20 September, 2020

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Justice Must Also Be Seen To Be Done 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The common cause of the National Unity Government to tackle the corruption of the past and to put an end to it in the present seemed to come apart at the seams when President Maithripala Sirisena made an angry critique of the way in which the investigations into corruption was taking place. The resignation of Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe was prompted by the President’s remarks on CIABOC and on the police investigative agencies in the wake of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and three retired Navy commanders, being brought before courts. The President criticized the investigative bodies of launching politically motivated probes which led to the senior officials being put behind bars during the proceedings in court.

Ms Wickramasinghe was doing a difficult job with more energy than anyone in recent history who has held that post. The investigation of those who held high positions in the former and present government is bound to be controversial. Choices have to be made in terms of which case to take up first and which to take up later. After her resignation the former Director General said that there were as many as 90 cases of politicians that her office was investigating. Those of different political persuasions may prefer some cases to be taken up before others. The choices made can be seen by those who are at the receiving end to be politically motivated. Anyone in the position of investigator would come under criticism for taking up one case rather than another. The resignation of the Ms Wickramasinghe who was generally seen as doing a difficult job with a sense of mission would be a setback to the fight against corruption.

Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe

Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe

After calling a meeting with the members of the eight independent commissions, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed them that neither President Maithripala Sirisena nor Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had negative attitudes towards any of the commissions. He had also informed the commissions that the attitude of the President and the Prime Minister did not differ. Civil society groups, such as Purawesi Balaya which was once led by the Ven Maduluwave Sobitha and now by Prof Sarath Wijesooriya and led the civil society campaign against corruption came out strongly in support of the independence of the commissions. This laid to rest the speculations, fears and hopes of different groups with political motivations of a break up of the National Unity Government. The hope of those who would wish to see the return of the old regime is that the working relationship between the President and Prime Minister is sundered.

Competitive Parties 

The National Unity Government is vulnerable to internal fissures for the reason it is composed of the two major political parties that have traditionally been rivals and have engaged only in win-lose politics. With the sole exception of the present period, the UNP and SLFP have always sought to form governments on their own or in coalition with other parties but against their main rival. The pressure to break free of the other and to rule the country alone, and enjoy the power to decide by themselves without being constrained by the other, continues to be powerful within the UNP and SLFP. Those who work closely with either the President or Prime Minister, but lack their vision, would not be able to see the win-win dimension of their partnership to the two parties and its contribution to the stability and development of the country as a whole.

The aspect of governance in which Sri Lanka has historically been least successful is in terms of power sharing. Where there is power sharing decisions are taken after consultation, and with the participation of other parties who have a stake in the outcome. An important area of for joint decisionmaking is the appointment of key officials who will head departments that deal with controversial issues. These positions would include the executive head of the Bribery and Corruption commission. It is to be hoped that the successor to Ms Wickramasinghe will be the consensual choice of both the President and Prime Minister. This same principle of power sharing needs employed in dealing with the most intractable conflict that Sri Lanka has experienced. The root of the ethnic conflict and the three decade long war that destroyed over a hundred thousand lives and denuded the North and East of its infrastructure and also lost for Sri Lanka its competitive edge in the global marketplace was due to the absence of inter-ethnic power sharing.

The importance of deciding together rather than unilaterally has surfaced in the North in a tragic manner following the deaths by shooting of two university students. They were killed when they failed to stop at a police checkpoint late at night and the police opened fire at them. Such tragic incidents have occurred in other parts of the country as well. The famous actor Nihal Silva, who acted as Sergeant Nallathambi in days gone by was killed at a military checkpoint when he did not stop his vehicle. But in the context of the unresolved ethnic conflict, where a mutually acceptable political solution is yet to be found, incidents are seen through ethnic lenses. Emotions are presently at a high in the North and against the police. Students and businesses in Jaffna have planned public protests. There are suspicions voiced in the North that this was a planned incident to deliberately create tensions which would justify a continued strong military presence. In a context in which the North (and East) of the country continue to remain militarized, with large contingents of military personnel in the two provinces, such incidents are also bound to contribute to a spiral of negative sentiment.

Consensual Governance 

President Maithripala Sirisena’s swift order to the police to conduct an investigation of this incident and to order compensation to the bereaved families is to be appreciated. However, there is a need for an impartial investigation that will be seen to be impartial in addition to being impartial. Justice needs to be seen to be done, in addition to being done. There is a massive trust deficit at the present time due to the lack of normalcy in the affairs of the North. The fact that the initial report filed by the police stated that the deaths were caused by a traffic accident will do nothing to improve the trust and confidence of the Northern people in the police or in the government. On the other hand, the fact that five police personnel have been arrested is a positive indication of the efficacy of independent commissions (including the Police Commission) and of the law taking its course.

