The Sunday Leader

Tamil Parties Have Agreed To A Local Mechanism – Gayantha Karunatilleka

Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilleka says that since the Tamil parties have agreed to a local mechanism, no one should be allowed to create unnecessary racial issues. In an interview with The Sunday Leader the minister said that there still are many including certain media, who are trying to stir up tensions by propagating various theories. He said that even the UNHRC has agreed to a local mechanism and there is no need for anyone to worry about this hybrid court as it is not intended to harm any Sri Lankan in any way.

Following are excerpts of the interview;


Interviews By Camelia Nathaniel

Q. Firstly, what is your view on an international investigation? Do you believe that it should be a local investigation or an international investigation?

A. Now there is no question of wanting any international investigation, as even the TNA is agreeable to a local investigation.


Q. There are many notions that the Hybrid Court does not pair off with our constitution. What do you think of the Hybrid Court?

A. Certain parties are trying to emphasise the word hybrid court and making a huge deal out of it. Even during the Rajapaksa regime foreign experts were brought and used as advisors for an investigation. There is nothing to worry about. By hanging on to just a word it is being highlighted.

But we should not forget that from where we were during the past regime and considering the charges that were coming our way due to the arrogance of the Rajapaksa’s,  this to us is now a huge victory from what we were.

If we too had acted in the same manner that the previous regime did, we would have had to face economic sanctions by now. As a result of the change that was made on January eighth we have a joint government and as we embark on a path of good governance and that is why the report shows a decreased amount of ill effects.

As such now what we should do is slowly but surely resolve the rest of the issues in a sensible manner. We cannot hang on to a few words and do politics, give them publicity nor disrupt the country and our journey forward. As the prime minister has stated the balance part will be achieved by this government in due course.

We have achieved a huge victory and the new government does not act like Wimal Weerawansa did by holding protests at the Thunmulla junction. There is a proper way to amicably settle issues without aggravating these issues. The government has done that and we have seen the results and now the people should leave it to the government to resolve the other issues too in its own way and have faith in the government.


Q. There are still some Tamil parties who are not yet convinced that a local mechanism would do them justice. They say that they are not treated fairly. How do you propose to address their concerns?

A. Yes I agree that in the past they had lost faith in the government. However now things are different and that trust is now being built up slowly. Their resettlement, providing them with better facilities is now underway so that we can reach normalcy in due course.

Even by offering them the post of opposition leader, we have proved that we are sincere in our promises to bring them into the main fold and make them part of the reconciliation process. Even the international community’s eyes have been opened that we have no intention of treating them unfairly.


Q. The present agreement between the SLFP and UNP is only for two years. If the present government loses grip on governance, do you think a local mechanism assisted by foreign Experts and UNHRC will be possible?

A. I do not agree with this. This government is stable and there is no question of it collapsing in two years. These are theories brought about by people who can’t stand to see this country prosper. This government is good to go for another ten years. Previously the President had the powers to dissolve the government at any time but now having brought in the 19th amendment those powers have been taken off him as well. Now until a period of four and a half years even the president cannot dissolve this government. He has also confirmed that this is definitely a 5 year government. Moreover this agreement between the two main parties to establish a national government was based on mutual understanding. We have begun a whole new political culture, where everyone is committed to work towards the betterment of the country and not for individual gains. This will move forward accordingly. However this government will not be unstable at any given time. The government has more than enough to move forward. Unlike previously politicians could be bought for a price and it was like a saloon door being opened. It is not like that anymore, so it is very easy now to get work done. Moreover the present government will certainly not leave room for ministers to act like they did during the previous regime.


Q. Some MP’s have stated that this inquiry against our armed forces is a mechanism to betray our soldiers. They allege that this government is bowing down to the whims of the international parties. What is your view on this?

A. No one has been betrayed. No one has been named. Where the law is concerned both sides have to be considered. We can solve the balance problems also, and the government knows what they are doing. They should be allowed to prove themselves like they have done so far. If no one has been named, and there is no evidence, the balance part also can be resolved by this government. This is the best government to do this. Without disrupting, without making unnecessary issues all parties concerned should leave it to the president and prime minister along with their government to resolve it. They should not be protesting, burning stuff on the streets or making unnecessary political topics as it is now evident that this is enough nonsense.

We have a capable and responsible President and a Prime minister, they know what they are doing and they certainly have the best interest of the country in their heart. Previously many claims were made that certain parties were to be taken to the electric chair and all that nonsense, just to gain sympathy from the people. All this hoodwinking will not work anymore. Now the people are smarter and they know that they were cheated. That was why they finally made the change. Now these parties should not try anymore to come up with all these ridiculous claims, but they should realise that they cannot fool the people anymore and step aside and allow the President and prime minister to carry on their task. They will prove to everyone in time that they are capable and all these issues will be resolved in an amicable manner fair to all parties.

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