20 October, 2017

An Open Letter To The President: Be The Change!

By Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

Dear Mr. President,

“You must be the change you want to see in the world”

The Sri Lankan Lion roared at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly reminding the global community that “…, in order to gain the confidence and goodwill of the international community as a whole, but one of the essential requirements was consistency of standards across the board without any perceptions of selectivity or discrimination. It is in this context that the current functioning of the system needs fresh examination in order to enhance its credibility. To be successful, this process must involve de-politicisation of the UN System and mechanisms and they must stop being hostage to different forms of funding…”

At the same time a lion cub on behalf of the Sri Lankan Lion roared in Geneva, stating “…The government of Sri Lanka does not wish to help legitamise a flawed process and have a detrimental precedent established….What Sri Lanka needs at this juncture is to be encouraged and not impeded….the principled opposition to the OHCHR investigation stems from several well founded concerns; its politically motivated agenda; it challenges the sovereignty and the independence…;it violates a fundamental principle of international law;…… by appointment of high level international figures, who are by no means ’technical experts relevant to the investigation’ …lack of transparency of the investigation is in clear contravention of the principles of natural justice…arbitrary and selective action……deviation from established mandates and processes….addressing accountability issues has to be based on available evidence properly sourced and verified…updates replete with accusations and unsubstantiated statistics…”

Mahinda @UN 2014Are these very same criticisms not be equally applicable to Sri Lanka and all its people, as well as its businesses and civil society, especially in relation to the internal governance and Executive action within Sri Lanka? If so, will not the prescription of a fresh examination of the current functioning of the system and a de-politicisation of the system and mechanisms of governance not be an essential priority change in Sri Lanka as well?

Who can disregard the priority need for de-politisation of the system; assurance that independent persons of integrity, capability and proven track record are at the helm of Public Life, (including in the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary); Public Institutions and Regulatory bodies act with independence and with commitment to principles of natural justice; the application of the Rule of law and Justice Systems are transparent, unbiased, fair and just; selections to high posts are persons with requisite technical and professional expertise sans nepotism and cronyism; equality is a right of all citizens and they are not discriminated by race, religion, status, political leaning nor by their voice of advocacy : national resource allocations are fair and equitable and based on priority needs of all citizens; state spends are economic, efficient and effective for purpose and not tainted by waste and corruption; policy and regulatory systems follow best practices and are not impacted by state capture nor corruption; deviations from established mandates and processes are transparent and uphold principles of natural justice; accountability is demanded from all based on evidence; statistics are accurate and transparent; transparent Environmental, Ecological and Social Impact assessments precede all new initiatives; legal and regulatory reforms are prioritized and are in accord with principles of natural justice; Media Freedoms are not directly or indirectly controlled and Voices of Advocacy are not treated as voices of ‘traitors’; Democratic and Human Rights are protected and International Commitments are upheld:

By way of a “Reflection” it is time to trace back and validate whether the recent history of governance and administration, especially over the last two years have upheld in Sri Lanka the very same principles referred to above. An independent view seen through a transparent eye of integrity will bring out the many deviations and discriminatory practices in governance.

Mr. President, if you were to focus on a series of discriminatory acts of governance targeting a single community, based on unfair perceptions and unjust accusations, wit associated attempts to control and restrict the freedom of association, activities and expressions of a community, please review the recent actions of the government targeting the NGO Community. Do these actions and proposed legislative reforms, believed to be championed by the Defense establishment, pass the very same principles you and the government articulated before the UN General Assembly and the UNHRC?

Mr. President, in order to gain the confidence and goodwill of the Sri Lankan community as a whole, accepting that the Sri Lankan Civil Society needs at this juncture to be encouraged and not impeded, please evaluate, in terms of the great philosophy and the words of wisdom of Gauthama the Buddha, which you articulated before the UN General Assembly, whether the NGO community as a whole, (including Good Governance and Anti Corruption Activists, Human Rights Defenders, Environmentalists as well as Social Welfare Entities), have been treated fairly, upholding principles of natural justice and with consistency of standards across the board and without political motives  and perceptions of selectivity or discrimination?

