Candid talk at ‘Ape Gama’
By Sugeeswara Senadhira
In the capital city of Sri Jayewardenepura, is the seat of Parliament and most of the important political statements are made in the August House, situated in the centre of the Diyawanna Lake.
Some leaders had chosen places in the vicinity of the capital to convey important decisions. One such incident comes to mind is the famous 'Chtthavivekaramaya speech' of late President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1989; in which he gave quit notice to Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). Last week, President Maithripala Sirisena has chosen a different platform, 'Ape Gama' (Our Village), on the opposite side of the Diyawanna, to make an earth-shattering speech that rocked the Unity Government ship sailing in stormy waters.
Without mincing words, he made a forthright statement that some people in the Government were using the media to attack him; because he appointed a Commission to inquire into the Central Bank Bond issue.
Speaking at the event held to mark the second death anniversary of Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, he said that he appointed the Presidential Commission in order to fulfill the promise given to the people that he would take action to end corruption and fraud. He lamented that within three months of forming the Yahapala Government the Central Bank bond issue had taken place.
The President added that if Sobhitha Thera was alive, today, he would have endorsed the step he had taken. He charged that some persons were going to the extent of making payments to foreign-based websites to level undue allegations and slander him. "Why did we form a Government after toppling a wrong and corrupt regime? It was to do our job properly; while pointing the finger at wrongdoers and punishing them. A few people are doing wrong analysis about my appointment of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to look into the Central Bank Bond issue.
Few people in the Government are accusing me through websites and Facebook campaigns," the President said and continued, "I can handle the criticisms from the Opposition, but the ones who are criticizing me from within the Government, are, in a way, acting against the principles of Ven. Sobitha Thera," he said.
After lambasting those who level undue criticism, President Sirisena, however said that the Government still has the time to correct some wrongs committed by a few people within the Government and move forward. "The highest tribute which can be paid to the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera is to be committed to building a fair society which was his vision, philosophy and expectation."
Late President Premadasa
Nearly three decades ago, when the late President Premadasa spoke at Chitthavivekaramaya, the Indians were angry, but decided to recall the IPKF from Sri Lanka, though deliberately overstaying the deadline of 31 December, 1989.The last IPKF soldier, General Harkeerat Singh bordered the INS vessel at Trincomalee in March 1990.
The fact that India did many things, later, to harm President Premadasa is another story. The question now is will the UNP ignore the speech made by President Sirisena and continue as if nothing happened or will this lead to a major split in the Government. The United National Party (UNP) has not offered a knee-jerk reaction to the speech. But there are indications that it would carefully study it before offering any possible reaction.
At least a section of the UNP is likely to raise it within the Party as the President's allegations are obviously levelled at some UNP members in the Government. In fact some UNPers plan to seek a meeting with the President to raise the issue.
The strength of the Unity Government of the UNP-SLFP is the trust and understanding that exists between the leaders of their respective parties. Whenever there was a major difference between the positions taken by the two parties, the two leaders managed to defuse the situation because of this bond.
When, Finance Minister - later Foreign Minister - Ravi Karunanayake's name prominently figured in the Commission looking into the bond issue, President Sirisena patiently waited for the UNP to take action. Similarly he expressed his dissatisfaction about actions of some other UNP ministers, but gave space to the UNP to take action. One case in point was removal of Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.
However, last week, President Sirisena deviated from his path of quiet diplomacy and used a public forum to bring out the issue of corrupt practices and malpractices. That speech was a clear warning to some UNP members in the Government to mend their ways.
They should take the President's criticism in a positive manner as he emphasized that it is not too late to take corrective steps and fulfil the promises given to the people: the main intention was to establish good governance and eliminate corruption and fraud. Any weakening or crack in this basic policy would certainly signal an irreparable damage to the consensual Government of the SLFP and UNP.
Ministry Secretaries should be appointed on Best interest of Public not Minister Lethargy blocking change
- An Inconsistent US Assertive China and Asia’s Hobbesian Order
- Jorge Sharp and Citizen Movements:New Momentum for Chilean Left?
