JO questions EU on its silence on threat to democracy under present government


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Joint Opposition alleges Colombo-based Western diplomatic mission has been silent on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe publicly threatening journalists by name on several occasions.

A top level Joint Opposition delegation during a meeting with Deputy EU head of mission in Colombo Godfrey Paul recently explained that those who had been issuing statements at the drop of a hat regarding such matters during the previous administration remained silent.

The meeting took place at the Colombo residence of former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris. The JO delegation comprised JO leader Dinesh Gunawardena, Prof. Peiris, Basil Rajapaksa, Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Udaya Gammanoila, Raja Collure and Gamini Lokuge.

Prof. Peiris pointed out to EU representative that Premier Wickremesinghe had named journalists at several occasions and some instances threatened them. Godfrey Paul had represented the mission as its head David Daly is leaving the mission paving the way for a new head from Luxemburg to move in.

The former External Affairs Minister  told The Island that the JO had an opportunity to bring the indefinite postponement of local government polls to the notice of the EU. Emphasizing that over 200 local government bodies had been dissolved over a year ago, Prof. Peiris said that as they speak Sri Lanka was the only country in the world where not in single local authority was in operation. Prof. Peiris pointed out that in spite the yahapalana government depriving the people of their right to choose representatives at local level, Western countries depicted Sri Lankan government as a role model for other countries.

The JO also took up Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera’s, what Prof. Peiris called pro-government approach towards law enforcement matters. Referring to a recent advice given by the IGP to subordinates that they should not break the law but bend it, Prof. Peiris said that the diplomatic community should examine the new IGP’s conduct.

Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa alleged that small scale fishermen couldn’t benefit from the resumption of fish exports to EU countries. The JO also briefed the EU representative as regards its position in respect of the controversial Missing Persons Bill as well as constitutional reforms.

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