“Uttama Villain” is worth Watching Due to Kamal Haasan’s Brilliant Acting and Ghibran’s Stunning Music.

By
S.Saraswathi

There is nothing like nearing the end of your life and knowing that death is coming, to bring you crashing down to earth. It helps put everything in perspective.

Kamal Haasan’s much-awaited Uttama Villain attempts to bring home this truth.

Manoranjan (Kamal Haasan) is a huge film star totally drunk on his success.

He has everything — a spectacular career, a happy married life, a beautiful lover and a rich father-in-law to produce his every film.

He is at the height of his popularity when his life is shattered by two startling revelations.

Continue reading ‘“Uttama Villain” is worth Watching Due to Kamal Haasan’s Brilliant Acting and Ghibran’s Stunning Music.’ »

Sri Lankan Visit by John Kerry shows President Sirisena has “many new friends ” in Washington.

by

Taylor Dibbert

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently visited Sri Lanka. He was accompanied by Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs.

Kerry and company were welcomed with open arms by the Sirisena administration and this high-level visit is the latest (and most prominent) reminder that Sri Lanka’s recent political shakeup is a genuine game changer for the Obama administration.

It was a brief stay and one could argue that Kerry may have been too hard-pressed for time to travel to the Tamil-dominated north. However, the optics of this trip may disappoint many ethnic Tamils and Muslims. (He did find time to visit a Buddhist temple just outside of Colombo.)

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Visit by John Kerry shows President Sirisena has “many new friends ” in Washington.’ »

Israel Emulates Sri Lanka in Trying to Re-visit International Law in a Bid to Whitewsh War Crimes

By

Ben White

In 2011, and in response to accusations of war crimes during the final months of conflict with the Tamil Tigers two years previously, the Sri Lankan government convened a conference where then-Minister of External Affairs G. L. Peiris declared that “the entire body of international law must be revisited.” Human Rights Watch called the event “a public relations exercise to whitewash abuses.”

This week, a new conference will take place in Israel on a familiar-sounding theme: “Towards a New Law of War.” According to conference organisers Shurat HaDin, the goal of the event “is to influence the direction of legal discourse concerning issues critical to Israel and her ability to defend herself.”
A new conference targets the laws of war

Shurat HaDin is an organisation that uses courts around the world “to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies.” The group has conducted work at the request of the Israeli government, and received intelligence from Mossad. Its track record includes an unsuccessful lawsuit against Jimmy Carter, failed legal action against a pro-BDS Australian academic, and threats to Oxfam.

The conference is based on the idea that in an “age of terrorism”, the laws of war “must evolve” to meet “new challenges.” Attendees will “exchange ideas regarding the development of armed conflict legal doctrine favourable to Western democracies engaged in conflict against non-traditional, non-democratic, non-state actors.”

Continue reading ‘Israel Emulates Sri Lanka in Trying to Re-visit International Law in a Bid to Whitewsh War Crimes’ »

John Kerry Relates the Tale of A Tamil Hindu Woman – Karthika – as an Inspirational Story

(REMARKS made by US Secretary of State John Kerry “On Strengthening the U.S.–Sri Lanka Partnership for Human Rights and Lasting Peace” at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 2nd 2015)

SECRETARY KERRY: Mangala, thank you very, very much. Thank you for a wonderful introduction, notwithstanding that you reminded me that I disappointed you in 2004. (Laughter.) I disappointed myself and a few other people.

I am really happy to be here (inaudible) and I’m very happy to welcome all of you here. No, you are welcoming me – it’s a mutual welcome, admiration, effort. And I can’t thank Mangala and Sri Lanka enough for the very generous welcome that you gave me this morning when I first came here. I came over to that historic building that is now the foreign ministry. Thank you for that, my friend.

I also want to thank you for your remarkable efforts – yours and the president’s and prime minister’s – on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka. And I thank you for something else. A week ago I was in northern Canada, just below the Arctic Circle, not far from the Arctic Ocean, where I was assuming the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. And I want you to know it is a welcome change to enjoy the warm weather here. (Laughter.) I didn’t see a lot of igloos around, happily.

Continue reading ‘John Kerry Relates the Tale of A Tamil Hindu Woman – Karthika – as an Inspirational Story’ »

How JR Jayewardene Ushered in the Executive Presidency in 1978

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The successful passage of the 19th Constitutional amendment in Parliament with an overwhelming majority has resulted in the Executive Presidency ushered in by the 1978 Constitution losing some if not all of its powers. This in turn has focused the spotlight on the first Executive President of Sri Lanka –Junius Richard Jayewardene known generally as JR.

courtesy: dailynews.lk

courtesy: dailynews.lk

As is well known it was JR who masterminded the change of Sri Lanka’s political system from the British Westminster model to that of one closely resembling the French Gaullist Constitution. Power shifted to the President who transformed from a figurehead to an effective head of state. The post of Prime minister got devalued.

The Presidential system brought in by JR Jayewardene has a long history. When JR was minister of state in the UNP government of Dudley Senanayake (1965-70) he made a path – breaking speech at the Association for the Advancement of Science. JR Jayewardene in his keynote address of Dec 14th 1966 outlined his visions of a Presidency then. He argued in favour of a Presidential system based on the USA and French models.
Continue reading ‘How JR Jayewardene Ushered in the Executive Presidency in 1978’ »

Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki celebrated her 77th birthday on April 23rd. The well known Indian singer of film songs who is praised as the “nightingale of the South” was born on April 23rd 1938 during the British colonial period at Pallapatla in Repalle. The Repalle town is located in the Guntur district of present day Aandhra Pradesh state.

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Janaki hails from a Telugu Brahmin family. Her father Sishtla Sreeramamurthy was a teacher and native physician. In a splendid career spanning over fifty years Janaki has sung over 20,000 songs for films made in 16 different languages.

The Languages are Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malyalam, Tulu, Konkani, Baduga, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Sanskrit, Urdu, English, Japanese, German and Sinhala.
Continue reading ‘Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song’ »

President Sirisena Tables Cabinet Memorandum for 20th Constitutional Amendment Proposing a Mixed Electoral System of FPP and PR.

With matters relating to 19A over, at Wednesday’s ministerial meeting, President Sirisena said he was tabling a Cabinet Memorandum titled “Proposed Constitutional Amendment for Electoral Reforms through the introduction of a mixed Electoral system consisting of first past-the-post system and the proportional representation system.”

He told his ministers that it was only a basis for discussion and was in no way a final document. Minister Rajitha Senaratna said that someone should be asked to make a visual presentation of the suggestions contained in Sirisena’s memorandum. Here is the full text of Sirisena’s Cabinet Memorandum dated April 29:

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Tables Cabinet Memorandum for 20th Constitutional Amendment Proposing a Mixed Electoral System of FPP and PR.’ »

Sri Lanka’s first Open Air National Zoological Gardens at Pinnawela – A Dream Come True.

By Risidra Mendis

The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage in Kegalle had for many years been an often visited place for both locals and foreigners alike to watch elephants, as they walk one behind the other heading to the river to bathe. The latest attraction for the people of Kegalle and the adjoining areas was the much awaited first Open Air National Zoological Gardens at Pinnawela, which was declared open by Tourism and Sports Minister, Navin Dissanayake on 17 April 2015 amidst a large gathering.

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The Pinnawela National Zoological Gardens is situated close to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. It is located on 42 acres of land and is a beautifully landscaped Zoo with lush greenery and colourful flowers and is expected to attract a large number of visitors in the coming days.

The Open Air Zoo cost Rs 862 million to build. Rs 488 million was given by the Treasury and the rest was from the Zoological Development Fund.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s first Open Air National Zoological Gardens at Pinnawela – A Dream Come True.’ »

Physical Attack on Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri and Dr.Kumudi Kusum Kumara at Pro-Mahinda May day Rally in Kirillapone Condemned by Free Media Movement.

(Text of a Press Release Issued by the Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka )

The Free Media Movement strongly condemns the physical attack unleashed on Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri and Dr.Kumudu Kusum Kumara at the May Day rally organised by the pro- Rajapaksa political parties and groups at the Kirullapona Lalith Athulathmudali ground, Colombo.

The National Freedom Front (NDF) led by Wimal Weerawansa, a member of the Parliament played a leading role in this pro-Rajapaksa rally. Dr.Devasiri is former FUTA President and current media spokes person of the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) and Dr Kumudu Kusum Kumara, also a prominent public intellectual.

FMM would like to reiterate that those violent politicians and their henchmen who cannot stop the habit of hunting the dissenters should be brought to book.

Continue reading ‘Physical Attack on Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri and Dr.Kumudi Kusum Kumara at Pro-Mahinda May day Rally in Kirillapone Condemned by Free Media Movement.’ »

Satyajit Ray’s Genius lay in Portraying Subtleties and Daily Truths as Art.

by

Maitreyee B Chowdhury

Maitreyee B Chowdhury

Maitreyee B Chowdhury

(India’s greatest filmmaker Satyajit Ray was born on May 2nd 1921. This article appearing in “Swarajya” is posted here today to denote Ray’s 94th Birth anniversary. The writer Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a poet and writer based in Bangalore)

It was by complete coincidence that I was in Kolkata in the first week of May in the year 2014. It’s a week that sees cine lovers from all parts of Bengal and world over coming together to celebrate the birthday of Satyajit Ray on the second of May. My book on Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen had completed a year and over bhader cha (tea in an earthen saucer) and samosas, a few movie buffs among friends had gathered one evening to discuss the restoration and preservation of films from the 1950s and 60s.

 June 1967 file photo of Satyajit Ray, a film-maker from India. (AP Photo)

June 1967 file photo of Satyajit Ray, a film-maker from India. (AP Photo)

The centre of attraction, however, was a hand drawn poster of Satyajit Ray’s film Sonar Kella that had been recently acquired by a collector friend who was with us that evening. With much fanfare, the poster was rolled out on the floor so that we could see the rather life-like sketch of the scorpion stare back at us. I ran my hands over the texture of the paint on the brilliantly done black and blue backdrop with yellow and white fonts that announced grandly in Bangla: ‘Satyajit Rayer sanghatik chhobi — Sonar Kella’ (a terrific film by Satyajit Ray — Sonar Kella). Unknown to my friends, I was searching for the master’s inner eye in the poster.
Continue reading ‘Satyajit Ray’s Genius lay in Portraying Subtleties and Daily Truths as Art.’ »

POST 19 th AMENDMENT POLITICAL SCENARIO: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS AND AFTER

BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

There was a struggle against the model of 19A first presented by Ranil Wickremesinghe, but there was no struggle against 19A as such—by which I mean the idea that the executive presidency required downward readjustment. The UNP-CBK-TNA-JVP Quartet had envisaged decapitation of the Executive presidency while the masses, the SLFP-UPFA and JHU envisaged trimming; downward revision. Thus, there was no struggle against 19A; there was a struggle over 19A; its scale and scope.

The struggle against Ranil-CBK’s 19A model was waged in several stages by several forces:

· The civil society petitioners and lawyers who moved the Supreme Court and thereby succeeded in neutralizing the worst of the original draft;

· Champika Ranawaka and Rajiva Wijesinha who fought the battle against Ranil’s subterfuge and kept the reform on the right track;

· The UPFA whose fight-back forestalled an SLFP sellout and pulled the SLFP from CBK’s para-UNP stance onto the traditional anti-Ranil, anti-UNP track.

The UPFA’s game-plan was never to wreck the 19th amendment, because its own members had been decades-long opponents of the Jayewardene presidency and also because it harbors hopes of a Rajapaksa return as Prime Minister. Thus, wrecking 19A was sharply contrary to both its ideological sentiments as well as its project. However, the UPFA was determined to prevent a CBK-driven SLFP surrender to Ranil’s model of 19A and his surreptitious maneuvers to bring it to fruition. The SLFP-UPFA’s decades-long opposition to Ranil’s rightwing UNP brand was reactivated by his own arrogant political behavior and discourse, in the parliamentary chamber and backstage, during the entire 19A process.

Continue reading ‘POST 19 th AMENDMENT POLITICAL SCENARIO: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS AND AFTER’ »

Decision by President and Premier to Achieve consensus with SLFP was Political Masterstroke


By

Dharisha Bastians

In the heady days before a presidential election was declared on 22 November 2014, a UNP delegation comprising key party strategists held a secret meeting with the man who was being proposed for common candidate of a grand opposition coalition gearing up for battle against the mighty Rajapaksa regime.

The civil society movement mobilising support for the common candidacy had vetted several options and landed on a most surprising choice. SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena was a quiet politician, hailing from a remote village in Sri Lanka’s ancient capital of Polonnaruwa. In a political career spanning 40 years, he never made big waves. For this reason perhaps, his image had remained intact.

He was an unassuming candidate, without the ambition and power-hunger that had tainted all other potentials in the ring. Once the choice was made, it was up to the UNP to conduct its own assessment of whether it could throw its weight behind his candidature. Without the UNP, there was no electoral base and no common candidacy. The party was grappling with how it could get behind a true-blue politician, and they needed a good enough reason to do it.

It was the UNP’s first meeting with Sirisena. In his quiet, steely way, the man who would be President of Sri Lanka in under 60 days told the UNP group that when he made the decision to contest the presidency, he had realised it could mean death. “I am willing to lose my life, if that is what it is going to mean. If we win the election, I will not give up even if they try to kill me,” Sirisena told the UNP delegation.

Five months ago, Sri Lanka was a different place. It was far from exaggerated to believe that contesting against the incumbent could mean death or imprisonment. Sarath Fonseka, the last challenger had been made an example of, and it was a lesson no politician would forget in five years.

2015 was Mahinda Rajapaksa’s do-or-die election. The question of whether he would surrender power if he was defeated was foremost on the minds of opposition strategists. With the might of the armed forces and the entire public service at his command, if President Rajapaksa had decided not to go, the Opposition was convinced there would be blood on the streets on 9 January.

Maithripala Sirisena knew he was putting his life on the line with his candidature. His decision to contest in spite of what could prove dangerous consequences, convinced UNP strategists that he was serious about challenging an all powerful-incumbent.

“When he said that, that was the moment when we knew we could get behind him, because truth be told, that was our greatest fear about this election. We knew we could win it, but we didn’t know if Mahinda would go, any candidate we fielded would have to know the risks involved,” said one member of the delegation who sat in on the secret talks that day.

So when President Sirisena told the people in his address to the nation last Thursday that his decision to contest the presidency was like deciding to jump into the sea with his children, he was not being hyperbolic.

Continue reading ‘Decision by President and Premier to Achieve consensus with SLFP was Political Masterstroke’ »

Political Environment with Freedom Established in Sri Lanka to Celebrate International Workers Day

By

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Today, we celebrate International Workers’ Day. The day of the courageous people who ensure the existence of the world through their labour.

A political environment where we have freedom has been established at the end of a massive social struggle against a dictator who curbed the rights of the workers.

It is obvious that today, Sri Lankan labour heroes celebrate the International Workers’ Day together with the world’s labour community while enjoying the so called freedom.

Continue reading ‘Political Environment with Freedom Established in Sri Lanka to Celebrate International Workers Day’ »

Vasudeva and Weerawansa Want Bribery Commission to Probe Chandrika Kumaratunga’s John Keels Holdings Land Deal

By Chamodi Gunawardana

Democratic Left Front (DLF) General Secretary Vasudeva Nanayakkara and National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday filed a complaint at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption over a case against former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga which has been lying idle at the commission for years pending investigation.

