27 September, 2020

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TISL Must Objectively Analyse The Options Available

By Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne, a former Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman and  a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, a former President of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and LMD Sri Lankan of the year 2001, to day sent the following letter to the board of directors transparency international Sri Lanka. – Colombo Telegraph. 

Dear Mr . Ranuge,

I trust that you and your Team will kindly review this AHRC Press Release, especially the sections highlighted for emphasis by me in bold and consider whether there is a critical, urgent and nationally important role TISL must and can make in the current circumstances in association with the unbiased media institutions to awaken

  • The leaders of the nation in the Executive and Legislative Branches
  • The Officials and Regulators
  • Business & Industry,
  • Professionals and Academics
  • Leaders of Civil Society
  • Religious Leaders

to objectively analyze the options available in the current crisis, risks and challenges of these options, potential outcomes of following any of the options and following an independent intellectual debate determine openly and transparently the best way forward to manage the crisis in the optimum long term interests of this nation and its people.

Looking at it narrowly from the business eyes and taking the risks that may crystallize out of the crisis, just in order to bring to your attention my above suggestion to focus on some the consequential risks in the period ahead, I will detail just a few potential risks;

  1. Could the country be classified internationally as a country where the rule of law is absent or upholding of the rule of law be held doubtful?
  2. Could the Country risk ratings for business transactions, financial transactions, investments, trade and services be negatively impacted?
  3. Could even past, current and future international contracts be negatively risk rated
  4. Could 1, 2 and 3 above lead to
    1. increased risk premiums having to be imputed in to transactions
    2. current international lenders and guarantors demand renegotiation of term sheets?
    3. our local  financial institution’s ratings be negatively impacted?
    4. require independent guarantees of international financial institutions and first class banks resident overseas for acceptance of contracts, letters of credit etc?
    5. Will there be a flight of capital out with consequential  balance of payment risks and dwindling reserves?

I trust that this short note, which I will share with the media institutions and business and civil society leaders, will receive your early attention.

Best Regards
Chandra Jayaratne

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission

SRI LANKA: The debate now shifts from impeachment to the future of the rule of law

The Supreme Court in its decision made on January 1, 2013 finally put the debate on the issue of the impeachment of the Chief Justice to rest by providing the following answer to the question referred to it by the Court of Appeal.

In view of the reasons we have set out above we answer the question referred to us, as set out at the beginning of this Order, as follows.

“It is mandatory under Article 107(3) of the Constitution for the Parliament to provide by law the matters relating to the forum before which the allegations are to be proved, the mode of proof, burden of proof and the standard of proof or any alleged misbehavior or incapacity and the Judge’s right to appear and to be heard in person or by representative in addition to matter relating to the investigation of the alleged misbehavior or incapacity.”

In expressing their answer to the Court of Appeal’s decision the judges have also expressed the spirit in which they have dealt with this reference.

The reference made to this Court involves a matter which concerns the Judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. In dealing with the question we therefore kept in mind that the objectivity of our approach itself may incidentally be in issue. It is therefore in a spirit of detached objective inquiry which is a distinguishing feature of judicial process that we attempted to find an answer to the question referred us. We have performed our duty faithfully bearing in mind the Oath of office we have taken when we assumed the judicial office which we hold.

The long debate on various aspects of the impeachment proposal by the government now comes to an end with the Supreme Court which has the final word on the interpretation of the law having declared what the law relating to this matter is.

The manner in which the government will respond to the Supreme Court decision is all that is left of this debate. The question is as to whether the government will respond within the framework of the rule of law, basing its decision on the principles of the rule of law or whether it will decide to discard the rule of law framework altogether. The Supreme Court citing a previous judgement: Visuvalingam vs Liyanage (1983) 1 SLR 203, reiterated that the “main aspirations of the Constitution are set out in its luminous preamble. The rule of law is the foundation of the Constitution”.

The entire structure of Sri Lanka’s legal system rests on the principle of the rule of law. The attacks on the rule of law are attacks on the very foundation of the legal system and the political system of the country. 

As mentioned through many previous articles and statements there have been continuous attempts to undermine this foundation by way of several constitutional aberrations beginning from 1972 and continued by the 1978 Constitution and finally through the 18th Amendment to this Constitution. The impeachment move was the latest of such attempts.

