Comprehensive interview with UNP Matara District Member Of Parliament Buddhika Pathirana.
| by Sunalie Ratnayake
( February 09, Los Angeles , Sri Lanka Guardian) “All I have to say is, Buddhika Pathirana has never been quiet and he never will. I am always with and for the correct path in matters of concern, and I will always openly condemn what is wrong. I am forever in that ‘struggle’ of stepping forward in doing what is accurate and truthful for the betterment of a mass. As a man from the South, I’m so used to this “struggle.”
01) – Former president Chandrika Kumaratunge had stated via the media on January 17th 2012 that you had misinterpreted and misquoted a statement of her’s that she made to you as follows ; “ If there is a good leader, I will show you how to topple the government.”
She further went on to say that she is no longer involved in making or breaking governments and that, on board an Emirates flight to Colombo, you had come to her, introduced yourself and had a chat with her.
In addition she had stated that what she actually told you was that “in order to establish democracy in the country, there should be a strong opposition.” What have you to say about this matter ?
|Buddhika Pathirana – File Photo|
Well, initially, the media report was published on a Friday (January 13). But she intervenes to correct the published report on a Tuesday (January 17), which is four days following the initial published date. And now she is stating that she never made such a comment to me.
I strongly state that every word published initially in the print media is accurate, as per her statement to me. Not a single word is a lie. I challenge her in any open forum to come and discuss about this matter.
I feel that even after her retirement, she is unable to get rid of her old illness. She responds to the Friday media publication, next Tuesday. Why is this procrastination still going on, even after retirement ? Even when she was president, we all know too well that she had a terrible dilemma of being late for each and every occasion. I strongly feel as the reason for her delay and late response in this manner, denying what she actually told me, either she must be receiving threats that her security would be reduced, for that matter. There should be some reason for her to behave so at this stage in life.
Secondly, I recall how her own bother, the late Anura Bandaranaike once made an open statement. He stated that “my sister Chandrika had this illness ever since her childhood. She would say something, and the very next instant she would deny saying so.”
Moreover, the UNP’s slogan against Chandrika was “Pacha Malla Pannamu – Sack the mendacity sack.”
Futhermore, during the 2002 – 2004 regime, she made a written assurance to the then speaker Mr. Joseph Michael Perera that she will never dissolve the parliament under any given circumstance, and she still dissolved it, unable to keep up to even a written pledge.
Therefore, a woman who acted in such a manner in front of the speaker of parliament during that period, now accusing me in this manner is not whimsical by any means.
What is more, the people in Sri Lanka is perfectly aware of the fact, as if to whether it is Chandrika Kumaratunge who lies or Buddhika Pathirana that lies. Therefore, I have no issue with this illness of her’s.
02) – During the most recent past you created a huge confrontation with the Leader of the Opposition / UNP Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. You raised an evident voice against him. That was by joining hands with Mr. Sajith Premadasa. However, following same, in the present times you seem to be perceptibly quiet with regards to same.
Furthermore, there were assertions made that, prior to your recent international tour, that you had made a written apology to Mr. Wickremesinghe pertaining to your previous acts against him. How true or false is this ?
I strongly state that I have never produced any letters in terms of an apology. I have not done wrong to plead for an apology. However, UNP Secretary General Mr. Tissa Attanayake stated that the disciplinary inquiry shall conclude in a manner that would cause no harm to the reputation of either party. There were some letters exchanged with regards to that matter, and that matter alone. However, non of those letters contained any pleads of apology.
Moreover, Mr. Attanayake never requested me to plead for an apology from Mr. Wickremesinghe either. I too strongly believe that I haven’t committed any wrongdoing, in order for me to plead for an apology from anyone.
The disciplinary inquiry, which was brought forward with the allegation that I was in favour of an independent party during the election is an absolute bogus contention against me. I have never done so.
Moreover, I must lay emphasis on the fact that I never raised a voice against Mr. Wickremesinghe, but I did raise a voice on behalf of the betterment of the entire party (UNP), and on behalf of the major requirements for the party to once again acquire power in the country. It was by no means a campaign against Mr. Wickremesimghe alone. It was all about the “reforms” that were required to bring the party to the correct path.
For example, the present government is jam-packed with corruption and transgression. Therefore, in that context, we as the opposition have ample means of toppling this utterly corrupt regime. So, when the situation is as such, my utter concern was and is, only on taking necessary steps to bring forth a UNP government at the earliest possible. That’s where I was raising a voice on. Not on Mr. Wickremesinghe or against him.
