Untold story inside cricket debacle in Sri Lanka
Rise and fall of cricket interim committee!
Cricket defeat is the beginning of Ranil’s defeat for this year!
Ever delaying IMF second tranche!
Whither Sri Lanka Cricket!
The cricket mess
In this year’s World Cup cricket tournament; the Sri Lankan team ended their journey by losing 7 matches and winning only two matches. Having won only two matches against that is against England and the Netherlands the Sri Lankan team faced severe and embarrassing defeats against India, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Due to this, the Sri Lankan team was not only thrown out of the tournament but also had to lose their rightful place in the next Champions Cup tournament.
In this way, when the Sri Lankan cricket team was facing extreme defeats, it was seen that a protest was being created from within the society, not only against the players of the team but also against the cricket’s governing body. It was also seen that the action of the Cricket Board was severely criticized on social media networks. Many people had to say that the Cricket Board should leave and give a chance to a new team. Giving some support to that, the Secretary of the Cricket Control Board Mr. Mohan de Silva forwarded his resignation letter to the Cricket Control Board last Saturday. Mohan had gone to Australia for health reasons, which he had mentioned in his resignation letter.
During this chain of events, a cold war was being waged behind the scenes between the Cricket Board and Sports Minister Mr Roshan Ranasinghe. This conflict came out on several occasions, and one of the occasions when it was seen in public was the last Sri Lanka Premier League 2020 tournament. Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, who made a public statement that the tournament was not approved by the Ministry of Sports, took steps to refrain from even participating in it. But to everyone’s surprise, President Ranil Wickramasinghe came to watch the matches and the Chairman of the Cricket Board, Mr. Shammi Silva, worked very closely with the leading cricket authorities.
A call to Ranil
In this way, the cold war between Minister Roshan and the Cricket Board turned violent when the Sri Lankan team had to face bitter defeats in this year’s World Cup. Especially after getting all out for 55 runs against the Indian team for the second time within two months, this conflict came to the fore when Minister Roshan decided to replace the cricket governing body with an interim governing body and remove the governing body including Shammi Silva. Accordingly, Roshan, who started related work, made a phone call to President Ranil Wickramasinghe last Friday and took steps to inform the President of this matter. The President was preparing for his Nuwara Eliya visit during the weekend. President, who was upset when he was informed that he had decided to remove the cricket board and appoint an interim board, immediately rejected the proposal.
‘No no… Don’t do that. If you do that, we may have a problem with I.C.C. too…’ and proceeded to reject the proposal. Accordingly, the President thought that the work was over there. But Roshan did not stop at that. Knowing in advance that the President would give such an answer, Roshan was firm in his decision to continue this matter even in the face of the President’s objection. Accordingly, Roshan appointed an interim cricket committee under the chairmanship of former cricket captain Mr. Arjuna Ranatunga, implementing his decision despite the President’s objections.
All in secret
It was a special event that Roshan even prepared the relevant gazette notification using the powers of the minister in a very secret manner. Roshan, who knew that if he went to seek the Attorney General’s advice while issuing this gazette announcement, the work would be lopsided, and Roshan did not go to ask anything from the Attorney General’s Department about it. Roshan, who prepared the relevant gazette notification along with a separate bar panel and his officials over the weekend, took steps to send it to the government press on Sunday.
However, the matter came to light with the release of the gazette notification on Monday. After receiving valuable information about this situation, the President called Roshan several times to inform him to stop printing the gazette, but Roshan did not respond to any of them. Accordingly, the first thing the President did on Monday was to call the Secretary of the Ministry of Sports to the Presidential Secretariat to inquire about the matter. The Secretary of the Ministry of Sports also informed the President that he also did not know anything about it and that the minister had done the related work.
A heated argument
Accordingly, the President immediately discussed this with the Attorney General and took steps to inquire about the legal status of the Gazette. The President took steps to include Roshan and the Secretary of the Ministry of Sports in the discussion. According to the news we have here, heated arguments have arisen between these parties in this meeting as well. The sources added that there was a heated conversation between the Attorney General and Roshan.
However, the Attorney General has pointed out that there are a number of serious issues in the relevant gazette notification. Also, the Attorney General, who pointed out that there are a number of legal problems regarding the Gazette because the Attorney General’s Department was not consulted for an opinion or opinion on this, also pointed out to the people that this can be easily challenged before the court. The Attorney General had taken steps to explain the related articles one by one. Accordingly, the Attorney General said without saying that the Attorney General’s Department cannot take responsibility for this gazette announcement. But, Roshan was not ready to accept it.
Reached the cabinet
However, the next phase of the crisis started in the cabinet meeting held on Monday. The president, who was angry because he was acting outside his instructions, came to the cabinet after preparing the background to launch a heavy attack on Roshan. Accordingly, many thought that Roshan would not attend the cabinet meeting on Monday. But to everyone’s surprise, Roshan came to the cabinet meeting and took a seat. Accordingly, the President at the outset took steps to inform Roshan to withdraw the gazette of the incident of the Interim Governing Board.
