For 40 years he has represented his party in Sri Lanka’s parliament. His background would be a PR manager’s dream. His pedigree, his education and his membership of the party of choice for those who favour an open economy over a socialist structure, would have made it a cakewalk for any PR manager.
Instead of that gilt-edged, gilt paved road to political greatness, the man himself got himself engulfed in a host of matters that did not quite appeal to the largely conservative society in Sri Lanka.
His dilly dallying and involvement in Batalanda nearly ruined his career. He perhaps had two people to thank for or even three.
The first would of course be Douggie Peiris the senior Policeman. He had fled abroad and President Kumaratunga had sent emissaries to meet him. He promised to give a statement that would result in some discomfiture for the up and coming politician.
For whatever reason Kumaratunga backed off, Peiris never made the claim and the rest is history. There was also yet another person who was trusted by Wickremesinghe to negotiate with Peiris abroad especially in India. In true fashion Wickremesinghe abandoned that person too like a hot potato.
Wickremesinghe’s responsibility in the Bondgate matter is immense and deep at the same time. He admitted in parliament to ‘insisting’ on changing the system of awarding bonds. The Oxford dictionary definition of ‘insist’ is Demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal.
Wickremesinghe is a lucky fellow – he found that the Commissioners were willing to give him some special treatment given his position and his diary of commitments. He was permitted to answer questions in writing in the form of an affidavit, which of course the rules permit.
The proper extent and benefit of cross examination – as important and central to the law as we practise it in this nation – was never given a chance as the PM responded in writing. He finally did make an appearance but many claimed that it was farcical.
It is abundantly clear that the PM was fully aware of the situation. Mahendran the disgraced Governor said as much under oath to the parliamentary watchdog COPE: “I only did as I was instructed by the Prime Minister” said he.
It is time the Prime Minister realises that the people of this country are fed up with his attempts to be flippant about this serious matter where the public’s monies have been placed at stake. Billions of rupees will be lost when calculated over the full 30 year term. The Prime Minister is merely intent on hanging on to power.
It is time that Ranil Wickremesinghe accept responsibility and be the honourable man that his pedigree and education dictates.
He must resign as leader of the UNP and as Prime Minister. It would also be best if he retired from politics.