By W.A. Sunil
Despite government threats and a campaign of intimidation, 22,000 workers at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) in Sri Lanka are continuing to strike. The stoppage, which began last Wednesday, has disrupted power supplies in several areas of the island.
The unions covering technical engineers and superintendents have also threatened to join the strike after the government reneged on a promised salary increase of 10 to 13 percent. Those unions said they may hold a two-day protest strike starting today, then consider whether to continue the action.
The power workers’ strike was called by the CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA), a combination of unions. These include: the Ceylon Electricity Employees Union (CEEU), controlled by the opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) as well as the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS) and Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), affiliated to the ruling coalition of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP).
The unions have sought to limit the strike to demands that wage discrepancies be rectified. The stoppage, however, is an expression of growing anger in the working class over the government’s attacks on social conditions.
Continue reading ‘22, 000 Workers at Ceylon Electricity Board Continue Strike From Last Wednesday Despite Govt Threats and Intimidation.’ »
The sacked junior minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs Arundika Fernando joined former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s faction Tuesday, a week after he was told by the government that he will not be reinstated.
Fernando, who was called a rock star by his parliamentary colleagues after he rocked the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) faction of President Maithripala Sirisena, made a special statement before crossing the floor of the House.
“From today, I will work to ensure the collapse of this government,” he said just before taking a seat on the opposition benches.
Continue reading ‘Dismissed Deputy -Minister Arundika Fernando Who Demanded Millions From Maithripala to Support President Joins the Joint Opposition.’ »
By C. A. Chandraprema
The news that the judiciary had determined a referendum was necessary if the 20th Amendment was to be passed into law was out in the public domain by Friday last week. The purpose of the 20th Amendment was firstly to extend the terms of the existing PCs until around October 2019 when the election to the last PC becomes due and secondly to postpone all the elections to PCs until that date.
This was the provincial council equivalent of what the present government has already done to the local government elections. The LG elections which were due after March 2015 are yet to be held. It was possible to postpone the LG elections by simply delaying the delimitation process. In the case of the PCs however, there was no such readymade excuse available.
Furthermore, in the case of the provincial councils, under Article 154E of the Constitution, they stand automatically dissolved on the day they complete five years from their first meeting. If the PC elections are to be postponed, the first thing that needs to be done was to extend the terms of the existing PCs until an election is held. But, when the government gazetted the 20th Amendment for this purpose, there was an immediate rebellion within the SLFP, depriving the government of the two thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.
Then the government decided to utilise the provisions of Article 154 G(2) of the Constitution, which allows an amendment to the chapter on provincial councils in the Constitution to be made with a simple majority in Parliament if all the provincial councils give their assent to the said Bill. On this basis, the President sent the 20A Bill to the provincial councils.
Continue reading ‘Govt During Parliament Committee Stage will Hastily Amend Provincial Councils Election Act To Put Off PC Polls’ »
Narratives of horror in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine State and the squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh where nearly 400,000 Rohingya refugees live in subhuman condition after being chased out by the Burmese Army’s scorched earth campaign are distressing. Ethnic violence in Rakhine first erupted soon after Myanmar’s military junta relaxed its grip on political power in 2012.
A social media post by rabble-rousing monk Ashin Wirathu about an alleged rape of a Buddhist woman by two Muslim youth precipitated an orgy of ethnic violence that engulfed the Rohingyas. Since then the community has been confined in military guarded internment camps, with no right of movement.
Myanmar’s military dictator Ne Win disenfranchised Rohingyas in 1982 under the new citizenship laws, effectively turning them into the world’s largest community of stateless people, with no recourse to jobs, education, healthcare and even to birth certificates. The latest military crackdown was launched after a series of simultaneous attacks by Rohingya militants who have recently been waging a low level insurgency. Now media reports indicate a heavy dose of radicalization in the refugee camps, with a disturbing potential of a local grievance being exploited by the global jihad.
Continue reading ‘Prejudices Against Rohingya Muslims are Perhaps Inherent to a Great Deal in Burmese Buddhist Discourse’ »
The government has decided not to take up the debate on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances on September 21, Parliamentary Affairs and Lands Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said on Monday.
He also said this decision was taken during the UNP Parliamentary group meeting which met Monday evening with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the chair. It has also been decided not to take up the debate on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution as well.
Continue reading ‘Govt Puts Off Parliamentary Debate on International Convention on Enforced Disappearances Scheduled for Sep 21st.’ »
By Chathuri Dissanayake
The parliamentary debate on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed indefinitely, senior ministers have confirmed.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the debate on the constitutional amendment is to be postponed until President Maithripala Sirisena returns from New York. «The 20th Amendment will not be debated on Wednesday as planned. We will wait until the president returns from New York on 24 September to decide on the way forward,” he told Daily FT.
The matter has become the main focus of discussions between the two political parties in the Coalition Government. The United National Party (UNP) will take the matter up for discussion today at the group meeting, senior UNP minister and Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunathilaka told Daily FT.
Continue reading ‘20th Constitutional Amendment Parliamentary Debate Scheduled for Sep 20th Postponed Indefinitely.’ »
By Norman Palihawadane
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday ordered Director General of Health Services Dr Jayasundara Bandara to transfer Acting Chief Medical Officer of the Welikda Prisons Hospital Dr Nirmali Thenuwara to the National Hospital, Colombo immediately.
A spokesman for the Health Ministry told The Island that the Minister had ordered the transfer of the Acting Chief Medical Officer following concerns raised by 19 doctors attached to the prison hospital.
The doctors met Minister Senaratne and submitted a report containing 26 allegations against Dr Thenuwara. They requested the minister to conduct an investigation into the charges. The Health Minister instructed his Ministry to hand over the report to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
The vacancy created by the transfer would be filled by Dr JK Malwattage, Ministry spokesman said.
Continue reading ‘Welikade Prisons Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nirmali Thenuwara Transferred to Colombo National Hospital With Immediate Effect.’ »
Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was said to be one of the colourful Presidents in the Asian region, amidst having to face political attacks from his opponents, said that he did his best for the country and he could defend himself on that. He also pointed out the presence of the Chinese was only to invest in projects and they had not influenced him otherwise.
On becoming the next Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the ex-President said, “The Constitution allows me to become the next Prime Minister. Firstly, we will have to win and then we will decide who should be the Premier.”
Excerpts of the Interview:
Question; One of the major crises faced by Sri Lanka is the external debt. The current Government and its supporters blame your Government for that. What is your response?
The loans we took from China, Japan, the ADB and other sources were not for consumption but for the development of the country. If you go around the country you can see the road network, schools and new government buildings that we built. The improvement of the Colombo Port, construction of the Hambantota Port and the Mattala Airport, were all projects completed under my Government.
But the current Government’s policy is to use loans for consumption. They have no development work to show for all the loans they have taken. They have taken nearly USD 14 billion in foreign currency loans at commercial rates of interest in just two and a half years in power.
Continue reading ‘“There is no Legal Bar to My Becoming Prime Minister Again” – Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Interview’ »
Reflecting the sharp communal divide in the country, Sri Lankan Muslims and Buddhists have been holding counter demonstrations in the island nation, opposing each other’s stand point on the Rohingya Muslim issue in Myanmar.
Both communities see the tragic events in Myanmar as a Muslim-Buddhist issue and not as a humanitarian or a human rights issue of humongous proportions.
It was in the Muslim-majority areas in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province that Muslims began demonstrating against the merciless killing of Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
Continue reading ‘Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka Demonstrate Against Each Others Standpoint Over the Rohingya Muslim Issue of Myanmar.’ »
Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka
At the on-going September 2017 sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, the UK has written to the President of the Council to assert that a long standing dispute it has with the Mauritius cannot be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) because “those States must have consented to the ICJ’s jurisdiction. Neither the UK nor Mauritius have consented to disputes between them going to the ICJ.”
The dispute is to do with the UK’s commitment, as part of the decolonization in 1965, to cede the “Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes.” While admitting that the UK fully stands by this commitment, it also claims that at present, it is still “required for defence purposes.” Mauritius for its part has requested a UN General Assembly resolution to request the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to give an advisory opinion on this.
In its own letter to the President of the Human Rights Council, and perhaps of interest to the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, Mauritius complains that “Diego Garcia was used as a transit point after September 2001 for rendition of persons to countries where they risked being subjected to torture or ill-treatment” and that “there is no justification for the United Kingdom to continue its unlawful occupation of the Chagos Archipelago.”
Making its case, UK’s letter to the President of the UNHRC says “The ICJ was founded on the principle that contentious cases between two States can only be taken to the Court by those States, and that those States must have consented to the ICJ’s jurisdiction.” It further states that “this should concern every UN Member State, as it would set a dangerous precedent for international justice which will affect us all.”
Indeed, we should heed the UK’s call. No Sri Lankan government would disagree. Or that’s what I had thought, but I was wrong. In ratifying the Convention on the Enforced Disappearances, the Yahapalana government has done exactly that which is warned against. It has acceded to the ICJ’s jurisdiction for dispute resolution.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Accedes to International Court of Justice Jurisdiction Over Dispute Resolution.’ »
(Excerpts From the Political Column in the “Sunday Times” of September 17th 2017)
Plans are on the drawing board for the two coalition partners – the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) – to contest each other at an upcoming Provincial Council or Local Government election. It is most likely the PC polls will come first followed by elections to local government institutions.
Such a poll will also break with the tradition of two major political parties vying with each other during past elections. Entering the fray will be a third formidable group, the result of changes in the political landscape after the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2015. This is the first time in two and half year that the SLFP and the UNP are parting ways for a poll which is significant. It will also be the first time that the coalition partners are seeking public approval for their two and half year Yahapalanaya or good governance rule.
The SLFP will field candidates under the umbrella of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). The UNP has revived its grouping under the United National Front (UNF). Emerging as the third force is the group led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Though he is the de-facto head of the Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP), talks are under way to form an alliance under a new name. Also in the fray is the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). Though it does not have a reach countrywide, it has its voter base in many districts. The North is a different political scene with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) dominating the area even though Provincial Council elections are not due there just yet. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has a foothold in the East, where PC elections are due.
For all these parties and even the Elections Commission, the focus this week has remained the Supreme Court determination on the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution. A three judge bench – Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Anil Gooneratne and Justice Vijith Malalgoda – which examined the draft amendments has already delivered its determination under sealed cover to the Speaker with a copy to the President. The SC heard some 23 petitions from political parties, civil society organisations and NGOs challenging the 20A. The Court’s determination — believed to be by majority 2-1 vote — was dispatched to the Speaker and the President on Thursday hours before Chief Justice Dep left for South Korea and then Japan to participate in the Chief Justices conference.
Continue reading ‘2 to 1 Ruling by 3 Member Bench of Supreme Court on 20th Constitutional Amendment Bill Conveyed to President and Speaker on September 14th’ »
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Having switched their allegiance to the Joint Opposition (JO), former Deputy Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Arundika Fernando and State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Priyankara Jayaratne yesterday said that more SLFPers would desert the government this week.
They said a group of SLFP MPs would vote against the proposed 20 Amendment to the Constitution, aimed at postponing Provincial Council polls in Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and North Central Provinces scheduled for Dec 9 this year. Jayaratne gave up his portfolios on Dec. 30, 2016 whereas President Sirisena stripped Fernando of his subjects on Sept. 12. Addressing the media at a temple in Punchi Borella, Jayaratne and Fernando said that their colleagues would vote against the 20 Amendment to the Constitution if it was taken up in Parliament on Wednesday (20).
Continue reading ‘With 2 M.P.’s Crossing Over to Opposition, Sirisena’s Group of MP’s Comes Down to 40: Will More Desert Ranks This week?’ »
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday said that it had received an assurance from President Maithripala Sirisena that the controversial International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances Bill wouldn’t be taken up for debate on Thursday (21)
The Bill is to give effect to the ‘International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance’, to which Sri Lanka became a signatory on Dec. 10, 2015.
Addressing the media at a temple at Punchi Borella, JO spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said a delegation led by their parliamentary group leader Dinesh Gunawardena had made representations to President Sirisena on Saturday night. MP Gunawardena appreciated President Sirisena’s promise not to take up the Bill that had been listed for debate.
Continue reading ‘President Stops Parliamentary Debate Over Convention On Enforced Disappearance Bill Scheduled for September 21st’ »
President Maithripala Sirisena says all future elections will be held on the first-past-the-post system.
The President says action will be taken to conduct the next parliamentary and provincial council election under that system.
President Sirisena said so addressing a group of North Central Provincial Councillors and SLFP Parliamentarians in Colombo on Saturday.