‘Roshan, I am telling you that this gazette has been published in a very weak way. There are many legal issues in this. Therefore, you should remove this immediately…’ but Roshan, who was very firm, said he is not ready to revoke this gazette.
Roshan was not ready to change his position even though the president said that ‘the work you have done will only allow Shammi to be the chairman of the cricket board until he dies…’ Nimal Siripala also attacked Roshan, but the rest of the ministers remained silent. However, the cabinet meeting ended with another face-to-face meeting between the President and Roshan.
In this meeting too, a heated exchange of words took place between the President and Roshan, with the President informing Roshan to withdraw the interim governing body. A heated exchange of words took place between the two when Roshan took steps to inform the President that Roshan had made many serious accusations against the heads of the Cricket Control Board, and therefore he would not withdraw his steps to appoint the Interim Control Committee.
Will not remove
I am not ready to do what the President says. I will not remove the interim management committee. If necessary, you can remove me from the ministry and appoint someone else…’ said Roshan. He also presented many serious allegations to the President regarding the behaviour of Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, Senior Advisor to the President. Accordingly, this discussion also ended without any agreement between the President and Roshan.
But after the conclusion of this discussion, in an announcement issued by the Presidential Media Unit, it was stated that the President has appointed a special cabinet sub-committee headed by Foreign Minister Ali Sabri to determine what actions should be taken regarding the cricket institution. It was further said that Kanchana Wijesekera, Vijayadasa Rajapaksa and Manusha Nanayakkara have been appointed as its other members. But it was noteworthy that there was that there was no chair for Roshan Ranasinghe as the Minister of Sports or the Director General of Sports.
However, as predicted by the President on Tuesday morning, the authorities of the Cricket Board went before the Court of Appeal and took steps to obtain an interim restraining order against Roshan’s Cricket Interim Committee. Accordingly, Roshan, who participated in the parliamentary meeting on Tuesday, first informed the parliament about this and said that he would make a special statement about the cricket institution and the court decision on Wednesday.
A speech by President
Meanwhile, the President was preparing to make a special statement in Parliament for about a week now. That is to inform the parliament and the country about the current state of the economy and the government’s future actions. Accordingly, the President had previously planned to come to the Parliament on Tuesday and deliver the speech, but due to the cricket crisis, the President had to abandon his visit to the Parliament on Tuesday.
Accordingly, the President’s plan was to make his special statement before the Parliament on Wednesday. But on Wednesday, when Roshan announced that he was preparing to make a special statement, it was seen that Roshan received messages after messages from the President’s side. All those messages said not to make the special announcement scheduled for Wednesday. But Roshan had given a very stern reply. As he said, he will make a special statement on Wednesday, where he will make a number of serious revelations about the cricket board and the court’s decision, and about the behaviour of the heads of the government.
On the other hand, Mr. Sajith Premadasa, the leader of the opposition, had already received the information that the President was preparing to make a special statement before the Parliament. Accordingly, Sajith prepared to stand up and answer the President’s speech at the same time. Sajith had taken steps to prepare in advance not only about the current crisis in the economy but also about the answers to be given if the President proceeds to accuse the Legislative Council without appointing a new Inspector General of Police. Due to Roshan’s special statement on Wednesday, the attention of the country could have been avoided that, so the president changed his plan and decided to delay his statement by a few days.
President in Parliament
President also came to the Parliament on Wednesday morning to see what Roshan was going to say on that day. The President, who did not come to the Parliament but, sat in his office in the Parliament and watched the proceedings of the Parliament live on television. In the meantime, the President also called various ministers and officials to give some instructions.
However, the President did not expect, Roshan will make many serious revelations about the cricket institution in his speech. Roshan also strongly criticized the actions of the President and Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, Senior Advisor to the President, appointing a committee, and the interim order given by the court. Notably, Roshan received a lot of support not only from all the members of the opposition but also from the ministers of the government.
On the other hand, with the serious disclosure made by Roshan, the fight started by none other than the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa. Launching a strong attack on the Cricket Board, Sajith said that since the Sports Minister had revealed many serious facts about the Cricket Board, all 225 members of the Parliament should come together and take steps to pass a resolution informing the officials of the Cricket Board to resign. Accordingly, Sajith informed the Parliament that there is a need for a debate on the matter on Thursday and that all 225 people should come together and raise their hands and vote and pass the resolution unanimously.
Sajith enters the battle
But the Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa, who was in the chair at that time, informed that it should be presented to the Parliament as a proposal. Then the chief organizer of the opposition Mr. Lakshman Kiriella stood up and announced that 20 members of the opposition would stand up and ask for the opportunity to present the proposal. The Prime Minister, Mr Dinesh Gunawardena, stood up and informed that if necessary, an adjournment debate could be given, but Sajith and other opposition MPs were not ready to accept it. They continued to demand that there should be a one-day debate regarding the cricket body, and at the end of the debate, a vote should be held informing the officials of the cricket governing body to resign.
