17 September, 2019

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The President And The Govt. Were Not Elected To Further Personal Agendas: Friday Forum

The Friday Forum has called upon the President and the government to respond immediately to these public concerns, which have also been highlighted in many fora.

In a statement issued today, Friday Forum, which calls themselves an informal and self-financed group dedicated to democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law’ has said: “Interests of political parties, or their individual members or supporters, must not be placed above the public interest, if commitments to good governance are to be taken seriously and fulfilled. The President and the government were not elected to further personal, political or other agendas which have nothing to do with voters or the public interest.”Maithripala Ranil W Piv Via MS's FB

We publish below the statement in full:

The Rulers’ Law and the Rule of Law

President Maithripala Sirisena and the present government took office on a mandate to establish good governance and uphold the rule of law. Voters, who had for long witnessed the undermining of public institutions and the entrenching of corruption and impunity, now expected the rejection of past practices and the adoption of different standards.

For almost two years, people have watched patiently, as guarantees of good governance have been undermined or violated. We recognize the many challenges created by years of maladministration, and that some important interventions have been made to strengthen democracy. There is nevertheless a growing awareness that poor governance is becoming entrenched through both governmental action and inaction.

The Friday Forum wishes to highlight the following areas of concern:

1. Equality before the Law in Pending Investigations and Prosecutions

The Constitution (which is likely to be strengthened) sets out a fundamental right to equality, stating that “all persons are equal before the law” (Article 12). It is a matter of grave concern that the President and some Parliamentarians suggest that different laws apply to persons in high office and /or members of Parliament. We refer in particular to the President’s recent statement faulting independent commissions and law enforcement agencies for their investigations and prosecutions.

The President’s impatience with the delays in investigations and the need to treat all accused persons with respect and courtesy can be applauded. What is of concern is that he, in his public statement, has castigated officials responsible for the very act of investigating identified high officials, and bringing them before tribunals, without informing him. Independent Commissions and bodies, including those established under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, may have been appointed by the President. However the President cannot control, advise or instruct them. The public expect these bodies to fulfill their responsibility to act independently of all political authorities. Seeking the President’s approval is contrary to their responsibilities under the Constitution, and to the people.

The President must give a clear message on respect for the right to equality before the law. He must not give legitimacy to the idea that there is one set of laws for the people, and another set for officials, Parliamentarians and powerful individuals for whatever reason.

2. Sale of MP’s Duty-free vehicles

The ugly practice of Parliamentarians selling duty-free vehicles, enabling them to make profits in millions of rupees, must be stopped immediately. The profits they make, in place of the taxes they have been exempted from paying, rightfully belong in state coffers. Various justifications have been given by Ministers of all governments and Members of Parliament for continuing what is an outrageous, if not illegal, practice. Ironically, these justifications are now voiced at a time when a controversial tax – VAT –has been increased, and other measures are in hand to address a serious national debt crisis. These sales of vehicles imported duty free appear to be tolerated by the government as a way of providing MP’s with financial resources to fulfill their public duties. In no sense is this legitimate. Subsidies to any one – be they farmers or parliamentarians – must be authorized through the national budget that is subject to public scrutiny.

3. COPE Proceedings and the Central Bank Bond Issue

Reports of the Auditor General, of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), are long established mechanisms for ensuring regularity in financial transactions and identifying irregularities, including corruption in public sector institutions. The bitterly divisive and intensely adversarial proceedings in COPE meetings dealing with recent government bond issues, including the conduct of the Central Bank in the matter, do not inspire public confidence. The core issues before COPE were alleged irregularities in the auction of government bonds, which are estimated to have caused massive losses to government and to the public, and to identify those responsible for those irregularities. The truth of any allegations of such wrongdoing must be determined after a full inquiry with due process in appropriate fora.

We are glad that a consensus has at last emerged within COPE with regard to the adoption of the report. It is critically important to ensure that investigations take place without delay, to hold those responsible accountable. Failure to do so will erode public confidence and create a perception that the government is seeking to protect identified individuals who can claim impunity because of connections to the government.