The Supreme Court has intervened and clearly interpreted the law for the nation. If the government now proceeds in any manner contrary to the interpretation given by the country’s apex court this would be a final and irrevocable assault on the rule of law. 

Therefore the future debate on this matter needs to be on the core issue as to whether Sri Lanka will remain within the framework of the rule of law or not. 

To decide that it will not remain within the framework of the rule of law is a momentous decision that would deprive the government of any claim of democracy. 

Therefore we suggest that the attention of everyone be directed towards the fundamental issue as to whether the people want their government to abandon the very framework on which the entire political heritage of the governance in Sri Lanka rests. 

The coming few days will be of tremendous significance both from the point of view of the political system as well as the legal system of the country.

It is true to say that Sri Lanka is in a crisis. However, it is more true to say that it has been in a crisis for several decades and what distinguishes the present moment is that the country is coming to a realisation of the crisis that envelops it. The interpretation of the law as expressed in this case by the Supreme Court is an expression that the Court’s has come to this fundamental realisation.

If the government is not wise enough to respect the growing collective realisation of a people of their condition that failure is the government’s own responsibility and if the government acts without respecting this collective realisation it is doing so at its own peril. The people should leave the government to make its own choice.

As for the people their responsibility is now to act on the basis of their own collective realisation of having lived through a crisis for several decades due to the constitutional tomfoolery of their leaders. It is now the time to respond with peoples’ wisdom to that tomfoolery. The people have paid a very heavy price due to these decades of crisis. It is now for them to chose whether this will be allowed to continue or otherwise. There is adequate collective realisation for the people to achieve what they want at this moment and the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has at last, at last woken up to their responsibilities. 

It is indeed a great moment in the problem ridden history of Sri Lanka. If the government proceeds in its authoritarian schemes further it will have no one but itself to blame. The people are watching with open eyes.

For the full text of the Supreme Court decision please see here.
Basil Fernando
Director, Policy and Programme Development
Asian Human Rights Commission

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    With apologies to Basil, I somehow feel that the horse has bolted already. Events have proceeded way beyond what seems to be his fervent reckoning. Future generations looking back at 2013 will hopefully have the means to reform the legal framework that has not benefitted ordinary people, but a few elites who have the utmost contempt for the people. Some would argue that the legal fraternity also belong in this elite group which is struggling to maintain its hegemony against competition from within. If the citizens of Sri Lanka are said to be supreme, it has largely been a notional fiction for decades, perhaps from the time of “Independence”.

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      Academics and political analysts need to make the distinction between FORMAL or legal supremacy and SUBSTANTIVE supremacy. For the latter ethical and non-corrupt behaviour is necessary and the masses should be educated about this.
      The time is ripe to IMPEACH MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE.
      A parliament full of corrupt thugs and morons is not and cannot be supreme whatever the law says – and contrary Rajapakse’s and Ranil Wickramasinghe’s claims. Substantive supremacy is the equivalent of natural justice or common law. It is more FUNDAMENTAL than formal or legal supremacy enshrined in any Constitution.
      It is hence that the time has come to IMPEACH MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE and his corrupt brothers and sons who are looting the public wealth and impoverishing the people of Sri Lanka
      The Rajapakse brothers have also sought to being great harm and disrepute to the sovereign people of Sri Lanka through blatant lies and by running a Kangaroo Court in the parliament and seeking to ruin and corrupt the judiciary ny offering bribes and high posts to the CJ’s husband and causing the legislature to operate a Kangaroo court.
      MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND IMPEACHED. It is to be hoped that the best legal minds like Mr Elmore Perera, Kanag Iswaran, Neelakandan, Romesh De Silva etc will be able to draft the IMPEACHMENT MOTION against Mahinda Rajapakse to free Lanka of the “curse of Kuveni” *Kuveinige Sapaya in Sinhala that is today manifest in the from of the Rajapakse family that is a scourge on Lanka today

      • 0
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        Quite right! The Rajapakse brothers are looting public wealth, in-debting Lanka and impoverishing the people in the name of DEVELOPMENT – led by Mr. 10 percent Basil Rajapassa who claims to be Minister of Economic Development but has not got a basic degree and knows nothing about ECONOMICS or DEVELOPMENT or poverty reduction.
        The Divineguam Bill flies in the face of tried and tested poverty reduction best practices in the global south. DIVINEGUMA creates a massive white elephant organization when poverty has declined to 9 percent from 23 percent in the last 10 years. What is needed is a streamlined agency to do targeted and monitorable cash or in kind transfers to poor families, mainly in the north and east today – using ICT and bank transfers that can be monitored and information about who is getting the funds should be available as part of the RIGHT TO INFORMATION and to ensure ACCOUNTABILITY for poverty funds.