The complaint against Kumaratunga was initially lodged in 2007 concerning an incident where John Keells Holdings Ltd. was awarded 10 acres of land inside the Colombo Harbour in breach of due process. According to Nanayakkara, the Supreme Court considered the Fundamental Rights petition filed by Nanayakkara against Kumaratunga in 2007 and ordered the Bribery Commission, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Attorney General to investigate the incident further.

Continue reading ‘Vasudeva and Weerawansa Want Bribery Commission to Probe Chandrika Kumaratunga’s John Keels Holdings Land Deal’ »

What Happened in 1987 when the JR Jayawardena Govt Banned May Day Rallies Due to the April 21st Pettah Bomb Explosion

By Dharman Wickremaratne

Dharman Wickremaratne

Dharman Wickremaratne

The place was SLFP Headquarters, Colombo. The date was April 21, 1987. The time was around 5.30 p.m. I had come to SLFP Headquarters to do a report on the coming May Day. SLFP Trade Union Leader Alavi Moulana was standing in front of me. SLFP Administrative Secretary Anuruddha Ratwatte too was nearby.

Suddenly there was a sound like a thunderclap. Immediately I jumped into Ratwatte’s jeep and rushed to the scene of the explosion near the Bo-Tree, Pettah. The injured were screaming in pain. The bodies of the dead were scattered all over.

“This is a car bomb” said Secretary of National Security,Lionel Fernando and Commissioner General of Essential Services Austin Fernando who had arrived there. The blast claimed 122 lives and injured over 200 persons.

1987 May Day commemoration event

1987 May Day commemoration event

The following day people staged demonstrations calling for protection. Thousands surrounded the Colombo 7 Ward Place residence of President J.R. Jayewardene after marching from the direction of the Colombo Town Hall. The participants included were Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda, Ven. Balaharuwe Soma and Gamini Gunasekera of the JVP. It was organized by the Anthare (Inter University Students Fedaration). The Government declared a curfew and banned May Day rallies and meetings scheduled for May 1, ordering the events to be postponed for May 22.
Continue reading ‘What Happened in 1987 when the JR Jayawardena Govt Banned May Day Rallies Due to the April 21st Pettah Bomb Explosion’ »

TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran Sees at First hand the Pathetic Plight of Recently Re-settled Families in Valikamam north.

(Text of a Press release Issued by the Media office of Tamil National Alliance)

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TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran visited families in the recently cleared areas in Valikamam North which is in the periphery of the high security zone. Families who fled this area 20 years ago return to find that they are in the middle of a jungle with no access and irregular water supply.

Families are seen returning to places which were their homes to find roofs gone and walls unstable.

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As living is not a possibility in the present situation they are seen returning to their homes and cooking just to take procession of what is their own.

Although local government officials are striving to do everything within their means their efforts are like a drop in the ocean due to the lack of funds.
Continue reading ‘TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran Sees at First hand the Pathetic Plight of Recently Re-settled Families in Valikamam north.’ »

Desperate Last Minute Bid by Pro-Mahinda MP Group to Sabotage Passage of 19 Amendment Bill Thwarted by President Sirisena

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The government yesterday accused an influential section of the UPFA parliamentary group of having made a desperate bid to sabotage the 19 Amendment to the Constitution.

President Maithripala Sirisena, however, in his capacity as the leader of the SLFP had succeeded in thwarting dissidents, government spokesperson and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told the media yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Desperate Last Minute Bid by Pro-Mahinda MP Group to Sabotage Passage of 19 Amendment Bill Thwarted by President Sirisena’ »

President Sirisena says Adoption of 19th Amendment Victory is a Result of a 37 Year long Struggle by all Sri Lankans.

The adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution with a two-thirds majority was a historic victory for Sri Lankan society, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

He added that the victory was the result of a 37-year-long struggle by all Sri Lankans.

The President thanked all stakeholders who contributed to this effort, including the Maha Sangha, political parties and civil society groups, active citizens, who struggled, sustained and enriched dialogue on this amendment.

The President thanked the Members of Parliament and political parties who supported this amendment. Though Presidential candidates promised to abolish the executive presidency at five previous occasions, it became a reality only on 28 April.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena says Adoption of 19th Amendment Victory is a Result of a 37 Year long Struggle by all Sri Lankans.’ »

Present Parliament has no Legitimacy and must be Dissolved Immediately says UNP Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne

UNP MP and Investment Promotions and Highways Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said yesterday that factions of the UPFA went against the wishes of the people by diluting one of the most important features that would have made the 19th amendment more meaningful for the people.

He said the UNP and Maithripala Sirisena campaigned to abolish the Executive Presidency and build an independent, depoliticised public sector. Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1994 and 2000 and Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005 and 2010 and in 2015 campaigned to abolish the Executive Presidency.

President Maithripala Sirisena in his speech in support of the 19th Amendment stated that both Mahinda Rajapaksa and he had obtained 5.7 million and 6.2 million votes on the premise that they would abolish the Executive Presidency.

The Supreme Court had also struck down many clauses that delegated executive powers to the Prime Minister, which requires a referendum.

Continue reading ‘Present Parliament has no Legitimacy and must be Dissolved Immediately says UNP Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne’ »

Though 19th Amendment is Passed the UPFA says Struggle is not over Until 20th Constitutional Amendment is also Passed

By Jayashika Padmasiri

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) yesterday announced that though the 19th Amendment was enacted, its struggle was not over yet as the 20th Amendment still remained to be implemented while also claiming that through the 19A the UPFA was able to prove that the party was united and not divided.

Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva addressing a press conference yesterday said that the biggest obstacle standing between implementing the 20th Amendment was the impassive nature and lack of interest of the United National Party (UNP) concerning 20A.

“Our struggle is not yet over because 20A should also be implemented while a new electoral system should be introduced to the country. However, if the UPFA and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) did not support the constitutional amendments, then 19A would not have been enacted. Nevertheless, we cannot go home and sleep because our struggle is not over yet. However, it is true that through the 19A the UPFA did achieve a great victory because it is as a result of our majority vote base in Parliament that 19A is implemented today,” Silva said.

He added that 19A was also a good response for the people who were claiming that the UPFA was divided and were hoping for the party’s split.

Continue reading ‘Though 19th Amendment is Passed the UPFA says Struggle is not over Until 20th Constitutional Amendment is also Passed’ »

19th Constitutional Amendment Ends Possibility of Mahinda Rajapaksa Returning to Power as Executive President.

By

P.K.Balachandran

COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, trying hard to come back, suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Parliament passed the 19th Constitutional Amendment (19A), which prevents him from standing for the Presidency again.

“No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the People,” the 19A says.

To add to his woes, Rajapaksa’s own party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and his grand coalition, the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), voted for the 19A.

However, the SLFP and UPFA MPs tried hard to scuttle the 19A, coming up with various objections.

Their trump card was the majority they enjoyed in Parliament. Without their support President Maithripala Sirisena could not muster the required two-thirds majority.

Continue reading ‘19th Constitutional Amendment Ends Possibility of Mahinda Rajapaksa Returning to Power as Executive President.’ »

President Sirisena has Defeated Former Presidents JR Jayewardena and Mahinda Rajapaksa says Rajitha Senaratne


By Chamodi Gunawardana

Cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said that former presidents J.R Jayewardene and Mahinda Rajapaksa were both defeated on Tuesday as a result of the 19th Amendment being enacted.

Addressing a media briefing, Senaratne said that President Maithripala Sirisena fulfilled the promise he made to the public by trimming the executive powers of the President and by doing so had created a social revolution in the country.

“President Sirisena is the most powerful personality our country came across after former Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranaike. Some people said President Sirisena had no personality because of his slim figure.

However, President Sirisena won the game and he proved that a person’s personality can only be judged by what is in his heart and mind and not through a moustache or person’s size or figure,” he said.

He added that although certain Sri Lankan presidents who were in power before the current president made promises to abolish the executive presidency they did not succeed to execute what they promised.

“Our people waited for almost 30 years to see this change but nothing happened. However, now Sri Lankans can feel and experience the differences between the present Government and the previous regimes,” Senaratne added.

Speaking about the Government’s future plans, Senaratne stated that they had already prepared reforms for the new electoral system and were planning to get the 20th Amendment passed in Parliament as soon as possible.

Courtesy:Daily FT

Ex-President Mahinda Meets Parliamentary Waterloo as President Sirisena Wins Over Votes of MP’s.


By

Rasika Jayakody

Five members representing the country’s legislature today – namely Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers Joseph Michael Perera, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, MP P. Dayarathne and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan – were present in the House when the late J. R. Jayewardene introduced Executive Presidency to Sri Lanka in 1978. Of the five Parliamentarians only R. Sampanthan, who represented the ITAK, voted against the 1978 Constitution which was presented by the UNP when it had an overwhelming majority in Parliament.

Nearly 37 years down the line, it was Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who delivered the wind-up speech in Parliament before the second reading vote on the 19th Amendment to the constitution which was designed to curtail the excessive powers of the Executive Presidency. In his speech, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe referred to a discussion he had with his uncle, former President Jayewardene.

“President Jayewardene told me, ‘Ranil, anyone who sits here will not give up the position. You have to get him out when the term is over’. But now, we have a President who is willing to transfer his powers to Parliament,” the Prime Minister said, explaining the circumstances which led to the 19th Amendment. He said the 19th Amendment, despite the eleventh hour changes, was an important step in the direction of democratizing the country’s system of governance.

Although the constitutional amendment fell short of the expectations who voted for a change, it was a major development, especially in a Parliament that adopted an obnoxious constitutional amendment such as the 18th Amendment to the constitution without any resistance. Until the party leaders meeting which took place just before the vote, the pendulum swung both ways, leaving everyone, including the Members of Parliament, in confusion. There was a strong sense of uncertainty until the last moment and various discussions took place between various parties with regard to the 19th Amendment and its clauses.

Getting the UPFA’s support for the 19th Amendment was the biggest and toughest challenge for President Maithripala Sirisena who received a wide mandate for a “change” at the presidential election. There were several schools of thoughts within the SLFP over the constitutional amendment with one group directly opposing the 19th Amendment. They were the ardent supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who knew that the passing of the 19th Amendment would pose a threat to their survival in politics. In reality, they were a “minority group” under the UPFA umbrella.

At the same time, there was a sizable proportion of UPFA MPs – mainly SLFP members – who supported the 19th Amendment with certain caveats. Interestingly, when the parliamentary group of the party decided to support the amendment last week they did not speak of any ‘caveats’ and it seemed as if the party would unanimously support the 19th Amendment. Therefore, when President Maithripala Sirisena arrived at Parliament to present the 19th amendment, the MPs of the United National Party seemed hopeful about passing of the 19th Amendment.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Meets Parliamentary Waterloo as President Sirisena Wins Over Votes of MP’s.’ »

Marginal Shift of Power to Prime Minister Via 19th Amendment can Benefit Mahinda Rajapaksa if he Becomes PM

BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

There were four main winners in the battle over 19A. Of them, the second biggest winner was President Sirisena who was able to retain much of his power while balancing adroitly between the two contending components of his power base: his ally the UNP and his party the SLFP.

The biggest winner however, was not President Sirisena. It was a dead man, President Junius Richard Jayewardene. His 1978 Constitution proved so robust a structure, that it successfully resisted the joint attempt of his distant nephew Ranil Wickremesinghe and his old rival Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga to up-end its center-piece, the executive presidency.

The Supreme Court put paid to most of the clauses which attempted to shift power and authority drastically from the Presidency to the Prime Ministership. The Opposition, whose numbers were large enough thanks to JR’s electoral system of proportional representation, put paid to Ranil and Chandrika’s effort to surreptitiously embed unaccountable “civil society” in a crucial role determining role behind the scenes in the Constitutional Council.

The third biggest winner of the battle of 19A was former President Rajapaksa, whose loyalists in the Opposition were able to wage a bitter rearguard action which prevented an SLFP sell-out to the Ranil-CBK program and create a momentum which helped or caused President Sirisena to play a balancing role rather than act as a straightforward ally of his fellow troika members.

Continue reading ‘Marginal Shift of Power to Prime Minister Via 19th Amendment can Benefit Mahinda Rajapaksa if he Becomes PM’ »

How the Pro-Mahinda Faction of UPFA Tried to Scuttle the 19th Constitutional Amendment in Parliament


By
Dharisha Bastians

After the second reading of the 19th Amendment was passed with an overwhelming majority in the House at about 7.00 p.m., Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa convened the Committee Stage of the bill, during which amendments were to be moved before a final vote.

The pro-Mahinda faction of the UPFA attempted to scuttle this stage early on when MEP Leader Dinesh Gunewardane raised a point of order that the list of amendments had not been distributed in all three languages. Both the Government and Opposition benches were in an uproar over the interruption, causing Speaker Rajapaksa to take a 15-minute recess.

The Committee Stage then proceeded for several hours, with various amendments being accepted or rejected by the Government.

The Government was forced to remove an additional amendment in the 19th Amendment preventing a MP from going to court before disciplinary action was taken by his political party, after MEP Leader Dinesh Gunewardane put up stiff resistance to the clause and demanded a vote.

Continue reading ‘How the Pro-Mahinda Faction of UPFA Tried to Scuttle the 19th Constitutional Amendment in Parliament’ »

“Taraki” Sivaram: From Gun Toting Militant to Pen Wielding Journalist

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The tenth death anniversary of well-known columnist D.P.Sivaram who wrote under the pseudonym of “Taraki” falls this week. Dharmaretnam Puvirajakeerthi Sivaram who wrote in English and Tamil was abducted on April 28th 2005 at Bambalapitiya around 10. 30 pm.His body was found about four hours later by the Police on the banks of Diyawanna Oya near Kimbula-ela junction about 500 metres away from the Parliament Complex. It was concluded at the inquest that he had died of gunshot injuries after midnight between 12.30 to 1 am on April 29th.

Batticaloa scenery – pic: Indi Samarajiva

Batticaloa scenery – pic: Indi Samarajiva

The brazen abduction and brutal assassination of “Taraki”Sivaram caused shock waves. He was formerly a gun toting Tamil militant who had later turned into a pen wielding journalist.As a freelance journalist Sivaram had written his weekly Taraki column at different times for different English newspapers such as “Sunday Island”, ”Daily Mirror” and “Sunday Times”.He also wrote occasionally in Tamil under the byline DP Sivaram for newspapers such as “Virakesari”. (Later he got involved with the “North-Eastern Herald” journal and the “Tamilnet”website) Though controversial at times, his informative and analytical political columns were widely read.The circumstances of his abduction and death therefore evoked strong reactions from many including this writer. In penning this article on the occasion of Taraki’s tenth death anniversary, I am drawing liberally from some of my earlier writings.
Continue reading ‘“Taraki” Sivaram: From Gun Toting Militant to Pen Wielding Journalist’ »

Rajapaksas Feeling Foolish After Working According to the Agenda of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

After voting concluded on 8 January at the presidential election, the same night American Secretary of State, John Kerry, telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Kerry inquired from Mahinda whether the latter was prepared for a smooth transfer of power if he was defeated. Mahinda replied that the election process was continuing and he was confident of victory and added Mahinda would like to call on Kerry after his victory.

He also reminded Kerry about the invitation extended to him (Kerry) by his then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris. After ending the telephone conversation with the US Secretary of State, Mahinda told his close confidantes that John Kerry was a good person and he hoped to work closely with Kerry in the future to free Sri Lanka from issues before the international community. Mahinda who was in such a happy mood planning the future later felt he was losing when results were being released.

