FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

SLFP suspends disciplinary action against members

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has decided to suspend disciplinary action against errant party members because of the lack of support from the party hierarchy for such action, a senior party source said yesterday.

He said the main reason for this decision was the failure to take disciplinary action against controversial minister Mervyn Silva.

“It is more than two weeks now since the party’s Central Committee called for an explanation from Minister Mervyn Silva on his public utterances embarrassing President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the party. He is still to respond to our letter and it seems it will never come. Therefore, we have decided to suspend all disciplinary proceedings against party members until a decision is taken against Minister Silva,” the source said. He said the remarks that had been reportedly made by Minister Mervyn Silva that no one could take action against him as long as President Rajapaksa was the President of this country was uncalled for and highly damaging to President Rajapaksa and the party.

The source, who is also a senior member of the SLFP, said the party headquarters had received several complaints against party members, SLFP members of Pradeshiya Sabhas, Urban Councils, Provincial Councils and Parliament.

He said the complaints relate to corruption, fraud and violation of party regulations but the Central Committee was not in a position to take action on these complaints because of the Mervyn Silva factor though a majority of these complaints were well substantiated. The source said not only SLFP members but almost all United People’s Freedom Alliance ( UPFA) members have been embarrassed by the untoward actions and controversial remarks of maverick minister, who gives the impression that he has been given a free hand to behave in this manner.

He said ministers were regularly questioned at news briefings about Minister Silva’s behaviour and they found themselves extremely helpless on these occasions.

“Even the government spokesmen have been thoroughly embarrassed on several occasions when responding to questions about this minister’s behaviour,” the source said and added that given this background and until the controversy surrounding Minister Silva is cleared up, the party would not resume disciplinary action against any other SLFP member because it would be an act of injustice should the party go ahead with disciplinary action against them.
BY SANDUN A. JAYASEKERA
Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka

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