28 October, 2020

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Sharma, You Are Granting The Commonwealth Seal Of Approval To An Emerging Dictatorship In Asia

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera MP

‘Rainbow’s End’, 141/5, Galkanuwa Rd., Gorakana,

Moratuwa,
Sri Lanka.

5th July 2013.

H.E. Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General,
The Commonwealth, Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House,

Pall Mall,
London SW1-5HX, UK

Your Excellency,

CHOGM – 2013

page1image4560

I am writing to you with reference to a news item published in the Sri Lanka Daily Mirror of 29th June 2013. The story, captioned ‘Commonwealth wants to make practical difference in Sri Lanka’ quotes a letter you have reportedly sent to an unspecified recipient . In the absence of any contradiction or clarification from your organisation, I assume that the remarks are accurate. You are quoted as saying:

“The LLRC report was a home grown roadmap for achieving peace in a multi ethnic nation.The question for the international community is whether to criticise the lack of progress from afar in implementing that report or to offer and to make a practical difference. The Commonwealth has opted for the latter and the Sri Lankan government even now is identifying the areas where we will help. We are active in Sri Lanka in advancing Commonwealth values, including human rights, the media, the judiciary and building mutual respect and understanding in communities.”

The Commonwealth wanting to make a practical difference in Sri Lanka is indeed most welcome. However, for many of us who are living not afar but in Sri Lanka, we find it rather difficult to share your optimism as Sri Lanka seems to be moving away from the values which you claim that the Commonwealth is advancing even now. The day to day practical reality is that Sri Lanka continues to violate with impunity all 16 values of the Commonwealth Charter in varying degrees and we in Sri Lanka experience first hand the present Sri Lankan government’s contempt for democratic values, the rule of law and the sanctity of life.

In fact, Sri Lanka has slipped down to the 29th position in the ‘Failed State Index‘ compiled annually by the Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy magazine. This year this drop is due to the deterioration of performance in 7 out of 12 categories, notably in the areas of human rights, rule of law, delegitimisation of the state, poverty and economic decline.

The human rights situation in Sri Lanka shows no signs of improvement and as ‘Lawyers for Democracy‘ stated in April, ‘the spate of deaths of persons while in Police custody is alarming. The casual manner in which the death of persons in police custody is being treated by the authorities is an insult to our system of administration of justice.’ The independent inquiry into the cold blooded execution of over 27 prisoners in November last year has also yet to materialise.

While hundreds if not thousands of complaints of serious human rights violations gather dust at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), the commissioner announced a few days ago that the commission will be probing into rail tragedies at unprotected railway crossings in the country! In the face of such cynicism, the workshop being conducted by the Commonwealth and the HRCSL in Colombo at the moment with the participation of your deputy, I feel, is an useless exercise in mutual deception. By conducting a workshop with the HRCSL you are conferring legitimacy to a human rights institution which has become yet another appendage of the executive since the 18th Amendment of September 2010 . This is in direct contravention of the Paris Principles, which relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights. As the Paris Principles stipulates, ‘ the key elements of the composition of a national institution are its independence and pluralism. In relation to the independence the only guidance in the Paris Principles is that the appointment of commissioners or other kinds of key personnel shall be given effect by an official act…..’ However, all commissioners of the current HRCSL have been appointed by the President.

Lattimer House Principles are also being consistently and continuously violated. After the President forcibly excluded the legal Chief Justice, Mrs. Shirani Bandaranayake from her chambers and installed someone else in her place in January, the executive with his hand picked set of judges proceeded to scrap the violated court of appeal order. This order was ignored by the President when he removed the legal Chief Justice after an hurried impeachment trial more akin to the witch trials of the dark ages. The witch hunt against Mrs.Bandaranaike continues and she has been summoned several times to the Bribery Commission which has also now become yet another appendage of the executive arm since the 18th Amendment came into operation.

Today, it is a well known secret that all Judicial transfers and appointments are decided at ‘Temple Trees’, the official residence of the executive, in violation of the Latimer House principle which states that ‘ Judicial appointments should be made on the basis of clearly defined criteria and by a declared process.’

