6 October, 2022


Avant-Garde Is Buccaneering Not Racketeering

By Sarath De Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

“The crime situation in the country has reached an all-time high. The Police Service, burdened as is with numerous demands coupled with lack of adequate resources is greatly handicapped in meeting this problem effectively. Hence it is that the public would have to look for other alternative sources if it is to be ensured of the protection of its lives and property.” [Extract from the home page of Avant-garde Security Services (Pvt) Ltd]

Two Ministers who are lawyers claimed infallibility. They expounded the law and determined on the law.

That is in sharp contrast to another eminent lawyer who adorned our parliament- Lakshman Kadirgamar. “I do not for one second say that I am infallible. No lawyer in his senses ever says that, because one thing that we lawyers know and the judges know is how fallible we are. That is why there is litigation. That is why there is a hierarchy of courts where legal issues go from one court to another till they are settled by the highest court”

‘Mouthpiece’ is the term used by racketeers and mobsters to refer to their legal counsel. The debate in parliament on the Avantgarde floating arsenal demonstrated the perceptual accuracy of the mobster definition of lawyer – as a ‘Mouth Piece.’

Major Nissanka Senadhipathi [retired] embattled entrepreneur has chosen his counsel wisely. He truly belongs to the Avant-garde in this transformational phase of good governance. With his astute choice of legal eagles, he has brilliantly succeeded in demonstrating that ethics in politics is an oxymoron.

The Brand name Avant-garde is a stroke of genius. Certainly Major Senadhipathi belongs to the Avant-garde in the security business in general and in maritime security in particular where the balance sheet is on a billion dollar orbital path.

It was Lenin who Russofied the French term ‘Avant-garde’ as avangard in his 1902 treatise ‘What is to be done?’ where he held that the party was ahead of the rest of the working class. Though a minority it was leading the revolutionary forces of its time.

That is precisely what Avant-garde maritime security has done in Sri Lanka with the active connivance of the Defence Ministry in 2012. It is not about the fire arms ordinance. It is about the country’s defense obligations being outsourced to a private company. This is not racketeering. This is buccaneering.

By a circular dated 18th September 2012, the Additional Secretary (Police & Civil Security) of the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development has advised all private maritime security companies that it would deploy a floating armoury facility off Galle – Sri Lanka. That seems to constitute the fig leaf that guards the maidenhead of Mademoiselle ‘Avant-garde’!

This writer discovered the purported document while attempting to discover any additional information available from sources such as the International Maritime Organization and the United Nations agencies monitoring maritime piracy. Why this document was not tabled by one of the mouth pieces of Avant-garde is a mystery.

Listening to the Minister of Law and Order, this writer was nearly convinced that Major Nissanka Senadhipathi was a modern day Francis Drake keeping vigil over the Indian Ocean sea lanes. He was incensed with the raid of a ship that was peacefully anchored in the Galle harbor. The police had raided the floating arsenal purely to score points with the new government. He likened it to the police raid on the Millennium city safe house.

He seems to have forgotten that it too occurred under his watch as Minister of Defence. Lawyers don’t write memoirs that often. Public servants do. In his reminiscences ‘My Belly is White’ his secretary Austin Fernando devotes an entire chapter to what he call ‘Millennium City exposure.’

This writer has no intention of treading in places avoided even by better informed security savvy angels. Mr. Austin Fernando though quite explicit that the Millennium city raid could have been better handled does not accuse the police of excessive zeal or ulterior design.

“As a policeman, for Kulasiri Udugampola to suspect on the lines of the complaint made by Charitha Ratwatte and Daya Pelpola to the Army Commander before the elections that there were thermobaric weapons to kill Ranil Wikremesighe could be considered justifiable. This threat was orchestrated by Ranil Wickremesinghe himself.” [Page 56 – My Belly is white].

The Minister of Justice Mr. Wijayadasa Rajapkhse and the Minster of Law and Order Mr. Tilak Marapona are entitled to hold their legal opinions. They should canvass them before a court of law.

What the two minsters both Presidents Counsel and certainly eminent in their own closet mirrors did was pure judicial hocus pocus. It is obvious that Major Nissanka Senadhipathi was engaged in an enterprise that had a turnover of millions of dollars with the approval and active encouragement of the Ministry of Defense. The official delegation of the Government of Sri Lanka attending the 4th UAE Counter Piracy Conference held from 29th to 30th October 2014 told that “Sri Lanka had a unique model placed in the form of a public/private partnership model to fight piracy in the Indian Ocean”

The Sri Lankan delegation consisted of Admiral D.W.A.S. Dissanayake, Advisor to the President on Maritime Affairs, Mr. AbdulRaheem, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai, Mr. Sumith Dassanayake, Director, Middle East Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and Air Vice Marshal P.B. Premachandra, General Manager, Maritime Division, Rakna Arakshaka LankaLtd.

