I’m glad regime was changed – Ceylon Today By Rathindra Kuruwita Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha who initially defected from the Rajapaksa regime along with President Maithripala Sirisena and later supported Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last general election said while he was ‘glad’ the change was made said the incumbent government too like the previous regime was making the mistake of doing ‘too little too late’ in terms of ...

The Paranagama and the Geneva Reports: Attempts to Mislead the Public – Pt 1 contd., Question 10: The Government has alleged that the Paranagama Report agrees with the Channel 4 video allegations.   Is that true? Answer Not at all.  It is a deliberate misreading of the Paranagama Report.   At paragraph 428, the Paranagama Report states explicitly “ the authenticity of the video ...

A Reform Agenda 25 – Local Consultation and Empowerment I was asked recently in an interview to mention seven areas of priority for the new Parliament. I began with Education and Reconciliation which have long been priorities for me. But then I also noted some other areas in which structural change was essential. One of these was providing greater autonomy to the regions and local bodies with regard to ...

Political Principles and their Practice 24 – An Executive Presidency tied to a Westminster Cabinet After he won election, Jayewardene ignored his own political theories when he found himself in command of almost absolute power following the massive electoral victory in 1977. He was virtually unquestionable for, along with Senanayake, most of those who had held cabinet office in the 1965 UNP government were dead. Jayewardene was more senior than all those who remained and ...

Political Principles and their Practice 23 – Parliamentarians without legislative or oversight powers By giving parties the right to expel members from Parliament, Jayewardene destroyed an important principle of parliamentary democracy—the independence of members of parliament. The main justification of parliament is that it acts as a check on the executive. In the British system members of the ruling party generally support the government, but they are free to criticise and question it. ...

A Reform Agenda 24 – Freedom of Information One of the promises in the President’s manifesto which was broken was that relating to the Right to Information Bill. The manifesto pledged that the Bill would be introduced on the 20th of February and passed within three weeks. Some sort of leeway was also given, because it was actually a month later, on the 20th of March, that it ...

A Reform Agenda 23 – Fiscal Reform by stealth Tarzie Vittachi’s ‘Island in the Sun’ is perhaps the best piece of political satire written in this country. It has graphic desctiptions of the politicians of the nineties, with Sir John Kotelawala for instance being the Rogue Elephant and Dudley Senanayake the Tired Tortoise. J R Jayewardene was the Seethala Kotiya, a description that perhaps would not fit his nephew, ...

Good Governance 24 – Governance and Internal Security In my book on Political Principles and their Practice in Sri Lanka, which Cambridge University Press in Delhi published a decade or so back, I wrote that ‘Undoubtedly, the most important function of a government is to ensure the security of its people.’ People needed to ensure their safety from external threats, and they also needed security from others within ...

Political Principles and their Practice – District Development Councils and their Shortcomings In the second section of chapter 8 of my book on this subject, I look at how the initially peaceful agitation for devolution turned to violence. This was despite a measure of autonomy finally being granted to elected bodies at local levels during the eighties. District Development Councils and their Shortcomings In the 1970s, the various Tamil parties came together ...

The Lessons Of Batalanda – Chandrika’s Techniques Of Character Assassination Seeing all the posters asserting that ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen was murdered, I was struck by the similarity to the allegations made when Chandrika Kumaratunga was President regarding Batalanda. The Sunday Leader in December 2001, soon after the UNP won the election she had called, wrote ‘The legacy of evil that Kumaratunga has left behind is so rich that she is ...

A Reform Agenda 22 – Service Delivery in Divisions An ambassador who seems to understand this country well said recently that he thought the greatest mistake this government had made was to let me go. I have to admit though that that was probably more flattering than accurate.  One can see rather that the greatest mistake was to ignore completely the manifesto on which the President had won the ...

Good Governance 23 – Governance and Development The last conference I attended was in the North East of India, where the topics encapsulated in the title of Prof. Hettige’s book loomed large. The same issues that bedevil development questions in this country were apparent there, and could be summed up perhaps in one word, namely consultation. I was asked, earlier this week, to speak on the ‘Nexus ...

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