recipient
from Beliatta as a gratitude to the President’s successful efforts to
eradicate terrorism and end war.
A lot of lawyers contribute very lavishly to the activities carried
out by the Police Seva Vanitha Unit. It is not possible for me to
mention all the names of the donors and thank them individually but I
wish to thank them all for their excellent support.
Since my childhood I used to engage in social welfare activities and
donations. Since I am a lawyer I associate with a rich section of the
society which is a huge advantage for me. I use it to assist the unit.
Q: What is the present situation of
WPCs and their welfare?
A: WPCs have a lot of grievances. Their main grievance is the
retirement and pension. At the moment they can retire after serving 20
years in the Police Department but they have to wait till they reach 55
to obtain the pension.
Arrangements will be made in future to change this system and enable
them to retire after completing 20 years of service and get the pension
at the same time. This should be done because when they complete 20
years in service their children grow up and reach an age that they need
their mother to be with them. First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa has already
extended her fullest support to solve these problems.
The other problem is uniforms during pregnancy and when getting
older. Pregnant WPCs need a special comfortable uniform. They cannot
wear ordinary loose dresses especially made for pregnant mothers for
But at the moment they do not have such a special uniform. This
problem will be looked into soon. The WPCs who get older face a similar
problem and it is very difficult for them to fit into the shape of
ordinary uniform when they grow old.
What is suitable for them is a pant and a coat which does not give
them any trouble when it comes to the shape of the body. Their uniform
issue will also be solved soon.
The majority of them complain about not getting their leave approved
and not being able to enjoy their off days, especially Sunday at home
with their families. Usually they have to work even on their off days.
Lack of manpower is a problem at the moment. This problem will be solved
with the recruitment of new batches of WPCs.
Q: Do you have any message for the
A: The people should always realize and remember that there is
a normal human being inside every khaki uniform. They feel love, anger,
tiredness and all the other feelings just as any other human being.
But the difference is they cannot eat whenever they feel hungry. They
cannot take a rest when they feel tired or they cannot sleep when they
feel sleepy like ordinary people do. Police officers cannot do such
things because they have dedicated their lives to ensure the safety of
But unfortunately some people get offended when they are being
stopped at a security check point. Some people scold the police officers
and even some media accuse the police very often.
The Police stop vehicles and people to check in order to ensure that
they are safe. They have forgotten the good deeds of the Police officers
and the service rendered by them to the country and to the nation. We
like to criticize people often but we never praise people. We should be
thankful to the Police and should assist them to carry out their duties.