Like Humpty Dumpty, Minister Sarath Weerasekara Has Had A Great Fall: He Must Resign

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“Governance constitutes an implied social contract and, therefore, a serious social responsibility; it cannot be played as a personal ego exercise”

Prima Facie Case

Unlike Humpty Dumpty, even all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put him together again. To be sure, minister Sarath Weerasekara’s alleged misdemeanours are not yet proven; however, it seems equally reasonable to conclude on the basis of the narrative set forth below that there is a serious prima facie case against him. The minister must clear himself on the basis of an independent investigation. To enable that, the minister must resign

The Bang and The Disappointment

Colombo DistrIct Pohottuwa Government minister, Sarath Weerasekara [sorry, I am missing his army titles) began his political career with a terrific bang drumming his undying love for the ‘Sinhala Buddhist motherland’ deeming his opponents, including Sarath Fonseka, as traitors; and beating a man of the stature of Ranil Wickremesinghe, five times Prime Minister, from position number one in the district and sending the latter home. I am sure by this episode Sarath disappoints his voters-except the totally blind and deaf ones.

The episode is over the recent dramatics associated with the wedding ceremony of his son at Shangri-La on the 28 May, the birthday ceremony of Chandimal Jayasinghe the following day and the behaviour of model Piyumi Hansamali who attended that party and was sent on quarantine.

It is not important whether Piyumi wanted her clothes or not; I doubt that mattered much for her.

What startles me is how the minister in charge of the police and defence should (as alleged) take the trouble to call the police in the bus carrying Piyumi to quarantine at Passara, and instruct the cop to turn the bus back and arrange for the model to collect some clothes to wear. The minister states that he had ordered the IGP to do that  but does that make a difference? There is a dispute as to where the bus went back eventually. The minister states it had gone to the Talangama police station and stayed there until Piyumi got her clothes.

Hiru Clip

I have the video clip from Hiru TV program (5/6/21) “Paththare Visthara,” where the presenter categorically points out that our dear minister Sarath had called the cop in the bus from Piyumi’s smart phone. How that smart phone had gotten into the Excellency’s hands is a Bangladeshi Takka million question. The Hiru presenter seems to be having more data with him and any investigator should go to him for that. But can we ever expect an investigator to meet the lion in his den? President Gota, despite Amendment 20, appears powerless all the time against all kinds of misdemeanours by his close men. Why Gotabaya Rajapaksa wanted the 20 Amendment I do not know. Yahapalanaya Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had a way of pushing Ravi Karunanayake out after the Penthouse scandal. On the other hand, our dear President seems like a toothless tiger. When the latter is ruffled by a

Pilisadara audience he crackles as he did recently over tomatoes. But no fuss over Sarath.

Minister Sarath Weerasekara should have an immediate investigation on him by the President but that appears not coming after a week of the incident at Shangri-La Hotel. In a more civilised Australia the minister would have resigned immediately in order to facilitate an impartial inquiry; if not, Prime Minister Morrison would have winked the offending minister to do so. However, no sign of winks from Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Minister’s Son’s Wedding at Shangri-La

To ordinary men like us with a modicum of intelligence several questions arise over the episode that began allegedly with the wedding of Sarath Weerasekara’s son at Shangri-La itself on the 28 May when Covid-19 restrictions had been in force. Why did the Minister in charge of the police and defence not abide by the legal restrictions that every other citizen in the country had to obey? How could he have given his assent for a wedding ceremony? Is the minister in charge of law and order not making a joke of his subjects? How does he expect all others to abide by the law?

President Gotabaya would surely have known about the wedding of his key minister? How did His Excellency acquiesce?

These are serious issues that the entire government must answer. I am surprised the Opposition has not taken this up.

