21 October, 2020

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Sirisena; The Nelson Mandela Of Modern Sri Lanka

By Upul Jayasuriya

Upul Jayasuriya

Upul Jayasuriya

It is my great privilege to welcome you all on this historic day when we celebrate 50 years of the LawAsia conference which started in Canberra in 1966. It is indeed serendipitous that, the Golden Jubilee Conference is taking place in our blessed land, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. LawAsia; your strong support for the rule of law during this half a century has been significant and most relevant globally and locally particularly in relevance to the recent past. When the idea of holding a similar conference in Sri Lanka was mooted by me in 2013, the executive committee of LawAsia rightly declined the offer considering the situation as it existed then. The subsequent decision by LawAsia to hold the Golden Jubilee in Sri Lanka in 2016, is an apt honour and a telling recognition of the journey Sri Lanka has chosen to embark upon and moved forward with the dawn of the 8th of January 2015 and the ascendency to office by both the President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The legal fraternity in Sri Lanka of all the professions in our land led the change to establish the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and true democracy. The legal fraternity of Sri Lanka was a critical and perhaps impelling factor in the change. We never rested until sanity was restored. Today we look back with pride at our role in restoration of the values I mentioned. Permit me to pay this glowing tribute not only to the legal fraternity in Sri Lanka but the entire legal community of LawAsia, its President Prashant Kumar, former President Isomi Zuzuki and President Elect Chris Leong, who were at the forefront in many a struggle of ours during the most turbulent period of the Bar in Sri Lanka. It is a triumph for the values that we stood for as we believed Edmund Burke, the necessity for the triumph of the evil is for good men to do nothing. Because we did not do nothing. We did everything. The President; Since assuming office you have been the crusader in a battle to relinquish the powers that you were vested with. You abdicated the Presidential immunity.

You restricted the number of times you could contest by an amendment to the Constitution that you moved. Your right to make appointments of judges of the Superior Courts is restricted constitutionally with a new Constitutional amendment you brought in within 100 days of your election. These were some of the dreams that the legal profession advocated fearlessly. You have entered the journey to good governance.

You have recognized the need for true reconciliation in our previously fractured motherland and you are indomitably addressing the measures which are needed to bring about true reconciliation and amity in a united Sri Lanka. It is my belief that, history will judge you to be the Nelson Mandela of modern Sri Lanka the citizen who united our country and its people and created one nation and one people. The Prime Minister, you have been the tower of strength in these endeavours and a true democrat. Independence of the judiciary, transparency, media freedom, right to information and the principles of rule of law have been re-established with the dawn of the new era in Sri Lanka. Our relationships with all the countries near and far have been restored and strengthened with much hope for the present and the future. Many of these goals have been achieved during this short period.

The Prime Minister, We are proud that you too are a member of our profession. I remember that you attended the inauguration of the Lawasia Conference in 1993 in Colombo Sri Lanka as the Prime Minister in this very hall and have always been a source of much strength to the legal profession. You are truly the champion of modern Sri Lanka and future Sri Lanka. Every time you were pushed to the rope you bounced back with more vigour, your wisdom, insight and determination prevailed and brought victory. Abundant Investment opportunities, protection for investments and ease of investments are now a reality in Sri Lanka.

Dear Delegates, You will have the opportunities of making best use of the fruitful discussions and networking that will take place during the evening functions enjoying the traditional Sri Lankan hospitality. I take this opportunity to remember, Ajantha Cooray, the Chairman of the organizing committee of the Lawasia Conference in 1993. He departed from our midst in 2003 during the prime of his life.

We are fortunate to have the President of Lawasia of 1993 Anil Divan and 9 past Presidents with us at this conference. I also wish to make use of this opportunity to place on record our appreciation to a few great people from Lawasia, who stood by us in making this conference a reality. Ladies and gentlemen please give a rousing welcome with a round of applause to Prashant Kumar of India the President of Lawasia, Chris leong, of Malaysia, President elect of LawAsia, Isomi Zuzuki of Japan the former President of LawAsia and my brother Vice Presidents of LawAsia Justin Dove of Australia and Chung wan Choi of Korea and last but not the least the outgoing Secretary General of LawAsia Janet Nevil and her team.

I have long had a dream for the members of our noble profession in Sri Lanka. During the 43 years of history of our Bar Association of Sri Lanka, we have not been able to realize this dream. The dream is to set up a benevolent trust fund to assist less privileged members of our fraternity who encounter unexpected difficulties and are in need of urgent assistance. I am happy to declare that we will realize that dream at the end of this historical Golden Jubilee Lawasia conference. Finally permit me to thank all sponsors and over 40 members of the organizing committee with more than 150 members in the sub committees for a job well done with precision and attention to detail.

Please bear with me as I do not have the time to name all of them. The legal profession has been the strength of many a society and country and the legal profession has fought many a battle and a war to protect the cherished values and standards of the rule of law and democracy.

