21 September, 2018

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PC Saliya Defends Celebrations While Country Was In Crisis

Defending the wining and dining at Colombo’s five-star hotels by newly appointed President’s Counsels (PCs) on the night of Friday 26th even as Sri Lanka struck by unprecedented death and destruction following massive floods that was the worst in a decade, lawyer and member of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Saliya Pieris said that the Colombo Telegraph story on the PC celebrations was ‘utter nonsense.’

Saliya Pieris/ Photo via Facebook Gamini Hettiarachchi

Engaging in a Facebook conversation when the Colombo Telegraph story was shared by Hafeel Farisz, Pieris said ‘Do you seriously expect these events to be cancelled and you think the hotels are going to refund the money?’ He said it was hypocritical to talk like this when he was sure that he had come across those ‘sharing’ the story also at five-star hotels. Pieris however ignored the whole point of the story which was not that five-star hotels should be boycotted at all times but that it was in the interests of basic decency not to celebrate at a time of national despair. Also Pieris conveniently bypassed the fact that many hotels do indeed refund moneys when a national calamity occurs or agree to re-schedule with only a small extra cost. In fact Colombo Telegraph would like to know if any of the PCs who celebrated in this indecent way even tried to see if this option was available. During the time when the tsunami struck many years ago, parties were in fact canceled.

Joining in the conversation, some said that raising these issues amounted to ‘moral policing’ but others pointed out that ‘they talk as if they work for the country. But here is the truth; Marlon Samaratunga asked ‘Were you at one of those parties Mr. Pieris? If so just say you were and then argue. Applying for a position and being awarded it according to the change of government doesn’t mean a lot, but it (would) be great if you could justify what nonsense this really is.’

By Friday night, at the same time that the PCs were celebrating in style, close to 100 persons had died, another hundred had been reported missing and thousands were left homeless. During the days that followed, the death toll climbed to 194 while another 99 persons were reported missing.

Saliya Pieris was also among the PCs appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena. He was also an office bearer in the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) when Geoffrey Alagaratnam PC was the President when BASL spent millions of money holding conferences on law and good government funded by the USAID in Colombo’s five star hotels.

The Colombo Telegraph is putting this conversation on record in the public interest, given also that Pieris is a member of the Human Rights Commission (HRCSL). It would be a good question to ask if this is the same attitude that the HRCSL adopts in responding to the human rights condition of Sri Lanka’s poor people.

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Latest comments

  • 16
    2

    More and more rubbish in the bin…these are the legal ‘lunumiris’ that we have now. Sad.

  • 13
    2

    I hope the organizers gave thought to the dead, missing n displaced and held a minute of silence to remember those effected and carried on with the event, just as the Queen did after Manchester. If not, you folks need to get some sensitivity training.

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

  • 17
    2

    I think all this should be seen in perspective. The Government wastes millions, Ministers take their families abroad at public expense and MPs sell their car permits while the masses go hungry. That is a tragedy for the poor people involved.

    To target the PCs (who are using their own income for their parties) at a time of crisis is hypocritical.

    • 6
      1

      Atticus, no one is suggesting that the disgusting behaviour of Ministers should be taken as a standard of measuring. To suggest that one behaviour is worse and that, therefore the other behaviour is OK is not kosher.

      Probably some lawyer or another having these parties would be shrugged off as another typical example of the famous callousness of lawyers. But the problem here is that Pieris and Weliamuna pontificate in public. One is a member of the HRC and the other holds himself out as a crusader. It is how both got prominent and were given PC-ships when they applied – and appealed to their friends in power. That is all right – a reward for work done in kicking the Rajas out. But on that same principle, this is why these two are being treated with greater scorn by the public when their actions do not match up to their words. Can you blame them? Is that not hypocritical??

      PC Saliya refers to hypocrisy of those who shared the CT story – the greater humbug is him. He would have been more sensible if he had kept his mouth shut without taking on a bad brief. At least after doing something morally wrong, you do not try to defend it. He appeared for enough police officers in cases of torture – and then becomes a member of the HRC. PC Weliamuna who refers to himself as a human rights lawyer appeared for the killers of Lasantha Wickremetunge-
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/jc-weliamuna-confirms-he-appeared-for-lasantha-wickrematunges-murder-suspect/

      These things can only happen in this country. No so-called reform movement will ever again be accepted with any enthusiasm. That is what is bad.

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

  • 7
    1

    It was a time for mourning , not for celebrating. Wining and dining is a celebration. The character of the hotel or the sum of money that would have to be forfeited for cancelling the event does not constitute a part of this discussion.

