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LANKAN RECONCILIATION GETTING CURIOSER!

LANKAN RECONCILIATION GETTING CURIOSER!

Sri Lanka's reconciliation process is getting curioser and curioser by the day akin to Lewis Carroll's genial creation Alice in Wonderland in 1865,


The word curioser was coined by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland in 1865, as the phrase "curioser and curioser". In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary cites this phrase only, and does not treat curioser as a word unto itself; the phrase has the meaning "increasingly strange". With this in mind, this columnist might be able to justify the use of the entire phrase in a formal context depending on his audience. Very apt indeed! Lewis Carroll might have had some intuition, extra sensory perception or clairvoyance on the Sri Lankan political landscape when she coined this phrase for her genial creation, a good 152 years ago, thus!

Now, there was the original UN resolution which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka as well. Now there is talk of another brand new resolution which will be drafted by Sri Lanka, which is not yet in the public domain and we know nothing of what is in store There is also the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which is hell bent on a referendum , which it feels will be a victory for them. There are also the various factions of the Tamil speaking community such as the GTF (Global Tamil Forum) and the Diaspora which pressed the UNHRC not to give Sri Lanka additional time. They want the Government of Sri Lanka, whatever the government is and irrespective of who is in the hot seat, crucified, internationally and globally! They are oblivious to the fact that their former Sun God, who was vanquished in the Nandikadal lagoon on 18 May 2009 was wholly responsible for this state of mayhem and carnage. Then on the other hand, Opposition Leader and also the TNA Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan also is adamant that there should be a lasting solution worked out before end 2017.

Also on another flank, the TNA believes that the new Constitution would be the biggest step in the new reconciliation process.

That, unfortunately, is not the stance of the Diaspora!

It is with these sentiments and this backdrop in mind that this columnist draws reference to the special interview that Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Reconciliation Mechanism, Mano Tittawella, had with the Ceylon Today, Sunday Edition and published in a full page on page 4 yesterday where he spelt out a series of opinions, bordering on the thinking of the government in relation to the ethnic reconciliation process.

He believes that UNHRC Resolution 30/1 was a major endorsement of the government's reconciliation efforts.

So far there is no question of a hybrid court, because the government has made it abundantly clear that the Accountability Mechanism will be purely Sri Lankan in composition. He was asked about the seemingly contradictory statements made by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera telling the UNHRC that laws could be amended in Sri Lanka to brining in hybrid courts , a claim that Tittawella denied vehemently also in the light of both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe shouting it down in unison and in combination, both within a span of four days.

FOREIGN JUDGES NOT IMPARTIAL

But, the heart of the matter is, that foreign judges or no foreign judges, does not make the process impartial. It is also another matter to have foreign observers. In no country are foreign judges impartial!

A significant amount of work has been done on the reconciliation and non-recurrence side by three ministries and ONUR. These include grass-roots level infrastructure development, livelihood support, psycho–social supports education support, language policy implementation, land distribution, and so on, he said.

The Office of the Missing Persons Act which has been passed in Parliament will go through some amendments which have already been passed by the Cabinet. These amendments will be listed in the Parliament Order Paper in the near future.

Mano has to know what he is talking of, both judicially and politically. After all, in addition to being the founding Director – General of the Public Enterprises Reforms Commission (PERC) in the first CBK Presidency, founding Chairman of the Strategic Enterprises Management Agency (SEMA) in the second CBK Presidency and a former Chairman of the People's Bank who restructured the once beleaguered State bank from virtual oblivion, he is the eldest of the three sons of Justice Noel Tittawella, Judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and nephew of Bertram Tittawella, a former Secretary- General of Parliament. He has it in his genes. He is also a close kinsman of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. So is his wife, Dr. Hemamala Ratwatte, now donning the hat of Director- Post Graduate Institute of English, herself an Edinburgh University Doctorate Holder in the arena of Psycho-linguistics and Language Acquisition.

Then, much has been spoken of about non-recurrence of a similar conflagration and also reparation, though nothing concrete has been spelt out in any form by the government in this regard. While conceding that this is a very positive move, it is up to the government to spell out what the criteria are.

A PRACTICAL LIVELIHOOD PLAN

It is also moot to note that what the Northern residents need is a practical livelihood plan and not mere compensation for the suffering they went through. They have to have a sustainable development plan for not only themselves but for the two provinces.

Tittawella, was asked, how he sees settlement of the financial and economic issues of the people of the North and the East and especially him being a former Banker and Stockbroker (he was once Director – Reseach at the Colombo Office of the Hong Kong based Jardine Fleming) at one stage and also having restructured the People's Bank as the then Chaiman, said: "This programme is already underway with the leadership being taken by President Maithripala Sirisena and ONUR ably supported by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. President Maithripala Sirisena will inaugurate many small and medium enterprises in the near future in the North and the East. This includes access to credit, access to markets and the use of land".

"The President is also very keen on supporting and implementing similar programmes in the South and other parts of the country as well," he said. All well and fine. The North and the East need some economic, agricultural and industrial invigoration, an ill afforded luxury, almost since independence a full seven decades ago.(Ceylontoday)

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