Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Several things happened during the absence of Lankaweb.

In the absence of the Lankaweb we had no way to give vent to our pent up feelings  against an incessant 
campaign of falsehood against the President Mahinda Rajapakse and his government without a word of appreciation for all that they have contributed to the progress of the country and the welfare of the people.  

None in  the anti government lobby blinded by their desire to grab political power for themselves does not see the changes that have taken place in Sri Lanka since Mahinda Rajapakse was elected President. They give credit only to the elimination of terrorism though even that is not to the liking of the Tamils in the North , Tamils in the Diaspora, and perhaps Tamils in the South as well as they remain silent and unconcerned.

Sri Lanka after Independence remained attached to  its Colonial past.  We thought the West would stand by Sri Lanka as a developing sovereign state. We depended on small favours they  generously gave us. The IMF loans that sufficed small development projects came with conditions.

Sri Lanka Government which was nominally Independent still had to plan its development projects according to the  conditions specified by the World Bank.  The loans we got were not much compared to what we receive now,  but yet the Ministers of the then Governments made their money with small  Commissions. D.S.Senanayake was said to have kept with him documents concerning commissions on a tractor deal by G.G.Ponnambalem and said to have waved those documents when GG became unruly.  But the commissions received then were small, nevertheless they were corrupt practices.  In a way desire to profit from office  is human nature.

The loans we got then were insignificant, compared to the billions we get now. Therefore, those ambitious politicians of the opposition  who are unable to lay their hands  on such great richess complain of corruption above all what the President Mahinda Rajapakse had done for the country during his Presidency  since 2005. 

After the Badulla PC elections in which UNP finds a comparative increase of votes its leader Ranil Wickramasinghe says that UNP has new hope of ending  “ the chaos and misery that the Rajapakse rule has brought upon the people”. They turn a blind eye to the vast development  processes in all sectors that have taken place since the election of Mahinda Rajapakse in 2005.

President Rajapakse has not only been able to bring peace to Sri Lanka by  eliminating  the ruthless terrorists, but turned Sri Lanka into a  middle income country with a formidable increase of its GDP.  Sri Lanka today is a role model for other developing nations. It has left its dependence on the West and increased its foreign  relations in a hitherto unprecedented manner. The recent visits of the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of China are a triumph of Sri Lanka’s  foreign policy.

While USA and its allies try to take the Government of Sri Lanka and its armed Forces before a tribunal accused for war crimes, other Nations round the world acclaim the great social, and economic achievements of Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Mahinda Chintanaya is a far reaching innovative programme which has contributed to bring about vast changes in the development of Sri Lanka, modernising the country and changing every aspect of the lives of the people .  The Government of Mahinda Rajapakse  under its programme of development of technology in education has undertaken to provide Mahindodaya Technological Laborataries to 2000 secondary schools.

The Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation has presented its 2014 Access to Learning Award of One Million Dollars to Sri Lanka in recognition of its work to provide free access to computers and internet to underserved Sri Lankans in remote and rural areas.  Sri Lanka has increased its IT literacy rate from 20 to 40 percent. 

These are considerable achievements which  many people do not seem to accept looking only at squeezed out negative  aspects of development. No developing country can achieve development without assistant from other Nations.  China , Japan, Russia and many other Nations have come to assist Sri Lanka in its development process providing loans and making investments.  The Opposition parties decry the loans,  and the vast projects undertaken by China, but thanks for those loans we see the transformation of Sri Lanka into a modern Nation. 

Madeira a small  Island off Portugal is mountainous and all its roads  every where in the Island right up to its highest point of 2000 meters have been well built with carpeted two-way traffic lanes.  These infra structure development had been done on loans from France etc. It has enabled it to develop its tourism which is its main source of  revenue.  That is how countries are developed, though UNP blares out against taking of loans from China, merely  to mislead the people.

In a Rupavahini Programme  in Sinhala “Motherland and Citizens” ( mawbima ha Puravasiyo) in Doramadalawa of the 15th September, 2014, a very learned young Buddhist Monk Venerable Medagoda Abeytissa said quoting a Buddhist discourse, that the nature of the ordinary people is such that even if they are given the whole world they will still pick holes and find defects, unable to appreciate what has been offered to them.

