|Thursday, 25 March 2004|
SLAS Assoc. seeks immediate action on alleged abuse and threat by SB
The Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association has called on President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga for immediate action to inquire into the incident where Agriculture and Livestock Minister S. B. Dissanayake had verbally abused and threatened Mr. P. Weerahandi the newly appointed Ministry Secretary. Writing to the President Association President S. Ranugge has inquired that if a Secretary to a Ministry is treated by his own Minister in this manner what would be the position of other officers of the Ministry. He notes that there was no point of talking "Good Governance" if a Secretary to a Ministry appointed by the President according to the Constitution cannot function without fear or harassment.
Following is the full text of the letter to the President:
It is with regret we wish to bring to Your Excellency's attention that the Hon. Minister, S. B. Dissanayake has verbally abused and threatened Mr. Weerahandi, the newly appointed secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock when he has assumed duties on 22/03/2004.
Our Association vehemently condemns this unbecoming behaviour of a senior minister. It is reported that the Minister has found fault with Mr. Weerahandi for not taking over duties from 'an acting secretary'. We are not aware of any acting appointment for the secretary made by Your Excellency and being a senior SLAS officer, we hope that Mr. Weerahandi is well aware of the procedure to be followed when assuming duties.
Your Excellency would recall that a few months ago, several members of our service have been victimized by the politicians when carrying out their legitimate functions as public officers. A ministry secretary and four divisional secretaries were abused, threatened, insulted and assaulted by the politicians but the government up to date has failed to take any action against those culprits despite our repeated requests. Instead, their thuggery has been rewarded with party tickets to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections this is a very sad development.
A secretary to a ministry is appointed by the President in according to the constitution. If he cannot function without fear and harassment there is no point of taking good governance. If a secretary of the ministry is treated by his own minister in this manner we could imagine the situation of the other officers of the ministry. We urge Your Excellency to take immediate action to inquire into this incident and take necessary action to create a conducive environment for public officers to perform their duties without fear and harassment.
Produced by Lake House