The Curtain Must Fall on the Errant NGO’s
Posted on July 14th, 2014

Dr D.Chandraratna, Perth

The leader of the opposition has found it fit to stand up for the freedom of expression, which on the face of it is a darn good thing. But without knowing the ground realities superficial talk of freedoms is pure bourgeois political titillation. The big picture is to make the entire country a safe place for freedom of expression by making sure that everybody’s freedom of expression, safety and particularly freedom from death are made secure for all times. If not, the brouhaha that Mr. Wickremasinghe is creating amounts to mere posturing for cheap popularity.

Freedom of expression, political enfranchisement, emancipation from indenture, which we won after thirty long years are worthy freedoms to be preserved. While we like to see fewer restrictions of freedoms there are necessary limitations especially when interest groups and other foreign parties are lurking in the embassies to incite violence and ethnic hatred. The NGO agenda approved by foreign donors has to be vetted and regulated to prevent unrest in the country. Hate and umbrage speech has to be curtailed and along with it those who incite and encourage others as we saw in the time of the LTTE. A UNICEF consultant was participating in street marches in Jaffna it was once reported. While many other countries may believe that genuinely dangerous ideas cannot survive for long in a free country, ours is different because realistically many different communities and different religions coexist in a limited space with a fair modicum of suspicion. Usually those who espouse dangerous ideas become fools subject to ridicule but we are still not at that level of liberalism like developed democracies in the Western World. They are the lucky countries for they do not have fractious polities, and even if they did, the commonality of racial supremacy and the willing subordination of others to such supremacy make them strong and resistant to dangerous speech. The freedom that we enjoy today is not a luxury yet. It may be some years before we also can be open and free like those robust democracies.

With regard to the proposed legislation Mr. Wickremasinghe says, It is clear therefore that the regulations on NGO’s must be within the four corners of the Voluntary Social Service Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Act and the regulations made thereunder.’ He also highlighted the fact that no authority outside these parameters had the right, power or authority to exercise any form of regulation or supervision of NGOs. He is right but since that freedom has been abused many times over by the NGO sector it is about time that something is done about it.

Mr. Wickremesinghe said this move by the National Secretariat for NGOs was a blatant violation of the Constitution more particularly Article 14 thereof which guarantees to all citizens – the freedom of speech, expression, publication, assembly and association.  The 1980 Act has not placed any restrictions on the operation of Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic. New laws and regulations are therefore necessary to make the freedom of expression a reality for all citizens and not only to those who have the financial clout of dollar currency.

Mr. Wickremasinghe must be made aware that the NGO sector has been flouting the law of the land by aiding and abetting activities, which are detrimental to the security of the country. It is about time to monitor the activities of these bodies because they have become an avenue to hire mercenaries to topple regimes and incite the masses, way beyond their mandate. There are other irregularities with regard to the disbursement of funds and any investigation will unearth interesting terrains many of the mushrooming organizations never disclose. There is no country in the civilized world that would allow interference in the domestic politics of the country as Sri Lanka. The American Ambassador, for example, has acted as a Warlord in the democratic process in Sri Lanka. If she is posted to the Security Council as rumored World War III cannot be too far away

Many commentators have repeatedly noted that the Government has taken some tentative steps to keep NGOs in check.  Understandably the big names in the NGO fraternity have howled in protest to please their donors, the NGO Secretariat clearly indicates that there’s been little more than reiteration of existing caveats pertaining to NGO activity.  That the NGO secretariat was inactive is a sad indictment on the public service. The other interesting fact is that many NGOs that currently make the biggest ranting against the state currently do not come under the purview of the Secretariat.  This must also be rectified by not allowing the powerful NGO’s to avoid the radar. Only some 1400 NGOs are registered with the Secretariat while many times that number are registered under the Companies Act.

The Government’s position is that NGOs cannot exceed mandates.  The Secretariat states that the NGO Act will be amended to bring other outfits registered variously, but not only with the Secretariat, under its purview. This is a salutary move. If NGOs are required to submit activity plans for the year, which can help the Secretariat monitor if mandates are not exceeded, ‘NGO-companies’ must also fall in line. Every organization must satisfy those audiences ‘cui bono’. NGOs have operated in ways that have raised serious questions about compromising national security, both during the time the LTTE existed and even after May 2009 too. Not all objectors have the moral authority to cry foul however, given track records of aiding and abetting terrorism as well as complicity in well known destabilization efforts initiated by foreign governments.

