by K. Thirukumaran
Aside from the intra-Party issues, the first elected Chief Minister of Northern Province is not serving the constituents whom voted him. Mr CV Wigneswaran while in office he has shown “conflicts of interest” with people who are not beneficiaries of the Northern Provincial Council.
Instead he is largely giving voice to the small vociferous section within North-East/Sri Lanka and the diaspora. His actions on the genocide resolution is a prime example of this.
It is not about “passing the resolution” or the term “genocide” but it was a spotlight on NPC taking matters beyond its mandate and slipping from established norms and our failure to showcase our credibility in “governing” – something we “demand” from The governments of Sri Lanka!
In the aftermath of May 2009, the Tamil side was depicted as not having a democratic side and diaspora organizations such as TGTE and NCCT came out and said they have formed people elected bodies. These bodies have only held one public election since formation. Amidst such diaspora setup, the genocide resolution was drafted by a diaspora member known to the Chief Minister and tabled and passed just after a new government took office.
The Chief Minister’s actions are hindering the other relevant every day life matters that NPC must and could address, which were also prominently outlined in the TNA manifesto of NPC.
Those who argued that the NPC is “useless” and “weak” now want to keep him as the Chief Minister and ensure it remains a useless body overall.
The Office of The Chief Minister of Northern Province is no need of An Ayatollah of Tamil Nationalism!
Recently at a diaspora forum attended by writer and activist Ms S Kokilavani, who was also a candidate for TNPF at the August 17 election, the Chief Minister’s stumbling block on NPCs other progressive people benefiting efforts was evident.
Ms. S. Kokilavani solicited diaspora help towards coming up with matching funds which were a requirement to show recipient commitments by prospective foreign donors. It was opined from the audience that diaspora cannot engage in such mechanisms because Chief Minister had said while in California and elsewhere that don’t send funds now because he is yet to “establish his own bank account”!
These type of self raised barriers only hurt the people. Even without funds NPC could become a place for cooperative and expertise assistance. It can lead the way towards that mission from visiting dignitaries. None of these are possible if the Chief Minister treats the NPC as a podium to fight GoSL on matters not in its core function.
The Eastern Provincial Council seem to be functioning without these issues in the recent past. For example Tamil Canadians were able to commence a housing assistance program via the Eastern body few days ago.
It is the small minority of diaspora interference in drafting manifestos via antics of TNPF and the so called Tamil Civil Society etc that continue to make it difficult for TNA to steadfastly work for the betterment of the voters and people of North East. The ITAK name glitters because their history of “giants” in “parliamentary politics” and “non violence” still resonates in the Tamil mindset of silent majority at home and diaspora. This is why all ex militant parties such EPRLF and PLOTE too want to contest under the ITAK symbol.
TNA brought in Mr CV Wigneswaran in for the position, just for this very reason – that is someone outside, person who held an esteem position in the Sri Lankan state and also with religious leanings that can be of solace to the public just coming out of the war.
I earlier supported Mr CV Wigneswaran on all instances while he was vehemently denounced by the very same section of diaspora that is now using him to dysfunction NPC. Earlier since the time he was nominated and thereafter winning as well, he was pounced in the typical demeaning ways of these self anointed patriots. I wrote on Facebook updates in support of the newly elected Chief Minister and also on few email groups.
I was also familiar with his earlier speeches such as this, in January 2008, which I admire:
“Remembering the legacy of Ms. Nahammal Kasipillai” – Speech by Justice CV Wigneswaran:
If not anything else, I believe Mr Wigneswaran is now just “playing safe” to the loud minority and disregarding the silent majority of Tamils. Or being surrounded by a few “yes men”.
It is often said by his supporters that he is “not a politician” and speaking his mind and all that. But he has forgotten that his duty is also to get the NPC working on its primary mission according to the law; and additionally exercise his affluence to garner above and beyond support to get more authority and leeway with Sri Lanka and other governments around the globe for his administration and NPC.
His argument that he has become like this with his “Nationalistic” views due to the fact that he now lives among the people in the North and therefore he realizes their plight.
If that is the case, is he saying that he didn’t realize the draconian nature of the Prevention of Terrorism Act while being a Judge? If he had realized perhaps he would have exercised “judicial activism” – just like the brave CJ Shiranee Banadaranaike who opposed Mahinda Rajapaksa?
And even in this instance, the trial CJ Shirannee Banadaranaike ruled was filed by TNA represented by Mr MA Sumanthiran and others. The case was against “Divunugama” legislation that further sought to dilute the provincial council powers. TNA and Mr Sumanthiran went to such extent to safeguard the existing “weak” provincial council setup. Now the Chief Minister and his fans are happily making the “TNA defended NPC” handicapped. The removal of CJ is the one resulted in the south to galvanize a vote against Rajapaksas on January 8.
Mr CV Wigneswaran can play his role as the one championing that certain Nationalist line, but it is not necessary for him to do so while locking horns with other stakeholders in that position as Chief Minister. Other stakeholders in that position are not only the people of North looking forward to an innovative body to fulfill the mandated and above and beyond takes to alleviate everyday issues – it is also the TNA and the Government of Sri Lanka and other Western governments looking forward to a better working relationship with the NPC administration!
I hope the Chief Minister won’t go down in history as the one hampered the NPC from making any progress. He either correct course or resign with dignity! Better leave the office of Chief Minister like Thilak Marapana did with his portfolio!