Malaka's letter to Chandrika
It seems that former President Chandrika Kumaratunga's controversial
remarks on Minister Mervyn Silva's son have boomeranged on her.
Following Chandrika's defamatory statement, Minister Silva hit back at
the ex-President saying that Chandrika should be aware that he possesses
many inside secrets about the Bandaranaikes and would reveal them if
compelled to do so.
But the debate did not end there and it seems that Chandrika's
unwarranted statement would put her in further trouble. Malaka Silva,
son of Minister Mervyn Silva, in an open letter to Chandrika, said that
she should refrain from making contemptuous remarks so as to preserve
the status of a noble family rather than finding specks in other's eyes.
Malaka recalls his father's dedication to the Bandaranaike family had
been commended by the people across the country with former Prime
Ministers the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Bandaranaike being
the most prominent. "My father was introduced to the then famous
Bandaranaike family through President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 1971. Since
then he was more concerned about the problems faced by the Bandaranaikes,
than the problems of his own family. He never deserted the Bandaranaike
family when they were in trouble," Malaka says in his letter.
"I suppose Madam Chandrika has not forgotten how my father bravely
came to protect the Bandaranaike memorial from the thugs at a time they
were out of the limelight. I also regret her sarcastic remarks which
bring her disgrace. One's behaviour will help them to remain in the
minds of people even after the death," he further stated in the letter.
Malaka's letter was in response to remarks made by Chandrika about
the Minister's son at a public meeting held in memory of the late Vijaya
Kumarathunga in Kandy, referring him as stupid.
Enjoining orders on UNP General Secretary
Mount Lavinia District Judge Priyantha Fernando on Friday issued five
enjoining orders against UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and the
UNP Disciplinary Committee restraining them from initiating any
disciplinary inquiry on UNP parliamentarians for voting for the
impeachment motion brought in Parliament against former Chief Justice Dr
Shirani Bandaranayake contrary to the UNP decision and common opposition
consensus to vote against the impeachment. The order is effective until
In a separate action, both UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and
Attanayake were issued with interlocutory injunction and notice by the
Colombo District Court sequel to action filed by Deputy Environment
Minister Abdul Cader also relating to voting for the impeachment.
In respect of the case taken up in the Mount Lavinia District Court,
an interlocutory injunction and notice on the respondents were issued.
The respondents were ordered to appear in court on the next dates of
hearings fixed for March 20 and 22.
Four UNP MPs Earl Gunasekera, Lakshman Seneviratne, Nilwala
Wijesinghe and Upeksha Swarnamali and Democratic People's Front (Prajathanthrawadi
Janatha Peramuna) MP Praba Ganeshan filed five separate actions in this
Attorney-at-Law Ali Sabry, PC appearing for the petitioners submitted
that the impeachment was a lawful Constitutional process and not a
violation of the UNP Constitution or the party discipline. The
petitioners acted in accordance to their self-conscience to safeguard
the people's sovereignty. Furthermore, MP Praba Ganeshan is not a member
of the UNP. Hence any disciplinary action cannot be taken against him.
Cader's request turned down
However, the Colombo District Court last week refused to issue an
enjoining order preventing the UNP from conducting a disciplinary
inquiry into Deputy Minister Abdul Cader's conduct.
The Deputy Minister, who was elected to parliament after contesting
under the UNP ticket, had filed an application requesting a court order
to prevent the disciplinary inquiry to be held this weekend for voting
in favour of the impeachment motion against the former Chief Justice.
UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and General Secreatry Tissa
Attanayake are named as respondents in the appeal. They have been issued
summons to appear before the court on March 28. The Colombo District
Court ordered Abdul Carder that members of the United National Party (UNP)
should abide by the party constitution even though they have received
Deputy Minister portfolios.
President salutes late Venezuelan President
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was a shock. The Fifty
eight-year-old Venezuelan leader died on Tuesday after a two-year battle
with cancer. Venezuelans paid an emotional farewell to the late
President at his state funeral in Caracas.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro told mourners Mr Chavez, who led
Venezuela for 14 years, remained "undefeated, pure, living for all
time". Maduro was sworn in as acting president and will call elections
within 30 days. The vice-president began the funeral ceremony by
presenting Chavez's coffin with the sword of Simon Bolivar - the
19th-Century independence leader he claimed as his inspiration.
In his eulogy, Maduro said no other leader had been as vilified as
Chavez, but no-one had been able to stop him or his socialist
Minister Wimal Weerawansa and Deputy Minister Neomal Perera
represented Sri Lanka at the state funeral.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid his respects to the late President
by signing the book of condolence opened at the Cuban Embassy in
Colombo. "The fact that Venezuelans openly weep and mourn his death
shows his visceral links with his people," President Rajapaksa wrote.