- Zimbabwe’s Tailspin: The Lessons for Africa
- Lankan family facing deportation due to MS diagnosis
- Malaysian security forces in SL Undergo sea combat training
- Customs nabs man with gold jewellery
- Pushpadana celebrates 75 years Educational rights for all children - President
- New Samurdhi officers appointed
- Removal of Thondaman’s name India to take up issue with SL
- Int’l Research Conference held at SEUSL
- Three PTA detainees:Solution can be expected on 29 Nov TELO
- Call to promote tourism in East
- Corruption in mega development projects:Revelations soon - Dr. Jayalath
- President Sirisena writes to Lord Naseby Expresses appreciation for furthering SL’s cause
- Non-alignment of Budget proposals Tax consultants complain Chartered accountants highlight exclusion of professionals
- Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe to deliver Olcott Oration
- Sujeewa and Namal in verbal spat
- Budget 2018 2nd reading passed with 2/3rd majority
- MR issues call to send Govt packing
- Sampanthan flays Rajapaksa Makes emotional plea in House
- Petitioners in LG polls gazette case Yapa, Dayasiri and Dilan among the six - JO
- Treasury Bonds Probe Ranil to appear before PCoI on Monday
- Five COPE members spoke with Aloysius during their sittings
- Harsha speaks at UPR Emphasizes slow and steady approach
- LG Elections gazette petition CA to hear petition on 22 November
- Sevens players given SLR contracts 20 men and 16 women players will be signed on starting November
- ‘Singer Cup’ U-19 Cricket Sanjula gets 150 runs
- Lakmal rattles India on rain-hit day
- Curious case of Sri Lanka Winter Sports Association
- Inter Club Rugby League Tournament CR clash with arch rivals CH today
- All-Island School Games Table Tennis Ladies’ College Under 17 Champions
- Peru capture last World Cup berth
- Mohammad Hafeez, suspended again
- Ten weightlifters qualify for CG 2018
- Late Dalmiya’s 77th birth commemoration SLC President pays glowing tribute
- Serena Williams set to tie the knot in New Orleans
- World Anti-Doping Agency Refuses lifting Russia suspension
- 34th Mercantile Athletic Championships Sampath Bank Bags Third Place
- India want Sri Lanka to make them ‘uncomfortable’ Kohli Mathews gives us confidence as a batting unit - Chandimal
- Rajeew Perera appointed Junior Rugby coach
- Dialog Champions League Moragasmulla shocks Blue Star
- France to stage 2023 Rugby World Cup
- Minister confident Hathurusinghe will agree
- Will Dulakshi be elevated to Asian-Indoor podium ?
- AIBA Youth Women’s World Boxing C’ships TWO VILLAGE SCHOOLGIRLS FOR YOUTH WORLD MEET
- Asia Property Awards in Singapore Capital TRUST Residencies wins Best Condo in SL
- Lanka IOC reports losses for 3rd consecutive quarter
- Airtel and Google debut online purchasing in SL
- AIA Insurance Lanka revenue up 17% in Q3
- Full day of CSE trading from Disaster Recovery site
- Introducing Mars to agriculture
- How an oil giant came to dominate wheat
- Asian Shares Higher Ahead Of US Tax Vote
- Going green needs defined regulations to go forward
- Alibaba's Jack Ma slips to 3rd in China rich list
- Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in Sri Lanka soon
- COMBANK cardholders get discounts up to 55%
- Regional Chamber alleges SMEs mere ornaments for Finance Ministers
- First ever Sri Lankan appointed Student Council VP at Manipal
- Sadaharitha Plantations wins at NASCO 2017
- New vehicle tax system the right move?
- Russia and Venezuela agree debt deal
- Mattala Airport talks this month
- State entities blocking digital documents
- Hilton and Grand Hyatt divestments soon
- LAW OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
- Dual Citizenship Fiasco
- LAW OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Part XIX Joinder of Charges VI
- The March of Folly The sad death of liberal Karu
- Saudi-led coalition opens Yemen border crossing: Aid agencies warn of famine
- BREXIT Impact on free movement of people
- Padmavati triggers stir in Bollywood
- Military burning houses Rohingya refugees flee to Bangladesh
- Rice Revolution Role of Dairy Centres
- Pollution in India: 2.5 million people killed in 2015
- There is no journey with the UNP
- Core values of the UNP are eroding - Pradeep Jayewardene
- UN compensation for Kuwait workers Rs 3.2 B on migrant worker welfare
- Professor Matteo Legrenzi says: Gulf States are not keen on all-out war
- I regret the inconvenience caused to the public
- An argument for a new Constitution
- ‘Otriachchi’, ‘Orumiththa Nadu’, ‘Aekeeya Rajya’ and unitary state
- A Constitutional Framework for Sri Lanka
- PAST LIFE AND RULING PLANETS IN KRISHNAMURTHI PADHDHATHI
- Astrological remedies for Agriculture
- Unintentional Murder and law
- An Idyl in South India
- GRANDMA’S HAIR GROWTH OIL
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Politics of nostalgia
- Vibrancy of classical Sinhala poetry
- Gazing at the 'gems' of Sri Lanka
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Man who rebelled against the British
- Rohingya kids fill void of parents
- Looking back at Sri Lanka Police