The legal profession has faced many threats and sometimes violence in its commitment to these causes. I take this opportunity to remember with shock and sorrow the tragic events in Quetta earlier this week with the assassination of the President of the Quetta Bar Association followed by the terror attack which killed and maimed over 70 people including many of our colleagues. This horrific incident brings this truth home to us in a chilling and brutal manner. We can resist and triumph over these threats only if the legal profession in each country and through our region and internationally stands united and strong and gives our unstinted support to our brothers and sisters in the profession. LAWASIA has always led this effort and I know it will continue to do so. I am confident that this Golden Jubilee LawAsia Conference which has over 550 Delegates from across the globe, participating will strengthen our unity and resolve.

I wish you all an excellent conference and a most enjoyable and memorable stay in my beloved mother Sri Lanka.

*Upul Jayasuriya’s address at 29th LAWASIA Conference – Golden Jubilee Conference

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Latest comments

  • 6
    2

    Luckily Nelson Mandela is no more. Otherwise that grate man may commit suicide after seeing the nasty comparison.

  • 8
    1

    Upul Jayasuriya: You equate Sirisena with Nelson Mandela? Thumuseta lajja nadda oy? Is this part payment for your BOI appointment?

    Sirisena is the Zuwanie in the movie The Interpreter. Sirisena believes that “a nearly-assassinated president gains credibility and sticks around to enjoy it.” Step by step Sirisena is implenting that policy.

    Another joke: Ranil is alleged to be endowed with “wisdom, insight and determination”. Just contemplate where will Ranil be but for the Jayawardene / Wijewardene family connection?

    Grass eaters enjoy!

  • 4
    7

    Sirisena Changed the constitution and limited the number of times back to two terms,
    Sirisena changed constitution and appointed the independent Commissions,
    Sirisena changed the constitution and limited his powers to appoint judges at his own will,
    Sirisena brought in the Right to Information Act,
    Sirisena emancipated both media both e media and the state media and gave the media freedom,
    Sirisena gave the freedom to the Police to inquire and prosecute,
    Sirisena put an end to the white van culture,
    Above all Sirisena is not a rogue like Rajapasha

    Don’t forget Mandela too was a human being. He too had weaknesses. As he came out of the prison after 24 years, he left his wife and married a wife who was in her teens.
    Sirisena too is a human being.
    Value him for what he is and not for what he is not!

    • 4
      1

      Mandela had to divorce his wife Winnie Mandela as she refused to come to his bed after he returned home after 26 years in prison .

      He remarried a middle aged respected woman , not a teenager.

    • 1
      3

      Dimitri the Dimwit and Philanthropist for Your Benefit

      Sirisena is also having an agreement with the Jarapaksa Clan to not PROSECUTE them for criminal offences. Res ipsa loquitur. Prima facie evidence is sufficient for this purpose, but Sirisena has instructed Attorney General only “arrest and release” on bail.

      He is setting up a precedent, so that after he loses power, if he is arrested for fraud, murder and mayhem, he too will be easily bailed out; no criminal prosecution under any circumstances.

    • 0
      0

      I like your comment. Sirisena is not an outright rogue. He has good qualities others did not have . He is the only one who came to power saying abolishing the almighty the executive presidency and he almost did it which is great. However he has been a victim of his own paranoia against Rajapakse come back. This may have derived from the fear of possible repercussions against his family more than him in case of a such event. There are valid reason to be fearful knowing the plight of people who went against the MR clan in the past.they wont leave a trace of Sirisena or any one connected to him if they were given any chance to grab power again. Sirisena seems to be living through this fear and every action he takes shows elements of this fear psychosis.
      He appointed Rajapkase loyalists without thinking twice when they changed allegiance. Everyone knows though they have changed the jungle their stripes are the same. His subtle actions are mainly targeting at breaking down the power base of MR clan. The recent appointment of Hambanthota Mayor is a classic example. Logisticaly this may be tactical. MR will be alienated from his supporters and his power will be diminished gradually.However,MR single handedly enjoys a wider power base still and it was clearly evident from the recently held Pada yatra .He has the ability to boomerang and bounce back any time.Sira and Ranil know this very well.The irony is that die hard supporters of Mara will stay with him and only the opportunists will change sides. Can Sira rely on those rogues who change their colours for their own personal gains in a future political instability. Isn ‘t he better of slowly cleaning his back yard and encouraging genuine educated up coming politicians to be appointed for those posts rather than dejected thieves. I sense he got it really wrong in this instance and though I am partly sympathetic to him considering the back ground threats ,at the same time we are missing a golden opportunity to clear up our corrupted politics once again. His strength has become RW and both are reliant on each other against the threat posed by MR . Whether they like each other or not they will have to stick to this marriage for a forseable future if they have to stay in power. MR is waiting to raise his head in any given opportunity and knowing to crafty nature of MR he can utilize any productive but undesirable actions taken by these two such as power devolution to solve the ethnic problem for his gain to incite and rally masses. Unfortunately, again and again the victims of this power tussle will not be them but the suffering country and us. Ohh….I am tired of watching this saga.

