Interim government is sleep-walking back to colonial era
Posted on January 19th, 2015

Ajit Randeniya

The apparent fascination of the new interim government of Sri Lanka with colonialism is beginning to surface in key areas. All the promises to introduce good governance appear to have fallen victim to the colonial traps designed to fool the former colonies through brain-washing them to think and operate only within  the parameters set by the former colonisers.

Two of the key measures introduced so far – the declaration of strong commitment to Latimer House principles of the Commonwealth and the establishment of an Executive Council show a disturbingly intense slavishness to colonial ideology. The new rulers seem to have forgotten that we are an independent republic entering the 67th year of independence from the colonial yoke.

It is important to note that the name Latimer House” and the list of signatories to these so-called principles”, announced following the 2003 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Abuja, Nigeria gave good indications of the forces behind them and their motives.

The Latimer House mansion, under which the principles are named, was the original home of the Cavendish family of Buckinghamshire who represented the worst of British colonialism. The original Latimer House of the Elizabethan era was burnt down in the early 1830s and the present Tudor style mansion was completed in 1838. They were made barons by Queen Victoria, in return for their services to the colonisation of Southern Africa.

The Latimer House is now a conference centre with 44 event rooms and 147 en-suite bedrooms. It was rated UK’s second most secret, surprising and intriguing home” on ITV television’s Britain’s Secret Homes show in 2013!

The Latimer House principles” were not signed by a single representative from a newly independent country but by four white masters – Colin Nicholls, President Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association, Professor  David McQuoid-Mason, President Commonwealth Legal Education Association, Lord Hope of Craighead, President Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association and Denis Marshall, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

The Latimer House principles have been described in the original document as a set of Guidelines on good practice governing relations between the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary, in the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and human rights”.

In reality they are nothing but a scheme designed to force reconfirmation by the former colonies to remain loyal to the neocolonial designs. The principles will keep them tied to a verbose separation of powers and accountability agenda. Such priorities are introduced to distract the former colonies from focusing on economic development that will help them become truly independent.

Without expressing any such concerns however, the interim Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has told The Island that the relationship among the three branches of the new government will be governed by Latimer House Principles of” Commonwealth values”. Previously, Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had advocated adherence to the same principles and core values in an article to the Sunday Times on the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake. He had thought it important to avoid being labelled a pariah state” by the international community.

Such ideological slavishness to colonial ideology introduces fear in the minds of those genuinely wishing for progress of Sri Lanka as a truly independent” nation.

The second uncritical adoption of colonial methods is apparent in the establishment of a non-representative, un-elected body of people above the level of the Cabinet of Ministers chosen from among the elected representatives of parliament.

The history of Executive Councils in Sri Lanka goes back to April 1829 when the coloniser King George IV appointed his Major W.M.C. Colebrook and Charles Hay Cameron to recommend a suitable Constitution for Ceylon. Their main responsibilities were to study the Laws of the country and to recommend necessary amendments to the existing legal system. In other words, repaint the traditional system that had been in equilibrium for thousands of years. The Colebrook – Cameron Commission travelled through the country, met with their chosen representatives such as the trusted” Ehelepola Maha Adikaram, and made their recommendations .

The first Executive Council was formed on 13 March, 1833 by the British colonial administration on the recommendations of Colebrook-Cameron. They also recommended the establishment of a Supreme Court that happened much later in 1862. They served as the legislative body until the creation of the Board of Ministers in 1931 that was replaced in 1947 by a National Cabinet.

At its creation the Executive Council was headed by the Governor, along with five members – the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney General, the Auditor-General, the Treasurer and the General Officer Commanding, Ceylon – appointed by the Governor. The Council exercised executive power and advised the governor how to oppress the people more forcefully.

Later on the Council was expanded to include  established British land-grabbers like  John Reed, Johannes Godfrey Felix the Interpreter of the Supreme Court, J.P. Hilband a Burgher Lawyer, P.H.  Bhird and the lackey A. Kumaraswamy the Interpreter of the Royal Revenue Commissioner to nominally  represent the Tamil Community. The colonisers were of the view that the Ceylonese were not matured and knowledgeable enough to have elected representatives in the Council.

The current 2015 Executive Council, probably through ignorance than through conspiracy, is a throw-back to the original Council of the 19th century in that it has been given powers exceeding those of the Cabinet, and is made up largely of non-representative members.