Another Latimer House Principle states that the ‘ interaction, if any, between the executive and the judiciary should not compromise judicial independence.’ Yet the new Chief Justice prefers to demonstrate his devotion and servility to the executive by being a frequent visitor not only to the President but to his brother, the defence secretary.

The judiciary is not the only victim of the erosion of law through disempowered institutions. Even the university administration has been made into useless appendages of the executive. For example, the University Grants Commission has now abdicated its powers and responsibilities under section 34(1) of the act to select and recommend one person for appointment by the President. It has now unlawfully clothed the President with authority to make his own choice of Vice Chancellor.

The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Sri Lanka as the 4th most dangerous place in the world for journalists to work in. The Criminal Investigation Department continues to raid newspapers which highlight corruption linked to the first family and two days ago,the Editor of ‘Janarela’ – a weekly Sinhala tabloid , was grilled by the CID regarding an article published last year. In the north, un identified militia men have continued their attacks on several independent newspapers. Several media personnel at MTV, a leading private television network, were threatened again recently.

Also, the government which purportedly claims that it values Commonwealth principles, has sought and received Chinese expertise to monitor, hack and block websites which expose human rights violations and corruption. In fact, the Defence Secretary, recently identified social media such as Facebook and Twitter as a serious threat to national security and plans are afoot, according to reliable sources to ban social media as well as to introduce the draconian code of ethics for the media, recently approved by Cabinet, after the summit in November.

Despite the predominantly Chinese funded ‘show’ development in the North, at vastly inflated costs, the plight of the Tamil people has deteriorated and the militarisation continues unabated. A special unit under the Commander of the area has been formed to suppress democratic activities: during a visit to the area some months ago, even a meeting attended by the Leader of the Opposition was attacked by this squad. While the government is reluctantly preparing to hold Northern Provincial Elections thanks to intense international pressure, there are reports that members of this squad are intimidating and threatening candidates who are hoping to seek nomination from opposition parties.

Even other religious minorities are now being persecuted with impunity. There have been over 15 Incidents during this year where Mosques as well as Muslim owned businesses have been attacked in broad daylight while the Police looked on. Two weeks ago, a beef stall owned by a Muslim was vandalised and destroyed while the Police and the PSD (Presidents Security Division) guarding the Presidents Tangalle residence, just a stones throw away, looked on. Many Christian places of worship have also been attacked in recent months. The fact that these fanatical groups can take law into their hands with total impunity is proof enough of the unholy alliance between these purveyors of terror and the powers that be.

Also in violation of yet another Commonwealth value, the government is continuing its witch hunt against members of civil society. The much respected local representative of the Ferdrich Ebert Stiftung was recently apprehended at the airport and questioned about funding a book written on Buddhism and Governance by the Leader of the Opposition seven years ago. She was also questioned by the CID for two days in May after hosting a workshop on Campaign management for Members of Parliament of the UNP. Another woman from an Indian NGO was deported last week for being critical of some development activities in the North. Many other key human rights activists are also subjected to harassment and the bank accounts of some of them have been frozen without a court order.

Emboldened by its apologists in the International community, the regime, continues with arrogance to violate the core values of the Commonwealth Charter. It is in the context of these continuing violations that I cannot share your enthusiasm that the “Commonwealth soft power and behind the scenes contribution’ can lead to “real progress in the long term”. From the daily occurrences, some of which I have mentioned above, it is clear that the government is unable to mend its ways and that there is a vast discrepancy between the values of the Commonwealth and the values of its incoming Chairman.

It is certainly true that certain recommendations of the LLRC report need a longer period to implement but if the government of Sri Lanka is sincere and genuine in its commitment to the Commonwealth Charter, there are some changes which could be implemented immediately prior to the Summit in November and in time for the Northern Provincial Elections.

For example, the notorious 18th Amendment to the Constitution, introduced as an Urgent bill in 2010 abolishing the independent Judicial, Elections, Public Services and Police Commissions can be repealed immediately with yet another urgent bill restoring all the independent commissions. This could well be the litmus test on the governments commitment to the core Commonwealth values.

Free and fair elections are an integral part of the Commonwealth charter. In addition to the independent elections commission and independent police commission been in place before the Northern Elections, it also imperative that a civilian governor be appointed to the North and that the army be confined to the barracks , if the election is to be truly free and fair.