Continue reading ‘All Future Elections in Sri Lanka will Be Held Under the First Past The Post Winner System says President Sirisena.’ »
With just 15 days to go for the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern provinces to automatically stand dissolved, the coming week will be a make or break period for the yahapalana government. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution is to be taken up for debate on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court we believe has already conveyed its determination on the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution. It was all over the social media that the SC had determined that the 20th A needed a referendum to be passed into law. No surprise in that.
In fact the surprise would have been if the SC had determined that no referendum was necessary to extend the terms of the PCs and to postpone elections. In any event the SC’s determination is to be announced in Parliament by the Speaker on Tuesday before the 20th Amendment is taken up on Wednesday for debate.
Since 20A had already been certified as a Bill to amend the Constitution, the role of the SC is to determine whether it needs to be approved at a referendum in addition to a two thirds majority in parliament. In this respect, the determination of the SC was a foregone conclusion.
Continue reading ‘People’s Sanction by Referendum Needed to Pass 20th Constitutional Amendment Bill Determines Supreme Court.’ »
(Excerpts From the Political Column in the “Sunday Times” of September 17th 2017)
Ahead of the polls the SLFP’s Central Committee has endorsed President Maithripala Sirisena’s move to field candidates on the UPFA ticket. The bulath kole (Betel leaf) is their symbol. Sirisena has chosen to take a tough line against party parliamentarians whom he believes are trying to “destabilise” the SLFP by consorting with the rival faction.
In a move that gave a strong signal to others, he sacked Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando from his post as Deputy Minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs. Fernando visited Sirisena at his Paget Road residence to offer an explanation.
While he was there, the President asked Fernando to accompany him to an event in Orugodawatte, fuelling speculation that he had relented and apologised. A minister, Chandima Weerakkody in fact publicly stated they would see Fernando back in a separate ministry.
Continue reading ‘Nine MP’s Abandon Idea of Quitting SLFP as President Sirisena Dismisses Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando.’ »
September 16th 2017 is the seventeenth death anniversary of Mohammad Hussein Muhammad Ashraff, the uncrowned sultan of the Amparai district Muslims and legendary leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). The pioneering president of the SLMC was Ahammed Lebbe of Kattankudi with whom Ashraff co-founded the party in September 1981. It was however MHM Ashraff who gave the Muslim Congress a new vision and direction after he assumed formal leadership of the party in 1986.
M. H. M. Ashraff (23 October 1948-16 September 2000)
Thanks to Ashraff’s visionary zeal and missionary energy the SLMC achieved many, many things during the fifteen years he was at the party’s helm. His charisma, political acumen, dedication and sterling qualities of leadership enabled Ashraff to mould the long overlooked Eastern Muslims into a viable political entity and lead them like a latter day Moosa Nabhi or Moses through the wilderness on the route to a promised land of milk and honey.
As in the case of Moses it was not Ashraffs destiny to enter the promised land as a mysterious airplane explosion obliterated one of the brightest stars of the Lankan political firmament in the prime of life. Until death he remained the undisputed “Thesiya Thalaiver” (National Leader) of the North – Eastern Muslims
Continue reading ‘M.H.M.Ashraff Was The Single Most Popular Mass Figure in Eastern Muslim Politics’ »
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, on Friday, launched the Colombo International Book Fair, which is an annual mega book exhibition featuring local and international authors and publishers.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association, H. Premasiri, speaking at the launch said that over 400 international and local book stalls would be open at the exhibition including a Chinese section featuring books from well known authors in China.
President Maithripala Sirisena perusing books inside the Vijitha Yapa Bookstall at the 2017 Colombo International Book Fair, BMICH.
on Friday September 15th . Seen alongside is Mr.Vijitha Yapa, Chairman of Vijitha Yapa Bookshop (pvt)Ltd.
He said 2017 was a year in which Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association and China Book Publishers and Printers Association had further strengthened its relations and he was glad to note that China had opened a cultural center in Colombo.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Visits the 19th International Book Fair Being Held at the BMICH In Colombo’ »
The Office of Missing Persons Act was gazetted into operation last week by the President. This is one of several institutions to be established ‘to deal with the past’ in terms of the UNHRC resolution that the Yahapalana government co-sponsored with the Western powers in October 2015.
Even though it is described as an ‘office’ the proposed OMP will be a tribunal for all practical purposes which can examine witnesses, issue summons and hold hearings. Its officers can enter without warrant, at any time of day or night, any police station, prison or military installation and seize any document or object they require for investigations.
Anyone who fails or refuses to cooperate with the OMP may be punished for contempt of court. According to Section 21 of the draft legislation, the OMP will have the power to receive funding directly from any foreign source.
Government bodies at all levels including the armed forces and intelligence services are mandatorily required to render fullest assistance to the OMP and the provisions of the Official Secrets Act will not apply to the proposed institution.
According to Section 12 (c) (iii) the OMP can admit as evidence any statement or material disregarding the criteria laid down in the Evidence Ordinance. The provisions of the Right to Information Act will not apply to the work of the OMP.
No court, not even the Supreme Court can order any officer of the OMP to submit to courts any material communicated to him in confidence.
Given all this, making the OMP Act operational is certainly bad news – especially because this body can obtain funding from overseas. The Western powers have taken over various UN bodies by funding them and it is a foregone conclusion that the OMP will be operated not so much by the government of Sri Lanka as by the West.
Continue reading ‘Incorporating Convention on Enforced Disappearances Into Local Law Wii be Even More Dangerous Than Setting Up the Office of Missing Persons.’ »
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene
The Order by the Commission of Inquiry into the issuance of Treasury Bonds by the Central Bank declining to compel Arjun Aloysius, principal shareholder and director of Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Ltd to give evidence before it, raises interesting points of law for consideration. Indeed, its effect has wider ramifications beyond the subject matter of this Commission.
Privilege against self-incrimination pleaded
In its Order, the Commission has exhaustively listed as to why it is ‘desirable’ that the CEO of Perpetual Treasuries give evidence with regard to matters that go to the heart of the financial scandal being inquired into. It has also detailed objections raised by his senior counsel to his being compelled to give testimony. These objections center on the constitutional protections that every person is entitled to a fair trial by a competent court and presumed innocent until proven guilty.
It was contended that if he is compelled to give evidence, that may tend to incriminate him. There was ‘every possibility’ of a charge or indictment being made against him. Therefore, compelling him to give evidence may prejudice his right to a fair trial in the event of him being prosecuted for an offence or offences. This was in the context of the well-established principle of evidence that an accused person cannot be made to incriminate himself.
The Commission is empowered under the 1948 Act to recommend ‘action that it considers necessary to be taken against persons whose conduct is the subject of the inquiry or investigation or who is in any way implicated or concerned in the matter.’ A further concern was a 2008 amendment to the Act which empowers the Attorney General to institute criminal proceedings in respect of any offence, on material collected by a Commission.
Continue reading ‘Inquiry Commission’s Predicament Over Arjun Aloysius Testimony Shows There is no Alternative to Proper Working of Criminal Law.’ »
by Jolly Somasundram
“I have done some service to the State”.
– Shakespeare: Othello
The Sept. 10 editorial in the Sunday Island titled “Lalith Weeratunga” is timely, reflective and balanced. It ironises on the predicament faced by an honest and efficient SLAS Officer Lalith Weeratunga, the former Secretary of President Rajapaksa, (a Secretary to the President is the number one public servant of Sri Lanka). The predicament was caused by a land mark judicial decision: Lalith was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment, fined significant sums by the Colombo High Court Judge. He was walked handcuffed to the Black Maria on his way to prison. Lalith was dealt with not for corruption but for carrying out a Presidential suggestion, to divert state funds to finance the President’s election bid.
His implementation of this illegal suggestion, violating sacred election laws, was a body blow to Democracy and a moral horror. The Nuremburg principles laid down that an illegal directive cannot be implemented. No claim could be justified on the basis that that an illegal directive was made by a superior authority. As far as known, the sentencing of Lalith is the first instance in independent Sri Lanka, where an official had been judicially indicted for misdiversion of state funds, to help an election contest to boot.
Watch dog organisations went berserk with delight at the sentencing, claiming credit for the schadenfreude. Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon, head of The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE,) preening with rock star allure, was euphoric. He expressed a groanworthy “heartfelt thank you” to Election Monitors, PAFFREL, CMEV, and TI, Ravi Waidyalankara, Thusith Mudalige(Anti-Corruption Secretariat), and Wasantha Samarasinghe of the JVP and others for continuously “pushing for justice”. Lilliputians, who would never have made it to the SLAS, brought down a giant and tied him head and foot within prison. The Sunday Island of September 10 had another view of Lalith. The same editorial went further, “Few, if any, would have taken pleasure at the High Court conviction of Lalith Weeratunge” it said.
Continue reading ‘Lalith Weeratunga Becoming the Fall Guy in the “Sil Redda” Affair is a Colossal Shakespearean tragedy.’ »
by Tisaranee Gunasekara
“Ill at ease in the tyranny, ill at ease in the republic,In the one I longed for freedom,in the other the end of corruption.”
Czelaw Milosz (To Raja Rao)
“All fear punishment, all fear death, comparing oneself with others, one should neither kill nor cause to kill.” That was Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, as rendered in the Danda Vagga (The Rod of Punishment) of the Dhamma Pada. That injunction against causing hurt, harm or death covers not just all humans but all living beings. That one stanza would have sufficed to prevent the unfolding tragedy of the Rohingya people, had Buddhists of Myanmar paid even an iota of attention to what Buddha taught.
But in Myanmar, as in Sri Lanka, the Buddha’s teachings, especially his unequivocal and total rejection of violence, are being observed only in the breach. According to latest UN statistics almost 400,000 Roping people, men, women and children, had fled their homes to Bangladesh, triggering a massive humanitarian crisis. The fact that this ethnic-cleansing is being committed in the name of Buddha and Buddhism demonstrates that the contagion of violent-intolerance is not the legacy of any one religion.
Divide and rule did not end with colonialism. The generals who controlled Myanmar during much of its post-independent history fanned the flames of religio-racial hatred against the Rohingya minority as a way of gaining Buddhist-Burman support. The Rohingyas served as ideal scapegoats – Muslims in a land of Buddhists, different and alien in many ways, from cultural practices to skin colour. But the generals alone could not have succeeded in transforming quotidian suspicion and dislike on the part of ordinary Burmese into an all consuming phobia and hatred. That radical change was made possible by the work done by a segment of Burmese Buddhist monks, especially those associated with Ashin Wirathu’s 969 Movement and its successor, MaBaTha. These extremists monks embraced of blood-and-faith nationalism and turned visceral hatred of Rohingya Buddhism into a new article of faith. They rendered religio-racial hatred respectable and popular; they made it seem compatible with democracy, and depicted it as necessary to the protection of Burmese Buddhism.
Continue reading ‘Buddha’s Teachings Especially His Rejection of Violence Are Being Observed in the Breach in Myanmar as in Sri Lanka’ »
Burma is essentially run by one of the world’s most lauded humanitarians — a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a democracy icon. Aung San Suu Kyi, who leads the party in charge of the government, suffered more than two decades of repression, including a long house arrest, rather than leave the country or abandon her quest for elections.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Yet since her party took power last year, Suu Kyi — the country’s de facto leader, though not its official president — has stood by and watched the slaughter and flight of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya, a Muslim minority more than a million strong. In 2016, Burma’s military was engaged in a campaign of brutal suppression in Rakhine state, in the west of the country. Then, scattered attacks by Rohingya militant groups on police posts prompted an even harsher counterattack from the generals, reportedly joined by vigilante groups and other state security forces. That cycle intensified further this summer.
Smoke is seen rising from Burma’s Taung Pyo Let War village from across the border in Bangladesh. © 2017 Private-via @HRW
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other monitors have cited expulsions of Rohingya from towns, campaigns to burn whole villages and killings by the armed forces in Burma (which is also called Myanmar) . In recent weeks alone, some 370,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh, according to United Nations estimates. The U.N. rights chief calls the campaign in Rakhine a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” NPR noted that “reports of unbridled murder and arson, rape and persecution have followed [Rohingya] out of Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, sketching a stark portrait of government violence.”
Continue reading ‘Why Aung San Suu Kyi is Silent About the Persecution of Rohingya Muslims In Burma!’ »
Sri Lanka’s independent Election Commission may be compelled to hold three provincial council elections this this year in the likely event of the Supreme Court this week insisting on a referendum on the proposed 20th amendment to the constitution.