In the longer term, the need is for the restoration of normalcy to the lives of the people of the North and East. The government’s emphasis in terms of post-war peacebuilding is to engage in constitutional reform with the political parties represented in Parliament and to implement the pledges it has made in Geneva to the UN Human Rights Council. In addition, in restoring normalcy to the North and East of the country, where most of the three decade long war was fought, it is necessary for the government to work with the elected authorities to ensure that law and order prevails in a manner so that the people feel confidence.

At the present time the government is engrossed in a constitutional reform exercise that involves the whole parliament but whose outcome is not certain. The government has stated that the draft constitution will be placed before Parliament in the coming month and before the budget. However, there is still no indication of consensus on the details of the changes that need to be made. Instead of waiting an indefinite period for this constitutional reform process to be finalized, the government can implement the 13th Amendment to the constitution, which exists as the supreme law of the land, and devolve police powers to the provincial councils. This type of power sharing can lead to the Northern Provincial Council working with the government in a spirit of partnership to develop the province, rather than championing the cause of Tamil nationalism which rouses the suspicions of the people in the plans of the government.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    4

    Miss Dilrukshi told the media the other day that she even had a File on Singapore Mahendran, who is a mate of her personal and family friend the Yahapalana PM.

    And another File on Aiyo Sira’s Yahapalana Watch Dog from Kaluthara as well.

    May be Miss Dilrukshi was busy chasing serious crims like the dudes who gave free clothing to poor rural Sil Ammes.

    And the Army Commanders who spent government money to help the unemployable Village niks, as Mr Pootin call them , who took the fight up to Mr Pirahaparan .

    Even after prioritising her fight against real Corrupt baddies, Miss Dilrukshi lost the gig because Aiyo Sira mouthed off some bad things when he was in one of those unhappy Yahapalana moods.

    Poor thing..

    • 7
      2

      Jehan Perera, even the over sight bodies like COPE are weak and politicized and full of uneducated and incompetent folk.

      Why is Sunil Handunetti and JVP so weak? As Chair of COPE he needs to be a LEADER and refuse to table the UNP fairy tale to exonerate Mahendran.

      Handunetti has said if every COPE leader gave a report he would table all of them?! What sort of bloody joke is this! What game is JVP playing?! It shows the total INCOMPETENCE of the JVP that they cannot take a stand on this and refuse the lies of the UNP After all, there is no precedent for 2 cope reports on the same matter.

    • 2
      0

      KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

      “May be Miss Dilrukshi was busy chasing serious crims like the dudes who gave free clothing to poor rural Sil Ammes.”

      Whoever gave free clothing to poor rural Sil Ammeys should be considered very generous of them. Where did the funds come from?

      By the way was it an act to thank Sil Ammeys who produced kill puthas?

      However the most generous contribution to VP in the jungle by MR is a vile criminal act. Is there a “file” on the issue of bribing a terrorist to rig the elections with laundered cash from gunny bags?

      Where is the very large quantity of gold that Gota looted from VP’s Fort Knox? Did he sell the loot in Sea Streets or was it smuggled out of the island to his mates in South India?

      Did Gota throw you a piece of bone?

  • 11
    1

    MAHINDA DESTROYED AND SHAMED ALL BANDARANAIKES – CHANDRIKA AND SHIRANI.
    SIRISENA DESTROYED AND SHAMED ALL WICKREMASINGHES – RANIL AND DILRUKSHI.

    ITS HIGH TIME THE CIVIL SOCIETY, JVP, WAKE UP AND BRING IN A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE.

    MAHINDA AND SIRISENA HAVE THE SAME MENTALITY AND YAHAPALANAYA IS JUST A SLOGAN.

    It takes many a good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.

    • 0
      1

      Ranil is the biggest and worst crook with his mask of the technocrat – stealing from poor folk by loading VAT taxes onto them, and covering up the crimes of Mahendran, Wimal Weerawansa and Jarapassa because Ranil is desperate to stay in power, with his Parliamentary Privileges to loot the country and not rock the corrupt Yahapalanaya joke.

  • 1
    0

    Even the lokata lokka smart patriot DJ ( de Silva ) advocated for 13A plus. He may deny that now.

