Chaos into order | Page 2 | Daily News

Chaos into order

The recent tense situation that prevailed in Parliament was a deliberate act created by anti Ranil group of parliamentarians; according to one analyst who studied the development of all events, which preceded the parliament clash. Parliament debate on Bond Commission was a demand made in general, by the opposition members of parliament. Agreeing to this request, it was arranged by the Prime Minister with the consent of the President to call the parliament to discuss the Bond Commission report.

Party leaders met on previous Tuesday to discuss the letter sent by the Prime Minister requesting to summon the parliament, to debate the Bond Commission report. In fact it was MP Dinesh Gunawardena who had written to the Prime Minister asking him to request the Speaker to summon parliament under Standing Orders.

The Prime Minister has called the parliament according to rules and regulations. It was the responsibility of the Presidential Secretariat to hand over the document to the Speaker, as requested. However this has not happened, as the President wanted to study the commission report further. Presidential Secretariat had informed the Speaker that report will be sent to the parliament a week later.

Hence it is wrong to say that the government planned to sabotage the parliamentary session on the Bond report debate. However the opposition claimed that the government was aware of the main culprit who should be held responsible for the Bond issue. They screamed “the government headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to create chaos in parliament and divert the attention of the MPs. This is for the first time in the history of parliament that such a situation was created with the intervention of a Prime Minister. We ask why the Premier was shouting Mahinda hora, when Mahinda Rajapaksa has no connection with the Bond issue that took place in 2015. Thus, it is apparent that the government had intended diverting the attention of the MPs from debating the bond report. They screamed and created a clash inside the parliament. Subsequently, the party leaders had met and decided to obtain a copy of this report and it was expected to be distributed among the parliamentarians giving them sufficient time to prepare for the debate.

Central Bank bond issue

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament that he had taken action on the Central Bank bond issue soon after it surfaced in March 2015. He said he appointed a three-member committee headed by lawyer Gamini Pitipana to look into this matter, and it recommended further action and pointed out that he tabled a copy of that report to Parliament on May 19, 2015. “Later, the COPE headed by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti inquired into this matter further and submitted its report. I referred both this reports and the Auditor General’s report to the Attorney General. I also sought legal advice to determine whether there has been fraud, a deviation of the proper procedure and whether Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran was responsible for what happened. I informed the Secretary General of Parliament to send all the documents, required by the Attorney General, with the Speaker’s permission,” the Prime Minister said.

When the accusation of corruption was made in the issuance of Central Bank bonds under the Yahapalana government, many believed it to be a ploy of the Mahinda group. There was the belief that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is free of corruption and any money drawn from the government coffers will be used for a valid political purpose. Even if there was an illicit manipulation it could be explained in term of political needs.

Many had voted for the new leaders led by Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, because they promised to be transparent and non-corrupt. In particular Prime Minister had such a track record. Human beings believe in something good that prevailed in the past and hope it will come in the future to sustain their hope and thereby their lives. The hope of those who voted for the new government was that its leaders would not be corrupt, and they would have the capacity to lead the country under globalization, to become a developed one like many countries of Southeast Asia have become in a short period. Denials of wrong doing on the part of government leaders led by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe were therefore convenient to accept by many, who supported the democratic change.

Financial manipulation

However, when the Commission of Inquiry appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena began their hearings, which were publicized in the media, the faithful supporters were in pain and questioned why Premier do not explain what happened and what purpose this financial manipulation was made. Slowly their faith in the government leaders became eroded. There is a strong desire in the country that the practice of corruption especially at the top should not be permitted to continue.

The commissioners, who had proven track records of competence, conducted themselves in a restrained manner but did their task well. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe volunteered to come before them and give evidence. That made the faithful happy and hopeful. There is criticism that the Prime Minister was not subject to the tough cross examination that some of the others who came before the commission had to cope with. But this is not entirely true, because with penetrating analysis the commission has issued strictures on him too. The report of the Bond Commission has stated that the Prime Minister should not have believed the Central Bank officials on the bond issue.

Many political and social leaders, both here and abroad have pointed to the significant fact that a sitting Prime Minister was summoned before the commission and went before it. He was questioned by the commissioners and gave his evidence before them. This has set a precedent that all are equal before the law. This is a practice in western countries but not in the less developed countries. If Lanka is now on the path to being a developed country and there needs to be pressure from civil society, political parties and the courts of law, to take it there. The Prime Minister himself, called for an early debate on the commission report in parliament. This happened immediately and there was very interesting discussion and became an opportunity to discuss institutional reforms necessary to avoid such break downs.

Local election campaign

In this context, President Sirisena’s statement to the nation on the report of the presidential commission played a negative role according to many critiques. They say the commission report has given to the president the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to the political platform on which he sought election in January 2015. It also comes at an opportune time when he leads his party at the local election campaign. The main plank of political platform at the presidential election three years ago, from Sirisena side was the issue of corruption in the acts of the Mahinda regime. In his election campaign the president pledged to eliminate corruption and to bring in good governance.

The problem of democracy and national problem was emphasized by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sama Samaja leaders backed by civil society.

There is a campaign to tarnish the image of non racist democratic leaders, particularly PM Wickremesinghe by some elements loyal to President Sirisena.

They say the tight monitoring of corruption that was anticipated did not materialize. Instead sections of the government have slipped into large scale corruption; so much so that it have provided those in the former Mahinda regime, to shout loudly for harassing them! 

 


 

There is 1 Comment

The tense situation was due to the neglected duties and responsibilities of the Speaker of the Parliament, he was acting bias, and the Prime Minister acted like a classless citizen of Sri Lanka.

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