Why is Sri Lanka the scapegoat for the world’s problems?

Parliament is the highest legislative authority in Sri Lanka. It has responsibility for checking the work of government and examining, scrutinising, debating and approving new laws. Parliament is also known as the Legislature.

by Victor Cherubim

( November 13, 2018, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Katharine Viner, Editor in Chief of The Guardian, London had this to say:

“We are living in dangerous times when dark ideologies flourish, and it is no surprise that people feel anxious and confused. We have to understand the world if we are going to have a chance of making it better for everyone. We need to make sense of what is happening and inspire us through ideas and imagination, to find an alternative. Together we can make space for hope”.

Whilst 10 or more FR Petitions have been filed against dissolution of Parliament, and one among the three Election Commissioners has said that the sacking of Parliament is illegal, does it mean that even if the Courts of Law have listened to both sides of the argument and come to a decision, whatever outcome of the decision, can still be challenged as “unconstitutional” as elections cannot be held on 5 January 2019 as there is no unanimity among the Election Commissioners?

We note that President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament after consulting many, among them also the State Legal Advisors. We also know it would be “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”, scenarios as everyone was aware, not only the President, but the whole country, that other than declaring an Emergency, to keep law and order in the country, he perhaps, had only one choice for the good of the country?

Tensions had been aroused over months rather than days and the threshold of tolerance has been reached in his opinion. To bring a semblance of order, I guess, the President has the power to take control of the situation.

Sri Lanka is not alone in crisis?

Elections have been postponed in Bangladesh.

President Macron of France urged the attending the meeting of Heads of State of United States, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Israel and other nations in Paris, marking the centenary of WWI, to reject nationalism, which he described as a “betrayal of patriotism”. He said: “our interests first and never mind the others”. “Do you stamp out the most precious thing a nation has – its moral value. Ruining this hope with a fascination for withdrawal, violence or domination would be a mistake for which future generations would rightly find us responsible”.

British Prime Theresa May has been struggling over the years with crisis on her hands
with no end in sight of Brexit negotiations. But she has not given up?

In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke of the importance of tolerance when he said, “people need to learn from the past so that we can better manage the changing currents of our times”.

Parliament v People

In some constitutions as well as in Sri Lanka, the written Constitution clearly states that the People of Sri Lanka are sovereign body and not Parliament. In Britain Parliament is supreme.

Some people often confuse Parliament with Government. They work closely together as both play a part in forming the laws of the country. But they are separate institutions, with separate functions.

The Government runs the country. It has the responsibility for developing and implementing policy and for drafting laws. In my humble opinion, in Sri Lanka it is the President who is Head of State and Head of the Government, even after the 19th Amendment. He is the Executive, but not the Executive President.

Parliament is the highest legislative authority in Sri Lanka. It has responsibility for checking the work of government and examining, scrutinising, debating and approving new laws. Parliament is also known as the Legislature.

But the supreme custodian of both the Government/Executive and Parliament is the People of Sri Lanka.

If the people have lost confidence in the Government, the People can go to the polls to elect a new Parliament.

But all the time, it is the Executive who has to function to protect the interests of the majority of the people, otherwise there is chaos.

If the people are unable to scrutinise Parliament, it rests with the Executive to maintain law and order at all times.

Is there a conflict of opinion of the world and of the People of Sri Lanka?

We are told that eight Western nation diplomats shunned the meeting with Sri Lanka’s new Foreign Minister on Monday 12 November 2018 to register their protest at the President’s decision to dissolve Parliament. Of the 43 Foreign Missions in Sri Lanka summoned some 20 Heads of Missions only turned up?

We are informed that the EU has warned it could withdraw trade concessions if Sri Lanka backs off commitment on rights?.

We are told that most countries are watching the situation in Sri Lanka, while the West in particular is piling on the pressure?

What is the litmus test for the pressure on Sri Lanka?

How many of you noted that it was first time since Sri Lanka’s independence from Britain that very diplomatically Sri Lankan High Commissioner in UK, was not given pride of place among the first six Dominions of the Commonwealth, allocated to lay the wreath at the Remembrance Day at the Whitehall Cenotaph following the dignitaries from the Prime Minister and British leaders, but instead allocated among the second batch of Commonwealth nations. Was it perhaps, a way of chastising Sri Lanka for not toeing the line? Who knows?

We are told that Japan may hold back $1.4 Billion Soft Loan to Sri Lanka’s Light Railway?

We are also told that US Millennium Fund of $480 million Infrastructure Grant might also be withheld. Could there be more sanctions that we can expect?

We hope all the above are conjecture. But is it the new way of Gunboat diplomacy? Who knows?

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