    Unless MaRa appeal to his supporters as a leader of the whole country from until Jan 2015, he made a blunder by not implementing 13 A fully and he will support the current govt doing that as soon as possible within 3 months.

    The propsed New constitution which is being drafted, will also never move forward in the parliament as in the past during 1959 and 1969.

    If MaRa regime comes back with the full support of China it will be another disastrous 1972 de Silva constitution or 1977 foxy dharmica samaja constitution. China will never allow IC to resolve the national issue emphasising that the country’s minority issues are internal issues and IC including India should not interfere with born again MaRa regime in Sri Lanka.

  • 0
    1

    “Justice Must Be Seen To Be Done” – ‘Ureka’ Dr.Perera has discovered the solution to all ills of a functioning democracy. He must be familier with the Biblical ‘Parables’ also. Though he aught to be so, he does not understand that he seems to talk in ‘parables’ about the unprecedented chaos that has engulfed the country from the day one of this yahapalanaya regime.

    People cannot be very optimistic about the recent remarks of the President. They may be somewhat relieved though that he finally has hinted about who is the legitimate head of state. Legitimate – because he is the elected President who wields authority based on the sovereignty of the people.

    Should he not be well informed to exercise his authority and responsibility to the people?

  • 6
    0

    FULLY AGREE 100 PERCENT WITH ANNESLEYS COMMENT!
    SPOT ON

  • 4
    0

    a very good analysis. Sri Lanka over the years has been steeped from top to bottom in corruption that such a person as Ms Wickremasinghe was unable to do her work. there have been instances where the chief justices like Sarath Silva and attorney generals have been corrupt. It would take years to clean up the system. The rogues will be remanded and re-remanded until doomsday.Bensen

  • 3
    0

    The President DOES NOT WISH to do justice to those who plundered the nation during the ten years before he was elected.
    Why is the question.
    Is there a ‘secret understanding’ with the previous regime?

  • 0
    1

    Justice was neither done nor seen to be done in your sponsor nation USA vis-a-vis Hillary Clinton. Her horny husband met the AG secretly on a aeroplane. FBI says no criminal charges. Powerful always have their way. So stop your preaching in English to an audience mostly made up of expatriates/emigrants who will never come back to live in SL. If you want to preach to SL audiences try writing in Sinhalese and Tamil or get someone to translate; surely with your massive monthly salary in US dollars(we found out how much you get paid) you can hire 2 translators with University degrees; and sacrifice your Business class trips having never done anything to add to GDP of Siri Lanka to be seen to be a commoner like the rest of us. All you do is pontificate comrade.

  • 2
    0

    For the right reason or for the wrong reason the comment made by the President has disturbed the trust people had on him. President is not an independent person, although we want him to be neutral. He is the head of SLFP. Was there an error in the judgement of President Sirisena accepting the position of the head of SLFP? I think so. Since he was not elected by SLFP, the best he could have done was to bring SLFP as a coalition party under the banner under which he contested and won the Presidential election. By not doing so, abandoning the banner under which he won, he took over the banner of the party that opposed him, This shows either he is not a honest person or he is a person who cannot be trusted.

  • 1
    3

    ITS HIGH TIME THE CIVIL SOCIETY, JVP, WAKE UP AND BRING IN A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE. – Annesley Dias

    Mr. Dias, are you that comedian ???

    Civil Society Sarath Wijesuriya’s face is being burrowed these days by the people to attend funerals.
    ” Justice must be seen to be done”? – JP
    The bluff is the name of the game practiced by this NGO vulture Jehan perera.

    Vadivel – How dare you order Jehan Perera to halt his preaching ? he has to sing for his supper.
    A good for nothing PhD’er. Not just pontificate but the pontifications stinks as well.

  • 3
    0

    Hello Thonda.

    The truth hurts,
    But it doesnt kill.
    Lies may please,
    But it doesnt heal

  • 2
    0

    THONDAMANNAY- Civil Society Sarath Wijesuriya’s face is being burrowed these days by the people to attend funerals.

    A CLEAN HEART WONT LET YOUR MOUTH SPEAK DIRTY. PURIFY THE HEART AND YOU CLEANSE YOUR SPEECH.

    THONDAMANNAY CAN I GIVE YOU A ROPE TO HANG??

  • 0
    0

    “The common cause of the National Unity Government to tackle the corruption of the past and to put an end to it in the present….”

    When was there such a cause?

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean– neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master– that’s all.”

    Not just words, whole phrases and sentences adopt meanings according to the whims of the “master”.

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