Sri Lanka’s tyrant speaker puts the country in peril. – Part II
Posted on November 20th, 2018

By ; A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA

On 16th last Friday the government Ministers and MPS extremely annoyed by demented Karuma Jayasuriyasuriyaq’s arrogance and failure to take appropriate action against the threats posed to members of Parliament by Ranjan Ramanayake and Palitha Thevarapperuma by bringing in knives to Parliament, accommodating notorious thugs and underworld operators to the parliamentary gallery, and assaults carried out in the Parliament on the previous day decided to surrounded the Speaker’s chair and even Mr. Arundika Fernando to occupy the chair thereby preventing the speaker to conduct proceedings on that day.

It was funny to the JEPPO leader and the leaders of the so-called two Muslim parties who allegedly received unlawful Umrah pilgrimage facilities from the UNP that too from Bond Scam money and who were totally silent on the previous day when government Ministers and MPs were getting assaulted by the UNP’s thug MPs came in support of the Karuma Jayasuriya and to condemn the government and MPs.   The politburo member of the JVP commenting about the attitudes of the Anura Kumara and Vijitha Herath has said that those two are acting on their own and a decision must be taken against them soon. Expressing sentiments similar to Lal Kantha JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa, who is also a member of the party’s Central Committee has that the party would not side with either Mahinda Rajapaksa or any one from the UNP  He has reiterated that they would never help the UNP form a government even if the present government was dislodged through parliamentary means Dr. Jayatissa has said that the only way out was to appoint a caretaker government and hold a free and fair election so that people could elect a party of their choice to govern the country.

The protests by the government MPs on Friday forced the Karuma Jayasuriya to arrive under the guard of more than 100 Police personnel and sit in a chair suddenly provided by Terrorist Proxy Sumanthiran and a mike also provided by him that he was taking a Voice Vote and then immediately say that the NCM against t5he Prime Minister has been passed and immediately leave the parliamentary promises fearful of confronting the government MPs.  Parliament sources have revealed that there is no record parliament meeting on that day as the speaker was speaking through a borrowed mike.

The Secretary General of Parliament has told the media that Karu Jayasuriya is acting on a despotic manner ignoring parliament procedures and advices provided by them and because of that they are in very much disappointment and he was contemplating to retire early.

They President with the good intention of resolving this this shameful problem being created by the arrogant speaker called for a party leader meeting on Sunday evening at his Secretariat and in addition to the party leaders he invited the Speaker as well.  But the arrogant speaker and the JEPPO leader who only intention was to create mayhem and destabilisation in the country which they failed to achieve in the two such attempts did not attempt the meeting.  At this meeting the President emphasized the importance of maintaining decorum in the parliament and take the NCM against the Prime Minister in the proper manner up to scheduling it in the Parliament Order Paper and then go for a body count or electronic vote in compliance with the Standing Orders and the traditional procedures of the parliament for him to accept the results.

At this APC meeting the Minister of Buddha Saasanaya and religious development Mr. Udaya Gammanpila refuted the UNP claim that they have a majority of 122 members in the Parliament and explained the UNP has only 101 members including theirs JHU, SLMC and ACMA.  He pointed out that 122 includes 21 members (15 TNA and 6 JVP) and whereas the government has 103 members (225 – 122) and this number would be further increased shortly with some disgusted members of SLMC and ACMC joining the government and for this purpose some of the Ministers would resign shortly to accommodate these new joiners.  Mr. Gammanpila also refuted UNP claims of purported Hansard records of November 14th and 16th challenging the UNP to show the said reports.  He pointed out that there was no Hansard report for 16th Friday and since it must be deemed that there was no parliament sitting on that day.

General public all over the country, members of the Maha Sanga including Maha Nayake Theros, members of the patriotic organizations, women’s organizations, Alliance of National Lawyers, Professional Assertions, Trade Unions, Farmers Associations, University Lecturers, Teachers Associations and students’ associations have demanded for the early dissolution of the government and holding of early elections.