Please also reflect, whether the present and planned actions, circulars and legal and regulatory reforms dealing with NGO’s, pass the tests of just and fairness and are in compliance with international best practices, standards and conventions, and specifically whether before enacting laws to require NGO’s:

  • to give further information that the Government must first enact a law that makes Right to Information a binding Governance Commitment on all
  • · to have their
    1. publicity, advocacy, training and publications, and
    2. fund raising and grant receipts, and
    3. action plans

to be prior approved by a Government Secretariat, to evaluate whether these requirements are based on ill conceived advise, misconceptions and are discriminatory and not in line with independence, natural justice principles , democratic freedoms and human rights as committed to by the constitution and binding international conventions

  • · to demonstrate their independence , integrity of purpose and credibility of operations that Effective, Independent and Credible Public Institutions ( Judicial Services, Public Services, Elections, Human Rights, Police Services, Bribery & Corruption, Ombudsman, Attorney General and Auditor General) are in place
  • · to disclose their strategic plans, budgets, resource allocations and post spend Management Information that the budgeting and budgetary control process of the government are compliant with the best practice benchmark processes advocated by Civil Society Leaders, Businesses and Experts
  • · to demonstrate the cost effectiveness and value addition of outcomes  of NGO spends the State to agrees that all public spends in excess of agreed amounts will be subject to value for money and economy/effectiveness and efficiency post audits, with reports tabled in Parliament before COPA/COPE
  • · to disclose assets and remuneration and perks of key NGO officials, that all Legislators, Executive and Administrative and State and Corporation Officials above a certain agreed grade, to annually declare assets and all remunerations, benefits and perks as well as official expenses and other payments to such officials with disclosures regards their related party transactions and declarations of conflicts of interests to be publicly disclosed
  • · to ensure transparency and accuracy of all reports, data information, accounts and public statements/presentations that all State bodies and regulatory bodies also commit to similar independence, integrity and transparency, especially in relation to Socio-economic  and environmental impacts and cost benefits
  • · to be subjected to investigative review and examination of books of account and data of NGO’s to have an independent ombudsman / facilitator who  has accountability to advance the interests of the NGO’s by effectively progressing any issues challenging the NGO’s or putting  in place safeguards on behalf NGO’s with any Ministry, Department or State/Para state Institutions and willing also to place any grievances of NGO’s and Untangle any knotty issues and ease challenges faced by NGO’s and progress complaints or claims before independent public institutions and state parties
  • · to have a legislatively imposed binding codes of ethics, conduct, standards in public life  and governance for all Legislators, Executive and Administrative and State and Corporation Officials above a certain agreed grade to be bound by similar frameworks, including binding standards in Public Life eg. Nolan Committee Standards in British Public Life

In the interim the NGO’s as a Grand Collective, should offer to adopt on a voluntary basis;

  1. A Code of Conduct for Persons in Public Life
  2. Ten Golden Rules for Civil Society Organisations
  3. Audited Accounts and Annual Reports to be compliant with the Accounting Standards for Not for Profit Organisations
  4. Where appropriate and cost effective Global Reporting Initiative Standards on Economic and Social Impact and Sustainability Reporting  Standards

Mr. President, please tread the path that Mahatma Gandhi traveled and recollect his famous words of wisdom with time tested universal adaptability, quoted below;

“Change yourself.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.

And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is that you will still be you when you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.

And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 13
    1

    Eminent corporate leader Mr. Chandra Jayaratne writes and open letter to the deaf and blind elephant- “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Dear Mr. Jayaratne,

    I know personally you have an impeccably clean character as a leader in the corporate sector for nearly 40 yrs. There was a time at which I too have had, I’m glad, the honour myself in receiving some professional help a long time back.

    While appreciating everything what you have said in here as golden words, I must say that this man, aghast, mistakenly wearing in the shoes of the country’s presidency also for very unfortunate reasons on the part of its vibrant citizenry. He does not understand any of these things you throw at him although they come in a pure good faith, Mr Jayaratne. (in his view)If you want to tell him something for the benefit of his own, the country and our people the advisor such a person has to be a KUDU, GANJA, KASIPPU, GANIKA peddler or a captain of HORA, MERA, WANCHA, DUSHANA, MANKOLLA and MINIMARUM etc.

    There is nothing under the sun he hates than meeting, seeing and having to engage with good and respectable people who have clean characters like yourself.

