24 October, 2021

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Under MR’s Stewardship, Democracy Hangs By The Barest Of Threads

By Mangala Samaraweera 

Mangala Samaraweera MP

Mangala Samaraweera MP

His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma

Secretary General of the Commonwealth

Marlborough House,

Pall Mall,

London SW1Y 5HX,

United Kingdom

Your Excellency,

It is as a matter of great urgency that we are compelled to bring to your attention the continuous violation of Commonwealth values by the current Chair of your esteemed organisation and the failure of the Commonwealth to take meaningful steps to rectify this dire situation.

The most recent incident of State-orchestrated violence occurred in the home district of the Commonwealth’s present Chairman in office Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, when five parliamentarians of the main opposition, United National Party (UNP) were brutally assaulted by goons affiliated with the regime.

These elected representatives were on a fact finding visit to the controversial Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, both pet projects of the ruling regime, both costing at least US $ 1.5 billion, both shrouded in allegations of corruption and wastage and by all indications sprawling white elephants that have gobbled colossal sums of Sri Lankan tax payer money.

According to independent media reports, the five MPs were first harassed and intimidated when they were coming out of the MRIA. Live television pictures showed the Mayor of President Rajapaksa’s hometown carrying a pistol while a large crowd manhandled the MPs. The Mayor has claimed he was acting on the direction of the President’s powerful son and Hambantota District Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa. As has become the norm, Police personnel watched while the regime backed goons assaulted the MPs and attacked the vehicle they were travelling in. Complaints have been lodged with the police officially, yet the opposition does not dare hope for justice from a judiciary that has been beaten into submission after the Government illegally sacked the country’s most senior judge and appointed an administration puppet in her place.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa not only failed to condemn this attack on elected representatives of the country’s national legislature, he defended the actions of the mob, claiming ‘the people’ of the area had been ‘angered’ by the Opposition’s denouncing of development projects in the region. President Rajapaksa’s state controlled press, defended the attack on the Parliamentarians, claiming that Sri Lankan protestors pelting rotten eggs at Opposition legislators and vandalising their vehicle in the South were merely exercising the same right of democratic dissent as Britons who threw pies at UK MPs to signal their displeasure over policy.

The Opposition fact-finding mission provided the Government with a golden opportunity to showcase its commitment to the much touted Commonwealth values. The MPs committed no crime. They were democratically elected people’s representatives seeking to uphold the rule of law, good governance, transparency and the people’s right to information. As an organisation that holds democratic principles and tradition close to its heart, the Commonwealth must believe in the importance of democratic opposition and its role in maintaining checks and balances within a democracy. In fact, Sri Lanka is not only Chair in Office of the Commonwealth, but also recently held the Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, an auxiliary arm that is concerned specifically with strengthening parliamentary democracy.

Tragically it now appears that there is no greater illustration of the disdain of the Chair of the Commonwealth for all these values.

Your Chairman has blatantly disregarded all assurances provided to you personally and to the greater Commonwealth to change his Government’s brutish ways after assuming office last November.

The truth is Mr Secretary General, Sri Lanka’s democracy, once vibrant and proud is under siege.Your Excellency, for Sri Lankans opposed to the autocratic rule of President Rajapaksa and his Government, these are daily challenges. This Government that hosted Commonwealth Heads of Government in a reiteration of organisational values has shot and killed civilians engaged in lawful, democratic protest against state policy and injustice in cold blood over the past three years.  Democratic challenges to the excesses of President Rajapaksa’s regime are met with increasingly brutal force. On several tragic occasions they have even been met with live ammunition fired upon unsuspecting, unarmed men, women and children. The most recent of these tragedies, you will recall, took place mere months before the Commonwealth summit unfolded in Colombo, when the military opened fire on a civilian protest demanding clean drinking water, killing three young men, two of them just schoolboys.

This now is the example that is set by the Chair of the Commonwealth.

Your Excellency, you may recall that the first female Chief Justice in our 200 year old judiciary was impeached in 2013 through a process that was deemed illegal at that time. It is a process deemed flawed and illegal by independent legal experts commissioned by your own office immediately after the impeachment took place.

As glaringly evident during the illegal impeachment process, the present Chairman in office of the Commonwealth, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government have gone to great lengths to systematically undermine every democratic institution in Sri Lanka.

