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Privilege: No vehicle for terrorism

TNA Parliamentarian Kajendran’s controversial statement has given rise to distress. The statement was made over the recent air raids on Colombo by the LTTE. Kajendran’s contention is that they will use their maximum strength to attack and defeat the enemy.

The ‘enemy’ in this context must be the citizens of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, for the air raids were targeted at them.

Kajendran’s statement is clearly in defiance of the 6th Amendment to the Constitution which prohibits any act/statement in support of secession.

Kajendran must have made the statement with the expectation of hiding behind the doctrine of Parliamentary privilege which gives immunity from legal action to Parliamentarians for their acts/statements inside the walls of the legislature.

However, it must be noted that these are no ordinary times. Clearly the country’s territorial integrity and the defence of the realm is being threatened by the barbarism of the LTTE.

My honest opinion is, in such desperate times principles such as ‘Privilege’ must be given second place to ensure national security.

Clearly, there are much important issues concerning national security that will over-ride the interests of a Parliamentarian who attempts to justify terrorism with outrageous excuses.

The purpose of the legislature is to forward the interest of the Republic and not to give voice to terrorism.

Hence, Parliamentary privilege should be restricted only to matters concerning the good governance of the State and not to provide protection for advocates of terrorism.

Further, Kajendran is elected to represent the interest of the Tamil people and not the LTTE. No one can say that the LTTE is the representative of the Tamil people.

It is general knowledge that the LTTE is only playing a selfish game to satisfy its own blood thirst. Tamils on the other hand are in support of democracy (which is clearly not the LTTE’s ball game!). If Kajendran wants to speak for the Tamils, let him speak about the abductions and killings of the war struck Tamils by the LTTE.

Here, one can attempt to defend Kajendran by saying he was only exercising his right to free speech which is protected by the Constitution as a fundamental right.

But this would be nothing more than a desperate tantrum given that free speech cannot be ‘abused’ to endanger the Sovereignty of the State.

At the moment, the country is under emergency law and recently an illustrious piece of legislation was passed to facilitate prevention of terrorism.

My concern is, if these laws cannot prevent a citizen making derogatory comments about the State challenging its authority, then the time is ripe to adopt more stringent provisions that would put an end to this mockery.

In conclusion, I emphasize that strict action should be taken against Kajendran, even if it means taking away his civic rights and ‘sacking’ him from the Parliament, for an advocate of terrorism must not be privileged to enjoy the rights of a citizen of the Republic.

If we do not take a stand today, tomorrow there will rise 10 Kajendrans in Parliament to defend the LTTE.

A question for the citizenry: “Isn’t it time that we got over squash balls and focus on issues at hand?”

NAYANTHA WIJESUNDARA

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Sri Lankan missions abroad

I myself am a resident of Toronto and was shocked at the recent letter, because I find that it is cowardly the manner in which good public servants of the Government are attacked.

Sri Lanka as a country and Sri Lankans as a people (all over the world) of course have a duty to be vigilant, to make sure the truth is not distorted and to applaud those people who work towards peace, prosperity and a better life for all Sri Lankans.

Instead, I was disappointed to read in the recent Daily News letter how one of my fellow Sri Lankans and Toronto residents ignorantly slandered the outgoing Consul General in Toronto and the current High Commissioner in Ottawa.

These career Government servants serve abroad and then return to Sri Lanka. They get paid very little, they risk their reputations and even their lives, to spread Sri Lanka’s good name, work tirelessly around the clock to help expatriate Sri Lankans settle abroad, and bring trade, business and economic stability to Sri Lankans within the country and outside.

It is not devoted diplomats I am worried about, but lazy, communal, sad, small-minded critics. This is why Sri Lanka hasn’t moved forward - because critics like this hold the country back.

I am a young Sinhalese who was struggling with my family in Sri Lanka. I legally immigrated to Canada three years ago. I now have a steady job, am going to school part time, and am supporting my family. I have gone to the Consulate for help and the Consul General has always been of great assistance.

If there is one thing I have learned from the Sri Lankan community here in Toronto, it is that they hold the recent Consul General of Toronto in the highest of esteem because he spent four years trying to help all Sri Lankans - Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burghers - regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion or economic status.

He created an environment in the consulate where everyone is equal, he sponsored social activities like Sri Lanka Day where he encouraged everyone to participate, and most importantly everything he said and did was without prejudice or favouritism.

Some people didn’t like this correct way of doing things. I have participated in many events put on by the Sri Lnakan Consulate General in Toronto, and it is my view, and I know the majority of the Sri Lankan community will agree, that the recent Consul General in Toronto is genuine, caring of the people and a true leader.

How can we achieve peace and harmony without good Government officials like him?

At the end of the day, if lazy, rich, ‘pathetic’ Toronto residents have too much time on their hands to falsely accuse people of being LTTE supporters or Sinhalese Fundamentalists, without any proof, want to keep spreading hatred and divide our community, here’s a word of advice to you: Give up your Sri Lankan Citizenship. You are not worthy of our country, our people and our land. You do a disservice to Mother Lanka.

If I may, I’d like to leave you all with a positive quote. One that pushes us to be united and strong, instead of being petty and ugly.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa quoted these lines in front of the UN last year:

Let us make Peace, the goal of the present decade. Let us all unite for peace.

May all living beings be free of suffering, be healthy and be prosperous.

May the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem be with you all.

A. A. PERERA –
Canada - via email

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Mobile phone: Is it an indispensable tool?

I was disappointed that Sita did not even attempt to answer the question in her title (Reference DN May 11). It is an indispensable tool not only as a telephone for voice and text transmission, but also a valuable business tool for wireless transmission of almost anything that requires the transmission of a relatively small amount of data.

Financial transaction at ATM and EFTPOS machines, Internet access, TV programmes, Security alerts, vehicle tracking, electricity meter readings, remote vending machine monitoring etc to name a few.

But a tool it will be and no more. It will never replace the fundamental principles of business, but only provide a tool to do things fast and more efficiently.

It will be indispensable to any society that thrives to improve their life styles. It is helping even the busiest person to spend more time with their families and in leisure activities.

There are many organisations working towards achieving their goal of placing a mobile phone in the hands of every human being on earth!

But beware of those FM stations and TV Channels who organise competitions! These numbers can be a money making ploy as the charge per call to these numbers can be significantly higher than a normal call. A fraction of the call charge is paid to the owner of the number.

Hence, they make enough money not only to pay for prizes but to make large profits with virtually no extra effort.

I think Sita got one thing wrong. SMS stands for Short Message Service; not Sending Message Service. But who cares?

GEORGE MAHARAGE -
 via email

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Adam Gilchrist

It has been revealed that Gilchrist was having a squash ball in his gloves. Will the authorities explain to the general public whether it is lawful to wear any exterior equipment in the gloves.

If it is unlawful, the man of the match award granted to him should be withdrawn and the results of the match should be quashed for that reason and inter alia for the reasons (i) when the number of overs was reduced to 36 from 38 by the Duckworth-Lewis method, it was not informed to the batting team, the target they are required to chase (ii) The match was held in pitch darkness at about 6.10 p.m. Barbados time.

In addition, the match referee has admitted that an error took place. Also the print media states that an unforgivable error by the match officials left them red faced and embarrassed.

In all these circumstances, is it not fair to cancel the said final match and replay it in a fair and reasonable manner.

A. C. L. -
Nugegoda

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