Letter to Kamlesh Sharma – Secretary General for the Commonwealth (sent 16th March 2014)
Dear Mr Sharma
I view with trepidation the comments attributed to you in the link below, which if true merely point to the fact that the Commonwealth as interpreted by your statement does not wish to uphold Commonwealth values. I am well aware that your hands are tied, and you have limited scope to express your personal opinion, as compared with what you can say in a diplomatic way. However it is ONLY you and no one else who can quietly but FIRMLY tell the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) that you are most unhappy with the deliberate stalling on ALL fronts in the quest for a solution to the relatively minor issues of reconciliation required, as compared with other more important matters in your area of concern.
Why you may ask is the GOSL being so deaf to rational action? It is simple. It is in the best electoral interest of their survival to behave in this manner, and antagonize especially the TNA. It is called survival within. The only way that will achieve permanent survival in power is by attacking TNA as LTTE in mufti!
There is NO such thing as gradual coaxing of an intransigent GOSL. Their intention is quite clear, as giving into the TNA demands is considered political suicide back home in SL! There is no indication of the ruling elite in SL putting country before self, and the money and power being amassed by them puts the previous Marcos regime to shame.
You fail to understand the dynamics of Sri Lanka. They are a very passive but passionate set of people, who cannot be coaxed out of their armchairs watching Govt. supplied TV material, to go out and vote. The US$10B per annum free money the Country receives from its overseas workers and the unlimited funds available from the usurious Chinese Banks is keeping the Country in a state of Clover that will ensure that a lot of corruption carries on, as anyone can be bought.
The only way that the issues can be resolved is with the Opposition, who to win the next general election scheduled for next year, will require the voters realization that they have been had or to put it in simple colloquial words, taken for a ride!
That is easier said than done, because the Tamil Diaspora with the TNA and their unreasonable stance, are part and parcel of why this Govt. ensures its survival.
You are fully aware I am sure that there is limited pressure that your office can put on such leaders, and only something that will affect their pride is one they may understand in relation to ensuring a change of behavior. One has to realize that to a degree they just reflect criticism by merely returning to sender! The tried and tested ways of saying if I did this what about you, speak for yourself!
It is therefore NOT criticism of action or inaction that one must indulge in, but merely that of agreeing that they fall into the same category of HR abusers as those they accuse, and by comparing their abuse to that of the LTTE they have effectively sought to lump them in the same mould as the odious LTTE, when it comes to crimes against humanity, and it appears that they wish the same fate by their very words, unless they act with statesmanship.
If they wish to aspire to one of Governments with the proper Rule of Law being enforced, then the usual rules of checks and balances in most democratic countries applies to them too, and the Diaspora requests be relegated to one of terrorist demands. This will check mate the GOSL to lose face, both externally and most importantly internally, so that democratic change can take place.
The platform of all opposition parties of, abolishing the executive presidency will go a long way in ensuring a return to normalcy, however that can only take place when the firm vice like grip exerted by the present regime, that goes against all norms of democratic governance is removed, or at least loosened somewhat for the regime to re-establish some of the checks and balances that they removed in their quest for autocratic rule.
I am sure in your many years of experience you must have come across similarly disposed regimes, that followed the same formula, and who can initially be tantalizingly gracious with Country’s resources, but are later upon realization turn to be no more than common criminals out to loot the treasury. International law will eventually bring them to task, but in the interim a whole rich and promising country is held to ransom and possible break up owing to the actions of a few.
I trust my analysis goes towards furthering your resources to make an effective contribution towards the well being of Sri Lanka, which is divorced from the longevity of a regime in order to bring about constructive change, without a destructive disturbance occurring in between.
It is time to encourage all stakeholders, especially the main opposition to participate in the collective actions needed to bring about a just and enduring peace in Sri Lanka, one which is the only barrier to the rise of a great nation, a senior member of the Commonwealth and a very rich one at that.