Now John Kerry is to arrive in Sri Lanka when a new President has taken office. The last US Secretary of State to visit Sri Lanka after 1977 was Colin Powell. He arrived in 2005 to visit Tsunami affected areas to grant assistance. Chandrika Kumaratunga was the President during that period. Many officials from the United States frequently visited Colombo during President J.R.Jayewardene’s tenure and again in 2002 when Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister. Even Colin Powel arrived in 2005 because Ranil strengthened relations with the United States as the Prime Minister 2002. In 2005 US President George Bush sent his former President Bill Clinton to Sri Lanka as a special envoy.

Those visits clearly indicate that American interest in Sri Lanka grew more to strengthen bilateral relations when the ground situation was conducive towards the US.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksas Feeling Foolish After Working According to the Agenda of US Secretary of State John Kerry.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Changes the JR Jayewardena Constitution and Mahinda Rajapaksa Amendment

By Gagani Weerakoon and Skandha Gunasekara

The final vote taken on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution Bill was passed with a majority of 211 votes in Parliament yesterday.

The Bill received 212 votes in favour as the UPFA, DNA and TNA voted with the government. Digamadulla UPFA MP Sarath Weerasekera voted against, while Galle District independent MP Ajith Kumara of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) abstained from voting. Ten MPs were absent.

They were UPFA MPs Prabha Ganeshan, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, D.M. Jayaratne, Jagath Balasuriya, Janaka Priyantha Bandara, Premalal Jayasekera, Ven. Ellawela Medhananda Thera, Basil Rajapaksa, Keheliya Rambukwella and TNA MP A. Vinayagamoorthy.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Changes the JR Jayewardena Constitution and Mahinda Rajapaksa Amendment’ »

19th Constitutional Amendment Passed with 212 MP’s Supporting,One Opposing, One Abstaining and Ten Absent

By

Dharisha Bastians

Parliament last night passed the historic 19th Amendment to the Constitution with an overwhelming majority in a marathon session, though the triumph was marred slightly for President Maithripala Sirisena’s minority Government when it was forced to compromise on the composition of the Constitutional Council to get the legislation through the House.

The 19th Amendment was passed by 225-member Parliament with 212 votes in support of it, 1 vote against it from MP Sarath Weerasekara and 1 abstention (Ajith Kumara). Ten MPs, including former Premier D.M. Jayaratne and Basil Rajapaksa, were absent during the vote.

The passage of the 19th Amendment will be recorded as a major victory for the Sirisena Government, after President Sirisena made constitutional amendments to slash the powers of the presidency and de-politicise state institutions, a central pledge of his election campaign.

The amended bill was passed after amendments moved at the Committee Stage were adopted late last night.

“This is a historic moment, we now have a President who is responsible to Parliament,” said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after the final vote tally was read out by the Speaker.

“Maybe all our hopes were not realised in this amendment. But we managed to reach a consensus,” the Premier said, congratulating the House.

Continue reading ‘19th Constitutional Amendment Passed with 212 MP’s Supporting,One Opposing, One Abstaining and Ten Absent’ »

19th Constitutional Amendment Passed with an Overwhelming Bi-partisan Majority with One Voting Against and One Abstaining

Constitutional History was made in Sri Lanka when Parliament passed the 19th Constitutional Amendment with an overwhelming bi-partisan majority.

All political parties represented in the legislature cut across party lines to support the bill which reduces to some extent the powers of the executive president and restores greater democracy.

After two-days of debate the 225-member parliament on Tuesday April 28th passed the second reading of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution by a majority of 214 votes with 215 voting in favor of The Bill . The Vote was taken by naming MP’s individually.

Continue reading ‘19th Constitutional Amendment Passed with an Overwhelming Bi-partisan Majority with One Voting Against and One Abstaining’ »

President Sirisena was Elected to deal With Matters of the State and not SLFP Matters


By

Nimalka Fernando

Today I am giving expression to the deep frustration within me as I read the so-called amendments to be introduced at the Committee stage coined by craftsmen to make crafty moves to further confuse the proceedings. These amendments are going to be introduced by some senior citizen’s of the political world who are incessantly murmuring the mantram that ‘we will come back in three months’.

I hear them assuring their supporters with this promise. Those who bravely decided to change the political journey of this country knew they were doing so with death standing at their door-step. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers did not build their “Vampire State” for nothing. The high frenzy action mobilisation which is symbolised by waving a different ‘national-flag’ should not go unnoticed. Those senior politicians who led the demonstration cannot tell us that they were so excited and did not know what happened.

Gammanpila a lawyer and Dulles a seasoned campaigner know the significance of this ‘unitary state campaign’ they are launching. This is the game plan as researched with the support of the Mahinda Rajapakse study circle. They are building the new manifesto minus the minority and in essence the core political message of the 20th amendment has to be viewed within this framework.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena was Elected to deal With Matters of the State and not SLFP Matters’ »

“Obstructing” SLFP Wants Powers of PM and Constitutional Council to be Diluted Further in 19th Amendment

By Dharisha Bastians

An eleventh-hour bid to get consensus on the 19th Amendment ended in deadlock last night, with the SLFP demanding changes to two major provisions of the draft legislation that Presidential advocates say would completely negate the purpose of the reforms – to curb the powers of the presidency and depoliticise key State institutions.

Negotiations came down to the wire last night, but ended in a stalemate, although the SLFP insisted they were not trying to derail the constitutional reforms, the Daily FT learns.
President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a three-man committee of MPs supporting his 19A to thrash out issues the SLFP had with the amendment, following a party leaders’ meeting in Parliament yesterday morning. The SLFP was also invited to appoint three negotiators.

UNP MP Ajith P. Perera, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran and SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem were appointed by the President to negotiate with the SLFP group on the amendments.

The SLFP had trouble picking its representatives to debate the amendments to the draft of 19A, with its constitutional experts refusing to sit across the table, sources with knowledge of the discussions told the Daily FT.

The party finally nominated MPs Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Faiszer Mustapha and Rajiva Wijesinha to discuss the issues. The two teams met between 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in Parliament yesterday.

The groups managed to reach consensus on most issues, with the exception of two, TNA MP Sumanthiran told the Daily FT.

Continue reading ‘“Obstructing” SLFP Wants Powers of PM and Constitutional Council to be Diluted Further in 19th Amendment’ »

President Sirisena has Wasted 100 Days in Office Trying to Win Over the SLFP –The Economist

THE date should have been one to celebrate: April 23rd was the hundredth day since Maithripala Sirisena formed a government after winning a fraught presidential election, in January, as the head of a broad coalition of parties. The surprising victory was rightly feted as a democratic triumph. It ended nearly ten years of authoritarian, nepotistic rule by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man who in 2009 inflicted a military defeat on Tamil Tiger rebels. Mr Sirisena had promised, however, to build a “new country” in his first hundred days. He has a long way to go.

The change of government offered a chance to face up to Sri Lanka’s bloody past, including atrocities during the war with the rebels. Optimists said that public institutions could again become accountable and that waste and corruption could be cut. But to achieve this, Mr Sirisena would have to wield real authority. He has not. Mr Rajapaksa’s previous ruling coalition boasted a two-thirds majority in the 225-seat Parliament. The new administration has only managed to cobble together diverse and disloyal groups.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena has Wasted 100 Days in Office Trying to Win Over the SLFP –The Economist’ »

Sri Lankan Navy Seized only 185 out of 36,865 Indian Fishing Boats in Sri Lankan Waters for One year Reveals Indian Coast Guard

By

Mohamed Imranullah S.

Coast Guard on Monday informed the Madras High Court Bench here that 36,865 Indian fishing boats reportedly crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Palk Bay region and indulged in poaching as well as smuggling activities in the Sri Lankan waters between January 2014 and February this year.

Filing a counter affidavit in reply to a contempt of court application moved against top government officials, including the Union Cabinet Secretary, Coast Guard said the Sri Lankan Navy had even provided registration numbers of 1,474 such boats to the Indian High Commission along with a request to prevent unauthorised entry into their waters.

“The details have been regularly forwarded to Tamil Nadu government to initiate punitive measures. Though ample documentary details of erring Indian fishing boats have been provided to the authorities of Tamil Nadu, the crossing of IMBL by the fishermen still continues,” said K.R. Nautiyal, Deputy Director-General of the Coast Guard, in the affidavit.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Navy Seized only 185 out of 36,865 Indian Fishing Boats in Sri Lankan Waters for One year Reveals Indian Coast Guard’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Tells Parliament that Nine Clauses of 19th Amendment Draft will be Removed as they Negatively Impact Media Freedom

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament yesterday that the government would withdraw nine clauses of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as they were thought to have a negative impact on the freedom of the press.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the proprietors of media establishments had met him, the President, Justice Minister and Media Minister and requested the government to remove a clause that envisaged taking punitive actions against media which did not comply with the orders of elections commissioner during elections. The proprietors of media organisations had informed the government that they would devise their own mechanism to implement the directives issued to them by the Elections Commissioner.

“The government has done its part and withdrawn the clause in question, and now it is up to the proprietors of media organisations to get together and devise a mechanism as they have promised,” he said.

The Prime Minister said so in response to a question raised by the Opposition with regard to the Right to Information draft bill.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Tells Parliament that Nine Clauses of 19th Amendment Draft will be Removed as they Negatively Impact Media Freedom’ »

Civil Society Organizations want all 225 MP’s to Vote in favour of 19th Constitutional Amendment


By Jayashika Padmasiri

Civil society organisations yesterday called on the 225 Parliamentarians to vote in favour of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, claiming if they fail to vote in favour the people of Sri Lanka will not accept them.

National Movement for Social Justice Chairman Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero during a protest march held in Battaramulla said that Sri Lankans had suffered a great deal as a result of the extreme powers of the executive presidency for more than 35 years and that they were now eagerly waiting for the 19th Amendment to be enacted.

“To the 225 Parliamentarians, all we have to say is that if they dare to vote against the 19th Amendment, do not go to their villages as the people will not accept them. Today everyone has gathered to enact the 19th Amendment without considering any religious or racial differences and our country also possesses a President who is willing to let go of the executive powers.

However, this is not happening as it is a need of the President or the Prime Minister. This is happening because this is a need of the people. Therefore we kindly request the 225 Parliamentarians not to vote against the country and to vote in favour of the 19th Amendment,” Sobitha Thero said.

Continue reading ‘Civil Society Organizations want all 225 MP’s to Vote in favour of 19th Constitutional Amendment’ »

Respect the People’s Mandate: Adopt the 19th Amendment -Friday Forum

By Prof. Savitri Goonesekere & Bishop Duleep de Chickera

The 1978 Constitution of our country has a passage in its Preamble which refers to the obligations of parliamentarians elected by the People. It says that “WE THE FREELY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA, in pursuance of the mandate, humbly acknowledging our obligations to our People and gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain and preserve their rights and privileges so that the Dignity and Freedom of the Individual may be assured,…do hereby adopt and enact this Constitution”. It is our duty as citizens today, and always, to ask whether and how far the actions and behaviour of the representatives of the People in Parliament fulfil those obligations.

The recent Presidential elections of 2015 gave President Sirisena a clear mandate to introduce Constitutional reforms that would dismantle or, at a minimum, dilute the powers of the Executive Presidency created by the current Constitution. The dismantling of the Executive Presidency had become an unfulfilled promise to the People given from 1994 by successive Presidents.

This mandate also clearly required an urgent response to corruption and abuse of power that had become rampant in an environment where the 18th Amendment had removed checks and balances to limit the wide presidential powers given by the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Respect the People’s Mandate: Adopt the 19th Amendment -Friday Forum’ »

President Sirisena Asks All MP’s to Support 19th Amendment While Moving the Second Reading of bill in Parliament

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

President Maithripala Sirisena making a historical speech yesterday in Parliament urged all Parliamentarians to support the 19th Amendment, describing it as a decision for the betterment of the future generations.

Moving the second reading of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, President Sirisena explained to lawmakers the importance of the historical moment.

“We are gathered here to move forward by establishing the good governance Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake wanted in Sri Lanka. After many years, people entrusted me to bring in the 19th Amendment. The executive presidency was opposed from the day it was introduced.”

“In 1994 the abolishing of the executive presidency was a part of the political manifesto of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. In 1999 she came back to power again mentioning the same. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa also mentioned it in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ political manifestos in 2005, 2010 and 2015. Now all of us have reached a point where it will be changed. People do know about the executive presidency and the importance of independent commissions,” insisted President Sirisena.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Asks All MP’s to Support 19th Amendment While Moving the Second Reading of bill in Parliament’ »

The Untold Story of Basil Rajapaksa’s Arrest, Remand and Transfer to Hospital

By Dharman Wickremaratne

Writen By Dharman Wickremeratne

Writen By Dharman Wickremeratne

The Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) on March 25 informed the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court that it wanted to record a statement from former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on the Divi Neguma Department’s financial dealings. Accordingly, Kaduwela Additional District Judge Dhammika Hemapala gave permission to obtain a statement from the former minister.

On the same day, when the police went to Basil Rajapaksa’s office at Oruthota, Gampaha, taking the Kaduwela Magistrate Court’s order, a staffer at the office accepted it with the former minister’s knowledge.

By that time Basil Rajapaksa, Gampaha District MP, was away from the country, having left the island on January 11. On January 15 he resigned from the post of SLFP National Organiser having accepted full responsibility for the defeat of the UPFA Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election held on January 8, since it was Basil who spearheaded the Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign.

Following the receipt of the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court order, he informed court through his Snr lawyer Udaya Rohan De Silva that he was away from the country. Attorney De Silva informed court that his client would make a statement to the FCID and assist the investigations soon after returning to the country before April 24 from the USA where he was undergoing medical treatment.

Basil Rajapaksa listening to seth pirith before addressing nearly 5,000 supporters who arrived at Katunayake to wecome him on April 21

Basil Rajapaksa listening to seth pirith before addressing nearly 5,000 supporters who arrived at Katunayake to wecome him on April 21

By that time the FCID had recorded statements from (1) former Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke (2), Divi Neguma Department’s former Director-General R.A.A.K. Ranawaka who is the present Additional Secretary of the Housing and Samurdhi Ministry and former Local Government and Provincial Council Ministry Secretary and (3) former Divi Neguma Department Additional Director-General Bandula Tilakasiri, who is the present Assistant General Manager (Legal) of the Sahadhipathya Management Authority under the Housing and Samurdhi Ministry among many other officials.

The charges against former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke and former Divi Neguma Director-General Ranawaka were that they misappropriated State funds.

Continue reading ‘The Untold Story of Basil Rajapaksa’s Arrest, Remand and Transfer to Hospital’ »

“No Leader has Worked Hard as I am Doing to Abolish my own Powers”-President Sirisena Tells Parliament


By Saman Indrajith

No other head of state in the world had been flexible and willing to give away executive powers the way he did, President Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament yesterday.

Opening the debate on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the President urged all 225 legislators to seize the historic opportunity and vote for the bill as it was the wish of the majority of the people of the country.

“Don’t lose this opportunity to be a partner in this noble cause,” the President said.

Continue reading ‘“No Leader has Worked Hard as I am Doing to Abolish my own Powers”-President Sirisena Tells Parliament’ »

How the LTTE Captured Elephant Pass Army Camp 15 Years ago Through an “Encircle and Enfeeble” war Strategy

By D.B.S. JEYARAJ

“And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he,
“But ’twas a famous victory.”