Another factor of concern as of late is, as if to whether I became silent, after raising a notable voice, as of late. We are “ordinary” Members of Parliament. We are still “Podiyans”. Therefore, in that milieu, there is a huge difference between me going out of the country and the President, Prime Minister or the Opposition Leader going overseas. When they go overseas, the local media covers a wide range of topics with regards to their trips. But when I travel overseas, since I’m an ordinary Member of Parliament, the media does not reflect anything pertaining to entities on my foreign trips. That is normal in this country.
We also meet people, hold political discussions and so on and so forth, when we are abroad, But nobody talks about it. Nobody is concerned. This time around, I was away from Sri Lanka for 18 days. Previously too, I have been away from Sri Lanka on an even longer term. But in those instances, no body asked “Where is Buddhika Pathirana ? Why is he so quiet ?,” and so on and so forth.
Therefore, this entire scenario is new to me, and I too am puzzled about same. Why are they talking about my absence just this time around ? I’m wondering, did I get promoted in my designation ? Or, is it that certain people in Sri Lanka have started missing hearing my voice, even for a brief period ? I don’t know. As I said, I’m also puzzled.
All I have to say is, Buddhika Pathirana has never been quiet and he never will. I am always with and for the correct entity in matters of concern, and I will always openly condemn what is wrong. I am forever in that struggle of stepping forward in doing what is accurate and truthful for the betterment of a mass. As a man from the South, I’m so used to this “struggle.”
(03) – Please provide a clear-cut answer for this question. That however does not mean a single word answer, but an honest answer that shall leave you with a clear conscience.
Do you see Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe been the leader of the party, any obstacles for the UNP for a probable victory ? Do you see that factor as a downfall of the party ?
With Mr. Ranil Wickeremesinghe’s leadership we have gone forward for 17 years without any triumph. Taking the percentages into consideration, during those 17 years, the UNP votes have decreased in significant quantities. Nevertheless, if Mr. Wickremesinghe intends to hold specific titles in the party, I have no issue with that. Let him hold such titles per his wish.
But what I insisted and keep on insisting, is the fact that there are many leaders or those who hold ‘headship qualities’ inside the party, those who have a talent, intelligence, knowledge, capabilities and inborn abilities in the arena. I insist that those people be given a fair chance.
I do not wish to talk about myself, but look at Kurunegala District Member of Parliament Dayasiri Jayasekera as an example. The entire nation is aware of the fact that it was Dayasiri who won the second largest number of preferential votes, next to Mr. Wickremesinghe in the last election.
If you take the preferential votes in a particular district, and reckon that to a percentage, the first highest number of votes were won by Sajith Premadasa, and second number of highest votes were won by the person who is talking to you right now. But we are exterior from the UNP Working Committee. That’s how things are working here.
Therefore, my question is, can this party go forward with people who does not have a voter base ? Can this party go forward with people who does not recognize the heartbeat of the populace, especially the masses ? For that reason, it’s very hard for me to give a clear-cut answer to your question, because if I do so, certain interested parties will grab that answer as a prospect to subject me towards another disciplinary inquiry.
However, I strongly state that certain obvious unambiguous changes are required within the United National Party. And all such changes shall only be for the sake of the victory of the party, which goes along with the victory of the party members and supporters. It’s nothing against Mr. Wickremesinghe or any other individual. All such changes are requirement solely towards the betterment of the party as a whole.
(04) – On January 17, 2012 you had made a statement via media that there are no changes pertaining to the polices that you hold, vis-à-vis the party reforms. Moreover, the UNP General Secretary Mr. Tissa Attanayake had made a statement that there are certain agreements between you and the party and that he is to present those agreements to the UNP Working Committee at the earliest possible. What exactly are these mentioned agreements ?
Now here is the situation. The disciplinary inquiry was not with regards to the reforms, or not pertaining to my views, as far as the reforms were concerned. It was with regards to an allegation leveled against me, that I was in favour of a certain party, and that I helped this party pertaining the Matara municipality, during the last provincial council elections.
I declared that I have never helped or was in favour of the aforesaid party and we came to an agreement based upon same. This was pertaining to the disciplinary inquiry.
The reforms matter and this disciplinary inquiry matter stand poles apart from each other. Those are two different entities. Therefore, as some people have already assorted the two factors together, it should not be so.