President Rajapaksa also recalled the several occasions that he met
the late President and had "very fruitful and forward-looking"
"These meetings with the late President were always quite lively and
assured Sri Lanka that there was a sincere friend in Latin America,"
President Rajapaksa wrote.
"I am grateful for the support he extended to our fight against
terrorism, and Venezuela's assistance to Sri Lanka in world forums must
be acknowledged." He said.
US tables Resolution against Sri Lanka
The US resolution on Sri Lanka was formally presented to the United
Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Friday. It has
incorporated India's suggestion that the Office of the High Commissioner
of Human Rights (OHCHR) take the Government of Sri Lanka into confidence
while probing cases of atrocities.
The resolution seeks to ensure that "special procedure mandate
holders" tasked to look into human rights violations, work only in
consultation with and with the concurrence of Colombo.
The provision for taking the Lankan government into confidence was
part of the US resolution of March 2012 as well.
It had been included at India's insistence as New Delhi refused an
intrusive resolution which could put Sri Lanka's sovereignty into
The US resolution of 2013 said that neither the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission nor the National Action Plan, had "adequately"
addressed allegations of rights violations.
The resolution has categorically stated that the US expected
"unfettered access" to the UN Special Rapporteurs looking into areas
such as judicial independence; human rights defenders; freedom of
expression; freedom of association and assembly; extra-judicial, summary
and arbitrary executions; minority issues; enforced and involuntary
disappearances and discrimination against women.
'Judge Lanka by its performance'
Sri Lanka deserves to be judged on its progress in implementing the
recommendations of its own reconciliation commission than pre conceived
agendas against it, according to the country's human rights envoy,
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.
Explaining about his presentation at the current UNHRC in Geneva
recently, Minister Samarasinghe was hopeful that it would be viewed with
due care by the council and its member states. "I hope that my
presentation has made the impact it is aimed for. If anyone wants to be
impartial and unbiased they would treat my presentation with fairness",
He said that 99 per cent of some of the recommendations of the
Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) have been already
implemented. "I told them to come and see it for themselves -how far we
have progressed. I stated the truthful position (about implementation)
in my presentation".
Minister Samarasinghe said Sri Lanka had made progress in LLRC
recommendations on resettlement of the conflict displaced, demining of
the conflict zones, achieving economic development in the regions,
rehabilitation and reintegration into the society of the ex-LTTE
combatants and caring for LTTE child recruits. Samarasinghe, who is in
Colombo after making the presentation, will return to Geneva in time to
attend UNHRC's universal periodic review (UPR) debate on Friday (15).
He is due to address the UPR debate on March 20. Sri Lanka was
hopeful of support coming from Sri Lanka backers at the discussion on
the High Commissioner's report.
Duminda returns to Sri Lanka
Colombo District UPFA parliamentarian Duminda Silva, who was
seriously injured in a shooting incident in Mulleriyawa at which
Presidential advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed, returned
home on Tuesday. He was under intensive care at a leading hospital in
He was arrested subsequently as there was a warrant order against
him. The Criminal Investigations Department informed the Colombo
Magistrate court that parliamentarian Duminda Silva was arrested and is
receiving treatment at a leading private hospital in Colombo under
Police custody. The Magistrate later visited the hospital on the same
day. He has been remanded until March 14 by the Colombo Magistrate
Meanwhile, the Parliament approved three months leave for the UPFA
parliamentarian with effect from March 22. Parliament has approved leave
for MP Duminda Silva continuously since he was injured and admitted to a
hospital in Singapore from the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital.
Media heads visit Mattala
Sri Lanka's second international airport will be declared open by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 18. Minister of Aviation,
Priyankara Jayaratne accompanied country's top most media heads on an
inspection tour at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).
Four aircraft - three SLAF Y12s and a private jet, left Ratmalana
airport in the afternoon, along with the Chairman of the Airport and
Aviation Services Prasanna Wickremasuriya and the Secretary to the
Ministry of Mass Media and Information, Charitha Herath.
Since the new runway of the MRIA has not been officially
commissioned, the four aircraft were routed to the adjoining Weerawila
airport. Weerawila was the original venue to construct Sri Lanka's
second international airport but it was later shifted to Mattala due to
The media delegation, which included Chairmen of the ANCL, ITN and
Rupavahini, along with the chief editors of national newspapers and
radio and TV channel heads, were welcomed by Minister Jayaratne on
arrival. After having lunch at the Safari resort, they were taken to the
It was a rare opportunity for the media heads to gather first hand
information on the project. Minister Jayaratne, rejecting Opposition
statements that the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) would be
closed down after the MRIA begins operations, said that both airports
would be further developed to increase their passenger handling
It was dusk when the delegation left the MRIA with sweet memories and
arrived at the Weerawila airport. But there was no clearance for the
returning flights to land at Ratmalana airport as there was a technical
failure in the runway lighting system.