– Robert Southey -“ The Battle of Blenheim”


Fifteen years ago on April 22nd 2000
the strategic Elephant Pass camp was overrun by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in a decisive battle after a protracted military campaign.The military balance in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated Northern Province underwent a drastic transformation after the LTTE seized the vast military complex in the area around Elephant Pass, or Aanai Iravu as it is known in Tamil. The Elephant Pass isthmus was of strategic importance as it linked the northern mainland known as Wanni with the Jaffna Peninsula. Both the Jaffna-Kandy road or A-9 Highway, and the railway line to Jaffna run through Elephant Pass, and the narrow strip of land was in a sense the gateway to Jaffna. The fall of Elephant Pass marked the first time in the history of the lengthy “Tamil Eelam war” that the area had come under the LTTE’s control.

Near Elephant Pass-pic by Indi Samarajiva-pic taken on Jan 14, 2010

Near Elephant Pass-pic by Indi Samarajiva-pic taken on Jan 14, 2010

The Dutch colonialists first built a small fortress in 1776, which was converted in modern times into a resthouse for tourists. After Independence a permanent garrison was set up there to check illicit immigration, smuggling and unlawful transport of timber. As the intensity of the ethnic conflict escalated, the strategic importance of Elephant Pass also increased. The small camp gradually expanded into a sprawling complex. At one time, the Elephant Pass base and the satellite camps covered an area about 23 km long and 8-10 km wide.

To celebrate the capture of Elephant Pass, the LTTE organised a flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 23 2000. According to Tiger media outlets, hundreds of LTTE cadres and a large number of Tamil civilians who serve as members of an auxiliary force known as “Thunaippadai” watched as the crimson-and-gold LTTE flag was hoisted by ‘Colonel’ Bhanu. As Bhanu, 38, stepped back and saluted the flag, LTTE fighters fired ceremonially in the air, and seven artillery field guns fired three shells each. Thereafter, Bhanu addressed the gathering.
Continue reading ‘How the LTTE Captured Elephant Pass Army Camp 15 Years ago Through an “Encircle and Enfeeble” war Strategy’ »

With the UPFA Having 103 MP’s Still, Can the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Get 150 Votes for Two-Thirds Majority?

By Dharisha Bastians

The highest levels of Government spent the weekend whipping up votes for legislation that will drastically alter Sri Lanka’s Constitution and restore independence to key arms of the State, with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution coming up for debate in Parliament today.

Getting the crucial amendment through the House will be a litmus test of the Maithripala Sirisena administration, after constitutional reform formed the bedrock of his election platform for change in the January presidential poll.

The bill was due to be debated and voted on last week, until the pro-Rajapaksa faction of the UPFA scuttled the business of the House with an all-night sit-in in the Well of the main chamber to protest President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s summons to the Bribery Commission. It is unclear if similar steps will be taken to scuttle a debate and vote on the amendment when Parliament meets today.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which joined President Sirisena’s National Government a few months ago, has decided to support the amendment, after the party’s Central Committee agreed to extend support. However, the party is also insisting on several amendments to the draft amendment, which high-ranking Government sources say could dilute the reforms.

Continue reading ‘With the UPFA Having 103 MP’s Still, Can the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Get 150 Votes for Two-Thirds Majority?’ »

Zombified Rajapaksa Supporters Think Mahinda and His Extended Family are Above the Law


By
Ranga Jayasuriya

Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his two term tenure as the President thought he was above the law. Now, his acolytes are trying to perpetuate that fallacy.

They brought the proceedings at the House of Parliament to a halt, orchestrated protests before the Bribery Commission and laid a virtual siege at the airport (BIA) to welcome Basil Rajapaksa, who was returning from his sojourn in the US and was duly arrested by the Police, later over the allegations of misappropriation of funds allocated for the Divineguma project.

The Bribery Commission has summoned the ex-president to obtain a statement over the allegations of bribery in the cross-over of the former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and the appointment of the latter as the Health Minister.

Ministerial appointments are the prerogative of the President. It is perfectly legitimate even if the President appoints his barber to a coveted portfolio, having nominated the individual to Parliament through the National List.

However, that millions of rupees (According to some accounts, around 300 million rupees), changed hands when Mr. Attanayake’s crossed over, was whispered in the political circles during those days.

It is within the purview of the Bribery Commission to investigate those allegations, when a complaint is lodged with the Commission. The complaint to that effect was lodged during the run up to the Presidential Election. By launching an investigation, the Commission is exercising its mandate.

Continue reading ‘Zombified Rajapaksa Supporters Think Mahinda and His Extended Family are Above the Law’ »

“Powers Given by People to President Sirisena are Being Used by Others” -Says Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa

By S.K. Kaluarachchi and Lalith Chaminda

Power that the people had given to President Maithripala Sirisena was being used by others, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Saturday.

The former President, addressing a Daham Hamuwa, at Kacchiwatte Purana Rajamaha Vihara in Galle said: “I was told by one of the participants at this ceremony short while ago that during my tenure the number of members in the cabinet was high but now the number of executive presidents in the country was high.

There is some truth in that saying. There is a national executive council. There is no provision for such a thing even in the Constitution. That council has become a play pen of the JVP and TNA members. The JVP has become a branch of the UNP today. Not all the JVPers approve this situation.

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has a room in Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office. That was revealed to our members none other than the incumbent president. Although I cannot believe this, we have to accept it when it is said by the President!

Continue reading ‘“Powers Given by People to President Sirisena are Being Used by Others” -Says Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Early Dissolution and Fresh Parliamentary Elections is the best Democratic Option to Break Political Impasse

By Jayadeva Uyangoda

Reporting on Sri Lanka’s current political situation can be quite exciting. However, commenting on it is difficult and hazardous. The reason is simple. The current politics in our country is in flux. Events appear and disappear so rapidly and unexpectedly that identifying any patterns and regularities in the political process, which are so crucial for political analysis, is not easy. It is not very clear who is actually in charge, or who is setting the political agenda. The analysis made in the morning may have to be discarded in the afternoon, and a new, tentative one would be needed to make sense of what happens in the evening. then, the morning after? It can very well be another day of uncertainty.

pic: parliament.lk

pic: parliament.lk

Possibilities

Watching all the confusion about the 19th Amendment, just before its latest version is presented to parliament, several possibilities, or scenarios, seem to emerge. The following are a few plausible ones:
Continue reading ‘Early Dissolution and Fresh Parliamentary Elections is the best Democratic Option to Break Political Impasse’ »

Should Former President not be Probed Because he is Called “The National Hero Who Saved The Nation”?

By

Siri Hettige

The present political crisis in the country has risen as a result of the failure of the two main political parties to work together to bring about political reforms that the leaders of the present government promised to the people in the run up to the January 8 Presidential Election.

But the Leaders also promised to stamp out corruption, in particular, to prosecute people who have been responsible for corrupt activities under the previous regime.

It is obvious that these two objectives cannot be pursued simultaneously. Since many people in the Opposition camp have been accused of bribery and corruption, how can the present rulers expect the Opposition members to extend their support to them, while the law enforcement authorities are instructed by the government to investigate charges of bribery and corruption levelled against Opposition figures?

The crisis came to a head, when the Bribery and Corruption Commission directed the former President to appear before it to make a statement regarding a case filed against him.

The above developments gave the agitated members of the Opposition an opportunity to mount a campaign against the government, effectively undermining the process of political reforms. Their main argument that their “national hero who saved the nation” should not be treated in this manner.

Continue reading ‘Should Former President not be Probed Because he is Called “The National Hero Who Saved The Nation”?’ »

Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Sajin Vass Gunawardena Summoned by FCID About Alleged 4000 Million Fraud at Carlton Sports Network.

By Damith Wickremasekara

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa and MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena have been directed to appear before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) next week for questioning on allegations of money laundering and failure to pay dues amounting to a staggering Rs. 4,000 million to the Government.

A senior police officer said they were to be questioned in connections with an investigation on the activities of the controversial sports channel Carlton Sports Network (CSN) of which Yoshitha Rajapaksa was a founder and Mr. Vaas Gunawardena an investor.

A former Presidential Secretariat official, state television officials and some businessmen are among others who also have been told to appear before the FCID for the same investigation.

The decision to summon them comes on allegations that they had arbitrarily taken over the broadcasting rights of international cricket matches and misused state-owned transmission towers thereby causing huge losses to the State and other television channels, the officer said.

Continue reading ‘Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Sajin Vass Gunawardena Summoned by FCID About Alleged 4000 Million Fraud at Carlton Sports Network.’ »

Opposition to Reiterate Demand for “Sacking”of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran When Parliament Meets

Opposition politicians are reiterating demands that Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran should be sacked over what they claim is the irregular Rs. 10 billion Treasury Bond deal, saying they were equally shocked that he had returned to work this week despite investigations that are pending.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said on Saturday that they had no faith in the report submitted by the committee of lawyers appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on this issue and have asked President Maithripala Sirisena to appoint an independent committee.

Separately, Parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa is expected to receive a motion from the Opposition tomorrow urging that the Governor be sacked over the issue. Mr. Mahendran on Friday confirmed to the Sunday Times that he had returned to work but declined further comment. CB sources said he chaired a meeting of the Monetary Board the same day and was in the office on Saturday morning with much of his work dealing with the delayed issue of the CB’s annual report for 2014. The report is normally released in the first week of April but has been delayed due to the issues over the Governor’s self-imposed leave over the bond issue probe.

Continue reading ‘Opposition to Reiterate Demand for “Sacking”of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran When Parliament Meets’ »

President Sirisena Must Dissolve this “Irresponsible” Parliament Even if the 19 and 20 Amendments are passed


By

Don Manu

Greater hypocrisy hath no men than this, that men lay themselves down on the plush red carpeted floor in the Well of Parliament and have a rollicking good midnight feast, singing songs, playing cards and doing a spot of mimicry whilst ostensibly keeping an all-night vigil of protest in the name of their fallen leader. If the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, this was the white fleeced sheep’s way of sacrificing their sleep, bleating for the return of their shepherd who had lost his footing and gone over the hill.

Monday night’s unprecedented degradation of Parliament’s inner sanctum by UPFA MPs to stage a saccharine sathyagraha on the pretext of objecting to the Bribery Commissioner serving summons on Mahinda Rajapaksa to answer an allegation of bribery, made a mockery of the edifice wherein lay enshrined the sanctity of a people’s sovereign will.

Whilst the nation clamoured for their elected representatives to debate the 19th Amendment Bill as was listed in the Parliament’s agenda for Monday and Tuesday, the opposition, which had earlier agreed to take it up, found in the Bribery Commissioner’s procedural action, a welcome last straw to defer the all-important Bill. They bore no qualms; they showed no remorse and lost no time to make an issue out of the summons and to use it as an excuse to fling the duty twenty million Lankans had placed on their shoulders to amend the nation’s constitution.

On behalf of the people, in the interest of the nation, in the furtherance of democracy, they were solemnly called upon and presented with the opportunity and charged with the duty in the main to repeal the obnoxious 18th Amendment, to appoint constitutional councils which would check the president’s arbitrary powers, to empower the people with an enforceable legal right to governmental information, to restore the disqualification for a twice-elected president to contest again and, amongst others, to restore the independence of public institutions.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Must Dissolve this “Irresponsible” Parliament Even if the 19 and 20 Amendments are passed’ »

Will President Maithripala Sirisena make or Break the Sri Lanka Freedom Party this week?


Weeks of political uncertainty that thrust Sri Lanka on the road to instability are to end for good or for the worse next week. The good is if the 19A is passed in Parliament after a two-day debate due to begin tomorrow. It is to be followed by electoral reforms through a 20A within weeks. The bad, firstly, is if measures to prune down powers of the Executive Presidency, a main pledge that thrust Maithripala Sirisena to the Presidency, are defeated. Secondly, a double blow will come if efforts to introduce a new electoral system through a 20A are similarly voted out.

The fears of such a possibility keep mounting. Parliamentarians supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa are stepping up the ante. They want to deny a two-thirds vote though the Central Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) decided unanimously to support both amendments. It is these MPs who are now calling the shots. Their latest position is that they want to move amendments to 19A. One such instance is to make provision that the proposed Constitutional Council to be set up should comprise only parliamentarians. The move to include this amendment is being spearheaded by the pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa faction.

Continue reading ‘Will President Maithripala Sirisena make or Break the Sri Lanka Freedom Party this week?’ »

Can President Sirisena Bring about Structural Change Through 19th and 20th Amendments and right to Information act?

by

Malinda Seneviratne

The much talked of 100 days of the ‘100 Days Program’ that was part of President Maithripala Sirisena’s election campaign is now completed. The President himself has come out with a statement which can be read as ‘observations on progress’ (see pages 4, 8 and 9). The Government claims that much was done. Others claim that it’s mostly talk and that nothing significant or lasting was achieved.

There are two ways to assess performance here. The first is to go with items, divide the ‘done’ by the ‘promised’, multiply by 100 and come up with a percentage. The braggers can gloss over the importance or otherwise of each line item. They can ignore sustainability. For example, the cuts in fuel prices can be marked as a ‘plus’, but only if it translated into significant drops in prices of related goods and services (e.g. bus fares, school van fares, vegetables and other goods that require transportation). Factor these in and the brag loses its punch.

The other method of evaluation would begin by giving weight to measures that correct flaws in structures and processes so that lasting value accrues to things such as the rule of law, citizenship, democratic freedoms, transparency and accountability.

Right now there is a palpable sense of greater freedom when it comes to expression, movement and association. Right now there is confidence that more value has accrued to that which is called ‘due process’. However, the rosy picture has been compromised by the selectivity that has marked investigations. It is, as of now, bordering on vindictiveness and has taken a witch-hunt character.

‘Influence’ moreover still counts at all levels when it comes to the affairs of ordinary citizens. This is evident in state institutions including police stations.

Continue reading ‘Can President Sirisena Bring about Structural Change Through 19th and 20th Amendments and right to Information act?’ »

President Maithripala Sirisena Completes First 100 Days in Office: How much of Work Program has been Achieved?

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100 Day Work Programme After Maithripala Sirisena Becomes President – Detailed diary description

January 2015

Saturday January 10

The new President, Maithripala Sirisena, will take his oath of office

Sunday January 11

A Cabinet of not more than 25 members, including members of all political parties represented in Parliament, will be appointed with Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister

Monday January 12

In order to strengthen democracy, a National Advisory Council will be set up inclusive of representatives of parties represented in Parliament as well as Civil Society organizations.

Monday January 19


Parliament will meet Tuesday January 20

The Standing Orders will be amended and, in terms of Proposal 67/10 now tabled in Parliament, Oversight Committees will be set up comprising members of Parliament who are not in the Cabinet will be established and their Chairmanship will be given to representatives of all Ministers in consultation with the leaders of all parties represented in Parliament.

Wednesday January 21

The process will begin of abolishing the authoritarian executive presidential system and replacing it with an executive of a Cabinet of Ministers responsible to Parliament, and of repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with legislation to establish strengthened and independent institutions, including a Judicial Services Commission, a Police Commission, a Public Service Commission, an Elections Commission, a Commission against Bribery and Corruption and a Human Rights Commission. This will be through a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will be presented to Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible.

