Enrique’s Sex and Love tour: Two Cabinet Ministers pressured Colombo Mayor to give green light
Posted on January 4th, 2016

Gagani Weerakoon Courtesy Ceylon Today

With events that followed the ‘Sex and Love Tour’ concert by Latin pop singer Enrique Iglesias grabbing the momentum than the event itself, spotlight was taken away from the brewing conflict in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
At a time where two incidents, a girl who happened to be the daughter of incumbent Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force getting cosy with the irresistible pop singer and a brassiere being tossed at him, going viral on social media with bit of a comical twist to it, President Maithripala Sirisena’s remarks on the concert made after a week of the event received the attention of local and international media.
This uncalled-for wide publicity was given to remarks President Sirisena made addressing a public event in Ampara slamming the organizers of the ‘Love and Sex Tour’ concert.
Despite the fact that female fans storming the stage when Enrique is performing and undergarments being tossed at him, is common elsewhere in the world, Sri Lanka’s Head of State described the show as most ‘indecent’ and ‘uncivilized’.
Seemingly disappointed President Sirisena said it is not the women who behaved in such manner that should be punished but the organizers of the event. He said the organizers of the show should be whipped with ‘toxic stingray tails’ over the behaviour of female fans.
His remarks were widely reported in countries such as the US, the UK, France, India and even Korea within a short span of time. BBC, AFP, Daily Mail, Sky News, Fox News , NDTV were leading wire services and media organizations that reported the Sri Lankan President’s remarks with an explanation to their audiences about the punishment President Sirisena referred to.
“Whipping with the tails of stingrays was reserved for hardened criminals in medieval Sri Lanka and is used as a popular idiom for extreme punishment of wrongdoing. In conservative Sri Lankan society, public displays of affection, even among married couples, is frowned upon. Police are known to have arrested courting couples for kissing in public parks or sea-front promenades.”
However, Sirisena must have been fully aware about the consequences as he also added: “Some people may criticize me talking about these issues. But I am a Sinhala Buddhist. It’s my duty to talk about these matters.”
Colombo Mayor explains
President Sirisena telephoned Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil, who returned to the country after holidaying abroad, and demanded to know on what grounds the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) granted permission to the concert which was held at the CR & FC Grounds that comes under CMC.
The Colombo Mayor had explained to President Sirisena that the Council did not want to give permission to the event as the organizers of the event had not even fulfilled basic requirements.
After listening to him carefully, the President had advised him to hold a press briefing and explain everything to the public.
Addressing the media on Wednesday (30) Mayor Muzammil revealed that the CMC blacklisted the company Live Events which organized Enrique’s ‘Sex and Love tour’ concert at the CR & FC Grounds on 20 December for not settling the entertainment tax of Rs 29 million.
He said that the CMC would take legal action against the company of which, the former cricketing captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena are the main stakeholders, if they failed to pay Rs 29 million in taxes owed to the Municipality.
It is reported that the due entertainment tax amounts to a staggering Rs 29,125,845.
The Colombo Mayor alleged that the company has not disclosed all the proceeds from ticket sales to the Council and paid only Rs 6.4 million to the CMC as tax on the income from a portion of the ticket sales.
The Mayor said the CMC will not allow the company to hold any other event within the Colombo Municipal limits even if it settles the payment owed to the CMC.
Political influence
Even though Mayor Muzammil revealed to the country of the tax evasion and other irregularities as he described them to the President, he did not reveal to the country everything else he revealed to the President.
Sources close to both the Mayor and the President revealed that Muzammil revealed to President Sirisena about the immense pressure he was under to give permission for the event from certain Cabinet Ministers.
Upon being pressed to the wall by the President to reveal the names of those ministers, Muzammil had said it was Ministers John Amaratunge and Faizer Mustapha who influenced him to give the green light.
The Mayor had also said that even though he could understand the interest of Amaratunge on the event as the Minister of Tourism Development, Provincial Councils Minister Mustapha’s keenness on the matter is only known to the latter.
It is said that President Sirisena will however, question Mustapha over the matter in the coming week.
However, Mayor Muzammil was once again pressured by some Cabinet Ministers even after the event forcing him not to publicize the blacklisting of the Live Events.
Nevertheless, the Colombo Mayor went public about the event management company being blacklisted over tax evasion.
Prior to that, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, the Directors of Live Events in a joint statement issued on their Facebook accounts on 28 December said, with regard to the taxes the company remains transparent in its operations.
“With regard to recent reports concerning Live Events and Municipal entertainment taxes, we categorically state the company remains transparent and ethical in all its operations.”
“Live Events will continue to ensure full compliance with all relevant tax commitments and is providing all necessary information to the Colombo Municipal Council, in order to clarify facts and the way forward. Accountability and integrity is paramount to us and we believe it to be the same for the organizers,” the duo said.
TNA facing the storm
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which remained the largest alliance of prominent Tamil political parties was having its own share of internal battles in the recent past but things went out of control about two weeks ago when Northern Province Chief Minister Canagasabapathy Visvalingam Wigneswaran announced the formation of a new political front, Tamil People’s Council (TPC), with the aim of being an alternative to the TNA.
With three-hour one-on one discussions between TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and C.V. Wigneswaran on Christmas Day failing, political circles are expecting a split in the TNA.
The crisis started brewing hot with extremists groups in the TNA accusing current leadership of being cosy with the government. In short, politics in the North today is a reflection of what is taking place in the South.
Like those in the South are accusing the government of jeopardising national security and spreading the fear of returning terrorism, those extreme groups in the TNA are accusing those who appear to be moderate as betrayers of the Tamil people.
Leaders like R. Sampanthan, Mavai Senathirajah and M. Sumanthiran are facing the repercussions of loosening the tight grip Extreme Tamil groups and pro-LTTE Diaspora had in the TNA.