The current membership of the National Executive Council includes President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Rev Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero, Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, JHU leader Patali Champika Ranawaka, Democratic Party leader Sarath Fonseka, and Muslim leaders Rauf hakim and Rishad Bathiudeen, the TNA leader R. Sampandan, and Mano Ganeshan.

The only member of the Council who can boast of true representation through election by the people to head the new era” is President Maithripala Sirisena. Rev Sobhitha and General Fonseka have not been elected in anyway and Mrs Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe have been rejected by the people on previous occasions. The JVP, the chief rallying force behind the Council has not even contested the Presidential election and their role at the 2010 election has been limited to supporting General Fonseka.

Such a non-representative body has been given the responsibilities of introducing:

  1. Reforms to revive and restore the supremacy of the law;
  2. Reforms via the Institution to establish good governance;
  3. A methodology aimed at providing relief to the nation; and
  4. A mechanism to stamp out corruption

Speaking to media following the first meeting of the Council on January 15, the leader of the non-elected – JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has said the meeting was successful”.

The trends are worrying. They seem to be sleep-walking to the colonial era thinking of the colonisers, introducing their administrative structures, ignoring the fundamental requirement of democracy of the need for being elected to represent public interest.

What we have at the moment is many people piggy-backing” on President Maihripala Sirisena, on the strength of pre-election understandings. The system is likely to implode before the 100 days are over.

16 Responses to “Interim government is sleep-walking back to colonial era”

  1. Nanda Says:

    Good to hear from Ajit after very long time.

    “Such a non-representative body has been given the responsibilities of introducing:
    1. Reforms to revive and restore the supremacy of the law;
    2. Reforms via the Institution to establish good governance;
    3. A methodology aimed at providing relief to the nation; and
    4. A mechanism to stamp out corruption”

    A valid point. But good side of it is JVP, JHU and Sobhita thero can nullify the presence of Runil ,CBK , Hack him and Sambanthan. This committee can only suggest and prepare bills to be passed by the parliament. But since the parliament consists 50% useless puppets and leader worshippers, Ajit’s point become very valid.

    By right , the whole interim government has been appointed against the democracy. All the Pallath Sabhas are fighting like headless chickens. Don’t know who is in charge of what.

  2. Nanda Says:

    Dayan Jayatilake says

    Just as the removal of the civic rights of Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike did not help the stability of the system or sustained economic growth in the 1980s and indeed shunted the contradictions onto extra-systemic lines, both ethnic and ideological, any vicious act of framing Mahinda Rajapaksa for a ridiculous putsch attempt will not help bridge the deficit in the new administration’s mandate. Notwithstanding the co-optation of the SLFP MPs, the JVP and the JHU as a protective body armor around an essentially UNP government now in unelected occupation of Temple Trees, such a myopic move will only add to the systemic and structural sources of instability.

  3. Nimal Says:

    National executive council is a move in the right direction to get the country going in the right direction. Mr Anura Dissanayake must take a no nonsense approach against corruption and other defects that have multiplied since 1948.
    To start with
    Take the vehicles out of politicians
    Take the security out of politicians
    Take all duty free facilities for any one in the country for importing anything, other than allowances given to citizens.
    Don’t give into the scandalous lawyers and courts that endlessly postpone court cases.
    Stop transferring people from time to time as it split up families and treble the cost of living if husband and wife is transferred to two different places, forced to keep the young children in a third place, thus splitting up families.
    Politicians mustn’t visibly indulge in religious activities that is hypocritical, just to hoodwink the public and they must get on with work of running the country.
    Educate the public to adhere to good practice as pedestrians and drivers, just as in advance countries.
    Rules of good governance is universal, not meant for advance economies only after all wheel of a car is round in any country.
    Hospitals should be staffed well so that there will not be a requirement for anyone to pay for private care which is scandalous at present.Poor are badly affected and recently two people known to me gave up the will to live as both of them could pay for 24hr attendants.
    SL is far from being a darmishta nation and need cleaning up badly from the bottom to the top.Simple reason why people want to escape to the Western countries, so something must be going on right in the west, if you take the example of likes of BR who had gone to US shedding the drvidan attire and others who continuously write hogwash from comfort of the Western countries, lecturing us what is good for the humble people in SL.
    Lastly scrutinise all worth less projects and give the public a chance to discuss their concerns to any such expense.

  4. Nimal Says:

    Interim government is sleep-walking back to colonial era’ says this article and it is the best thing that would happen to the island.