Wednesday January 28

An all party committee will be set up to put forward proposals to replace the current Preference Vote system and replace it with an Mixed Electoral System that ensures representation of individual Members for Parliamentary Constituencies, with mechanisms for proportionality.

Continue reading ‘President Maithripala Sirisena Completes First 100 Days in Office: How much of Work Program has been Achieved?’ »

Eight Former Ministers Among 25 Persons to be Arrested for Bribery and Corruption Within Two weeks

By Indika Sri Aravinda

Eight former Ministers will be arrested over the next two weeks over alleged involvement in bribery and corruption.

Sources said that the former Ministers are among 25 people, including members of parliament, expected to be arrested during this period.

Preliminary investigations into some members of the former government have now been completed and they will be arrested over the next two weeks.

Continue reading ‘Eight Former Ministers Among 25 Persons to be Arrested for Bribery and Corruption Within Two weeks’ »

What Happened in Parliament on the Night Acolyte MP’s of Mahinda Rajapaksa Enjoyed Life with a “Protest” Party.


By

Don Manu

It’s Monday morning, April 20. Parliament is scheduled to take up the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, an amendment long overdue and long awaited. But the SLFP-led UPFA opposition has other things on its mind. The 19th Amendment can wait. So can the people. Far more important is to protest over the summons delivered to the former President to make a statement to the Bribery Commissioner. And to receive an assurance that the Government will immediately halt ‘a political witch-hunt against Opposition politicians including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.’

pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

To win their demands, they announce that they will be launching a hunger strike, a fast that will continue until their demand is met. And so begins their little melodrama staged in the belief that the ‘fast’ is the thing to save the honour of their king.

The Speaker exits the chamber after adjourning Parliament for the day. A hunger strike to win personal demands of immunity is being staged by the MPs and, for the first time in the history of Lanka’s parliament, they are doing it in the Well of the House. The upawasaya has begun proper. Suddenly it’s manic Monday.

With Parliament now not in session and switched off, the chamber starts to resound with the cacophony of varied ringtones as members turn on their cell phones to buzz to the outside world the goings on behind Parliament’s closed doors. As the day wears on and high noon fast approaches, what began grandiosely as a hunger strike until demands are met, a fast to the death turns to a farce as the epithet ‘fast’ mysteriously goes astray and can no longer be found especially since no one is particularly looking for it.

Continue reading ‘What Happened in Parliament on the Night Acolyte MP’s of Mahinda Rajapaksa Enjoyed Life with a “Protest” Party.’ »

President Sirisena a Simple son of the Soil Carries the Hopes of Most of his Country with him.

In the mid ’70s, when J.R. Jayewardene was challenging Sirima Bandaranaike for power, he was ridiculed for the way he said ‘koranawa’. In 1977, Ms. Bandaranaike — who presided over the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Colombo and chaired the movement — lost to JR. During the last presidential election campaign, Maithripala Sirisena was scoffed at for his style of speech, because he said ‘hitan’ very often. He went on to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa — who hosted the Commonwealth summit in Colombo and chaired the 55-nation body — and ousted the Rajapaksa family from power.

pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

President Maithiripala Sirisena

It is ironical that while JR was mocked for being unable to speak Sinhala properly, Sirisena was belittled for doing just the opposite: speaking the language of the typical Sinhala villager. However, it underscores what most people already knew: Sirisena is no JR, either in style or in political outlook. They both wore the white ‘national’ in public but the similarities end there. JR, whose youth overlapped the last days of British rule was a self-confessed anglophile and was famous for his political cunning. Sirisena is a son of the soil reputed for his simplicity.

In defeating the all-powerful Rajapaksa, President Sirisena finds himself sharing power with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, JR’s nephew. For the past twenty years, Wickremesinghe has led the United National Party (UNP), sometimes called the ‘Uncle Nephew Party’, perhaps not inappropriately.

Wickremesinghe is making a habit of being non-executive Prime Minister for short periods of time. In his last stint, he was sacked by then President Chandrika Kumaratunga. He must be hoping that history will not repeat itself but he can rest assured that his President is Sirisena, not Kumaratunga.

Three months ago, suggesting that Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena would be President of the country would have been considered a joke by someone with a poor sense of humour. Today, President Sirisena holds that high office and carries the hopes of most Sri Lankans with him. That alone is a phenomenal achievement. He has done what Wickremesinghe and Sarath Fonseka could not do: defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa at an election. The last time Rajapaksa lost an election was thirty seven years ago, when he lost the Beliatta seat to Dr. Ranjith Atapattu at the 1977 general election.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena a Simple son of the Soil Carries the Hopes of Most of his Country with him.’ »

Line Dividing Civilization from Chaos has been Crossed by the Arrest of Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The arrest of former minister Basil Rajapaksa should be a cause for concern for all Sri Lankans. With that single ill-advised act we have now crossed the thin red line that divides civilization from chaos. No leader in post independence history had ever crossed that line no matter what. Chandrika Kumaratunga came very close to it by trying to arrest Ranil Wickremesinghe in the run up to the parliamentary election of the year 2000, but even she did not take that final step over the line. But last week, the present government crossed that thin red line with the arrest of Basil Rajapaksa and the history of Sri Lankan will never be the same again. As parliamentarian Susil Premajayantha explained, Basil Rajapaksa was remanded not over any specific charges but to ‘continue investigations’. That in itself sets a wrong precedent that can be abused in the future.

Besides, this arrest was not made by a permanent investigative body of the police like the CID but by a special unit manned by handpicked officers newly created after the present government came into power. Furthermore, Basil was arrested soon after he gave a statement to this unit. The attorney general never had the time to study the statement and give his recommendations. None of this is going to augur well for the future of the country. One begins to wonder how such things can happen under the stewardship of an experienced politician like Ranil Wickremesinghe. When he became prime minister in 2001, we never saw anything like this. On the contrary, it was RW who doused the flames that Chandrika Kumaratunga had ignited. This time around it is RW’s government that appears to be igniting the flames.

Of course there are other parties in this government before which even the UNP is helpless (as witnessed by the ongoing 19th Amendment fiasco) and it is not just the UNP that is making these very short-sighted moves. But the special police unit that arrested Basil was set up by the UNP government. (This unit however can be influenced by the president as well through the IGP.) The question is why is the UNP allowing these things to happen? Witch hunts and arrests are the surest way to make a government unpopular. RW watched how CBK shot herself in the foot between 1994 and 2001 and he took care not to repeat those mistakes. In fact CBK herself learnt some lessons and she never repeated those mistakes after she was restored to power between 2004-2005.

Smear campaigns, witch hunts and arrests not only makes a government unpopular among the ordinary people watching such events, it also has the effect of galvanizing opposition to the government. This is the lesson that president Premadasa did not live long enough to learn. President Premadasa was a man who never persecuted the opposition. In fact Anuruddha Ratwatte has described Premadasa as a ‘suhada minisek’ (a friendly person) in his autobiography. How did a man who could be described as a friendly person even by his arch rivals, end up being so unpopular? It was the unnecessary persecution of Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmuadali that made people look upon Premadasa as an unbalanced and vindictive ogre. Yet even Premadasa never went so far as to have Gamini or Lalith arrested and remanded.

Continue reading ‘Line Dividing Civilization from Chaos has been Crossed by the Arrest of Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa.’ »

The 100 Day Question is will President Sirisena call Rajapaksa Bluff by Dissolving Parliament?

by Rajan Philips

If there is ever a time for political leadership to act in disregard of consensus, it is now. There was a time in Sri Lankan politics when that master rhetorician Colvin R. de Silva presaged the governing style of the SLFP-LSSP-CP United Front as one that would be “characterized not by consensus but by leadership.” Dr. Colvin’s foretelling was in anticipation of the massive United Front election victory in 1970. It turned out to be ill-advised at that time. But it is thoroughly appropriate at the present time. In politics, consensus is the preferred means to a desired end, but it is not an end itself.

President Sirisena has the power to act and dissolve parliament and let the people elect a new parliament to end the current political uncertainty in parliament and in the country. Will he do it?

That is the 100-Day question. And there will not be much else to talk about the 100 Days if parliament does not pass the 19th Amendment on Tuesday, the day after tomorrow.

Continue reading ‘The 100 Day Question is will President Sirisena call Rajapaksa Bluff by Dissolving Parliament?’ »

Instead of Trying to pass Truncated 19th Amendment the UNP Should go for Parliamentary Elections


By
C.A.Chandraprema

President Maithripala Sirisena addressed the nation at 9.00 pm last Thursday to mark the conclusion of the new government’s 100 day programme. At the end of it, many people were left wondering why he addressed the nation all. In contrast to Sirisena’s confused meanderings, the interview that prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had on ITN with Upul Shantha Sannasgala on the same day certainly sounded more like an address to the nation than Sirisena’s speech even though Sannasgala’s full tosses to RW were almost embarrassing at times. But then again, given the fact that this interview was obviously in lieu of an address to the nation, perhaps the questions had to be full tosses.

Coming back to president Sirisena’s speech, nothing substantial was said. Some of the things he said are debatable. He praised himself for wanting to give up the power he had. If that was true, we would by now have reverted to a prime ministerial form of government instead of being saddled with a watered down 19th Amendment which leaves the executive presidency virtually untouched. If what Sirisena said was correct, Dr Jayampathy Wickremeratne, the very person who drafted the 19th Amendment, wouldn’t be out there complaining that the abolition of the executive presidency has been torpedoed. The 19th Amendment that will be debated in parliament tomorrow is a watered down version of the Bill that had already been watered down by Sirisena’s proxies – so much so that the question arises whether there is any point in getting it passed because the passage of a such a Bill gives them the ability to go before the public and claim that election promises had been fulfilled in a situation where nothing of the sort has actually happened.

Continue reading ‘Instead of Trying to pass Truncated 19th Amendment the UNP Should go for Parliamentary Elections’ »

President Sirisena has all the Options and can Trump both the UNP and/or Mahinda Fan Club by a few deft moves.

By

Malinda Seneviratne

The ‘100 days’ are done. Much of the key elements of the ‘program’ part of it remain undone. This should not worry President Maithripala Sirisena. An electorate that has been burdened by a draconian constitution for more than 36 years can wait a few months more. Indeed they have no option but to wait, at least until the next General Election. At most they have to wait for just one more year.

The question now is whether or not the promised reform will see the light of day. If the delay is only related to logistical issues then there’s little need to worry. The problem is that the entire process has been marked by political brinkmanship with both major parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) showing less concern in democratization than in what the party could gain (or lose) in the process.

All this is understandable. Although there are UNPers and SLFPers in the cabinet, the decision-making power rests with the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the UNP. Although it is officially and in appearance a ‘national’ government, there are SLFPers in both what is called ‘government’ and what is called ‘opposition’, even though the man who wields almost dictatorial powers courtesy constitutional provision is also the leader of that party. In short it is a confused state of affairs, the confusion directly deriving from the fact that the chief executive has chosen to remain aloof in the day-to-day running of the country.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena has all the Options and can Trump both the UNP and/or Mahinda Fan Club by a few deft moves.’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake wants “Helping Hambantota”Case Re-opened to Probe Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Alleged Abuse of 2004 Tsunami Funds

by Sandasen Marasinghe

A complaint was made before the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption yesterday requesting to reopen an investigation against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on alleged misuse of tsunami funds in 2004, while he was the Prime Minister.

Social Services, Welfare and Livestock Development Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake lodged the complaint before the Bribery Commission yesterday requesting for the recommencement of the investigation against Rajapaksa, for alleged corruption committed by depositing Rs. 82 million of the Tsunami Relief Fund in 2004.

Deputy Minister Ramanayake said that the money was deposited in the account of the Rajapaksa Memorial Educational Cultural and Social Services Foundation.

He also said that this money was sent by those people living overseas who were moved by the devastation caused to Sri Lanka by the tsunami on December 26, 2004.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake wants “Helping Hambantota”Case Re-opened to Probe Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Alleged Abuse of 2004 Tsunami Funds’ »

If Govt wants 2/3 Support for 19th Amendment , it Cannot Investigate Activities of Corrupt MP’s.

By

Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

The then opposition was campaigning to abolish the Executive Presidency, as most of the Govigama Buddhist majority and even the Christian minority could not accept the reality that Premadasa had been elected as the Executive President of Sri Lanka. Virtually, all powers of the Executive Presidency had been conferred upon Ranasingha Premadasa, the first Non-Govigama Head of State. The opposition could not stomach such an insult. In answer to the campaign carried out in an utmost vicious manner, Premadasa responded by telling one of his admirers, the novelist and play-writer Simon Nawagaththegama, that “those very people, if they come to power and sit on the throne created by J. R. Jayewardene; they would far from abolishing it, strengthen it and usurp more power to themselves.” Today, in hindsight, one could observe how wise Premadasa was.

After Chandrika Bandaranaike-Kumaratunga’s assumption to the throne, her main propagandist tool, to abolish the Executive Presidency together with “Dooshanaya” and “Beeshanaya”, was relegated to oblivion and the government was then considered the most corrupt in history. Chandrika was accused of having cronies like Ronnie Peiris who was amassing wealth through various corrupt deals. Even Lakshman Kadiragamar was not spared of accusations relating to the infamous ‘Thawakkal’ deal.For politicians corruption was a way of life. Most of them came from poor backgrounds and money was their God.

Mahinda Rajapaksa‘s solemn pledge at the elections to the nation was to abolish the Executive Presidency. Ultimately after winning the war he became a virtual monarch and as the Presidents in this country enjoyed immense power of the Executive Presidency. The 17th Amendment was hastily brought in, during the time of the Chandrika Bandaranaike government by Ranil Wickremasinghe, to clip the wings of the President in making appointments to the important commissions like the Elections Commission. But, the very first appointment made by the Constitutional Council, in nominating former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Deerarathna, was aborted by Chandrika Bandaranaike.

To avoid this crisis, an application was made to the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva held with Executive President as then it was obvious Sarath Silva was acting as the nominee of the Government and he gave a judgment in order to permit Chandrika to make 17 Amendment a farce. Thus the matter remained unresolved. Mahinda Rajapaksa, thereafter, to avoid this anomaly presented the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, ostensibly to repair the constitutional crisis created by the 17th Amendment. But, in actual fact, he reserved so much power that he virtually became a monarch.

Continue reading ‘If Govt wants 2/3 Support for 19th Amendment , it Cannot Investigate Activities of Corrupt MP’s.’ »

CV Wigneswaran Strongly Defends his Action Saying There was no Impropriety in his Writing to Narendra Modi

By T. Ramakrishnan

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on Friday strongly defended his action of forwarding to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a representation, seeking the release of four convicts of a case of rape and murder, popularly called the Premananda case.

Addressed to Mr. Modi, the petition was signed by five persons, including K. Sivathy and Chandradevi, daughter and wife of Premananda’s secretary Kamalananda, who was given double life term that had to run consecutively. The signatories contended that their relatives had been in prison in Tamil Nadu for over 20 years.

In an interview with The Hindu over phone from Jaffna, Mr. Wigneswaran, who passed on the representation to Mr. Modi during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka in mid-March, said one of the signatories to the representation [Ms Sivathy] was from his State and since it was well known that he [Mr. Wigneswaran] would be meeting Mr. Modi, the request had come to him for presenting the communication.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Strongly Defends his Action Saying There was no Impropriety in his Writing to Narendra Modi’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran may have Broken Protocol by Writing Directly to Indian Prime Minister Modi

By P K Balachandran

COLOMBO: Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran may have broken protocol when he officially wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to consider releasing four Sri Lankan Tamils sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1994 Premananda rape and murder case, Lankan officials told Express.