If such changes are to be implemented prior to CHOGM in November, all Sri Lankans, I am sure will congratulate and thank you for the ‘Commonwealth soft power and behind the scene contribution’ in restoring the credentials of one of Asia’s oldest democracies. However, holding of the summit without such a proven commitment to the values and principles of democracy would not only call into grave question the value, credibility and future of the Commonwealth, it will also be the granting of the Commonwealth seal of approval to an emerging dictatorship in Asia.

As the CHOGM summit is of immense public interest, I am taking the liberty of releasing this letter to the media.

With best wishes, Yours truly,

Mangala Samaraweera M.P.

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Latest comments

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    Mr. Mangala Samaraweera:

    For so long you politicians screwed up Sri Lanka, only a dictatorship will bring back into the main stream. But. the present president is just another one from the same old gang and that includes you.

    Why dictatorship is bad ? What good democracy has done to the world. It has created another corrupt and dishonest society. Take the past in the Eastern world. There were many kings and emperors in Asia. LEarn how good they have done during their times.

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      Sri Lanka is indebted to the IMC and China. More than Two thousand billion rupees to pay back. Two thousand billion wasted due to corruption. Poor citizens have to payback lawlessness makes the corruption worse what can the general public do now? If the dictators are not corrupt it is useful for the nation. When there is widespread corruption and lawlessness it the worse combination.

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      Indeed, Gotabaya Rajapakse is building a DEEP STATE and laying the ideological and infrastructural groundwork for a coup d’etat and inauguration of Lanka’s first MILITARY DICTATOR.
      This coup will in the name of COMMONWEALTH VALUES with the blessings of the Commonwealth of Clowns (an obsolete and irrelevant colonial hangover)and “protecting Buddhism” from the minorities in Sri Lanka.

      Clown Sharma should therefore be also informed that the Rajapake brothers are creating a Turkey-style DEEP STATE whereby the ruling family and a group of influential anti-democratic coalitions within the political system, composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary, and administration are laying the IDEOLOGICAL AND INFRASTRUCTURE groundwork for COUP D’ETAT to enable Rajapassa to rule forever as the new BUDDHIST Emperor of Lanka – my MILITARIZING BUDDHISM with the help of big brother India’s “soft power” racket that commodifies Buddhism.
      Kapilavasua FAKE relics sent to Lanka by big brother are a prime example of this.
      The deep state that Gotabaya is creating, is similar to that of a “state within the state” and evident in many military dictatorships in the Mid East and Pakistan’s ISI which Gota works with. The political agenda of the deep state involves an allegiance to nationalism, corporatism, and state interests. Violence and other means of pressure have historically been employed in a largely covert manner to manipulate political and economic elites and ensure specific interests are met within the seemingly democratic framework of the political landscape.
      The outlook and behavior of the Rajapakse family and associated predominantly military and political elites who constitute the deep state, and work to uphold national interests, are shaped by an entrenched belief that the country is always “on the brink” of being DIVIDED. This is the bogey that Rajapassa promotes in the form of Balu Sena etc. Sri Lanka liberals will need to be vigilant given the levels of militarization as the ECONOMIC CRISIS bites and people mobilize against the Rajapakse regime on the streets. Big question is will China play the role of supporter of the Gotabaya dictatorship as the US does with the Egyptian military?

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    Yes, he does YOU disgraceful & shameful LOOSER…………Sharma is of the view that it is the only option for Sri Lanka to survive.

    In this 4th most dangerous place for Journos, yet there are many newspapers and web sites that journalist contribute anti-govt articles.

    [Edited out]….. your rhetorics are stale.
    Wonder, whether you will BOYCOTT the invitations, Ceremonies & Sittings of the CHGOM and instead be holding a placard and standing in some corner voicing your protest.

    YOU ARE AN OPPORTUNISTS.
    You tested the waters last week to check the MR pulse which apparently did not work or have a response and today you go on a TIREADE against Rajapakshes and the GOSL.
    YOU ARE AN AGING FOOL.