A requirement about monitoring, reiteration of existing rules and expression of intent in corralling all NGOs under one monitoring authority is ‘long overdue’ an editorial noted.  ‘NGOs have not helped their cause by acting as though the ‘non’ part of the acronym is equivalent to ‘anti’ and as such they are blessed with impunity, are above the law and entitled to do the ‘as we please’.  It must be obvious to any honest NGO that the current monitoring regime, is rudimentary, full of holes and inadequate in ensuring that entities largely dependent on foreign funds and therefore beholden to uphold donor-agenda do not act in ways detrimental to the national interest, including political stability and national security. These cannot be left for self-regulation and the recent history will prove so. In the past it was all but apparent that the foreign funded NGO sector was running around as a quirky assortment of political neophytes in the garb of human right gurus hell bent on destabilizing the state according to the dictates of their donors which must be stamped out.

The stance of the opposition leader also warrants a comment or two. The enigmatic man is unbeatable in terms of his wackiness and populist jawboning: he is a class act all of his own. Enlivened by a towering self-belief, the pinch yourself audacity, spouting uncanny historical untruths and pouring easily digestible yet worthless chook feed into the political news cycle, almost all to the tune set by the American Lady. These traits will bring him down, if he is already not at ground zero. A paranoid man when it comes to his headship if only he was only pro Sri Lanka, ethical and upright the country would have had a golden period in virile democracy. With terrorism defeated and prosperity just over the horizon the country could make fast strides towards a bright future. Unfortunately it is not going to be given the wacky eccentricity of the man and hence the very reason that we must safeguard the freedom from death that we won only the other day and it should not be squandered willy-nilly.

6 Responses to “The Curtain Must Fall on the Errant NGO’s”

  1. AnuD Says:

    Kenya got rid of it’s NGOs and then only they had some peace.

    Sri Lanka should think about that.

  2. Siri Says:

    The US infiltrated and destroyed several prospering countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt etc. Now the people are fighting among themselves. They tried the same in Ukraine, but it backfired and they lost Crimea.

    The CIA has a separate section for this work with funds allocated without the knowledge of congress. The Iran Contra deal was a good example where they were selling weapons to Iran so that they could fund the terrorism in Nicaragua. Sri Lanka should be careful not to allow the Western block countries to infiltrate into Sri Lankan society.

    Right now the American economy is in a mess and they are trying to bring neutral countries under their influence so that they can exploit them.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    There are 1426 local and foreign NGOs registered in SL. This is a HUGE number. We can’t monitor all. UNREGISTERED ones are even higher.

    We have to TAX them.

    That means we have at least 7,130 NGO MILLIONAIRS in SL! (Roughly 1 NGO makes 5 millionairs.)

    Siri is SPOT ON.

    “Right now the American economy is in a mess and they are trying to bring neutral countries under their influence so that they can exploit them.”

    e.g. Japan, South Korea, Australia, etc., etc.

    One such attempt is the CURSED F-35 Lightning jet project. A massive money sucking project to keep the thuggish beggar alive.

    Selling Japan and SK outdated PATRIOT batteries is another money sucking project.

    Selling foolish Saudis 1985 made F-15s at INFLATED price is another money sucking thing.

    SL economy is growing after 2009 VICTORY. Now Uncle Sam comes with a begging bowl and a BIG STICK to SL.

  4. S de Silva Says:

    Thank you Dr D C for your focus on the NGO mob. Ever since the colonialists lost the colonies this has been the primary tool to control Sri Lanka. It is now time to force them to wind down and keep a sharp eye on them and their local cheer leaders – like RW, etc. The public should now force the GOSL to take severe action against the NGO parasites! – S de Silva – London

  5. Nimal Fernando Says:

    [ The Government’s position is that NGOs cannot exceed mandates. ]

    Spot-on. Thank you for a very instructive commentary.

    Looks like the tide is turning … and ere long, in ‘affected’ parts of the planet, they’ll
    be calling NGOs …. No Good Outsiders.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo, Dr. Chandratna, Well Said!

    Indeed the curtain must fall on the antics of these errant NGOs, prancing about as Law Unto Themselves, subject to no law, and behaving more as anti-government organizations (AGOs) than they are non-government organizations (NGOs).

    There are those, especially US Diplomats, who even as they foment discord and civil disobedience in the country, spout various homilies to Sri Lanka on the need to preserve the right to “free expression” and “freedom of action” as if the players are always dutiful and not puppets manipulated from abroad, and referees are never needed to regulate the NGO game.

