26 August, 2019

Blog

Burning The House 

By Radhika Coomaraswamy

Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy

For the most part of the last few weeks we have been in a suspended state of disbelief. Yes, the 2015 government had not lived up to its expectations, some people were plotting for the next election to teach them a lesson, and then lightening struck. The Prime Minister was removed in the stealth of the night replaced by the archrival that the President was elected to depose, Parliament was prorogued and then dissolved and a cabinet appointed. Neither the Prime Minister nor the cabinet have shown that they have the majority of Parliament behind them and this autocratic rule will continue until the leadership accepts in theory and in practice that the legitimacy of a prime minister rests on his numbers in Parliament. 

Every day my friends and I text each other with information on who is crossing, what is happening here, what is happening there, so much so that we get lost in the weeds and miss the big picture. What is the big picture? We are today witnessing the gross abuse of executive power in ways that have been quite unimaginable even to the best of our cynics. It is power being wielded not only against the traditions and customs of a parliamentary tradition but in brazen disregard of the words and terms of the Constitution. When I meet people socially due to spin and confusion they say, “Who cares- one set of crooks vs. another set of crooks”. This is not about the crooks; it is about institutions, democracy and the system of government you would like in place for your children. 

The first institution under attack by this runaway executive is the institution of Parliament. It is true the public image of Parliament and parliamentarians is not very good but they do pass laws and do many other things that allow us to govern ourselves according to a set process. The procedure set for the removal of the Prime Minister is quite clear if one reads the plain meaning and the intent of the text as a whole. However even if one were to justify the removal, the most important point in a parliamentary democracy is that the prime minister must enjoy the confidence of a parliamentary majority. So even if the removal and appointment were legal, the next step would have been to go to Parliament and take a floor test as soon as possible to see who enjoys the confidence of the house. Instead Parliament was prorogued and dissolved leaving behind a Prime Minister and Cabinet that do not have the approval of Parliament. The fact that the SLPP is a willing partner in this even though it has a great deal of popularity in the country and would have probably won the next election is also disturbing.

What was equally as disturbing as the attack on Parliament was the pressure and intimidation aimed at the Speaker. Parliament is supposed to be a co-equal arm of government, a check to a willful executive. Parliamentary staff are expected to take their instructions from the Speaker who heads this co-equal arm. Instead officials of Parliament defied the Speaker and decided to follow the President, an institution they were supposed to check and balance. In addition the Speaker was under assault by some parliamentarians when no confidence motions were brought forward. Though parliamentary brawls around the world are epic, the image of incredulous policemen and women guarding our Speaker as abuse and objects were hurled at them is truly unique. Protecting the powers, privileges and immunities of the Speaker is a must if we are to remain a parliamentary democracy. 

The second tradition that is being attacked by the runaway executive are long settled rules of legal interpretation. The arguments for dissolution that the government presented and will be tested in the Supreme Court are a case in point. The Constitution gives the President a general power to dissolve, as one of his many powers. Then in a specific provision it states that the President can only dissolve Parliament after 4 ½ years. It is one of the longest settled rules of legal interpretation that the specific trumps the general; specific provisions qualify the general power. Another well accepted rule of interpretations is that the later law qualifies the earlier one- this too is ignored with regard to the nineteenth amendment. This perversion of legal interpretation in this case will perplex most lawyers as a crude, instrumental use of the law. 

Another strange development is the President using his powers to change the leadership of a party other than his own. Whether the UNP needs a change of leadership is something to be discussed by the members of the party and the public. But removing, proroguing, dissolving Parliament all because you do not like the leader of another party is quite extraordinary. The President in his first speech on the subject equated his relationship with the prime minister to a bad marriage. Surely the answer to a bad marriage is to seek the advice of a counselor and not to burn the house down with the children in it. In politics and in life one has to work with people one does not like. One can manoeuvre, discuss or position oneself in this situation but protecting institutions and their integrity must surely be more important than personality differences. 