In the meantime, former Navy Chief of Staff and Deputy Labour Minister Rear Adm. Sarath Weerasekera, who has earned a reputation of fighting terrorists and diaspora elements at UNHHRC in Geneva has filed a fundamental rights violation petition, claiming that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake couldn’t summon Parliament while the Supreme Court was hearing a case in respect of the dissolution of Parliament. He has asserted that the action by the respondents are arbitrary and in violation of Article 12 (1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. Mr. Weerasekera has requested the court to grant leave to proceed with his application, declare that the Fundamental Rights of the Petitioner protected by Article 12(1) of the Constitution have been violated by the respondents and they have no authority or power under the Constitution to summon the Parliament in the absence of any order by the court quashing the proclamation of the President. He claims that dissolving the Parliament remains un-invalidated, and plead to declare that Parliament cannot be re-summoned on the strength of the interim orders of the Supreme Court

There is a spate of articles, political comments and editorials being published in n national newspapers and social websites on this political imbroglio by veteran journalists, political party leaders, academics and other distinguished and erudite leaders.  Let us focus attention on some of these articles.

The Sunday Island political commentator veteran journalist C.A.Chandraprema claims that the  constitutional gridlock that gripped the country since October 26 showed signs of coming to an end with the President telling the UNP and their allies when they met in at the Presidential Secretariat  that they should firstly remove from the no confidence motion presented by the JVP the first clause which declared ‘unconstitutional and illegal’ the dismissal of Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe and the appointment of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister because that was within the powers vested in the President by the Constitution and secondly, to pass the no confidence motion against the incumbent Prime Minister in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders if they had the numbers in Parliament. This meeting on Nov. 15  between the UNF and the President took place in a situation where the incumbent Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had addressed Parliament that day even amidst heckling.

Since the article is a lengthy one, the highlights are given below in bullet form