4. Sri Lankan Airlines Investigation of Financial Loss and Sexual Harassment

The Sri Lankan Airlines Board of Directors has failed to take action on the Weliamuna report which contains specific allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption, and serious allegations of sexual harassment. The statement of the Chairman at a press conference, petulantly dismissing allegations of sexual harassment in the organization as “personal matters”, is shocking. Sexual harassment is illegal according to the criminal and civil law of the country including our labour law. A recent judgment of the Supreme Court recognized the responsibility of the State to take action when sexual harassment is alleged in public institutions. Sri Lankan Airlines is a public institution. Failure to ensure accountable and responsible management in the institution represents serious inaction on the part of the government. This too creates the perception that some persons are being treated as above the law.

The Friday Forum calls upon the President and the government to respond immediately to these public concerns, which have also been highlighted in many fora. Interests of political parties, or their individual members or supporters, must not be placed above the public interest, if commitments to good governance are to be taken seriously and fulfilled. The President and the government were not elected to further personal, political or other agendas which have nothing to do with voters or the public interest.

Prof. Savitri Goonesekere Dr. G. Usvatte-aratchi

For and on behalf of:

Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, Dr. G. Usvatte-aratchi, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne, Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, Prof. Camena Guneratne, Dr. A.C.Visvalingam, Ms. Shanthi Dias, Mr. Priyantha Gamage, Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Ms.Suriya Wickremasinghe, Mr. Pulasthi Hewamanna, Mr. Ananda Galappatti, Dr. Ms. Selvy Thiruchandran, Mr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere Mr. S.C.C. Elankovan and Prof. Ranjini Obeyesekere

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Latest comments

  • 12
    0

    The “President” Sirisena,

    RE: The President And The Govt. Were Not Elected To Further Personal Agendas: Friday Forum

    Yes.

    You were not elected by 62 lakhs of voters to:

    1. Personally profit you, your family and cronies.

    2. Personally profit you by interfering with the independent commissions and judiciary so that the the crooks and killers can be “saved” by accepting as bribes the stolen loot of the people.

    You were elected to follow the Law and Order to safeguard the constitution.

    Your actions are impeccable, and give reasons why you should not be impeached.

    You have become a Turncoat* for 62 lakhs of voters.
    (*Turncoat: a person who deserts one party or cause in order to join an opposing one.)

    You have become a Traitor* for 62 lakhs of voters.
    (*Traitor: a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.)

    You have become a Gona*, a Whore to the crooks, killers, the Rajapaksa and theit cronies.
    (*Gona, *Gon In Colloquial Sinhala, a whore, and also a stupid person)

    You have therefore earned the Titles, Turncoat, Traitor, Gon* Sirisena.

    Let the independent commission and independent judiciary function, and not be a victim like what happened during the French Revolution.

    Remember there is standard punishment for Traitors throughout history.

    • 10
      2

      Interestingly the biggest culprit in Jara-Ayahapalanaya – the Prime Minister – Ranil Wickramasinghe whose Mr. Clean mask has fallen off, and who is protecting Mahinda Jarapassa and his family and cronies as much as he did Arjuna Mahendran and Perpetual treasuries – is not named and shamed here by the Friday Folk!

      Wonder whose court they are in?!

      • 2
        0

        This should be translated to SInhala.

        Sri Lanka has turned into a Hub for Hot Air Mega Projects that cause environmental and financial DISASTER. Ranil’s team of economic hit men ( there are no women there) continue and expand the corruption of Mahinda Jarapassa regime and the DEBT TRAP to the Chinese and IMF.

        All Ranil and his team of economic hit men have done is jaunt around the world signing deals for free trade that will in the long run kill domestic productivity if not properly calibrated growth with value addition and up scaling national productivity and investment in National Research and development for this.

        To grow the REAL ECONOMY and generate GOOD JOBS that pay a living wage, you need to start Bottom Up not top down. Look at available human and natural resources and value addition to primary products. As usual Ranil is dancing to the tunes of global corporate Capital and signing useless trade deals that will destroy agriculture and local productivity, except for tourism.

    • 9
      0

      It is Ranil Wickramasinghe who thinks that there is one Law for corrupt politicians of the Parliament of Morons and another for the people.