  • 5
    4

    These parties are organised by the terrorist. We should be fighting them

  • 15
    1

    Arrogant Wearers of goni-padangua, the archaic British nonsense of the middle ages. Those labourers that wear a goni-padangua on their heads at Pettah market, man-handling sacks of rise are more respectable; the padanguwa has a meaning and a useful purpose, they earn their wages with hard work sweat and tears, not like these buffoons.

    • 4
      0

      Unfortunately, this they seem to have in their blood.

      I bet those got lost their lives having gone to the risky places where flood related dangers were warned, may also want to have a fun.

      That is nature of average have been in tihs particular lost island.

  • 11
    1

    What about money laundering ? Even the Present ministers have laundered and buying properties abroad in the names of Duwe, Putha, Akka , Nangi, Mama ,Nenda etc,etc.
    Car Permits are sold, Foreign AIDS are pilfered , who questions those who drains the wealth of the country?
    Our President and the Premier seem to be more interested in travelling abroad rather than ruling the unruly.
    Oh!! What a shame !! We voted for them , shouldn’t give a second chance!!
    Who is benefiting most now with the foreign aid and disaster funds which are meant for the floods affected , wait for the Sharks in the middle in the name of middle men pilfering???
    What’s going on??

    • 0
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      [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

  • 6
    1

    It is common sense that legal fraternity generally wishes to celebrate in style. A postponement until the stormy weather conditions have subsided would have been more suited than a total cancellation and is in keeping with the sensitivities of the people. The bigger problem is the utter insensitivity of the entire legal fraternity of the terrible law’s delays. In Sri Lanka they pay only lip service to this issue. No practical steps have been taken with visible results. What is the earthly use of this wretched system if a divorce of a childless couple took five years to reach the finality? The legal eagles talk of “Justice delayed is justice denied”. Oh! Boy! Leave alone denial of justice, it is a violation of the basic rights and the sovereignty of the entire nation is in question. In fact the cousel at the Human Rights Commission level can initiate studies and suggest practical methods to minimizze law’s delays as an act of promoting Human Rights. [Don’t split hairs to say that delayed justice is not a part of the human rights when the boss of the HRC on two occassions very rightly raised her concerns over draft legislation and officially reported matters to the President.]

  • 4
    1

    Our Srilankan airlines, channeled specialist doctors and train services have to learn from these people, our president and PM on how to be on-time, on schedule and avoid cancellations or postponements even during a national calamity

  • 6
    1

    Isn’t it possible for an individual to help his fellow countrymen and also celebrate an important event in their lives without breaching your sanctimonious standard of ‘ordinary decency’?

    • 1
      3

      I agree. It is quite possible to do that. The father of a friend of mine died right on his wedding day during the poruwa ceremony. Had a heart attack and collapsed right in front of the couple while slokas were being chanted. That did not stop my friend going through the whole wedding ceremony and finally the honeymoon too. The bride told me later, right through all that and even during the honeymoon he was crying incessantly, with tears coming like the recent monsoon rains in Sri Lanka. But while crying, he managed to perform his honeymoonal duties to the full. He later told me, “what can I do? a man got to do what a man got to do! The hotel would not have returned the money if I had canceled the honeymoon. But with all those tears – it was not easy…. blah blah….” . The rest of what he said was unclear as he started to cry like a baby. Did I mention that he was a lawyer too?

      • 0
        0

        This is not all about the money,where is the morals what sort of human value but

      • 1
        0

        There is a difference between human beings and beasts.I hope you understand.

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

  • 4
    3

    Lawyer jokes (from a joke site)::::
    Q: What’s the difference between a vacuum cleaner and a bicycle with a lawyer as the rider?
    A: The vacuum cleaner has the dirt inside.
    Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and God?
    A: God doesn’t think he’s a lawyer.
    Q: What is the similarity between a jmango fruit and a lawyer?
    A: They both look good hanging from a tree.
    Q: How does a lawyer sleep?
    A: First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.
    Q: What do you call 25 attorneys buried up to their noses in shit?
    A: Not enough shit.
    Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a liar?
    A: The pronunciation.
    Q: Why did God make snakes just before lawyers?
    A: To practice.
    Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a herd of buffalo?
    A: The lawyer charges more.
    Q: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
    A: lips are moving.
    Q: Why won’t sharks attack lawyers?
    A: Professional courtesy.
    Q: Why do they bury lawyers under 20 feet of dirt?
    A: Because deep down, they’re really good people.
    Q: Why are lawyers like nuclear weapons?
    A: If one side has one, the other side has to get one. Once launched, they cannot be recalled. When they land, they screw up everything forever.
    Q: What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
    A: One in 3,000,000 has a chance of becoming a human being.