    That is why we have to rally around under the leadership of Ven Sobhitha Thero + Messrs Ranil+ Anura+ Fonseka+ Karu + Sampanthan + Hakim + Mangala + Maithri + Nimal+ Ravi + Harin + Ruwan + Sajith…..+++ of course the former president and many thousands of intellectuals and those who want to create the ‘change’ you mentioned in your article. They understand as to what does it meant in there in deed! It would be only that way we can repair this country which is unavoidably meant to go in the direction of cats and dogs now.

    Thank you
    Senaka

    • 11
      1

      Senaka de Z. Sirwardena, I Agree.

      Mr. Jayaratne is wasting time. King is beyond that stage. He cannot be rescued.

      King, his clan, cronies & henchmen are all neck deep in corruption and crimes. They cannot turn back now and land themselves in jails. Their best hope is clinging on to power by “Gil Mart”. And they will attempt to do just that.

      Wait and see how rigged and crime ridden the Presidential election will be.

      Mr. Jayaratne, quit wasting time wrting useless letters. Use your impecable record, talents, network and energy to unseat the King Kong by building a common, formidable challenge at the next elelction.

      Everything else will be a waste of time.

      Cheers!

    • 5
      0

      Dear Chandra Jayaratne –

      “Dear Mr. President,”

      Thank you for NOT using His Excellency, like what other Morons were doing.

      “A Code of Conduct for Persons in Public Life”

      What about the Sinhala “Buddhist” monks?

      They all have a code now. Criminal activity , robbery., rape etc.

      It will fall on deaf years.

      Dear Chandra Jayaratne, if you want change, follow Thomas Paine and write the Lanka version of Common Sense and distribute.

  • 3
    0

    UK Deputy HC she says was monitored – Colombo Gazette news

    This is another example of pathetic and cowardice act by the inept ruler of the country. He is engaged in a type of diplomacy or politics that nobody in the world understands about. Types of things that he does, similar to this, is no way going to help build better relationship with our global partners (the IC). Britain and US/EU/Japan/India are our longstanding economic partners. Majority of our foreign exchange based on industrial products* developed by our manufacturers are exchanged between them. (appreciate Chinese involvement too)

    His narrow thinking mentality brings in nothing but reckless results for the entire population in terms of our future opportunities. Chasing after foreign officials whilst they are engaging in official duties such as the one mentioned in this letter should not be worrisome matter for a ruler if he is right in his actions first. But, when its disturbing them on ground level like that, it means his complicity in his own actions and principles.

    In effect, what it indicates by unleashing continuous harassment such as following and in chasing after foreign dignitaries etc shows the degree to which his fear of others and has given a chill on his spine!

    I feel sorry for this ruler who is staying their to fulfill his greedy desires at a huge cost to the people of SL and the future generations that he don’t feel for himself.

    I thank you
    Senaka

  • 2
    2

    MR should be a damn fool to listen to these jokers!

  • 6
    1

    Mr. Chandra Jayaratne

    The appropriate way to address this mad dictator – “His Hexcellunacy Mahinda Rajapassa.”

  • 1
    0

    Poor Chandra,

    Not sure why he wants the Presi to do more damage to the world. “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Whats going to happen to the world now ? is not making Sri lanka a piss pot good enough ?

  • 4
    0

    These morons have the infinite capacity to speak from both sides of the mouth. One set of rules for themselves while pontificating to the international community, which they themselves don’t practice in their own country.
    The sooner you get rid of these odious SOB’s the better. I hope the people will get did of this excreta in 2015.

  • 2
    0

    I have wondered at these ‘open’ letters to individuals holding very high (if not the highest) office. Do they ever read them? Do they even know that such a letter has been placed in the public domain? Take the case of this letter to the President, does HE have staff whose job it is to read what the media carries and convey an honest and frank gist to him? If HE is interested, he can then read it in its entirety. How much time per day does HE spend in reading? Can he described as ‘a reader’? I really don’t know.

    My feeling is that though overtly addressed to an individual, the writers of such open letters are really trying to talk with their fellow citizens. It is, in other words, an open letter not to a single person but to a section of the people, in this case, those who read in English.

