Speaker Karu Jayasuriya addressed the parliament yesterday (June 21) on certain facts which arose on the matter where a foreign advisor was appointed. The facts were presented in a letter tabled in the parliament by Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella.
Kiriella claimed that even during the previous regimes that such advisors were appointed. However, he continued to say that today they receive foreign aid from the UNDP, USAID, the Westminister Foundation in Britain, International Republican Institute, Fredric Oman Foundation in Germany, National Democratic Union and NDI.
He further said that in addition to this that parliament diplomacy is a new concept where they maintain ties with a majority. He added that exchange programs are conducted for the members of the house and the staff in parliament.
After a continuous exchange of words, Lakshman Kiriella questioned if the fact that Gotabaya Rajapaksa being funded by the US was the right thing to do. Responding to this, the opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said that they do not oppose the idea of appointing him as an advisor while adding that he cannot hold office in the sovereign parliament while receiving a salary from the US.
To which the leader of the house said that as an American citizen that it is wrong to receive USA aid for the activities in parliament adding that this has continued for 20 years for their health needs.
He continued to question the opposition if it was a proper thing to hold green cards and be American citizens while questioning why two people serving at the DAI institution assisting parliament is not right.
He specified that the individuals are the former additional secretary of the Ministry of State Administration, an international expert on management and human resource G. Hettiarachchi, the other official is the former secretary to the Ministry of foreign affairs and a former senior ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam.
Kiriella added that many local and foreign international training programmes were conducted for the members of the house.
All this was done through the funds from donors. Many go to the speaker’s chambers in secret and request to be sent on tours.
Also joining the conversation the Prime Minister said that from today onwards they are not going to travel overseas upon receiving these invitations and urged the opposition to not go in the months of August and September.
The Prime Minister also said that there will be no funds for travel and that we will have to pay it. He continued to say that he was not consulted when Hettiarachchi or Amunugama or Kariyawasam were appointed adding that it is not his duty to do so, but the duty of the party leaders.
He further said that however when the appointment was made that the party leaders could have objected to the matter. PM said that if there is an issue regarding Kariyawasam being an American agent, he said that he did not appoint him and that the President had given him an appointment in America.
Wickremesinghe also said that the ACSA agreement was signed under the Rajapaksa government and we did not object to that in 2007 and that now it was only signed to extend the agreement. He added that they claim its bad because they signed it adding that now it is not only American citizens but also American agents who are in parliament.
We questioned the Speaker on this advisor who is paid by a foreign organization. However, the Speaker on that day evaded the question saying that he will answer the question in parliament.
the Speaker accepted that two advisors in parliament are being paid by an American organization named DAI. We thank you for that. We question the office of the Prime Minister. Do you too, employ people who are on the payroll of foreign organizations?
Speaking on this exchange in parliament UNP MP Kanchana Wijesekara said that they have a suspicion that Prasad Kariyawasam was seated in a corner when US$ 585 million was spent to overthrow the government. He continued to say that an organization of the US is advising the elections commission while another institution has been appointed to update all data in computers and provide training on it.
He further said that there is a person by the name of Vasu Mohan in this organization and that they have a suspicion if they are trying to use the US influence in the next election through the US department and the elections commission.
“The US Department of Justice sends a letter to the then Chief justice H.N.J. Perera, asking him to send 12 Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judges in batches of 6 for training in America. The invitation is extended by Patrick J. Dealers who is a person attached to the American Embassy. Three High Court judges from Sri Lanka are sent. The three judges are none other than the three judges who are hearing the case against Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the permanent High Court Trial at bar. We saw the FBI coming in, many people who had received foreign training coming in” stated the MP.
He also said that they saw how the Hilton hotel was leased out and remained under locked doors for two months up to today and that it still remains a question as to why it remained that way.
“We know that during the past, America was looking at where they can set up their base in the Indian ocean. The island that they received in 1932 Diego Garcia was what they used for their operations in the first and the second world war, and in the operations in the middle east in the recent past. But the ICJ has now ruled that the island must be handed over back to the Mauritius islands” he added.
He also said that after losing a hold on the Mauritius islands that the US has no base in the Indian Ocean and that because of this they have reasonable suspicion as to if the US helped us to support the country or to establish their own base in Trincomalee.