Wigneswaran working only to fulfil political agenda - Governor Cooray | Sunday Observer

Wigneswaran working only to fulfil political agenda - Governor Cooray

12 August, 2018
Reginald Cooray
Reginald Cooray

The crisis in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), overshadowed by a relay of court cases which showcased the gravity of the internal power struggle, has prevented the Board of Ministers of the NPC from functioning and serving its people for months while turning the place into a ‘ghost house’.

The Sunday Observer spoke to two of the main characters in the evolving drama to shed some light into the problem which is most unlikely resolved before the five year term of the NPC comes to an end in October 2018.

Excerpts of the interviews:

Q: It is said that due to a court case and the dismissal of a minister in the Board of Ministers of the NPC, the functions have come to a standstill. Since there is only two months for the term of the PC to come to an end, can’t this issue be settled amicably for the benefit of the people in the Northern Province?

A: There are two reasons for this current stalemate, the Chief Minister is always expressing his emotional ideas which are not practical, truthful and based on facts or the prevailing situation in the Northern Province.

It is apparent that the Chief Minister of late, working towards fulfilling a political agenda, perhaps a re-election given that he has lost the backing of his own party people. For that purpose, he is articulating and fabricating things and distorting the truth. I think people will fall into trouble if he didn’t act responsibly and stop making those statements that would whip up chauvinistic and communal feelings. I feel he is causing much harm to the country and jeopardising the ongoing efforts to reconcile the people and bring them together to find lasting peace.

This attitude has resulted in the NPC not being able to fulfil the aspirations of the people it should serve.

Then ,as you know, there is an interim order from the Appeal Court. According to that interim order, the Chief Minister has been ordered to reinstate one of his Ministers on the Board of Ministers of the Provincial Council, Mr.Deniswaran.

Q: Couldn’t this issue be resolved out of court ?

A: The order was given as a result of Mr.Deniswaran moving court in September last year against a decision by the Chief Minister to remove him from his portfolio. Earlier, the Chief Minister appointed a committee to inquire into corruption charges against four of his ministers.

The ethical and moral question about the whole exercise was that, the Chief Minister is the Chairman of the Board of Ministers. Being in that capacity, he has appointed a panel of inquiry, this panel had to report to him and he was taking decisions against his own Ministers.

The panel found two ministers guilty of the charges, and one minister resigned much earlier to make way for an independent inquiry. The fourth minister, Mr.Deniswaran was exonerated at the inquiry. But the Chief Minister later took action to remove Mr.Daniswaran from his portfolio.

The Chief Minister wanted a Cabinet reshuffle within the NPC. According to the Constitution under Article 154, the Governor should appoint the ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. So, on his advice I appointed the new ministers last year.

Q: Have you tried to settle this through dialogue ?

A : The Appeal Court recently gave a ruling that Mr.Deniswaran should not be objected to from exercising his duties as the Minister of Fisheries and Transport. The Chief Minister did not implement the Court of Appeal order. It would have been contempt of court.

I wrote to the Chief Minister asking him to do the needful. He should give me the necessary instructions, either to dissolve the Cabinet and appoint fresh ministers or ask one of the ministers to step down so that Mr.Deniswaran can be elevated to the Board of Ministers. With Deniswaran the number of the Board of Ministers will be increased to six but there can be only five ministers at the NPC according to the Constitution.

But without the Chief Minister’s instructions I cannot do anything. He is the only one who can resolve this matter. That is why we are in a deadlock now. In the meantime the NPC cannot function. Board of Ministers are non functional. It will affect the development activities in the region, though he is not ready to admit it.

Now, the case is before the Supreme Court, the Chief Minister moved the Supreme Court early last month against the Appeal Court Interim Order.

Instead of serving his people, he has resorted to an intransigent attitude and that is too over some petty issues. I think his intention is to prove that the 13th Amendment is a failure so as to justify calls for separation.

He wants to create a political issue. His aim is the next election. There are ample things to do to come out of the deadlock, if they are honest and interested in the welfare of the people. At present the Provincial Council meetings can be held, but the Board of Ministers cannot function.