“If General Fonseka also behaved in the archetypal manner and accepted whatever the government bestowed upon him, such as a Senior Advisor title or Ambassadorship, he too would be thriving today, like many others, who settle down or lament for such unproblematic means of living. If that was the case, he too would be living happily ever after.
But, for the disappointment of the government, the general did not behave so, and for been a straightforward person with guts, who wanted to offer the rest of his duties towards the country and it’s people, today he is facing this wretchedness.”
(05) – Recently, retired General Sarath Fonseka’s daughter Mrs. Apsara Fonseka Tillekeratne gathered signatures online, and fulfilled the requirement of 25,000 signatures in order to present the case of her father to the White House. What is your contemplation with regards to this project ?
a) – Is it practical ?
b) – Do you believe that it would be effective in having the general released ?
I strongly state that the wrestle in having general Fonseka released should be brought from the national to the international arena. In the national arena too, it should be brought forward to different echelons such as provincial, district, pastoral and so on and so forth. Because, I also strongly believe that he is facing this distressing situation today, only due to the fact that he challenged president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2010 Presidential elections.
If General Fonseka also behaved in the archetypal manner and accepted whatever the government bestowed upon him, such as a Senior Advisor title or Ambassadorship, he too would be thriving today, like many others, who settle down or lament for such unproblematic means of living. If that was the case, he too would be living happily ever after.
But, for the disappointment of the government, the general did not behave so, and for been a straightforward person with guts, who wanted to offer the rest of his duties towards the country, today he is facing this wretchedness.
For that reason, I completely see this entire scenario as political vengeance. For that matter, the voice in having the General released should be raised in each and every aforesaid platform nationally, as well as internationally. I have no anticipation that the government of Sri Lanka will ever release General Fonseka. At least, not in the near future. Therefore, this struggle has to continue until we have him released, and until he is where he is supposed to be, and not inside a prison.
(06) – By bringing forward the issue inside the country (Sri Lanka), towards the international community, do you believe that it would reflect negative attributes towards our nation ? And yes, this is with regards to General Sarath Fonseka’s incarceration subject matter.
What I believe is, with the globalization, the earlier boundaries between nations have now melted away, at least to a notable perception. Therefore, Sri Lanka is in a common podium with the rest of the world.
I recall, during the period of 1987, 1990, during the JVP insurgency in Sri Lanka, in order to face the uprising, as an Opposition Member of Parliament, the present President Mahinda Rajapaksa carried that issue to Geneva. Certain documents and photographs carried by him were withheld at the airport, yet he still managed to go through. Subsequently, that too was taking national issues to the international realm. If he did it back then, being in the opposition, why is it off beam for those in the opposition to do it today, when he is the president ? Do entities have to switch, when the same person is in different sides of the fizz, at given different periods ?
Furthermore, if we are unable to obtain a valid or reasonable justice towards national issues from within the country, we are left with not much of a choice, but to bring them forward to the international realm, expecting justice to take place in due course.
Yet, some interested parties have a habit of creating problems which does not truly exist, and then try to bring them towards the international arena. That is erroneous. But in this case, the Sarath Fonseka issue does not by any means fall under that category.
(07) – It was noted that in the aforesaid White House Petition, there were signatures, or rather the same name in more than five different spots. Amongst such names were Mahinda Rajapaksa, Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa and so on and so forth, including names of other Rajapaksa family members, and confidantes of Sri Lanka’s first family.
Taking such factors into consideration, what ideas do you behold pertaining to the transparency of this petition ?
It’s a very sad scenario. However, we should take into consideration, as if to who exactly did this. Whether is was by some psychopath on the web, or by an organized cluster from the government who had intentions of obliterating this attempt.
For example, your signature is plausible to you, and so is mine to myself. There can be only one distinct signature for you, and for myself it’s the same scenario. But, in this case, the entire system had been manipulated by an interested party or few parties.
If a person named “X” appears on this website, as a representative of the government, he or she can put the same name in five or more different spots. Thereafter, the same person can emerge the question stating there are five signatures with the same name and create controversy. At the same time, the person who committed the misconduct may remain silent, and another party could detect it and bring forth the issue. If the government is involved in same, they can assign individuals to run this psychosis on the website. We never know who is behind such despicable acts, especially pertaining to a serious matter of high concern of the nation.