A subsidiary question: it is alleged the Minister’s wedding ceremony was at Chandimal Jayasinghe’s wallet. Chandimal is a London qualified wedding dresser who has a terrific market demand in Lanka’s prestigious wedding market. He is said to be a billionaire. Our model subject Piyumi Hansamali is his friend. Was the minister’s wedding payed for by Chandana or on the house? Either way that was bad. LankaE News states that Chandimal payed for all expenses including clothes etc.

Chandimal Jayasinghe’s Birthday Party

The coincidence was too much for commonsense to bear: How did Chandana get to host his birthday party at Shangri-La two days later? Unlike the minister, he is an ordinary citizen though, presumably, with a fat wallet. Once again, the quarantine and lockdown restrictions had been in force. It is reasonable to expect that Chandimal had that party with assurance of support from high- up. Could he have had a prohibited party otherwise? This cries for official explanation. The President’s office must explain and the minister must explain.

Back to Piyumi

Piyumi Hansamali comes to this narrative at this point. Belatedly, the OIC of the Fort Police station had been alerted to the transgression of the law not until after the minister’s wedding  the previous day.  It is alleged that the Salakuna TV program had alerted. The OIC came and arrested 14 revellers of the  party including Chandana Jayasinghe and Hansamali. On magistrate’s order the party was bailed out and packed away in a police bus and taken to quarantine at Passara. Hansamali says she phoned the minister at that point when she realized that she was taken away for quarantine without the required clothes. What a brazen act to phone the minister? I am sure the police would have obliged her. She must have phoned the minister in the confidence that she can be released.

‘The Hiru story (above) that the minister had phoned the cop in the bus from Piyumi’s phone has needs checking. Hiru presenter said he had evidence. If the Hiru version is right Piyumi had met the minister personally. How come this happened? Was the bus driven to the minister’s office and not the Talangama station? Was Piyumi’s contact with Sarath Weerasekara a personal one at this stage? I don’t think one needs Scotland Yard to come in to solve this problem.

Slippery Path to Violation

In the above circumstances, the reader will pardon me for having a fair suspicion that the minister in charge of law and order and police does not appear in good light at all. He has given an explanation but that escapes all these valid questions. For example, his holding the son’s wedding party in times of lockdown is avoided.

it is impossible for Sri Lanka to promulgate and impose law and order when exceptions like these are allowed to be made in flagrant violation. This is happening right down the line due to infirmity at the top. Recently, we observed the birthday party of the mayor of Kurunegala, who I am told, was powerful minister Johnson Fernando’s driver. This guy had a birthday party also while the restrictions were in force. Even the policemen had attended the party and they ate cake.

Can anyone beat that? Another exception due to powerful intervention. Johnston talks big on behalf of the president all the time

When exceptions like this are both created and acquiesced at the very source of power a slippery slope that leads the path to open violation of the law is set up and that makes it hard for the top to bring matters under control. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,”- WB YEATS.

“Governance constitutes an implied social contract and, therefore, a serious social responsibility; it cannot be played as a personal ego exercise”

The inevitable break down of the chain of the law is inescapable when exceptions are made-allowed or acquiesced-like these. When the offenders are at the very top the ugly example is magnified thus making the whole law process a national joke.

Mockingly Ugly Display

There is another side for this.These luxury parties are a mockingly ugly display in times like these.

Sri Lankans bear untold suffering under Covid-19 stress. The Director General of Health Services (5/6) confirmed 40 deaths including one death occurred Saturday and 39 deaths occurred from 21st May to 04th June due to Covid-19 virus infection.

The total number of deaths due to Covid-19 infection in Sri Lanka is 1,696 by now. According to the state minister the actual number is three times more. Also, test rates are relatively low.

One can imagine the hopelessness in the community at large and the desperateness to make ends meet.

Isn’t it ugly to have open wedding ceremonies and birthday parties at Five-Star luxury spots  for all to witness? Isn’t it thoroughly bad form for the minister in charge of police to be associated with these hideous and nauseating public exercises?

Besides, where has Sarath Weerasekara’s claimed patriotism gone? Should we have more patriots like him?

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