The problem we confront is that the private public partnership was unique and private to a degree that only Major Senadhipathi can tell us the details. As Minster Marapana himself admitted to the house some of those details were so private that he dared not divulge them. Now was that judicial saber rattling or a mild reminder to shut up or risk exposure? We the people would love to know.

Dr.Colvin R de Silva who minced no words either as Lawyer or Politician famously said ‘My own belief is that ultimately justice depends on the readiness of the people to fight for justice.”

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Latest comments

  • 9

    Colvin said it all: “My own belief is that ultimately justice depends on the readiness of the people to fight for justice.”

    So let’s not let these crooks get away with this.

    But then what would Ranil have to do (other than replace Marapana and Rajapakse), resign???!!!

    • 9

      Never forget,

      Avant-garde average Monthly Income is USD 100 million ( SL Rs. 14.000 million )

      Corruption galore

      No wonder all Rajapakses, Marapona, Ranil in one side

      Cheers Good governance !

      Way to go ? certainly not far .

      Do you think I vote for your UNP GG again for rest of my life ?

      I’m not insane

      • 4

        “Avant-garde average Monthly Income is USD 100 million ( SL Rs. 14.000 million )”
        O.K, 100 million USD income per month, all in Foreign Currency alone, all Avant-garde charges. Out of this How much saved is within Sri Lankan. AG said Avant-garde can be indicted for money laundering, now no sign of it as well.
        Why one or two and few others be allowed swallowing of such a colossal amount – make it ultra official and let Nissanka Senadhipathy earn 50% of it and get his Ex-Soldiers as reinstated State services employees rather running here and there to give each a minister 500 million – for using the State ammunition of 3000 odd.
        Nissanka Senadhipathy should be considering this and live peacefully with such an Income

        • 0

          This info given by Police Spokesman at Sirasa live debate,

          monthly income

          between USD 80 million to USD 140 million a Month

    • 8

      The fact is that Marapana and Rajapaksha should be forced to resign and sent home.
      Corruption is cross party in Sri Lanka and the UNP under Ranil is following Mahinda Jarapassa’s SLFP precedent – to the letter.

      Recently in parliament on the Kandy road construction – without tender process Ranil has the idiocy to say: ‘Phase I of the Kandurata Expressway has to be constructed under an unsolicited system, as the previous government had entered into an agreement to grant one phase of the Construction under the same system, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday.’
      In other words, because Rajapaksa and his corrupt clowns were corrupt and did not have tenders did it we must follow them!!

      This is what Arjuna Mahendan the insider trader at the Central Bank also did with the Bond issue for his Son in Law of Perpetual Treasuries – following the corrupt Clown Nivard Caraal’s precedent!
      In many ways Perpetual Treasuries and the Mahendran scam is the UNP’s equivalent of the Avant Guard Scam!
      We the Sinhala Modayas of Lanka are all being taken for a massive ride!

    • 4

      Dear Sarath De Alwis,

      “My own belief is that ultimately justice depends on the readiness of the people to fight for justice.”

      Thanks a lot for reminding the nation of this excellent statement by Dr. Colvin R. De Silva.

      It is now proven beyond any doubt, these are grave matters. They cannot be left in the hands of corrupt monkeys of either the UNP or SLFP to resolved.

      Responsibility lies with the people. Who show-cased their readiness by electing extra-ordinarily uneducated, uncivilized & criminal members to our Parliament. Again, at the last General Election. Despite all warnings to the contrary.


      BTW, What happened to that much trumpeted digging of Wasim Tajudeen’s grave? Just in time for the General Election.

      What’s the outcome? Where are the killers? When will they be charged?

      What a corrupt, twisted, unjust country we live in.

      Exactly how stupid are Sri Lankans? Native Veddah, where are you?

      • 4

        Ben Hurling

        “Exactly how stupid are Sri Lankans? Native Veddah, where are you?”

        I suggest if you can’t beat them, join them.

        Do you have any information about the kind of ensign that these floating armouries are flying when at sea. I would have thought “Jolly Roger” would be most appropriate.

      • 3

        Ben Hurling,

        Exactly how stupid are Sri Lankans? Native Veddah, where are you?

        Stupid to the extent of Baldie Blues- leaving the rest to the heavens- shape shape shape Lankans.

        “What a corrupt, twisted, unjust country we live in. “

        That is exactly what the man who hijacked the common candidate thinks and he is in a serious condition with the worlds best care.
        Monks should be joyful at samsara time but the politicians must give the best.

  • 16

    A good article. In the times of the kings, or even say 100 years ago , when we had not fallen completely under the spell of money, families like the Wickrmasinghes,Rajapakses of MR fame, Marapanes from Ratnapura would not be seen dead with a chap like Nissanka Senadipathi. But I cannot include Wijedasa Rajapakse a 56 product, in that list ( it shows though doesnt it ?). Today they are all under the pay master.

