29 September, 2020

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Alarming Goings On At The Election Commission

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Ceylon Today (17.04.2020)  had a story headlined “Gen Election 2020. Could be held in May.” We all know that since this date has been suggested by government sources. What is alarming however are the following three extracted paragraphs from the body of the article:

“According to sources at the Election Commission (EC), with the approval of both Director General of Health Services, Dr. Anil Jasinghe and Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of the spread of the coronavirus, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, the postponed General Election could be held on the last week of May. […]

“The meeting is scheduled to be held on Monday, 20 April, with the participation of Dr. Jasinghe, Lieutenant General Silva, Acting IGP Chandana Wickremaratna, DIG Priyantha Weerasuriya and PMG Ranjith Ariyaratna. […]

“Meanwhile, the EC has undertaken the necessary steps to carry out the Election, and is planning to publicise the preference numbers of all candidates through the publication of a gazette notification.”

The high profile consultants are carefully chosen to arm-twist the Commission into agreeing to 28 May for elections. Because of the constitutional quorum of 3 out of 3, I state there was no meeting to take these momentous decisions choosing these consultants and what they will be consulted on, without my presence.

Moreover, by whom and on what basis were Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne chosen as consultants? Dr. Jasinghe is enmeshed in a fake-news controversy, spinning between COVID-19 and influenza. Subsequently, even WHO (where he is a Vice President) saw no need for face masks except by health professionals. However, his COVID Task Force was not allowing the public out without masks. Most alarming is Dr. Jasinghe’s statement in Ceylon Today (12.04.2020) that steps are being taken to lift the curfew by the end of the month – when most other doctors say it is too premature to decide. The masters of spin are at work.

And then why Lieutenant General Silva? He faces still unresolved charges by the UNHRC and many human rights organizations, under his command responsibility during the war, of massacring tens of thousands of Tamils. As a Tamil, I am scared of arguing with him on 20 April when we meet.

The Acting IGP Wickremaratne was warned by the Commission during the Presidential Elections on the impending problems at Chemmalai (Sinhalese colonized name Gurukanada) as a result of the police not serving a court order to desist from cremating a Buddhist monk on temple premises. He promised to act but did not. Violence flared up. Subsequently at the Commission I pointed out many election violations on which the police took no action. He then went through the motions of taking notes and promised to act. Half a year later, nothing.

Anything these three say on the Monday 20 April must be weighed carefully.

The selection of these experts is presumably by the Chairman and not by the Commission. When I went to the Commission on 1 April, the Chairman told me he is shutting the Commission premises down and to come for the meeting on 10 April. Again after that meeting he told me that he would also stay at home and for me to return for the next meeting on an as yet unspecified date. Subsequently I was informed by email on 16 April that the meeting would be on 20 April. This gave very little time for the medical examination and certification that I was free of COVID-19 symptoms. This was required prior to applying for the curfew pass.

On the basis of what I was informed, these decisions are unilateral or are owed to misreporting. The first alarm bell that the Commission  was functioning despite what I had been told, came with Indian journalist P.K. Balachandran’s long headline on 13.04.2020:

“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Reportedly Keen to Hold Parliamentary Elections on May 28; Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya Expected to Make Important Announcement on April 20: Curfews Likely to be Lifted Completely by April 30 to Enable Election Campaigning.” 

Ouch! I was by now used to getting my information from news media, rather than from the Commission. As the Chairman had asked me to check with him before writing anything, I called him but received no answer nor a return call.

The shocks keep coming: News First (15.04.2020) reported that “Keerthi Tennakoon, a former provincial governor had posted a remark saying ‘the date of the general election has been finalized’, and in response national election commission (NEC) chairman Mahinda Deshapriya had sarcastically responded saying ‘wonder who decided on the date’.”

I will know for sure, hopefully, at the meeting on Monday 20, 2020. However, it is clear that certain parties want us to think that elections will be held on the 28th May 2020 while saying the Election Commission will decide. 

We need real experts to decide on when polls can be held as advised by the College of Community Physicians – Epidemiologists, public health experts and virologists/microbiologists and experts from other areas (economics, transport sector, finance etc.). The EC cannot play all these experts.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    30

    “And then why Lieutenant General Silva? He faces still unresolved charges by the UNHRC and many human rights organizations, under his command responsibility during the war, of massacring tens of thousands of Tamils.”