Legal sources said the three-judge bench headed by chief justice Priyasath Dep was expected to give its ruling this week to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on the constitutionality of the proposed 20th amendment. The others on the bench are justices Anil Goonaratne and Vijith Malalgoda.
The controversial 20th amendment seeks to hold all local elections on a single day, but it also means having to put off elections to councils whose term expire before several others whose term can continue till 2019. The nine provincial councils had been elected at different times with Uva and the South being the latest to be elected in 2014 for a five year term.
Continue reading ‘Likelihood of Supreme Court Stipulating Referendum for Proposed 20th Amendment Places Maithr-Ranil Govt in a Quandary.’ »
By Shivanthi Ranasinghe
The reaction to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s (GR) new movement, “Eliya”, is revealing. On one hand,an invitee-only 1,000 guest function became an open event as many people just turned up and insisted on remaining. Finally, an audience of about 2,500+ in three halls watched the whole two and half hour event in rapt attention – some standing throughout. Many others, trapped in the unprecedented traffic jam, missed the event. On the other hand, mainstream media and political pundits in their scepticism and curiosity over issues irrelevant to Eliya’s objective, missed the whole point.
Many misread Eliya as a Joint Opposition (JO) project. In a way, they cannot be faulted for nearly all JO MPs attended the event. It surprised even the JO to see such a large turnout of JO that is not present in its own events.
The presence of all the Rajapaksa brothers from MR, CR and BR and even the young nephew NR further added to the distraction. The Rajapaksa brothers sitting in a row took the attention from the ones who were actually part of Eliya and who had come forth to speak on behalf of it. Just looking at the Rajapaksa siblings (and nephew) and the large presence of JO, many pundits pronounced that GR has finally entered the political arena.
Only time will tell if it is indeed the case. However, looking at the composition of the committee and the speakers who were clearly visible, seated on the stage, does not support the pundits’ verdict. It supports more the mission of Eliya as stated by GR.
Continue reading ‘“Eliya” s Mission is to Educate the People About the Dangers of Allowing Our Rulers to Introduce a New Constitution.’ »
The judgement by the High Court, Colombo on the “Sil Redi” issue, apart from the sentence of imprisonment on the former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeeratunga and the former Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Pelpita, is showing signs of moving to a major encounter between the forces of politics and the powers of the judiciary.
The fact that this was the first case involving alleged fraud and corruption under the previous Rajapaksa Regime, has certainly made it an issue with important political impact in the context of the pledge given by the Yahapalana campaigners to make the fight against corruption a key aspect of its policies. It is important to recall that the pledge in that campaign was to fight, expose and bring to book the politicians in that government who were carrying a repulsive image of their involvement in fraud and corruption.
What has happened is that two public officers, have been the first to be found guilty. The question now arises as to when the politicians, whatever rank they may have held, and the members of their families and other players in that carnival of corruption would be exposed and brought to book.
Weeratunga and Pelpita have now filed their appeals against the High Court judgement in the Court of Appeal, and have thus gone back to the judiciary in the hope of obtaining acquittals, or a reduction in the convictions, in keeping with the process of law. It is important to bear in mind that the High Court in making its order in this trial was very clear that neither Weeratunga nor Pelpita had personally benefited in any way with the huge sum of Rs. 600 million involved in this exercise of the buying and distribution of Sil Redi, during the campaign of the last presidential election.
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Uses “Sil Redi Vyapruthiya” as a Religious Veil to Cover His Corruption and Politics of Chicanery.’ »
While the fight against corruption gained new strength, the political strategies of the defeated forces of corruption have taken a new stride in political organisation, with the launch of the “Eliya” movement, which does not bring much light as the name indicates, but throws out the so far uncertain candidate for political leadership, from the Rajapaksa family. This is the emergence of the Military cum Administrative hulk, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who has so far been trying to show that he had little interest in politics.
With the definite reality that Mahinda Rajapaksa will not be the next national leader, being kept out of the presidency by the 19th Amendment, the Rajapaksa forces have organised what is seen as a new intellectual leadership, – with academia, diplomats, clergy of different faiths, and professionals who have clearly moved to racist and majoritarian thinking, to present Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as the next leader of the Sinhala majority.
The “Gota Eliya” exercise was mainly structured on criticism of constitutional changes – especially the proposal for a new Constitution, which has been a key policy issue of the Yahapalanaya alliance. The “Eliya” makes it clear that they are not in favour of any new constitution, and also oppose constitutional reforms that could lead to a wider democracy, and the progress of the thinking and policies of reconciliation and nation building.
Continue reading ‘“Eliya” Wont be an Easy Opening To Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Candidacy for National Leadership’ »
Dozens of Buddhist monks loyal to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa begged from office to office in Colombo today seeking cash to pay fines slapped on two former top officials convicted on corruption charges.
The monks walked one behind the other with two women leading them and asking bystanders to donate only cash. Usually, monks on routine begging are offered food for the consumption of the clergy.
The Buddhist monks are trying to collect 104 million rupees — the collective fine and penalties imposed on former presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) director general Anusha Palpita.
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Loyalist Buddhist Monks Beg for Cash To Pay the Fines of “Sil Redi” Misappropriation Case Convicts.’ »
Sandun A Jayasekera
President Maithripala Sirisena’s daughter Chaturika, said at the launch of the book authored by her titled, “Janadhipathi Thaththa”, that she had no intention of entering party politics but would use politics for community service, women empowerment and social justice.
“So many people, including my friends keep asking me when I enter politics. I am reminded of what Aristotle said that man is either a political animal or an outcast. Though I agree with him, I have no desire to indulge in politics but to engage in social welfare,” she said at the ceremony held at the BMICH at the launch of the book which describes her father’s political journey.
Ms. Sirisena said from early childhood she realised that her family was different from other families in the village. She said, she, her sister and brother were inquisitive and witnessed the numerous meetings held at their home with people walking in and out most of the day.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s daughter Chathurika Sirisena Launches Book Written by Her “Janadhipathi Thaththa” (The President My Father)’ »
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has alleged that the former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Pelpita had been penalised for carrying out the previous government’s instructions issued in terms of Article 9 of the Constitution to foster and protect Buddhism.
The following is the full text of the statement issued by former President:
“The former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and the former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Pelpita were declared guilty by the High Court under Section 386 of the Penal Code of ‘dishonestly misappropriating’ a sum of Rs. 600 million belonging to the TRC by remitting the said sum to a bank account of the Presidential Secretariat to be used for the purpose of distributing sil redi during the last Presidential elections. They have each been sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment, a fine of Rs. two million and either the payment of Rs 50 million in compensation to the TRC or a further two years of rigorous imprisonment. Many people including the media have asked me about this matter and I feel I should make my views known to the public.
“To say that this conviction and sentence has shocked the country would be an understatement. The judgment itself states that neither Lalith Weeratunga nor Anusha Pelpita had appropriated for their personal use any of the money used to purchase sil redi. From my point of view, they only carried out legitimate instructions issued to them by the President of the country. The verbal instructions given by me in this regard have been recorded in the form of minutes placed by Mr Weeratunga on correspondence with officials of the Presidential Secretariat. On 20 March 2014, Mr Weeratunga wrote a minute to the Senior Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Secretariat outlining eight projects that I had ordered funded through the President’s Special Development Fund during the year 2014.
Continue reading ‘Weeratunga and Pelpita Convicted by Court for “Dishonestly Misapprpriating” 600 Million Were Fostering and Protecting Buddhism Says Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »
The European Union praised Sri Lanka for progress in human rights, and labour and environmental standards, but said more action was needed to comply with international conventions including ending torture to retain duty free market access.
A team of senior officials from Brussels have been in the country for the last 10 days on a fact-finding mission, the EU embassy said in a statement.
“The mission has focused on the status of the implementation of 27 international conventions of which Sri Lanka is a signatory,” it said.
Continue reading ‘European Union Has Important Concerns Over Lack of Concrete Progress in Key Areas By Sri Lanka.’ »
United Nations member countries at the Human Rights Council in Geneva should press Sri Lanka to promptly meet the targets of the council’s October 2015 resolution for transitional justice, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.
The human rights outfit in a statement issued from Geneva said:
Sri Lanka should put forward a time-bound and specific implementation plan on the four transitional justice mechanisms it agreed to establish as pledged in the resolution.
The UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid al Ra’ad Hussein, in his opening remarks at the council on September 11, 2017, highlighted Sri Lanka’s lack of progress, and called on the government to realize that its obligations are not a mere “box-ticking exercise to placate the council but as an essential undertaking to address the rights of all its people.”
“Governments at the Human Rights Council should be clear with Sri Lanka that setting up various reconciliation offices and talking of progress is not the same as implementing the 2015 resolution,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Long-suffering Sri Lankans need to see the resolution fully carried out, and they need to see evidence that justice is being achieved.”
Continue reading ‘“Sri Lanka Has Largely Failed To Implement the Consensus UN Resolution” – Human Rights Watch.’ »
Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is to be voted on in Parliament on the 21st of this month. Just 6 days away.
The Convention came into force on the 23rd December 2010. So far, of the 193 member states of the United Nations, only 57 countries have become State Parties by ratifying it. State Parties have voluntarily undertaken to be bound by its provisions. Sri Lanka became a State Party on the 26th of May 2016. Just over a year ago.
Of cardinal significance is that the UK and the US have not become State Parties. When Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty’s Government whether it intends to sign the bill, Lord Triesman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) had this to say:
“The Government needs to conduct a detailed analysis of the provisions of the treaty and their implications for implementation in order to determine the UK’s position towards ratification, including whether we would need to make any reservations. The UK did not sign the convention at the signing ceremony in Paris on 6 February because the UK does not sign international treaties unless it has a firm intention to ratify within a reasonable time frame. We understand that 57 states, including 10 member states of the European Union, have so far signed the convention…”
Continue reading ‘Signing International Convention on Enforced Disappearance Will Clear Way For Extradition of Sri Lankan Nationals’ »
At long last, on Tuesday, Sri Lanka got what the minority Tamils and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have been demanding since the separatist war ended in May 2009 – an Office of Missing Persons (OMP) – to trace 21,000 to 40,000 persons still not accounted for.
But constitutional experts say that the gazette notification on the setting up of the OMP is unconstitutional. If challenged in the Supreme Court, and if the court strikes down the notification, the larger process of finding the missing would be derailed and post-war ethnic reconciliation will remain a far cry.
An overwhelming majority of the missing are Tamil civilians – mainly young men and women.
Continue reading ‘Has President Sirisena Violated 19th Constitutional Amendment by Gazetting Office of Missing Persons as Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation?’ »
The sacked junior minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs Arundika Fernando met with President Maithripala Sirisena Wednesday seeking reinstatement, but was told no way and that there may be more sackings.
Fernando’s Puttalam district Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was immediately taken over by another SLFP deputy minister Nimal Lanza who had earlier been in a list of possible defectors to the Joint Opposition.
“President had a meeting with SLFP ministers and deputies on Tuesday night and mapped out a plan to restructure the party organisation,” SLFP spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekera said.
Continue reading ‘Arundika Fernando Who Tried to Make Financial Deals With Both the Opposition and Govt Wont be Re-appointed by President’ »
Shehan Chamika Silva
Perpetual Treasuries Owner Arjun Aloysius today informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the bond issuance that he did not want to testify before the commission on legal instructions he received.
At the onset of today’s proceedings, his counsel Gamini Marapana PC commending yesterday’s order given by the commission told that his client is not keen to give evidence.
At this point, the commission stressed that it wanted Arjun Aloysius to officially convey his wish to the commission.
Continue reading ‘Arjun Aloysius Openly States to Presidential Inquiry Commission That he Does not Want to Testify Before the Commission’ »
By Himal Kotelawala
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) looking into the controversial Treasury bond issuance yesterday conceded that Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. (PTL) former Director Arjun Aloysius cannot be compelled to testify before the commission if he refuses to do so.
Asserting that Aloysius is still very much a necessary witness whose evidence would remain relevant and material, the commission noted that the rule of law – which, in this case, guarantees Aloysius the right to refuse to give evidence – must take precedence over any considerations of public interest.
Issuing a nine-page order on the matter, the three-member commission said that, taking into account the points raised by Aloysius’ attorney President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana on Tuesday objecting to his client being compelled to testify as well as the counter-submission by Acting Solicitor General President’s Counsel Dappula de Livera who made a strong case for bringing Aloysius to the witness stand, the PCoI stands by its opinion that Aloysius is required to give evidence but if he’s unwilling to do so his counsel may make an application to that effect.
