14th June 2015

Sumanthiran admits backdoor meeting in London

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran admitted that they did not disclose to other Tamil parties and Tamil politicos about their informal meeting in London last week with Global Tamil Forum (GTF), Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and former peace envoy Erik Solheim claiming that the talks had been ‘leaked’ to the public. When Ceylon Today asked why it wasn’t disclosed to politicians like TNA Spokesperson Suresh Premachandran nor Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, the MP said that there were many backdoor meetings held with other diaspora organisations in the past. Other TNA leaders also participated in these though they were not made public. After four rounds, two other diaspora groups insisted on expressing certain reservations and they had to abandon that project, he said. He […]

59 Army Camps Closed in North, Says Rajapaksa

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

59 Army Camps Closed in North, Says Rajapaksa COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday alleged that 59 Lankan army camps in the Tamil majority Northern Province were shut down by his successor government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. In a letter addressed to participants in a “Bring Back Mahinda Rally” at Matara in South Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa said he was “shocked” by the development. Rajapaksa charged that the withdrawal had taken place at a time when Eelam flags had reappeared in the North, indicating a possible revival of terrorism. The former president said the present government is compromising on national security by suggesting the release of LTTE cadre in custody, and holding discussions with people like former […]

Mano Ganesan on TPA, 20A and Government

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Mano Ganesan says it is not acceptable to cause ‘severe damage’ to minority representations by reducing the First Pass the Post electorates to 125. In an email interview with the Daily FT, Ganesan notes that the minority parties have arrived at a consensus position on a system which will do justice to the mandate received by President Sirisena and to the aspirations of the minor and minority parties. “But suddenly to the surprise of all of us the formula changed on Monday evening at the special Cabinet meeting. A new formula was introduced,” states Ganesan. Following are excerpts:  Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan Q: Tell us about the new coalition formed by three Tamil parties? A: Democratic […]

Can reconciliation heal Sri Lankan war wounds?

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

PALAI VEEMANKAMAN, Sri Lanka — When Parameswari Uthayakumaran saw her house last month for the first time in 25 years, she stood in the rubble and wept. All her belongings, the doors, even the tiled roof had been stripped away. She had last seen the house in November 1990, when her family fled from Sri Lankan gunships bearing down on her neighborhood, firing from the sky and littering the grass with leaflets telling Tamil families to leave the area. She had time to grab only a bit of sugar and tea. The Sri Lankan army declared the area a high-security zone, and the government only allowed families to return in April, six years after the end of the civil war that claimed more than 80,000 […]

Mixed Reactions As Diaspora Is Roped In

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

The decision by the Government to engage with the Diaspora and get them involved in some of the post war activities in Sri Lanka has drawn mixed reactions. Foreign Minister Mangala Smaraweera’s recent visit to London to meet the Tamil Diaspora groups was debated mainly due to lack of transparency established initially. Even though, the idea was presumably to explore ways in which the Sri Lankan Diaspora could assist Sri Lanka by bringing its exceptional capacity and capabilities to support the reconciliation process, some local Tamil politicians expressed the view that the government should give the primary focus on engaging in a discussion with the local Tamil groups to reach a political settlement rather than trying to satisfy the Diaspora groups. Issuing a joint statement […]

Rudra questions GTF, Government talks

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

Head of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) V Rudrakumaran says there is nothing new about political entities becoming involved in official or unofficial talks pertaining to the Tamil National Question as well as the urgent and immediate needs of the Tamil people. Rudrakumaran told the Colombo Gazette that as a legal advisor to the LTTE, he has taken part in many rounds of talks in the past and he is also well aware of the duplicitous drama staged by the Government of Sri Lanka during such talks. “When launching into talks of this kind, it is not only the subject matter of the talks that should be taken into account but also the timing of the talks, the motives of the parties to the […]

‘No talks on lifting ban on LTTE’

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Friday clarified that there was no discussion on the issue of lifting of ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the recent meeting between the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in London. Mr. Samaraweera, who was present in the meeting, gave the clarification in response to questions raised by Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Nimal Siripala De Silva, on the floor of the House. [In January 2009, four months before the end of the Eelam War IV, the Sri Lankan government proscribed the LTTE on the ground that it has been holding civilians human shields in the north where the military is engaged in a war with the Tigers.] Apart from TNA […]