    You keep saying this you will lose all recognition you have among the Sinhalese who know you as an academic. Thanks to Gota, Shavedra and all those solders who died fighting LTTE, you are able to live in Jaffna today. Of course for an old goat like you who have now lived your life it probably doesn’t matter that war is over but what about the youth? Today, they can get a decent education without becoming casualties of war.

    Had VP accepted any one of many offers that he got from Chandrika, Ranil or MR, I wonder to which hellhole he would have tossed your head. Do you think you would have been able to hide from him by running off to some western country? Think of what happened to DBSJ. Have some gratitude towards the soldiers. They faced a very difficult situation trying to rescue civilians while making sure the LTTE leadership did not live to resume the war later on.

    • 24
      12

      Mr Noname
      You think Tamils.will ever forget the injustice done to them for 70nyears and killing many of them by people who call themselves as representative of Sinhal Buddhist.
      LTTE was ruthless if any Tamil decide to oppose them.
      Our Army was even worse They did not care a thing except whether they were Tamils or not.
      Of course there were exceptions like Katunratne
      Hoole is well educated professional man. You third rate people from gutters can not understand what he is talking about

      • 11
        9

        No one can deny the fact that he is well educated
        But he is a number one opportunist
        He will lick anybody’s legs for power

      • 6
        2

        What about the Tamils remembering the 83 riots led by the UNP goons? Selective memory ??

      • 2
        1

        Dishan
        I salute you.

  • 20
    21

    Is this the way an impartial member of the independent election commission conducting himself.
    /
    The baseless allegations against Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva is really uncalled for.
    He is appointed as Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of the spread of the coronavirus by Sri Lankan government.
    /
    You are afraid of meeting with these gentleman because of your hidden agendas.
    /
    Resign. Go home to your NGOs. We don’t need you.

    • 10
      18

      No one is going to believe that Hoole is impartial Yes he is partial and he has his own political agenda He is dancing to the tune of his western masters
      It is unfortunate that he was recommended to the EC by Sumanthiran

      • 2
        4

        Miss Ramani K,
        /
        And you know what…
        /
        Being partial Mr. Hoole is helping GR/MR to increase their voter base….
        While reading the above article I sometimes wonder he really is working for MR.

        • 3
          2

          Peradeniya knows who this Hoole is.

    • 7
      9

      No one is going to believe that Hoole is impartial Yes he is partial He is dancing to the tune of his western masters
      It is unfortunate that he was recommended to the EC by Sumanthiran

      • 9
        4

        Ramany,
        Can u name anybody who could be seen as impartial on this particular issue or on any debate, for that matter? In a world where perception is the reality, impartiality is hard to find; in politics, opinion of the majority, not necessarily the correct opinion, usually wins. Hoole certainly has a bias but, so do u! Since maRa/GoRa regime has already a proven failure (starting with wrong & ill-advised financial & economic policy – tax deduction with the hope of reducing prices; encouraging tourism in the midst of a fatal global epidemic etc), Hoole’s point carries may weight than yours!

    • 4
      4

      QUOTE
      The baseless allegations against Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva is really uncalled for.
      UNQUOTE

      Then arises the question why on earth your BELOVE Former President/current Premier, Mafia Boss then sent him out of the country posting him as an ambassador ? was that not seeking DIPLOMATIC impunity in order to protect him ?

      Currently too, what current duo have been doing is wrong… srilanka is a country which was then called oldest democracy in ASIA.. thanks to Bandaranayaka and other former leaders.
      :
      But current operations on COVID 19 CONTROL to be given to ARMY/and rest two forces, as if govt is spineless – would not even be done by a TRIBAL leader in africa where they is some sort of democracy. Now being unable to even control it yet, being fell also behind far poor Nepal as a nation , what brother duo have been seen as LOSERs of number one grade.
      That is the reason why they thought to go for ELECTIONs over the dead bodies of the COVID patients. This they havestill been planning… that is the hidden truth behind today s conspiracy.

  • 14
    10

    People who say the country is not normal to hold elections are the same people who demand that the curfew be lifted!

    Soma

    • 8
      2

      You are an arse hole who can understand the difference.

  • 15
    2

    Whether the elections are held or not, the results are READY. Watch for it ! Time to forget about all the messy election procedures. People like Prof. Hoole can retire and rest in peace.

    • 3
      0

      Mano –

      What happened to the previous EC (Dayananda?) Exterminated? The present one is
      warned to have the required 2/3rd results in advance. No foreign Observers. The local
      ones (with masks) may not be identified! The trend of working from Home will be put
      into practice. (A pilot introducing himself to the passengers declared in his formal
      welcome announcement that he was working from Home …..)