When the President prorogued Parliament to try and get a parliamentary majority I was alarmed but found that most people were equivocal. I was interested by the comments average people made. It was along the lines of “It is a done deal they will buy them over”. There was very little moral outrage in this reaction but a cynical acceptance of what politics was like in this day and age. The fact that my Member of Parliament can be bought over for any amount of money without any reaction made me realize the depth of despair in this country with regard to our politics. Interestingly the people who received the least respect were the minority parties. Many people assured me that they would be bought over first. As a minority I found this a stunning rebuke to our self-respect. Is that what people think of minority political leaders that they can be bought and sold like in an auction? 

Speaking of minorities, the scenes at Rupavahini, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the release of the man supposedly responsible for the Digana anti-Muslim riots, instead of re-remanding him as they did in the past, began to raise the threshold of fear- the fear of unruly mobs let loose by politicians and some religious figures. The fear has not gone away. One must commend the Army Commander and the armed services for staying away from this very political contest and one must acknowledge that whatever else he did the President did not call out the military. Nevertheless there are ominous signs, pockets of violence, unruly demonstrations, pockets of thuggery, a pliant Attorney General and an uneasy peace. 

In recent years we had become accustomed to a diversity of media voices. Today, even though pockets of diversity remain there seems to be a concerted effort to convey only one voice, one truth especially in the state media. Much of it is sheer spin. Foreign envoys, local political parties and other individuals would recount how they would meet the President on his request and they would speak their mind but the discussions were used as a photo opportunity to make out to the public that everyone was extending their support. There is so much spin that one does not know what is truth and what is reality. But this time it does not seem to be working. One young person told me that she watches the news but her instincts tell her it is all wrong. As a result everyone goes back to their social media bubble and perhaps the international press to discern what is happening. A country that loses touch with reality and the truth, especially a small country such as ours, is on a spiral towards disaster nationally and internationally

The international repercussions of what has happened will have huge implications especially in the near future. For the moment we are an internationally “suspect” country. Except for Burundi I do not think anyone has recognized the new government and probably will not until January. I worked on the issue of the Rohingyas and Myanmar and understood the terrible consequences of being a cast out nation. Yes they survive but at what cost?  Many end up beating tribal drums, at war with the west while desiring their investment, and their people portrayed to the world as ugly and prejudiced. We became the number one destination of Lonely Planet, the most respected travel magazine in October and like “evil eye”, within the week the constitutional crisis occurred. Now we are nowhere important in the listings. When one was fighting a war it must have been exhilarating  to be fighting the imperialist west but in peacetime, the west, India and China are equally important as tourists, as buyers of our exports and as investors.  We must protect our national interest but be open to co-operation with all, full of confidence and maturity that the world will take seriously. Being a castaway nation even for a few months is just not worth the heated rhetoric. 

We are now experiencing a runaway executive, autocratic governmental rule unrelated to Parliament, and promise of free elections under the rubric of that autocratic rule. One can hope the Supreme Court will stop the direction of this flow. Once constitutional principles are restored, perhaps we can have general elections. The first thing that any new government should do is to do away with or severely limit the powers of the executive president. Time and time again this institution has destroyed the fabric of Sri Lankan life. The Venerable Sobitha gave his life in struggling for its abolition. In his memory we must keep up the effort to ensure that any executive under our Constitution cannot act on whims and fancies, only according to democratic traditions and the rule of law.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    2

    Most of the people are speaking of wrong things of the speakers . did the president do right thing.
    This period is good for the forces to cover up misdeeds that was open for discoveries of the Guilty.
    this is a time of profits of crime questions with a question to justify their faults.

    • 10
      8

      Rathika Coomaraswamy: The Constitution of Sri Lanka is part of the Problem and NOT the solution to the political economic crisis, and the Culture of impunity and immunity for politicians who commit Financial Crimes and Hate Crimes against the people of Lanka.