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          What wishful thinking by readers and academics regarding the impeachment of Mahinda. Don’t they know that 2/3rds of the parliamentarians support the UPFA party, and all 160 plus of them know that if Mahinda falls, then so will they. Do you really think that they are going to impeach the goose that lays the golden eggs? And even by some freak occurrence 2/3rds of the parliamentarians sign an impeachment motion against Mahinda…it still has to be handed over to the speaker and he has to accept it. That is the very reason that Mahinda appointed his brother as speaker. He has all the bases covered. The most important being the 3 armed forces and police which is controlled by his Goat brother the offence secretary. All these academics who have only now woken up to what is happening, should have “AT LEAST” woken up before the 18th amendment was passed. It’s too late now. All these articles that you type to websites like CT are a waste of energy on your typing fingers. Only a peoples revolution or a coup d’état could change things now. The day that those of you voted a second time for Mahinda Rajapaksa to become president a 2nd time in 2010 is the day you sold your souls to the devil and his family of 300 plus.

          • 0
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            There are other ways to impeach Rajapassa than through the parliament of clowns, criminals, fools and geriatrics.. the judiciary for instance, DUNCE!

            • 0
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              @Don Stanley
              The President (according to the constitution)has little or no constraints on his power and cannot be taken to courts. He can only be impeached by a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Like I said in my previous comment, don’t hold your breath hoping that those bunch of sycophants and apple polishers would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

              In the case of president Premadasa, the Athulathmudali fraction brought an impeachment motion against him in 1991. The motion included 24 cases of alleged abuses of power, including illegal land deals and failing to consult the cabinet (thus violating the constitution). Although the speaker of the parliament rejected the motion in October 1991, it put the Premadasa government in grave danger. Subsequently, Athulathmudali and Dissanayake resigned from their ministrial posts. They and their allies were expelled from the party.

              So Mr.Stanley, do you think MRs brother and speaker of parliament Chamal will accept an impeachment motion if bought by a 2/3rds majority?

              If there is some other method of impeaching the president, please do enlighten us.

          • 0
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            a bit harsh and crude, but this is the truth, specially about many guys who occupy these spaces. Only hope is this regime is sitting on a banana skin of an economy and has really weak int’l standing, and china or russia or anyone saving the regime beyond a point they see as useful is very remote. but the regime will go only “korahath bindagena”..if you know that sinhala saying…and who that is….

            • 0
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              I’ve heard your type of forecasts and worse stories at worse times such as 2007/8. Those are not the expectations of realists.
              Leela

          • 0
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            Agree completely. Shrewd Rajapaksa has covered all angles. Only ways to unseat the corrupt and evil family and their 160 thieves are by military coup or by mass public revolt with outside assistance. It has to happen before the country becomes another North Korea.

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    IMF should make the passage of the Right to information Bill a CONDITION for giving any loan to the corrupt Rajapassa regime, especially since it is the tax payer and not the corrupt Rajapass brothers and sons and politicians who will have to pay back the IMF loans. Already the debt to GDP ratio is 81 percent!

    IMF should stop bailing out corrupt dictators and their stoogers like Nivard Cabraal at the Central Bank who wasted billions on the fail bid for the Hambantota COmmonwelath Games bid which would have bankrupted the country if won. Cabraal is as ignorant about economics, being a common accountant as is Basil Rajapassa about sustainable human development!

    • 0
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      IMF NEVER PRACTICES WHAT IT PREACHES – so don’t hold your breath!

      The IMF should be held ACCOUNTABLE FOR the international financial crisis, SUSTAINING DICTATORSHIPS, and BAD GOVERNANCE and enabling TRICKLE UP whereby the poor subsidize the rich to get richer in Asia, Africa, Europe etc!
      IMF is directly accountable for the international financial crisis because of encouraging financial crime by big banks and capitalists in the name of DEVELOPMENT..!
      The IMF is rich indeed! It should be SHUT DOWN!

