sacrificed in secrecy: Somawansa
The ongoing political crisis over the Post Tsunami Operational Management
Structure (P-TOMS) or the joint mechanism is the most serious crisis
facing the nation, the UPFA and various political parties in the
country, in the last two years, Somawansa Amerasinghe, leader of
the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna said yesterday.
are excerpts from a question and answer interview he gave The Sunday
JVP has triggered a political crisis.
We are to enter into a secret Joint Mechanism. It has
been given a new name under the foolish assumption that like commercial
advertisements, a fresh name will make the people forget its real
intention. This Joint Mechanism proposals have not been shown to
the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, government Members of Parliament
including those of the SLFP, JVP, NUA and MEP, the Leader of the
Opposition and Parliament members of Opposition parties.
have also asked from our diplomatic contacts. We are made to understand
that apart from the President, the LTTE and the Norwegians no one
knows its contents.
than the President, all others who are aware of its contents do
not represent the democratic will of the people of this country
freely expressed in a fair election. We seem to have slipped into
colonial times. The country's future is being sacrificed in secrecy
over the heads of the people.
it is good for the country what is wrong in it being done in secret?
What is wrong if it brings peace?
Look at the actions of the LTTE and not about a secret
piece of paper, the Joint Mechanism, contents of which no one knows.
The United States which is half a world away and India which is
our nearest neighbour have expressed serious concern about the LTTE
acquiring air capacity and an air field. A few days ago, the Tigers
announced in Kilinochchi that they would use their new air capacity
against Sri Lanka. Elsewhere, the Tigers were flexing their muscles,
most so in the key town of Trincomalee.
on a trumped up charge on a Buddha statue they were creating tension.
Are these actions of a group interested in peace? The Commander-in-Chief
should consider their newly acquired air power as a most urgent
matter which should be neutralized than giving attention to any
piece of secret paper. There were reports this week of another airfield
in Trincomalee. I must mention that if it was Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike
she would have already taken out these two airfields.
why are you against helping the Tamil people?
On the contrary, we were the first in the field in Tamil
areas to rescue and help those in distress during the first days
of the tsunami.
The LTTE was virtually not to be then found. The government machinery
is already helping the people in all areas of the North and East.
We can deliver all the help through the existing machinery. The
Joint Mechanism is a non-solution for a non-problem.
do you actually know about the Joint Mechanism?
We do not know anything except that it is to give illegal
powers to the LTTE. We understand that the wording of the Joint
Mechanism had been arrived at by the LTTE in close discussion with
that underemployed adventurer from Norway, Eric Solheim. The Norwegian/LTTE
combination's real intents are a threat to us. Not only us, but
our neighbours the Indians have a genuine reason to be worried.
do you say so?
India's National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan announced
publicly on Indian TV India's support to the Joint Mechanism was
only if all Tamil parties and not just the LTTE were included. He
was only reiterating what Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran early
last month told Erik Solheim that no absolute authority be given
to the LTTE.
another Indian, the former Cabinet Secretary to its Government,
Raman wrote of the danger of Tiger air power.
allies within the government like Mangala Samaraweera are being
made uncomfortable. Do you have allies outside your party?
You will be surprised at the very extensive grassroots
SLFP support for our principled stand. Even among those holding
ministerial posts there is strong support for us.
are frightened to express their views at the moment because they
fear they might lose their positions. But if the government falls
they will in any case lose their jobs. So they must have the courage
of their convictions and express them now.
me mention one other factor after the Media Ministry was removed
out of Mr. Samaraweera's control. One of the first things that happened
after the appointment of Harim Pieris and Eric Fernando to advise
State media to promote the Joint Mechanism was the false front page
report that secret chauvinists - code for Buddhists - were behind
the killing of the Muslim Intelligence Chief Major Nizam Muthaliff.
It was a crude attempt to insult the nationalists and the Armed
are reports of a snap election. How prepared are you?
We are reluctant to go for a fresh election. Our ministers
have started important work which the people in this country know
about and appreciate. But if an election comes we are more prepared
than any other party.
strength has grown very much during the last year. Let me give you
one example. A few days ago I was addressing our grassroots delegates
at Kegalle. Their number had grown to nearly three times those who
came last year.
do not say that we will get three times the number of seats we got
last time. But let me assure you, you will be very surprised. The
various embassies also monitor the political situation. Ask them.
about the threats the country is facing?
A serious situation is brewing. We ask our armed forces
not to be disheartened. Please go firmly about your duty defending
the country's territorial integrity. They should rest assured that
the people of this country are firmly behind them.