history on its head
was a very curious thing to say. That is if
he said it at all. It all happened after
President Rajapakse accepted the proposals
of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC)
the parties - personalities actually - that
are in the government were falling over each
other to praise the President for trying to
find a political solution to the problem
that has been troubling the country for
three decades or more.
all wanted to be seen, heard and heralded by
the Big Chief for supporting his move.
problem was that the All Party
Representative Committee was not really an
all party representative committee.
Therefore it might be called a misnomer.
That is what the JVP who were sitting
outside and having a little joke at the
expense of APRC Chairman Tissa Vitharana,
said a while ago.
JVP renamed it the Government Party
Representative Committee because the various
shades of political and personal opinion
within the government were represented in it
and apparently no one else.
JVP, given its political somersaults in
recent years going in and out of
governments, supporting them from the
inside, outside and every other side
possible, is in no position to be laughing
at all, least of all at others.
that as it may, as some writers never seem
to tire of saying when they have digressed
from the subject and are searching for a
convenient phrase to announce their return
to the mainstream argument, there was no
hiding the fact that there was general
was certainly so on the government side of
the fence, even if it was strictly for
public consumption, while the response was
if support for the President was the name of
the game, there should be a limit to the
nonsense you utter. That is if you believed
that state-run English daily, called the
daily something or other which ran a report
headlined "Political parties express
satisfaction over APRC proposals."
a headline it was pretty poor, to say the
least. But even that was excusable when you
read the comments attributed to some party
newspaper reported Karu Jayasuriya, the
leader of the 'UNP Democratic Group'
(whatever that means) saying "such a
bold initiative will surely pave the way to
dispel the bad reflection on the country and
the President has the resolve and strength
to fully eradicate terrorism from the
was Hamid "Fast Cash" Mansoor who
was hooting with laughter as he read it for
all to hear when we met at Paradise Club,
our favourite watering hole down Duplication
Road way last Thursday evening.
Cash" had picked up the paper from the
mahogany bar top which the enterprising
Siribiris was polishing vigorously as he
usually does before the place begins to
Cash," Colombo's casino king was
glancing at the paper when his high pitched
laughter pierced the air like a screeching
one can understand
Kesara, you are Royal College and all that.
Did you understand that sentence?"
I could not follow the whole thing,"
said Kesara Kasalagoda who had walked away
with the Shakespeare Prize at his alma mater
and was known as something of an English
scholar unlike that Kohona character whose
knowledge of the language is more Matale
than S. Thomas' College, Mount, Kasalagoda's
rival educational institute.
Mansoor obliged by reading it again.
Fast Cash, I can't understand what Karu was
trying to say," pleaded Kesara.
question is whether that is what Karu
Jayasuriya said or the newspaper's
badly-written version of what he said,"
interposed Puli Pachchathanni, the poet
laureate of Pungodativu.
perhaps this will make you chaps make up
your minds as to whose idiocy it is,"
butted in Pandu Pusvedilla of the Notorious
Peace Committee (NPC) who had in the
meantime picked up the paper and read the
offending news item.
thing to say
to this. EPDP Leader Minister Douglas
Devananda thanked President Mahinda
Rajapakse for his bold initiative for the
first time in post independence Sri Lanka to
devolve power as a solution to the national
that is a stupid thing to say," burst
out Bandu Bahubootha, university don turned
point exactly," cut in Fast Cash.
"But Devananda cannot be that
ridiculous unless he is throwing history to
the wind in his efforts at sycophancy."
where does that place the
Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact and the
Dudley- Chelva Pact," asked Kandiah
(call me Ken) Vinasapathi, of the now
defunct Civil Service and vastly
knowledgeable in these matters.
but there was no national question
then," argued Agnes Arapathiam, ace
reporter of the newspaper under discussion.
really," said Dr. Ananda (Andy to the
foreign NGOs) Ansabage with sarcasm drooling
from his lips. "So the national
question suddenly popped up did it?" he
it was because there was a national
question, of course in its early stages,
that Banda and Dudley both tried to devolve
power to the periphery through regional
councils and district councils. I know
because I was quite involved with this in my
days in the Civil Service," added Ken
say that this was the first attempt to
devolve power is not only a complete
distortion. It is a travesty of
history," added Felix Katepittu,
veteran diplomat now retired.
in a name," said poet Pachchathanni,
"devolution by any other name --
regional councils, district councils,
provincial councils, is still
trouble was that there was always some
opposition. The UNP opposed the regional
councils, the SLFP opposed the district
councils and now the JVP and JHU oppose the
provincial councils though the JVP sits on
some of the councils. So there you have it
my friends," said Ravi Ratevedda,
former MP for Nadagama summarising the
post-independence efforts at devolution.
the way the 13th Amendment and the
provincial councils created under it as a
means of devolving power are nothing new as
everybody knows except that daily nuisance.
Surely it was an Indian creation just as the
Norwegians gave birth to the CFA," I
said having remained silent all that time.
what's new"? asked Wendy van Rinderpest.
devolution baby," cracked back
"Tsunami" Silva reaching for the