The much sought after saying goes as seeing is believing, but in biblical wisdom,  believing is seeing, but seeing is not believing (John 11:38-57)” when we speak of the golden scriptures that refer to the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ.

In a more political sense when it comes to statecraft, people see “seeing is believing” as more appropriate in the current context.

In 1987 when President J.R Jayewardene signed the controversial Indo-Lanka Accord, both parties put their pens to paper in broad daylight and not under the veil of darkness or nightfall.

There was confusion, chaos, and the political mobs wreaked havoc.

Most of the people holding key positions in the government now, joined the bandwagon of protestors to bring the country to a complete standstill as the government gave political sanction to the Indo-Lanka Accord.

In short, politicians behaved in a ruthless and unruly manner that gave momentum to a series of violent protests in Colombo and elsewhere. The gaping hole of social disharmony further widened through the irresponsible conduct of politicians that led the mobs to cause untold damage to  life and property incurring an enormous cost to the country economically and politically.

Today after 34 years, have any of the political parties that walked into the higher echelons of power riding on the back of the poor voter andleveraged racist passion, been able to do away with the 13th Amendment to the constitution?

The answer is an emphatic NO.  Instead, the political protagonists exploited it as a vehicle to fulfil their political dreams and ambitions to grab power. Hitherto, nobody has had the political will to do away with the 13th Amendment though they branded it in no uncertain terms as an Indian concoction which was forced down our throats by Indian policymakers. However in reality, it was not so.  The 13th A was undoubtedly drafted by a professional team of Sri Lankan lawyers.

Hence following the Indo-Lanka Accord the 13th Amendment was incorporated into the constitution as part and parcel of it.

The political entities that decided to boycott the provincial councils as a mark of protest eventually displayed their political maturity by becoming an integral part of the system.

Nevertheless, nobody could deny that there were numerous shortcomings in the arrangement that became operative. Several provisions included in the 13th A, such as police powers for the provinces and land alienation are still on the negotiating table as contentious issues that have been unresolved so far.

The provisions in the 13th Amendment that enabled the provincial councils to function with limited autonomy was cleverly and cunningly disregarded by the successive ruling coalitions over the years in a deliberate attempt to derail the accomplishment of the Indo-Lanka Accord.

There were pledges to enhance the scope of the 13A to 13+ by none other than the leaders of the present administration but it turned out to be mere political rhetoric.

The 13th Amendment and the provincial councils system are part of contemporary political history as the operative clauses of the provincial councils system is in abeyance owing to the failure of consecutive governments to expedite and implement the outcome of the Delimitation Commission and to hold elections accordingly.

Be that as it may, any government should be truthful to its people and the lawmakers in its day to day affairs to make its presence felt. This may be what is precisely expected of any administration by the people who elected them. The example of signing the Indo-Lanka Accord in broad daylight was to show however bitter the decision maybe that it is the responsibility of a government to execute its functions in the open without hiding behind a veil to mislead the public.

More recently the government signed an agreement to hand over the 40 percent stake theTreasury holds in the Yugadhanvi power plant.  

The fear harboured by the people is clear. What was the big reason behind the stakeholders signing the deal under the veil of darkness?

Agitation about the sale of the shares has been prevalent and while these show signs of continuing the government could at least have handled the sale of shares transparently without concealing contentious and provocative points in the agreement.

Interested parties have trotted out many an explanation to justify the signing of the agreement under the veil of darkness sans the knowledge of most of the cabinet.

Almost the entirety of the cabinet was groping in the dark because unlike in the olden days when matters of strategic importance that  affectpublic life find their way to the negotiating table, this one did not.

Some insipid parliamentarians charged with emotion say the negotiations dragged on for hours while the harmful clauses in the agreement changed several times until the parties arrived at a reasonable middle ground concerning the interests of the country. Another young turk, but not exactly a novice to politics with his childish claims, said they depended more or less on the US time to sign the agreement with New Fortress Energy.

Is it an indication that Sri Lanka has innocuously surrendered her independence for a mere sum of dollars to work according to the American timetable?

The query from people in response to his claimsis whether they think the people are idiots to accept clownish behaviour without muttering a word or have they taken the entire country for granted as part of their feudal fiefdom”?

Is it not an insult to the people to utter such gibberish? It is an excuse for the sake of finding an easy way out to give a false garb to the misdeeds. Some others who want to justify the signing of the agreement say if it is not Chinese anything appears to be alright. There was a howl of protests from the opposition parties waiting in the wings to make use of any opportunity.

The opposition meanwhile is pondering aboutbriefing the prelates of the Malawatte and Asgiriya chapters on the alleged misdeed.

However, right-thinking opposition legislators are opposing the move.

They see it as political opportunism which is not in the interests of the people

As a responsible opposition, it may not be in fine fettle or right spirit politically, to involve the clergy in complex political issues.

Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpillawho shouted from the tops of their voices at the drop of a hat during the previous regime, maintained a pin drop silence over the signing of the Fortress agreement. There is no betrayal or forecast of any other situation fraught withdanger that is seen by the so-called socialist leaders when they are shown the door or asked to shut up by the coalition leaders.

The Prime Minister, in particular, made a shocking statement when he leant about the growing resentment among the smaller parties of the coalition.

He said in no uncertain words that they are free to part ways if they so wish to, a virtual slap on the face of the Vasudeva’s  Gammanpila’s and the Weerawansa’s.

Even if there are hiccups, all of that is brushed aside as a storm in a  teacup. They saw crocodiles in their dreams when there was a discussion relating to the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

The trio created a virulent social disorder, with several political monks holding a brief for the Rajapaksas during the previous regime. Now they have no place to hide their faces at this critical juncture where there is virtually no government to regulate food and other essentialsfor the benefit of the people.

In a strange turn of events, nowadays most Sri Lankan politicians affiliated to political parties have virtually lost or surrendered their political independence for something or the other. They are mostly living in their lands of fantasy with their imaginations and reasoning and living up to the expectations of the people have just escaped their minds. Most of the time, they are far from reality and take the common –man for a ride.

Take for instance the New Fortress Energy deal that brought in some dollars to satiate the thirst of the government. The deal has given rise to many a question.

However, the most pertinent question that arises amid this hullabaloo is whether the government acted with honest intentions in signing the agreement with the company concerned? Is the government trying to sweep many questionable deeds under the carpet ? Why did the government sign the agreement six minutes past midnight?

Why did the American counterparts fade into thin air in the thick of the night? These are vital questions that people need answers to in the backdrop of the pledge given by the ruling party, the SLPP, to be transparent in whatever they do in the garb of a people’s government.

Is the mandate given by the people too heavy for them and they are not able to bear it with responsibility or are they just taking the peoplefor a ride?

These are the questions to which people need explanations from a government with honestpolitical intentions and disposition. ALAKESWARA


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