Following the order, Marapana informed the commission of his client’s decision to not give evidence. However, PCoI Chairman Justice K. T. Chitrasiri directed Marapana to carefully peruse the order and let the commission know today whether or not Aloysius still wished to remain silent, to which Marapana agreed.
Continue reading ‘Arjun Aloysius Cannot be Compelled to Testify Before Presidential Inquiry Commission if he Refuses to do so.’ »
The Government is to launch its first official cannabis plantation to supply the traditional medicine market and export to the United States, the health minister said Wednesday.
Rajitha Senaratne said the 100-acre (40-hectare) cannabis farm, which could produce more than 25 tonnes a year and would be under military protection, would ensure a regular high quality supply.
“Many ayurvedic doctors have complained that they don’t get good quality cannabis for their preparations,” Senaratne told reporters. “Good cannabis is a vital ingredient in the preparation of traditional medicine.”
He said the traditional herbal medicine market currently depends on handouts from courts which seize illegally grown or smuggled drugs.
Continue reading ‘Govt to Grow 25 Tonnes of “Ganja” Annually on 100 Acre Farm in Ingiriya Under Army Supervision and Supply Ayurveda Medical Practitioners’ »
By Chathuri Dissanayake
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa can be taken to courts on two accounts connected to his comments on the recent court determination of the misappropriation of Rs. 600 millions to donate ‘sil redi’ during the Presidential Elections, Cabinet Co-spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said.
Offering examples from cases where former presidents have been found guilty of misappropriating public funds and assets, Senaratne said that there was room to re-file the case to make Rajapaksa accountable for the directive he has given.
Continue reading ‘Since Mahinda Rajapaksa Has Admitted He Ordered the Sil Redi Distribution the Ex-President Can be Taken to Court says Rajitha Senaratne’ »
Vinitha M. Gamage
Minister Chandima Weerakkody today hinted that former deputy minister Arundika Fernando was likely to be appointed as a deputy minister shortly.
He said this at a function attended by President Maithripala Sirisena and Mr. Fernando last morning.
Continue reading ‘Dismissed Christian Affairs Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando Likely to be made a Deputy Minister Again.’ »
President Maithripala Sirisena is considering appointing former Deputy Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Puttalam district MP Arundika Fernando to a new ministerial position after he apologized to the President yesterday.
His apology comes a day after President Sirisena sacked him from his position using executive powers vested in him in Section 46. 3 (a) of the Constitution, for making statements in support of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Continue reading ‘Arundika Fernando Apologises to President Sirisena Who May Now Appoint Sacked Deputy Minister to New Position.’ »
(Text of editorial appearing in the “Daily News” of September 14th 2017 Under the Heading “Turning the back on a legend”)
The Mahanayake of the Malwatte chapter, the Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera, had an unusual visitor the other day. He was none other than Sinnaiah Muttaiah, the father of world record holder for the most number of test wickets, Muttaiah Muralitharan.
Obsequies over, Muralitharan senior had a complain to make to the Chief Prelate. Ven. Thibbotuwawe was told that the Pallekelle Cricket Stadium, which was re-named after his son, after the latter’s record breaking feat of capturing 800 test wickets, has had the name removed by certain parties for unknown reasons.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Cricketer Hero Murali’s Name Must Be Restored to the Pallekalle Cricket Stadium -Daily News’ »
Sinnasamy Muttiah, the father of spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, has come up with a complaint.
Sinnasamy claimed that the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium was named after his son Muralitharan, but it no longers holds that name.
He requested Mahanayake Thero of the Malwathu Chapter, Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thero meet with the Sports Minister and intervene to sort out the issue.
Continue reading ‘Muttiah Muralitharan’s Name Removed From Pallekalle Cricket Stadium:Murali’s Father Appeals to Malwatte Mahanayake Thero’ »
“I had been requested by Mr. Bandaranaike to meet him every Wednesday with Mervyn de Silva.”
– Elmo Gooneratne, Reminiscences, CT,September 8, 2017.
When the British uncovered Soviet spies in the Establishment, they often looked the other way because imprisonment would send shock waves throughout the system and disturb social stability and consensus.
The British knew how to manage these things. The Lankans do not. Lalith Weeratunga was the last serving member of a distinguished tribe of gentlemanly civil servants, the survivors of which are Godfrey Gunatilleke, Neville Jayaweera, Tissa Devendra, Bradman Weerakoon and Susil Siriwardhana.
He has been imprisoned and heavily fined for a victimless crime. His careless compliance or impropriety pales into insignificance in comparison with the cold villainy of Mr. Clean Out, the Boss of the bond scam bosses.
The very image of the respectable, affable, hardworking Lalith Weeratunga in handcuffs would have sent psychological shockwaves through the State system and polarised society. It triggered the realisation in me that there are two types of players in this town: those who had better book their one-way tickets to the US or UK just before the national elections of 2019/2020 and those who need not do so.
Continue reading ‘Even If Mahinda is out of the Way , There is Gota and if Gota is Out Chamal and if Chamal is Out Dinesh and if Dinesh is Out Dullas’ »
Bemoan the non-availability of fresh material in the upper tiers of politics to replace the decrepit. For survival, the decayed leadership is ready to reach alliance with a devilish opponent. Unsuitable descendants await, both kinsmen and sycophants, located craftily in the wings of the second tier.
Among this wild bunch, TNA’s honest Sampanthan stands like a beacon, living under trying circumstances under his invented avenger Wigneswaran and his crazy coots, making TNA, the official minuscular opposition – an unstable parochial outfit, unable to reach acceptability outside the province.
Return of the UNP under a Wickremasinghe administration is out of the reckoning – a cause long lost. Process will be accelerated if an unacceptable constitution is presented to the South leading to a breakdown. Ongoing stupidity will bind the divided SLFP.
UNP as a party is ahead of its leader in public esteem. Maybe a UNP govt under a new leader is a more pragmatic alternate: prevents their first line of defence from crossing to enemy territory in disgust? Ranil is less self-centred than Mahinda, prepared to yield place to a stronger candidate, as he did in 2015,a decision he rues in hindsight.
President Sirisena short on votes; waits long to eat into the disgusted UNP’s bases to strengthen his domain. Wings of the SLFP will re-merge under a Sirisena and Rajapakse combine. Promises another corrupt regime in the making. Join the devil to keep afloat is a staying principle. It sidelines Gota – suits Mahinda and Basil. Necessity will make Gota play second fiddle.
Continue reading ‘Experienced Elder Brother Mahinda Upstaged the Naive Younger Brother Gotabhaya at the “Eliya” Seminar’ »
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Parliamentarian Arundika Fernando, a key member of an influential group of SLFP MPs critical of the UNP-led government, who was sacked yesterday from his deputy minister’s post by President Maithripala Sirisena told The Island that dissent couldn’t be suppressed by sacking ministers.
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday sacked Deputy Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Arundika Fernando (Puttalam District MP) causing further turmoil in the party.
MP Fernando is the third government member to lose his ministerial portfolio in as many months. Recently, the UNP sacked Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe for being publicly critical of the Hambantota port deal. Ravi Karunanayake had to resign as Foreign Minister in the wake of his appearance before the Bond Commission.
Continue reading ‘“Dissent Cant be Suppressed by Sacking Ministers” says Dismissed Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando’ »
President Maithripala Sirisena today expelled a member of his own party from the government in his first major move to assert his authority as the leader of the fractured Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
The President’s office said Tourism and Christian Affairs deputy minister Arundika Fernando was sacked with immediate effect days after he threatened to lead a breakaway faction from the coalition government.
Fernando’s claim to fame was his claim during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime that abducted cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda was living in France. However, he later retracted his comments after being summoned as a witness by courts.
Eknaligoda was abducted two days before the 2010 presidential election and has not been seen since. He is thought to have been killed by a military intelligence unit.
Continue reading ‘Arundika Fernando Who Tried To Engineer Defection of 12 MP’s From SLFP Is Dismissed From Deputy Minister Post by President Sirisena.’ »
“There comes a point where a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his conscience.”
Ann Tusa, The Nuremberg Trial
On Thursday, September 7, 2017, the High Court of Colombo issued a chilling verdict on one of the most anticipated cases filed by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID): Lalith Weeratunga, former Presidential Secretary and Anusha Palpita, former Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), were sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment after being found guilty to the charge of misappropriating Rs.600 million belonging to the TRC and using it to distribute ‘Sil Redi’ (meditation cloth) during the 2015 presidential election campaign.
Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga also imposed a fine of Rs.2 million on each of the convicts and ordered to pay Rs.50 million to the TRC as compensation. They allegedly carried out an ‘order’ given to them by politicians who happened to be their masters. Lalith Weeratunga was the Secretary to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was also the Chairman of the TRC.
According to reports in the print media, a brief description of the alleged crime and the subsequent judgment is thus: ‘The Attorney General had filed indictments against former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita under three counts, in connection with a criminal misappropriation of Rs.600 million belonging to the TRC funds during the 2015-Presidential Election campaign. They were found guilty of all charges.
Continue reading ‘Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita Are Not Scapegoats or Victims But Perpetrators of a Huge white Collar Crime.’ »
A US Senate committee has opposed Trump Administration’s proposal of a drastic 92 per cent cut in US aid to Sri Lanka, citing the geographical and strategic location of the country, the PTI reported today.
The Senate Appropriations Committee had said in a report that it won’t support President Trump’s budget request for Sri Lanka, which proposed a 92 per cent reduction in assistance from the prior fiscal year.
The annual State appropriations bill for the fiscal year 2018, beginning October 1, landed on the Senate floor yesterday for consideration.
Continue reading ‘Donald Trump Wants to Cut Aid to Sri Lanka by 92% but US Senate Committee Opposes the Drastic Measure.’ »
Two mobile phones and several sim cards have been recovered from the ward of the Prison Hospital where former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga , former TRC Director General Anusha Palpita and former Parliamentarian Duminda silva are treated.
The Prison Department sources said the raid was conducted following directives by Prison Reforms and Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan.
Continue reading ‘Two Mobile Phones and Several Sim Cards Seized in Sudden Raid in the Prisons Hospital Ward Where Lalith Weeratunga, Anusha Palpita and Duminda Silva are Admitted’ »
By W.A. Sunil
Recent public remarks by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena underline the growing crisis of the “unity” government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) and the president’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
Sirisena became president in 2015 after a US-backed regime-change operation to unseat the former President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government in the presidential elections. The US and India were hostile to Rajapakse close relations with Beijing and wanted Sri Lanka brought into line with Washington’s geo-strategic buildup against China. Sirisena and his political allies won support by exploiting popular anger over Rajapakse’s socially-destructive policies and his autocratic methods of rule.
Just two and half years later, wide layers of workers, students and youth have drawn the conclusion that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government’s retrogressive social program is no different to that of Rajapakse and the current administration is even more ruthless in implementing its policies.
Like its predecessor, the current administration is imposing the austerity demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), attacking workers’ jobs and living conditions and cutting its minimal subsidies for small farmers and the poor. Rather than honour Sirisena’s phony reform promises during the 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections, the new government is systematically undermining basic democratic rights.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Recent Remarks Underline the Desperate Crisis Faced by the Maithripala-Ranil Govt’ »
By Hemantha Randunu
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former DIG Anura Senanayake, former Army commander Jagath Jayasuriya and several top ranking security establishment personnel would be summoned before the CID to obtain their statements with regard to the Welikada prison riot where 27 inmates were shot dead.
Police headquarters sources said the CID had already questioned and recorded statements from several top officers of the army and police with regard to the incident.
Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka recently told the media that former Army commander Jayasuriya was directly involved in the prison riot incident.
Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,Jagath Jayasuriya, Anura Senanayake To Be Summoned by CID Regarding the Killing of 27 Prisoners at Welikade.’ »
(English Translation of Keynote Speech made by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the launch of “Eliya”(Light) at the “Golden Rose” in Boralesgamuwa on September 6th 2017)
After defeating 30 years of terrorism that was in this country, after we united this country as one, we cannot allow that victory to be betrayed through the constitution or through the parliament. Today, we have a great fear that through a new constitution our great victory would be nullified.
For that reason, academics and professionals representing various fields proposed that the need to oppose a new constitution in what ever form must be taken to the people. It is the mission of Eliya to do everything necessary to create that awareness and opposition among the people for a new constitution.
Continue reading ‘“Eliya”(Light)Is Formed To Oppose the New Constitution – Full Text of Keynote Speech by Ex -Def-Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s top aide Lalith Weeratunga became the first high-profile official from the former regime to be convicted for corruption, but his jailing could have a political fallout for the current coalition regime too.