  • 23
    22

    Hoole, You can’t have the cake and eat it too!
    /
    You have one bloody alternative. RESIGN!!!.
    /
    You are too greedy to lose the perks you are enjoying, so you are crying out bogus emergencies from within the EC. If you have issues, BLOODY RESIGN, you thief.
    /
    Who gives you to comment on the ‘timing’ of an election? It is the Commissioner’s job to declare the right time. Your NGO cabal has nothing to do with it.
    /
    Work according to Deshapriya’s orders or BLOODY RESIGN.

    • 19
      1

      Making a person get fed up and resign is the psychological warfare adopted by crooks. This is happening not only in politics, but also in associations where crooks gang up together and attack anyone who stands up against their manipulations. They will try all methods to get rid of him so that they have a free ride. The correct thing to do is not to resign but to remain and continue to expose these crooks.

      • 8
        0

        Well said, dear Dr Gnana Sankaralingam.
        .
        You and I may sometimes have genuine differences of perspective, but I think that we try to be decent.
        .
        I agree absolutely with you that Bimbisara’s (the guy is anonymous, too, – typical of such fellows) comment – is absolutely disgusting.
        .
        What perks does Prof. Jeevan Hoole enjoy? I have actually done some checking on this, and I made a detailed comment on it some time ago.
        .
        Let’s hope that all three guys on the Elections Commission act rationally tomorrow.
        .
        I agree with you that most others would have taken the easy way out and resigned by now. This country is greatly in debt to both Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole for all that he has done for us.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe aka “Sinhala_Man

      • 1
        0

        Dr. G S,

        this may well be the reason MACO to play games with his two members. This MACO is unpredictable. He does not know mostly what he is talking about. He makes roundabout whenever he is questioned. His crediblity is questionable.
        Alone him to use FACE book for the official sort of correspondence is not acceptable as thes standard. But as is it is the case with the leaders in power, and their former allegations ended up … making them the leaders for the country – shows this country s law and orders just RESTRICT to the paragraphs.
        :
        A nation that talk high about their 2500 year old heritage but prefer not to obey law and order. SO how can they ever dream of becoming a singapore – we are decades away from that aim…
        .
        God bless srilanka.

    • 5
      1

      Bimbi,

      Did GR and his minions send you to post this here and threaten an elections commissioner? The commissioner doesn’t take orders from you.

    • 3
      1

      Bimbisiara@
      What a Pingona you should be.

      All three should have the same right to discuss and come to a date.
      :
      Where on earth are you living… in the toilet pits of Rajapakse BPs ?

      Independent commission setting was done by previous govt.
      :
      If that was not set, Ballige puthas would have let killed over 1000 of people sofar. Rajaakshes are melchcha men born to Medamula cave.
      :
      We all know how and for what they are talented most…
      :
      Get back to YOUR cage – else, we will teach you how you would have to.
      :
      We are sinhalaya but would never stand against any srilankens the manner you the slaves have been made to .
      :
      Rajapakshes nemesis is sooner than later.

  • 11
    13

    Dr Hoole , Since you do not trust three consultants personally ( IGP, Army chief and Dir/ General of health- Pro- Government ) same way section of Sri Lankans do not trust EC -MACO (pro- unp) and specially you ( pro- LTTE ) is the truth. Fact is you all 5 are holding these top positions unfortunately at this difficult juncture. Please make a professional and legal decision without putting country in to unwanted constitutional crisis.
    Personally we do not agree that you are being a respected educated member of EC and always coming with very negative coward analysis showing your partiality.

    • 10
      5

      Your definition of coward answer is anything against the robbers of Rajafuckse family

      • 0
        4

        Dilshan, Please read through Dr. Hoole’s recent articles in this web removing your anti – Rajapakse mania and as a independent real Sri Lakan. Then I would like to answer.

    • 5
      0

      Anonymous Lekam, it is you who are the coward.

    • 3
      0

      Lekam,
      Maco has no balls to do the job independently and go to retirement with respect.

