Setting up of Independent Commissions should be open to public

Saturday, 17 October 2015 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The establishment of independent commissions should be open to the public and completed within the next three weeks, the grouping of civil activists, ‘DecentLanka2015,’ has said in a statement.

Following is the full statement issued by the grouping signed by Attorney-at-Law Neville Ananda, Attorney-at-Law Sujeewa Dahanayake, social activist Muditha Karunamuni, journalist Kusal Perera, trade union leader Anton Marcus and Attorney-at-Law Srinath Perera:

Apart from the undue delay in establishing independent commissions, the secretive process in nominating and appointing members to commissions that needs to be credible, impartial and independent on the strength of the integrity of persons so appointed is now being seriously questioned.

People voted for this Government hoping to live in a corruption free, peaceful, law abiding society that would enjoy socio economic development as well. It was for this purpose the State agencies ruined during the past Rajapaksa regime had to be turned into efficient, impartial and independent agencies. 

The need to have the 19 Amendment to establish a Constitutional Council to appoint independent Commissions and why it became a rallying call at the past presidential elections was also for the same reason. We are not in any way satisfied in how the 19A was written into the Constitution. Yet we wish to stress, pledges given to people during the two recently concluded elections holds the Government politically responsible in establishing independent commissions as promised.

These pledges apart, we note with regret that there is no difference from that of Rajapaksa era in how this Government is going ahead in appointing persons to independent commissions. It was only three days ago the media reported of a person nominated to the Police Commission as one with very serious allegations against him. This very decision in nominating a person with allegations against him questions the responsibility and commitment of this Government in having independent commissions. 

This behaviour of the Government is very problematic in the face of police arrogance and inefficiency that leaves people agitated and the Police with no credibility. If this is how the Government appoints the Police Commission, we would not trust the Government in how other independent commissions would be appointed.

We are in no way able to allow independent commissions to go the way they went during the previous Rajapaksa regime. We are therefore convinced all nominations to independent commissions along with who proposed them should be made public before commissions are appointed. 

In ensuring that social right, we request the Government to declare all details about nominations to independent commissions including those of proposers, seven days before appointment of commissions for public scrutiny and to complete the already much delayed appointment of commissions, within three weeks from now.