The Economynext Political Correspondent discusses consequences for President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and their uneasy coalition whose tenure is virtually guaranteed by the constitution.
The case against Lalith Weeratunga, a highly respected civil servant, was one of the first to be filed after Sirisena defeated Rajapaksa at the January 8, 2015, election.
Weeratunga was convicted of diverting 600 million rupees from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) to fund Rajapaksa’s unsuccessful re-election bid. He was sentenced to three years in jail and fined 2 million rupees. He was also asked to pay 50 million rupees in damages to the TRC, and failure would attract another two years in prison.
The High Court accepted that Weeratunga himself did not directly benefit from the transaction, but it amounted to a criminal misappropriation of public funds and a violation of laws relating to the TRC, which he chaired.
Continue reading ‘Implications of Lalith Weeratunga’s Imprisonment For Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe.’ »
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa admitted that he gave the order to former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita to distribute “sil redi” among Buddhist devotees.
“Yes it was my order. They only implemented it,” the former President said, while speaking to a group of journalists after a Joint Opposition meeting, this weekend.
Continue reading ‘Jailed Officials Weeratunga and Pelpita Were Only Implementing His Orders To Distribute “Sil Redi” Admits Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad bin Hussein has reiterated his demand for the extension of Universal Jurisdiction to Sri Lanka to enable courts in any part of the world to entertain war crimes cases against the Sri Lankan armed forces.
“The absence of credible action in Sri Lanka to ensure accountability for alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law makes the exercise of universal jurisdiction even more necessary,” Zeid said in his opening speech at the 36 th. session of the UNHRC in Geneva on Monday.
The UNHRC has been charging that in the final phase of Eelam Wa IV against the Tamil Tiger rebels, the Sri Lankan armed forces had committed war crimes.
“I urge the Government to swiftly operationalize the Office of Missing Persons and to move faster on other essential confidence building measures, such as release of land occupied by the military, and resolving long-pending cases registered under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.”
“I repeat my request for that Act to be replaced with a new law in line with international human rights standards.”
Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Wants to Enable Courts in Any Part of the World To Hear War Crimes Cases Against Sri Lankan Armed Forces.’ »
The ‘Sirisena SLFP’ has rejected the abolition of the executive Presidency, more especially in the context of devolution. It has upheld the unitary state, rejected the amalgamation of Provinces and the abolition of the powers of the Governor and/or their transfer to the Chief Minister. The SLFP has agreed with the implementation of the 13th amendment and the proposal of a Second chamber. In short the SLFP proposal is for a constructively modified 13th amendment, which is both 13 Plus (Senate) and 13 Minus (de-merger).
These proposals constitute the common ground within the ‘Unity’ government. If they are rejected, the UNP will have to go it with the TNA and the JVP. Ranil’s old wager that Mahinda Rajapaksa will be vulnerable to the temptation of the abolition of the executive Presidency is obsolete, a non-option, due to the grassroots anti-UNP surge which is carrying the JO-SLPP forward at a much faster growth rate than any party after SWRD’s SLFP in ’55-’56 and JRJ’s UNP in ’76-’77.
So the choice for Ranil is simple: risk the fracture of the bipartisan coalition and switch to the TNA, or stick to the common denominator with his Southern mainstream coalition partner.
Continue reading ‘Why We Must Neither Go Beyond the 13th Constitutional Amendment Nor Try To Roll It Back.’ »
President Maithripala Sirisena today accused a group of retired army officers politically linked to former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa of causing friction between disabled soldiers and the authorities.
In an unusual move, the President made references to statements by retired army major general Kamal Gunaratne regarding the November clash between disabled soldiers and police outside the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.
“Those who criticise the government today are the very same people who brought outsiders to a demonstration by disabled soldiers, created a tense situation that led to clashes and then blamed the government,” the President said.
He recalled Gunaratne’s criticism of the government following reports that police attacked disabled soldiers. Police clashed with able bodied men who had been brought to take part in the protest. He accused the retired officer and his group of creating tension between disabled troops and the authorities.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Openly Criticises Maj-Gen(Retd)Kamal Gunaratne Who Spoke at Gota Rajapaksa’s”Eliya”launch.’ »
The Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) held at Temple Trees recently, organized by the India Foundation, was billed as a gathering of IOR countries and ‘other concerned nations’ with a view to advancing ‘Peace, Progress and Prosperity” in the Indian Ocean. While this is no doubt a laudable goal, the absence of perspectives from regional players like China and Pakistan points to somewhat more partisan objectives than those advertised.
The delegate described as ‘Principal, Ambassadors’ LLC Group, China’ was actually an American citizen, and while there was ambiguity as to the interests she represented it would be safe to surmise that she did not represent the People’s Republic of China. However, the US, also an external power, was represented by its Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia, Alice Wells.
A post on the Conference’s social media page points to objectives not revealed elsewhere. It describes the gathering as being “part of India’s efforts to rejuvenate ties with IOR countries and increase its outreach in the region to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.” The IOC’s real purpose is candidly stated: “The event can be seen as an effort to counter China’s growing influence in the IOR.”
India’s worries over China’s growing maritime footprint are shared by the US, resulting in converging interests in the IOR. “Given its economic downturn, the US seeks like-minded democracies in the Indo-Pacific region to balance China” says Indian Ocean researcher Lindsay Hughes. “It has strong relationships with Australia, Japan and South Korea” but “It lacks a similar partner in the eastern Indian Ocean …” Referring to Washington’s agreement with Delhi to share military facilities and its efforts to sign an intelligence-sharing agreement as well, this analyst says that a close partnership with India “suits Washington’s strategy of passing some of the responsibility for maintaining security in the Indian Ocean Region to regional partners.”
Wells in her Colombo address unequivocally asserted that “the United States is and would continue to be an Indo-Pacific power.” It may be noticed that the terms ‘Indo-Pacific’ or ‘Indo-Asia Pacific,’ combining the two oceans as if they are a single entity, is increasingly used now by American officials. The terminology may be intended to make the increasing US assertiveness in the IOR seem ‘normal’ although the US lacks presence in the Indian Ocean comparable to its massive build-up in the Pacific theatre. The US’s deepening ties with the Sri Lanka Navy in recent times are also worth noting in this context. At the conference, Alice Wells announced the first ever US-Sri Lanka naval exercise to be carried out in October (in Trincomalee, and to be conducted by the US’s Seventh Fleet according to reports).
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Does Not Need To Become Another South China Sea!’ »
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s open foray into politics took place last Wednesday in the form of ‘Eliya’ a new organization that was ceremonially launched at the Golden Rose hall in Boraleasgaluwa. Its launch was in the form of a seminar on the proposed new constitution. The panel of speakers included Gota himself who introduced the new organization to the audience and spoke on why it opposes the proposed new constititution.
Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abhayatissa Thera, Dr Dayan Jayatilleke, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, Dr Seetha Arambepola, Rev. Fr. Wimal Tirimanne, Tamara Kunanayagam, Lawyer Rushdi Habib, and Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne were among the speakers at this event. The large hall at the Golden Rose which is bigger than the main ballrooms of most top end city hotels was packed by 5.00 pm with standing room only before the event began.
Two smaller rooms had been organized on the upper floors of the building with large TV screens so that those who could not be accommodated in the main hall could still follow the event in comfort. Some of those who arrived late watched the event on the screens placed in the foyer. This included parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa.
After the doors of the main hall had been closed and about an hour into the event, there had been a scuffle outside with people trying to get in and Udaya Gammanpila had to talk them into going upstairs because there wasn’t even standing room in the main hall. He had shown them Namal watching the proceedings in the foyer on a screen and convinced them that the main hall could not accommodate any more. This writer was present on this occasion and to say that it was well attended is an understatement.
The turnout was all the more surprising because this event was held on a working day and scheduled to start at 5.00 pm at the peak of the evening rush hour. Getting to the location from Colombo was no easy task.
Continue reading ‘Open Foray Into Politics by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in the form of Newly Launched “Eliya” Organization.’ »
by Karunaratne Gamage
A brother of President Maithripala Sirisena was remanded till September 11 in connection with a hit-and-run mishap, which killed a motor cyclist and the pillion rider at Polonnaruwa yesterday.
Police said that Gamaralalage Nanasiri Pagnaratne Sirisena surrendered to the police a few hours later and allegedly admitted that he was behind the wheel of the Land Cruiser jeep at the time of the accident.
He was later produced before Polonnaruwa Acting Magistrate Ruwan Kumara Mapa and remanded.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Brother Nanasiri Pagnaratne Produced im Courts and Remanded Over Road Accident Killing Two Persons on a Motor Cycle’ »
As the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s permanent secretary Lalith Weeratunga was ignominiously led out of the court room on Thursday, hand manacled to his partner in crime Anusha Pelpita, former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, and bundled into the Black Maria to transport them to the Welikada prison, perhaps, the last words King Henry the Eighth’s chief adviser Cardinal Wolsey expressed on his way to meet the executioner’s axe may have resounded in his ears: “Had I but served my God as diligently as I served my King, he would not have deserted me at this hour”
Like it had been to Wolsey, the choice whether to serve God or mammon, whether to take the high road and follow the civil servants’ code of honour or whether to traverse the thoroughfare for reasons of personal survival or gain and bow before a politician’s vile dictates of shame, had dangled tantalizingly in Weeratunge’s hands. And, perhaps, in a moment of moral weakness, he had opted to kneel before Mahinda’s altar and light the joss sticks to perfume Mahinda’s third term presidential bid with the incense and myrrh of religious fervour rather than stay faithful to what chapter and verse spelt out in the civil servants’ Bible.
And this Thursday, he had to pay the price for aiding and abetting, for colluding with Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bizarre plan to drape the nation’s electorate in white yards of ‘sil’ clothing to camouflage his regime’s corruption.
To serve his master, Weeratunga went beyond his call of duty. He not only walked but appears to have sprinted the extra mile. In order to survive, safeguard his position and his realm of influence, he did the unthinkable, With his present fellow cell mate, Anusha Pelpita, he siphoned funds to the tune of Rs 600 million from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to religiously promote Rajapaksa’s image in the hearts and minds of the sil observing elderly upasikavans of Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa is Free But Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Pelpita Who Served Their Political Master Are Jailed’ »
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene
A former Army Commander or two jousting before the television cameras for sport, alleging war crimes against each other, is a seducing sight for public consumption. But this is not what the crisis of justice in Sri Lanka is all about.
No political or military leader can plead absolution
Indeed, these deeply cynical games distract attention from institutional failures that go to the heart of political and military responsibility. That fact must be properly understood for any reform process to even begin, whether in relation to war crimes or the failure of the Rule of Law in respect of ‘ordinary crimes’, as some may like to differentiate. And the less grandstanding there is in regard to these issues, the better.
One simple truth stands out. No Government is free of responsibility. No political or military leader can wash his or her hands of blood. It is a collective responsibility that comes into play here. So getting dazzled by allegations and counter-allegations are counter-productive. Accountability must be extracted, bit by bit, like drawing fire from an impossibly hard stone. If that lesson had been taken to heart from 2015 itself, probably we would be left with less ruination of the so-called people’s revolution to stare at now.
Certainly with all its talk since the unity Government came into power, it has taken little or no steps to redress a pervasive failure of justice. Refraining from overtly interfering with the judiciary does not suffice as an answer to critics though this does stand to its credit. Its party man to whom the Justice portfolio was handed to (until his ignominious departure recently) excelled in playing to the political gallery rather than mustering resources and public opinion for a concerted effort to address the problem.
Continue reading ‘Delayed Justice in Sri Lanka:Two Men Who Abducted and Raped 17 Year Old Girl Convicted Only After 14 Years’ »
The month of August saw a flurry of hectic political activity in Sri Lanka. The statement made by controversial minister Ravi Karunayake at the Presidential Commission of inquiry followed by his resignation, the move to postpone Provincial council polls by way of the 20th Constitutional amendment, the revolt within UNP ranks against the conduct of maverick UNP minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and the fast tracking of probes concerning allegations against family members of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa along with other issues like the SAITM affair etc have been drawing the attention of the nation at large for the past few weeks.
Priyasath Dep takes oath-as new Chief-Justice
In the midst of all this August excitement, the supreme court of Sri Lanka delivered a landmark judgement of profound importance on August 4th. The three member bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Upali Abeyratne and Justice Anil Goonaratne in a landmark ruling gave a clean chit to the federal form of governance and the chief Tamil political party espousing federalism in Sri Lanka namely the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) popularly referred to in English as the Federal Party(FP).