      The 19th amendment should have FIRST banned MPs crossing the floor and party hopping. But the 19th was explicitly designed to protect Bondscam Ranil, and has turned the Parliament into a “Cesspit” of Corruption with RW (and his partner in crime Mahinda Jarapassa who RW protected for 3.5 years), leadership. The 19th is the cause of the current Constitutional gridlock. But lawyers like you who love legal formalism and procedure cannot see beyond their nose to the political economic crisis, and geopolitical standoff going on in Lanka at this time are also part of the crisis.
      Finally, and most important, the 19th Amendment was designed to protect Bondscam Ranil,and ensure that he would asset strip and sell Lanka’s strategic assets (lands, transport and energy security infrastructure, date platforms), to his Washington Trump-land backers who have put Lanka into a debt trap with their international sovereign bond scam and loot vulnerable countries like Greece, Argentina, Lanka etc. for America First and the Global 1 percent, and related SECURITY interests the Cold war against China in the Indian Ocean. Wake up!

      • 6
        3

        Alice in Wonderland
        Please prove your opinion with facts. You can easily quote the constitution to support your opinion.Or else you are proving yourself that you are a another boot licker who came out of the wood work to gain a profit by the situation.

        • 4
          1

          Of the 3 branches of a democratic government – Executive, Judiciary and legislature, it is the latter – the Parliament of legislators that is most corrupt and in need of reforms.
          Actually, the scenario shows that “checks and balances” are working with the Executive checking the corrupt legislature and Judiciary weighing into curb Presidential and Parliamentary excesses.. Albeit in a banana republic fashion.. Also, people are mature and quiet, so we see that it is the so-called leaders and their crony apologist like (RC for Bondscam Ranil), who are the problem.

          Civil society and JVP should therefore press for reform and banning of MPs crossing the floor of Parliament for the highest bidder. MPs who jump parties should lose their seats. JVP instead of trying to abolish the Presidency which now has reduced power after 19th Amendment, and should also press for participation of younger generation and ban those over 67 contesting elections.

          • 2
            0

            From Central Bank figures it seems that 55% of Sri Lanka’s sovereign debt is owned by US linked bond traders. Of the remaining 45% of debt, most of which are long-term concessionary loans the ADB and JICA around 23%, World Bank 12%, China 10.3 % and India 3%. IMF ?,
            There is no transparency about who actually has the 55% percent owned by bond traders some of which are maturing in in 2019-20, which are primarily responsible for the crashing rupee. The Central Bank should release this information to the general public or the RTI act should be used to get this info. into public domain.
            This info. re. Lanka’s sovereign debt ownership is necessary for debt restructuring and a discussion on the external players who have colluded with corrupt local politicians and Bondscam Ranil in an “Economic War” against the Sri Lankan people to put the country in a debt trap, crash the rupee and asset strip the island’s strategic resources (land, transport and energy security infrastructure, data platforms for big Data and logistics info. systems).
            As you know there is a Cold war in the Indian Ocean between Trumpland (with allies Japan, and India), and China. Sri Lanka sits on a choke point of Undersea cables and g80 percent of global internet traffic, trade and oil flows. There has also been a cyber-war with fake news against China to blame it for Lanka’s debt trap, tho’ China has only 10.3 percent of the debt. Sri Lanka was put into the Middle Income Country debt trap by IMF and WB in 2006 and encouraged to borrow on capital markets after it was made ineligible for concessionary loans. Corrupt and ignorant local politicians who blindly follow Washington’s neo-liberal spin and Economic Hit men did the rest

        • 3
          1

          No we don’t see him like that

          You sound like a boot licker

  • 9
    13

    Radhika,
    “…this autocratic rule will continue until the leadership accepts in theory and in practice that the legitimacy of a prime minister rests on his numbers in Parliament.”
    Did you tell this to Ranil in 2015 when he accepted the PM post with only 43 MPs while the other side had 152 MPs.

    • 10
      4

      Eagle Eye

      Hope you are also aware that the side who had 152 MPs never thought of bringing an impeachment motion when a PM was appointed from a party who had only 43 MPs.

      Why is that??

      Whose fault is that??!

    • 10
      0

      Dear Eagle Eye,
      .
      I’d be grateful if you give me a simple, coherent answer to this question:
      .
      Why didn’t the Rajapaksas bring a motion of no confidence in the Wickremasinghe government of January 2015?
      .

