26 August, 2019

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Sirisena Govt Violates Basic Democratic Obligations Without Sharing Draft Bills: Friday Forum

“To present key Bills on the national drug policy, electoral reform and the Nineteenth Amendment without even sharing them on the official Government website so that citizens can be privy to the drafts, would violate a basic democratic obligation in good governance”, says the Friday Forum.

Dr.Deepika Udagama

Dr.Deepika Udagama

Issuing a statement today on transparency and public consultation within the 100 day program, the Friday Forum urges the Government to achieve a better balance between implementing all these key reforms within the time frame, and meeting its responsibility towards the people of Sri Lanka for this to be transparent and consultative.

We publish below the statement in full;

The Friday Forum commends the efforts of the Government to implement the 100 day program as promised in President Sirisena’s election manifesto. However it is also concerned that focusing largely on accomplishing this within the short time frame may risk overriding other aspects like democratic and consultative processes and stakeholder interests. To present key Bills on the national drug policy, electoral reform and the Nineteenth Amendment without even sharing them on the official Government website so that citizens can be privy to the drafts, would violate a basic democratic obligation in good governance. While welcoming the move by the government to hold a stakeholder consultation on the Draft Right to Information Bill in a few days, we would nevertheless wish to express the need to facilitate a broader consultative process as the series of contemplated legislation is of vital importance to entrench democratic governance in the country.

We urge the Government to achieve a better balance between implementing all these key reforms within the time frame, and meeting its responsibility towards the people of Sri Lanka for this to be transparent and consultative, even if the outcome is a delay or deferment over and above the 100 days. The President was given an overwhelming mandate for his promise of good governance as much as for the 100 day implementation, and best practices of the former must be seen in the latter. While we as citizens understand the difficulties of implementing 100 day commitments, we expect the government to identify priority areas with transparency and proceed to formulate changes in a consultative and democratic manner.

Professor Savitri Goonesekere               Ms. Shanthi Dias               Dr. Deepika Udagama,

on behalf of the Friday Forum

Professor Savitri Goonesekere, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Ms. Shanthi Dias, Dr. G. Usvatte-aratchi, Rt. Reverend Duleep de Chickera, Professor Camena Guneratne, Ms. Suriya Wickremasinghe, Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, Mr. Saliya Pieris, Mr. Ananda Galappatti, Mr. Priyantha Gamage, Ms. Manouri  Muttettuwegama, Professor Arjuna Aluwihare, Ms, Damaris Wickremesekera, Professor Gameela Samarasinghe, Mr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Professor Ranjini Obeyesekere, Mr. Faiz-ur Rahman, Mr. Danesh Casie-Chetty, Mr. Tissa Jayatilaka, Dr A.C.Visvalingam, Mr. Javid Yusuf, Professor Gananath Obeyesekere, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne.

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  • 15
    14

    Dr.Deepika Udagama

    RE: Sirisena Govt Violates Basic Democratic Obligations Without Sharing Draft Bills: Friday Forum

    Interesting.

    What did the previous Administration do? Do You know the answer?

    What did the previous administration do to criminals who were attested? Do You know the answer?

    Let’s compare and correct.

    • 2
      2

      Dear Dr. Deepika Udagama and Distinguished Members of the Friday Forum:

      RE: Sirisena Govt Violates Basic Democratic Obligations Without Sharing Draft Bills: Friday Forum

      “To present key Bills on the national drug policy, electoral reform and the Nineteenth Amendment without even sharing them on the official Government website so that citizens can be privy to the drafts, would violate a basic democratic obligation in good governance”, says the Friday Forum.”

      Thank you all at the Friday Forum for trying to keep the transparency up so that the legislators cannot sneak in bills without much discussion.

      There is a disconnect between the information received by the common man in a common sense language, in Sri Lanka, in addition to the transparency. As a result, there is a lack of common sense in the populous.

      So, we need a Common Sense Phamplet or Pamphlets that will reach the Common Man and Women, so that they can elect Politicians, Crooks, Robbers and Criminals in an informed and knowledgeable environment.

