UNHCR Urges More Help for Displaced

NHCR urges fresh bid to help S.Lanka’s displaced

COLOMBO, April 29 (Reuters) – The U.N. refugee agency urged the Sri Lankan government and rebels on Thursday to renew efforts to help hundreds of thousands of people displaced by decades of civil war.

“There needs to be a renewed focus on resolving this long-standing humanitarian problem,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Inspector-General Dennis McNamara told a news conference after a two-week visit to Sri Lanka.

“A lot has been done but a lot remains to be done. You can’t build peace without stability in the population…and we believe there is an opportunity here which can only benefit all sides,” McNamara said.

IDP movements Jan-May 2002

Talks to end a 20-year civil war between government forces and separatist minority rebels that has killed 64,000 people broke down in 2003, but a truce has held for more than two years.

The UNHCR estimates more than 360,000 people have gone home since the ceasefire began, but Sri Lanka continues to have one of the largest populations of internally displaced people in Asia.

About 370,000 people are without a home and another 140,000 are refugees outside the country, including more than 60,000 in camps in southern India.

The number of people returning each month is also on the decline. In February, 2,543 displaced people returned home, the lowest figure since the shooting stopped.

Those who have not returned home say the biggest obstacle is a lack of land.

Property must be returned to its rightful owners and new homes built to replace those destroyed or abandoned in the conflict, McNamara said.

He also said the clearing of landmines and unexploded ordnance should be accelerated.

“Collectively, we need to do more,” he said. “And the humanitarian imperative to do more cannot be hostage to the political process.”

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SP248206.htm

Buddhists Take Off Lotus Gloves

PRESS RELEASE

20 April 2004

2004 ELECTIONS: SINHALA BUDDHISTS TAKE OFF THEIR LOTUS GLOVES

Two aspects of the 2004 parliamentary elections are important. First, within two years the Sinhala voters increased the parliamentary seats of the extreme Sinhala Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) from 16 (2002) to 39 (2004). The JVP is implacably opposed to Tamils’ internal self-determination. The Sinhala Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) had mouthed the empty rhetoric of “devolution,” but toned it down after teaming up with the JVP to form the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition. And the anti-Tamil Sinhala-chauvinist UPFA won two-thirds of the Sinhala electorates, secured 105 parliamentary seats (out of 225) and received about 45 per cent of total votes.

Second, in a historic departure, primarily urban and relatively more educated Sinhala constituencies elected 9 Buddhist monks to parliament. They, together with 271 other monks, had contested the elections under the ultra Sinhala Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) or National Heritage Party that is committed to the creation of Dharmarajya (Ideal Buddhist State).

One need only reflect on the grotesque history of former President JR Jayawardene’s Dharmishta rule to guess where Dharmarajya would take the country.

Sinhala electorates lurched toward the extreme Buddhist right wing. From the Tamil perspective, it means most Sinhala people feel there is less need now to politically engage the LTTE in “talks.” Evidently Sinhala voters allowed the Karuna Factor to delude them into the mistaken belief that the LTTE is militarily weakened and therefore could be crushed fairly easily. Also neither the UNP, nor the SLFP, nor any other Sinhala political party asked for a mandate to negotiate a sharing of power between Sinhala and Tamil peoples based on internal self-determination by Tamils. Instead, Sinhala politicians sought support for a nebulous “peace,” which for most Sinhala people specifically means eliminating the LTTE’s military capability and putting an end to the armed struggle of the LTTE-led Tamil National Movement.

Throughout the election campaign and before, peace was never linked to the recognition of the national rights of Tamils. Consequently no Sinhala party or politician made any attempt whatsoever to re-educate the Sinhala people on the need to accept internal self-determination by Tamils as the minimum basis to begin negotiations with the LTTE. We, The Action Group of Tamils (TAGOT), highlighted this fact in our Press Release of 29 March 2004.

The unprecedented Sinhala electoral swing in favour of the UPFA and JHU in the April 2004 parliamentary elections clearly demonstrate that powerful and decisive sections within the Sinhala polity fully endorse the existing unitary State. In short, they reject power sharing with Tamils within a new confederal or even federal structure.

The fact of the matter is this: The Sinhala electorates have in effect voted for a military solution if Tamils do not accept a political settlement on Sinhala terms, based on administrative decentralisation within a unitary State.