  5. Geeth Says:

    Ajith,
    The western agenda for SL is to make a vessel state in our country. If we want to see our politicians envisioning a better system for the benefit of SL without being trapped into neocolonial mechanisms, what we need to do is to send entire gang of politicians to live regular lives in the west for sometime, (but not as VIP visitors). Then they will understand what is the real institutionalized racism means, how fake western democratic freedoms etc. Until that day comes, they will live in the misconceptions of western democratic values.

    Now it seems the new administration’s aim is to reverse many things of MR era including policies related to geopolitics. Although the reversing occurs in key areas such as constitution and foreign policy etc, the reversing is not that swift in the area of corruption. It seems they want to seal the fate of Sri Lanka firmly under the yoke of western neocolonial agenda.

    By the way, I glad to see your comeback probably without being able to be silent in the face of ongoing stupid actions of our politicians. I am very happy to see you writing back to Lanka Web after quite a long period of silence; perhaps being unable to swallow the crass stupidity of MR administration (sadly), its fall and the events aftermath, you must have started writing.

  6. Nanda Says:

    This 90% UNP government is set up using unjust power of Maha Raja is against the democracy on one hand but since it is a one of the basic promise of My3 presidency one could say it is endorsed by people. But public is cheated as the composition of it (% of UNPers) was not disclosed.
    Now every cat an dog is running around finding faults of previous government and publishing all the nonsense in various unscrupulous “media” before any truth is found. For example Nissan become Lamborghini , Ministry of Defence become Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
    President MUST intervene to stop this and allow investigations to complete in an orderly manner.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    Nanda,

    You were one of Lorenzo’s TEAM, his BOSOM BUDDY, UNDERMINING MR and the UPFA GOSL at every turn.

    Don’t change your Tiger Stripes now and PRETEND to DEFEND the former GOSL! You are now LABELLED with SAME TAR & FEATHERS as Lorenzo!

    The HAT FITS PERFECTLY; so WEAR IT WITH SHAME!

    …………..
    On the CONTRARY, your LOYALTY is not to Sri Lanka, but to Tamil EELAM!

    You DEMONSTRATED THAT CLEARLY by DOING YOUR BEST to UNDERMINE and DESTROY the UPFA GOSL that was the only REAL DEFENCE Sri Lanka had against its Separatist and Foreign Enemies.

    Now that PROTECTIVE SHIELD is GONE, and I TREMBLE for Sri Lanka’s SAFETY and SURVIVAL as ONE Nation in the next DECADE!

    Aiyoooo Sirisenaaaaa …. What HAVE YOU DONE to your Motherland! You have DESTROYED the GAINS of the WAR OF LIBERATION from Terror and THROWN Sri Lanka’s CROWN into the GUTTER!

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda-USA,

    Not to worry we (My3) have a plan. No harm telling it because the UriNePee cannot do anything!

    1. My3 is the SLFP leader (not CBK) DETERMINED to see SLFP wins the next FEW elections by book or by brooke. I did NOT say hook or by crook. You wait and see!

    2. Near the election, My3 is going to APPEAL to the people to give him CLEAN MPs to make his promises come true.

    3. My3 is going to tell the people it was this Useless, Notorious, Punk (UNP) MPs that DISRUPTED his GREAT PLANS. So BUST them and vote for the SLFP.

    4. My3 is going to HAND PICK SLFP candidates for the election. NO UNCLEAN politician will be given nominations. ONLY clean and good people will be selected. Women will make up at least 40%. Corruption charges will br brought against ALL TOP UNP and UPFA leaders who try to DISRUPT SLFP plans.

    5. SLFP under MY3 is going to win the next election with 150 seats. You will see MPs who are NOT in politics. GREAT people.

    6. GOOD GOVERNACE starts then! Yahabalanaya starts then!

    So just hang in there. We have a plan. We will backstab ANYONE to do justice to SL. UNP is just a TOILET PAPER, TNA just a condom, SLMC is just a disposable undie.

    When a climb follows a dip, if you are on a BIKE, you DON’T put brakes going downhill. You go FAST as you can. Then only you get the MOMENTUM to climb the hill.

    Plans? Conspiracies? Backstabbings? Plots? Ploys? And a whole lot more. Given away at discounted prices. 100 day money back guarantee.

  9. Nanda Says:

    Ananda Ayya,

    I am not buddy of ANYONE else, but I am your buddy.