      Unfortunately, the present set of Sri Lankan writers have utterly failed in such an endeavour. They initially pointed out, with very good reason,that if they produced the Common Sense Pamphlet or Pamphlets Sri Lanka 2014, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s White Vans (Gota’s White Vans) would have abducted them, and they would have ended up dead.

      However, thanks to the Common Sense of the Sri Lankan voters that prevailed on January 8, 2015, the Sri Lankan Writers, no longer need to fear Gota’s White Vans. However, about 47 days have elapsed since the grounding of Gota’s White Vans, but the so-called Sri Lankan writers are absconding in producing the Common Sense Pamphlets. They keep writing utter nonsense.

      Therefore, Dr. Deepika Udagama and Distinguished Members of the Friday Forum, we the people, are requesting that you take the initiative to produce the Sri Lankan Common Sense Pamphlets, 2015 and the sri Lankan Crisis Pamphlets 2015, in a similar fashion that was produced by Thomas Paine in 1776?

      This is a small challenge, now that Gota’s White Vans are grounded.

      On behalf of the Common People of Sri Lanka,

      Amarasiri et al.

      References:

      1. Common Sense (pamphlet)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

      Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places.

      Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2] As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.[3]

      Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[4] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[5] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[6)

      2. The American Crisis

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Crisis

      The American Crisis is a pamphlet series by 18th century Enlightenment philosopher and author Thomas Paine, originally published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution. Often known as The American Crisis or simply The Crisis, there are sixteen pamphlets in total. Thirteen numbered pamphlets were published between 1776 and 1777, with three additional pamphlets released between 1777 and 1783.[1] Paine signed the pamphlets with the pseudonym, “Common Sense.”

      The pamphlets were contemporaneous with early parts of the American Revolution, during a time when colonists needed inspiring works. They were written in a language that the common man could understand, and represented Paine’s liberal philosophy. Paine’s writings bolstered the morale of the American colonists, appealed to the English people’s consideration of the war with America, clarified the issues at stake in the war, and denounced the advocates of a negotiated peace. The first volume begins with the famous words “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

    • 5
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      Where is that fraud Jayantha Dhanapala ,the man who founded the Friday Forum?Having used FF as a vehicle to become an Advisor and a peddler of influence for purely personal ends ,he has now quietly abandoned it.His name no longer appears in the long list of names that follow after each and every FF statement.

      Fortunately the man did not become Secretary General of the UN having been resoundingly beaten at the straw polls by even a late comer like the articulate Sashi Tharur. Other wise the UN too would have been similarly used for purely personal gain.How long he took before resigning as a well paid Director at Dialog? He did so ONLY after a sustained campaign carried forth valiantly by the Colombo Telegraph, at that time an unfairly banned website.

      Well past his 75th year and noticeably in physical decline ,Dhanapla still harbors after influence in the name of doing national service.What hypocrisy.Come on man just get off that moral pedestal you created for yourself and get ready to meet your maker.

    • 1
      1

      Did you bring in My3 pala-naya to continue with the same old undemocratic governance which the My3-Ranil-Chandrika trio was making such a big fuss about before the election?

  • 24
    8

    What do you want. Ask Kudu Duminda and Weley Suda first. Nuts to you doctor. No need to ask anyone if it is good for the whole society, espcially drugs. Sri Lanka is a country where a keeper of 3 mg of heroine will get death sentence, whereas an importer ,protector, and most likely keeper of several hundred kilos of heroine is hailed as a minister of the state.

    Eradicate drugs and those who import and distribute them.

  • 7
    9

    There is nothing called transparency. If God intended transparency to be a reality, he would have created man and woman naked.

    • 9
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      He did create them naked.

      They did something shameful.

      They reached for the fig leaf to cover their nakedness.

      But alas, the shameful, like for example the Rajapaksas, despite the best drapes, will always feel exposed; feel the shame.

  • 16
    8

    If the present government is to compared and wanting to do the same as the previous they will go home much before 10 years. What Friday Forum highlights is the importance of being principled. If they came into power on good governance lets stick to the principles of good governance rather than following the old political practices.

