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Put an end to political victimization … Eran Wickramaratne in the House

Eran Wickramaratne

United National Party Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne has urged the government to put an end to political victimization.

He made this appeal speaking in Parliament during the debate on the Airbus bribery scandal recently.

In his address, Eran said:

“The Government is engaging in a witch hunt against professionals – including lawyers, journalists and Police officers. It is feared that judicial officials standing up for what is right could be next in line.

We passed the 19th Amendment to bring rigor to key public sector appointments and gave the Opposition a voice in the selection of senior judges and civil servants. Even as a member of the Opposition, I was hopeful that this Government would look forward and not backward, but what we have seen instead is a witch hunt of unprecedented proportions.

Professionals, lawyers, doctors, journalists, Police officers, accountants, bankers, business people, career diplomats and other civil servants should not be penalised by political opponents when governments change. That is the only way to redeem our country.

When the UNP-led Government took office in 2015, it tried to do things differently by allowing many professionals to remain in their posts and not hounded out. These included the heads of Military Intelligence and the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and the heads of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The Government has transferred out and gone after officers who were involved in investigating the MIG deal, all of whom are experienced and professional Police officers. These officers are being replaced by people who were removed previously over disciplinary issues, and cast doubts on the kind of investigations they are conducting now.

There was a time in Sri Lanka where even the threat of a government going after a journalist was enough to provoke an outcry in the media, prompting editorials of condemnation, statements by media institutions and even protests. I would like to ask the journalists, are you unprincipled or are you scared? Not a single editorial has been written in any newspaper protesting against this witch hunt.

It is high time that all professionals stood up for those who are doing what is right. Professionals in this country must stand up for and protect other professionals, ensuring they are allowed to do their jobs with integrity. I must again urge professionals who are holding powerful positions to execute their duties professionally and the others to stand up for your peers despite your political differences.

If we do not stand by those who do the right thing – those honest, capable and qualified professionals and experts – Sri Lanka’s brain drain will be accelerated and not reversed, and over time, we will lose all the people of the calibre we need to develop this country and develop the institutions we need as a nation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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