North on Red Alert against drug menace, alcohol abuse among youth

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

In order to overcome the drug menace and the excessive consumption of alcohol in the Province, the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) joined hands with the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). Consequent to a directive from President Maithripala Sirisena, a formal meeting between NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and NDDCB officials was held in Colombo early this week, to formulate policies on controlling the current situation of drug usage and consumption of alcohol in the Province. After the meeting CM Wigneswaran said that he had sought coordination from the IGP to put a full stop to the menace, in which he proposed to set up a Co-Committee with Senior Deputy Inspector General (DIG)s and PC ministers. “The Committee would formulate policies to tackle this situation from […]

Govt. plays T20 with 20A while 76 play for Mahinda

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

Mahinda appears to be increasing his speed in the effort to be the next Prime Minister. Govt. plays T20 with 20A while 76 play for Mahinda While the 20A was played as a T-20 game finally last Friday agreeing to enlarge the capacity of Parliament from 225 members to 237, Friday also marked another significant feature in the deep South where over 70 UPFA/SLFP Members of Parliament and a host of Provincial Councillors gathered to attend a public rally organized by the faction supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Unlike at the previous meeting held in support of Mahinda at which he got his message read out in his absence, on Friday Mahinda arrived at the rally to boost the crowds. He was so near but […]

Govt. proposes, Opposition disposes, President reposes

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

Yet another attempt by the Government for Parliamentary approval of the three members from civil society, picked to serve on the Constitutional Council (CC), failed this week, after Opposition legislators sought written assurances that ministers will not be appointed to the CC after the term of this Parliament lapses. The UPFA objects to the choice of Ministers Champika Ranawaka and Wijedasa Rajapaksha as members of the CC, and want them to be replaced by lawmakers sans ministerial positions.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday moved in Parliament a motion seeking confirmation of the names of three members from civil society, but several MPs including Dinesh Gunawardena, Anura Dissanayaka, Wimal Weerawansa and G.L. Peries asked that the approval be delayed until the written agreement was finalised, thus […]

Mahinda’s electoral prospects – A district by district analysis would reveal the following picture.

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

The crowd at the pro-Mahinda rally held in Matara last Friday was even larger than the crowd in Nugegoda. The number of parliamentarians on the stage was variously mentioned as 76, 77 and 78. As far as the pro-Mahinda camp is concerned, there is nothing more to be said, no more points to be made. Matara has six UPFA parliamentarians and of them, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene, Hemal Gunasekera, Sanath Jayasuriya and Vijaya Dahanayaka hold portfolios in the government and did not attend the meeting. Indeed the last two were given portfolios days before this rally, with a view to bolstering support for Sirisena. There were only two parliamentarians from Matara on the stage – Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene and Chandrasiri Gajadeera. Dullas Alahapperuma who played a […]

President Sirisena Works Hard At Peace, Reconciliation

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

The political landscape in Sri Lanka continues on its uncertain journey. The Prime Minister was clearly for having an early dissolution whilst his current political partner of sorts, President Sirisena insisted on achieving the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The problem with that was that the President also said that there was no need for the 20th to be made an ‘urgent’ bill and that ‘there was time for these matters’ indicating on one hand an unhurried approach whilst on the other keeping his political partners hopeful of early dissolution of parliament. In the meantime President Sirisena was beginning to address the contentious and vexed issue of peace and reconciliation. Ever since the nation achieved independence there have been contentious communal issues which politicians from […]

ETHNO-POLITICS AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

14th June 2015 // 0 Comments

ETHNO-POLITICS AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM While almost the entirety of the ethnic minorities seem to have enthusiastically voted for the Maithripala-Ranil-led coalition, a good half of the ethnic majority Sinhalese have also voted for it. Indeed, the only ‘opposition’ in Parliament is a faction – dominant, no doubt – of the UPFA that almost exclusively represents a section of the Sinhala community. Thus, the key dividing factor in electoral politics today is no longer simply ethnicity. Rather, issues of social and economic group interests as well as policies and styles of governance are all in the forefront along with the ethnic dimension. People no longer think simplistically along ethnic lines. Not even in the Diaspora – as revealed in the dialogue initiated by External Affairs Minister […]