    • 7
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      Sue I agree , Good point. Good governance for the name sake will become a humbug. Stick to the rule book mister prime minister Otherwise you too will be categorised as the sheep following the sheep. Ma…………..aH…..Ba………aH

  • 6
    7

    Welcome Dr. Deepika Udagama to this forum.

    You were one of the person who knew well about Child soldiers among the SL Army. What have you done on this, until today?

    Being with such track record, how can you talk about Maithiripala Siresena?

    Charity begins at home.

    Before you talk about others, you correct you.

  • 6
    1

    The people gave their verdict. The people are agitating for the early implementation of legislation promised. The opposition is attempting to have a deal for their support. To get a 2/3 support is going to be difficult. Please make the right choices. otherwise corruption, nepotism will raise its ugly head.

  • 5
    0

    Up till today all constitutional amendments were carried out with minimal consultations. These changes were always to enhance the power of the politicians at the expense of the citizens be it Mrs B ,JRJ or MR. It is time the people are consulted or at least changes announced so that there can be a public dialog. If not it will be constitutional changes for the politician not for the people. Unfortunately the politicians have lost the trust of the people if they are to regain it there must be some transparency.

  • 6
    0

    The concern Friday Forum has highlighted is absolutely correct. I also agree with what Sue has said. Observations above of comparisons with a regime that nurtured Kudu Duminda and wele suda are meaningless and irrelevant since the platform of the President Sirisena was good governance with transparency.

    FF should also add the flawed RTI bill to this list which clearly has been drafted in haste by amateurs and has been critiqued by many.

    It is not sufficient that the new regime is a shade better than that of MR but that it lives upto its stated objectives and principles that will count.

  • 13
    7

    This is nothing but ‘kolam’ by some self-important individuals. Give the people of this country a break, okay. Remember we are the real stakeholders in this whole process.

    The civil society types are just as much a pain in the ass as the kudu underworld mafia. These people like to believe they are some kind of ‘elite’ above both the government and the ordinary people and can dictate terms.

    Maitri won against all odds because the joint opposition offered the people something that was tangible and could be achieved within a very short period of time. Because the people have been cheated for far too long by politicians making grand, abstract, long term promises which inevitably turned out to be false. But here was a rare chance to put the politicians to the test and hold them accountable.

    So it is the people who want the 100-day program to go on schedule. They want to see results; not more consultations, select committees and commissions. Mahinda and his mafia are already fomenting cynicism and unrest among the people by casting doubts about the new government’s commitment to deliver on promises within the prescribed time.

    Moreover prolonged talk will only create more confusion and provide an opportunity for sinister characters like Weerawansa, Gammanpila, Gnanasara, Dinesh, Dulles, Dayan and the TNA to whip up racism and sabotage the proposed changes to the constitution. This is what happened to Chandrika’s package and the 13th Amendment. So people at this point don’t want anymore talk, they want results. They want the new government to walk the talk.

    As Maitri and Ranil have indicated the 100-day program will put in place only the basic framework necessary for urgently dismantling the tyrannical machinery created by Mahinda which still remains a threat to democracy and justice in this country. More thorough and substantial changes to the constitution are to come after obtaining the necessary mandate from the people at the forthcoming elections. It is envisaged to go through the full consultative process at that stage.

    So please give Maitri a chance. Maitri deserves it. He took an enormous personal risk and saved our country from total collapse. He is the only leader in our recent memory to display the qualities of a good human being and the promise of becoming the statesman we have long awaited to build a good society.

    And in the meantime try to clean up your own house for a change. Instead of being self-righteous and acting entitled, the civil society-NGO clan should apply the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance to their own activities and organizations. For a start, would you be so good as to tell us, are you accountable to anybody for your work. How transparent are you about the interests, or as you put it the “stakeholders,’ shaping your policies and decisions? How about nepotism and financial corruption? Can you vouch you are any better in this regard than the politicians and the society at large?

    • 6
      1

      You say it all. Thank you.I am happy with what Maithri is upto. We need to be patient.

    • 5
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      Totally agree.

      At this moment of time FF can take a much needed rest. Last 10 years they have been very very busy working for media freedom, transparency, good governance. Thank you very much.