Therefore, this hidden figure or figures can sign as Mahinda, Shiranthi, Gotabhaya, Namal, Chamal as many times as they intent to. I see it as a act of tearing-down this mission and I absolutely condemn it.
(08) – Do you believe that the recent attack at the UNP Headquarters – Sirikotha premises was conducted by a certain group supporting a certain prominent figure of the party ? If so, to who’s group did those assailants belong to ?
The recent incident at Sirikotha is something I consider to be an absolutely unfortunate situation that should have not occurred under any given circumstance. The United National Party is home to all of us. Sirikotha is our “nerve centre”. Therefore, if somebody is attacking our “nerve centre”, that is unacceptable by all means. I denounce such acts with no argument.
This was not an organized attach by one group or another. On this particular day, the UNP was undergoing a calling for votes in the anticipation of selecting a few leaders, pertaining to various arenas in the party. There were party members/supporters in the premises at that time. However, the acts of lighting fire crackers by certain individuals went as far as the emergence of a violent state of affairs, by the end.
When new leaders are chosen, it is usually a moment to celebrate with milk-rice, according to tradition. But in this case, it tumbled up-side-down. Very unfortunate situation indeed.
(09) – What was the cause for the arrest of Maithri Gunaratne, Shiral Lakthilake and Ravi Jayewardene ? Do you perceive any political aspirations carried on beneath these arrests of the aforesaid individuals ? What’s is your honest opinion on same ?
Since it’s a court demeanor, I cannot comment on detail pertaining to same. However, these arrests I consider to be perverse and unreasonable to a significant extent. Beneath these arrests, I recognize political vengeance coupled with a political contract been delivered. Another ill-fated situation indeed.
(10) – By this moment, do you honestly believe that the party you represent (the grand old single party in the country – UNP) have significantly lost it’s bearing ? Or, do you believe that the media is been exaggerating on this matter ?
To be honest, the UNP has weakened considerably over the years. I will give you a simple example. In 1999, there were seven Provincial Council members from my electorate, the Matara district. In 2004, when I was initially running for the Provincial Councils, it reduced to six. During the last Provincial Council elections it further decreased to five. Therefore, there is a visible dwindle in the voter base of the UNP, which nobody could deny. The only solution for us is to unearth alternate means to evade this situation.
(11) – As an emerging and foremost young politician representing the Grand Old Party, can you explain the main cause or causes in your view, for the enduring visible crisis in the UNP ?
a) – Also, do you still perceive the “Leadership” of the party as an issue for the collapse ?
b) – And, what are the solutions or the previously mentioned “alternate means” in order to overcome this dilemma ?
Let me say like this. When you take the “Leadership” of the party, it could be compared to a light bulb. There are many phases or ranks in leadership. There are “National”, “Provincial”, “District” level leaders in the party. Therefore, I strongly state that the UNP cannot be pulled out from it’s current state of affairs by simply shifting the skulls of a few.
From the pinnacle to the base, and from the base to the pinnacle, and from surface to surface, there should be reforms covering all elevations and echelons. Therefore, I reiterate the fact that reorganization, restructuring, transformation of the party does not mean the mere alteration of a few “skulls” here and there. That’s an absolute mistaken interpretation of “reforms”. Reforms are far beyond that and there are many alternative and corrective paths to take, as means of engaging in reforms.
a) – Renovation of the party headquarters.
b) – Putting together institutions from the grass-root-level onwards, such as Youth Organizations, Women’s Organizations and to amalgamate those organizations from the base to the pinnacle in the form of a solid sequence.
c) – Political Education must take a front seat amongst the reforms, and also the party’s Media and Publicity units must be developed to a much higher standard.
d) – The reserves, capital and all resources belonging to the party must be properly managed, and free of contagion of any sort.
e) – A “Welfare System” should be positioned for the benefit of the party members including the youth, and women in the country.
f) – All associations affiliated with the party, including that of the priests, clergy, farmers, unionists, activists, artists, three wheel drivers, Ayurvedic physicians and so on and so forth. A programme should be launched and carried forward where all these parties can connect together under one umbrella, while performing their duties separately or per their wish.
g) – The international fragment of the party should be invigorated properly and steadily.
h) – A newspaper, a radio station and a TV station should be launched to carry out party agendas and all these three segments should be maintained and functioned in an orderly manner.
Therefore, all the areas I have mentioned should include in the reforms programme of the party, in order to develop and bring the party back to where it truly belongs. The deserving, the gifted, the competent and knowledgeable should be given the opportunity in all possible podiums within the party. As I said before, these are the areas that should be taken care of, and not the mere swapping of a few skulls here and there.