Therefore, under the new UPFA government – just as during the previous UNF government – there is an utter absence of Sinhala political space to negotiate a viable power-sharing arrangement with the LTTE. The Sinhala President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s and her Sinhala Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse’s assurances to continue “talks” and negotiate “peace” with the LTTE are dishonest bilge dished out for the gullible.

We must, however, not lose sight of the unfolding power struggle within government. TAGOT emphasised this point before and we repeat it now. The current Constitution prohibits a person from holding the office of President for more than two terms. President Kumaratunga’s second term ends in 2005. She is manoeuvring to either amend the Constitution to allow her to return as President for the third time or to enact a Westminster constitution under which she could hold office as Prime Minister.

To amend or change the Constitution President Kumaratunga needs a parliamentary majority for her SLFP, which was in the Opposition in the last parliament. So she engineered the confrontation with the previous United National Front (UNF) government to justify calling the parliamentary elections. Her sole intention was to put her SLFP in power with a majority sufficient to ram through constitutional changes.

But her plan went badly wrong. The 105 seats won by the UPFA falls well below the simple majority of 113 in the 225 member Parliament.

The JVP’s stunning electoral success shifted the balance of power against the SLFP inside the UPFA coalition.

Within the SLFP President Kumaratunga schemed to appoint Mr Lakshman Kadirgamar, her Tamil Advisor on Foreign Policy, as Prime Minister. Her intention was to prevent a competing centre of power coalescing around a Sinhala Prime Minister within the party. She calculated correctly that Mr Kadirgamar is not backed by any faction in the party and does not have a political base in the country at large. He would be under her complete control and cannot pose a challenge to her political ambitions.

The JVP supported President Kumaratunga’s ploy because if Mr Kadirgamar were to be made Prime Minister that would further divide and weaken the SLFP. The balance of power inside the UPFA would then shift more in favour of the JVP.

Again, Pres. Kumaratunga’s ploy failed. A section of the SLFP – generally known as the “Rajapakse faction” – backed by the powerful Buddhist Sangha unceremoniously leaned on her to give the position to the veteran SLFP member Mr Rajapakse. President Kumaratunga’s “Chandrika faction” caved in; and she conceded Mr Rajapakse the post of Prime Minister.

President Kumaratunga faces two formidable opponents in the UNF leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickrematunga on the one hand and the present Prime Minister Rajapakse on the other. A lesser challenge comes from the senior leaders of the JVP. All have presidential ambitions. None of them is at all willing to help her return to power next time round. In fact it is in their immediate interest to prevent any constitutional change that would favour President Kumaratunga.

To add insult to injury, as President Kumaratunga’s political fortunes plummet, New Delhi may start looking to Prime Minister Rajapakse as the next India-friendly Sinhala leader to replace her.

President Kumaratunga’s last hope is the US government, which is plotting to push the alleged “Marxist” JVP out of the UPFA and engineer a so-called national government between the SLFP and UNP.

In her desperation to hold on to power, President Kumaratunga has approached the JHU for support in Parliament. She seems to have concluded that, since none in the JHU could realistically hold presidential ambitions, the party may agree to a horse deal. At the meeting between President Kumaratunga and the Supreme Sangha Council of the JHU on 8 April, she offered to govern the country as a Dharmarajya and in return invited JHU’s 9 Members of Parliament (MPs) to throw their lot in with the UPFA.

The JHU sensed her political vulnerability and set out to extract their pound of flesh. They refused to join the UPFA, but set out stiff conditions for issue-based support. They made five demands: the unitary State must be retained; the LTTE cannot be the sole representatives of Tamils; the NorthEast Province (NEP) must be de-merged into the original Northern and Eastern provinces; laws must be enacted against unethical religious conversions; and a demand regarding independent commissions.

What lies behind this political dance is the JHU’s intention to coerce President Kumaratunga to enact a constitution that would explicitly turn the country into a Buddhist State, euphemistically called Dharmarajya. By offering to create a Dharmarajya President Kumaratunga wants the JHU to support a constitutional change that would allow her to return to power after 2005.

Will this horse deal work?

President Kumaratunga’s willingness to capitulate to religious forces has profound implication for the country. One needs go no further than Pakistan to see the hideous consequences. The then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto attempted in 1974 to consolidate his power base by aligning with Islamists. To buy the support of Muslim clerics he banned the consumption of alcohol and horse racing, closed down bars and night clubs, declared Friday as the weekly holiday (instead of Sunday) and effectively launched Islamisation toward Nizam-i-Mustafa (Ideal Islamic Society).

