17 January, 2022

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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

  • 14
    6

    LOL!!! Heard there was a lot of booze at the dinner.. explains his speech..

    • 16
      2

      This guy Upul is a disgrace and an embarrassment to the Bar Ass!

      Sirisena with his Cabinet of SLFP crooks who were booted out by the people at the last election and his brother as SLT chairman is an insult to Mandela!

      • 6
        1

        What an idiotic comparison between Nelson Mandela and Maitripala Sirisena. I will not be surprised that tomorrow another imbecile will compare Mahinda Rajapakse with Mahatma Gandhi.

  • 24
    2

    Something wrong here-Jayasuriya is not the president of the bar association but he acts like he is. The guy has politicized the whole thing. shame.

  • 14
    1

    The writer has no simple knowledge of Global politics by and large of Nelson Mandela who fought for the Liberation of Black people from domination of White Race of Imperialist hegemony of the by pave way for the liberating in whole African countries.

    ANC is not confined to South Africa it–self , this writer an appears of his line of thinking is narrow to be compare with MS to Nelson Mandala. Are these guys are politicians of Sri lanka?
    Are they in top of policy making Body of Govt. of Sri lanka?

    This is tragedy of democracy politics of UNP’s “good governances’ and “Rule of law.”?

    There are many ordinary citizens in remote part of rural areas an Island more advance than this type of persons.( writer)

    We having no intention to insult people of Africans as well Nelson M…
    We are really respect Nelson M… as leader having high calibre of political vision than MS in Island.

    Theses two personalities role of politics are dramatically opposite directions. No way to compare and contrast by writer by his poor reading of modern politics.

    He is not an eligible higher position of Enforcement Authority in Govt. sector.

  • 8
    9

    Wonder what this dude calls Yahapalana Boss Whiskey Madam, who hired this Mandela from Pollonnauruwa?.

    An ancient Sinhala Buddhist City, Which evidently was built by Kallathonies , according to the latest research of Yahapalana PM Ranil, who is whiskey Madam’s cousin .

    That is another story.

    But Whiskey Madam has got it all wrong..Right..

    She told the Yahapalana suckers that one MIG Fighter crashed while flying from St Petersberg to China Bay.

    But Gota says all MIGs came in Kits in Containers, according to the contract which was signed by Whiskey Madam’s Golayas with the Singaporean Arms dealers.

    So much for honesty , integrity and transparency of this Yahapalanaya..

    • 4
      3

      Mr. Sirisena, Wiskymadam according to you together with Ranil et al will teach you guys good lessions. In the days to come you will not easy to breed criminals as hd been the days of your Raja who knew nothing but to promote crimes of all forms.

    • 1
      0

      Ancient Sinhalese Buddhist city!Polonaruwa was founded by Tamil Cholas and all the great buildings both Hindu and Buddhist was built by them and now Sinhalese racists are misinforming and portraying this to the world as ancient Sinhalese Buddhist ruins. Ancient Sinhalese Buddhist ruins indeed? All the great works were built by kings of Tamil or Tamil Naga origin, either Hindu or Buddhist now being misrepresented as Sinhalese Buddhist ruins.
      As for the Kallathones Vijaya was one so were his 500 friends and also the Pandian Tamil harlots they took for their wives. In fact the vast majority of the so called present day Sinhalese are descended from Tamil kallathonis who came here from ancient to modern times. 50% of them purely descended from low caste Indian Tamil slave labour Kallathonis who were imported into the island by the Portuguese and Dutch colonials and settled along the western and southern littorals. most probably your ancestor.

  • 12
    1

    “History will judge you to be the Nelson Mandela of Modern Sri Lanka!” declares SL Bar Association President of President Sirisena.