      • 0
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        The IMF is run by the rich, for the rich, and with the rich!
        It is their model of “development”, Formula 1 lamburghini tax free car races for instance, that the corrupt Rajapassa brothers are following..

        But good try Mr Chandra Jayarantne – to call for an analysis of the Economic costs of Rajapakse’s rotten and corrupt governance.

        Today British tourists are boycotting Lanka because of the Christmas day murder of a British tourist and the rape of his companion by a politician of the SLFT and friend of Namal Rajapassa who is still scott free! And the Lankan women’s groups are silent on all the rapes while Nepali and Indian women protest…

    • 0
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      Gaga,
      Do you know that the US is in debt to the tune of $16 trillion? Of that they owe over $3 trillion to Chinese. Probably Americans will have to sell all their women to Chinese to pay back their loan. Anyway the total debt is almost $50,000 for each man, woman and child in the US. Now you calculate the ratios. For one thing, our ratios are not getting worse like the US and countries of the Euro zone. In fact the US is on the verge of tipping over a fiscal cliff. Except Germany, entire Euro zone is not far behind.

      That’s why these so called egalitarian countries have induced their ‘Arab Spring’ to the Middle East. Aim is for them to rob oil. Fortunately we have no oil for them to rob. So, they’ll not sojourn here or waste few dollars they still have on a useless but corrupt woman and pain in the butt terrorists. Wait and see how Rajapakse play his cards to keep them happy.

      By the way, IMF is not the sole monopoly of the neocolonialists any more. BRICK countries are getting richer every day and they have bigger say in the IMF today.
      Leela

      • 0
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        VIllager or leela, ever heard of shale oil and gas?
        North America (US and Canada) has so much that it can be a net exporter in a few years time, and crash the middle east petrodollar business if they want.. educate yourself first before spewing non-sense..
        The US is the worlds largest economy and the dollar the international currency so do NOT even bother to compare US debt with the debt of a potty Banana Republic like Lanka!
        As for selling women – I can see that you are salivating at the thought of getting some! Nationalist love the though of raping OTHER women!

        • 0
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          Doll,
          You haven’t said anything about the real figures now only about figures to come.

          A few years back that brash billionaire Donald Trump had counted the number of TV set, fridges, computers and etc, etc that Amarican household has as their assets (but not what you say) in Discovery tv to show the world that the debt to Chinese is nothing. I was flabbergasted and said to myself about women because they are more tangible than all those worthless items he had listed put together because I have known many Chinese in the UK. And not for me my dear man.
          Leela

  • 0
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    This is yet another commendable effort by Mr. J, just as he took the right step – moving SC – to issue an interpretation on the standing orders and PSC.

    While most are making themselves hoarse with opinions and suggestions, and passing various judgments, concrete steps such as the those made by Mr. J are what is necessary ( and still in short supply), in a crisis such as this.

    Yet, it is not clear what are Mr. J’s expectations on the “analysis of options” by TISL and their placing on the public domain, compared to the path breaking action such as moving SC on the impeachment.

    This question especially arise in a context, where the regime and its various avatars don’t seem to be willing to sit back and consider even such unequivocal response as the judgement by SC made public through C of A, on 3rd, which a keen observer and a committed activist (who doesn’t spare his energies “beating around the bush”) like Mr. J must be keenly aware of.

    For humble followers such as myself, this is not the time for hair splitting arguments but, we hope we are on the right course and we will succeed in making this country a better place than now.

  • 0
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    Mr. Jayaratne well done. I am happy to note that you are keeping the pressure on. May be you should form a political party with like minded individuals and clean the political system of the country. You owe this to Sri Lanka.

    • 0
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      Ditto! Great idea and thanks Mr. Jayaratne please start a political party like the Anna Hazare Movement in India to clean up the rotten political culture and MONEYPOLITICS and militarization of the economy – but please do not forget to share and give credit to the people who have given you some of these ideas and made the case for the need for a COMPREHENSIVE analysis of the economic costs of Rajapakse’s corrupt governance.. in the LONG TERM, medium and short terms..