Gen Zia ul Haq later dragged Islamisation to abysmal depths and in the process spawned the Taliban.

The President’s mother, then Prime Minister Srimavo Bandaranaike, made the first constitutional compromise with Buddhist religious forces when Buddhism was accorded “the foremost place” in her 1971 Constitution. By promoting Dharmarajya President Kumaratunga is plotting – with crass opportunism – to deliver the next and perhaps fatal blow to secular governance and undermine hopes of a negotiated settlement between the Sinhala government and the Tamil National Movement.

The US & Sri Lanka’s Muslims

One wonders why the US is being so solicitous of Sri Lanka’s Muslims. There seem to be at least 3 reasons:

1.) A Muslim party was an important constitutent of the last government, so had the information about how the US aid process works, the time period to apply, etc.

2.) Dr. Meghan O’Sullivan, a protege of an important US policymaker, Richard Haass, who has followed him from the Brookings Institution into the State Dept.’s Office of Policy Planning and now to the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, and who once worked for the US Embassy in Colombo, did her doctoral research among Sri Lanka’s Muslims and has a soft spot for them.

3.) In a strategic part of the world, the US wants to show that its human face to Muslims. It wants to provide a showcase that it is not against Muslims per se, but against Muslims who target the US. It helps, of course, that the Muslims in question are in competition with an organization which the US has sanctioned.

Noone, of course, can object to a health clinic, which is desperately needed. More serious is the US aid – described in a previous article posted on www.sangam.org – which has inventoried the land in the East that Muslims assert has been taken away from them, without inventorying the land the other groups in the East have been deprived of during the conflict. Land is not a politically neutral subject in the Northeast.

Editor

US funds healthcare for Sri Lanka’s deprived Muslims

Colombo, Apr 4 (IANS) :

Fourteen years after they were displaced by a civil war, around 800 Muslim families in northwestern Sri Lanka finally have access to free medical facilities, thanks to a largely US initiative, reports OneWorld.

Sri Lanka

The impoverished Muslims had to flee their lands in the northern part of the country because of the two-decades old conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The victims of war, referred to as internally displaced persons (IDPs), were relocated to 11 villages in the arid Kalpitiya peninsula in the northwestern district of Puttlam.

The new free polyclinic there, established with a grant of US $34,000 from the USAID and the help of local non-governmental organisations, is a boon for the IDPs.

Some recount horror stories of having to travel 45 km to the nearest maternity clinic. Most people went to hospital only for vaccinations, using home remedies to cure other ailments.

Significantly, the clinic was built to help bridge differences between the IDPs and the original residents.

A local mosque donated land, residents from three ethnic groups — Tamils, Sinhalas and Muslims — provided the labour, while the health ministry financed the furniture and promised to bear future expenses.

Apart from the 800 IDPs, Kalpitiya is home to 740 native Muslim families apart from some 100 Sinhalese and 80 Tamil families.

In a unique partnership, women in the area collected money for electricity and youths helped clear the site and plant trees and shrubs around the polyclinic.

Kalpitya Fort

The clinic, which opened last month, is located in one of the most arid zones in the country, where the primary occupation is fishing and casual labour. The average daily income in Kalpitiya is $1.5.

The donors of the project, who were keen for it to be a community effort, are pleased with the results.

Observes the US embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission James F. Entwistle, “The collaborative effort is an example of how diverse communities working together can overcome obstacles. It clearly demonstrates the benefits of peace.”

He adds that while the polyclinic fulfils a critical need for the people of Kalpitiya, it also strengthens the relationship between the IDPs and native communities.

The areas covered by the project include ante and post maternal care, family planning, nutrition and health education, much to the relief of people in the area.

Reminisces Fathima Tasneem, an IDP mother of four residing in Palliwasalthurei village, where the clinic is located, “I had to go through immense hardships due to the absence of a proper maternal care clinic in the area. All my children were born after we were expelled from Jaffna and while we were in the IDP camps. The clinic was a crying need.”

Agrees Siththi Rahuman, a mother of three and a native of the area, “Lack of healthcare facilities in the area was a big problem. We depended on whatever we learnt from our elders, and most of us went to hospital only to get vaccinated, as we had to travel about 45 km even to reach the nearest maternity hospital.”

