Canada has responded strongly to a statement by the Commonwealth Secretariat that legal opinions sought by Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma on the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake were provided in confidence to his office.
“I very much agree with the estimable Mr Uku that ensuring the Secretary General is well informed on sensitive issues is an appropriate Commonwealth practise. But his logic,to the effect that the Foreign Ministers who make up the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group,have no similar right to be well informed makes little sense,” Canadian Special Envoy to the Commonwealth, Senator Hugh Segal said, in response to the statement.
“Do the Ministers report to the Secretary General,or does he advise them at CMAG?” Segal charged.
The Canadian Senator told Colombo Telegraph that the new remit for CMAG,approved at Perth in 2011(unanimously,including Sri Lanka) was very clear. The Perth CHOGM gave CMAG sweeping powers of decision over taking proactive action regarding member states whose adherence to Commonwealth core values were on the decline.
“Denying CMAG ministers vital information,such as the legal opinions on the impeachment issue,goes directly against the spirit of that remit,” Segal told Colombo Telegraph.
The Commonwealth Spokesman Richard Uku clarified Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma’s position on allegations exclusively revealed in Colombo Telegraph last week that his office hid legal opinions on the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake even from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) possibly because they could impact unfavourably on Sri Lanka.