      Ranil loves to prat on about Parliamentary Privileges and no doubt this extends to Ranil’s protection of Wimal Buruwansa who has committed passport fraud, and Sujeewa Senasinghe who did a jaunt to Harvard before batting for Mahendran, Ranil and Corruption at the Central Bank!

      • 5
        0

        Dead on Dude! Wijedasa Rajapaksa so called Minister of Justice crooked Ranil’s UNP crook, is the person behind delays and scuttling of investigations against Avant Guard, SL Airlines, Tahjudeen Murder etc.

        Ranil, is continuing MR’s corruption which is why he protecting Jarapassa family along with corrupt Wijedasa Rajapaksa whose making sure that all Rajapaksa cases are delayed and derailed..

        If Ranil was not a partner in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s corruption and crimes, the country would not have sunk to the lower depths that it has in the first place when the people voted MR and his family and cronies out.

    • 0
      0

      Amarasiri, arent we going a little bit over the line, referring to our President in the manner in which you do?

      We may criticize his actions and the hypocrisy all we wish, but I think we need not resort to insult, in order to get our point across.

      He’s been a very big disappointment to a lot of people, you me and all those who voted for him. He’s been weak.

      His only mission seems to stop people from smoking cigarettes and moralizing on the behaviour of other people’s children.

      Clearly both our two top men have failed in their mission to establish a Society conforming to normal standards as found in stable societies. They have tinkered with the Rule of Law and that is a clear foul for which they will have to pay some day.

  • 5
    0

    Friday forum should educate voters. What they are doing while having having good times for them, they accumulate wealth for their extended families. Thye continue this until the country goes bankrupt.

    the previous govt did htis. the present govt does this. Even the Joint opposition and those in line ffrom UNP are the same.

    This started with Oliver Gunathilake since the last govt is has peaked.

    Friday forum should work on this without any special interests in their minds.

  • 0
    2

    The ‘Good Governance and Rule of law” is in fact only a slogan by Western oriented Elites who are belongs to old world order.
    The them of governances ( be “Good “)initial by world Bank oriented wording by that granting Loans, Grants and other credit facilities to developing Nation under poverty level get ride out by ruling powers of the third world countries.

    The them of ‘Good’ come under ongoing or previous the corruptions and graft must be fairly eradicated by “Rule of law” another slogan by USA, UK, EU and Canada & Australia.

    Non of this task is Not workable solution at Sri Lanka since 2015 January 9th change by “Rainbow (Ranilbow) Revolution” was politically back by Friday Forum of elites.
    In addition to that those who are behind the very changes of power in governances of State are NGO’s and other set of Elites.

    By and large the intelligences of western -oriented-educated citizens of Sri Lankan elites are brainwashed by several intelligent agencies of CIA, RAW & M16 has given that “Good Governance” handover new tool to be totally change power of authority to UNP led coalitions.

    Whole set of Friday Forum Elites were very happy about that UNP was Enter in centre of Power of State.

    They ignored that MS as humble man that living simple life fact remain they knew that was not truth by their class represtantive, rely on but while of Ranil w.@@@2 and CBK of Neo-federalist was there, really they please about two are present in Power centre an openly and behind by “Good Governances”.

    The matter of deliver of Democracy became problem into being is differences between Friday Forum and “Good Governances” not that big gap time being.

    The issues is not that “People good governances” ,the very reasons are all corruptions and graft has come to the Public is that by their (Friday Forum)grivirances that!

    Well place information says the Corruptions was in time of an Independent since 1948. This is not a new political phonemmona of “democracy” of UNP and SLFP of politics .
    These two political parties are root cause of Corruptions.

    Its cannot eradicated corruptions by system of UNP and SLFP joint “orientated governance” of in heal of power democratic Capitalism.

    The so-called “compromised Governances” is not that dose treatment for all ill of sickness of system of democracy, which are not eliminated that ongoing corruptions of democracy by near future ,by fair elections.

    Ours democracy lack accountability at all.
    Our Governances has so many misdeeds in last 22 months but that has not been address by People represtantive and their chamber.
    Parliament has lost of majority voice and rule of Democracy.
    Minority become leader of an Opposition. And JVP has been 6 members are going to protected “Democracy” similar as 1971 April and 1988/89 under guise of UNP Neo-liberals politics of Ranil W… Christen Democrats played vital role of bad governances.