The temporary kerosene lamps too could not be lit as Ratmalana
experienced heavy rain and the pilots were not willing to take a risk.
Hence, all media heads were compelled to travel to the BIA at Katunayake
and travel to Colombo by road.
Mahindananda firm on decision
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage was firm on his decision
that the national cricketers should sign their SLC player contracts or
face the risk of being sacked from the Sri Lanka national team.
When the players demanded higher wages when renewing their annual
contracts and did not agree with certain clauses in the 2013 player
contracts forwarded by the national governing body for cricket, Minister
Aluthgamage took a firm decision. He said that the country should always
come first and the national cricketers in Sri Lanka are paid much more
than their counterparts in other countries.
The players too got the signal early ahead of the Test series when
veteran Kumar Sangakkara was not allowed to play in the three-day game
against the visiting Bangladesh team at Matara. Though Sangakkara was
chosen to play for the Board X1 and went all the way to Matara, he was
prevented from playing as none of the national players had signed player
Chairman of selectors and former captain turned Matara District UPFA
parliamentarian Sanath Jayasuriya met the national cricketers last
Sunday and insisted they sign player contracts before the two-Test
series against Bangladesh. If not, Minister Aluthgamage was even
planning to go to the extent of fielding a makeshift team sans seniors.
Later, media exposed the thumping salaries paid to national
cricketers as monthly contract fees.
Accordingly, the top grade senior players pocket rupees four to five
million a month. This is apart from their other earnings as match fees,
tournament fees, prize money and private advertising contracts.
It was a pity that paceman Lasith Malinga was caught up in an
unnecessary controversy with media which stormed the SLC headquarters on
They were anxiously waiting outside to know the outcome of the
meeting between the players and Chairman of Selectors Jayasuriya.
But Malinga showed his ignorance on sporting qualities when he
harshly responded to polite questions from mediamen. In contrast,
Sangakkara handled the situation more intelligently. The SLC has now
ordered an inquiry into Malinga's conduct.
President visits Situlpawwa
President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid a visit to Situlpawwa Rajamaha
Viharaya on Tuesday to inspect the archaeological site which is being
excavated at the sacred premises of the Viharaya.
The President also called on Situlpawwa Rajamaha Vihara Chief
Incumbent Ven. Metaramba Hemarathana Nayaka Thera.
The Thera praised the government's dedication to carry out the
development initiatives in an eco-friendly manner and in particular,
lauded the President's brave decision in removing the unauthorised
constructions inside the Yala sanctuary.
The President pointed out the significance on giving priority in
preserving the environment and places of archaeological value when
carrying out development activities in lands where historically
important religious places are located.
During his inspection tour of the site, the President directed
archaeological officers to display banners and cut outs about the
historical significance of the sites for the benefit of schoolchildren
The Situlpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya which has a history of over 2,200
years spread across 12,000 acres to the early civilization in Sri Lanka.
The President after participating in religious activities held a
brief discussion with archaeological officers involved in the
excavations of the site. Presidential Coordinating Secretary MP Sajin
Vaas Gunawardena also accompanied the President.
'Colombo remains CHOGM venue'
External Affairs Minister Prof G.L Peiris stated in Parliament last
week that nobody should harbour worries that there would be any changes
in the venue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)
2013 and assured that it would be held in Sri Lanka this November.
The Minister made this statement responding to queries raised by
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the venue of the next
CHOGM. Prof Peiris further said that there was no chance for Sri Lanka
being placed on the agenda of the next meeting of the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) as speculated in some sections of the
"There is a very clear procedure to be followed before a matter can
be placed on the agenda of CMAG. Hence, it is not possible to place Sri
Lanka on its agenda," the Minister said.
Prof Peiris said it is evident in the departure statement made by
Commonwealth Secretary General Kamlesh Sharma, who was in our country on
February 13. Sharma has said, "My visit provided an opportunity to be
briefed on the preparations for the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM), scheduled to be hosted by Sri Lanka in
November, as decided by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2009 and
confirmed in 2011.
The Opposition Leader in his query asked about the media reports that
Sri Lanka would be discussed at the next CMAG and asked the Minister to
make a full statement disclosing the present position regarding CMAG.