  • Speaker Karu Jayasuriya suspended the Standing Orders of Parliament and then claimed to have taken a voice vote to pass the first no confidence motion.
  • Incongruously, he also refused to acknowledge that there was a new Prime Minister and Cabinet and in allocating time for MR to speak, he had referred to the latter as ‘manthreethuma’!
  • If there was no Prime Minister, who were they passing a no confidence motion against?
  • even if the UNP manages to get a proper no confidence motion passed against Mahinda Rajapaksa and even if the Supreme Court declares the dissolution of Parliament unconstitutional, and the UNP gets to remain in power for the rest of the term, the position that they find themselves in will be so unviable that they would be better off agreeing to dissolve Parliament and going in for a general election.
  • The Speaker then proceeded to send a letter to the President stating that the no confidence motion had been passed and attaching to it an old list of signatures with the date changed from 2 November to 14 November as the ‘signatures’ of those who were in favour of the no confidence motion.
  • Karu Jayasuriya is deliberately stirring the pot in order to play hero among UNPers to bag the Presidential candidacy in 2019.
  • What Karu J did next on (Friday Nov. 16), was once again to suspend the Standing Orders and in the resulting uproar, to claim that the no confidence motion had been passed by a voice vote a second time.
  • The sight of Karu Jayasuriya sitting on a chair in the well of Parliament and bellowing into a hand held microphone for Hon. M.A.Sumanthiran to present the motion to suspend the Standing Orders to start the day’s proceedings and finally claiming that a no confidence motion had been passed by voice vote in the midst of an incoherent cacophony of sound was one of the most unedifying spectacles ever seen in Parliament.
  • One of the reasons for the unrest that erupted in parliament on Friday the 16th was that the Speaker took no action against parliamentarians Palitha Thewarapperuma and Ranjan Ramanayake over the allegation that they brought knives to Parliament.
  • On previous occasions, Wimal Weerawansa and Prasanna Ranaweera were suspended from Parliament for mere verbal offences.
  • Had Thewarapperuma and Ramanayake been arrested and taken before a magistrate there would have been no need for the other side to protest on Friday.
  • When Major Ajith Prasanna was assaulted outside Temple Trees by two MPs including, Thewarapperuma, the police acted within 24 hours and the matter is no longer an issue. That is what should have happened regarding the complaints against Ramanayaka and Thewarapperuma as well.
  • One gets the distinct impression that Karu is deliberately stirring the pot to keep himself in the limelight for as long as possible obviously with a view to making himself a possible contender for the UNP’s presidential candidacy next year.
  • Karu was at the tail end of his career and if not for this crisis which has catapulted him into the limelight and given him an opportunity to play the role of a heroic champion of the UNP cause, he may have had to fade away from politics after the next Parliamentary election.
  • Karu Jayasuriya’s present actions are not designed to benefit anyone but himself. Therefore, he is so insistent on doing what is calculated to focus attention on himself rather than to solve the problem at hand.
  • If he does not get the police to take some action against Ranjan Ramanayake and Palitha Thewarapperuma at least before Parliament meets on the 19th, then we’ll know that he is looking for more trouble and more publicity.
  • In the meantime, in an unprecedented development, the Prime Minister’s Office has issued a letter to media institutions explaining what the proper procedure for presenting a no confidence motion is. This is the first time that any government has had to publish what is effectively a ‘tutorial’ on no confidence motions. According to that letter, the steps to be followed in presenting a no confidence motion has been outlined  under 8 points.
  • Though the no confidence motion against Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe was put through all the correct motions the no confidence motion against Mahinda Rajapaksa has not adhered to any of these procedures. How does one justify this difference?
  • The JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath went up to the Secretary General of Parliament and handed him a paper and went back to his seat. Then M.A.Sumanthiran moved a motion to suspend the Standing Orders of Parliament and the Speaker then proceeded to call for a vote on the no confidence motion which neither he nor the Secretary General of Parliament had even read.
  • What has happened regarding the no confidence motion against Prime Minister Rajapaksa is that the Speaker has politicized it for his personal benefit.
  • The Speaker holds that he does not recognize Prime Minister Rajapaksa and the new cabinet appointed by President Sirisena. If there is no Prime Minister, who is he passing no confidence motions against? It is not the business of the Speaker to give recognition to Prime Ministers or Cabinet Ministers. The President appoints the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and if a no confidence motion is brought against a Prime Minister so appointed, it must follow the correct procedure.
  • If the correct procedure is followed it would have taken only a few days, perhaps two weeks at most for the process to be over. But the speaker is obviously playing to the UNP gallery with a view to the presidential candidacy and that is where all the problems stem from.
  • Karu Jayasuriya has in a way painted himself into a corner by stating in Parliament that he does not recognize Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.
  • To pass a no confidence motion against a PM he has first to be acknowledged as the duly appointed PM and then Parliament must declare that it has no confidence in the Prime Minister so appointed. But when you try to bring the politics of the street into parliament and declare that there is no Prime Minister and cabinet and then proceed to pass no confidence motions against a non-existent PM and cabinet, a gridlock naturally occurs.
  • ‘The events that took place after October 26 have undoubtedly benefitted the Joint Opposition which for the past three and a half years, had less time to speak in Parliament than the JVP even though they had nine times the number of MPs.
  • Now suddenly, the number of MPs identifying with what was known as the Joint Opposition has increased from the original 53 plus 15 to over 100 due to the reunification of the UPFA and some crossovers.
  • The TNA and JVP which had been masquerading as a part of the opposition were revealed to the public as an integral part of the UNP alliance.
  • Due to President Sirisena breaking ranks with the UNP, the yahapalana government lost its two thirds majority in Parliament which was one of the main objectives of the Joint Opposition.
  • The UNP will also no longer have access to the executive powers of the President and the latter can prevent the UNP from doing any permanent damage such as signing ill-thought-out FTAs and selling valuable government property.
  • The UNP led alliance now has less MPs than the JO led alliance. Any majority they show in parliament will be by leaning on the TNA and the JVP which will extract the maximum from the UNP for their support and even if they form a government again, they will only be able to limp along till the end of their term amidst the demands being made by both the JVP and the TNA;

The President has commended the Deputy speaker for conducting parliamentary affairs peacefully when the Parliament resumed sittings for a brief period on Monday 19th in which the Karuma Jayasuriya did not attend and has said that he would the such decorum would prevail in the future as well.

The LSSP leader Prof. Tissa Vitarana has said that Sri Lanka faces a grave political crisis and the Speaker is mainly responsible as he has acted as a UNPer with extreme partiality, violating both the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament. He has warned that this situation could extend to the vast mass of the people who are living peacefully and are looking forward to an early election to change the last Government which followed policies harmful to the people and the country. Any attempt to prevent this will lead to bloodshed and open conflict. The has said that the country will be thrown into a state of chaos, opening the door to a military dictatorship (like in Thailand) or open the door to foreign intervention (like in the Middle East),

 

The Island editorial on Monday 19th quoting the President said that some MPs had been paid huge sums of money, ranging from Rs. 100 mn to Rs. 500 mn, following the ouster of the  UNP-led government last month to engineer crossovers. The editorial said pressure is mounting on President Sirisena to hold a referendum and ask the people whether they think a fresh parliamentary election is necessary to resolve the crisis in Parliament. The President has not responded to that call. Maybe, he is waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the dissolution of Parliament to decide on a future course of action.

