23 September 2020
Traitors of Democracy
[The battle to defeat the 20th Amendment is not exclusively a legal and judicial one. It is fundamentally political; about preserving the liberal democratic traditions of independent Sri Lanka, protecting and advancing them rather than handing over the country in a fit of pique and perhaps some expectation too of a better future to majoritarian, populist authoritarianism. No Passeran should be the cry of everyone in respect of this – we cannot descend into majoritarian, populist, and authoritarian dynastic rule upon which the militarisation of our society will be set in stone for the foreseeable future and generations to come.] Daily FT article ‘The 20th Amendment should not pass’ – by Dr Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu
The discussion in this week’s ‘Face the Nation’ program focused also on the need for constitutional amendments when the government had two thirds majority. Part of the problem for us is that we make speeches and write articles to impress each other. That is what Gandhi also said about the then Indian leaders. Believers have the power to defeat the relative. As member of minority – I have completed my services by the power of belief in myself which leads me to recognize the need in the other – to complete the service. Every service so completed becomes absolute power that renders insight into the issue.
I did not win with the Executive Administration, nor with the Judiciary. But from time to time I learnt that Natural Powers of Truth were supporting and leading me. My work therefore got carried to the National Library of Australia without any input on my part. That to me was a wonderful confirmation that when we protect Dharma, Dharma protects us. I write practically every day, due to such completed experiences as if I were part of the People without portfolio. That is the ‘Belief mode’.
In his article, Dr Saravanamuttu states:
[The one clear and simple advantage of the Rajapaksa’s is that they know what they want as far as politics is concerned and everything is geared towards getting it – from men to money to media. It is largely narrow, personalised and platitudinous. And accordingly, lethal and toxic to democratic governance. Viyath Maga and Eliya are not cradles for progressive ideas and talent, but rather the barracks for those professing the politics of hurt, harm and hate along with the so-called smart boys and girls who are supposedly repulsed by the frustrating art of democratic politics. However, in relative terms, this is the effective strategic advantage the dynasty possesses that has eluded the opposition for decades. ]
I find that most public figures who are elevated due to intellectual abilities qualify in the above category. Hence which side they take would matter largely to those in intellectual circles. How many would read Dr Saravanamuttu’s article and feel ‘No Pasarán’ ?
If we identify with the Rajapaksas we would appreciate that they cannot work the structure that was developed by intellectuals who got high grades from wider world for producing the 19th Amendment. Those who passed it in parliament had very little feeling for it. A structure is a machine. If our capabilities are not designed to work it – the machine becomes idle and rusty.
Majority Sri Lankans are NOT democratic when in their ‘free’ environments. Take for example – the Sri Lankan press. It would publish the work of cows with bells in preference to the work of those who have had the experience as opposition to holy cows. The value of true opposition is that it allocates to the opposer - equal position as the person being opposed. This is often not recognized by others. But is known by those of common belief. That was the power Gandhi had.
We speak so much about Democracy. The previous government talked about zero base budgeting and I also presented my proposals. They are my specialty. But nothing happened. Even Dr Ragavan who was Governor during the previous government – failed to tap into this resource towards improving the Resource Management system of Jaffna. Unlike Mr Wigneswaran, Dr Ragavan did engage with me to discuss the need for centralized prosthetics and orthotics services – but failed to take it further after I provided my report. Even with the voting system which needs to be understood by the voter – none of them have responded. What does democracy mean to them? Fancy theories written as laws to impress outsiders? The certainly do not believe in ‘No Pasarán’ for autocracy. They just want their own folks in place of the Rajapaksas.
My way is to invoke Buddha when faced with such ‘blockages’. Did that on Monday at the Sri Lankan consulate, Sydney, when the officer gave me the run around. I looked at Buddha on the shelf – and complained to Buddha. Soon I had the opportunity to inform one of the other customers that he did not have to go to Jaffna for his birth certificate (as advised by the officer) but that he could apply in Colombo. Subsequently when the officer said that we had to bring the copy of my husband’s Dual Citizenship certificate to collect the original document on which our signatures were to be certified – I said to return the documents and the $65 we paid – stating I would get it done by an Attorney at law – as I had done previously. Then the officer relented and agreed to accept the photo in my phone. I went to the consulate because our solicitor in Colombo recommended it. But they do not want to learn despite the UNP in government’s tenure.