      • 0
        0

        Capitalisation of all below. Was I the villain?

      • 3
        10

        Sinhala_Man,
        Mahinda Rajapakse did not bring a NCM because he is a ‘GENTLEMAN’ who respected the decision of the President whereas Ranil is a ‘JUNGLEMAN’ who does not want to respect the decision of the President and has become an illegal squatter in Temple Trees.

        • 5
          3

          Eagle Eye, you got this ass backwards, dude! Go check your optometrist – or maybe a Bird-Brain Shrink would be more appropriate!

    • 6
      1

      Eagle Eye, the requirement for the PM to have sufficient numbers in Parliament was introduced in the 19th amendment. At the time Ranil was appointed in 2015, parliament functioned under the 18th amendment, which did not include that requirement.

      • 0
        3

        Chandralal,
        I have not read the 19th Amendment. According a lawyer appeared in a TV discussion, there is no such thing in 19th Amendment.

  • 4
    16

    President who was elected by 6.2 million people had to take the right step when a ‘Thuppahiya’ elected by Colombian Baiyas was ruining the economy and trying to bulldoze a Constitution that will break this country into pieces. Lot of Sinhalayo sacrificed their lives and shed blood to protect this country from invaders and keep it in one piece. Last attempt to break this country was made by Prabhakaran. That attempt was also thwarted by our Armed forces making enormous sacrifices. When Wellala Demala politicians realized that they will never be able to achieve their goal by fighting, they resorted to other forms with the support of our anti-Sinhala, anti-Buddhist ‘Thuppahiya’.
    If the President removed the PM, dissolve the Parliament and took powers to his hand, it is against Democratic way of governing. Instead of doing that, as a person who respects democratic values he passed the responsibility to people, who are above all the others to decide. Ironically, the very same dumbos who talk about protecting democracy are against that. I am wondering whether these guys have something called ‘BRAIN’ inside their heads.

  • 1
    1

    ” Interestingly the people who received the least respect were the minority parties. Many people assured me that they would be bought over first. As a minority I found this a stunning rebuke to our self-respect. Is that what people think of minority political leaders that they can be bought and sold like in an auction? ”

    Where did all Radhika, Karuna, Kathirgamar, Duraiappa, Kumarasuriyar, Rajan Chelvanayam, Thevanayagam, Arumugam, Rajadurai, G.G.Ponnambalam’s history went? How wrong are those who think “Tell me if she/he is a Tamil I will buy them with a cup of coffee!”?

    Common guys. Radhika refused to answer the reader’s question on Judge Sundram report is whitewashing her by blackwashing her enemy New King. If this is Chandrika’s initiation, Chandrika too is going to blackwash herself within Tamils. Radhika has no respect in minority community.

    Further during Radhika’s time HRCSL, Friday Falsedom everything sucked more than Lankawe in the time of New King.

    If Radhika didn’t know that yet, we can clarify it to her that IC is opposing New King associating him with Old Royals only because of Radhika’s SLFP government during 205-2015. When they engineered the regime change they thought New King is letting go the dictatorial communists called SLFP. But he stole Aappa from Western powers too.
    Radhika is telling us about Myanmar. Why is not she accepting that New King’s and Old King’s all these struggle are about the March 2019, the War Crime, which Radhika denies ardently?
    Radhika is probably resenting she being removed from Radhika Council.

    What a dishonest write up!

    “Kauli Dhinda Kallanar Kooda Nindhu Oulaavurar” (The thief who are the chicken is also browsing the bushes with the search party looking for the hen” )

  • 3
    0

    Hey Eagle eyed buddy why not answer Nirmal’s simple question without beating about the bush ? Should be Easy for one with brains

  • 3
    8

    U.N.P. MPs are dead scared of taking a vote for a NCM calling by name because if a vote is taken by calling names, the voters come to know who voted in favor of ‘ Maha Benku Hora’ and that could be the end of their political career. This could be the reason why Sumanthiram threaten Kiriella when he suggested to go for a vote calling by name.