The polyclinic project was funded through the USAID’s office of transition initiatives (OTI), whose prime goal is to reduce conflict. Providing better health care for women and children is just one way.

“The other, and perhaps most important, goal was to get the IDPs to work in unison with the natives,” says OTI programme development officer, R.H.M. Safrullah.

“There was tension due to the eternal struggle between the IDPs and natives for the bare minimum resources and opportunities in the area, like water and jobs. We wanted the project to build solidarity between the two parties.”

http://www.oneworld.net/article/view/82985/1/

Easter Message by Father S.J. Emmanuel

Easter is the Feast of Liberation
Easter is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar.
It is the feast in which Christians rejoice over the Liberation which Jesus won for humanity.
Jesus Christ, Christians believe, is the Son of God who became man,
and through his suffering, death and conquest of death (Resurrection)
freed mankind from the slavery of sin.
It is a total liberation from all forms of slavery, within and without man.

Hence Easter is the feast of liberation,
from all forms of slavery caused by sin.

Jesus won this Liberation for us,
by going through all forms of suffering and an ignominious death on the cross.
His suffering false accusations, ridicule and mockery from the High Priests and Roman Powers,
His suffering betrayals and denials by his own chosen ones (Judas and Peter),
His suffering torture, hunger and thirst imposed by his rulers,

His carrying of the cross onto which he was nailed
All these apparently ended with his death on the cross.
But his Rising from the tomb on the third day
Explained everything of the past.

Thus his Suffering, Death and Resurrection has become the model
and the paradigm for all liberation struggles.

Our struggle for liberation is going the same way of the cross.
May the suffering, death and destruction, we have gone through
Help cleanse ourselves from all forms of division and discriminations, casteism and regionalism.
Let us take the denials and betrayals, ridicules and accusations,
hunger and thirst as part and parcel of our way of the cross.

This Feast of Easter confirms our journey to freedom
and assures us of the final Triumph.

Let us remain steady, convinced and committed to the cause of Liberation.
The day of our Liberation is at hand!

S.J.Emmanuel
Germany, 11.04.2004

Sinister Stratagems, Part 2 by Wakeley Paul

SINISTER STRATAGEMS AND ODD ENTANGLEMENTS

PART II

In view of what passed for legal in 1972, everyone seems to assume that this idea of a Constituent Assembly is some magic mantra which enables parliament to do what it cannot legally do otherwise This is a myth and a fallacy which needs to be banished with the fables and superstitions of a bygone era.

Let me begin with what happened in 1972 to highlight the fallacy and expose the myth. The coalition of the SLFP and the leftist parties had decided that they wanted to change the Soulbury Constitution which barred them, under Section 29[2], from passing any legislation which favored one community or religion over another, or discriminated against any community or religion. They were bent on spreading the word that Buddhism suffered, but survived strangulation at the hands of the British and the time for the resurrection of their faith had finally arrived. They further emphasized the need to revive the the rightful role of the Sinhalese in what they regarded as an exclusively Sinhalese country. In order to attain these goals, they dismissed such concepts as equal opportunities for all as a British aberration which had no place in a Sinhala Nation dominated by Sinhala people. Such alien concepts had to be extinguished and replaced with a bright new battle slogan which proclaimed in effect, ‘Sri Lanka is for the Sinhalese Buddhists and to hell with the rest.’

To overcome the obstacle posed by Section 29[2] of the Soulbury Constitution, which ensured equal rights for all, the SLFP contested the election on a platform that vowed to create a Constituent Assembly with powers to abolish the existing Soulbury Constitution and replace it with their own. The coalition of parties won that election by a 2/3 majority.

They then Assembled as a Constituent Assembly outside Parliament with a view to abolishing the Soulbury Constitution and replacing it with one of their own. All parties were invited to participate to make their representations and the Federal Party shamefully participated in this illegal Sinhala adventure designed to deny Tamils, Muslims and others of their rights to be treated as equals for good. The battle to establish Sinhala Buddhist supremacy against all comers was on. Gone for ever was that ringing assurance given by D.S. Senanayake, on the eve of Independence: ‘Do you want to be governed by London, or do you want as Ceylonese, to help govern Ceylon….I give the minority communities the sincere assurance that no harm need you fear at our hands in a free Lanka.’