It is just like those words of Venerable Medagoda Abeytissa, the opposition to the government  does  not appreciate the unprecedented  development that the President Mahinda Rajapakse has been able to bring about in less than ten years (since 2005).

It is said that nearly 90 percent of the loans taken by the government  had been spent in the development of the North and East of Sri Lanka, where neither the Tamil people in those areas nor their Political leaders are able to take into account those massive changes that have taken place in the lives of the Tamil people living  in those Provinces. The TNA political leaders in the North still  refuse any friendly dialogue with the government, but appeal for the intervention of  foreign governments to fulfil their separatist Agenda. 

Sri Lanka’s tremendous development process is sadly slowed down  due to the Tamils of Sri Lanka.           

The fact that they- the TNA politicians are not interest in the welfare of the people, but seek only benefits for themselves has come to light recently in an article in Asian Tribune of the 19th September,2014, which reports that Mr Mahalingam the former Indian Consul General in Jaffna had paid 102 Million Rupees  to TNA to be distributed to all the Candidates for the NPC elections  at the rate of 2 million  Rupees to each one of them.  In addition the Tamil diaspora is reported to have paid 57 million Rupees as election fund  to TNA. 

But the report states that the money received had not been distributed to the Candidates as required  but the major portion of it had been swindled by the Leader of TNA Mr.R. Sampanthan, without  giving any part of it even to the TULF leader Ananda Sangaree.

In the meantime it had also been reported that the old boys of the Trinity College Kandy are filing action against Rod Gilbert the  Principle of Trinity college for having paid Rs. 202 million to LTTE from College Funds.

The NCP Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran questions why he should work with the government when  funds allocated for the development of the  North come from donor countries and could be directed to the NCP.  He is a former Supreme Court Judge and seems to have no knowledge of Administrative procedures,and Financial Regulations, already assuming that the North is a separate state cut away from the Government of Sri Lanka. 

Vasudeva Nanayakkara the brother-in-law of C.V.Wigneshvaran the Chief Minsiter of NCP has said that he would give only conditional support to Mahinda Rajapakse in a future election. Vasudeva has not understood that he and his party are managing to keeping their heads above in the  waters of political rapids thanks to the President Mahinda Rajapakse. Both LSSP and CP have lost their place in Sri Lanka's political arena.

R.Sambanthan is no more the Leader of the TNA, its new leader Mavai Senathirajah has said “ We as a people would… be concerned  about our historic habitats, our option to determine what is best for us to ensure self –government in the Tamil-speaking North-East of the country within a united Sri Lanka.” 

But the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province has said that the people of the Eastern Province  will not agree to a merger of the  North and East, and emphasised that the separation has been legally decided and there is no question of going back to it.

A group of Indian Journalists visiting Sri Lanka has said  the development programs like the one launched in Sri Lanka were not found in any other country in the South Asian Region, and the island’s rural population  is reaping the full benefits of infrastructure development.  The group has added that they are confident  that Sri Lanka would be a fully developed country   within the next decade.  The journalists have promised to brief the Indian people on the development programs Sri Lanka has undertaken regardless of ethnic and religious differences.

The National General Secretary of the Bharathiya Janatha Party(BJP) P.Muralidar Rao  visiting Sri Lanka to attend the International Conference of Asian Political Parties had said that Sri Lanka has been transformed into a thriving  country with the dawn of peace.  Sri Lankans are enjoying the dividends  of peace.  He has added that,  he had visited Sri Lanka five years ago, and that he was amazed to see the vast changes that have taken place  in the country after five years and observed that Sri Lanka is now heading towards progress and prosperity.

But  meeting with Sri Lanka’s prophet of separatist politics the Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem,  Mr.Muralidar Rao had said that he strongly emphasises the importance of having the 13th Amendment implemented.

Sri Lanka should perhaps write a new Constitution leaving out the cancerous 13 Amendment.