  • 3
    3

    Many thanks Radhika Coomaraswamy for the points to ponder over the recent ‘happenings’.
    .
    By the way , you looked at the plight of Rohingyas with Aung San Suu Kyi holding the lamp. Now Aung is an ‘International Pariah’. Do you realise now as to why the Burmese Junta was “Burning The House’ belonging to Rohingyas? UN says that the Junta is into genocide.

    • 1
      1

      Pillai Rohingya iss ue simply West made. UK began it and USA is living on it and exploiting it.

  • 8
    0

    Nothing can make a better case for the abolition of executive presidency than the current meltdown of the President. He will go down in Sri Lankan history as the textbook example of what happens if a psychopathic, sadist, cultural dinosaur is elected to such an office.

  • 6
    0

    Egale Eye, one don’t think, you have an eye, the size of an ant. People like you are despicable and a real curse for the country. When, all fail, all of you bring this jathiya, and selling out to foriegners card. This is what putting this country back not forward. Those countries who thought all human are same and equal have gone far ahead of us. Owing to people like you, the bums suckers, the country is becoming an out cast among the nations of the world. On daily basis, the people are getting miserable and beggery but all of you loot them and suck their blood, and make merry. Now, no choice but God only save this Paradise, and it’s good and beautiful people. Also you shout at the foriegners but go to them with begging bowls for your messily survival, and when all of you going to learn a lesson, no one knows.

  • 3
    6

    RW is inadequate and he deserves this.
    President got rid of him before he sells more state property to china for commission and devide the country by his federal theories.
    Same thing happened in Malaysia.

    And a good doctor will not have time to write this long articals about politions if the doctor is a professional public servant.
    I have doubts that you are not even real.

    Just think about what you are talking.

    President has done it nicely. In a way he saved the country, even if he had to break the law.

    You will be thankful (probably you will not cos you are partial and pro UNP and all in for federal system)

    I think the best choice is to go for an Election in January.

    Let us select what we want. Not what you want or the speaker or the members of the parliament.

    Cos we believe we are the bosses of all above mentioned people.

    • 4
      2

      Fernando
      What you want is Mahinda Rajapaksha and his crooked way of doing things so that you, your family and immediate relatives can personally get benefited by showing your boot licking skills. Yes, you and your kind will be bosses, no doubt!

      • 1
        4

        So you agree that if we go for an election MR will win because the majority of us will like him.

        Yes that’s true.
        You know why?

        Because the man never sold us to foreigners.
        In fact he build the highway.
        stopped the war. Made our cities very clean and nice.
        Reduce heroine addicts

        True he sent white vans
        Probably for the people like you.

        And to tell you the truth I am not J about he gave money to his family because he done something for the country.

        And we are thankful

        What your government has done.

        Nothinggggggg. (In England they say he has done f all)

  • 7
    0

    “Another strange development is the President using his powers to change the leadership of a party other than his own. Whether the UNP needs a change of leadership is something to be discussed by the members of the party and the public. But removing, proroguing, dissolving Parliament all because you do not like the leader of another party is quite extraordinary.”
    *
    We have local media empires that abuse their media monopoly to achieve the same thing.
    *
    There is something in common: Anyone but Ranil W.

  • 8
    0

    Part One

    Dear Radhika Coomaraswamy,
    .
    Thanks for your disciplined, objective writing. Despite that “Eagle Eye” continues to spew racist hatred and writes ugly stuff.
    .
    “Fernando” wants elections now, because nobody is sure that what the people want is what we have in parliament. You advocate breaking the law! So you cry for the Athenian Democracy that brought ruin during the Peloponnesian War. Actually you follow that lead even further. The Athenians did not allow the slaves who kept the economy going to vote. That our housemaids slaving in the Middle-East have no vote gets no mention from anybody, but “Eagle Eye” seems to discount the rights of the many “Thuppahiyas” who contributed to electing . . . electing whom? Yes, electing Sirisena (sic) as of no value.
    .
    Our protest against Sirisena’s action is not because we love the way the UNP was governing the country. We have no right to surmise what other people want, but I think it true that few want Ranil Wickremasinghe. He’s Prime Minister mostly because he has been manipulating within the UNP for years. Speaking for myself, I very much want Ranil out. But as you point out, Radhika, leadership of a political party that he was never a member of is none of Sirisena’s business. In fact, I’d like to see Ranil as Prime Minister for a week or two after the Court ruling (assuming that ruling accords with common sense). After that let Sajith (or whoever else) take over. Encouragingly, Sajith seems to realise that to be the necessary course of action.