A Foreign Ministry official said that as per protocol, the Chief Minister should send his letter to the Foreign Ministry first. The Foreign Ministry will, in turn, send it to the destination through the Foreign Ministry of the country concerned.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran may have Broken Protocol by Writing Directly to Indian Prime Minister Modi’ »

Protest by Pro -Mahinda Ring of MP’s in Parliament Raises Doubts Whether 19th Amendment will be Passed

By

Disna Mudalige

A set of con artistes staged an all-night show at the House by the Diyawanna Oya providing entertainment and amusement to the spectators for a long time to remember. More than anything, they were keen on capturing photos and videos of their own drama with their high tech iPhones, iPads and mobile phones and instantly upload them on their fan pages and profiles in the Face Book and other social media. That was how the ‘selfies’, ‘wefies’ and other photos of double faced MPs sat on floor of the chamber engulfed the social media early this week.

A group of UPFA MPs, particularly the pro-Mahinda ring, started a protest on Monday morning at the Parliament chamber demanding not to summon former President Mahinda Rajapaksa before the Commission to Investigate Allegations on Bribery or Corruption. The former President was asked to appear before the Commission on Friday to record a statement with regard to a complaint on appointing MP Tissa Attanayake as a Minister after the Presidential Election was called.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe categorically stated it was not a complaint against former President Rajapaksa, adding that the Commission has only wanted to record his statement. However, the MPs who were not satisfied with this reply flocked near the Speaker’s chair demanding his intervention to settle the matter. The Speaker said he would inform the House his decision the next day on the privilege matter raised by UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena which caused a heated debate. Thereafter he adjourned the House till the next day, but a faction of MPs continued the sit down protest creating ugly scenes in the well of the House. An all-time first of its kind in Sri Lanka.

They were totally ignorant of the provisions of the Presidential Election Act or deliberately disregarded it for their own political advantage to score brownie points from the audiences throughout the country.

Continue reading ‘Protest by Pro -Mahinda Ring of MP’s in Parliament Raises Doubts Whether 19th Amendment will be Passed’ »

Officials Will not Record Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement at his Residence as Ex-President is “not in a Position to do so”

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had sent a letter to the Chairman of the Bribery Commission stating he was not in a position to give a statement to the Commission as the commission had not informed him of the charges related to the inquiry.

The Bribery Commission previously said it would visit the former President’s residence and record a statement on April 24.

Continue reading ‘Officials Will not Record Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement at his Residence as Ex-President is “not in a Position to do so”’ »

Despite 116 Pro-Mahinda MP’s from UPFA Demanding Removal of Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, the CIABOC Director-General Wont be Removed from Post

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, yesterday said that Mrs Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) wouldn’t be removed.

The Justice Minister was responding to a group of 116 Opposition members recently seeking Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s intervention to get rid of the top official.

Responding to a query, MP Rajapakshe emphasized that the Speaker couldn’t interfere with the DG or any other official of the CIABOC. The minister alleged that seeking Speaker’s intervention was nothing but a propaganda gimmick meant to deceive the public.

The Minister said that the Opposition couldn’t derail ongoing investigations, including the sensational accusation that the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa bribed the then UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake with the health portfolio in the run-up to the Jan.8 presidential poll.

Continue reading ‘Despite 116 Pro-Mahinda MP’s from UPFA Demanding Removal of Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, the CIABOC Director-General Wont be Removed from Post’ »

The Three Brothers of Corruption Being Questioned at Three Places:Elder bro at Home, Younger bro by Police, Other Bro by Bribery Commission

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The end of a hundred days of *Yaha Palanaya *or Good Governance has produced some interesting developments in the whirligig of Sri Lankan politics. What strikes one most is the acceleration of the battle against corruption – with a sharper focus on those once considered untouchable by the forces of law and order.

The eve of the 100-day climax became a celebratory event for some, with a new ritual of protest in parliament against the summoning of a mere citizen to the Bribery Commission. With the few weeks or months before the dissolution of this parliament, one wonders whether there will be any more such rituals performed to please the Rajapaksa Deities of Corruption.

It was more funny than strange to see elected (and appointed) representatives of the people, becoming players in what can be seen as a fast growing circus of corruption, abandoning the tightrope walk of politics to make a leap into an ugly heap of corruption.

The parliamentary circus players may pretend they have won a battle, with the Bribery Commission agreeing to visit the home of today’s plain citizen and former all powerful president, to record his statement on an allegation of bribery and corruption. They may have won an imaginary battle, but the war against corruption certainly goes on.

Continue reading ‘The Three Brothers of Corruption Being Questioned at Three Places:Elder bro at Home, Younger bro by Police, Other Bro by Bribery Commission’ »

27 Protesters Including 9 Buddhist Monks and 8 MP’s to be Produced in Courts for Violating Court Ruling Forbidding Such Demonstrations.


By Madura Ranwala

Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya has directed the police to produce in court 27 persons, including nine Buddhist monks and eight MP’s involved on in Thursday’s protest opposite the Commisision to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).

Continue reading ‘27 Protesters Including 9 Buddhist Monks and 8 MP’s to be Produced in Courts for Violating Court Ruling Forbidding Such Demonstrations.’ »

Mahinda Backs out of One on One Meeting with President Sirisena to Protest Harassment of “Rajapaksas” by Govt.

By Dasun Edirisinghe

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided against having one-on-one with President Maithripala Sirisena to protest against what he called continuing harassment of the Rajapaksas as well as senior officials of the previous administation.

Dissident SLFPers yesterday said that former President Rajapaksa felt that there was no purpose in meeting the incumbent president.

The former President’s position was revealed by former Minister and Kalutara District MP Kumara Welgama at a special press conference held at the parliamentary complex on Friday. Although SLFP General Secretary and MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa facilitated the proposed one-on-one between the two leaders, the meeting wouldn’t take place on Saturday (April 25) as scheduled, MP Welgama said.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Backs out of One on One Meeting with President Sirisena to Protest Harassment of “Rajapaksas” by Govt.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Says Parliament will be Dissolved if it Continues to Protect the Corrupt and Scuttle Constitutional Reform.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hit out against factions in Parliament that were trying to scuttle the 19th Amendment its key constitutional reforms, saying it was the same group that was also trying to prevent action being taken against corrupt officials.

Addressing a meeting of UNP members at his offices in Temple Trees yesterday, the Prime Minister said moves were afoot to scuttle the Government’s 100-day program, to ensure the people’s aspirations were not met.

“If a Parliament that wants to protect the corrupt won’t allow us to complete our 100 day program of work, we will go back to the people and ask them to elect a Parliament that will,” the Premier charged during the meeting.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Says Parliament will be Dissolved if it Continues to Protect the Corrupt and Scuttle Constitutional Reform.’ »

Basil Rajapaksa Shifts Blame for Corruption to Officials While Claiming Parliamentary Immunity for Himself” – Rajitha Senaratne

by Zacki Jabbar

Former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa had claimed parliamentary immunity while shifting the blame on officials when he was questioned by police on Wednesday night over allegedly siphoning off Divineguma funds running into billions of rupees.

Government Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne speaking to a group of journalists after the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo on Thursday said ” When Basil was questioned by the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit (FCIU) of the Police for allegedly using billions of rupees in Divineguma funds to finance former President Rajapaksa’s politicial activities,he had boldly replied that he was answerable to the legislature and the officials involved should be asked to explain their actions.”

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Shifts Blame for Corruption to Officials While Claiming Parliamentary Immunity for Himself” – Rajitha Senaratne’ »

“Those Waving Flags without Orange and Green Stripes were Racist Thieves Supporting Other Thieves”-Ajith P.Perera

By Dharisha Bastians

High officials in the Government yesterday expressed shock at the distortion of the National Flag by pro-Rajapaksa protestors demonstrating in front of the Bribery Commission on Thursday.

Crowds of protestors opposing a Bribery Commission investigation against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday, carried lion flags that were conspicuous by the absence of the orange and green stripes used to represent minority communities in the National Flag.

“It’s bad enough that these were thieves supporting other thieves. They are also racist thieves,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera told journalists at a news conference yesterday.

Deputy Minister Perera said Thursday was not the first time pro-Rajapaksa supporters had waved this particular brand of the lion flag.

“We saw this a month or so ago in Kandy as well. We call upon the Police and the Attorney General to exercise the law against those who distort the country’s National Flag, and incite racial tensions in the country,” Perera charged.

Continue reading ‘“Those Waving Flags without Orange and Green Stripes were Racist Thieves Supporting Other Thieves”-Ajith P.Perera’ »

Sirima Bandaranaike: “Weeping Widow” who Became World’s First Woman Prime Minister

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Friday April 17th was the 99th Birth Anniversary of Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike who created history as the world’s first woman Prime minister. The 55th anniversary of her being appointed as the then Ceylon’s premier falls on July 21st this year.The Island’s elder stateswoman was in active politics for almost forty years .She was Prime Minister during 1960-65, 1970-77 and 1994-2000 and Leader of the Opposition during 1965-70 and 1989-1994. Sirima was the world’s oldest serving Premier when she stepped down at the age of 84 in 2000.She passed away peacefully on October 10th 2000.

SBC

SBF

Sirima Bandaranaike was the matriarch of the Bandaranaike family. The Bandaranaikes were the acknowledged first family in Sri Lankan politics for many decades. Since the country achieved Independence in 1948, members of the family have been heads of state for 22 years and Leaders of Opposition for 20 years. A unique and perhaps unsurpassable record was established when the Bandaranaikes’ daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga, like her parents, became Prime Minister in 1994. She then went on to become the first woman executive President, while her mother Sirima was appointed Premier. The mother-Prime Minister and daughter-President combination was yet another “first”feat by the family. Chandrika’s younger brother Anura dubbed as the “crown prince” too was in politics, as an Opposition member of Parliament ,Cabinet Minister ,Leader of the Opposition and Speaker.He passed away on March 16th 2008.
Continue reading ‘Sirima Bandaranaike: “Weeping Widow” who Became World’s First Woman Prime Minister’ »

Remanded Basil Rajapaksa Transferred to Merchants Ward at Colombo National Hospital Due to “Heart Condition”

By

Dharisha Bastians

Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa who was remanded by the Kaduwela Magistrate on Wednesday (22), was transferred to the Colombo National Hospital yesterday.

Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala, who refused bail to the former Minister of Economic Development late Wednesday, issued instructions that he was to be treated at the Prison Hospital.

However, the ex-Minister was transferred to the Merchant Ward of the National Hospital in Colombo, a famous pit-stop for most Sri Lankan politicians in police custody or serving prison terms.

Hand-cuffed and escorted by prison guards, Basil Rajapaksa arrived at National Hospital Colombo last afternoon, and was wheeled into the Merchant Ward.

Continue reading ‘Remanded Basil Rajapaksa Transferred to Merchants Ward at Colombo National Hospital Due to “Heart Condition”’ »

Northern C.M. Wigneswaran Requests Indian P.M.. Modi to Release Three Life Sentence Convicts In India Jailed for Raping 13 Women

By

By S. Karthick

CHENNAI: Chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province C V Wigneswaran has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release three life convicts in the sensational Swamy Premananda case.

The three -Kamalananda, Balan alias Balendiran and Sathis alias Sathishkumar – were convicted and sentenced along with Premananda for raping 13 girls, including minors, and conspiring to murder an inmate in the godman’s ashram near Trichy.

They were sentenced to double life imprisonment, and the punishment was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005. While Premananda died in Cuddalore prison in 2011, the other three are currently lodged in Puzhal jail in Chennai. All the four were Sri Lankan Tamils.

Continue reading ‘Northern C.M. Wigneswaran Requests Indian P.M.. Modi to Release Three Life Sentence Convicts In India Jailed for Raping 13 Women’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Cheered by Demonstrators defying Magistrate Order Forbidding Protests Outside CIABOC Premises

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Opposition activists led by Buddhist monks yesterday protested outside the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) demanding an immediate end to the persecution of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as well as other key members of the previous administration.

The protest was launched against the CIABOC questioning Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as regards some allegations made against him. The former Defence Secretary is under investigation over corruption at Mihin Lanka and Avant Garde Maritime Services.

The Opposition went ahead with the demonstration in spite of the Colombo Chief Magistrate banning the protest following police intervention.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Cheered by Demonstrators defying Magistrate Order Forbidding Protests Outside CIABOC Premises’ »

“I came to Remove the Unlimited Powers of the Executive President”- Address to Nation by President Maithripala Sirisena.

(Full Text of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Address to the Nation to Mark 100 Days in Office)

On this occasion that marks 100 days since my election as President, I think it is proper that I address you as your first servant, appointed by you. Following the results of the Presidential Election on January 8 this year, you gave me the opportunity of being sworn in as the Head of State or President of this country.

pic: facebook.com/PresidentGovLK

pic: facebook.com/PresidentGovLK

In the 100 days since then, we have as a new government, taken many important steps with regard to the country’s economy, politics, development and international relations.

I think that when the people of this country voted on January 8 they clearly carried out both a transformation, and revolution with their democratic right. The manner in which the freedom and democracy obtained by this transformation and revolution has been used by certain elements in the past three months, their political decisions and activities, brings to my mind the occasions in world history when in countries that carried out revolutions were later faced with counter-revolutions.

We are aware that very often it is a common occurrence in countries for counter-revolution to follow a revolution. One could see a similar scenario following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990-91.

Similarly, following the fall of Communist states in Eastern Europe, when a political transformation took place in those societies that had moved towards political extremism, there was a period of political turmoil and uncertainty until the people of these countries could enjoy their entitlement to freedom and democracy.

When the great humanitarian leader Abraham Lincoln of the United States took action to abolish slavery and introduced legislations for this purpose, for some time after this some of the people in slavery stated that they preferred the condition of slavery. This is because they thought that going forward in life in slavery was better than enjoying the freedom given and building themselves on their own strength, as they were used to living under conditions of slavery. This is the reality of human society. It is therefore essential that we understand this.


Today some asked what has been done in these 100 days. I say, there was much done in these 100 days. Some of these valuable actions are neither physical in nature nor visible to the eye.

Continue reading ‘“I came to Remove the Unlimited Powers of the Executive President”- Address to Nation by President Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

Pro – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Elements Defy Courts Ban and Demonstrate Waving National Flags Without Orange and Green Strips Denoting Minorities.

By Dharisha Bastians

SL FL GR

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption became the site of dramatic scenes again, when the former Defence Secretary and ex-Presidential sibling Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived at its offices on Bauddhaloka Mawatha last morning.

Waving distorted versions of the National Flag and defying a Court order by the Colombo Chief Magistrate banning demonstrations in front of the Commission, crowds of protesters mobbed the ex-official’s vehicle when it arrived at the heavily-barricaded premises.

The Commission offices were provided tight security, with fully geared Riot Police and Police barricades in place to prevent unruly scenes.

SLFP MP and former Minister Bandula Gunewardane accompanied the former Defence Secretary to the Commission session.

Continue reading ‘Pro – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Elements Defy Courts Ban and Demonstrate Waving National Flags Without Orange and Green Strips Denoting Minorities.’ »

Can Any large-scale Corruption Occur Without The Complicity of Professionals?

By Amrit Muttukumaru

Large-Scale corruption will continue to thrive so long as professionals – particularly auditors and lawyers –
(i) are not held accountable

(ii) ‘named and shamed’

(iii) punished – for dereliction of duty and wrongdoing.