The 24th of September,2014 saw the Yal Devi Express from Colombo reaching the Jaffna Railway station after an absence of 25 years.  Some prophecies that it would enable the reconciliation of the  two communities the Tamils and the Sinhala.

Buddhists monks get more involved in politics leaving the Sinhala Buddhists behind to fend for themselves. 

While the  Buddhist monks keep seeking political solutions to Sri Lanka, criminality, and suicides amoung the Sinhala Buddhists keep rising.  Moral standards have fallen to nadir. Yet Madoluwawe Sobhita Thero wants to be the common Candidate of the opposition at the next Presidential elections. 

It is time that the three Buddhist Nikayas unite to find a solution to bring the Sinhala Buddhist back to the temple to teach them to  uphold Buddhist moral standards.  That is the call of the Buddhist monks, which they have laid aside to dabble in politics which is best left for the laity.

We will soon have the Pope  Francis  visiting Sri Lanka .  He is a good man to be received though we know that he cannot invoke an absent God to help us solve our problems.  Our problems have to be solved by ourselves without any divine intervention.  If he can at least bring about  unity  amoung the Communities  by making them understand that before God there is no ethnic difference it would be a most welcome visit.

The successor to evil Navi Pillai  the former UNHigh Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein does not seem to have troubled him self to evaluate the biased reports made by  Navi Pillai and seems to be following the path already traced by her.  He calls for more accountability from the government of Sri Lanka.

In the Office of the UN Human Rights Council there is an unchanged policy, the policy dictated by Navi Pillai.  Therefore if the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights wants to understand the reality of the situation with regard to human rights in Sri Lanka and other countries,  he should take a new approach first by shaking up his Office-changing the Staff, who will continue to feed him with biased,mostly false and unsubstantiated  information collected by Navi Pillai.

Now that the Lankaweb is back we will have more to write as days go by.  Thank you Lankaweb and its indefatigable team.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Sarath Silva’s convoluted arguments against a third term of office to the President Mahinda Rajapakse do not hold water.

Sarath Silva the  retired Chief Justice puts forward convoluted arguments against a third term of office for the Prersident Mahinda Rajapakse to attract the attention of the Opposition  and  qualify  for  nomination by them  for the next Presidential election as  their common candidate.

A third term  of office as the President of Sri Lanka for Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse appears to be the most contested issue  locally  by the opposition to the present Government of the President Mahinda Rajapakse, and  outwardly by  those Tamils in the diaspora still liking their wounds after the elimination of terrorism in Sri Lanka.  It would be for the politicians of  the opposition to be  left out in the cold for  another extended period. Therefore they try to hold onto any straw to stop themselves from getting carried  away in the present political deluge.

It is also a defeat for those anti-Sri Lanka countries of the West  who would see in the re-election of Mahinda Rajapase for a third term the slipping from their clutches the chance of the  benefits they are  hoping to have from a West friendly President of the opposition, from the  strategic position  of Sri Lanka in the Indian ocean.

Sarath Silva thinks that more complex the  arguments he makes against  the President Mahinda Rajapakse’s  third term run , more they become tempting  fodder for the consumption  of the ambitious political buffalos of the opposition.  However, these arguments only make the present political climate more cloudy.  At the end the interpretation of the law is in the hands of the Supreme Court.  Though the Supreme Court too is not infallible as it was seen in the wrong interpretation of Article 107(3) in the case of the Impeachment of the Chief Justice Shirani Bandranayake.

Sarath Silva’s argument is that Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse is disqualified from  contesting  a third time under Article 31(2)of the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka under which he was elected for the first and the second terms. 

He argues that the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was passed after Mahinda Rajapakse was sworn in as the President  for the second time, therefore the Amendment would apply to future presidents but not for him to be re-elected, as his Presidency is a child of the Article 31(2) of the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka.

But at that time Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse was elected President, the 18 Amendment was not even envisaged , then how can the President Mahinda Rajapakse be  put into the  bracket of  “President elected before the 18th Amendment” merely to deny him the right to appeal to the people for  a third mandate.  It is for the people to decide whether he should be rejected or re-elected for another term, to deny the people that right juggling with legal terminology is not democratic to say the least. 