Continue reading ‘ITAK Gets a Clean Chit as Supreme Court Rules Federalism is not Separatism’ »
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said even the current First Lady could be sued as she was seen distributing ‘Sil Redi’ along with the President a few days ago.
Continue reading ‘Current First Lady Can Be Sued for Distributing “Sil Redi” along With President Sirisena says Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »
Sri Lanka will establish a regional centre for research and development to improve access to toilets in South Asia which is home to over a fifth of humanity, Minister Rauff Hakeem said today.
The City Planning and Water Supply minister told reporters in Colombo that Sri Lanka will host a three-day South Asian meeting from Monday to review progress in improving access to proper sanitation in member countries.
“Sanitation has become the most challenging social service priority in the South Asian region,” the minister said adding, however, that Sri Lank was way ahead of others in toilet use.
Continue reading ‘In South Asia, India Has the Most Number of People Defecating in the Open While in Sri Lanka Toilets are Used by 98.5 % Population.’ »
Legal counsel for Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. (PTL) yesterday requested the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the controversial bond issuance to reconsider its order to summon former PTL Director Arjun Aloysius to testify before the Commission.
President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne requested the three-member bench to reconsider an order it had given to Aloysius earlier, directing him to testify before the Commission on Monday, 11 September, with an affidavit followed by cross examination.
Aloysius’s counsel, while not objecting to producing an affidavit, will look into the possibility of objecting to giving evidence, and the Commission is expected to formally announce its decision on Monday. Any cross examination will be based on the contents of the affidavit.
Continue reading ‘Counsel Requests Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Reconsider Summoning Arjun Aloysius to Testify on Monday .’ »
A day after they were sentenced, former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and former Telecom Regulatory Commission Chairman Anusha Pelpita were admitted to the Prison Hospital.
High Court on Thursday jailed and fined Weeratunga and Pelpita, when delivering the verdict of the ‘sil redi’ case.
Both former officials were sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court, and ordered to pay Rs. 2 million each as a fine and Rs. 50 million each as compensation. They were accused of misappropriating Rs. 620 million in public funds to distribute ‘sil redi,’ a cloth used by Buddhist devotees in religious observances, to voters during the 2015 presidential elections.
Continue reading ‘24 Hours After Being Jailed for 3 Years, Lalith Weeratuga and Anusha Pelpita Fall “Sick” and are Transfered to Prisons Hospital.’ »
by Norman Palihawadane
Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister DM Swaminathan yesterday issued a directive making it mandatory to obtain recommendations of three doctors for prisoners to be transferred the prisons hospital.
The Minister instructed the Prisons Commissioner General that hereafter the inmates would have to obtain recommendations from three prisons doctors for the purpose and the order be adhered with immediate effect.
The letters of recommendations and medical reports should be submitted to the Ministry for inspection, the Minister said.
Continue reading ‘Three Doctors Must Recommend Transfer of Prisoners to Prisons Hospital – New Directive by Prison Reforms Minister DM Swaminathan’ »
By Pradeep Ramanayake and K. Ratnayake
The advertised theme of last week’s Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) in Colombo was “peace, progress and prosperity.” But the two-day event had nothing to do with such aspirations. Washington and New Delhi used the event to unveil their plans to expand naval operations in the region and reiterate their strategic interests. Though they did not refer to China by name, it is the target of this military buildup.
The conference was hosted by the India Foundation, a think tank close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in collaboration with Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the National Institute of Fundamental Studies, a Colombo research centre.
The main US speaker was Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells. The Indian delegation was led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Delegates attended from about 35 other countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Britain, Japan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Singapore, Seychelles, Mauritius, Malaysia and Vietnam. China and Pakistan sent low-profile delegations.
The event was held against the backdrop of increasing geo-political tensions between the US and India, on the one side, and China on the other.
Continue reading ‘Indian Ocean Conference in Colombo Utilised as Part of US and Indian Moves To Expand Naval Power in Region to Contain China’ »
BY Kavindya Chris Thomas
Owner of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. (PTL) Arjuna Aloysius was interviewed for over four hours yesterday by the investigators attached to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the controversial Treasury bond auction, following recent developments in the ongoing hearing.
Aloysius arrived at the premises of Commission in Hulftsdorp in the morning and proceeded to be interviewed by the investigators of the Commission, after which he promptly left the scene with his retinue of attorneys.
On Wednesday (6) it was revealed that he had received sensitive information from multiple sources – including the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and other State institutions and Departments pertaining to bond auctions that have had a direct bearing on the profits of PTL.
The information surfaced when the unedited versions of phone conversations between Aloysius and Perpetual Treasuries CEO Kasun Palisena were examined alongside the testimony provided by Chief Dealer of PTL Nuwan Salgado to the Commission.
Continue reading ‘Arjun Aloysius Probed by CID for Four Hours Regarding Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Receiving Sensitive Information About Treasury Bonds auction.’ »
By K.S. Udaya Kumar
Former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and former Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita were convicted, in the so-called ‘Sil-cloth’ case, by the Colombo High Court and sentenced to three-year prison terms yesterday.
They were found guilty of misusing Rs 600 million of the TRC State funds to distribute the material.
Weeratunga had served as the Chairman of the TRC during that period.
High Court judge Gihan Kulatunge found the duo guilty and sentenced them to three years rigorous imprisonment.
He also imposed a Rs 2 million fine on each and ordered them to pay Rs 50 million each to the TRC as compensation.
They were also warned that an additional year of imprisonment would be slapped on them if they failed to pay the fines.
Continue reading ‘Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita Did Not Personally Gain Even a Cent But were Serving Mahinda Rajapaksa to Gain Politically’ »
A new Constitution or Parliament shouldn’t be allowed to reverse the victories which were accomplished by uniting the country after defeating terrorism, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.
Speaking at the launch of ‘Eliya’ (light) Forum in Colombo on Wednesday, Mr. Rajapaksa said people fear that the accomplished victories would be scraped by bringing in a new Constitution.
“This is why experts coming from different fields decided to create the ‘Eliya’ to enlighten the public about the new Constitution. We want to inform the people that the new Constitution should not be brought in,” he said.
Continue reading ‘“Eliya”(light)is Launched to Enlighten People that the New Constitution Should Not Be Brought in” Declares Ex -Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
By Tamara Kunanayakam
(Text of Speech titled “The new Constitution – a neo-colonial project ! ” Delivered at the Launch of “Eliya- Illuminating Aspirations”at the Golden Rose in Boralesgamuwa on September 6th 2017)
As we meet here this evening, a radical overhaulis underway – of our political, economic, financial, social and cultural system. A new Constitution is being discussed,at the same timea plethora of radical reforms arebeing rushed through. The fact that many of these reforms ar ebeing challenged as unconstitutional indicatesthat the new Constitution isaimed at making what is un-Constitutional today, Constitutional tomorrow, making legal what is illegal by a simple trick of changing the Law!
The issue is not whether a new Constitution is needed or not. It is the fundamental and inalienable right of the people to determine the economic, social, political and cultural system in which they choose to live. But that choice will be their choice only if it is freely made, not with a gun pointed at their heads. Today, Sri Lankafinds itself practically under a form of tutelage tothe US, a global power whose strategic objective is to maintain its global hegemony.
It is indeed symbolic that the US Ambassador chose to announceWashington’s decision to“assist” Sri Lanka draft itsConstitution andimplement theHuman Rights Council resolution fromthe amphibious warship USS New Orleans, which is used to land and support ground forces on enemy territory and patrols provocatively close to China. It is also ironic that it is from Temple Trees that the Acting US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells declared,last week,that “the United States is – and will continue to be – an Indo-Pacific power.” She was the first to announce America’s “first ever naval exercise” in Sri Lanka in October, in Trincomalee.
You will agree that rewriting the Constitution under such conditions can only advance Washington’s cause, not ours!
Continue reading ‘With the new Constitution the “Yahapalana” Regime is Trying to Convert Sri Lankans into Washington’s Little Soldiers’ »
By Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte and Sarath Dharmasena
Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL), who is son-in-law of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, reported to the CID unit of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the bond scams yesterday at 8.30 am.
CID officers recorded a statement from him until evening.
He is scheduled to give evidence before the Commission next week.
On Wednesday the Attorney General’s Department informed the Commission that though Aloysius had been summoned by the Commission to give evidence, there was no way the summons could be handed over as all attempts to contact him had failed.
Subsequently, the Commission asked the lawyer appearing for Aloysius, Anuja Preratne, to ask his client to report to the CID unit of the Commission immediately.
Continue reading ‘CID Officers Record Statement by Arjun Aloysius who Will Give Evidence Before Presidential Commission of Inquiry Next week.’ »
By Maheesha Mudugamuwa
Alleging that proposed new Constitution would give separatists what they had failed to achieve through terrorism, wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said, vowing to defeat the project.
The proposed constitutional reforms were meant to appease the LTTE rump, pro-LTTE Diaspora and a section of foreign powers, Rajapaksa said, lambasting the ruling UNP-SLFP government for seeking to divide post-war Sri Lanka on ethnic lines.
Rajapaksa said so at the launching of ‘Eliya-Illuminating Aspirations’ at the Golden Rose, Borelesgamuwa. The Gajaba Regiment veteran urged the public to resist the government project to appease the separatist lobby.
Rajapaksa was the keynote speaker on the topic of ‘Out of the Darkness-the crisis of constitutional change.’
Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Enters Politics Openly By Launching “Eliya” Movement to Oppose New Constitution Project.’ »
(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of September 8th 2017 Under the heading “Bonds, White cloth and Desertion)
No sooner had incriminating evidence of insider trading emerged before the presidential commission of inquiry probing the bond scams against Perpetual Treasuries bigwigs than the High Court judgment in the sil redi case was delivered on Thursday. Former Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) Lalith Weeratunga and former TRCSL Director General Anusha Pelpita were sentenced to three years RI and fined.
One may argue that the controversial distribution of sil redi (pieces of white cloth worn by Buddhists observing sil) does not bear comparison with the bond scams. But, they are not without some similarities in that they caused massive losses to the state and were carried out at the behest of top politicians. It was to help the then incumbent President Rajapaksa in the presidential fray garner more votes that the UPFA government distributed sil redi. The first bond scam would not have come about if the UNP hadn’t been cash strapped at the time of the last general election. Those who stuck their necks out for their political masters have got into trouble in both cases.
Continue reading ‘The Rajapaksas Are Responsible For What Has Befallen Weeratunga and Pelpita – “The Island”’ »
By Chitra Weerarathne
Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga yesterday convicted Anusha Pelpita, former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) and the second accused Lalith Weeratunga, former Presidential Secretary and former Chairman of TRC, of misuse of state funds and aiding and abetting the same in spending Rs. 600 million on the distribution of sil redi in the run-up to the presidential election on January 8, 2015.
They were each sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment for all the charges with a fine of Rs. 2 million. They were also ordered to pay the TRC Rs. 50 million each.
In default of the fine the penalty will be one year rigorous imprisonment. In default of the compensation the penalty will be two years rigorous imprisonment.
The fine and compensation are to be paid on schedule.
The High Court Judge, delivering the judgement, said there had been a political motivation in the commission of the offence and it was to support their appointing authority.
Continue reading ‘Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita to Lodge Appeal Against Their Conviction in the Court of Appeal.’ »
Former MP Rosy Senanayake yesterday said that she had never given out any information or documents to any party while she was a member of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).
She said that it was a total misrepresentation by the media of a recorded conversation by two parties that had no substance. She said she would take necessary action against such media organisations which used it to cast aspersions on her character and integrity.
Continue reading ‘Rosy Senanayake Refutes Media Reports About Her and Son Kanishka Providing COPE Report to Arjun Aloysius’ »
Former President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita were found guilty by the Colombo High Court in the ‘sil redi’ distribution case.
The Colombo High Court sentenced the two men to 3 years Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) and imposed a fine of Rs. 2 million each on them, in addition asking them to a pay Rs. 50 million each to the TRC.
Continue reading ‘Former Presidents Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Ex- D-G of TRC Anusha Palpita Found Guity in “Sil Redi” Case Sentenced to 3 Years Imprisonment.’ »
Former Perpetual Treasury Director Arjun Aloysius arrived at the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) attached to the Treadury Bond Commission a short while ago.
He was summoned by the CID to record a statement on the recovered call recordings which were presented before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) yesterday.
The recovered call recordings revealed that Arjun Aloysius had received sensitive inside information on the February 27, 2015 Treasury bond auction from a ‘powerful friend’.
by Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte and Sarath Dharmasena
Chief Dealer of Perpetual Treasuries Nuwan Salgado yesterday told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the bond scams that the company’s Chairman Arjun Aloysius had received a copy of the COPE report containing the Chief Executive Officer of the company Kasun Palisena’s evidence, from Kanishka Senanayake, the son of former UNP Parliamentarian Rosy Senanayake.