  • 4
    0

    Hey Fun Lover,
    What is Love for?
    To eat grass as you say or to eat your own s- – t?
    I would like to hear you on my comment?
    Dim

  • 3
    0

    Hey Fun Lover,
    What is Love for?
    To eat grass as you say or to eat your own s- – t?
    I would like to hear you on my comment?
    Dim

  • 2
    2

    HELLO !! UPUL JAYASURIYA, GENTLY.
    OTHERWISE PRESIDENTS EYE BALLS WILL POP OUT.

  • 4
    2

    madela was a fighter he never betrayed his people , he was a grateful man , under the gun while visiting the USA he refused to talk bad about kadafi and Castro. Sirisena ate appa and betrayed his boss , Mandela was no JUDAS/. Judas of Srilanka ?.

  • 1
    3

    what did he get a big bone to chew?.

  • 1
    4

    Tradition has it that the Chief Guest is praised. Upul has chosen the wrong comparison. Mandela was a liberation fighter. He was never part of the Apartheid regime for decades and then defect. Mandela spent most of his life evading arrest or in prison. Mandela did not show obvious partiality.

  • 0
    1

    Hero and Zero
    Achieved Liberation in the history
    indicates hero as hero for HERO.
    What indicates what for what?
    Victims are Mirrors who reflect truth
    without bias in the midst of bias.

  • 1
    3

    Mandela was an uncompromising fighter until a little before his release.

    He and the ANC made a deal with Global Capitalism and South African White capitalists that the ANC will not touch land owned by Whites or nationalize any major venture including mines They also agreed to cooperate with globalization and neo-liberal policies. All of these were acts of treachery that went back on pledges to the people.

    Mandela was not the only ‘great leader’ to let down his people. For obvious reasons, we are told very little about it by the global media. But Black Africa knows it well. Sadly there is no real opposition in SA, except for sections of the working class.

    Comparing MS with NM is, however, a childish exercise inflattery.

  • 0
    1

    Mandela could not be subjugated by powerful countris or the govt or could notbe subjugated by powerful people or govts. HE exactly knew what his people wanted.

    Does Maithriapala does the same. He is far away from that.

    Even though Maithripala Sirisena is the Executivce president, Ranil does everything the way Ranil wants.

  • 2
    0

    Hey fun lover!
    You are an idiot.
    Your little knowledge of everything is ruining you. When people are arrested and bailed out you think they are discharged! You are a bloody fool.
    How many such cases are proceeding. Look at the Sil reedy case. Lalith weeratunga is charged and the case is proceeding. Namal and yoshitha the same.
    I think I am convinced that your S- -t is not sufficient for you. you must eat everyone’s S–t.
    Because grass is too good for you as grass should be spared for the sacred cows.
    Philanthropist

    • 0
      2

      Philanthropist

      So you worship the ‘sacred’ cows. That helps to understand you.

      You think filing a case against Lalith weeratunga, Namal and Yoshit is going to make any difference? The arrest & bail out displays are for PR purposes you pc of sh. The court case will be there pending for another 15 years, while those devils will never be restrained allowing them to enjoy their crooked life.

      Why is the Attorney General specifically instructed by Aappa Sira or Ponna Ranil never to arrest those particular criminals for non-bailable offences, for which there is plenty of prima facie evidence? Is this too much for your stunted brain to figure out? Or are you Aappa Sira or Ponna Ranil himself writing under a misleading pseudonym?

      Read the other story about deputy minister Senasingha selling his duty free vehicle import permit for Rs 25 mill to a Borah fellow. Readers are anxiously waiting to hear your views.

  • 3
    0

    Dear Fun loving idiot,

    Without a few idiots like you the world is boring. Bharath Luxman Murder case that was not started for 3 years was started soon after the new government came in to power. Trial concluded in one year and the judgement is awaiting to be delivered in September. A blinded fool like you say that the trial will take 15 years.

    SIL redi case is moving almost day to day and would conclude possibly in a few weeks.

    Some of Basil’s and Namal’s properties and money already confiscated. Bailing is a matter for court’s and not the politicians. When people are bailed out that’s a judicial decision and can be challenged only in a court of Law. Why don’t an idle fool like you go and challenge it. They have been arrested and bailed out and the cases are with the AG to consider filing indictment.

    Prosecution is again a matter for the Attorney General. It is not for idiots like you.

    I would not equate a cow or a pig to a guy like you as I would be insulting an innocent animal who has better brains than you.

  • 0
    0

    Mandela was a freedom fighter who lost his way after being released from jail. He succumbed to the wiles of the west and got carried away by the flattery poured on him by the leaders of the US and UK, sacrificing his people and allow the whites to entrench themselves further retain their stranglehold of the economy of SA. Is Sitisena going the same way?

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