The Constitution has to be people friendly tampering it otherwise to deny the people a right under the Constitution is to take the Constitution outside the democratic System of a government of the people, for the people, by the people.

The 18th Amendment was introduced to rectify the anomaly of not allowing a (popular) President in place to seek elections for another term.   The election of a President is a right of the people and if the people wants the President in place to continue for a further period it is their right that would be usurped by interpreting the Constitution  with the 18th Amendment  to deny  the people to have a  President of their choice.

To support this interpretation of the 18th Amendment Sarath Silva  sights  Article 6 of Sri Lanka Interpretation Ordinance, and adds that the Amendment cannot be applied retrospectively in Law as the law takes effect  in the future.

The Article 6 is not applicable in the present case of allowing a President to ask the People for a mandate to serve them for a third or more terms of office, as Article 6 is to be applied as a penalty for an offence. Is asking for a third term under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution  a punishable offence ?  Sarath Silva merely brings it up to complicate the issue.

Sarath Silva’s argument that the President Mahinda Rajapakse when he was elected for the second time was automatically disqualified to contest for a further term under Article 31(2) should be viewed differently, that is if in the course of the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapakse a valid change has taken place in the Constitution of Sri Lanka the benefit of that change should come to the President in place, otherwise it would be a denial of justice the benefit of which would be to the people. 

The Constitution cannot be interpreted taking it away from the people for whose benefits the Constitution exists.  The Supreme Court that would be called upon to interpret the relevant provisions of the Constitution should not argue on dry legal theories, but  by viewing  how the changes to the Constitutions should be appropriately interpreted without depriving the people the benefits that they would acquire from having the same President elected for a further term to continue the work that has been acclaimed by the people as beneficial to them.

An Amendment to the Constitution changes the whole aspect of the Constitution and the Constitution which was passed on 7 September, 1978, is no more the same to day with its 18 Amendments.  The benefits accrued through the Amendments to the Constitution should be equally shared by the people and therefore the benefits from the 18th Amendment cannot be denied to the current President on the ground that he was elected President before the 18th Amendment was passed, and that he is a “child” of the Article 31(2) of the “ancient” Constitution of 1978.  The 18th Amendment changes radically the Article 31 (2) of the September,1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka.

The Article 31(2)  which read “  No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People shall be qualified thereafter to be elected  to such office  by the People.”, has now been amended to read, “ Notwithstanding any thing to the contrary in the preceding provisions of this Chapter, the President may, at anytime after the expiration of four years from the commencement of the current term of office by proclamation, declare his intention of appealing to the People for a mandate to hold the office.” (emphasized)

This contradicts Sarath Silva’s contention that the President Mahinda Rajapakse  having been elected before the introduction of the 18th Amendment is bound by  the Article 31(2) of the Septemnber,1978 Constitution.  But  under the provision of the 18th Amendment President Mahinda Rajapakse  elected  before the  introduction of the 18th Amendment is nonetheless well entrenched within the terms of the  18th Amendment and is qualified to demand the People for a mandate for a third term.

This provision  which allows the President to declare his intention of seeking election for a third term is by virtue of his being the “ currently sitting President”.  But not withstanding the provision to seek election after the expiration of four years from the current term of office, if the President Mahinda Rajapakse were to continue his presidency until November, 2016 the end of the period for which has been elected, then there would be no possibility for any one to contest his qualification to contest the Presidential elections for a third  time or more.

Sri Lanka is not a Western Democracy.  The democratic system applied to our country should go along with our culture and the sentiments of the people. We should not rule the people by abstract law, interpreting it  unconcerned with the aspirations of the  people. An election of a President or peoples’ representatives is the expression of the peoples’ choice. 

For that the people should be allowed the largest number of choices from which to choose without restricting them to an artificial choice selected by the application of the rigid law.  That would be a denial of the right of the peoples’ choice which would be to   step out of democracy applying legal interpretations to restrict the people of their free choice of their President or their representatives.