President Rajapaksa repealed the 17th Amendment to the Constitution that ensured the functioning of an independent judiciary, police and a public service. The draconian 18th Amendment that replaced it, took away the term limits of the Presidency, paving the way for an incumbent to rule for life. Journalists have been killed, exiled, bought or intimidated in to silence and the people have been denied their right to information. Over the past 18 months, under the watch of President Rajapaksa’s administration, ethnic and religious minorities have been  continuously persecuted through hate speech and violence by regime backed extremist elements. There has hardly been any measure to address the serious violations of human rights during the last phase of the conflict.

In fact the methods deployed in the North during the conflict have now been brought to the South, as witnessed in Weliweriya where the army was ordered to shoot and massacre innocent civilians who just demanded safe drinking water.

As Chair in Office, the Sri Lankan Government is expected to affirm, adhere to and implement the Commonwealth Charter ratified by all 54 member states in Perth in 2011. Sri Lanka has amply demonstrated its failure to live up to this Charter, repeatedly and consistently. We urge Your Excellency, to summon an emergency meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to discuss this grievous state of affairs. If this is impossible, as Sri Lanka’s main opposition we urge that the matter be given due consideration at the next CMAG meeting, in order to preserve the dignity and the credibility of the Commonwealth.

We recall your enthusiastic support of the Sri Lankan government in its bid to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) last year.  Despite the serious breaches of democratic practices and Commonwealth values as witnessed in the two week long, highly flawed impeachment process of the Chief Justice and the numerous violations of human rights, impunity over cases of violence against religious and ethnic minorities, journalists and dissidents, we in the opposition were encouraged by your assurances that you have managed to garner assurances from the ruling regime that it would uphold Commonwealth principles and values, specifically regarding the judiciary and the rule of law.

We recall that you promised Sri Lanka would put plans in place to change its legislative procedures to remove senior judges within weeks of a key meeting of a Commonwealth Ministers Grouping (CMAG) in April last year. We were further encouraged by your announcement that the Commonwealth Secretariat will assist Sri Lanka in setting up a National Inquiry on Torture on the eve of CHOGM. Repeatedly we have been told that the Commonwealth Secretariat had in fact initiated a process that would bring the issue of national reconciliation under Commonwealth scrutiny and compliance.

In June last year, you appealed to the world to wait before they judge Sri Lanka. Your confidence in the bona fides of President Rajapaksa’s Government has been unshakable.

Yet all of those promises made to you, personally by the Sri Lankan Government have been shamelessly, unrepentantly broken.

The Torture Commission has been delayed indefinitely based on pretentious excuses. The Government has not only failed to put in place a lawful system to discipline top judges in the country, it has wilfully defeated attempts by the opposition, our own party, to table draft legislation that would streamline those processes in accordance with the Commonwealth’s own Latimer House Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary.

Rather than embracing Commonwealth values, its current Chair has launched a determined campaign to flaunt them. The judiciary and the law enforcement arms of the State are selectively used against opponents while it blindly looks the other way as was witnessed in the recent incident in Hambantota.

Your Excellency, we have no alternative but to believe that you and the Commonwealth Secretariat are as much victims of President Rajapaksa’s machinations as we are.

Today, under President Rajapaksa’s stewardship, Sri Lanka’s democracy hangs by the barest of threads. It is both tragic and farcical that these events unfold while the country holds the Chair of your esteemed organisation. Will he manage in this two year tenure to do to the Commonwealth what he has done to Sri Lanka’s proud democratic traditions? Already Sri Lanka’s leadership is costing the Commonwealth dearly in monetary terms. But our fear, Your Excellency, is that at the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s term in 2015, the Commonwealth would have lost much more in terms of credibility, relevance and moral authority because of the Sri Lankan Government’s actions. 

Not only as a member of the  Sri Lanka’s main opposition but also as a former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, I  implore you to act. This erosion of democracy and fundamental freedoms is no longer only Sri Lanka’s crisis. The fate and future credibility of the Commonwealth  is inextricably bound to the actions of its Chair in office and his commitment to protect and uphold the Commonwealth Charter during his tenure.

It is your crisis too.

With best wishes,

Yours truly,

Mangala Samaraweera M.P.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    1

    Sharma does not deserve to be called His Excellency. This SOB was bought by MR for a few pieces of silver along with SOBs like Narayan.Menon.Mukergee and Nambiar. Each one of them were lavishly provided to toe MR’s wishes.
    Mangala this moron will not do anything. You wait and see.