  • 3
    1

    Well stated and very timely.Bensen

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    2

    Didn’t he give you all the commission ,very bad aney…previous regime would have looked after you well.

  • 2
    1

    The intent expressed by the Friday Forum is absolutely correct in maintaining neutrality and high expectations from the people who elected this reformist Government.
    However, the title is too radical to call a “violation” in the context of limited 100 day program,rather they should expect the Government to share the information with appropriate experts in the formative stages of drafting of bills which may include some in the FF as well.

    Dr jayawick

  • 1
    0

    Reluctantly I have to agree. This new administration is much too decent to do things the same as their horrible predecessors. Every Act or Bill, when drafted should first be intimated to the interested parties and debated and revised and/or adjusted before presenting it to parliament. This procedure would eliminate knee-jerk responses with bad laws. E.g. The Prevention of Terrorism Act that gave such sweeping powers to an already all-too-powerful Executive President, that has driven us to near bankruptcy.

  • 1
    1

    Has FF finally realized there is a great majority in the country.

    40 UNP MPs and its CF Leader who got the plum job through the back door want to keep going as long as possible, giving good governance.

    Already no Sinhalese, let alone a Sinhala Buddhist left in any of the big Govt Institutions.

    Ranil Police is going after any Sinhala Buddhist politician who seems a threat to his survival as the rogue PM.

    125 SLFP MPs are torn between the great majority of the Nation, in fact 5.8 Million plus many more and the SLFP leader who used the UNP Christian Faction to get the Tamils and the Muslims to make him the President.

    Now the talk is to get Ranil’s 40 to join with Sira’s 125 so the rogue PM can keep rolling on.

    Until the Tamils and the Muslims are settled in their respective homelands and the Elite, are well entrenched in the echelons of power.

    Not a bad Model isn’t it?

    I mean thy are all there to enjoy the perks, fatten themselves, their offsprings and of course their friends , I mean the good friends.who chip.

    So why should they share their plans with the great majority?.

  • 1
    1

    FF is right to raise “Sirisena government is violating basic democratic rights” Well as everybody knows this govt: is controlled by CBK and Ranil. Mr Sirisena is doing the donkey work. It is yet to see how respectful the govt: will be to basic democratic rights, when you examine their policies and implementations. 100 day program is already off rails, may need an extension or wider gauge rails.

  • 0
    0

    The government must release all bills for observations by the public, to meet the norms of good governance.

    People who depend on modern drugs for their survival are in danger of a premature death, if they are deprived of their life saving drugs. Such deaths amount to manslaughter.

  • 0
    0

    Is there a need for further public discussion on issues that were well thrashed out before and during the elections and for which the public voted overwhelmingly? Legal aspects will be examined by the Supreme Court and debated in Parliament by the legislators. I cannot believe that the Government is trying get anything enacted stealthily as was the practice with the previous regime.
    Further public discussion will only result in delay.

  • 0
    0

    What is good governance. The legislature has to be enacted fast. This has being discussed in the constituent parties. Among the opposition. The people demand quick results. They have approved the program. What is Important is that the Presidential powers though pruned should not be changed immediately. later at our leisure a new constitution can be passed by a duly elected government.This will occur after much discussion. is transparent and elects honest politicians. The light must expose misdeeds in both sides. There is press freedom. The police and other institutions were elected by a political process. This continues. It is vitally necessary for the passing of constitutional amendments fast. Don’t be a damp squib or stumbling block. An immediate system of grassroot participation is needed now. a National Government is needed now. The enactment were passed before or as bills.We can move fast in unity though diverse.

  • 0
    0

    More emphasis on bringing back law and order please. There are murderers who have to be brought to book and many other criminals to be punished if the climate of impunity is to be rolled back and the rule of law established.

    In the absence of a strong and sustained campaign to ensure that the above is accomplished the rest becomes suspect.

    Where was the friday forum when the white vans ruled the roads? Why does not the friday forum take up this and related issues NOW?

    Credibility shot to bits my dear old ladies and gents.

    Friday forum looks like another of those little vibrators used to massage egoes. Have fun.

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