(12) – Do you believe that “State Terrorism” has augmented in present day Sri Lanka ?
a) – If so, under a UNP government, how different would it be ?
b) – And, will the people of Sri Lanka be able to deem on any different ambiance under a probable UNP regime ?
It is very evident that State Terrorism has taken wings in present day Sri Lanka.
The antagonism on the Media, the White Van Syndrome taking flight, abductions of those who hold differing political ideologies, the ruthless torture carried upon such individuals, not only so, but the disputes and brawls between those representing the same party – the hideous clashes between members of parliament and advisors to the president ending with murder and injury to both parties respectively, perceptible bribery and corruption in all possible platforms, ransom demands from the guiltless involving government politicians, the politician’s belonging to the government having connections with and conducting operations concerning illicit drugs, their connections and remunerated operations involving the underworld, the use if unlawful weaponry, once noble cities in Sri Lanka such as Kelaniya presently breaking record after record in the latest ransom evolution carried out by notorious government representatives with towering government backing for their demeaning conducts.
All these factors that take place on a daily basis in the country, under the protection and the watchful eye of the present regime, are more than sufficient testimony of the fact that Sate Terrorism has climaxed in the island to an unprecedented marquee.
It does not matter who does this, whether it’s the UNP or the SLFP or the JVP pr any other political party that maybe in power, state terrorism is not an acceptable tool in a nation. If and when it arises, regardless of party politics, a sturdy and headstrong struggle should be carried upon against it, in all possible levels, until it’s completely washed away from the nation state.
Even in the future, if anybody representing the UNP starts to act in a hysterical manner, such as that of the present regime’s misdemeanors in every arena, the highest castigation and punishment should be brought upon such individuals at any cost. Such individuals do not deserve to be serving “pretense terms” in the name of “politics”. That’s a shame to the entire subject matter.
In saying that, I also wish to remind the fact that the young leaders of the UNP, and the entire new generation representing the party does not have blood, dirt or mud in their hands. They are the future of Sri Lanka, ready to take over the authority, and serve the country for it’s betterment in all possible means. Therefore, the people can preserve their trust towards them, and we humbly ask them to continue to do so.
We have not stepped into politics to make money, to become businessmen, to cause murder, to take revenge from those holding conflicting ideologies, to grab and run away with the assets/finances of the innocent citizenry by blindfolding them with falsehood. We have not come here, sacrificing many an entity in life to do any of these things. We are here only and solely to lead our party, and then the country towards a path of victory in all possible arenas. Therefore, I strongly state that the present UNP has no intentions of misleading the nation, and taking the country downhill with false promises.
“The present regime operates under all a hodgepodge in all areas of concern. Yet, they try their best to hide it from the citizenry, which is indeed a futile effort, as it is the citizenry who faces these issues on a day to day basis. So, whom are they trying to deceive with obviously bogus propaganda ?
Therefore, the falsehood, deception and misleading carried out by this Rajapaksa regime needs to be brought to a standstill. A lucid policy must be laid upon each and every sector that is in jeopardy in present day Sri Lanka.”
(13) – How do you clarify present day Sri Lanka in the context of “financial”, “social”, “legal” and “humane” characteristics ?
a) – Do you see these areas accurately conducted today ?
b) – If not, how should the present conducts under this regime alter in all these arenas, in aspects of a righteous mode ?
Your question spreads through a wide range of subject matter and concerns.
By now, there is no law and order in the country. Murder is a common and frequent entity. There are no humanitarian values in present day society. It’s hard to even believe that this is the thrice blessed land.
Children as young as ten year olds get raped by their own father, brother or outsiders. Entire families are murdered in cold blood as results of land disputes. Multiple individuals commit suicide as results of unresolved love affairs. Drivers are absolutely disobedient in terms of road rules where they end up taking a few lives at a time and at times including their own. In fact, nobody cares about road rules, once their arms hit the steering wheel. We recently witnessed how innocent school children lost their lives due to reckless driving of adults. The entire society is disoriented. Yet, the roots of all these disorientations lies elsewhere, if we really dig into it.
People no longer believe in institutions that conduct law and order. We recently witnessed how the police power was taken into the hands of the people with the “Grease Yaka (Devil)” phenomenon.