    • 4
      1

      Even if any powerful opposition would have sent greately articulated letters to CW secretariat, nothing would have been worked on MR regime, since today´s situation is backed by US, UK and all other countries.

      If it is not the case, they the powerful allies would have already interviewed Shravendra silva, Gotabaya and Basil for the alleged war crimes. Accusations are just redherrings to divert the attention of the general public and adversaries of those rich nations. None of the UN resolutions are powerful enough to bring them to action. MR is just and agent of US and the men. That is it.

      • 1
        0

        Mr Mangala Samaraweera ,

        Bravo Mangala , you are one of the few guys who have a back bone to stand up against the tyranny , enough has been written & said about the current Junta , some thing needs to be done , forget Ranil ,team up with CBK & Gen SF and start demonstrating against the blatant corruption , pl start educating the grass eating populace of the true state of affairs of the country , don’t wait till MR’s announcement of the election day ! LLRC is the secret key for the success , MR will have to implement LLRC (17 th amendment) recommendations as he has no any excuse to put forward , work on it Mangala , expose the ruling junta to the entire world.

      • 1
        0

        Oh, Leelawathie, I thought MR was an agent of China. Thanks for clarifying that matter

    • 2
      0

      Everyone has his price. The Nambiars and Sharmas are just cheaper.

    • 0
      0

      Mangala Samaraweera,,

      Let Them Dream Peacefully

      Need Enlightenment Thinkers

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP8k_f3PFq8

      Needed Revolutions!

      So, the Cerrent president is acting like a King and his Ministers are his dogs and poodles.

      Then we have Buddhist monks running Amok.

  • 2
    6

    Find an alternative leader. Develop people friendly policies. Kick TNA in the gutter.

    Then you will not need to beg every Tom, Dick and Harlet to make a regime change.

    • 7
      2

      Was it the TNA that impeached the CJ?

      Was in the TNA that introduced the 18th amendment?

      Was it the TNA that attacked the people asking for clean water in Gampha?

      Was it the TNA who attacked the MP’s when the visited the Mattala airport?

      Was it the TNA that encouraged the BBS?

      • 0
        2

        Who was party to the election boycott in 2005 that made all those things you mention possible hmm … ?

        • 1
          1

          Oh so you wanted the LTTE NOT to be defeated and for us to suffer another 30 years of war trying to appease the terrorists LOL ???

          • 0
            0

            The election boycott was enforced by chopping off some Tamil peoples hands.

            Wanting to defeat LTTE is one thing, but committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the process is not acceptable is it really?

    • 2
      1

      Vibushana

      I feel sorry for you. I can understand your frustration that Tamils in the NE voted TNA in with a massive turnout for TNA.

      so when you say kick TNA in the gutter you do mean kick the Tamils in the gutter.

      • 0
        0

        Well, TNA is only the compromise option isn’t it really?

        TNA has helped LTTE to create a waste land without any other viable opposition.

        If TNA was about ‘democracy’ so is Nazi party of Germany and Baath party of Sadam Houssein.

  • 2
    1

    Should ‘flaunt’ be replaced by ‘flout’ in above article?
    There will be no meaningful response to this letter by Sharma.
    He must now be anxiously watching the progress of the national elections in India – his own fate may be decided by India’s new leader.

    • 1
      0

      By now the US must have spied and obtained his bank accounts and traced the source of remitted funds. We can expect all to be revealed after the UNHRC Report is submitted in March 2015 which will be the catapult on which the US, EU, and UK trio will launch their attacks with targeted sanctions and travel bans like they did on Russia and Putin. There wont be a happy ending. Its going to get messy.

  • 6
    1

    I have to of course agree with Mr. Samaraweera.

    However, “Sri Lanka’s democracy, once vibrant and proud is under siege”. Seriously?

    True. Current regime is methodically burying last ruins of demcratic rule in Sri Lanka.

    However, decline started after 1948, Mr. Samaraweera.

    Two political parties you have associated yourself with are largely responsible for this decline. Utterly corrupt, self-serving, power hungry, lawless SLFP & UNP.

    SLFP Clan from Hambantota has just aggravated the situation.

    Cheers!

    PS: Corrupt SLFP monkeys did nominate current dicatator for Presidency of Sri Lanka. Why accuse only Sharma? How about pointing the finger at your corrupt colleagues in the SLFP?

    • 4
      0

      Ben Hurling

      “Corrupt SLFP monkeys did nominate current dicatator for Presidency of Sri Lanka.”