    For a country which is not lacking in regular examples of sycophancy this surely wins the first prize. And if the President has not yet had his head completely turned after 18 months in power this must have been a moment of considerable embarrassment. He must have squirmed uncomfortably on his chair to hear himself – in the presence of legal luminaries from all over Asia) compared to a man whose life was a very far cry from his own. While not forgetting the role President Sirisena played in the climatic election of 2015, his acceptance of the trimming of the right to hold presidential office, & his mostly modest conduct, his life and impact have been a far cry from that of a world figure that Nelson Mandela was.

    Maitripala Sirisena came from a relatively humble background, & became a politician who ultimately attained ministerships. (One should not forget of course, his early brief association with the Peking wing of the Communist party which suggests something of a concern for his fellow men.) His life as far as I am aware was not a turbulent one in which he was ever in danger. Neither, as far as I am aware, did he ever pose a challenge to the corruption and sycophancy which surrounded President Rajapakse for so many years. True, as he has told us, he took a great risk in finally stepping forward from the uncritical mass of his fellow politicians to lead a struggle at a critical and possibly dangerous time. And for that we must honour him.

    But another Nelson Mandela, that he certainly is not. And for the Bar Assn Prez to call him this is to set a tone for the ensuing proceedings that will make at least the more aware extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed.

    I believe that Mandela came from a royal family in his tribe. He became a lawyer and – at least to the extent that apartheid permitted it – he could have lived a relatively comfortable, safe life – suffering of course all the humiliations of being a black man in a white-ruled country. Instead he took the hard path
    entering upon a long and dangerous struggle for the emancipation of his people. And in the early 1960s he was arrested & sentenced to life imprisonment. It would have seemed that he sacrificed everything in vain and one could expect a terrible bitterness to grow. But this extraordinary man survived nearly 30 years in jail without emerging with hatred for his oppressors.

    He had become a figure on the world stage.

    Mr Jayasuriya, your comparison would have embarrassed the President & it certainly shocked me. If an educated lawyer can stoop so low as to make such a declaration what can one expect of the ordinary man in the street? Will we always seek to curry favour thus with our superiors – in office, at least?

    Yesterday, the ISLAND carried a photograph on its front page of the President being presented with a semi-precious-gem-studded portrait of himself at the opening of the Lawasia Golden Jubilee Conference. Similarly jewelled portraits of themselves were also presented to the Prime Minister & the Lawasia President.

    This is all of a piece with the exaggerated claim made above – calculated to appeal to the vanity of the recipients. Apart from the cost of these glittering pictures, they seem hardly appropriate to the occasion. One would have thought that something related to the 50 year anniversary of this legal assn more appropriate.

    By such declarations & gestures, Mr Jayasuriya, you are contributing to the web of flattery and falsehood that surrounds our politicians & contributes to their own lack of self awareness & honesty. Better men than President Sirisena have been brought low by such attentions.

    I am dismayed that this should have come from the Bar.

  • 6
    0

    Steady on Mr Jayasuriya. I accept that it is normal to gush forth at these events, pulling platitudes out like rabbits out of hat. But spare our El Prsedidente the burden of being someone else. Let us just be pleased to acknowledge him as the reforming leader we dreamt of all these years (OK, 2010 to 2015).

    Embarrassing la! as my old friend Tunku Abdur Rahaman used to say.

  • 4
    1

    Let the people at large decide on the virtues of politicians, whose credibility has sunk so low in the recent past, particularly those of Sri Lanka. We have not forgotten the History when Lackeys of Jarapassa those days sang songs of praise such as “Maharajano”etc.

    Having learned a few lessons we start wondering what this lawyer cum chairman of BOI up to when tries to equate any one with Nelson Mandela. Although I have my regards to MY3, that does not mean that I would be out of my mind to equate him to Nelson Mandela knowing very well that MY3 has not suffered even one tenth what Mandela did and yet be generous towards his white captors.

    Those who are knowledgeable tell me that when some one praises the top, it is a sign indicating that he wants stability in his present position to feather his own nest.