About the “financial” crisis, I truly do not have to elaborate, since the masses feel it by and large at this moment. When one shops in a store along with Rs. 100 by the time you buy one kilogram of rice and a packet of salt, the Rs. 100 is vanished. It’s much cheaper for people to go to jail and live there. That’s the actual financial situation today.
The entire structure and classification of the country is jumbled. Education and Higher Education sectors are in a mess. The Electricity Board has ongoing issues. Each and every sector has predicament. Good Governance has no meaning in the island.
The present regime operates under all a hodgepodge in all areas of concern. Yet, they try their best to hide it from the citizenry, which is indeed a futile effort, as it is the citizenry who faces these issues on a day to day basis. So, whom are they trying to deceive with obviously bogus propaganda ?
For all dilemmas, there are “short term” , “mid term” and “long term” solutions. It’s a topic we can discuss for hours and hours. However, all these sectors brought into consideration in your question needs to be addressed, and replaced with good governance and transparency.
Therefore, the falsehood, deception and misleading carried out by this Rajapaksa regime needs to be brought to a standstill. A lucid policy must be laid upon each and every sector that is in jeopardy in present day Sri Lanka.
(14) – Do you think that the customary Tamil populace in Sri Lanka is been treated reasonably by the Rajapaksa regime ?
a) – A majority have immensely suffered from the war and it’s aftermath, especially in terms of resettlement, after the war we have heard of many disappearances and murders taking place repeatedly in the Jaffna peninsula. What are your reflections on these grave concerns ?
b) – What solutions do you suggest, pertaining to this entire area of concern ?
Initially I must mention the fact that not only the Tamil populace, but the entire populace in Sri Lanka is not been treated fairly by the Rajapaksa regime. Under the current condition, one cannot even believe that any reasonable treatment would be given to the Tamil, Muslim, Sinhala, Burgher and other communities in Sri Lanka any soon.
Secondly, it is the sole duty and responsibility of the government to make sure that the Tamils who lived in the North and East be treated acceptably, especially following a 30 year war. The Muslims who lived in these areas in the past must be provided with utmost facilities, for them to travel back to their lands and live a decent life.
By saying so, I do not by any means intend to consider the rights of the Sinhala people secondly, nor do I discriminate them. Yet, the fact is, the North and East mainly consists of Tamil people. Those Tamil people need to feel the warm extension of the brotherly hands of this government.
However, in contrast, if they are being abducted while they perform strikes, if the media that allows them to be informed is continuously under attack, if their basic rights such as resettling in their own lands are been forcefully seized by the government, there is no fairness in such a plight. Unfortunately, that’s what is happening in present day Sri Lanka.
There is a solemn calling, that the government should corroborate that these Tamils too have their political, civil and social rights in society. But we do not see it happening any soon.
If you take India as an example, when we enter certain provinces or states, we can visibly see the sign-boards initially consist of letters of the language spoken by the populace in that region. But when we travel in the North and East in Sri Lanka, the sign-boards initially consist of the Sinhala alphabet. Certain other areas are completely used for civil activities under military control.
Taking all these ingenuous matters into consideration, I strongly suggest that a long-term plan should be launched for the Tamils in Sri Lanka to protect their rights as humans. After nearly three years following the war victory against the LTTE, we still do not see such plans or programmes launched in Sri Lanka for the benefit of the Tamils.
We hear so many names of government projects such as “Uthuru Wasanthaya”, “Negenahira Nawodaya” and so on and so forth, but we still see the same old North, East, West, Central, Uva and so on. We see highways emerging, e see all kinds of things, yet we still do not see a long term sustainable plan for the Tamil and the entire nation.
(15) – In present day local politics, we have encountered incidents where members representing the same party get into disputes, and such disputes run as far as those involved getting killed and others injured. The most recent and prominent such episode was the murder of government politician and advisor to president Rajapaksa, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, who was killed in October 2011.
What do you see as the prime cause or causes for such revolting and bloodcurdling situations to emerge from the local political arena ?
Following a 30 year war in the country, there are military deserters who possess firearms. That is one reason, which contributes to this situation. Also, those who deal with illicit drugs (this also includes toddy as well), illegal weapon trade, ransom demanding, those from the underworld, gangsters, they all are centralized by the government politicians who has the power in their hands. Quite often than not, these politicians use these criminals to get their illegitimate workload done. This is another common reason and it is very pathetic indeed.