    But as I was kept silent during elections by our good moderator , fortunately, I had no chance of opening the mouth and saying things like “Fortunately, all of this is USELESS ELECTION POSTURING by HOPELESS PEOPLE that is OF NO CONSEQUENCE, because the President Mahinda Rajapaksa WILL WIN by a LANDSLIDE!” to prove what kind of fool I am.
    Whole world knows your predictions, judgements and assumptions.

  10. Nimal Says:

    See you guys are taken been for ride by our politicians. They secretly are in with the colonials or their culture.
    MR’s house in Tangalle is known as Carlton house,Ranil belongs to prestigious Carlton Club in London and a former President have a house in London in Carlton place. I don’t blame them for being with the winners and why not give the humble people the same privilege. Some are in denial.

  11. Ananda-USA Says:

    Prof Hudson.

    “Patriotic Comments” by backstabber, turncoat and despicable Drohiya “Facebook” Lorenzo???

    You have GOT TO BE KIDDING, right? Or have you been imbibing some moonshine hiding behind your desk?

    “Facebook” Lorenzo is ONE who burrowed deep into the Patriotic FRont and bided his time to stab our Motherland in the back.

    Now, the unashamed HYPOCRITE that “Facebook” Lorenzo is, he and his TEAM (aka Nanda, Independent etc etc ad nauseam, ad infinitum) are trying to crawl back under cover among the Patriots making a few comments CRITICAL of Palwatte Gamaralage Maithripala Yapa Sirisens, our newly elected President thanks in part to them, to smoothe the path back in!

    They are FIRMLY convinced that the “Patriots” will accept them with “Open Arms” in the spirit of “Reconciliation” until the next time they will STAB the Sinhalaya in the back again, given their CORRECT belief that “Sinhalayas are Modayas, Kavum Kanda Yodayas!!

    BUT, once in a while the “Kavum Kana Yodayas” fail to conform, and wipe out the “Unceasing Waves” completely!

    That 2nd WIPE OUT EVENT is building now; WAIT FOR IT … this time it will be terrifying to behold and there will be NO RECONCILIATION at all!

    ……………………..

    On a RELATED MATTER, LankaWeb bloggers,

    Have you noticed something strange lately … that is, ever since the MS victory in the Presidential Election?

    Well, “Nanda” used to be a Buddhist Scripture spouting anti-MR blogger, writing broken English but excellent Sinhala! Everything he said was in support of Dharmishta “Yapalanaya” albeit with undisguised VENOM directed against MR and the UPFA.

    NOW he DOES NOT WRITE IN SINHALA, but writes excellent English!!!

    Wow, what a sudden transformation!! Must have gone in for a crash course in GCE O/L English tuition!

    Did I FAIL TO SAY, that there is a TEAM of REGIME CHANGE puppeteers blogging at LankaWeb.com in cahoots with “Facebook” Lorenzo??? Pardon me for the lapse, if I didn’t folks!

    DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS as to whether these are real individuals, or are interchangeable AVATARS on a PROPAGANDA TEAM led by “Facebook” Lorenzo!

    Watch CAREFULLY for the coming metamorphosis from traitors back into patriots, Now you see it, and now you don’t!!

  12. Ananda-USA Says:

    Apita epa eka angalakwath,

    Annuge deseka mey mahapolowe!

    Malath nodemu eka angalakwath,

    Api ipidunu mey maupolowe!

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    Let us see how Maithripala Sirisena protects our war heroes from Western and Tamil Diaspora witch-hunts and what he will TRADE in EXCHANGE! Nothing short of Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity I FEAR!

    This will MAKE OR BREAK the new Government!

    Aiyoooo Sirisenaaaa …. What have you done to our Motherland??

    ……………………..
    Helping Sri Lanka’s New Democracy

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jan 20 (NYT) Sri Lanka’s voters shocked themselves and the world this month by tossing out their president, who crushed the Tamil insurgency in 2009 and then led the country, along with his brother as defense secretary, to the brink of authoritarianism.

    The new president has promised to restore freedom of the press, independence of judges, and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.
    Democracy advocates, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say this is the country’s most important chance to open a new chapter in more than a decade.

    But the country must make sure that members of the ousted regime do not return to power and that the new government can secure its authority. The United States – and only the United States – can do something to help make that happen.

    The former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, aren’t politically dead yet. Critical parliamentary elections are scheduled for April. The new president, Maithripala Sirisena, rode to electoral victory on the back of a diverse group of parties. He must now consolidate his power so that democratic reform can go ahead.