    If that were true, why then does the US not blindly trust its own citizen investors to play by the rules, and have a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Treasury, and various permanent Congressional Senate and House Committees to exercise oversight, and regulate the financial and monetary markets?

    We Sri Lankans also know very well how rich and powerful nations knowingly undermine, destabilize and overturn governments of other countries using “human rights” and “democrazy” as convenient balleyhooed pretexts, and destroy countless lives by converting their national refuges into absolute anarchies.

    We also know that these purveyors of “human rights” and “democrazy” are experts in DOUBLE STANDARDS, doing the exact opposite of what they preach to others when their own nations are threatened.

    Who has not heard of the restriction of civil liberties of US Citizens under the Patriot Act, or the Massive Spying by the National Security Administration (NSA) revealed by Edward Snowden. That spying violates the privacy protections guaranteed to American citizens by the US Constitution which now lies in tatters. While the privacy of American citizens is being violated willy-nilly, foreign citizens, both high and low, have no rights at all, as demonstrated by the NSA’s spying on Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany.

    In my view, any government has the duty and the right to gather intelligence needed to protect the people of its nation, as necessity dictates. In that sense, the Patriot Act was quite appropriate to protect the United States in the aftermath of 9/11.

    My problem is that the US does not accord the same rights to other nations and their governments to protect their own people just as the US protects the Americans. Instead, they castigate, isolate, sanction and actively undermine other nations and their governments who act legitimately to protect their people.

    If the United States was beset by 1426 NGOs, funded and directed by foreign nations, inimical to the United States, who are actively sowing civil discord, undermining the national government, what would the US do?

    We can get some idea of what the US would do, by examning the actions the US has taken against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who is not a US citizen, and Edward Snowden, a US citizen, who exposed the NSA spying.

    During the last 30 years, NGOs operating within Sri Lanka brought our Motherland to its knees, aiding and abetting foreign powers in their great game. They were among the principal supporters of the LTTE who prevented the early defeat and eradication of Tamil Terrorists in Sri Lanka. They are RESPONSIBLE for extending that awful war from a couple of years to three long decades, and consuming the lives of 150,000 lives of our innocent citizens.

    Today, they are playing that same game in Syria …… demolishing the government that protected its people, setting Syria’s various communities at each other’s throats, transforming the majority of its people into hapless refugees … all in the name of undermining the principal ally of Iran in the Middle East.

    And here they are again, buying and selling Sri Lanka political puppets, working in collusion with the defeated Tamil Terrorists, and their surviving political proxy, the TNA, attempting to convert Sri Lanka into another Somalia, inciting and encoraging Tamil Nadu politicians to assial Sri Lanka, pitting India against China, all driven by their FEAR of a RESURGENT China and their perceived NEED to CONTAIN China.

    It is not a useful exercise to ask whether Sri Lanka’s alliance with China, or India’s and Western Neo-Colonial interference in Sri Lanka came first. We who are Sri Lankans know very well the answer to that question, and need not debate it ad infinitum as if it were a chicken or the egg came first issue.

    What is IMPORTANT, and ESSENTIAL, to Sri Lanka’s future survival is to CONTROL, OVERSEE and REGULATE the behavior of ALL NGOs, both foreign and local, whether registered under the NGO Act or the Companies Act, with the central government or with a regional government body, operating in Sri Lanka.

    Enact the laws necessary to REGULATE their behavior, and LEVY a significant SPECIAL TAX on NGOs sufficient to pay for the Government Departments and Personnel necessary to oversee and regulate their own NGO activities. Higher the tax, fewer will be the number of fly-by-night NGOs.

    Examine the history of the registered NGOs, their finances and the sources of their finances, for Anti-National Activities. SHUT DOWN those who are merely in the NGO business to enrich themselves, or to engage in anti-national activities as paid tools of foreign powers. PUNISH not only the NGO as a corporate entity, but also its managers as individuals, not only with IMPRISONING the managers, but also by CONFISCATING the PERSONAL PROPERTY of the managers of ERRANT NGOs. That will go a long way towards bringing fear and discipline into the ranks of the NGOs.

    In the future, apply a 3-strikes and you are out law to NGOs. The slightest infringement of the Law earns them one strike, and 3-strikes will earn a SHUT DOWN, and if a foreign NGO … permanent EXPULSION from Sri Lanka.

    In these ways, we can safeguard our Resplendent Isle, our Mother Lanka, from the depredations of these parasites dancing to the tunes of foreign paymasters.

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