      However your Tamil brethren VP made sure of his victory.

      Do you know who did do the deal with VP?

      • 0
        1

        Do you my friend? … Come out with it then. Oh! I know why, you are scared of getting the one way ticket to heaven, arn’t you?

      • 2
        0

        Native,

        It is public information. Courtsey Tiran Alles and Mangala Samaraweera.

        An unimaginable sum was paid by MR for President Campaign. Deal was negotiated by Basil at Tiran’s office in Colombo. Via an LTTE agent. Again public info.

        Leading monkeys in rotten SLFP knew all these serious illegalities. Yet, said or did nothing. Until they started infighting for their piece of the cake later.

        Election was corrupted. RW was denied victory. Not that I regret much.

        VP used funds provided by MR’s criminally corrupt bribe to knock down a few hundred more SLA soldiers with newly purchased weapons.

        Ironically Rajapassa clan project itself as the saviour of Sri Lanka. More than 50% of idiotic, Sinhalese buddhist, heartland voters still buy “Suba Anagathayak” crap. Come election day.

        How Basil raised so much money to bribe VP even before grabbing the Presidency of SL is a matter for an Agatha Christie detective novel.

        Cheers!

        PS: Check out corrupt Tiran’s YouTube clip. Before Gota shuts it down in SL. While Dialog Director Dhanapala keeps paying glorious lip service. To democratic values & good corporate citizenship etc. Halelujah!

        • 0
          0

          “Ironically Rajapassa clan project itself as the saviour of Sri Lanka. More than 50% of idiotic, Sinhalese buddhist, heartland voters still buy “Suba Anagathayak” crap. Come election day. “

          pardon my ignorance Ben , i thought you were part of the “Suba Anagathayak” team.

          “How Basil raised so much money to bribe VP even before grabbing the Presidency of SL is a matter for an Agatha Christie detective novel.”

          no need to go that far Ben , just watch Tiran’s live interview , it’s all there !

        • 2
          0

          Ben Hurling

          “How Basil raised so much money to bribe VP even before grabbing the Presidency of SL is a matter for an Agatha Christie detective novel.”

          Tiran Alles confirmed the fund came from a neighbour but he didn’t name who that money launderer was.

          However you know who that neighbour was.

          I will give you a clue, it was not Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Burma, Thailand, Malasia,China, USA, UK, Russia, ……………………..

          At the time the scandal broke out, the estimated fees paid to VP (mentioned in the media) for services rendered to democracy was in the region of Rs 174 million.

          • 0
            0

            NV

            i thought the amount was close to Rs 800 Million !

            • 2
              0

              srilal

              The first time I read about the scandal the reported fees was Rs 174 million.

              Perhaps due to inflation, transfer pricing and computation based on purchasing power parity the restated figure could have reached Rs 800 Million.

              • 1
                1

                VP of course never honoured any of his words.

                I guess he kept moving the goal post until the amount reached 800 millions.

                Greedy, corrupt & desperate Rajapassa campaign realizing highly lucrative executive Presidency of SL was within its reach must have swallowed up the ever increasing boycott fee. I presume.

                It was not their personal funds anyway.

                VP is dead now. A future GOSL should consider sending all surviving involved parties to jail once they are stripped of their power. One beautiful day.

                Corrupting democratic Will of the people, I beleive amounts to nothing less than treason.

                Should be punished accordingly.

                Cheers!

    • 2
      0

      In a lot of third world countries, ‘independence’ has only meant independence for the rulers to plunder and kill. That is why you see thousands of black Africans literally dying (by drowning) to illegally cross over to Europe. Sri Lankans risk drowning on their illegal migration to Australia. All dying to be under white man’s rule again.

      After independence in 1948 we in Sri Lanka have lived more days under Emergency Rule than under normal, civil rule. We have had language riots, ethnic riots, religious riots, southern terrorists, northern terrorists, and some world class despots ruling in Colombo. Mrs. B’s seven years of Emergency Rule stated the rot in 1971, along with the JVP’s murder and mayhem, then JR and 1983 and the LTTE and the JVP and the IPKF, then Preme and the JVP, LTTE and IPKF, then the 12 wasted despotic years of CBK (with Mangala), and now MR. Is there any hope?

  • 2
    1

    Is it necessary to address the pimp Sharma as “Your Excellency”?

  • 1
    1

    In this country, White Elephants are Sacred Cows!

