Passing the buck
The controversy surrounding the detection of high powered explosives in Chavakachcheri has taken an interesting turn with Prof. G.L. Peiris who was grilled by the CID for nearly three hours on Saturday passing the ball to JO colleagues Dinesh Gunawardena and Wimal Weerawansa. According to our lead story yesterday the CID is to question the duo following Peiris’s claim that it was Dinesh Gunawardena who instructed him on the matter and that he himself had no first hand information in this connection. He also told the CID that WW too made similar remarks over the explosives detection.
If what he (Peiris) says is a fact, then it has to be assumed that all his views and observations made at JO media briefings prior to this are not his own but those made at the insistance of others. It does not say much for the former law professor, who the public hitherto was used to seeing speak on all topics with authority and conviction. It is with this same authority and conviction that Peiris made the claim that the explosives detected in Chavakachcheri was bound for Wellawatte, or so we thought. Now that Peiris has admitted that he is only a mouthpiece of others, henceforth it will be hard for the public to take the former Minister with any seriousness. It is a clear case of attempting to wriggle out of a difficult situation. Peiris’s credibility has taken a severe dent by this episode if it has not caused a dent already.Cartoon embedded from Lankadeepa
We say this because Peiris who has suddenly now woken to the grave threat to national security was the very person who led the Sri Lankan delegation to “peace talks” in world capitals with a bunch of terrorists, among whom were Thamilselvan and Pulitheevan. How Peiris could have sat at the same table with members of an outfit which he now sees as posing a grave threat to national security only he will be able to answer. One cannot recall Peiris demonstrating this same concern for national security when the police raided the Millennium City safe house of the military’s Deep Penetration Unit, exposing the identity of the Long Rangers. Neither did he see any threat to national security when the LTTE was massing its heavy weapons within striking distance of Sampoor, in Manirasakulam. However speaking to journalists on Saturday after the police questioning, Peiris after a display of bravado where he claimed that he still carried pieces of shrapnel from the Town Hall bomb, went onto accuse Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of being flippant with national security.
Peiris is the last person to talk about national security, after being a party to agreeing to an Interim Self Government arrangement to the LTTE during the latter stages of the “peace talks”, which fortunately for the country failed to materialize. The former law professor also had no qualms about hobnobbing with personages like Erik Solheim whom his own colleagues in the Joint Opposition such as Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila are still lambasting as the chief LTTE agent who was working to divide the country. It is indeed strange to see such an individual now in the role of a crusader to protect national security.
Perhaps, Peiris is attempting to emulate or outdo Mahinda Rajapaksa who is blaming the government for jailing members of the military intelligence and attributing this to the slow pace in the detection of LTTE explosives. The Chavakachcheri detection has no doubt come like manna from heaven to the Joint Opposition who will now have a topic very much closer to their heart to hammer out with might and main – the looming LTTE threat. One could trust the likes of Udaya Gammanpila to keep the bogey alive when he gets back from Geneva where he organized a group of Sri Lankans to shout slogans linking the government with the LTTE although his mission to that much reviled destination was to highlight harassment meted out to Parliamentarians of the JO by the Yahapalanaya government.
Prof. G.L. Peiris who since recently has been dwelling on topics that are quite alien to him with gusto has now been badly exposed as a person who makes statements at others’ prompting. The former Foreign Minister who no doubt is a man of learning would do well to steer clear of subjects that are out of his ken – national security being one of them.
The calypso drums boomed across the Caribbean as the guys and gals of the West Indies’ T20 sides lifted the Cricket World Cup in the shortest format of the game. It will be left to sport historians to find out if indeed this was the first occasion that a men’s and women’s national team won a world title on the same day in a team sport. Suffice it to say that the game of cricket has received a huge shot in the arm, not least because of the sudden ascendency of the West Indies once again to the pinnacle of the sport which it graced with its own unique brand of panache and entertainment not long ago.