Can any large-scale corruption occur without the complicity of professionals? Are not accountants and auditors the first line of defense against corruption in all entities dealing with financial resources?

This is precisely what is avoided even by purported good governance activists and the media in Sri Lanka. Although they talk the hind legs off a donkey on the evils of corruption, they fail to bite the bullet in regard to ‘naming and shaming’ professionals and bigwigs in the corporate sector.

Based on the Prime Minister’s statement, the J.C. Weliamuna Report into alleged corruption and abuse of power in SriLankan Airlines confirms this malady. Mr. Weliamuna is urged to clarify since the full report is not in the public domain.

Continue reading ‘Can Any large-scale Corruption Occur Without The Complicity of Professionals?’ »

Re -visiting the Central Bank Treasury Bond Issue Controversy

By Sam Samarasinghe and Dushyantha Mendis

The Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs has on April 19 issued a press release announcing some findings of the three-member committee that Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed”to look into matters related to the 30-year bond issued on February 27″ (PM’s special statement to Parliament, 17th March). The “findings,” however, instead of resolving the issues, appear to have raised yet more issues.

The present authors published a review (in English in the ‘Daily Financial Times’ of March 25 & ‘Groundviews’ of March 26, and in Sinhala in the ‘Ravaya’ of April 5 & 12) of the Rs 10.0 billion bond issue based on documents that were available from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and other sources. We were happy to see the Prime Minister’s action of accountability to the public in appointing a committee. However, we noted that the three members appointed, who have legal backgrounds, did not have any known formal technical qualifications, professional experience or competencies in economics, banking, finance or central banking to make the inquiry that was needed. Moreover, we, as well as others, questioned the credibility of a committee that consisted of individuals who at one time or another were closely associated with the ruling United National Party.

Neither in the Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament announcing the appointment of the committee, nor anywhere else as far as we know, have there been clear terms of reference that were publicly announced to guide the work of the committee. That in itself is a deficiency and hints at a lack of seriousness.

Based solely on the Ministry statement, the major finding of the committee is that “Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no direct role in deciding to accept bids over and above the one billion rupees stipulated in the 30-year bond tender and accept up to 10 billion rupees.”

Continue reading ‘Re -visiting the Central Bank Treasury Bond Issue Controversy’ »

M.A. Sumanthiran M.P. Files Bill in Parliament Seeking Ban on Mechanized Bottom Trawling in Sri Lankan Waters

A Bill prohibiting mechanized bottom trawling was filed in parliament on the 21st of April 2015 by M. A Sumanthiran, Member of Parliament. The Bill calls for the amendment of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, No 2 of 1996.

The Bill in essence proposes to prohibit trawling operations in Sri Lankan waters. The Bill seeks to:

Continue reading ‘M.A. Sumanthiran M.P. Files Bill in Parliament Seeking Ban on Mechanized Bottom Trawling in Sri Lankan Waters’ »

Govt Planning to Revive Paranthan Chemicals Factory in North at Cost Estimated Between US$ 300 to 400 Million Dollars

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on Wednesday invited the local and the global private sector to invest between US$ 300- 400 Million to revive the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals Company, successors to the Paranthan Chemicals Corporation

He also told officials that the government was looking to restore the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals soon and that they could commence operations promptly when the Elephant Pass Saltern was recommenced

Continue reading ‘Govt Planning to Revive Paranthan Chemicals Factory in North at Cost Estimated Between US$ 300 to 400 Million Dollars’ »

MP’s “Protesting” in Parliament had Fried rice with Chicken/Fish Dinner, sang Songs, Danced, Played Cards, Watched TV and engaged in Mimicry


By W. K. Prasad Manju

It was a special opportunity, a chance to visit a place where one had to dress in a particular manner and with no freedom to spend the night as one wished; certainly it would arouse the curiosity of all.

For the first time in the history of Parliament, a protest by a group of parliamentarians lasted for 23 hours and ended on Tuesday (21) at 9.30 a.m. when Parliament re-commenced its sessions and Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa guaranteed their request.

They go home and bring clothing and return

The protest commenced at about 10.30 a.m. on the Monday (20) within the Parliament Chamber. The dissent was a protest against the Director General of the Bribery Commission, for summoning the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Commission to question him, and to prevent the DG from acting in a manner that would harm the honour of the members of the legislature.

Although Parliament was adjourned at 10.30 a.m., the Members of Parliament did not allow that to hinder their protest. They got down bottles of water into the Chamber, and left for lunch on a shift basis, in ones and twos to the Parliamentarians Restaurant, making themselves comfortable.

Gradually night fell, and it was also raining heavily on Monday (20) night, notwithstanding, as around 80 MP’s of the opposition had decided to spend the night in Parliament, the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa instructed the Sergeant- at -Arms Anil Samarasekera and his officials to spend the night on Parliament premises.

Designated employees from all sections of Parliament had to remain on the premises. The Parliament Police was also informed to implement a special security procedure.

Continue reading ‘MP’s “Protesting” in Parliament had Fried rice with Chicken/Fish Dinner, sang Songs, Danced, Played Cards, Watched TV and engaged in Mimicry’ »

Tobacco Giant Philip Morris in Global Campaign Through Legal Action to Intimidate Countries and Prevent Anti-Smoking Measures.

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Philip Morris is an American company gone global that produces cigarettes and tobacco products. It offers seven of the largest selling brands of cigarettes in the world including its most recognized and top seller, the Marlboro brand of cigarettes. The company has enjoyed unprecedented growth and success for many decades as smoking was promoted first by doctors, then movie stars, and then simply became a necessary part of life to many.

However, in the face of rising evidence that the product was harmful and was the leading cause of various diseases and deaths, many countries in the world began waking up and taking notice. They started imposing a series of binding restrictions on tobacco companies including the ban on advertising their products publicly and demanding that all smoking products carry a health warning notification visible for all to see.

Some countries, alarmed at the rise of smokers in their population, passed restrictive legislation on the promotion and sale of tobacco products so much so that in one country, a showdown is in progress between a tobacco giant and the country’s lawmakers.

Continue reading ‘Tobacco Giant Philip Morris in Global Campaign Through Legal Action to Intimidate Countries and Prevent Anti-Smoking Measures.’ »

Protest in Parliament is Rearguard Action to Obstruct Probe into Bribery, Nepotism and Corruption of Rajapaksa Regime.

By Harim Peiris

The defeated Rajapaksa regime has a few die hard-cheer leaders, about thirty SLFP Members of Parliament at the last count and leading them are a slightly lesser number of MP’s from the smaller constituent parties of the UPFA, such as the MEP, the NFF and the EPDP.

pic via: twitter.com/AzzamAmeen

pic via: twitter.com/AzzamAmeen

Unable to accept the reality that their political hero, lost the presidential election, in fact with a much bigger margin of defeat than his razor thin first victory in 2005, these relics of the ancient regime are obstructing the new Sirisena Administration from fulfilling its promised and popularly mandated reform program.

Continue reading ‘Protest in Parliament is Rearguard Action to Obstruct Probe into Bribery, Nepotism and Corruption of Rajapaksa Regime.’ »

Prof. GL Peiris Accuses CIABOC of Trying to Tarnish Image of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Behest of UNP led Govt.


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Prof. G.L. Peiris

Prof. G.L. Peiris

Alleging that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had been unfairly harassed by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris challenged the CIABOC to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the Central Bank bond scam.

In a brief interview with The Island, Prof. Peiris accused the CIABOC of carrying out a special project at the behest of UNP-led yahapalanaya government. “Tarnishing the image of war veteran Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is obviously high on their agenda,” Prof. Peiris said. MP Peiris said that CIABOC was going after the Rajapaksas with a vengeance.

The CIABOC will record former Defence Secretary’s statement today (April 23) regarding on-going investigations into Avant Garde maritime services private limited as well as Mihin Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Prof. GL Peiris Accuses CIABOC of Trying to Tarnish Image of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Behest of UNP led Govt.’ »

Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva Demands Removal of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran from Post


by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary Susil Premajayantha and MP John Seneviratne. pic by Jude Denzil Pathiraja

The Opposition would request the government to remove the Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran over the scandal ridden 30-year Treasury bond issue, Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva Demands Removal of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran from Post’ »

Basil Rajapaksa, Dr.Nihal Jayatilleka and RRK Ranawaka Arrested and Remanded over Alleged Misappropriation of Divineguma Funds

By Madura Ranwala

The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) yesterday evening arrested former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa over alleged misappropriation of Divineguma funds.

BR DG 042215

The police took him into custody after having recorded his statement at FCID, Kollupitiya. The former minister returned to the country on Tuesday afternoon from the US after FCID sought a statement from him. Rajapaksa reported to FCID yesterday morning.

The police also arrested former Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka and former Director General of the Divineguma Department, R.R.K. Ranawaka.

After having recorded statements from suspects, the police produced them before Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala last night. The Magistrate ordered them remanded till April . Earlier the Kaduwela Magistrate ordered the former Minister arrested immediately after his return from the US.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa, Dr.Nihal Jayatilleka and RRK Ranawaka Arrested and Remanded over Alleged Misappropriation of Divineguma Funds’ »

“Boralugoda Sinhaya”Philip Gunawardena Tried to Blend Nationalism and Marxism Into “Jathika Samajavadaya”


By

Uditha Devapriya

It went on for more than one hour. It needn’t have but then again it didn’t lag. Time didn’t matter anyway. Everyone seemed to have come with a purpose. They had come to honour an icon. To remind themselves that his legacy continues. After all these years. The 43rd Commemoration of Philip Gunawardena was held at the Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Mandiraya (in Thunmulla) on March 28. It opened up to a crowd that waited, patiently, until everything was over. The weather wasn’t amenable and the heat outside was unbearable. But we couldn’t have cared less. And we didn’t.

At the time of Philip Gunawardena’s death, Ceylon was just a few months shy of “becoming” Sri Lanka. All those decades spent in agitating for complete independence were soon to culminate. The worst uprising in our country’s post-independence history until then had come and gone. One can only guess what Philip (who was 72 when he passed away) would have said (or written) had he lived. Those who came to honour him weren’t interested in that, however. They were interested in the man and his life. As they should be.

There were guests who came and spoke. Two guests. Professor A. V. D. S. Indraratne, the prominent economist, was first in line. He raised some important points in his speech. He noted, correctly I believe, that by the time Philip Gunawardena returned to Ceylon in 1932, Marxism here was more or less limited to the urban worker. It was Philip, he highlighted, who brought Marxism to the rural peasant. Professor Indraratne coined a term for this: “jathika samajavadaya”. The meaning gets diluted when translated, because “national socialism” would hardly stand up to what the Professor meant for reasons that are all too obvious. Still, his thesis stood ground. Remarkably.

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka delivered the second speech. It was longer. Didn’t matter. Dr Jayatilleka can speak lengthily without losing touch with his audience. That’s what he did here. He began by reading out a pen portrait written by his father Mervyn de Silva. He delivered it in English and then went on to deliver his own speech, free of frill but still long.

Continue reading ‘“Boralugoda Sinhaya”Philip Gunawardena Tried to Blend Nationalism and Marxism Into “Jathika Samajavadaya”’ »

Do Indian Gods Shower Blessings on Leaders From Sri Lanka who Seek Favours by Doing Special Poojas?

by

Upul Joseph Fernando

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who made a sudden visit to Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple in India last week made an offering of 77 kilos of sandalwood.

Mahinda also visited this Temple after his 2005 presidential victory and got onto a weighing machine. That photograph went viral on the electronic media.

Ranil visited the historic Temple at a time the 19th Amendment was to be passed in Parliament. It was not clear whether he went to make an offering to obtain the blessings of Lord Sri Krishna to get the 19th Amendment passed without problems.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also visited Kovils and Temples in India during the previous regime. He even sought security from the Indian Government to visit Kovils and Temples in Tamil Nadu amidst stiff opposition to him in that State. Having submitted nominations for the January presidential election, Mahinda visited temples there to seek the blessings to win the election. But he lost.

Continue reading ‘Do Indian Gods Shower Blessings on Leaders From Sri Lanka who Seek Favours by Doing Special Poojas?’ »

Gotabhaya wants Maithripala to hold Elections and Appoint Mahinda as Prime Minister to have a “Functioning Govt”.

By

P.K.Balachandran

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s once powerful Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, wants President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to join hands to give the island nation a “functioning government” and lift it from the abyss of political confusion and economic stagnation.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

“Maithripala Sirisena has been elected President for six years. Therefore, he will have to continue. But he can quickly call for parliamentary elections and appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

Together, they should put the country back on its feet by providing a functioning government with people committed to achieving goals,” Gotabaya told Express in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

A sibling of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya claimed that Sri Lankans want Rajapaksa back. “Support for him has grown beyond the 5.8 million votes he got in the January Presidential election,” he said.
Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya wants Maithripala to hold Elections and Appoint Mahinda as Prime Minister to have a “Functioning Govt”.’ »

Pro-Maithri Group and Pro-Mahinda Group in SLFP Trying to set up Meeting Between Both while Excluding Chandrika.

By

Gagani Weerakoon

In a bid to assuage the strained relationship between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and incumbent Maithripala Sirisena, two groups of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members are planning a meeting between the duo, a former minister in the Rajapaksa government said.

However, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga will be kept away from the impending meeting.

Accordingly, SLFP members who are alleged to have aligned with Rajapaksa and working towards bringing him back as prime ministerial candidate and the other group who have joined the current government as ministers and deputy ministers were scheduled to meet in Colombo at 7.00 p.m. yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Pro-Maithri Group and Pro-Mahinda Group in SLFP Trying to set up Meeting Between Both while Excluding Chandrika.’ »

“Shame on you.You Must not Use Parliament to Protect Thieves and Those Engaging in Corruption” – Ranil Wickremesinghe

By

Sandasen Marasinghe, Irangika Range and Disna Mudalige

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday requested opposition members not to use Parliamentary privileges to protect thieves and persons engaged in corruption.

He made this observation in Parliament joining a debate following a statement by UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa.

The Prime Minister said the people in the country demand to reveal the names of those engaged in corruption. He said the people wanted to know this since the cost of living in the country has come down after 10 years as corruption has been eliminated under President Maithripala Sirisena’s regime.

The Prime Minister said Bandula Gunawardena and other opposition members were attempting to prevent the investigations against corruption.

Continue reading ‘“Shame on you.You Must not Use Parliament to Protect Thieves and Those Engaging in Corruption” – Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

116 MP’s Demand Removal of CIABOC Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe for Alleged Abuse of Power


By Saman Indrajith

A substantive motion signed by 116 members of the Opposition MPs and handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa in Parliament yesterday demanded the removal of Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe from the post of Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption on charges of abusing the powers of the CIABOC Act, obtaining two salaries from two public sector organisations etc..

UPFA Colombo District MP Bandula Gunawardena after making a speech on the content of the motion walked the isle to the Chair in the Chamber and submitted the document.

Gunawardena’s motion was seconded by UPFA National List parliamentarian Prof G. L. Peiris.

Continue reading ‘116 MP’s Demand Removal of CIABOC Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe for Alleged Abuse of Power’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Some Elements in new Govt are Conspiring to Destroy his Reputation by Summoning him to Bribery Commission.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Monday (20) said some elements within the ranks of the new government were all out to destroy his reputation.

Rajapaksa said a move to summon him and his brother to the Bribery Commission was also a part of the conspiracy.

