Is there a government in Sri Lanka?

by Nalin de Silva

Sri Lanka may be having a President, a Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, non cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and an administrative structure. However, it is obvious that the country does not have a government. If there is a government the country would not be in this position of non governance. During the PA regime there were many who thought that the PA was not capable of good governance. However, during that period whether good or bad there was some kind of government. Now the situation has deteriorated so much that the so-called ministers of the government do not know what they are talking. (They only talk) It is not only the UNF that is responsible for this sad situation. The President, the PA and the opposition are equally responsible for the state of affairs. If not for the fact that the ICC would not allow teams other than those already approved to participate in the forthcoming world cup, Sri Lanka would be taking another team appointed by Balasingham and Prabhakaran to South Africa and Zimbabwe next year. The government would have said "practical reality calls for participation of a cricket team appointed by the LTTE. It is time that the President used her executive powers to solve the crisis before India is forced to take action in order to make sure that there is stability in the region.

India has already come to the assistance of the EPDP and Douglas Devananda. The President is concerned about the situation with respect to the EPDP, but has not taken any action except requesting the Prime Minister to take up the matter in Oslo. According to the Sunday newspapers, Delft Island is under LTTE. The terrorists want the withdrawal of the EPDP from the island. The EPDP that has been in the island for number of years cannot engage in political activities if Oslo gives in to the LTTE demand saying that "practical reality calls for the withdrawal of the EPDP". Meanwhile the SLMM resorting to its usual baila (baila kiyanawa) has said that the people should have the right to engage in political activities and that both parties should respect this right. The SLMM wants the matter to be taken up at the "Oslo peace talks" meaning not the current Oslo circus but the next round (or session or whatever) of the "peace talks". The SLMM clearly protects the LTTE and tries to put the blame on the EPDP. It tries to pretend that it is impartial and that it wants to safeguard the rights of the people in the Delft Island. What the SLMM does not say is that it is the LTTE that is preventing the EPDP from engaging in political activities. By bringing the people as an abstract group that has no spokespersons the SLMM has shown once again that their mission is to clear the LTTE of all violations of the memorandum of capitulation described by them as the MOU. Even if the President is prepared to be satisfied with issuing statements and making requests to the Prime Minister to "take up the matter in Oslo" India would not be in a position to "stay neutral".

If this is the way that the LTTE treats the EPDP a party that has among its members elected representatives of the Tamils, how would they treat the Muslim parties or the Sinhala MPs representing the eastern province, if they the north and the east by the Norwegians with the blessings of Peiris Moragoda and Wickremesinghe. Where is the so-called democracy and pluralism preached by the government to others, in this particular instance? Where are the NGO’s and their "intellectuals"? Is there anybody to organise a picket in front of the Fort railway station to agitate for the right of the EPDP to engage in political activities. Could the Peiris - Moragoda combination justify the LTTE position in terms of the infamous MOU signed in February?

According to the news desk (Sinhala news bulletin on Sunday) of the Rupavahini, India was to participate in the Oslo circus. However, the Sunday newspapers announced that India would not take part in the circus but would send either the first secretary or the second secretary for the inauguration. The news broadcast by the Rupavahini is as empty as the Nestomalt cups kept on the table of the news readers. Does the Rupavahini think that they could fool the people all the time? On the otherhand to announce that India had decide to participate in the Oslo circus was an insult to our neighbour. In spite of the wiz kids from cyber space India could not be persuaded to take part in the circus. That had some repercussions and the USA delegation was to meet in a separate room leaving the centre of attraction to Peiris, Balasingham and Vida Hegelson, the Viking minister. We should appreciate the fact that India has decided not to attend the Oslo circus where the country would be auctioned. The so-called aid is nothing but money the government would get by handing over a part of the country to the LTTE.

Minister Peiris addressing the weekly cabinet press briefing said that the development of the north east (there is no province by the name north east in this country, wonder whether he was referring to the north east monsoon ) was the responsibility of the government and it could not be abdicated. He pointed out that the NE was part of the sovereign territory. ‘The practical situation is that it cannot be done without the participation of the LTTE’. Asked if the government not giving legitimacy to the LTTE by this move, he answered ‘that is not strictly correct’. "The LTTE will not be involved in discussions on the whole of Sri Lanka and would only participate in discussions focussed exclusively on the NE", he said. Commenting on the general discussions, he pointed out that the LTTE ‘obviously will not have a role’ in them. ‘There is no question of the role of the two parties being the same in the proceedings in Oslo’ he said. However he added that it was ‘incomplete’ and ‘unrealistic’ not to involve the LTTE in these discussions." It is also reported that he had said in Parliament that the LTTE would not be a part of the government team.

When Peiris appears to say that the development of the north and the east cannot be done without the participation of the LTTE he is not telling the truth. LTTE has no elected representatives. Is he trying to say that the north and the east could not be developed without the LTTE simply because they are armed (with the blessings of the western powers that do not insist on decommissioning of arms unlike in the case of IRA for example). If so, then he is inviting the others to be armed for any kind of recognition. If the north and the east cannot be developed without the LTTE then one could say that the Hambantota District could not be developed without the JVP. Though the Norwegians paid a visit to Hambantota recently to deceive the people that they are taking an interest in the southern province as well (they could not fool the people and were met with demonstrations in Hambantota) Vida Hegelson would not invite the JVP leaders for the Oslo circus. Peiris has said that government could not abdicate the responsibility of developing the north and the east. There is nothing to abdicate as there is no government. The "ministers" may be globe trotting as VIPs but they are ministers only in name with Vida Hegelson running the show for the "government". Hegelson plays the role of the former colonial secretary in Britain and though being a mere deputy minister wanted to meet the President when he came to Sri Lanka last time. Quite correctly the President "did not have time" to meet him (why should an executive head of state meet junior ministers from the east or the west?) and he had to go back to Oslo having learnt a lesson in Colombo.

The "government" is not in a position to do anything about the so-called police stations and courts in the north and the east set up by the LTTE. Would Vida Hegelson and his government in Norway allow the Laps to establish their own police stations and courts? Would Britain allow the Muslims to be tried under the "Sharya" law, let alone have separate courts for them? These are possible in Sri Lanka because there is no government in the country. The government has been Norwegianised. It is not peopolisation or privatisation as in the case of corporations and other such institutes but Norwegianisation. There is an administrative structure in the country that runs without a government but with interferences by the "ministers". The administrative structure should not be identified with the government. The Oslo circus would approve some "aid" to the "country", at least part of which would be spent without the approval of the Parliament, that has become a "talking shop" (though not in a Marxist sense).


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