      Agree or not what Prof. HOOLE is representing is us all – UNP, JVP, TNA, SLFP and all that stand against BP Rajapakshes… and all the educated people… but in an independent manner.. He knows for what he is appointed.. unlike that BED-PAN style mouth bearer Maco… maco is disgusting.
      :
      This BP is hired by DERANA on and on for no reasons. How dare the bugger meet with them not having spoken with the other two ? He is the president, but in legal context, all 3 should have the same vote right.
      That is how any commission of that nature are made. All these are not known to punnaku drinkers in srilanka..
      I am well aware of Ethics Commissions consisting of 6-8 members. Each of them has the same voting power. Likewise, independent electon commission or any like minded bodies set up for the function, would not be different. If not, what is the purpose of calling it an indendent election commission.
      :
      Lekam – eat your PUNNAKU and leave us in peace. So long you guys would call anyone standing against ballige putha Rajakashes – LTTErs your braincells would not grow anyfurther. Please meet your nearest neurologist for the speedy treatment.
      Thank you.

      • 0
        0

        Simon

        You have given the answer openly saying Prof Hoole is against BP Rajapakses. This proves his partiality and his coward,unethical behavior against the set laws and procedure of election commission. with your view he is not independent and not suited to hold position in EC. This is the point I raised.

        Whether you like it or not you have to respect majority peoples mandate/ verdict.

        Way you written your reply by insulting other’s view personally going down to so cheap level talking punaakkus and Maco’s balls etc looks like related to Thushara Jayaratne. We don’t think you have any balls to accept the ground truth or no proper point to reply. Only trying hard to silence others by insulting and mud slugging. We have seen many people like you who thinks they are pundits.
        Sad for you !

  • 5
    9

    I’m not saying it but you yourself ! I’m a Tamil hence I am skeptical! Serving an Independent body and making such a comment only showed your utter biasness! Shouldn’t you be calling yourself Sri Lankan! You are in noway an independent voice you are a voice for racial and political disharmony! Dispicable!

  • 1
    1

    Brazilian president took two decisions,one to open the economy two totake responsibility if the virus nos. increases.our leaders can follow rather medical officers are made responsible,

  • 22
    10

    I express my admiration to Prof. S. H. R Hoole who has steadfastly upheld the integrity of the Election Commission. He is a rare breed. One who has not buckled down to political pressure and will go down in the Annals of history as one of the best Public Servants of all time. The decision he and the other two members have to make is to decide wether it is opportune on holding the Parliamentary elections at a time , such as this, when this Corona virus now a.pandemic is ravaging our country an the likelihood of it exposing the public to the mortal danger, that would threaten the lives of the people.

  • 10
    2

    There’s no one in the country sleazier than Keerthi Tennakoon – the NGO Kaka turned SIRA/RAJAPAKSE toady. People should just ignore this lowlife. But what’s more serious is the GOTA-MILITARY JUNTA beginning to show classic signs of totalitarianism. The regime is so paranoid and in consequence highly control freak that it wants to determine not merely what people do but even what they think. The writer is on the mark: “… it is clear that certain parties want us to think that elections will be held on the 28th May 2020 while saying the Election Commission will decide.” This is the kind of mind control practiced by Nazis, KGB, STASI, and other such totalitarian tyrants. What next, GOTA’s Thought Police manned by militant monks, military intelligence and Cardinal Hora ?

  • 6
    0

    Dr. Anil Jasinghe the respected Director General of Health Services has found himself ,most unwillingly in a soup. His arm is being twisted to say YES =Hold the Elections!

    ….As a Tamil, I am scared of arguing with him on 20th April when we meet……
    Says Prof Hoole about the Army Commander.
    Well what does this imply?
    Srilanka is a garrison state!

  • 6
    0

    Comments are interesting as they talk of this or that person being biased one way or the other. Studying these comments is very good – for all of us to realise that Sri Lanka has already become a fearful society, fearing those who are in ‘power’ – which is ‘corruption’ when power is misused. The current President could never have won if there was no bias in the voters! Bias is human and acceptable but is it right to be biased due to fear?
    People do not become biased by fear on their own but are DRIVEN to become biased because in a fear-gripped society that biasness becomes a safety factor. Right from the top it is fear that is being increasingly driven into people and Prof Hoole is similarly expressing fear, which has to be taken very very seriously and not dismissed or sidelined. This is because if Prof Hoole, being one of only 3 EC members in Sri Lanka, is expressing fear, then what could the situation be with the ‘ordinary man’. Also, what more is there to come to Sri Lankans? So, study a man’s fear and respect it when expressed, to see if there is a basis for it, specially as these may portend what is to befall Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    8

