Dinesh says appointment of Retd. DIG Frank Silva to Police Commission unconstitutional

* Opposes move to amalgamate EPF, ETF-Tissa
* Where are Rajapaksa’s billions of dollars - Vasudeva

by Zacki Jabbar

Leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna ( MEP) and Joint Opposition Front, Dinesh Gunawardena, alleged yesterday that the appointment of retired DIG Frank Silva to the Independent Police Commission was unconstitutional since there had been court strictures against him.

Addressing a news conference at the N. M. Perera Center in Colombo, he said that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government which had campaigned on a platform of good governance and rule of law had not practised what it preached. "The appointment of retired DIG Frank Silva to the Police Commission, against whom there are Supreme Court rulings is a case in point. We demand that his appointment be rescinded."

Gunawardena pointed out that United National Front had criticised the cost of highway projects under the Rajapaksa administration, but a kilometre stretch of the Kandy Expressway had cost Rs. 3 billion.

The Avant Garde floating armoury controversy had exposed the disunity in the government with ministers contradicting each other on the legality thereof, he noted.

LSSP Leader Prof. Tissa Vitharana said that the government, having made various pledges to the workers, was now trying to rob them of their hard earned saving in the Employees’ Provident (EPF) and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF). "We are opposed to ongoing moves to amalgamate the EPF and ETF and convert them into a Pension Fund. The workers have to be consulted and they should have the final say since it is their monies." What Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had released on Nov. 5 , entitled the Government’s Economic Policy was the same document that had been rejected by the people earlier, Prof. Vitharana said.

Prof. Vitharana charged that the move to give ownership of lands to farmers was a ploy. "Once ownership is granted the farmers who are heavily in debt would sell the lands to repay their loans to big agri business owners who are linked to various ruling party politicians. The proposed Megapolis would only result in palaces being built in Colombo."

Former Transport Minister Dullas Allahaperuma said that the government was trying to cover up all its shortcomings including its failure to probe the COPE report on the 30-year Treasury Bond issue earlier this year by harping on the operations of Avant Garde Maritime Services which the former Law and Order Minister Tilak Marapana had said was not illegal.

Democratic Left Front Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara queried the whereabouts of the billions of dollars that the Rajapaksa family had allegedly amassed according to leading figures in the ruling alliance. "J. C. Weliamuna went abroad in search of the billions that the Rajapaksa’s had allegedly acquired, but could not find anything. Mangala Samaraweera said a lorry load of 5,000 rupee notes had been smuggled out of Temple Trees on January 9, this year. But, nothing has been proved even ten months later. The only thing the government has done is to empower the US to meddle with our affairs."

General Secretary of the Communist Party Rajah Collure said it was imperative that the Attorney Generals opinion on the Avant Garde case be adhered to if the government was truly committed to good governance and the rule of law.

Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Uumaya Udaya Gamanpilla said that they had decided to appoint Dinesh Gunawadena MP the leader of the Joint Opposition since the so-called Opposition in Parliament was an appendage of the ruling alliance.

He observed that nothing had been done in the last ten months except some ministers threatening to expose the ‘rogues’. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is making fancy speeches while some ministers are splitting hairs over the Avant Garde case and giving their own legal interpretations. We appeal to the Vadabari Tarzans to teach us the law if they can."

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