  • 8
    3

    Radhika,
    .
    What you say about the blatant misuse of Power in Sri Lanka is true, but coming from you, it is so damn ironical!
    .
    You funded yourself a two-year executive salary to conduct war-crime investigation, but once your grant was used up, you helped bury the findings, lied about your knowledge of the results (CT confirmed that), protected the criminals just the way UN wanted in its complicity with the Defense institution, and took wings to take an even cushier job abroad to avoid any domestic irritations that might arise from your actions. You were merely a convenient employee for the then UN admin over Sri Lankan issues.
    .
    Did you have even a scintilla of consideration for the devastated, war affected and still burdened segment of your own community when you so carefully masterminded a comfortable life for yourself at the expense of no other than those same Tamils for whom you were pretending to help bring justice?
    .
    SHAME on you that you would now try to pontificate about the nastiness of brazen disregard of civility by the powerful , moral outrage or for being available to be bought by money. You did all that and more. Your sins were enormously worse, given that your target, intended or otherwise, ended up being the most disadvantaged, desperate and devastated war victims within your own small community!
    .
    I can only pray for you!

    • 5
      3

      There you go again. Please tie up with my response to you to be found below the article about Namal R. misusing the Prime Minister’s office.
      .
      You want no Tamil of ability around except yourself, and you don’t even want to tell us who you are.
      .
      I’m not saying that all of what you are saying about Radhika is not true; but the fact is that her brother and she have contributed much to our country.

      • 2
        2

        Dear Sinhala_Man,
        .
        Radhika consciously helped Sri Lanka and the UN bury the truth about war crimes uncovered by her own study. She thereby benefitted financially and got elevated in office. Is your argument that those “deficiencies”of Dr. Radhika Cumaraswamy deserves to be ignored because her brother (and she), presumably, in your assessment, have contributed much to SL in the past? That makes sense? Really?!
        .
        I can only speculate on what prompted your rather curious statement “You want no Tamil of ability” – but will charitably let that go aside from pointing out my unreserved and perhaps merciless criticisms of not just Jeevan, Rajan, Tamara and Radhika, but Dayan, GL, Rajiva too – all high-academic achievers and no less esteemed.
        .
        I choose to ignore stupid, incongruous, provocative, prejudiced and bigoted comments by the “less informed,” who shall remain unidentified in deference to their own innate challenges they cannot help. Intellectually challenged, they truthfully do not know any better. In any case, no one takes them seriously anyway, so why bother?
        .
        Conversely, when intellects with proven credentials and holding or aspiring for high-offices use canards under the cover of their education and recognition then that seriously worries me because many trusting readers can be swayed unknowingly, duped by verifiable credentials. That was the case with Dayan, GL, Rajiva, as well as Jeevan, Tamara and Radhika.
        .
        What is even worse is that these educated were either gullible or grotesquely selfish falling for MR’s entrapment, affording protection and support to MR’s regime against serious international actions. These individuals wantonly ignored the inevitable damage to democracy in pursuit of narrow selfish interests. Now, when they try to whitewash and that does enrage me.
        .
        As for your comment below the article about Namal, I will post one later today or tomorrow.

        • 2
          2

          There you go again with your rubbish. Radhika supported the MR regime? This article sure does not seem like it. I think Sinhala man is right, you have some kink, stalking Radhika all over the place, slandering her with an absolutely false charge.

