I must candidly say that I am disappointed as our politicians act without much foresight in their efforts to please acolytes who were loyal to them at the expense of good order and in the process defame the national legislature.
Mark Twain said that politicians must be changed like diapers often and for the same reason. Yes, such change took place recently; sadly the majority came from the same caboodle that rotate and cling to the legislature. In referring to what MT said, I am kept guessing whether we have men of stature who can place the image of the country first and not pander to the whims and fancies of leaders who act for short term gain and stand up to what is right.
Assuming that there was no legal impediment for him to be sworn in it’s my humble view that it was important to give more weight to the morality of having a man convicted of murder in the legislature.
There is a landmark decision given by a man of learning, eminently suitable for the position of Speaker who did not act to protect his position. He was the late Anura Bandaranaike.
When he was Speaker he gave a historic ruling on the 20th June 2001 when a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court issued a stay order to restrain the Speaker from appointing a select committee to inquire into the conduct of the Chief Justice consequent to a motion of impeachment against him. Quite apart from his standard of moral conduct, he did irreparable damage to the justice system and the country has paid heavily for such omissions and commissions.
Anura Bandaranaike ruled on the SUPREMACY of Parliament and rejected a THREE-JUDGE BENCH stay order, REFUSED intervention or interference and amply strengthened the hands of those who took office after him on how to administer Parliament and maintain the dignity of the August Assembly described as “UTTARITHARA ” However politicians mouth this word when it suits them.
In this back drop I fail to comprehend how a man convicted of murder and sentenced to death now in jail for life as the death penalty is not functional being allowed to come to Parliament to be sworn in. Is the Parliament supreme now with a convicted murderer as a member? He is a man who had transgressed the law and was sentenced by the High Court and hence is he a suitable person to legislate to law abiding citizens.
I learnt with horror that a leftist has said Jayasekera is presumed innocent till his appeal is heard. It is evident that he is cannot appreciate that a murderer in the death row is unfit to be sworn in a as a legislator. Are other accused sentenced to death allowed to revert to their normal lives till they are pronounced innocent by a higher court on a future date.
The person who figured must go through the due process and the Appeal Court must provide a verdict that the accused is innocent and cleared of the charge of murder since that is the practice that exists in our country and I guess all over the world. If the law is the same for all then it should apply to him too.
Mr. Editor you without any ambiguity said in a recent editorial that a person being tried for murder should never have been nominated to contest an election. None who value good order will disagree with you.
The country is well aware as a reader pointed out recently that a leading light of the ruling party mounted the stage and exhorted the ignorant gullible voters to give a Manape to him. It is indeed sad that we have in our system politicians who are incapable of assessing the incalculable harm they do and the horrendous lesson they impart to the young when they act in that manner.. The many substandard politicians who had a piggyback rides who got washed into the legislature will now follow him as the senior did not recognise the need for credibility and for public acceptance of good order. Any politician of whatever hue, must set standards to the people and this applies to the 225.
Is this a signal that a pardon is to follow and possibly apply to others too who have political connections?
Sri Lanka has many firsts starting with the world’s first woman Prime Minister emerging from our small country which gave us immense joy. Therefore what has taken place is most unacceptable.
Mr. Speaker I learnt that some ignoramus had requested you to expunge from Hansard what took place so that future generations will not observe the quality of our legislators. I do not think it’s correct to expunge since only what is unprintable that flow from the mouths of substandard men who engage in fisticuffs after a heavily subsidized meal enjoy that luxury gets expunged. The Hansard must contain an accurate record of Parliamentary proceedings and that is the tradition that prevails in all Parliaments.
Mr. Speaker to your credit none has said that you are a corrupt politician. However your image stands badly sullied. In any other country, the Speaker would have resigned over such an issue. Perhaps, you are aware the president and Prime Minister have gone public claiming that they did not influence any person regarding the entry of a man from the death row.
If you do history will place you among erudite men who adorned that seat before the era where copies of the Bible and the Quran, chilie powder etc started flying with the blessings of seniors.
We were recovering slowly and getting back to the civilised world after acquisition of honours like sacking the Chief Justice after a trial by nondescripts and the jailing of the war-winning general tried by a kangaroo court when a murderer was brought from the death cell by you and an oath administered.
Another matter of critical importance for the present ruler is to bear in mind that the results of laws implemented now will be felt only in decades to come and those who brokered them will not be around to observe the good or bad. Hence they should give serious THOUGHT before fresh legislation is enacted.
I am confident the current non-traditional politician President whose simple life style demonstrate, will ensure only laws that will benefit generations to come will be law when they can proudly say we are Sri Lankans.
I make this humble appeal as we observe that much of the chaos that prevails today is due to short term gain decisions of politicians to gain power.
May the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem be with the rulers to take wise decisions that will not impact adversely on generations to come and use the rare opportunity gained to strengthen institutions. We desperately need strong institutions where the law applies to all citizens alike.
Brian de Silva