  • 7
    1

    It is my belief that, history will judge you to be the Nelson Mandela of modern Sri Lanka!!!!.

    Upul Jayasuriya I think its too early to rate Sira as the Mandela of modern srilanka.

    6.3 MILLION Voted for Sira for Kamba Horun to be given the punishment. But sadly this is lacking only deals within deals.

    Disappointing!!.

  • 11
    1

    God alimighty! What a sickening display of arse licking. Foul and vomit inducing even by Sri Lanka’s low standards

  • 7
    1

    This person is off his nuts.How the hell are you going to compare MS to a great great leader like Nelson Mandela.

  • 4
    3

    It is early to assess Mithiripala Srisena but he has a potential to grow up to the level of Mandela if he believe and commit himself to bring lasting peace and harmony to this island. Not only him but also Ranil, Chandrika and Sampanthan has to committ themselves towards the same objective. The real challenge is to enlighten the people, particularly the Buddhist Sinhalese those who are still wrapped under darkness by the extreme buddhist Fundamentalist thoughts. It is hard but it can be achieved if there is will and committment.

    • 1
      1

      Ajith,

      Aha! once again it is the fault of extreme Sinhala Buddhists fundamentalists. You do not see the extreme Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists. In my view the biggest obstacle to ethnic harmony is the Wellala Tamil politicians who do not like to see harmony between the two communities. Out of the 3.6 million Tamils, 50% live in the south among Sinhala Buddhists. Tamils buy property, work and do business, build Kovils, have Hindu religious festivals in Sinhala areas while Sinhalese are barred from such activities in the north. The high caste Wellala politicians do not allow to change Thesawalama that gives them the monopoly to own land. Low caste Tamils in Jaffna opposed giving land and police rights to Wellala dominated NPC.

      • 1
        2

        Dear Untouchable,
        I don’t know whether you understand the difference between extreme Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalists and Buddhist Sinhalese. Yes, there are extreme Hindu and Muslims Fundamentalists. The difference is that Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists have the power to influence the Government decisions and policies but not extreme Hindu or Muslim Fundamentalists.
        Tamils and Muslims live in Sinhala areas but they were not colonized like Sinhalese colonized by the Govts with the protection of Sinhalese army to change the demographic structure. Tamils and Muslims are in Sinhala areas because they were asked by Govts to serve the Sinhala people because you didn’t have skilled people to serve your people. People live colombo because it is the Capital of Srilanka. Do you know that 1958, 1977, 1983 genocide of Tamils in Colombo and Other Sinhala areas were carried out by extreme Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists with the help of Sinhala army. If you have a good brain you should understand the difference.

  • 2
    1

    A Yahapalanaya getting his wires screwed up inside his brains.
    Upul is doing the unthinkable trying to suck up both ends of the Yahapalanaya.

    Former Bar Association Chairman turned Politician and now…… your guess is as good as mine.

  • 1
    1

    Nelson Mandela kept his word and stepped down from his leadership as he had promised.

    Sirisena promised he would stay only for a few months. Why is he still there?
    He must love the power and perks.

  • 5
    0

    Sirisena is our Mandela !

    Upul Jayasuriya is our Tom Cruise !

    Ranil is our Lea Kuan yew !

    • 0
      0

      harry,

      Please do not insult Nelson Mandela and Lee Kuan Yew.

      • 2
        0

        Then let s call Mahinda Rajakashes is our mandela ?

        OMG Gadafi supporters will kill themselves to have betrayed them.

  • 4
    1

    Upul was a disgrace to his profession ! I knew that since long; but I never thought he would go shopping for Sira with his birthday suite !

    • 1
      3

      You will see it, in the future, not only Upul but the edcuated folks will rally round to support to Mr. Sirisena and Mr. RW.

  • 3
    1

    Suck upul…..suck.The more you suck,more you get!