          • 2
            2

            Thushara,
            .
            Lame defense my dear. You will not have to conjecture my motives to your convenience and Radhika’s comforts, if you can learn to defend and challenge objectively.
            .
            If you are sincere all you have to do is ask Radhika why, as CT has confirmed and accused, she had to lie, first saying that the Report was not completed, and then after undeniable evidence showed up that she had indeed signed the final report herself, concede she fraud. Radhika then went on to further give the ridiculous excuse she had not read it either before or even after signing it – that by a “educated legal mind”! And you still want to defend Radhika has integrity and credibility?! Incredulous!!
            .
            Radhika got herself financed by the UN at high-pay for a two year period selling the proposal for the study on purported war crimes on her own community, and then having completed the term, devised the strategy to get elevated at office by burying the findings of war crimes against thousands of desperate families of Tamil war victims. She did that by playing along with the evil trio, namely MR’s Defense secretary, Indian Nambiar and the UN, to protect Sri Lanka against war crime investigations. Radhika in effect earned her living and got further elevated at the expense of Tamil blood and tears.
            .
            And now, in an attempt to whitewash herself Radhika has the audacity to feign rage about “abuse of power”, and “politicians selling themselves for money”, two evils that she had herself done with abandon, and at the cost of justice against SL’s merciless massacres.
            .
            Hypocrisy at its worst – Well, perhaps not worse than those stooping to give her the nauseating fig-leaf defense!

    • 2
      1

      Ok
      Thank you for the great info

      I didn’t know this much

  • 5
    0

    Part Two
    .
    Some of those who are unhappy with Sirisena’s actions possibly want Ranil as Premier, but from what I’ve been able to assess, even their objections are not ones that involve defence of a particular person. The objection is to the usurpation of all powers by the President; that cannot be allowed, even if it be said that it is only for an interim period of two months before finding a replacement after a general election. And can a fair General Election be held at a time chosen by Sirisena because he felt that Ranil is less popular than Rajapaksa?
    .
    I wonder how many have seen the assessments confidentially made here?
    .
    https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09COLOMBO744_a.html
    .
    This about Sajith Premadasa: “(Note Premadasa is mild-mannered, thoughtful, and well-spoken. He was an extraordinarily polite and gacious host. Premadasa . . . comes across as more westernized than most UNP leaders. He was careful not to be self-promoting and was measured in his comments about other UNP leaders.”
    .
    At that time, S.B. Dissanayake was wanting to be the UNP Presiedntial Candidate: the note on him goes: “Dissanayake is extremely energetic and informal. He bounded down the stairs for this meeting wearing a pastel, rainbow-plaid sarong, white tunic shirt, and no shoes. Throughout most of the meeting he sat cross-legged on his couch and bounced up and down in excitement.”
    .
    Remember that these details are like the observations of Samuel Pepys in his diary kept from 1660 until 1669, but deciphered only in 1819. I see little unethical in our benefitting from Julian Assange’s exposures.
    .
    I’ve not tried to match the elegance of Radhika’s writing.

  • 1
    3

    Madam Radhika
    Don’t you read the undercurrents of en block support of minorities to the financially powerful, urban minority of the majority in the whole saga?. I have absolutely no issue if ethnic/religious groups too are devided , at least 10% to one side. Majority of the majority feel cornered and don’t you think it is no good? Bear with me until the next elections to see for yourself this ‘majority of majority’. They are in no mood to sacrifice their life to this democracy interpreted to the letter by lawyers and the side for which Wasantha Senanayake FINALLY would raise his hand.

    Soma

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    The sacking of RW was at the heart of the conflict. If it was legal (clauses 46 (4) and 46 (5) of the 19th amendment seems to sake it legal), then one has to look at events after that and see who has been doing what. Firstly, the constitution does not say explicitly that a person selected by the President has to seek a vote of confidence. RW didnt do it in 2015 (January and in August) either, and no civil society champion cried foul then. If the MR government was legal as per the 19th amendment, the Opposition had the right to move a vote of no confidence. However, there is a procedure for it as per standing orders. Did RW & company follow that? and did the Speaker follow that? Radhika is silent on this. I am no advocate of MR, but had the roles here been reversed and RW was at the receiving end, one wonders whether all these aggrieved parties would have been crying foul . Is this a class issue rather than a constitutional issue? The Chardonnay club members of Colombo never liked MS because of his rural and non English speaking background. They never liked MR as he ended the war which was giving oxygen to many members of this club. The only way to resolve this conflict is to have an election and to let people decide who should govern Sri Lanka