    If so, the point whether HE reacts or not does not arise: chances are he will not know that such a communication exists. But, hopefully, some members of the public will read the letter, ponder and, in turn, make a reasoned and constructive contribution to on-going discussion.

    Charles S.

  • 1
    3

    WHO DID ACTUALLY HIT DR. CRIS NONIS?

    WHO IS THE ONLY WORLD LEADER WHO GETS A JUNIOR TO SLAP HIS OWN FACE ON THE WORLD’S BIGGEST STAGE MADE FOR FOREIGN DIGNITARIES?

    DR. CHRIS NONIS IS A HIGHLY EDUCATED AND A CAREER PROFESSIONAL OF PAR EXCELLENCE, IN MANY FIELDS. AMONG OTHER THINGS HE IS GIFTED WITH, IS AN INHERITED A UNIQUE PERSONALITY MIXING IT FITTINGLY WITH A NATURAL GIFT OF TALENT THAT NOT MANY SRI LANKANS HAVE THE FORTUNE TO INHERIT. BLESS HIM!

    CONSIDERING ALL THESE QUALIFICATIONS IN HIM, I BELIEVE THAT DR. NONIS’ IS A WORTHY APPOINTMENT TO REPRESENT OUR COUNTRY AS THE HIGH COMMISSIONER IN A HOTLY INFLUENTIAL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD LIKE UK. OBVIOUSLY THERE WERE PROBLEMS ALL ALONG FOR HIM, EVER INCREASING RESTRICTIONS ON HIM CURTAILING TO PERFORM DUTIES FREE-HAND AS HE WOULD HAVE LIKED IN ORDER TO TAKE THE BENEFIT TO SL. THIS IS NOT ONLY A USUAL MISFORTUNE INVOLVED IN WITH OUR COUNTRY BUT FOR THE REASONS OF PURPORTED MOVES OF CLIPPING DOWN HIS WINGS WHILST NOT ALLOWING, LET ALONE THE FREEDOM, ANY KIND OF FLEXIBILITY TO WORK TO PRODUCE DESIRED RESULTS.

    LIKE THE INTELLECTUALS NORMALLY DO, I AM SURE DR. NONIS TOO HAS SEEN IT IN THE EXACT PERSPECTIVE IN WHICH TO UNDERSTAND – HOW METICULOUS AN APPROACH IS DEMANDED TO MAKE THINGS TO WORK IN ITS DIPLOMATIC TOUCH IN HIS CAPACITY AS HC IN DEALING WITH ITS AFFAIRS WITH THIS VERY INFLUENTIAL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

    HEIGHTENED SADDENING INVOLVEMENT OF A JUNIOR MP’S INCIDENT WITH A PHYSICAL ATTACK ON THE HC LEADING FOR DR. NONIS TO OFFER HIS RESIGNATION IN THE ‘RIGHT-NEXT-MINUTE’ ETC CLEARS SOME DOUBTS IN THE MINDS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC. THE SIMMERING ISSUE THAT WAS HITHERTO UNDER THE FIRE PLACE AND IRRUPTING AT ONCE LIKE THAT AT THE UNGA CONFERENCE TIME IN THE NYC WAS SOMETHING THAT HASN’T BEEN ALTOGETHER A SECRET TO MANY IN THE FOREIGN SERVICES.

    TECHNICALLY, THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF SL HOLDS THE SAME RANK AS THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF IN A FOREIGN SOIL WHEREVER THE COUNTRY MAKES ITS REPRESENTATION. PART OF THAT ALLOWS HIM TO ENJOY SAME LEVEL OF RESPECT AND ACCOLADES UNTIL SUCH TIME HE PHYSICALLY COMES BEFORE THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF AT ANY GIVEN TIME. THOUGH THIS WAS THE NORM, ON THAT DAY OF THE INCIDENT DURING UNGA CONFERENCE, DR. NONIS HAD BEEN SUBJECTED TO THIS ASSAULT BY AN ORDINARY MP IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE ACT OF COWARDICE NOT BY THAT MP BUT BY THE PRESIDENT FROM BEHIND THE CURTAIN. WOULD YOU EVER BELIEVE THAT AN ATTACK OF SUCH NATURE CAN HAPPEN ‘JUST LIKE THAT’ WITHOUT A FIRM BACK GROUND CONNECTED TO THAT? NO! PRESIDENT IS THE ONE WHO USED HIS JUNIOR MP TO COMMIT THAT FOR HIM. PRESIDENT IS THE ONE, AS EVERYONE KNOWS IT WELL, WHO USES ‘THE STRING PULLING GAME’ IN SL FROM BEHIND THE SCREEN. PRESIDENT IS THE NOTORIOUS PERSON WHO SENDS THESE YOUNG POLITICIANS ON WRONG PATH.