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 5
    0

    ”Sirisena; The Nelson Mandela Of Modern Sri Lanka”

    Utter crap & what an a**e licker. It’s an insult to Mandela. We had the reincarnation of Dutugamunu & now a comparison to Mandela. Anyone to be nominated as Ghandi? Or is Ghandi too simple for SL standards?

  • 1
    1

    Did you all see how this guy presented The President Sirisena with a picture (of Mr Sirisena) crafted out of gem stones at the LawAsia Conference? This reminded me of Mr. Hudson Samarasinghe who was the Chairman of SLBC during Rajapakse Regime. What a bunch of “Wandi Battayas” (Trumpet Blowers)who have got into the inner circle of this President. But, unlike MR this Sirisena must be having good fun out of the behavior of these JOKERS.

  • 4
    1

    I am no admirer of Dutugemunu Rajapaksa. But Maithri Mandela???
    Mr. Jayasuriya, if you are an example of the ruling circles of this country, I fear for its future. What is obvious is that you know nothing about Nelson Mandela (or,come to think of it, Maithri either).
    Leave Maithri to complete the job he has taken on. When he has finished we can decide who to compare him with. He could well do without unwanted glorification. That is what brought down Mahinda.

  • 3
    1

    Upul Jayassoriya:

    At one point, you wrote a lot here complining about Previous govt. Then you got this job. Recently, you complioned your life is in danger. Now, you are trying to create a Nelson Mandela in Sri lanka.

    In a few years time, we may understand during the same time, there was a hugh scandle where money transactions of hundreds of millions of dollars. You have assets that can not be accounted with your income. But, you know nothing about it.

    Mostl probably, it is brain Washing Maithripala Sirisena while engaging in some kind of corruption. Mahinda Rajapakse was dumb. We see, how dumb Maithripala Sirisena is.

    This is a low life way to acheive things in one’s life.

  • 1
    2

    YOu mean Maitrhipala sirisena is that incompetant leader. So, he can not be Maithripala Sirisena. Instead tries to be a Nelson Mandedela.

    That is not orignal leadership. Just imitating to be. A loser.

  • 3
    1

    Please do not insult Nelson Mandela.

  • 3
    2

    It is only brainless idiots can compare Sirisena with great men like
    Mandela.

  • 2
    1

    Nelson Madela must be turnin in his grave.

  • 2
    1

    please do not ridicule Nelson Mandela. They are poles apart and both cannot meet.

  • 3
    1

    There won’t be any reconciliation or religious and ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka until there is Nelson Mandela among the Budhhist monks. Forget the politicians they have no power.

  • 1
    2

    Come on guys.
    Have any of you who comments are published passed
    Beyond grade 5.
    Read his speech as to why he says it and comment objectively.
    Don’t be subjective. Be argumentative. Don’t display your ignorance
    And stupidity and insult a valuable website that has contributed
    Immensely to bring those worthy changes fighting an absolute
    Dictator, a rogue and a rogue family.

    • 3
      0

      Be that as it may, Upul certainly knows how to kiss ass !!! Just like previous ass kissers, theres no shortage of them for this administration either !!!

  • 1
    1

    This shows clearly the low mentality of those in high positions trying to get the blessings of the Kings by uttering such nonsense without thinking. Nelson Mandela will be turning in his grave and will be wondering about these silly utterance. Let him lie in peace.

    • 1
      0

      It is pretty sure, he got some money from some organization, and that oney is talking here.

      Theyare brainwashing yahapalanaya.

  • 1
    0

    Upul’s disgusting assessment of Sirisena calling him a Nelson Mandela of Sri Lanka will be the greatest insult Nelson Mandela – The world’s Greatest Statesman –
    To compare Sirisena an opportunist politician who conducted the last stages of genocidal war in 2009, supervising the killings of thousands of innocent civilians and a breaker of promises is nothing but stomach churning.
    Upul a diplomatic post is on the way for you. Until then continue your unholy assignment.

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