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      “The only way to resolve this conflict is to have an election and to let people decide who should govern Sri Lanka” ??? This is a recurring refrain in these pages and elsewhere in the country. While under
      normal circumstances, this would have been ideal, the country has been lead up the garden path since 2015 January by manipulative, mendacious, rogues in Parliament – from both sides of the House. Our options are woefully limited. We sowed the wind and now reap the inevitability of the whirlwind.

      I fear a General Election is not the answer to our crisis at this juncture. It will further exacerbate matters and increase turmoil and disorder countrywide – not to mention harming the economy further. The sometimes discussed Army taking over, even temporarily, will harm the country in a multitude of ways.
      I hope that happy tradition from the 1940s we have shared with India in the region of not submitting to rule by the uniformed forces will continue to the country’s credit.

      Pray tell me, what solutions have those wise Mahanayakas in Kandy at a time when the country is burning. We have heard so often that they saved the country for two millennium and half when in serious trouble. Isn’t it time they stepped out from the comfort of their serene sorroundings. How can they help. Reginald Cooray could not take over as Governor, Central Province as the President willed because the wise Mahanayakas decreed he is from the wrong religion. Who needs the protection of laws and the Constitution in this country so long as we have Buddhist priests who point out the Sinhala Buddhists form about 75% of the country and that is the cure for all our ills. Forgive me for the sarcasm but the hard fact is the country is tottering towards disintegration due to bad advise and worse political leadership.

      Kettikaran

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    “Anyone but Ranil…” why? Because he is the one visionary who can and will pull this country out of the debt trap AND elevate the standard of living of ordinary people. When that happens the UNP will be unshakeable for a very long time… and the pohottuwa knows it. So they try to keep the people in a dream world headed by an actor called “appachchee”.

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    Given that Radhika Kumaraswamy is so close to his brother the Central Bank Governor I wonder this is the same view shared by him. Then Sirisena and Mahinda Raja will have diffficulty in running the government as Radhika seems to be anti Mahinda Rajapakse government.

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    One of the most pretiest women Sri Lanka has ever produced – Radhika Coomaraswamy

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    Jo

    You are only partly right. The prettiest lady is Chandrika K.

    If you are single Jo, both these beauties are currently single and available.

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    Thank you for the article. I am not sure what we are confused as to the happening in our country. For me is simple – War crime investigation by external panel (internal panel was agreed by GOSL then) and the Constitutional assembly issue.

    The LLRC report was ready in 2011 and the Truth and Reconciliation sessions would have in-fact seen to all the participants of the crimes in our country since 1970 to come forward and explain their activity to the people of SL- GOSL, Armed forces, JVP, TNA (TELO, PLOT……), UNP, SLFP…LTTE (no more?)..the list goes on..during this time as to all the killings/disappearances that took place in our country. Then the foreign Nations involved in the State sponsored terrorism give account to the same panel too??. We would have recorded all these and moved forward with our life from there onwards because SL not the world have a clear understanding of what took place in their country?.

    Forget about the scandals, frauds and all that as we been doing that for generations….it is just a smoke screen. Remember we all Indian continent people….fraud heritage is part of the DNA makeup?

    We simply stuck with the ‘kettle calling the pot black’ situation and no one is going no where except downwards……..our children do not deserve us the adults then when we allowed them to be armed by others and made to fight amongst ourselves and is now is the case too by any other means. If we all were to file individual cases for the dead then the parliament should advise the public accordingly is the only thing left to do and is moist urgent too…..never mind the constitutional coup.

    Yep one other thing the Good governance has done is to allow all to rerun home…for some reasons there are no ships docking from around the world for the patriotic duties. This in my eyes is a crime unforgivable. No series of article on CT on this matter??

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    Disgusting politics ….IN SRI LANKA.

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