  • 8

    Get a life pal when did fighting piracy in the international waters become a national defense matter. What Avent Guard did was get business away from the Mercenaries of UK and US who had a monopoly in the piracy protection area. The Defence Ministry helped by allowing the armory to be operated. What is laughable is that Mr. Sumanthiran is worried whether these weapons are sold to terrorists. Where was he when his Thambi hid 12 ships with weapons to kill and maim innocent Sri Lankan’s in the International waters. Pathetic diabolical losers. Get a life.

  • 7

    When a minister makes a statement in parliament, he is replying on behalf of the government and stating the policy of the government The Prime Minister should be asked to confirm what Minister Marapana stated is the government’s policy.If it is not, then Marapana should be asked to resign for misleading parliament.

  • 4

    Dear Sarath

    The JVP that you campaigned so vigorously for, and we also believed in prior to them doing themselves in and losing all credibility, has so far achieved nothing on the above matter (or any matter, for that matter!).

    Why are you surprised or wasting time expecting any better from the rest, who were far worse to begin with?

  • 4

    Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

    That means us, the janathawa, the ordinary folk of this country, their sons and daughters.

    Having won one battle (or having at least thought we have won) a great battle against one rogue family, we seem to be up against a gang of rogues. We should not rest until we are victorious over them too. Let us speak, write and demonstrate peacefully until victory.

  • 0

    $100m is nothing much for the whole of the country to get destabilized. The former army commander and the justice minister have resorted to have fights openly, calling the other a thief. This is a shame. Our country is much more valuable and our people have great potential to make ours one of the strongest economies in the region. The whole issue is related to our enviable position in the Indian ocean. Both prez and PM should discuss this issue among themselves, put their relatives and friends aside and steer the country on a path of yahapalanaya as promised during the election time.It now appears everybody is trying to make a fast buck. If this trend is not checked, the people will take matters to their hands (as supposed to have been suggested by Colvin R) or even who knows, a Jerry Rowling (of Ghana)type cleanup by the military can take place.

  • 2

    I heard all these commotions are because politicians want to hand over it to one of their businessmen because that was a very profitable business.

    Ranil Wickramsinghe come and say sometime ago, Singapore took Sri lankan as an example to develop singapore and Sri lankan has given loans to Britain and now Sri lankan is begginG from every where ALL THANKS TO A FEW GENERATIONS OF POLITICIANS TO WHOM WE WORSHIP.

  • 2

    Do not expect any change in the personnel who hold the Ministries of Justice and Law & Order, Prison Reforms. This was a DEAL made by the then Leader of the Opposition in the early morning hours of January 9th 2015 with the outgoing President. The DEAL was brokered by the person who conducted the Leader of the Opposition to the Temple Trees at that time of the day. Who was he? Our then Leader of the Opposition had no shame in being conducted by a man named Nadesan to the Temple Trees. When this was said in Parliament, the present Prime Minister, the then Leader of the Opposition did not intervene but was very silent. Now we know “MR & Co”, has got the strongest DEFENSE in Government and nothing will happen and they are quite SAFE. Now what do the PEOPLE have to DO?

  • 0

    Sad to see a person of the caliber of Sarath Alwis subscribing to politically motivated hateful sentiments like “Gotabhaya Rajapksha must punished SOMEHOW”. Wrondoers must be punished, who denied that? Suspects must be investigated, who denied that? But to pick a man and start with the premise that he MUST be punished SOMEHOW is most reprehensible -legally , moraly. Threatening law enforcement authorities to do it SOMEHOW is forcing them to violate their professional intetegrity in a most ugly way. AG cannot do it. Minister of Justice cannot do it. Finally to satisfy these wolves the PM said we are now investigating along the lines of ‘money laundering’.

    You can punish a man only for what he did. You can’t accuse a rapist as a thief and a thief as a rapist because they have acquired a bad repution in one area.

    If Prabakaran killed 1o,ooo people I am not prepared to say he killed 10,001 people, neither am I prepared to say he gave orders to rape.

    Cool down Mr Alwis.
    It is a ‘floating’ armory! Terrible, they are fire arms! God, this company has earned 500 million US dollars a month! PUNISH GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSHA; find someway you legal idiots.


    • 1

      Hey stop nit picking!!
      Recurring misuse of power maniac Gotabaya.
      When Jeffery Archer was convicted it was collective conviction.

      • 0

        “Recurring misuse of power maniac Gotabaya.”

        Find SOMEWAY to punish him you legal bufoons. If nothing can proved bump him off. Sack AG and the Minister of Justice.

        • 0

          Ha ha ha^^^^O
          today we talk of feeling the truth not thinking the truth.

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