Therefore, I strongly state that no matter how much the Rajapaksa government tries to deny their involvement in the day to day unlawful conducts that takes place within the country, the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra incident alone proves that the present government politicians are directly connected to the criminal in the country, and it has become a habit for such politicians to conduct their share of criminal activity via these criminals whom they hire.
Regardless of what government maybe in power, such unacceptable immoral conducts should not be permitted in a country. Regardless of what government maybe in power, their conducts should lead towards political deeds that shall hold justice and integrity by all means. However, in present day Sri Lanka, a political atmosphere has emerged where priority is given to the “bullet” instead of the “ballot”. It’s pathetic to the core and this absurd political system must change.
“We must get rid of this detrimental and filthy political culture that has unfortunately infected Sri Lanka in present times.
Talking about the entire justice system in the country, I strongly feel that the entire justice system in the country is infested with loopholes.”
(16) – Do you consider that the Premachandra family have been granted justice, concerning the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra ?
a) – Under the circumstances pertaining to the murder, do you believe that MP Duminda Silva is presently where he should be ?
b) – Are you satisfied with the procedures conducted (especially with regards to the justice system) following the murder ?
c) – As a Opposition Member of Parliament, what is your stance with regards to the justice system in the country as a whole ?
Since there are court procedures presently in conduct with regards to the murder, I do not wish to lay emphasis on whether justice was granted to the Premachandra family or not, as I’m not in a position to decide that currently. Be that as it may, I strongly criticize the entire scenario that occurred on October 8, 2011, involving two strong members of the Rajapaksa regime.
No daughter, no son, no wife, no brother, no sister should undergo the agonizing pain of their loved one’s life being snatched away in such a brutal manner. Especially, in present day Sri Lanka, we do not have a war that would snatch away lives at the most unexpected moment.
Therefore, just because a politician or any person holds diverse ideologies or views pertaining to only only politics, but anything in general, does not mean that the life of such an individual could be brutally snatched upon the wish of the opponent. It is so disgusting.
We must get rid of this detrimental and filthy political culture that has unfortunately infected Sri Lanka in present times.
Talking about Duminda Silva, what I believe is that, as a patient or a victim of the shooting incident in Mulleriyawa in October last year, he is presently where a patient should be, and that is obtaining treatment. However, along with his return to Sri Lanka some other day, we all are eagerly awaiting to witness how Sri Lanka’s justice system would act upon him as a prime suspect, pertaining to the murder.
Talking about the entire justice system in the country, I strongly feel that the entire justice system in the country is infested with loopholes. There are many a strong commandment and regulation. However, the funny yet sordid reality is the fact that all the laws and regulations are conducted based on the individual – Based on the individual’s political stance, ethnicity, religion, social bearing, wealth, political connections, and so on and so forth. It’s yet another wretched reality in current Sri Lanka.
(17) – Does the UNP have an acceptable, applicable, feasible method or plan to eradicate the “gangster-type political culture” in present day Sri Lanka, under the watchful eye of the Rajapaksa regime ?
The young political leaders emerging in the UNP have not only discussed in length about the current unacceptable gangster-type political culture in the country and it’s eradication, but have also raised a voice via the government with regards to same. That I consider as a substantial entry-point, while being in the opposition.
Not only about this ridiculous political culture, but we have also raised a voice again all unlawful conducts that are carried out with ease, under the government’s watch, as the government turns a blind eye towards such acts.
It is vital that we take all possible actions to put s stop to the present unrefined political culture, especially taking into consideration the future of all Sri Lankans and the country as a whole. We all are perfectly aware of the fact that the current situation in local politics is deplorable, yet there are interested parties who turn a blind eye to the actual situation for petty-minded benefits. That is an even sordid situation.
(18) – In the present Sri Lankan political arena we repeatedly witness uneducated individuals (those devoid of even a basic education), who are thriving in stumpy podiums such as being brothel possessors, drug dealers etc., inward bound towards a superior chamber and assemblage such as the Parliament. That is an observable political culture, by and large in present day Sri Lanka.
Under a UNP government, how would this scenario change ? And what would the manifestation look like ?
In this milieu, I believe that apart from the political parties, there is an enormous responsibility resting on the civilians as well.
In the future, at times of municipal council, provincial council, local government, parliamentary elections nomination should not be given to gangsters, drug dealers, thugs, muggers, brothel possessors and all individuals with no acceptable deportment in society. There should be a feasible filtration system to select the worthy candidates.