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      Thondamanaru,

      We understand your point. But the problem is there are still over 100,000 Tamil refugees in India alone, who are been looked after by India fror over thirty long years. They are still fear and reluctant to come back to Sri Lanka even after ending the war. India is feeding our People and Rajapakses are taking advantage of it.Read the following web.

      http://www.irinnews.org/report/96233/sri-lanka-refugees-in-india-reluctant-to-return

      Similarly there are over One Million Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in the west and Europe and they do not want anymore refugees in their countries.

      Also still there are boat people trying to cross over to the other countries.

      What the Rajapakse’s game plan is to systamatically chase the left over Tamils and Muslims from Sri Lanka and to acquire their land and property.

      CW countries have their own economic problems and cannot bare more burden from Sri Lanka.

      That’s why Sharma want to slowly tame and train the Dog and put it to the correct path while keeping it closer to him. If you let it go, then you have to take care of it’s 20 million underfed sick puppies along with over 2000 Billion rupees in debt, and that is a difficult task for him to bare.

      Therefore this is the only alternative available for him to keep the dog under control.

      Hope you understand the situation.

      Yes Mangala Samaraweera is the man of the hour. He is doing a wonderful job and we are thankful for him.

      Also he should work on to bringing back all our Journalists, Reporters, Media Personnel, and Critiques who are Political refugees been exciled abroad fearing Rajapakse Regime for over 25 years.

      He should work with Sharma to get them down to Sri Lanka at least during CHOGM with adequate protection given to them.

  • 0
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    Dear Mangala
    Well said. you are always correct. Whoever supporting dictatorship is mentally ill. or paid commodity of MaRa company. SL needs open-minded far thinking leaders like you.

    • 0
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      Idiot Ahmed

      If you don’t know SL political history then shut up, This idiot Mangala lead the political campaign for MR to come to powerafter this moron thrown out from the MR government this guy talking to media like MAD person

      Mangala is opertunistic Hyeena

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        Kris,

        I think you have mixed up your wires on Sri Lanka’s politics.

        Mangala has more honesty, reputation and integrity in politics than Rajapakses.

        Yes it is not only Mangala but many other politicians, candidates, voters and the International community included Gen.Sarath Fonseka who trusted President Rajapakse. But he screwed all of them after coming into power and after end of the war.

        Watch the following Videos.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suDvqGgJtOs

        Watch the following video to see how Rajapakse Thugs Fighting with Mangala.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K77wJESU1Gw

        Please in future do your home work before commenting.

        Mangala is the Man of the hour to save our country from Thug Alibaba Hambanthota Comedy double acting Jokers.

        Read lanka enews in internet to learn more about the Puppeteers.

  • 0
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    Mr. Mangala Samaraweera,

    “Even other religious minorities are now being persecuted with impunity. There have been over 15 Incidents during this year where Mosques as well as Muslim owned businesses have been attacked in broad daylight while the Police looked on. Two weeks ago, a beef stall owned by a Muslim was vandalised and destroyed while the Police and the PSD (Presidents Security Division) guarding the Presidents Tangalle residence, just a stones throw away, looked on. Many Christian places of worship have also been attacked in recent months. The fact that these fanatical groups can take law into their hands with total impunity is proof enough of the unholy alliance between these purveyors of terror and the powers that be.”

    Thank you for exposing the Racist and their State supporters. All the commonwealth should know so that they cannot claim ignorance, like the current President is doing.

    This WAS and IS the curse of Lanka being turned into an Egalitarian Society.

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    If international standards are to go by, and in view of the No. of nations that voted well debated UN resolutions, over two consequent years,these yardsticks should have been the indicator for a change in
    the outlook of most CW Nations towards it own Member.

    It would be a strange arrangement to elect a Leader with the track
    record as that of MR to lead 54 other States, even if they so wish!

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      I agree. MR is totally unsuitable, unqualified, and is still not accountable for the atrocities during the war, and for the human rights violations against journalists and opposition leaders.

      Britain should refuse to attend CHOGM because as yet the murderers of one of their citizens, has not been held responsible for his brutal death. The US and UK have both issued travel advisories for good reason.
      For these CW nations to set foot in this corrupt and violent country, where racists are allowed to attack churches and mosques, while the police look the other way, and where MR and his brothers condone the violence that goes on by being silent.