Salgado was giving evidence before the Commission after the recording of a telephone conversation was played.
Continue reading ‘When Rosy Senanayake Was in the COPE her Son Kanishka Gave Arjun Aloysius a copy of Evidence Given by Kasun Palisena to the Committee’ »
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday called Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, who condemned the statement he made with regards to war crime charges, a mad man in robes.
“That monk is mad. That’s all I have to say,” he said in response to a question asked by a journalist after the 71st anniversary celebrations of the UNP held at the party headquarters, Sirikotha.
Speaking further, Minister Fonseka said the Thera had never visited him or helped him as claimed by certain news reports.”This monk is simply trying to score marks for the things that others did,” he said.
Continue reading ‘Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Describes Ven.Elle Gunawansa Thero as “That Monk is Mad. That’s all I Have To Say”.’ »
by Shamindra Ferdinando
In spite of serious differences between coalition partner SLFP in respect of political reforms, including the abolition of executive presidency, the UNP strongly believes their marriage of convenience can be extended till 2025.
Dismissing threat by a group of SLFP members loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena to function as an independent group, UNP General Secretary, who is also the Public Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim claimed they had already made plans for such an eventuality.
Minister Hashim said so in response to a media query at Sirikotha.
When the media pointed out that some SLFP members in parliament had repeatedly vowed to form a government of its own in 2020, a smiling Hashim said that some dreamed of having power. He said their effort was to ensure an administration that met the aspirations of the people.
The top UNPer asserted that regardless of what a section of the SLFP wanted, the current arrangement could continue.
Continue reading ‘UNP Wants to Abolish Executive Presidency While SLFP Wants to Retain It But Coalition Govt Will Continue’ »
by Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry, probing alleged bond scams, resumed sittings yesterday, with Chief Dealer of Perpetual Treasuries (PTL), Nuwan Thilina Salgado, testifying. He said the company had been able to make unprecedentedly huge profits because of inside information and price sensitive confidential information PTL Chairman Arjun Aloysius had received from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Salgado told the commission that from 2015 to 2016, the company had recorded an unusually high profit of Rs. 11 billion and the price sensitive confidential information provided by Mahendran had helped them take right decisions in placing bids for Treasury bonds.
In answer to a question by commission member Justice Prasanna Jayawardena, Salgado said Arjun Aloysius knew the interest rates at which the Central Bank accepted bids for Treasury bonds.
Continue reading ‘Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Chief Dealer Nuwan Salgado Reveals that Arjun Aloysius Got Price Sensitive Inside Information from Central Bank.’ »
We had a war for 30 years and it ended like a dream. That is how it looks, but very funny. Many other wars that ended in shorter times in certain countries have been investigated on documented and verbal evidence to ascertain if any war crimes have been committed. No war has been perfect without crimes against civilians.
We wake up with religious programmes aired by the neighborhood radios and TVs, feeling saintly. We hear compassion echoed by clergy of all religions. We are open-hearted people and have nothing to hide. This is how we dragged a bloody war for three decades and ended up wiping our hands. Has anyone committed war crimes? There are millions, headed by clergy, to answer with a resonating NO. Our quarrels over the fence are explosive and a war cannot end without crimes. A gentleman will not hide his son’s crime whatever it is. He will seek legal help. This is not an open betrayal, but it is the way to do things. The law demands any crime big or small be punished. This view is common to all religions.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Must Investigate Sarath Fonseka’s Allegations About War Crimes Instead of Defending war Crimes Perpetrators.’ »
Though reported “missing” it is learnt that Arjun Aloysius, former director of Perpetual Treasuries, has not left the country using either of his two passports.
The Attorney General’s Department told the Presidential Commission on bond issue that Aloysius possessed two passports – one Australia and the other, Sri Lankan.
The passport numbers too were previously obtained by the CID to prevent Aloysius from leaving the country while the investigations are underway.
With the CID confirming that Aloysius has not left the country, the investigators have intensified their search for the controversial businessman.
When the CID visited his house this morning, they were informed that the 33-year-old businessman was not at home.
They were also told that Aloysius, also the owner of Janayugaya newspapers, was not contactable.
Continue reading ‘Controversial Businessman Arjun Aloysius Reported “Missing” and “Uncontactable”But Police Say He Has Not Used His Two Passports to Leave Country’ »
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Treasury bond issue discovered that former Minister Rosy Senanayake’s son Kanishka Senanayake had provided Perpetual Treasuries with copies of the first COPE report on the Treasury bond issue while his mother served on the Committee.
The report of the Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) was not publicly available at the time that former Minister Rosy Senanayake’s son Kanishka Senanayake provided copies of the report to Perpetual Treasuries.
Continue reading ‘Rosy Senanayake’s son Kanishka Provided Publicly Unavailable COPE Reports to Perpetual Treasuries When his Mother was Serving in COPE’ »
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has taken steps to remove MP Ravi Karunanyake’s brother-in-law Romesh Jayawardene from his position as Chairman of the Development Lotteries Board (DLB).
The DLB and the National Lotteries Board (NLB) were both brought under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after MP Ravi Karunanyake was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs during the first Cabinet reshuffle of the national unity government.
Continue reading ‘Ravi Karunanayake’s Brother -in -law Romesh Jayawardene Removed as Development Lotteries Board Chairman By Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.’ »
The recent Supreme Court order handing over a Wellawatte property — forfeited during the Rajapaksa regime on the instruction of the Police and taken over by the Terrorist Investigation Division — to its rightful owners, is a typical indicator of the manner in which emergency regulations impinged the legal rights of the citizenry and the excesses that could be carried out with seeming impunity.
The Emergency (Proscription of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) Regulations 2009 allowed the Minster of Defence (who incidentally was the President)to declare as forfeited any property supposedly used by terrorists and to be appropriated by the state. Although the section itself required due prior investigations to be made, but it transpired otherwise.
Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Orders Return of Wellawatte Property Forfeited Under Emergency Regulations During Rajapaksa Regime To Rightful Owners .’ »
Sri Lanka’s Perpetual Treasuries, a primary dealer under probe for securities fraud has become embroiled in evidence tampering and perjury controversy after revelation that more than a 100 incriminating phone recordings were deleted by company officials, reports said.
Chief Dealer of Perpetual Treasuries, Nuwan Salgado had told a president commission of inquiry that he had asked an computer technician to delete more than 100 telephone recordings on the instructions of chief executive Kasun Palisena, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper said.
Information technology executive Sachith Devatantri had said Salgado had asked him to delete phone recordings from the dealing room system on July 05, 2017, the day before Perpetual was suspended as a primary dealer by the central bank.
The deleted conversations related to March 29 and 30, 2016, where a controversial so-called ‘bondscam’ had taken place.
Continue reading ‘Incriminating Phone Call Records Implicate Perpetual Treasuries in Perjury and Evidence Tampering Controversies’ »
Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena will raise the LTTE backed Tamil Diaspora move against General Jagath Jayasuriya following Regional Development Minister Field Sarath Fonseka alleging that the wartime Security Forces Commander, Vanni had committed crimes and he continued violations of human rights after becoming the Commander of the Army in July 2009.
The following question has been submitted seeking answers from Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana under Standing Order 23/2:
“General Jagath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Suriname, the former Army Commander, Chief of staff and head of the Joint Defence Council, who was actively in the forefront of the struggle against terrorism, is being hunted by ex-LTTe and Eelamist Diaspora legal teams, who have brought war crimes prosecutions against him in Brazil and Colombia. The statement made in this regard by HE President Sirisena is contradicted by the statement made by Minister Sarath Fonseka.
Continue reading ‘Dinesh Gunawardena Seeks Answers From Tilak Marapana On Sarath Fonseka Contradicting Statement By President Sirisena About Jagath Jayasuriya’ »
Wild life laws should be amended and new laws should be implemented for common animal species that were considered threat to humans, Skills Development and Vocational Training Deputy Minister Karunarathne Paranawithana suggested while attending the Balangoda Coordination Committee yesterday.
The minister said most of the wild animals had some form of threat to humans and suitable measures should be taken to control the fast spreading animal species to minimise the conflict.
“When it comes to human-elephant conflict, it had been a major problem in rural areas.
There are about 6,000 elephants in the country and its population is increasing rapidly. 6,000 elephants are too many for Sri Lankan forests to sustain. 4,000 elephants are more than enough,” he said.
Continue reading ‘Deputy Minister Paranawithana Wants to Export Sri Lankan Elephants Abroad and Sell Them Off as Pets.’ »
A new trajectory has been carved leading into the already existing list of war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan Army that seeks to reroute the investigations to hold Sri Lanka as a whole accountable. The war crimes charges were filed by South America based International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) in Brazil and Columbia against General Jagath Jayasuriya who was the Ambassador of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Suriname.
The charges were filed against Jayasuriya on 29 August, and the Ambassador returned to the country the very next day. Irrespective of Jayasuriya’s involvement in the armed conflict which concluded eight years ago, the former celebrated Army Commander and the present Minister of Regional Development, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, has given an interesting twist to the tale by offering to testify against his former comrade.
Continue reading ‘If Command Responsibility Principle Deems Jayasuriya Answerable Then Fonseka too is Equally Answerable’ »
Lal S. Kumara
Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka
Regional Development Minister, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that it is unjust to protect wrongdoers for the sake of being war heroes clad in military attire and that every politician and every leader of the government should understand that fact.
Addressing a meeting at Kiribathgoda on Monday, Filed Marshal Fonseka said soldiers who committed murders and rapes were punished and hanged and former leaders of the government had punished wrongdoers on behalf of the people.
Addressing journalists, later he said:
Continue reading ‘Political Leaders Must Know It Is Unjust to Protect “War Heroes” Who Do Wrong States Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka.’ »
Senior Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh, a gutsy and outspoken editor, was murdered on Tuesday night at her Ideal Home Layout residence in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar.
According to reports, at around 8pm, unidentified men shot at Gauri and wounded her fatally before escaping from the scene. Initial reports say more than five shots were fired.
Gauri Lankesh ~ (29 January 1962 – 5 September 2017)
Police said that Gauri was getting out of her car to open the gate of her house, when assailants shot her. The shots penetrated her chest and she was killed on the spot, reports said.
Continue reading ‘Firebrand Karnataka Journalist and Gutsy Editor of “Gauri Lankesh Patrike” Gauri Lankesh Shot Dead Outside her Home at Bengaluru’ »
Dr Asanga Welikala
As the country engages in a constitutional reform exercise that could finally produce a much-delayed post-war devolution settlement, on 8 August 2017, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court has delivered a determination of potentially major significance. The crisp issue before the court was whether the main Tamil nationalist party, better known in English as the Federal Party, had violated the constitutional prohibition on the advocacy of secession. The court decided that the Federal Party’s position on federalism per se did not fall foul of the prohibition, even in the context of the entrenched and highly centralised nature of the principle of the unitary state in the constitution.
However, against the prevailing and long-established orthodoxy in Sri Lankan constitutional law, the court appears to further accept a number of far-reaching conclusions. These include: that Sri Lanka’s principal minority Tamils are a ‘people’ for the purposes of the international law of self-determination including common article 1 of the two 1966 International Human Rights Covenants; the emergent distinction that the principle of self-determination has an internal and external aspect; that federalism is one constitutional form through which internal self-determination might be realised; and that for this purpose, sovereignty might be shared among peoples within the country. Equally noteworthy has been the court’s reliance on the views of the Canadian Supreme Court in the Reference re Secession of Quebec (1998), the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on Kosovo (2010), and academic authorities of federalism such as the late Professor Ronald L. Watts.
If this is an accurate reading of the judgment, then it is the judicial recognition of these subsidiary claims associated with the Sri Lankan Tamil demand for federalism that may mark a radical turn in Sri Lankan constitutional law. This may boost current prospects for constitutional reform by lending a prospective imprimatur of judicial approval to devolution options that have hitherto been regarded as unacceptable. But such an uncharacteristically permissive approach by the court may also reanimate opponents of reform to ever greater heights of opposition to devolution and power-sharing.
Continue reading ‘The Sri Lankan Supreme Court’s Decision on the Proscription of the Federal Party’ »
“I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I shoot with my mind.”