As long as they played gallery politics their popularity swelled but as soon as they showed the signs of being moderate and adapting to geopolitical realities the popularity declined and those who were not appeased being moderate started to rebel.
With the ‘change’ that dawned on 9 January 2015, the TNA started showing signs of distancing from the long prevailed policy of asking for the entire pound of flesh on many occasions.
Just like the government made an attempt to change the atmosphere of War Heroes Day which falls on 18 May every year since 2009 by calling it a day of remembrance of all those who got killed in war, the TNA also changed its attitude and for the first time made an appearance at the State celebrations of the Independence Day.
Though, still debatable of the appointment, the theoretical appointment of R. Sampanthan as the Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan Parliament may also seemed to have had an effect on the stance they held so far.
Instead of acting on their comfortable geographical zone in the country’s politics, TNA seemed to be thinking and analysing politics as a country when taking decisions in the recent past.
Hence the change in the stance they held thus far on the release of Tamil prisoners. Instead of their usual ‘government must release those prisoners unconditionally’ stance, the TNA seemed to have bent into the reasoning by the government that only those who were kept in prison without having any legal action against them would be released.
On the other hand, the government has also displayed a softened policy in catering to the rational and practical demands of the TNA. Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, so far has been successful in maintaining a healthy relationship with the Tamil Diaspora which is the decisive factor when it comes to Tamil politics in the country. It had gone as far as inviting President of the Global Tamil Forum father S. J. Emmanuel to the country and lifting the ban on several Tamil organizations which were earlier considered as pro-LTTE.
It is in this midst the crisis in the TNA has reached volcanic proportions with both camps refusing to budge. Political analysts also claim that Chief Minister Wigneswaran and TPC Leaders including Suresh Premachandran and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam are capitalizing on each avenue available for them including that of the health condition of TNA Leader Sampanthan.
However, the litmus test on the TPC or any other political party that seems to have a strong voice will be at an election. It is rarely an individual party performs well in an election in this country unless it is part of a bigger alliance, with United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) being exceptions.
This was evident in all major elections held in the past few decades. While certain political figures, be it Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Tissa Witharana, Dinesh Gunawardena or D.E.W. Gunasekara may appear strong in day today politics, when it comes to a point where people actually utilize their franchise all their political parties failed to perform well unless they became a part of a bigger coalition.
Sarath Fonseka or his Democratic Party failed miserably in the General Election despite him being the only Field Marshal this country saw.
Even Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s best performance in an election, so far, remains the 2004 election in which all its candidates became first in each district they contested under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) banner by putting SLFP giants like Anura Bandaranaike in Gampaha into second place.
However, even they failed to maintain the momentum when they contested alone.
Likewise, it is expected no matter how strong the PLOTE, EPRLF, EROS or TNPF is in the regional politics or in media they will have a tough time in performing alone. For instance, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam was able to secure a Parliamentary seat both in 2001 and 2004 elections by polling 29,641 and 60,770 respectively from Jaffna District by contesting under TNA (ITAK).
However, after he broke away from the TNA and contested under newly formed Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) both his attempts to get elected to Parliament in 2010 and 2015 failed despite his being the grandson of G.G. Ponnambalam.
Future of Yahapalanaya
Alongside President Maithripala Sirisena completing one year in office, the yahapalana government too will mark the completion of one year. However, the popularity and faith it had in January 2015 had arguably declined over the past few months.
It was the key topic when President Sirisena met key figures in the UNP and the SLFP earlier last week.
Several ministers have pointed out that the lack of commitment displayed by both leaders in taking action against those who were branded as corrupt and criminal has had a greater contribution in declined popularity of the government.
They have pointed out the need of bringing back those forces that were with them in electing Maithri with a hope of establishing good governance in the country in order to face the imminent threat of toppling the government.
President Sirisena on an earlier occasion revealed he had received some alarming intelligence reports that there will be an attempt to topple the government with the dawn of New Year.
The reports indicated that while there is a political leadership in this attempt it will come as a trade union move.
The President also said as he was aware about the political involvement he will take necessary steps at the right time to bring those under control.
“But everything else lies in your hand. Work closely with officials in your respective ministries and departments. Do not ignore issues that could lead to trade union action. If you work closely and listen to your subordinates we can face this successfully,” he advised Ministers.
By last week the details of the report indicated a prominent politician in the Rajapaksa Government who is lying low at present claiming to be not involved in active politics is behind this planned trade union action.
A prominent Cabinet Minister revealed that action will be taken to expedite all pending cases and initiating legal action against those who have allegations of corruption and other crimes. Accordingly, it is expected several former and current VIPs will go behind bars within the first few months of the year, including those involved in the murder of rugger player Wasim Thajudeen.
Joint Opposition up in arms
With the government planning to get its reins tightened, the Joint Opposition is also mapping to launch their protests in the New Year. At a meeting held at the residence of former Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, the Joint Opposition has decided to oppose the proposed drafting of a new Constitution.
The government said it will convert Parliament into a Constituent Assembly, once the House meets on 8 January, to draft the new Constitution which would see the abolition of the Executive Presidency.
However, the Joint Opposition is planning to oppose this move, as they view the abolition of executive powers would jeopardize national security and destabilize the country.
It had also had discussions on forming a new political alliance in the near future and if discussions go as planned and it was able to get the assistance of those who have claimed to be disappointed with current stance of the UNP, SLFP and JVP are planning to contest the forthcoming Local Government election under the new political alliance.