      The Commonwealth Nations have lowered their standards.

  • 0
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    true donkey politician ..shut the f up .

  • 0
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    Is his day job with a NGO?

  • 0
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    Did Mr.Sharma declare the gem stones he received as gift from GL peris to British government when he arrived ? If not what did he do with the gem stones. This need to be investiagetd.

    • 0
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      Already Davis Cameron got an order for Brand new 10 Air Bus Planes from Rajapakses.

      Sharma is scared to touch 20 million starving go…..ts.

      Come CHOGM there will be many more surprises in Galore.

      Who could beat this record…….

      http://tamilseithi.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/family-tree-b.pdf

      Already My wife is practicing Samba, Rumba, Jaive, Cha Cha Cha with her instructor.

      Await for More surprises.

  • 0
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    Mangala was not testing the waters as you poor sods were dreaming. He is has his reasons for saying what he said then I am not going to spell it out since these are for the more smart people to discern. He hit the nail on the head again with this article. The proof is to be seen with the numb skull comments made by the usual suspects in this forum. He is an educated politician who has stood for principles. That means sitting in opposition and not being a sycophant. If that equates him to a looser than he should wear that badge and be proud of it.

    • 0
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      @Haramanis
      “He is an educated politician …..”

      Educated he may be. But not honest. In todays world, there are no honest politicians. Politics is the last refuge of the scoundrel. And an educated scoundrel is he. This is worse than a half-educated or uneducated politician because and educated politician is in a better position to fool all the people all the time, unlike an uneducated politician who can only fool some of the people some of the time. And in Mangys case, having been unable to convince all the people all the time, even this categorization of him by you as being an educated politician is open to serious doubt.Please take your campaign somewhere else and good luck to you.

  • 0
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    And designer Mangala thinks SL should chose him as a better option.. ha ha ha.. what a laugh

  • 0
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    Well said Mangala.You have hit the nail on Sharma’s forhead.There must be a hidden arrangment between Sharma and MR, perhaps a huge money factor to buy him over.There are hangers on dogs barking at you for calling a SPADE a SPADE. These are the nuts employed by the REGIME to shout down the truth.

  • 0
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    Aney look will you. This silly fool making noise like donkey man. First he saying Computer jillmart.Then he saying no computer jillmart.Before he saying Alimankada Pamankada joke. Then telling Funnyseka is Salvation Army commander. Then he visit him in Welikada for tea chat.Then drop him like cowdung. When he minister only looking after himself. Making lots of money by clinging to saree potha. See the ports in big mess. Juss like his father before. Lokking for good chance only.Dont care about cuntry. Now he bringing diktator talk. Muss mind his business and do batik printing. Better for evelybody.

  • 0
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    No matter how much good the MR government does, the Western block and the diaspora will invent phrases “most dangerous country for journos” and “dictatorship” etc. There are opportunities now for the population to contribute to develop Sri Lanka politiclly, socially and ecnomically but the likes of MM only undermine all that. His late political and religious icons like Anil Moonesinghe and Anagharika Dharmapala would have been ashamed of their degenerate nephew. Mangala, use your brains and talents to better the country and don’t drag yourself into the sewer.

  • 0
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    “Lemon tree very pretty
    And the lemon flower is sweet
    But the fruit of the poor lemon
    Is impossible to eat.”

    Now sing along with me CT readers, but keep to the tune:

    Pot calling the Kettle black.
    After smoking pot.
    Kettle no better.
    Both are black.
    Blacker than Black
    But Kettle a little better
    Because he is craftier
    Than the silly Pot

  • 0
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    Mangala, who has the guts to stand for principles,
    has spoken out.

    Here is the question – Can anyone tell me whether
    UNP leader (by day and MR supporter by night) will
    endorse those views?

    Wickremesinghe has proved his also was dodges key
    issues. One is to travel abroad. When he is forced
    to stay in Sri Lanka, he outsources all his news
    conferences to other MPs. That way he is non commital
    and says only what Mahinda Rajapaksa wants and does
    most what MR ‘orders.’ Otherwise MR will pull the stool
    and RW will fall.