Despite the provisions of checks and balances and audit services provided for in the 19th Amendment – the system has NOT changed. As a Sri Lankan I challenged the NSW Auditor General when he announced on a TV program that Performance Indicators of Public organisations should be used in audit. The sharing is in the Appendix. I state in my response to the Auditor General ‘These organizations must be allowed to confidentially do the cooking and it’s up to your staff to do the spy work from the finished product to the LAW and not to their dreams and goals. You are seeking the short path because your staff are not trained to find out from the client staff what is going on. Staff often ‘hide’ information from you because you are third party]
This separation needs to prevail between politicians and the media that seeks to ‘audit’ them. Over regulated systems are poor in business. That in fact might be where the two brothers may have conflict. If they manage to settle confidentially – that would be healthy for autocracy which majority Sri Lankans know how to work.
[The Brothers Karamazov, written by Fyodor Dostoevsky, where the author helped common man to educate that, “above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ]
As per my experience, once we are true to ourselves – Truth does the rest.
Even Tamils have failed to appreciate my above contribution. But even today, there were special highlights of Mr Wigneswaran’s letter to Commissioner of UN Human Rights Council expressing gratitude. The question is – how many of them believe in Democracy and its machinery? Is Mr Wigneswaran Democratic? They invest in autocracy and they get autocracy. So we – the investors in democracy are free to add our investment in democracy to any group of our choice.
[Mr. Sendt wrote on 20 November 2003 in response to my Public demand for him to pay his Dues as an Accountant::
Ms Param, I fully understand that auditors are not to participate in the management of the entities they audit. That is basic. What I said in my report is that external financial reports only give a partial view of the performance of many public entities. Such entities are not established to earn a profit or a return on assets, but to provide services to the public. So to give a true and fair view of how well they are providing services, they also produce non-financial performance indicators. If financial reports are required to be audited – to give the public confidence in their accuracy – then so too should the performance indicators. I fail to see how you can state that this is participating in the management of the entity.
NSW Auditor General
I wrote in my communications and in my book: My response to the above indicates the deep wisdom I have in Audit and Compliance, largely based on my Sri Lankan training:
Thank you Mr. Sendt for the prompt response. Most progressive organizations produce both – Financial and Non-Financial Performance Indicators. They are both for MANAGEMENT purposes and reflect the THINKING and WORK_IN_PROGRESS. If you use Performance Indicators – then you are thinking with them. This is like the Executive Government participating in the Judicial process. Your Non-Financial Reports are the Legal records that these organizations are required to maintain – such as the Recruitment and Employee Assessment records. Where there is a big gap between Law and Practice – it requires YOUR staff to do the additional work. Taking the Performance Indicators distracts you away from this work. It is in breach of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers. These organizations must be allowed to confidentially do the cooking and it’s up to your staff to do the spy work from the finished product to the LAW and not to their dreams and goals. You are seeking the short path because your staff are not trained to find out from the client staff what is going on. Staff often ‘hide’ information from you because you are third party. So they should. That way your staff would improve their skills. Using client-staff’s work-in-progress deters your staff from thinking through their own specialty = AUDIT on the basis of existing LAW. Then we would become a uniform society instead of a diverse society challenging each other – you within the existing law and the operational staff towards tomorrow’s laws. Challenging leads to creativity – as you can see from me. Gandhi also said that the night he was thrown out of the first class compartment of the South African RAILWAYS was his most creative experience.
You need to get the client organization to publish their non-financial reports that are mandatorily maintained. Public service organizations primarily make goodwill. This can also be positive or negative – profits or losses. They are collected together and are balanced with the total costs through Common Funds. It will be useful for you to develop a standard dollar value for these legal requirements so the People can SEE and know the Truth. Your role is not to help them make a profit but to report whether they are and how much. How about doing one on UNSW? Or State Rail?
Thank you again for responding. It has helped deeply.