One Response to “Enrique’s Sex and Love tour: Two Cabinet Ministers pressured Colombo Mayor to give green light”

  1. Noor Nizam Says:

    Enrique’s Sex and Love tour: Two Cabinet Ministers pressured Colombo Mayor to give green light.
    The Muslim Voice was always right when it questioned the Muslim “UNSCRUPULOUS” politicians. The Muslim voice consistently requested HE. President Maithripala Siresena to probe the Mayor M.S.M. Muzammil regarding the Enrique’s Sex scandal which has already damaged the image of Sri Lanka and the President internationally, on which a price tag cannot be put, let it be alone the CMC had lost Rs. 30 million on taxes due. Comments made by the Convener – The Muslim Voice in many web newspapers stressed on this point for many days. Some web sites denied the publication of these comments. But Adaderana, Ceylon Daily News and certain foreign webpapers published the comments. Lankaweb.com is the ONLY web newspaper which allows and respects dedicated freelance journalists by allowing their article/comments and opinions, irrespective of the sensitiveness of the content – an example of TRUE JOURNALISM PRACTICED and the promotion of Press/Media and Journalism Freedom within the Press and Media industry of Sri Lanka.
    The President has got the CMC Mayor to spill some beans. Two ministers have been named as those who pressurized the mayor to do the UNWANTED. Minister Faizer Musthapa being one, seems NOT extraordinary. Shame on him and the the Sri Lankan Muslims. No doubt “Sinha Le” will have enough reasons to wack us in the future – God AlMighty forbid it should NOT happen. But ALL the BEANS have NOT been spilled by the Mayor. HE. President Maithripala Sirisena should still continue the “probing” to find out, how many Rs. 35,000/= tickets were given to politicians as complimentary ticket, especially to Minister Faizer Musthapa and how many much of kerala ganga and heroin and hard liquor were traded at the grounds that evening and who were the culprits and were engaged in those nefarious activities. These may be political passing cloud incidents to these culprits, but the President taking stern action against these incidents and exposing them to the public, will bring the people to gather around you, be it the Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims, whether they are SLFP, UNP, MEP, JVP, LSSP, FSC, SLMC, ACMC, National Muslim Congress, CWC or the TNA or the ITAK. The FAILURE of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to do this during his tennure as President was his downfall. The same Muslim Politicians who “sucked” him are also around you now President Mathripala Sirisdena. So President Maithripala Sirisena, kindly do not give the probe on this event.
    Noor Nizam. Political and
    Peace Activist & Political Communication Researcher and former SLFP
    District Organizer – Trincomalee District, and Convener – The Muslim Voice, and Former Press and Information Officer to HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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