Not only the UNP, but all parties in the local political arena should come to terms and establish a policy pertaining to same.
Moreover, the media and other responsible institutions in the country must take all necessary steps to expose the truth about such criminals who mislead the society in the form of politicians.
Even if such criminals try to emerge to the political arena, the citizens should not fool themselves with temporary profits they may bestow upon the citizenry, merely for the sake of winning their most valuable votes during election time. The time has arrived where wisdom needs to be put into practice, to see deeper than the mere icing of the cake.
(19) – If the UNP emerge to power once again, will there be any specific amendments in terms of the constitution ? Has the party discussed any terms in that context ?
a) – Under a future UNP government, at any given point, can an abolition of the Executive Presidency be expected ?
We are in a stance that the Executive Presidency should be abolished. Even if that is not possible, it should include the characteristics of a structure that would be answerable to the parliament. However, abolition is the best. However, at this point the UNP have not discussed about any amendments or a new constitution.
In my opinion, the 1972 constitution was constructed to fulfill the vision of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the 1978 constitution was constructed to fulfill that of the United National Party. In either instance, it was never open for a public discussion or opinion, thus a constitution was never formatted in Sri Lanka, to fulfill the agendas and expectations of the general public.
This is not correct. This is yet another cause for many a problem to emerge in the country with time. A constitution should reflect in rejoining the desires of the general public who will be affected by and large by same.
(20) – What were the objectives behind your foreign tour which began on December 22, 2011 and ended on January 10, 2012 ?
a) – What countries involved the tour ?
b) – What were the main undertakings carried out during the period you spent in California USA ?
c) – Were there any distinctive discussions held in California while you convened with UNP California Association President Mr. Mangala Jayakody and the rest of the party members there ? And did you receive any special updates from that branch ?
d) – As a whole, how successful was your latest foreign tour ?
Initially I met with the party members in Edminton, Canada. While in Canada I mainly took part in a series of workshops held on Education, Politics and Democracy.
Apart from that, met with party members in two cities in California. While in Los Angeles, with the initiation of the Association President Mr. Mangala Jayakody (brother of the late Polgahawela District UNP MP Sunil Ranjan Jayakody) meetings were held with a number of groups.
During such meetings we mainly focused and discussed about the UNP and it’s future, positive development plans for the party, political reporting (especially the need of a party newspaper launch), and also the notable malfunctions of the present regime.
On the whole, the latest tour was exceedingly successful.
(21) – What have you to say to the UNP supporters, both national and international ?
a) – Is the UNP planning to launch a programme to walk off door-to-door instead of completely depending on the media ? If so, has it started by now ?
Initially I wish to invite all UNP’ers in foreign lands to keep abreast with us and pay close attention to the party’s conducts. We want them as well as the members and supporters in Sri Lanka to hold close dialogues with us in all areas that concern them and the party.
I have already established an environment where anyone can hold direct dialogue with me. I invite all those who desire to bring back a UNP regime consisting of a transparent young generation to directly engage in dialogue with me via mobile, email, skype, my official website, and facebook.
BY having direct dialogues and discussions, we will be able to build back the party and sustain it’s long lost credibility. Politicians should closely mingle with the public at all times and should be approachable.
(22) – Some other day, under any possible given circumstances, will you abandon the party and perhaps join with the ruling party ? In the most recent past, we witnessed plentiful UNP politicians who gave pledge after pledge, effortlessly leap towards the lucrative surface for short term benefits. Some were bought over by the Rajapaksa government, in exchange of subsidies and other material advantage.
How can the constituency believe that Buddhika Pathirana would not do the same ?
I am the only individual in Sri Lanka who have pledged with my own blood, that I shall never abandon the UNP under any given circumstance. So what more assurance could I possibly give to my constituency ?
Even if I’m thrown out from the party or given the mot agonizing hardship, I will never ever leave the UNP. Coming from Buddhika Pathirana – a promise is a promise.
UNP Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana could be reached via the following modes :-
Postal Address :
“Samadhi Medura”, No 47, Sri Rathanapala Mawatha, Matara, Sri Lanka.
(94) 077 7306922 – Mobile
(94) 041 22 30946 – Office
(94) 041 22 23865 – Home
Fax : (94) 041 22 30946
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Skype : buddhikapathirana
Web Site : www.buddhikapathirana.org
The journalist Sunalie Ratnayake could be reached at ; email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org