30 September, 2020

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‘Ensure No One Organ Of Govt Encroaches Into Another’: Eran, Harsha Raise Concerns About Army At Parliament

Former UNP Parliamentarians Dr Harsha De Silva and Eran Wickremaratne have written to the Secretary General of Parliament about the increased number of armed forces personnel were present in addition to Police personnel at the Parliamentary complex on a visit there late last week.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The letter reveals that Parliamentary officials had emphasized that security in Parliament should be as usual. However the perimeter of the complex was being guarded by the military, according to the letter.

The two opposition MPs questioned what had made the security changes necessary when the whole country was under curfew.

“What was the threat assessment? Was there a terrorist threat? We have not received any indication of a threat that necessitated a change of usual security arrangements,” the letter queried.

“Sri Lanka has had a long tradition of safeguarding freedoms and protecting all three organs of government. We must ensure that no ONE organ of government is permitted to encroach into the preserve of any other organ of government,” the MPs told the Secretary General of Parliament in their letter. It was the responsibility of all citizens and especially public officials to safeguard the separation of powers between the three organs of Government, the letter added.

We publish below the letter in full:

The Secretary General, Parliament of Sri Lanka, Sri Jayawardenepura,

Kotte.

Dear Sir,

Hon. Harsha De Silva and I visited Parliament at 3.00 p.m. today to discuss with you, a matter of concern that had arisen since last night, about the security of the Parliamentary Complex. As you were not present, we met with Mr. Kushan Jayarathna, the Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms in Parliament.

We observed that a significantly higher number of armed forces personnel were present in addition to Police personnel, who normally provide security. Mr. Jayarathna mentioned that you had insisted that the security of Parliament should be as usual. However, on observing otherwise, and on inquiry, we were told that the perimeter of the Parliament complex was being guarded by the armed forces. With an island-wide curfew and a lockdown, we wanted to know what necessitated such security changes. What was the threat assessment? Was there a terrorist threat? We have not received any indication of a threat that necessitated a change of usual security arrangements.

It is the responsibility of all citizens and especially those paid out of the public purse to maintain peace and safeguard the separation of powers between the three organs of government i.e. the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, which are the essential components of a constitutional democracy.

Sri Lanka has had a long tradition of safeguarding freedoms and protecting all three organs of government. We must ensure that no ONE organ of government is permitted to encroach into the preserve of any other organ of government.

Yours faithfully,

Eran Wickramaratn

Harsha De Silva

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    We can safely surmise that the former MP’s who wrote this letter had the least amount of allegations against them compared to others, if not none. So I attach some value to their statements. Alas! Where is the Parliament to safeguard it. Certainly a Parliament is not merely a set of buildings and other infrastructure but its members who have the right to legislate even under a tree. IT IS DISSOLVED. My position is that both the main aspirants for the Presidential race of Nov 2019 give indications of being autocrats and the nation elected one of them. At the moment THE MAN prefers to carve an image of an “Upasaka” of himself. The strategy that I recommend is that not to move him to behave otherwise because once he has changed his outlook he won’t revert back and our ability to pen even in CT would be lost. Therefore I will never advocate re-summoning of the old Parliament but hold elections even under degraded conditions. It is likely that his “Pohottuwa” might get a thumping majority but even then if the UNP strategizes to form a very strong opposition the man can be made accountable.

  • 5
    1

    This shows that next parliament will constitute of 225 past service personnel picked by Gota..

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