At this stage, Mr C Sunderalingam, a former Minister in the first Senanayake cabinet and now a Member of Parliament for Vavuniya, filed a writ of prohibition in the Supreme Court, requesting the Court to prohibit the Constituent Assembly from passing a new Constitution. The legal argument was both simple and straight forward.

The sole institution that was vested with power to make laws under the Soulbury Constitution was Parliament. The Constituent Assembly was not recognized by that Constitution as a body that had any legislative powers whatsoever. Therefore, not only did they have no power to make simple laws; they had no power to abolish the existing Constitution; and they certainly had no power to draft and substitute a new one in its place.

The Sinhalese-dominated court neatly side stepped the issue by asserting that they had no power to stop MPs from gathering together under any name they wished to, adding that the Supreme Court could not act till they did something illegal, which they had not yet done. They brushed the issue away, but not for good.

After the Constituent Assembly had accomplished its goal and came up with a new Constitution, not by repealing the Soulbury Constitution, but by Article 12 Schedule I, effectively abrogating it, Mrs Bandaranaike took it to the Dalada Maligawa to give this new Constitution Religious sanctity in place of legal validation, which it could not and did not ever receive. Why neither Mr Sunderalingam nor the Federal Party with its heavy bevy of lawyers did not pursue the legal challenge will remain an unanswered mystery for the future to guess at for all time. The Supreme Court had merely found a temporary expedient for avoiding the Constitutional issue. Now they had no excuse to run away from it, as the Constituent Assembly, whose legal authority was being challenged, had now acted. The failure to challenge this blatant disregard of the law and the existing Constitution, resulted in the Constitution becoming recognized by default. The illegality got an illegal blessing as a result of inexcusable inaction by the representative of the Tamils. The Federal Party can never be forgiven for this omission.

The present President has made it abundantly clear that all she seeks to do is amend the Constitution in two respects [i] Abolish the Executive Presidency [ii] Abolish the system of proportional representation. All the other undesirable features of the non secular unitary Constitution granting an elevated place to Buddhism and ignoring equal opportunities for all, will remain on the statute book. This is so despite her ponderously solemn assurance to the nation that ‘The government shall also never entertain racial and religious discrimination.’ Will she to that end reinstate S 29[2] of the Soulbury Constitution to ensure that this solemn assurance has legal guarantees and sanctions to back it up, or are we compelled to respond with that telling American phrase ‘Put your money where your mouth is, lady.’

The new Prime Minister and his government are further deluded by the common misapprehension that a ‘Constituent Assembly’ can by some miracle of divine intervention, do what the parliament cannot do. Here is The Prime Minister’s simple minded assertion to that effect:

‘The Freedom Alliance made a strong request from the people for a mandate to form a Constituent Assembly for this purpose, as the present Constitution effectively prevents any constitutional amendments.’

What eludes them is the fact that under the present unitary Constitution, Parliament is the sole and exclusive legislative body in the country. The Constituent Assembly is no substitute for Parliament. Parliament could give the Constituent Assembly limited legislative powers by a process called ‘Devolution of power,’ but in order for Parliament to authorize anyone else to Amend the Constitution, it has to have a 2/3 majority. That cannot be circumvented. In short, Parliament must not only have a 2/3 majority to amend the Constitution, it must have a 2/3 majority to authorize any one else to do so. This therefore becomes a pointless exercise in futility. What Parliament cannot do, it cannot authorize someone else to do.

Unlike in 1972, UPFA cannot impose an illegal venture on Parliament without a Constitutional challenge from the President’s main rival, the UNP. This does not have to be in the form of extended Constitutional litigation. The right of the Constituent Assembly to amend the Constitution should be capable of being legally quashed by the by the quick expedient of a writ of ‘certiorari,’ which is a simple plea to the court to declare an action by anybody as both illegal and void.

A simple majority in Parliament can create a phenomenon called a ‘Constituent Assembly.’ In order to vest that body with legislative powers equal to those exercised by Parliament will require a Constitutional Amendment [ See Advisory opinion on the XIII Amendment]. The Unitary Constitution makes Parliament not only the supreme, but the only and sole national legislative body in the nation. Can the President get the 2/3 majority to vest the Constituent Assembly with legislative powers of this magnitude? That is the burning question on the hot stove of this legislature which is bristling with shifting and shaky loyalties and affiliations.