    • 1
      0

      Q What is the difference between a porcupine and legal chambers?

      A The porcupine has its pricks on the outside

      • 3
        0

        Who but the sages are free from faults?
        When monkeys fight they scatter dirt;
        When there is no fish in the river, shrimps are dear.

  • 0
    1

    [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

  • 3
    0

    At least, this man could have avoided his Cheshire Cat grin while giving those excuses.

  • 1
    0

    The defense of the celebrations by Saliya Pieris does not justify, in fact it is worse than holding the celebrations itself!
    A pc to boot!

  • 2
    0

    This is about par for the course. A large rump of jumped-up shits with a law degree and zilch morals, together with the majority of of our politicians, and the bastards who masquerade as Buddhist monks, divide our country and piss on the those visited by misfortune. These are the real enemies of the decent, honest, hardworking majority. A pox on all their tribe.

    ps: when will our noveau brown sahibs realise how ridiculous they look when they stick a piece of recycled carpet on their head (mimicking the practice of the old colonial master)and think they are look the business. Outdated! They don’t realise that they look like like bloody baboons!

    • 4
      0

      The weasel comes to say “Happy New Year!” to the chickens.

  • 3
    0

    Whatever the merits of the argument here, the fact is ALL the newly appointed PCs are throwing fabulous parties flowing with the best of the foreign alcohol, both before, during and after the floods. That is their tradition, and NO Tsunami or Flood will stop them from treating all the people who got them there into the pinnacle of their profession as THEY see it.

    The gossip talk amongst the lawyers is whose was the better show, and so there is a kind of unofficial competition to out do each other, a typical but senseless characteristic of our culture. (just look at the weddings, especially the thousands that took place on the auspicious day of May 26th where auspiciously many lost their lives.

    Who said the world was fair? We just need to take a time out, and change this culture of throwing a tamasha better than the next person. That is the real issue here, lawyer or any one. Only when the haves live by example, do the have nots stop wanting ape the haves’, and spend money on extravagances by even resorting to borrowing money.

    Not all lawyers are very wealthy, but even the poorer ones are forced to comply, lest the word gets out that they cannot afford a party, and used the flood to get out of it, and so lose clients in future as being an unsuccessful lawyer.

    We MUST change our value system in judging people by the car they drive, and rather judge them according to their humanism. Only when we all change will the system change, as we are the system.

    Go into a Sri Lankan Lawyer’s mind and you will find many of them are the scum bags of society who will do anything to squeeze their clients for their own enrichment, I put many of the doctors in that same box, and they are who we call the professionals of our society.

    No wonder we need to change the value system!

    • 1
      0

      Kudos! very well penned!

  • 1
    8

    Celebrating death and sufferings are nothing new to Srilanka. It has become a culture of Srilanka. It is the only country celebrated the death and sufferings not only of the Tamil people but also th death of Sinhalese armed forces.

    • 4
      2

      [Edited out]Ajith, they learnt it from their Anglo Saxon rulers the patchwork culture.

    • 2
      0

      Ajith you catholic crusader of the north you fear the truth because its patchwork Anglican that they copied.
      We never believe a `government servant`- the kappan karayas of the nation and thieves who stole all scholarships.

  • 3
    4

    Ajith – remember those who lit crackers and had kiribath when a President died – Ranasinghe Premadasa. I had just returned from overseas study at the time and was disgusted.

    This is a thuppahi culture. No shame.

  • 1
    1

    As CT points out, it is in the ‘interest of basic decency’ to postpone celebratory events during times of ‘national despair’.

    Should that not apply from top down, starting with our leaders?

    The Prime Minister has taken wing to USA slap bang in the middle of a national calamity supposedly for medical reasons. Is he terminally ill and in need of urgent medical attention? Could the trip not have been postponed?

    31 December Dinner Dances were not cancelled during war years despite human suffering and deaths or after Tsunami on 24 December 2004.

    Newly appointed PCs are moulded of same clay as our Prime Minister and others. That is what we are despite a 2,500 year old civilisation.

  • 0
    1

    is he a close relative of mohan peiris

  • 0
    0

    Looks a clown in his wig. Even English Queen’s Counsel refuse to wear them now. How did this joker become a PC. Does PC mean pencil cutter?

    • 0
      0

      We’ll said ! The monkey mentality still persists. It also persists among tie coat clad sarong faces.

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