    By the time Current politics are out of order of principle of Democracy, that is why good “governances” become invalid in Nation functions that working on the norms people sovereignty.

    In this point were the Friday Forum has status has gradually loosing their so-called credibility of “Good” that collectively, that is why is NOT taken any sort of action against corruption has been committed by ruling party authorities.

    That is why powerful Enforcement authority cannot take any action against UNP leadership .

    Friday Forum is unable finger at Govt. why is that ?

    The so-called power of devolution of Island by Federalism of Tamil Eealm has to established in Island for vital interest is that behind by USA ?
    The very USA interest is Globally and pivot Asian that US has Indian Ocean politics of Monsoon back by Pentagon of Robert Kaplan to be partition of Island for US bases Military interest presence in Indian Ocean.

    We are a nation that a Sovereignty, Independent and Territorial Integrity challenge by USA global dominance of decaling power in universally in Indian Ocean.

    Our Island has reach to point of departure of accepts and values of democracy since last 22 months of mismanagement and mis-governaces of UNP ruling parties in power.

    Now Elites has change tone of ongoing “democracy” they are not happy of task they that of Ranil W@@@ and CBK of neo-federalist and Neo-con-colonialist of SLFP in ours an Island They do want to replace Misdeeds of UNP anti-democratic ruling politics.

  • 4
    0

    “Voters, who had for long witnessed the undermining of public institutions and the entrenching of corruption and impunity, now expected the rejection of past practices and the adoption of different standards.”

    Not all voters were this naive. It was all an act to gain votes.

  • 1
    0

    Every possible bit of pressure must be applied to ensure that the governments stays on course and does not stray from its mandate, which is ‘Good Governance.’ So far there are some glaring instances where good governance has been thrown to the river, and this is unacceptable in the eyes of all responsible citizens, be they members of the FF or not.

    Prime Minister Ranil has to set a better example. He could have, had he dissociated from the bond scam very early in the proceedings and maintained his hard won dignity. He didn’t, and now with veiled references by the President that the case against Thajudeen’s murderers is being suppressed, it all boils down to an unholy mess involving some top people who are going down the same alley as Rajapaksians without obviously learning their lessons.

    One thing they may all need to remember: The truth will out. No one could suppress it. The electorate are less tolerant, and far more suave than they think!

  • 5
    0

    Tell me one politician who is in politics to serve the country?

  • 1
    5

    Friday forum full of robbers and cheaters. See the key lady in this forum gave full coverups for all ill doings of the most corruptive VC (her predecessor) in the Colombo University history.

  • 4
    0

    President Sirisena was not voted in by SLFP. But after becoming the President he shamelessly wore the SLFP hat. Although he wore the SLFP hat he does not have control over SLFP. Today SLFP is split into five groups: 1) Sirisena Group, 2) Mahinda Group, 3)Chandrika Group, 4)Group sitting on the fence, 5) Lastly there is a Ranil Group also within SLFP. President should have the guts to appoint several special courts (depending on the Rupee value of the frauds) and get through all the fraud cases before end of 2017. There is no point in President telling in public there is politics involved in the inquiries. Is the President not the head of the Government? Shamelessly he has also met with Gothabaya and Namal, what a shame. President has cheated all the Sri Lankans who trusted him and voted him to office.

  • 1
    0

    The “good governance” regime elected on its promises to uphold the law has now again degenerated into a ‘lawless regime’.

    The Friday Forum is a thorn in the side of the now evolving autocratic regime in the south, which complements the lawless military regime in the north.

    We are back to ‘square one’ again.
    Will it take another civil war to put things right?

  • 0
    0

    I wish the Friday Forum had asked the President to desist from putting his foot into his mouth whenever he has occasion to open his mouth.

  • 1
    0

    Out of the 18 individuals who have forwarded this petition to the government, six are women. This is a surprisingly high level of representation of women compared to their representation in other spheres of life. Perhaps, in this country the females are more interested in democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law than the males. Well, shame on the men!

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