    • 0
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      Mr. Jayaratne’s efforts are commendable and praiseworthy. In short there are no words to praise or thank him. I wish he shall be able to gather courage more and more.

      Leel

  • 0
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    The country is facing many crisis at the same time.

    1. The Constitutional Crisis
    2. The Economic Crisis
    3. The Educational Crisis
    4. The Crisis in Reconcilliation
    5. The Crisis in Good Governance.

    The root cause appears to be no 5 which is the Governance Issue which stems from the Rajapakse Presidency. The powers of parliment have been subverted and the power of the judiciary is in the process. Already the economy is in his hands. Also the military and police. Militarisation of public services is also another phase of this power grab.

    The intention behind this appears to be to establish a ogliarchy based on what he perceives as a just religous society based on historical concepts such as the Mahavansa and more recently the Sinhalae Vansa Kathawa as proposed by people like Jackson Anthony and Presidiential Adviser Suriyaperuma. Needless to say this is in contradiction with modern concepts of democracy and governance but will strike a chord with the Sinhala masses. Implementation of such ancient forms of kingdom is not possible in the modern context and as a result the country will continue to be a misfit in the modern world where things are changing fast. The question facing the people of Sri Lanka is wether we regress into the past or move forward. Rajapakse would like to do both which is just not possible.

  • 0
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    Chandra Jayaratne is quite a man!
    “a ‘former’ Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, a ‘former’ President of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and LMD Sri Lankan of the year 2001”.

    LMD Sri Lankan of the year 12 years ago!
    Now he has done the big deed by getting the Appeal Court decision we all have been waiting for.

    You are a legend.

  • 0
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    As a first step how about Impeaching the the Executive through a Sangha Agknawa.Three prelates it is over to you.

  • 0
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    IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. WE SHOULD ALL GATHER OUR OWN SHIT AND WAIT AT THE DOORSTEP OF ALL THOSE ASSHOLES FROM THE PARLIAMENT AND SLING IT AT THEM. THE ASSHOLES WOULD NOT KNOW WHAT REALLY HIT THEM UNTIL THEY LOOK AT THEMSELVES.

    WE DO NOT NEED THESE ASSHOLES OR THIS PARLIAMENT FULL OF MORONS TO RUN THIS COUNTRY, BUT WE NEED LAW AND ORDER AND HONEST JUDGES, MAGISTRATES (WHO WOULD NOT BEND DOWN TO TAKE BRIBES) TO DELIVER THESE.

    WE SHOULD BRING IN DECENT, HONEST, STRAIGHT, TRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE WHO WOULD RESPECT THE LAW AND THE OATH THEY TAKE BEFORE THEY ENTER THE PARLIAMENT.

    FURTHER, THESE PEOPLE SHOULD DECLARE THEIR ASSETS AND LIABILITIES AND THESE SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY PROPER AUTHORITIES AND KEPT DISPLAYED FOR THE PUBLIC TO VIEW IN LIBRARIES

  • 0
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    Hats off to Mr. Jayarathna, you have done enough for the motherland for your recent efforts to educate and concern about the sorry plight of the ferry countryman from a ruthless monstor – the dictator of Medamulana.

    Only a Tsunami with epic proportions that exceed the 2004 Tsunami that we did witness will only uproot the Medamulana rogue regime with brothers having a merry time after controlling 72% of the economy with Executive/Finance/Ecnomy/Defence/Parliament and what not….

    Mr.Jayarathna, please take extra care of yourselves with this bastards in the helm of Sri Lanka who can fall into any low standard that humans can go into.

    May the noble triple gem bless you now and always !

  • 0
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    Mr. Chandra Jayarathna is not keeping mum as some professionals do. He is active in the socio-political domain.Hats off for him.Please form an alliance with the LFD,FUTA,Freedom Platform of political personalities, Trade Unions, Student’s Unions etc.As some one suggested begin an anti-corruption capaign like India’s Anna Hasare.Show the massess why their food bill rises, Why the finances for health and education is not increased.For eg,Corruption in the ministries of Electricity,Oil,Mihin lanka lossess.What people friendly measures could have been taken with cost SL has to pay for Oil hedging agreement .

  • 0
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    Hi Mr. Chandra Jayaratna,

    Just seen the decision of the AC in Breaking News. It struck me that you deserve a big THANK YOU.

    Leel

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