    I strongly condemn RatnajeevanHoole’s malicious slander against three professional government officials who have tremendously contributed to contain and mitigate COVID-19.
    .
    It is a known factor that WHO and medical professionals have found it difficult to properly understand how the new coronavirus spreads as new scientific findings emerge daily, leading to some confusion about preventive measures. When the world is still trying to understand the virus, you cannot find fault with Dr.Anil Jasinghe who handled the situation extremely well so far. Moreover, Dr.Jasinghe has only given a detached observation about the common situation. It was the President who took the decision to lift curfew, obviously based on other factors outside Dr.Jasinghe’s field.
    .
    What you have stated about Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva is a blatant lie. Our Army never fought with “Tamils.” They only fought with a terrorist organization. While you have no evidence to prove your allegation, we have ample evidence how our Army rescued tens of thousands civilians including terrorists. Even today, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva provides leadership to a praiseworthy humanitarian operation to save millions of people from getting coronavirus.
    .
    Your accusations against Acting IGP Wickremaratne have no relevance to the subject and also not true. The court order given against the cremation/burial of the remains of the Gurukanda Buddhist Priest was based on Hindu Law which is not applicable to the ancient Buddhist temple dated back 2000 years, as proved by the then DG/Archaeology in the courts.

    • 1
      0

      Moreover, Dr.Jasinghe has only given a detached observation about the common situation. It was the President who took the decision to lift curfew, obviously based on other factors outside Dr.Jasinghe’s field.

      Champawati,

      Does the doctor accept or disagree with King’s decision. Does he knows as the Chief doctor of the country, what is his duty to the people. Can he explain how he discharged that duty when he heard Hitler King wanted to lift the Curfew. First of all, did this doctor recommended curfew while no true democratic country is using it.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 2
    4

    Peradeniya knows who this Hoole is.

    • 2
      0

      Hello Athula,

      May I ask you to present arguments to counter what Prof Hoole has submitted?

      Prof Hoole was not at Peradeniya University.
      It was his brother who studied with us at Peradeniya. They are very decent people and true Sri Lankans we can all be proud of.
      Let me put it on record here that Prof Hoole’s brother has been a vegetarian at Peradeniya University and he stopped talking to me for some time because we ate fried pigeons after slaughtering them. He is a catholic who held the view that God could not have sanctioned killing of animals.

      I sincerely hope Rajan does not mind me going public with our encounters.

      This discussion is to emphasise the importance of having a robust discussion and NOT to discredit or shoot the messenger.

      The other Hoole has provided the basis for his position and the best approach is to counter his arguments that provide the basis.

      • 0
        0

        SA
        I agree.
        Dragging personalities into serious issues is not healthy conduct.
        Ratnajeevan H served at Peradeniya for some years. The views that anyone may hold about his conduct there are irrelevant to the present issue.
        Rajan H was a Peradeniya graduate. He is a vegan, but not a catholic.
        Do you still eat fried pigeon?

        • 0
          0

          Hello SJ,

          Thanks for letting me know that Ratnajeevan served at Peradeniya. He wasn’t an undergraduate at Peradeniya.
          As for fried pigeon, I haven’t had it for a long time!!

  • 3
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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    • 0
      1

      Atula Senaratna.
      We need independent members to an Independent Election Commission.
      In that since he fits that role like a glove!
      Perhaps it is that same Independence he displayed at Peradeniya.

  • 1
    1

    Defy death and vote!!!

    All for electing a bunch of babboons who throw chairs at each other inside the parliament. We are getting so poor our children will be fourth world after Gota finishes his first term.

    Prof. Hoole is right. Postpone. Ask the EC Assistant Commissioners and doctors when to hold elections. They are worked too hard often unreasonably. Months before elections lights don’t go off in their office. Young officers are kept away from their families for too long. It is they who have the right and data to choose the date.

    Mahinda Deshapriya enjoys a capitalist life style.and is now totally out of touch with his old comrades.

    Every death is somebody’s loved one dying. Pain and Suffering. Not just a number. They are to .Gota, Mahinda Deshapriya, DJ and all ambitious deadmen drinking with them.

    The President must love the people who voted for him.

    An independent commission must not become a mouse in the paws of the government. It must guard freedom.

    Set a resonable election date safe for all Sri Lankans.

  • 0
    0

    WHO says health professionals to wear masks. Why? To avoid infecting corona virus from breathing. Since corona virus can be affected to general public, who are transporting in crowds, interacting with community members who may be affected by corona virus, wearing face masks by them also, will be wise decision, which ensures more protection.

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