During an exclusive interview with Ada Derana, Rajapaksa claimed that he had already declared his assets and liabilities. He said that he never had any intention to siphon off even a few rupees as a government employee.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Some Elements in new Govt are Conspiring to Destroy his Reputation by Summoning him to Bribery Commission.’ »

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Announces that CIABOC Officials will Record Mahinda rajapaksa Statement at his Residence Instead of Summon ing him to Commission.

By Saman Indrajith

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that he had been informed by the Minister of Justice that the latter would instruct officials of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to visit former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence instead of summoning him to obtain a statement on appointing former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, MP the Minister of Health prior to the last presidential election.

The speaker said so while making a special announcement in view of a continuing protest by UPFA parliamentarians in the Well of Parliament yesterday demanding that the government immediately put an end to what they called a political witch hunt against Opposition politicians including former President Rajapaksa and ex-defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Announces that CIABOC Officials will Record Mahinda rajapaksa Statement at his Residence Instead of Summon ing him to Commission.’ »

Arrivals Lounge Closed as over 3000 Gather at Airport to Welcome Basil Rajapaksa Returning from the USA

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa, MP, will appear before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) today (April 22).

Immediately after having returned from the US, Gampaha District MP Rajapaksa declared his readiness to face the on-going investigation. The former SLFP National Organiser returned from the US in the wake of FCID seeking to record a statement from him regarding his alleged involvement in misappropriation of Divineguma and Samurdhi funds and the utilisation of public funds for his brother’s presidential election campaign.

Rajapaksa’s successor, Sajith Premadasa, has repeatedly accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sibling of having misappropriated public funds. Minister Premadasa claimed that on his invitation two internationally renowned auditing firms, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers had launched probes into Housing and Samurdhi portfolios previously held by National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa and former SLFP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa, respectively.

MP Rajapaksa arrived from London via Dubai. Rajapaksa and his wife, Pushpa left for the US soon after Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as the President.

Basil Rajapaksa led the last presidential polls campaign in his capacity as the SLFP’s National Organiser.

Continue reading ‘Arrivals Lounge Closed as over 3000 Gather at Airport to Welcome Basil Rajapaksa Returning from the USA’ »

Because some MP’s Protest in Parliament the Speaker has no right to summon Bribery Commission officials says Justice Minister.

By Saman Indrajith

Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe yesterday said that Speaker had no powers to summon the officials of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to Parliament just because MPs staged a protest.

Addressing a press conference at the office of the Leader of the House in the Parliament Complex, the Minister said that summoning CIABOC officials to Parliament amounted to interference in the commission’s duties.

“If a present, position or treatment is given by a presidential candidate during the time of presidential election that could be interpreted as bribe giving. If a person accepts such a gift it too is bribe taking. After submitting nominations on December 08 for the presidential election, the former President appointed MP Tissa Attanayake as the Minister of Health.

Continue reading ‘Because some MP’s Protest in Parliament the Speaker has no right to summon Bribery Commission officials says Justice Minister.’ »

19th Constitutional Amendment Debate and Vote Postponed to April 27th and 28th After Party Leaders Emergency Meeting with President

Putting the crucial 19th Amendment at risk, the Parliament adjourned yesterday without debating it but agreed to take it up on 27 April.

The decision to postpone the debate was reached following an emergency party leaders meeting held with the President.


The 19th Amendment will be taken up for debate on 27 and 28 April and a vote will be taken on 28 April, the Leader of the House announced.

Continue reading ‘19th Constitutional Amendment Debate and Vote Postponed to April 27th and 28th After Party Leaders Emergency Meeting with President’ »

UPFA Group of Pro-Mahinda MP’s Collecting Signatures for Impeachment Motion Against President Sirisena in bid to Block Parliament Dissolution.

The UPFA MPs who started a protest in the Parliament on Monday were collecting signatures for an impeachment motion against President Maithripala Sirisena, highly placed political sources told Asian Mirror.

Once an impeachment motion is accepted by the Speaker, the president will not be able to dissolve the parliament. An MP who was involved in the move told Asian Mirror that the Speaker cannot refrain from accepting the motion once 75 signatures are included in the motion.

The move is aimed at blocking President Maithripala Sirisena from dissolving Parliament.

Continue reading ‘UPFA Group of Pro-Mahinda MP’s Collecting Signatures for Impeachment Motion Against President Sirisena in bid to Block Parliament Dissolution.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Will “Ignore” Summons Issued by Bribery Commission and not Appear Before it.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will not appear before an anti-bribery commission investigating allegations that he may have illegally induced a rival to support his campaign during the recent presidential elections.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a campaign rally for the Jan 8th presidential election

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a campaign rally for the Jan 8th presidential election

Rajapaksa will ignore a summons to appear on 24 April because the exact nature of the complaint and the person making the allegations have not been disclosed, Rohan Weliwita, Rajapaksa’s media adviser, told Reuters.

“He is consulting his legal team on the summons,” Weliwita said.

The allegations are the latest in a series of corruption charges made against Rajapaksa by Sri Lanka’s new Government, which has ordered an investigation into all the financial deals he made during his decade in power.

Rajapaksa is accused by his rivals of unfairly pressuring Opposition Leader Tissa Attanayake to back his campaign. After Attanayake supported Rajapaksa’s presidential bid in December, he was appointed the Health Minister.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Will “Ignore” Summons Issued by Bribery Commission and not Appear Before it.’ »

Only Naive Idiots will Believe Maithripala Sirisena will want Mahinda Rajapaksa as his Prime Minister


By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“…..to hold in a single thought reality and justice” – W.B. Yeats (A Vision)


The Governor of the Central Bank was summoned to the Bribery Commission and grilled for six hours. A three-month travel ban was imposed on him.

That one incident demonstrates how far we have progressed since 8 January.

The journey away from Rajapaksa Rule towards democracy, accountability and the rule of law has been far from perfect; it has been slow and ponderous, with many a stop and digression. But it is happening, as the interrogation of Arjun Mahendran clearly indicates.

There had been many allegations of insider trading against the Central Bank under Rajapaksa rule as well. But no committee was appointed; no investigation happened; no one was questioned, least of all the then Governor.

MS MR 12 17 KS

There is no perfect government, there never was and never will be outside of utopia. There will always be bribery and corruption; politicians and officials are as likely to go astray and do wrong as the rest of the citizenry. What is necessary and possible is to create a mindset which rejects impunity and a system which punishes wrongdoers irrespective of how high they are.

The manner in which the Central Bank Bond case is progressing signifies that we are on the right road towards that future.

Continue reading ‘Only Naive Idiots will Believe Maithripala Sirisena will want Mahinda Rajapaksa as his Prime Minister’ »

Ranil’s Vision of all Political Parties Forming a National Govt Together may Turn out to be a new model of “Elected Authoritarianism”.

By

Prof.Jayadeva Uyangoda

One of the most interesting themes to have emerged in the present political debate in Sri Lanka is the idea of Jaathika Anduwa, or National Government.

The concept of National Government is not a new one. The credit for its retrieval in the current political context of Sri Lanka goes to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

RW MS UNHRC

However, the way the National Government is being conceptualised and explained raises some fundamental questions about its possible political consequences for democratic governance in this country. This article is an invitation to re-think and re-craft the idea, within a clear framework of democratic commitment.
Continue reading ‘Ranil’s Vision of all Political Parties Forming a National Govt Together may Turn out to be a new model of “Elected Authoritarianism”.’ »

Court Verdict Blocks all Avenues of Returning to Position of Power for Mahinda Rajapaksa


By

Don Manu

If it was the closest Ranil Wickremesinghe would get to be President all but in name, it was the nearest Mahinda Rajapaksa could have reached to enjoy executive powers again in a new role as prime minister and act as de facto president. But with the Supreme Court dictated dilution that redefined the 19th Amendment, both men’s hopes to ascend higher ground lie dashed in the dust; and both men’s executive ambitions remain the stuff of vain political pipe dreams.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Sinhala-Tamil New Year celebrations-April 14, 2015

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Sinhala-Tamil New Year celebrations-April 14, 2015

pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

For Ranil Wickremesinghe it may only be a temporary setback for the way still remains open for him to contest the nation’s highest office at a future date. For twice elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, the full import of the Supreme Court bespoke 19th Amendment, if passed by the required two-third’s majority when it is presented in Parliament tomorrow, will be fatal.

For Maithripala Sirisena, his prayer to abolish the executive presidency or at least reduce its powers has gone unanswered. The specific bundle of executive presidential powers he so magnanimously wished away that would have castrated the presidency, now lie dumped on his doorstep studiously unopened, with the terse tag ‘Return to Sender’ firmly affixed.

Not that he planned it that way, of course. No, and God forbid the ungenerous thought. Having made it his battle cry to do away with the executive presidency and to lead the nation back to the parliamentary system of government, Maithripala Sirisena must rank as one of the few men in history to have actually taken meaningful steps to divest himself of power after having power vested in him.

What can he possibly do and who can blame him or take him to task if his efforts are spurned, if his good intentions to keep his promises are scuppered by the Law Lords who held that those powers he is desperate to get rid of and donate to the prime minister must, instead, leech like cling to him until and unless 15 million people personally approve the long drawn removal process?

Continue reading ‘Court Verdict Blocks all Avenues of Returning to Position of Power for Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Summons Bribery Commission D-G Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe to Parliament Over Summoning of Mahinda Issue.

Speaker summons Bribery Commission Chief to Parliament

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday summoned the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe to Parliament.

Rajapaksa has summoned the Director General following protests displayed by about 60 members of the Opposition in Parliament.

The Opposition members have protested over former President Mahinda Rajapaksa being summoned to the Bribery Commission, claiming that it was an illegal move instituted as part of the witch-hunt against the former President.

Opposition demands Speaker intervention

Continue reading ‘Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Summons Bribery Commission D-G Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe to Parliament Over Summoning of Mahinda Issue.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa can get Restraining Order Against Bribery Commission Summoning Him says Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament.

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could obtain a restraining order against the Bribery Commission summoning the latter.

The opposition MPs shouted when the Premier said so in response to the Opposition MPs’s call for an end to harassing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

At the time the House commenced public business, MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena raising a privilege issue said MP Tissa Attanayake and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been summoned by the Bribery Commission and it amounted to a breach of privileges of MP Attanayake.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa can get Restraining Order Against Bribery Commission Summoning Him says Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament.’ »

UPFA Group of MP’s Commence Hunger Strike Within Parliament Demanding an end to Political Witchhunt against Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition MPs and some ministers of the UPFA commenced a continuous fast in the Well of Parliament yesterday demanding that the government immediately put an end to what they called a political witch hunt against Opposition politicians including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The hunger strike commenced in protest against summoning former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption for appointing former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, MP the Minister of Health prior to the last presidential election.

Addressing a press conference held at the Parliamentary Complex, UPFA Colombo District MP Bandula Gunawardena said that MPs would not give up their protest until an assurance was given by incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena that harassing of the former President would be ended.

“This is the first time in our parliamentary history that MPs have commenced a hunger strike in Parliament.”

Continue reading ‘UPFA Group of MP’s Commence Hunger Strike Within Parliament Demanding an end to Political Witchhunt against Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.’ »

India’s Justice System Works Speedily for Ex-Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa While Lesser Mortals Languish with Law’s Delays.

By

Sandhya Ravishankar

A file picture of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at a function in Chennai. Photo: M. Vedhan-courtesy: The Hindu

A file picture of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at a function in Chennai. Photo: M. Vedhan-courtesy: The Hindu

As of 2014, there were a whopping 3.13 crore cases pending in all courts across India. Of these, a minimum of around 9% have been pending in various courts for at least 10 years.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa certainly belonged to that 9% until September 27, 2014. Her disproportionate assets case had crawled on painfully for almost two whole decades, tried by nine judges over 18 years with five different special public prosecutors.

But after her conviction, with a four-year prison term and a Rs 100 crore fine, Jayalalithaa appears to be whizzing at breakneck speed through the convoluted judicial appeals process.

Continue reading ‘India’s Justice System Works Speedily for Ex-Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa While Lesser Mortals Languish with Law’s Delays.’ »

1915: Centenary Year of Alleged Armenian Genocide by Turkey

By

Richard Falk

Of the many current concerns associated with historic wrongs, none is more salient these days than the long simmering tensions between modern Turkey and the Armenian diaspora (and the state of Armenia). And none so convincingly validates the assertion of the great American novelist, William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” This year being the centenary of the contested events of 1915 makes it understandable that was simmering through the decades has come to a boil, with the anniversary day of April 24th likely to be the climax of this latest phase of the unresolved drama.

pic : facebook.com/armeniangenocide100

pic : facebook.com/armeniangenocide100

The Armenian red line for any move toward reconciliation has been for many years a formal acknowledgement by the Turkish government that the killings that occurred in 1915 should be regarded as ‘genocide,’ and that an official apology to the descendants of the Armenian victims should be issued by the top political leaders in Turkey. It is not clear whether once that red line is crossed, a second exists, this one involving Armenian expectations of reparations in some form or even restorations of property and territory. For now the battleground is over the significance of granting or withholding the G word from these momentous happenings. The utterance of this word, alone, seems the only key capable of unlocking the portals leading to conflict resolution, but it is a key that Turks across the political spectrum refuse to use.

What has recently raised the temperature on both sides is the clear alignment of Pope Francis with the Armenian demands. At a solemn mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on April 12th that was devoted to the centenary of the Ottoman killings of Armenian Christians Francis quoted with approval from the 2001 joint declaration of Pope John Paul II and the Armenian religious leader Karenkin II to the effect that these massacres in 1915 were “widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century.”

Continue reading ‘1915: Centenary Year of Alleged Armenian Genocide by Turkey’ »

Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa Summoned by Bribery Commission on April 22, 23 and 24 for Recording of Statements.

By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa have been asked to report to the Bribery Commission (BC) this week to record statements over various allegations against them, highly placed sources said.

A group of Parliamentarians on Monday (April 20) staged a protest inside the chambers in Parliament against the decision to summon former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Bribery Commission-pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

A group of Parliamentarians on Monday (April 20) staged a protest inside the chambers in Parliament against the decision to summon former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Bribery Commission-pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

They said Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was asked to report to the BC on Wednesday, April 22 and 23 while the former President was asked to report to the BC on Friday, April 24.

Daily Mirror learns that the BC will record a statement from the former President over the fraudulent document produced by former Health Minister Tissa Attanayake in an attempt to sling mud at President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe in the run-up to the presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa Summoned by Bribery Commission on April 22, 23 and 24 for Recording of Statements.’ »

3 -member Committe Appointed by Ranil Finds Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no Direct Role in the Bond Tender Issue

Aided by a three-member all-lawyer investigative committee, the Government yesterday bared who should get the blame for February’s 30-year Treasury Bond fiasco whilst recommending further investigations.

In a media release, the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, after nearly a holiday-filled week since the receipt of the report, said that the committee of eminent lawyers which inquired into the 30-year Treasury Bond issuance had made far-reaching recommendations to ensure transparency and better governance at the Central Bank.

The three-member committee had interviewed a large number of individuals, including the governor, officials from the Central Bank, primary dealers and Perpetual Treasuries.Several deficiencies in the bank’s Public Debt Department (PDD), which handles all matters relating to servicing the domestic and foreign debt of the Sri Lankan Government, were observed by the committee.

Continue reading ‘3 -member Committe Appointed by Ranil Finds Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no Direct Role in the Bond Tender Issue’ »