    • 0
      0

      Cows are not sacred. They are just milk and beef producing things.

      • 0
        0

        Cows are sacred to Buddhists and Hindus who together comprise more than 80% of the population of this country, maybe not to you.

      • 0
        0

        Fathima Fukushima,
        Are you a cow or a pig? Only Jim Softy likes your meat.

    • 0
      0

      And the green elephants have become White elephants: Useless waste of space and taxpayers money.

  • 0
    1

    How could Samaraweera address another pimp a pimp ?
    The pimps making contributions here have got alarmed and has hung Samaraweera by that same thread.

  • 0
    0

    Mangala is being foolish,

    Mahinda’s stooge Sharma will laugh at the letter, throw it in the dust bin, and call Mahinda to tell him how to do a PR job to publicize what Mahinda is doing to foster democracy.

    Then Sharma will say that his office is assisting Sri Lanka in this matter, and to give Sri Lanka time to establish full fledged democracy!

  • 0
    1

    Fags should be hung with much thicker threads

    Cheers

    Abhaya

    • 2
      0

      Abhaya,

      Let me give you a scientific fact from popular pyschology.

      Fags in the closet, utter your kind of nonsense.

      They do it to hide their own, true sexual identity. Are you one?

      Cheers!

      PS: No offence to my friends who happen to belong to a sexual minority. I am on your side of history.

      • 0
        3

        psychology is not a science its is pseudo science .

        Cheers

        Abhaya

        • 0
          0

          Abhaya:
          Are you still awaiting your well-deserved honour: Idiot of the Year? Or is it merely the pay your receive from above that keeps you going? The only thing “pseudo” around is you as a human being, not psychology!
          In case you aren’t able to answer the question that goes, “What has long ears and brays loudly?” look in the mirror and the answer will be self-evident.

  • 2
    0

    Tamil Elam had better democracy until it was wiped out in 2009!

    :)

    • 2
      0

      Tamodaya

      “Tamil Elam had better democracy until it was wiped out in 2009!”

      Exactly.

      Hence MR clan is following LTTE every step of the way in achieving a vibrant fully fledged democracy just like the one LTTE had in the North East.

      I wish clan well in their pursuit.

  • 2
    0

    Mangala. I have to admire your courage now in speaking out. Few people dare to do that anymore. Maybe this is your way of paying back a big debt to civil society. After all, you were once, AS CBK’s golden boy, the leader of muzzling the press, even bringing in draconian regulations as an emergency bill to be rushed through during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays. Luckily, the then independent Supreme Court stopped you. Then you and CBK appointed a lackey as CJ who later turned on CBK.
    Then of course there was the coup that you and CBK engineered with the terrorist JVP to oust the democratically elected government of RW. That final act of perfidy, and your vigorous campaigning for MR put the final nail in the coffin of Sri Lanka. Let’s hope that voices like you can resurrect the corps.

  • 0
    0

    Look who is talking. A hurt man. If MR had given him a top portfolio in his cabinet, this lackey would not be appealing to Sharma like this.Instead he would be contributing to the erosion of democracy that he is now complaining about. Cant forget his glorious days as CBKs golden boy and the mischief he created then.

  • 0
    0

    Mangala has written with such sincere desperation to a crook who has been in the pay of the Rajapaksa regime. It is not understood as to why Mangala should address this rogue as “Excellency”. Perhaps in his wildest of dreams, the fellow may be expecting to be given a knighthood like one his illustrious predecessors, Ramphal of former British Guiana, an honourable person of Indian origin.Bensen

  • 0
    0

    Yes. It is hanging with the barest of threads. Like the sword of Damocles right over the head of Maha Raaja! Mangala, you should be ashamed to address that crook Sharma bugger as Your Excellency.

  • 0
    0

    I suspect the armed forces, the Buddhist extremist organizations like BBS, fire-eating fascist organization like the JHU, NNF, Patriotic Front etc have all banded together to topple Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government. The inaction of the police to enforce law and order, the army grabbing thousands of acres of land belonging to ordinary Thamils and then putting up viharas, luxury hotels, health resorts, golf courses, growing vegetables have made his government very unpopular. It is time for Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate this plot for regime change. He should act fast to avoid being ousted from power.

  • 0
    0

    ‘Democratic’ ‘Socialist’ ‘Republic’ of Sri Lanka is a mockery and a ridiculous sham.

    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.”
    — John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot

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