The greatest beneficiaries of the system of proportional representation are the smaller parties, in this instance, the SLMC with 5,, UPF with 1, JHU with 8 and EDPD with 1. The CWC, another small party, fought the election under the UNP ticket.

The SLMC has already announced that it intends to oppose this amendment on proportional representation.

Neither the UNP or TNA will support this bid to amend the Constitution, each for their own distinct reasons. The UNP will oppose it with a view to succeeding to the Presidency and with a view to regaining power. The TNA will oppose any Constitution with all its attendant evil clauses on principle, apart from their permanent opposition to any Sinhalese government under a Unitary Constitution, also as a matter of principle.

The SLMC, CWC & UPF will gain nothing and lose everything by supporting any change and should, in their own interest, abstain from voting in favor of the Amendment proposed. However, one cannot know how hard the Indian embassy with its insidious desire to intervene in Sri Lankan affairs, will twist the tails of their two Indian Tamil groups to support the government. The JHU, who will have everything to lose by the abolition of proportional representation, may well vote with the government to abolish the Executive Presidency. It is impossible for a Tamil in America to decipher their thoughts on any subject, but these are the shifting uncertainties that plague this parliament.

By any reckoning. let us assume the JHU supports the President on the Constitutional change, that gives her 115 votes. Assume the 4 Indian Tamils and the Muslims do too – that gives her 124 votes, yet 26 short of a 2/3 majority to vest the Constituent Assembly with legislative power. This time, unlike in 1972, she cannot get away with an illegal ploy as her mother did in that year. Now the ever vigilant UNP is there with its horns extended waiting to butt in with a legal objection. There is no dearth of legal talent to take up the cudgels on their behalf The TNA with its well-established policy of not recognizing the jurisdiction of the courts outside EELAM will leave the Sinhalese parties to fight this legal dual. It is my submission, that if the Supreme Court is true to the Constitution, the UNP must win. If political winds are allowed to sway their judicial integrity, it is anybody

Sinister Stratagems, Part 1 by Wakeley Paul

SINISTER STRATAGEMS AND ODD ENTANGLEMENTS

The situation in Sri Lanka seems so tenuous, that it is very likely that a vote of no confidence on a single major issue raised can lead to a toppling of the present government in the not too distant future. The present struggle is not between the Sinhalese and the LTTE. It is between the Sinhalese parties that are vying against each other for power.

That is combined with a sinister set of stratagms that the President and her advisor Kadirgamar are engaging in to retain power in their hands at a cost to the nation as a whole. It is not the Tamils alone who will be the victims of their villainy. It is everyone on the island who will be affected.

Mrs. Kumaratunge has 105 seats plus one from that Sinhala stooge Douglas Devananda of the EDPD, totaling 106.

The UNP with 82 has been promised the backing of 5 from the SLMC, and the 3 from the CWC, and 1 from the UPF totaling 92 seats seats.

Who can Mrs. Kumaratunge lure to join her to get a majority? No one will join except on very favorable conditions. They all know how vulnerable she is and can afford to demand the sky or the earth to be won over, because she herself has been elected by a narrow slice of the electorate. The JVP gave her 40 votes, leaving her with a mere 66 seats in a parliament full of inconsistent possible alignments.

The conflict over the selection of a Prime Minister speaks volumes for what the future portends. She had to backtrack on her choice of her bosom advisor and guide, Lakshman Kadirgamar, for the position of Prime Minister, on two grounds. First, she had to appease the Sanga and that segment of the Buddhist population who helped her win the election. They angrily demanded that the Sinhala Buddhist Rajapakse be appointed in favor of this other Christian oddity who has spilled into their ranks. The ethnic-conscious JVP detest Mahinda Rajapakse more than they do the Tamils for winning a seat in their stronghold at Hambantota. They preferred to support Lakshman over this pristine Sinhala Buddhist. The more compelling objection, however, to Lakshman, was that he would be an impediment to continuing with the peace talks, since the LTTE despises him for having them branded as terrorists in the foreign capitals of the world. Actually, they despise him for more than that. They regard him as the most despicable traitor of his ancestors.

In their continuing effort to appease the international community, everyone of any significance in the government insists that the peace talks are their top priority. It is for that reason, that even Lakshman Kadirgamar stated, that they did not give a cabinet position to their ever-loyal stooge and ally, Douglas Devananda.

While all that is very salutary, Mahinda Rajapakse