    HEAD OF GOVERNMENT IS A NOBLE TITLE. NO ONE SHOULD HARBOUR SUCH THOUGHTS IN THEM TO ACT OR BEHAVE IN SUCH A MANNER TO DAMAGE THE SELF-CHARACTER OR THE IMAGE OF THE COUNTRY OR THE DIGNITY OF THAT AUTHORITY. IT IS A UNIVERSAL TRUTH AND NO ONE CAN DENY IT! OR… RELY ON IT!

    THANK YOU

    SENAKA (RATHGAMA KOLLA)

    • 2
      0

      Senaka

      You write in the same style as I have below.

      Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.

      I believe what you wanted to say was that MR arranged for Nonis to be assaulted by his podiyan. Why couldn’t you say it like that?

      • 0
        2

        I usually don’t reply, especially for those who are scared to show who they really are In their proper name. But Ithinking that this is a special situation and, let me give a suitable, short answer with no offence to you.

        “I have never worked in a bakery!”

        Thanks

  • 3
    0

    We have been inculcated with an aged old axiom ‘Honesty pays’. No! Not anymore. To illustrate, I wish to cite two individuals namely, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremasinghe as to who has been paid for upholding Honesty?

    • 2
      0

      Honesty is the best policy – prior to 2005.

      POVERTY IS THE REWARD OF HONEST FOOLS ! !

  • 2
    1

    All these people are barking up the wrong tree. The fundamental difference is all elected Governments in any part of the world are political bodies, whilst the UN is apolitical and neutral and must not be politicised to serve the wishes of powerful nations. The good governance principles applicable to UN need not apply to politically elected regimes like in the USA or Sri Lanka or UK or Russia etc where most judicial and high level public appointments are political, whether we like or not.

    Another thing many people forget is, if we did not have a President like Mahinda Rajapakse, then, today we wont be debating good governance issues, but instead still battling the megalomaniac Prabakaran. Just look at the big picture of gaining peace and right to live without the fear of getting killed by terrorists, rather than pick on petty political differences. Pathetic!

  • 1
    0

    Senaka:
    This 2X4 MP is from your area. He is the one who waisted millions and millions of public money by starting Mihin Air to boost-up Mahinda name (ego). As a gratitude he has been put to over-see /rule GLP and MEA,as MR does not trust GLP. He is another hit-man just like Mervyn. MR would not discipline him as he does what MR wishes.

    To correct you on what you have said: Nonis, as Pesident’s representative (HC) to UK is considered as equal to the President within UK. This status does not give him that status to all countries. As this happened in the US, he is just another person holding a DPL passport. No other special status for him there. Right now there could be hundreds and hundreds of those holding DPL passports from other countries. I am sure all the 70+ who went on President’s entourage would be holding DPL passports. He would not hold a special status than even a cook. a dancer, a hair dresser or a peon who would have been taken along.

  • 1
    0

    Eusense has raised certain questions to which the answers are obvious. UK and other countries act as if they have a right to interfere. But on the other hand it must be obvious to them that there is something wrong in this country when the Presidents own brothers either live in the USA or have dual citizenships in those countries. The former president Chandrika Bandarnayake’s two children also have chosen to live in UK. I think JR Jayawardhanas grand children also live in america.Many sri lankans are desperately trying to get into UK ,USA ,Canada as economic refugees. Our President suddenly took off to USA on advice of astrologers one month ago.Most elite sri lankans have their money in european countries, singapore etc.All the ministers want to educate their children in UK or australia. Mind you none of these ministers are tax payers but do not explain how they fund these education . Even this website is run from UK as the editors dont feel safe in their own country !The latest is that sri lankan high commissioner in UK was assaulted in new york by the minister monitoring foreign affairs !So we cannot really blame any foreigner for wanting to investigate this interesting little place !

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.