—Stephen King, ‘The Gunslinger’ (‘The Dark Tower’)
Papa was a rolling stone. I did look for Mervyn de Silva quite a bit as a boy, disembarking from my mum’s car and popping into every watering hole in town, from posh pub to seedy bar, occasionally encountering him and consenting to a cover story which would enable him to make it home with a halfway plausible excuse while I misdirected my mother to a few more locations so as to buy him some time. Mervyn used to say I’d make a good diplomat, and ventured to President Premadasa decades later that my real expertise was ‘conflict studies’. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the paradox of Mervyn, and how to resolve it.
Mervyn de Silva
To those who didn’t know or understand him very well, and that included members of the family he came from, Mervyn had a mystique, an impenetrable reserve or was an exasperating riddle. But to his peers and gifted protégés, Mervyn had a dualistic character. While I agree in one sense with their numerous analyses, I view Mervyn’s personality as containing – and being driven by –a dialectical contradiction rather than a simple dualism. I also wish to follow Godfrey Gunatilleke and suggest that there was an underlying unity of values, ethics and even morality, behind, beneath and above it all.
Ajith Samaranayake who, as a professional journalist and protégé was more a son and potential successor to Mervyn than I was, identified in the Daily News on the day of his funeral “…the combination of seriousness and impish humour which leant its essential quality to his prose.” (‘The Last Great Stylist’ Daily News, June 24, 1999)
Continue reading ‘“The Two Mervyns”: A Sensitive Intellectual of the Highest Calibre and Exuberantly Extroverted Journalist’ »
The Bond Scam is one of the most discussed topics in the country and has caused the demise of a few senior government ministers. Ceylon Today spoke to Professor Rajiva Wijesinha to get his opinion on the Bond Scam and the damage that the controversy has caused the Government.
Q;The Bond Scam (or scams) is a highly controversial, widely discussed yethighly confusing topic for many. How do you feel about this matter? Do you believe that a ‘scam’ has taken place?
A: I have no doubt that a massive amount of money has been lost to the country by the Bond Scam. I also believe that this was carefully planned, and executed by the hierarchy of the United National Party to make money through technical manoeuvres. Though they could then pretend that no individuals in the party had made money, the side effect, apart from the direct gains to their partners in crime, was continuing losses to the country through unwarranted increases in the interest it has to pay on an ever increasing debt portfolio. And what is even more disgusting is that there was a second scam a year later.
Continue reading ‘“The Treasury Bond Scam Was Carefully Planned and Executed by the UNP Hierarchy To Make Money” – Prof Rajiva Wijesinha’ »
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Tall and well-built, retired Army General, Jagath Jayasuriya, who was posted in Brazil as the Sri Lankan Ambassador, is back in town with mounted allegations against him related to his posts as a military man and an ambassador. He said that although he was the Vanni Commander, he was not on the frontlines and it was Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka who conducted the operations.
“I don’t know of war crimes because I was near the Vavuniya airport, and Nandikadal was 100km away. How will I know what was going on there?” he queried.
Born on 3 January 1959, he joined the military at the age of 19, and to date he has been a sober and media shy guy. “I am a guy who can adjust to any situation and place, but now I am being hunted over something I am not responsible for.”
Excerpts of the interview:
Q; Tell us what exactly happened when you were in Brazil because reports said you had fled Brazil when there was a complaint against you on alleged war crimes?
Continue reading ‘Beleaguered Ex-Army Chief Jagath Jayasuriya Pours His Heart Out in Extensive Interview.’ »
By Krishan Pathirath Jayasuriya
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he has not been invited to the 66th Convention of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
He revealed this at a function held on Wednesday (30) at the Kotte Rajamaha Viharaya, to hand over the post of Chief Sanghanayake of North America to Ven. Aluthnuwara Sumanatissa Thera.
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Says Neither he Nor Joint Opposition MP’s Were Invited for SLFP 66th Party Convention.’ »
CT Sports: Current SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala is at the receiving end of criticism these days due to the shambolic behaviour of SLC, as well as the cricket team’s continuous poor show.
Skipper Angelo Mathews resigned after the shock loss to Zimbabwe, while the Selection Committee, too, tendered their resignation following the series loss to India.
Several parties have called for the resignation of Sumathipala for the betterment of Sri Lanka cricket and Sumathipala himself gave a very valid reason to all those calls for resignation by accepting his links to the gaming industry in open Court during cross-examination in his defamation case against former World Cup winning skipper turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga.
Continue reading ‘Thilanga Sumathipala Owning Betting,Media and Sports Gear Companies Being Head of Sri Lanka Cricket is Illegal.’ »
by Bandu de Silva
I refer to the news item in today’s The island (Saturday 2nd September 2017) and would like to comment on contracts on which non-career ambassadors are appointed by the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry, to create public awareness in search of truth.
I do so with my background as a former Director General and Ambassador and Director of Overseas Administration in the Foreign Ministry whose duties included preparation of contracts to be signed by non -career ambassadors, and also one who served with 12 heads of mission appointed on contract.
There is something fishy about the content of the local media reports. They speak of General Jayasuriya claiming he took up the post and assumed duties in August 2015 for a term of two years. In June, this year he wrote to the then Foreign Secretary that his tenure had been completed and if he was to be re-appointed as an Ambassador, he wanted to be posted to an Asian country.
General Jayasuriya’s was a non-career appointment. Therefore, the appointment would have been necessarily, based on a contract signed with the Foreign Ministry. For long years the usual period of appointment under a contract has been three years. Earlier, it had been four years but this was changed.
Continue reading ‘Did Jagath Jayasuriya End his Term Early Because he was “Tipped Off” By Brazilian Authorities of Impending Legal Action Against Him?’ »
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that the UNP-SLFP coalition government had saved Sri Lanka from punitive international sanctions by ending the authoritarian Rajapaksa rule in January 2015.
Addressing the 66 anniversary of the SLFP at Campbell Park, Colombo, President Sirisena asserted that their partnership was primarily meant to address international concerns.
President Sirisena said that if not for the UNP-SLFP coalition, the international community would have imposed economic sanctions on Sri Lanka. According to him, the change of government had taken place at a time when the international community was on the verge of taking action against the previous administration.
Continue reading ‘53 Joint Opposition MP’s Including Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Boycott 66th SLFP Anniversary Event at Campbell Park’ »
The Sri Lankan President on Sunday vowed that he will not hand over any war hero to a foreign court to face alleged war crimes charges.
The President made this pledge at a mass rally here to celebrate the 66 th. year of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
His pledge was in the context of an attempt made last month in some South American countries to file a case against former Sri Lankan Army Commander Gen.Jagath Jayasuriya for “war crimes” and get him arrested.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Not Ready to Dance to the Tune of NGO’s With LTTE Lnks and Funded by Terrorist Groups.’ »
Hardeep Singh Puri, who handled the delicate task of liaising with Sri Lankan political leaders and the leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) prior to and after the signing of the India-Sri Lanka Accord in July 1987 as First Secretary (Political) at the Indian High Commission in Colombo, has been inducted into the Indian Council of Ministers as a non-cabinet Minister of State.
He was sworn in as part of a larger cabinet re-shuffle in New Delhi on Sunday.
A decorated former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1974 batch, who is also known for his experience and expertise in foreign policy and national security, Puri served in Sri Lanka at a very crucial period in the history of India-Sri Lanka relations.
Continue reading ‘Hardeep Singh Puri Who Served in Colombo Indian High Commission From 1984 -88 as Political Secretary Appointed as Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs in Modi Govt’ »
President Maithripala Sirisena snubbed the international community seeking to prosecute alleged war criminals and said he will not allow those abroad to touch any military commander or a war veteran.
Addressing the 66th anniversary convention of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), President Sirisena said the charges against his Latin American diplomat and former army commander Jagath Jayasuriya was an “offshore” problem.
“The allegations brought against General Jagath Jayasuriya is a problem beyond our shores,” the president. “I will not allow anyone abroad to touch Gen. Jayasuriya, any army commander or any of our war heroes.”
Continue reading ‘“We Wont Allow Anyone to Touch Jagath Jayasuriya or any Army Commander or Any War Hero” Declares President Sirisena.’ »
Sri Lanka faced a fresh case of war crime allegations, when a Human Rights groups in South America filed war crimes lawsuits against former Sri Lankan General Jagath Jayasuriya, who was the Ambassador to Brazil.
According to foreign media reports, the suits against Jagath Jayasuriya are based on his role as a commander in the final phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009. They allege Jayasuriya oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people.
Jayasuriya had diplomatic immunity in the countries where he was ambassador: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Suriname. Carlos Castresana Fernandez, the lawyer coordinating the effort, as was quoted by foreign media, has stated that suits were filed last Monday ( Aug 28) in Brazil and Colombia. Petitions also will be filed in Argentina, Chile and Peru in the coming days, he had said, adding that authorities in Suriname refused to accept the suit.
Continue reading ‘Maithri-Ranil Govt In Turmoil Due to Sarath Fonseka’s Accusations against Jagath Jayasuriya’ »
Former Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya completed his stint as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Brazil and arrived in Sri Lanka last week. It would appear that just as he was leaving Brazil, some international human rights groups had filed war crimes lawsuits against him in Brazil and Colombia. According to international news reports on the matter, the petitioners had alleged that Jayasuriya oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed and tortured thousands of civilians. There was of course no risk of Jayasuriya being arrested in Brazil because he had diplomatic immunity as an Ambassador. But the petitioners obviously wanted to make it untenable for him to remain in that position. However, Jayasuriya didn’t really lose anything because his term as Ambassador was over in any case.
The main figure behind this move is apparently Yasmin Sooka of the self styled ‘International Truth & Justice Project, Sri Lanka’, which claims to have obtained sworn statements along with evidence gleaned from medical and psychiatric examinations from Tamil individuals who had arrived in the UK claiming asylum. They had claimed to have been arrested, blindfolded, held in darkened cells and subject to sexual attacks and repeated interrogations. A woman had claimed she had been abducted in a white van, beaten with electric cables and suffocated, using a plastic bag containing petrol and later raped. Another woman had claimed to have been gang raped. A man had claimed to have been anally and orally raped by a captor. About half the people interviewed by Sooka’s organization had claimed to have attempted suicide after leaving Sri Lanka.
On the face of it, the evidence that Yasmin Sooka’s organization claims to have ‘unearthed’ looks like the usual stories related by asylum claimants trying not to get expelled from Britain. It goes without saying that a refugee status claimant will say what is calculated to get them what they want. All those arriving in Europe seeking refugee status, claim to have been tortured and raped. Of the refugees arriving from Syria and other parts of the Middle East who are mostly male, a remarkable number claim to have been sodomized by their captors – so much so that one would think they had arrived from Sodom and Gomorrah rather than from any part of the Muslim Middle East. Given the number of adult Syrian males who claim to have been raped, one would think that the intermediary in the Middle East peace talks should be the gay and lesbian movement and not the UN, given the apparent preponderance of Sodomites among the armed forces and terrorists of the Middle East.
Continue reading ‘Filing Case Against Jagath Jayasuriya in Brazil Shows How Far This Insanity has Gone.’ »
Sri Lanka’s former actress and legislator Geetha Kumarasinghe was being treated at a private hospital in Colombo Saturday following severe burns, police said.
Kumarasinghe, 62, was rushed to hospital on Friday night in what appeared to have be been an accident involving a gas stove at her home, police said.
“She has suffered extensive burns and her condition is serious, but she is getting all the medical attention she needs,” a hospital source said.
Continue reading ‘Actress Turned Politico Geetha Kumarasinghe Hospitalised Due to Severe Burns in Gas Stove Explosion.’ »
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene
In taking umbrage at Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake’s ‘politico-talk’ on corruption of lawyers and judges and thereby allowing this to become a bone of contention so to speak, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka clearly lacks both commonsense and reason to the point of absurdity.
If the Bar proceeds to take legal action against him for contempt, no doubt this will delightfully spiral out of control. The Deputy Minister will use his privileges on the floor of the House to defend himself with vim and vigor. The resulting uproar will convert a sober discussion on the law of contempt into an explosion of ‘sound and fury’ signifying precisely nothing.
Gone are the legal giants of yore
It is a pity that the Bar seems quite unable to perform its functions with a modicum of native intelligence. For the past several years, the interventions of this once premier body has swayed much like a demented yo-yo from side to another under the leadership of one President or the other, tilting too much to one extreme at each point whilst abandoning positions of moderation and principle. Gone are the legal giants of yore at whose sternly authoritative voices, the political leadership of the day once virtually trembled. Despite personal political predilections, these counsel of stature had the capacity to take public positions untroubled by primitive bias.
Continue reading ‘Bar Association’s Absurd Lack of Common Sense and Reason On Ranjan Ramanayake Issue.’ »