    This has led to an interesting situation. Everyone in
    the UNP who is somebody gives their own views. The
    ever so friendly man with the Government, which rewards
    him periodically with many things including trips, says
    UNP will take part in the Parliamentary Select Committee.

    Ravi Karunanayake in marked contrast says the UNP will only
    do so if conditions set out by them are heeded by MR. The
    lone wolf Karu Jayasuriya has his weekly news conference to
    say things that contradict UNP policy. He even criticises
    government decisions taken when he was minister. Sajith
    Premadasa, as he has done every time an election is round
    the corner, is turning the searchlight inwards on disunity
    in the party leadership.

    All this while RW continues. He needs only two things in his
    career: One is to keep his perks by playing to the dictates of
    MR. The other remain the eternal leader of the UNP and destroy
    it beyond redemption. He does not care anything more about his
    party or the people of Sri Lanka. The proof, like the pudding
    when eaten, is when he becomes the opposition candidate for the
    presidential elections. RW believes the Presidency will fall on
    his lapse. All others including his party hench aiyas believe
    he will be routed though he won’t leave. He wants the perks –
    foreign travel with Sagala, the great internationalist and
    the perks of office at taxpayer’s expense. MR will more than
    happy to give it to him.

    • 0
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      Gonawala Sunil (Gonawala Rilawa!),

      Haven’t you taken your “mad pill” for today?

      • 0
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        yes, what Gonawala Sunil saying is true. We don’t want do nothing, talk nothing, walk nothing, no talker is only Senior partner in the Parliament club.That is all and nothing else.

        The already over 65 years old pansioneer, do nothing, talk nothing sicko is creating animosity and conflits within the Party is a burden to us UNP voters.

        Remember how he won last party vote by 4500 to 500 is still a mistry.

        Please check your wires before your next comment.

  • 0
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    Sharma has implicit faith in MR and company ever since he dropped in for a chat. No doubt there is some hanky panky going on with the Sec General and the regime. After all Sharma hails from the land of corruption and scandals. ComGate?

  • 0
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    Well said Mangala Samaraweera.

    • 0
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      Go and support for all other Magala’s activities ha aha ha

    • 0
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      Well spun Mangala Samaraweera. Dont stop. Go on. Someday you may be lucky again.

  • 0
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    Mangala go to new Zealand [Edited out]

  • 0
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    I ENDORSE WHAT MANGALA HAS SAID. HE MAY HAVE HIS FAULTS. WHO DOES NOT?

    HE WAS A VERY GOOD MINISTER.WE HAVE TO JUDGE HIM ON HIS PRESENT
    STAND ON NATIONAL ISSUES,

    IF THE CHOGM IS HELD HERE THEY ARE “LEGITIMIZING” NOT AN EMERGING
    DICTATORSHIP,BUT ONE THAT IS ALREADY A “FAMILY DYNASTIC RULE”

    EDUCATION HEALTH SERVICES,YOU NAME IT EVERYTHING IS INA MESS. THE
    STENCH OF CORRUPTION EVERYWHERE.

    THE POLICE ARE THERE FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE PEOPLE.
    HERE THEY COMMIT THE BIGGEST CRIMES.LIKE ABDUCTION AND MURDER.

    JUDICIARY IS FINISHED. AS FOR JUSTICE, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT WITH RAUF HAKEEM AS MINISTER?

    WE ARE ALL GOOD ARM-CHAIR CRITICS. LET US STOP TALKING AND DO
    SOMETHING TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE.

    THE PRESIDENT IS A HYPOCRITE.HE TALKS OF 0NE THING BUT HE DOES THE OPPOSITE THROUGH HIS “OFFENCE SECRETARY”

    Noam Chomsky
    “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit”

  • 0
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    @AYMAN
    “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit”
    -Noam Chomsky

    Exactly. As long as Mangala was powerful, crimes were those that OTHERS committed. He was a darling. Who said he had faults? He was a Saint. Always did just what his Mathinee told him to do. So lets give him another chance with the state coffers.

  • 0
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    Mr.Samaraweera,
    I salute your courage for telling the absolute truth,especially at a time when the political party you represent is so woefully lacking personnel that can showcase the crisis in Sri Lanka to the rest of world so expertly as you make it.

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