It said a referendum is not only costly but also comes with negative externalities which take a heavy toll on the society, which is already polarised. The 1982 referendum, marred by violence and large-scale rigging, is a case in point.it said. However, the President is constitutionally empowered to hold referenda on matters of national importance.

Commenting further the editorial said that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya insists that the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was backed by 122 MPs including six JVP members. The JVP has told this newspaper it will not help either Mahinda Rajapaksa or anyone from the UNP form a government. It calls for the formation of a caretaker government and a free and fair general election so that the people will be able to elect a government of their choice. The million-dollar question is what will happen if the next Parliament also happens to be as hung as the present one. It said million-dollar question is whether the six JVP MP are willing to back anyone other than Mahinda from the UPFA so that he can head the proposed interim government. Let the JVP be urged to make its position clear on this, the editorial concluded.

Part III of this article will focus more attention on Sinhala language articles.

(To be continued)

2 Responses to “Sri Lanka’s tyrant speaker puts the country in peril. – Part II”

  1. Nimal Says:

    How can anyone say after witnessing the horrible spectacle in the parliament that the speaker acted as a tyrant?
    Rowdies like Johnston Fernando who assaulted the police and damaged the public property should be prosecuted and sacked as a MP.In a decent country like UK he would have resigned but then Sri Lanka is not a decent country any more and the people who are running the country had proved that in the Parliament.
    We the hardworking honest people want to clean the country that is being bankrupted by the cruel and dishonourable deeds of the politicians and we owe that to the generations to come.
    Having a true interest in the country where our hard earned honest money is invested I noticed from the statements uttered by JVP’s AD that during his ministry with CBK he was urged to ok to a contract to be signed with the Chinese in building the highway to the airport and accept a commision and from that day I lost my respect to that government. It seems the politicians are there to make money regardless and we are desperate to put the country right.
    Having observed the good from the bad,to rescue the country from the path to lawlessness and bankruptcy the option available is to form a government with a coalition of known honest hardworking people from all parties and let the lads from the JVP lead this group and be the guardians of the nation.
    They must make sure that the wealth of the country that is pilfered is brought back, which include the money stolen from the bond scam and all MPs declare their assets.

  2. nilwala Says:

    Parliamentary sittings should have stopped in their tracks following the Stay Order that came on the petitions filed against Prez’s Gazette#2. Special note should be made of the fact that Gazette #1 had NOT been petitioned at the SC. Clearly, RW , as a lawyer himself, knew the President’s actions were CONSTITUTIONAL and not contestable.
    Despite this, RW insisted on occupying Temple Trees claiming to be the rightful PM. Even with his inviting foreign envoys and calling for external intervention, protests and debate had largely remained at the level of newspaper articles and reports/interviews since Parliament had been prorogued. Coincidentally however, SC petitions on Gazette #2 had been filed and the SC Stay Order was issued on Nov 13. With any commonsense, all Parliamentary actions should have stopped short in their tracks until a determination was made. But it was not to be. When Parliament reconvened sittings on Nov 14, all hell began to be unloosed in that august chamber..
    On Day 1 there were the UNF’s knife-wielders who have been caught on TV cameras and publicized. This should have alerted the Speaker that trouble was brewing, and that much depended on his steadiness and fair-mindedness as Speaker to control possible escalation if Parliament remained open for debate. However, that was not to be. The Speaker did a complete about turn and in what seemed quite out of character, made clear that he was in favor of the previous RW/UNP Govt.
    Day2 brought on the retaliatory response from the new Govt., which became further escalated with the Speaker arriving amid a circle of Special Police Officers…into the Chamber where his seat had been removed. He should have left immediately with his entourage, but did not do so. Hysteria increased and he did nothing to help it subside, but only left when cushions, books and files were thrown at him. In the melee that followed, chilli water was thrown and a senior MP got some in his eye. A 2nd shameful day for Parliament.
    Hopefully the SC will now move in to stall further deterioration of the situation by clarifying what the Stay Order meant.

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