    What can the United States do to help? Mr. Kerry said the United States would take up longstanding human rights concerns with the new government. The State Department has spearheaded the creation of a United Nations investigation into war crimes committed under the Rajapaksa regime during the country’s civil war, which lasted from 1983 to 2009.

    But that inquiry offers both too much and too little at this point. Too much, because pushing for full, sweeping accountability in this fragile moment of transition could destabilize the new government and jeopardize the warming of relations between the United States and Sri Lanka. Too little, because the United Nations investigation doesn’t have any teeth -the panel leading it doesn’t have the powers of a criminal tribunal, and cannot even impose a financial penalty.

    Here is where Washington can play a constructive role.

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former defense secretary, oversaw the Sri Lankan armed forces’ worst atrocities during the final stages of the civil war and, as it happens, he is a naturalized American citizen. (Indeed, he used to live in Los Angeles, where he worked as a computer systems operator at Loyola Law School.)

    As a citizen, Mr. Rajapaksa can be held liable under the War Crimes Act of 1996, which puts war crimes anywhere in the world under the jurisdiction of United States courts if the perpetrator, or the victim, is a United States citizen. Put another way, the United States has a perfect justification to go after Mr. Rajapaksa individually.

    Independent observers have long viewed Gotabaya Rajapaksa as an obstacle, perhaps even more than his brother, to a smooth political transition in Sri Lanka. There is little indication that he will respect the new government, which has opened an investigation to look into widely reported allegations that he and his brother attempted to engineer a military coup to overturn the election results.

    It is in the new government’s interest to move decisively to protect its democratic victory by eliminating the threat of Mr. Rajapaksa’s return to power. That is a distinct possibility if his brother, Mahinda, succeeds in a bid to maintain control over the powerful opposition party.

    That’s why marginalizing Mr. Rajapaksa now is important. The new president, Mr. Sirisena, has signaled that he is open to domestic criminal prosecutions to ward off foreign war crimes trials. And the president’s spokesman has indicated that the government may be willing to prosecute specific war crimes, such as the so-called White Flag incident, in which surrendering Tamil leaders with white flags were allegedly executed by soldiers on the final day of the civil war. That’s a highly significant statement because, as many Sri Lankans know, and as the State Department reported to Congress, the army chief at the time said that Mr. Rajapaksa gave the order �they must all be killed,� and later added that he would be willing to testify in a war crimes trial.

    But proceeding against Mr. Rajapaksa will be politically challenging for the new Sri Lankan government to do on its own. The United States could help by signaling its own interest in opening a criminal case against Mr. Rajapaksa in the event that Sri Lanka doesn’t. That would give the new government both an opportunity and a justification to clean its house. Because of Mr. Rajapaksa’s citizenship, the United States would also be less vulnerable to accusations that it was meddling in the affairs of another nation.

    The Obama administration might even say, in a very public way, that it will decide whether to proceed with its own criminal inquiry after giving Sri Lanka’s new establishment an opportunity to move first. Such signals from the United States could help politically marginalize the Rajapaksas at a critical point in the life of the country. They would also bolster President Sirisena’s efforts to have the country repudiate the past and recognize that its best future lies with his administration. The United States should do its part to bring accountability to Sri Lanka and assist its transition to democracy.

  14. Nimal Says:

    Sorry it’s not Carton Place it’s Carlton Hill in Maida vale.

  15. Lorenzo Says:

    I feel really sorry for Ananda-USA. He is still in the DENIAL PHASE of mourning.

    Get over it Ananda-USA. We all have the right to support WHATEVER political party of our choice. I ran a massive campaign for My3 in facebook, etc. Gave KILLER propaganda and election ideas to My3 camp which they were WISE enough to accept from humble Lorenzo. TRUE! That is MY right. That does NOT make me a TERRORIST or a TRAITOR or anything else.

    The rest was done by MR, SB, BBS, etc.!!

    SL does not equal MR. There are 21 million other SLs there.

  16. Nanda Says:

    Problem is my ignorant ex-friend , a citizen of USA, who does not even have Sri Lankan passport, who has absolutely and entirely renounced and abjured all allegiance and fidelity to Sri Lanka , is more worried than 52% Sri Lankans who still posses Sri Lankan ID’s and Passports and who have voted for MY3 to save their country from a brutal thief. Who is the HYPOCRITE ?
    The whole world knows.

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