Excerpts from the Speeches made during the debate on the Motion on the Breakdown of Law & Order

John Amaratunga
UNP Gampaha District MP John Amaratunga said the Government must take serious action to arrest the violence that is gripping the country, and warned that, things could get out of control if no immediate measures are taken. He was speaking last Wednesday in Parliament, during an adjournment debate on the law and order situation in the country, moved by the UNP.

Mr. Amaratunga moved the motion which stated that recent events have shown there is an alarming breakdown in law and order in the country. “Gun-toting gangs are running around intimidating the populace, and in several instances resulting in deaths, as well as threatening the democratic process. It appears that very many of these unlawful gangs enjoy political patronage, and the law enforcement authorities are helpless. Will the Prime Minster inform the house what steps have been taken to arrest this situation, before the whole country ends up in total anarchy? It is useless closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. The Government must give a proper solution to this situation, not a temporary solution.”

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who seconded the motion, said that this situation was created due to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution not being enacted. The people are taking the law into their hands. It happened in Jaffna during the ‘grease yaka’ incidents, and in Katunayaka and Dompe. The police and people are both taking the law into their hands, which is wrong.

It should be the Police who should be commenting about the investigations into the killing of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, but instead, Lakshman Hulugalle has said MP Duminda Silva is not a suspect in the case. What right does he have to make such a statement? Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara is being questioned by the CID over the killing. Instead, they should question Hulugalle. Everything has become a joke today.

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne
Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne said the Government cannot accept that there is a breakdown in law and order in the country, just by looking at a few incidents. “People talk about the Kolonnawa incident as it involved two prominent people. Otherwise they would not have spoken about it. After 30 years, terrorism has ended in the country, and people are living without fear. We have had a culture of violence for so many years that, as a result, incidents of violence will continue for some time.

The President has directed to take all unauthorised weapons into custody. There are 8,225 active politicians in the country, and they all have a responsibility to set an example to the people, by behaving in a proper manner. The Government had to introduce the 18th Amendment to the Constitution because the Opposition could not, for several years, name a nominee to the Constitutional Council, which left the institution defunct. The Opposition says there is no media freedom, but the media carries everything they want. There is enough media freedom in the country today. “

Susil Premajayantha
Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha said that during the last 30 years, law and order had been severely threatened. “When we recall the dark years of the late 1980s, we know that several lawyers left the country as they could not engage in their profession. “

Dayasiri Jayasekera
UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said there is a serious erosion of law and order in the country today. “We are talking about this situation here because we want to stop another killing like that of former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. There are differences between politicians, but we talk and resolve them amicably. But if they start shooting each other like this, it’s a very dangerous situation.”

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