Although several discussions have been held with regard to the
unsolved problems of translators, all have become counter- productive
and no solution is in sight.
Translators are in a helpless state and at a loss, for their problems
are ignored. Authorities concerned have turned a deaf ear to their
grievances and translators have been denied many of their entitlements.
A service, for which the II/I salary scale of the Sri Lanka
Administrative Service had been assigned (viz. the Special Class of
Translators' Service) has been downgraded to even below the Clerical
This is a disgrace to the translators' service for which
manipulation, the Salaries and Cadre Commission has made use of the PA
Salary Circular No. 06/2006.
Now there are scores of self-styled translators in most State
institutions. On the pretext of a dearth of translators, non-translators
are employed in many government institutions.
Certain department heads who cannot separate the wheat from the chaff
engage their relatives or friends in translation work pointing out the
dearth of translators in the Public Service. It is they who are mostly
or solely responsible for this unfortunate situation.
When there are vacancies for translators, they do not call for
applications for the posts nor do they keep the authorities concerned
informed of the same, for they want to employ their friends or
relatives, who for the most part possess merely a nodding acquaintance
with the languages concerned.
On such occasions accuracy of the translation does not matter to
those who assign work of translations to non-translators.
It is through a tough examination that translators are selected -
which means that only the crème de la crème is recruited.
Therefore employing of non-translators is a grave injustice to the
Translators' Service whatever the excuse be.
The profession of translations should not be allowed to be converted
into a business of interested parties. In a way, presently the
Translator's Service has become seriously threatened in the Public
On the pretext of remedying the existing dearth of translators,
already plans are underway to relax recruitment qualifications for
translators which automatically will reduce the salary scale too.
A clear example is PA Salary Circular No. 06/2006.
I am of opinion that the best way to remedy the dearth of translators
is to attract well qualified individuals into the service by designing a
handsome salary scale compared to the scale which existed prior to the
implementation of PA Salary Circular No. 06/2006 which means
comparatively the salary scales of the translators should have been much
higher to date.
Hence, I very kindly request the relevant authorities who hold
offices of assigning salary scales to services in the Public Service not
to pull fast ones on high-ranking officials in the Public Administration
who are finally responsible for okaying salary scales thereby suggesting
malicious strategies to remedy the dearth of translators existing in the
I joined the State Trading (Tractor) Corporation in the year 1977.
Later this Corporation was privatised as the Lanka Tractor Private Ltd.,
where I served for 25 years. A Volunteer Resignation Scheme (VRS)
circular in the year 2002 offered a package of 18 months salary plus
gratuity, to employees who wish to leave. Several employees including
myself accepted the offer and forwarded our applications for
resignation, which the Management accepted. We left agreeing for early
settlement of our dues. Two months after we left the company closed
down, with our dues lying unsettled. All those employees who left under
the VRS offer notified the Labour Department. The Labour Department
requested us to file action in the Labour Tribunal.
Thereafter, we filed a case in the labour courts, but the company was
not all that responsive. In any event, the labour case was called and
went into trial. The case was heard for two long years during which
evidence of both parties were recorded. The Labour Tribunal finally gave
its Order which stated that the company should pay all our dues, and we
were happy with that justified Order.
However now, the premises of the company along with the building and
all other assets have been taken over by the government. We are made to
understand that the ownership of the block of land where the company was
located has already been transferred to a foreign company and that a
leading five star hotel is to be built on this location
Employees who continued serving numbering 85 were paid 50 months
salary plus gratuity, but not the ones who left earlier under the VRS.
It is almost eleven years now and I yet keep waiting for settlement of
my dues for the services rendered to the company. Where is justice and
where do I stand? What is the next step I should take to obtain my dues?
Please help me.
Though the public lament over rampant indiscipline and corruption in
the public service and even the President, the highest in the land has
commented on it, it is as if indiscipline and inefficiency have been
institutionalised in the public service.
Going through the list of recent appointments to posts of ministry
secretaries, I noted that a certain appointee is one who had earlier
been a 'posted' Head of Department, who was moved out as a result of a
Board of Inquiry headed by a retired District Judge, having concluded
that he had committed 17 serious irregularities, covering misuse of
power, using departmental funds without following proper procedure and
approval of the ministry, entering into agreements with foreign private
sector institutions without authority and against the A.G's advice,
thereby incurring losses to the department etc.
The correct disciplinary procedure would have been to interdict the
Head of Department from service or at least to have sent him to the
'pool', as other public servants have been subjected to.
Apparently due to political patronage he was moved out to another
post and favoured treatment. My humble opinion is that even if only one
of the 17 charges was proved, a promotion as a Ministry Secretary is not
justified, in fairness to justice and fair-play and maintenance of high
disciplinary standards in the public service.
Then again a certain 'brave' trade unionist in a posted department
had been promoted introducing fake documents and breaching correct
Despite the irregularity even being publicised in the national
dailies, no action was adopted to correct it and cancel the promotion.
I appeal to the President as the Head of the Public Service, to order
an inquiry into the two promotions in question as a deterrent against
such favouritism and political patronage in regard to promotions and
discipline in the public service.
As a viewer and sports enthusiast for a number of years, I am
perturbed at the growing unacceptable enthusiastic aggression of
schoolboys at international level cricket matches. This was particularly
evident at the recently concluded Sri Lanka versus Pakistan test match
at Pallekelle. Schoolboys are given the privilege of coming in their
numbers to witness matches in the belief that early exposure to the test
arena will not only infuse an interest in the game but also acquire the
finer points of batsmanship, bowling and fielding besides acceptable
norms of sportsmanship and ethics, when visiting giants of the game are
on the field. At Pallekelle that did not seem so. The Third Test at
Pallekelle was decisive to both teams. Enthusiastic and mature
spectators were on tenterhooks from the start of the game till the end
(in case we lost the match and the series despite good performances).
These youngsters whom I speak of come in the belief that a cricket match
is meant for personal amusement and an outing to jump and dance in front
of cameras with painted faces and wild hair styles. None of them watch
the game carefully, nor have they an eye on the scoreboard to see if we
are heading for a win or a loss. In other words they do not know what
they are in for nor learn about the game. Crowds come in to show support
but I am one who believe that cheering and flag waving alone does not
influence a game.
Of course applauding when necessary for an outstanding catch or
stroke is required. But there are tense moments when absolute quiet is
required. Surely these schools have games masters or sports coaches who
should inculcate in them the value of appreciating a match from start to
finish! They should accompany students and sit with them.
Besides the unbearable din they create disturbs the true spectators
and sometimes interferes with an umpiring decision, or the concentration
of a batsman when approaching a landmark.
Worse still, our cameramen focus long periods on these antics.
In contrast I really appreciate the attitude of spectators viewing a
match at Lords and on other reputed grounds at Sydney and the MCG. For
first class spectator attitude I recommend sports masters to follow the
Tennis Grand Slams at Roland Garros or Wimbledon when absolute silence
is demanded by the referee during play. Non-compliance follow instant
ejection from the arena.
The place to discipline citizens is in childhood. They are assessed
and viewed not in the confines of a school or at home but in public
places - streets and gatherings. I hope this gets to Principals and