In this way, after Roshan’s speech, the opposition leader’s attempt to bring both the government and the opposition together against the cricket establishment was seen by the President, who was watching the proceedings of the House on television at that time. Accordingly, the leaders of the ruling party as well as the high chairs of the parliament received continuous messages saying that steps should be taken to immediately postpone or suspend the work of the parliament. Especially since the whole country is looking forward to this debate, when Sajith and the opposition suggested that the House should be continued for lunch without delay, the messages said that Parliament should be adjourned to have lunch instead. But despite all those messages, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapakse also decided to continue the parliamentary session by allowing Sajith’s request to not adjourn the parliament for the lunch break.
Like a match
As the situation was very heated by now, everyone including the President was watching the proceedings of the House on television as if they were watching a match in which Sri Lanka was competing in the World Cup. In the meantime, the president used none other than Nimal Lanza, who was once a stalwart of the Rajapaksa camp, to send messages to the parliament. Accordingly, even though Lanza took the President’s messages to the leaders of the ruling party from time to time, the leaders of the ruling party could not do anything but agree to their proposals in the face of strong opposition.
There was a main reason that also affected it. That is because the ministers who came from the villages have already received many phone calls from the party members of the villages. In those calls, the party members had informed that there is strong opposition from the people of the villages regarding the Cricket Control Board and that no decision or statement should be made in favour of the Cricket Control Board. According to that, there were even many Pohottu ministers of the ruling party who would stand in the opposition position and work against the Cricket Board regardless of the decision taken by the heads of the government.
As a result of this, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa took steps to agree to Sajith’s proposal that the Parliament should continue without a lunch break. Second, when Wimal Weerawansa, Dallas Alahapperuma and the opposition together expressed their views on Sajith’s proposal that a resolution should be passed against the cricket establishment, the deputy speaker said that a party leader meeting would be called at 1.30 pm to take a final decision on the matter.
A decision to cancel
Meanwhile, another special event that no one knew about was happening in the official room of the Parliament where the President was staying. That is, the President, who was very angry due to the special statement made by Roshan to the Parliament, prepared to issue the letter to remove Roshan from the post of Sports Minister. Ministers Nimal Siripalat and Nimal Lansa, who immediately went to the President’s room after this situation was reported, continuously told the President not to take such a decision at this time.
Nimal Siripalat and Nimal Lansa, who pointed out to the President that the country is currently with Roshan, also took steps to inform the President of another serious message received from the government. That is, if the President moves to remove Roshan from the position of minister based on this crisis, another minister, including Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, and three state ministers are ready to leave their ministerial positions. Siripala and Lansa pointed out to the President that if that happens, it will cause a big disadvantage for the government at the moment. Accordingly, the President had taken steps to change his decision at the last minute, and if it had not been so, everyone would have seen a big explosion within the government on Wednesday, and if that happened, the government would be able to see how many others were ready to go out with Roshan.
Both sides agree
Meanwhile, exactly at 1.30 pm, the special party leader meeting started in the speaker’s discussion room. Although the ruling party made some efforts to prevent the proposal against the cricket institution from being presented to the parliament in this party leaders’ meeting, the ruling party had to change its position due to the opposition’s strong opposition. However, since the proposal included a section related to the judiciary, it was strongly argued by the government that it should be removed. Due to the fact that this proposal should be debated in the parliament, the opposition representatives including Sajith agreed to remove the judicial part and present the proposal.
Then the question that arose was about the date of the debate. The opposition pointed out that since this is a matter that needs to be discussed very soon, the standing orders should be suspended or debated on Thursday itself. The ruling party also agreed to it. Accordingly, in the end, it was decided that the opposition leader Sajith would present the resolution and the resolution would be confirmed by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on behalf of the ruling party. When this situation was reported, the President, who had planned to make a special statement in the Parliament, was seen leaving the Parliament at around 1.45 pm.
Meanwhile, by Wednesday afternoon, several other special events related to this debate were taking place outside the Parliament. One of them was that several powerful members of the ruling party decided not to participate in the debate on Thursday. The presence of several former sports ministers among the group was also a special event.
The board too ready
There was also another special group who were watching the matches happening inside the parliament on television. Those are the top officials of the Sri Lanka Cricket Institute. Accordingly, they also met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss how to respond to the continuing allegations. In addition to the officials of the cricket company, a group of well-known lawyers were also present for these discussions.
However, during the discussion, a message received by this group from a higher place said that Minister Roshan Ranasinghe in his parliamentary speech accused the court and the judges of the court by referring to them by their names, and as a result, proceedings should be filed against Roshan under the charge of contempt of court.
A past example for that was mentioned in the message received by the group from the highest place. That is, former minister Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle made a statement against the judiciary in the Parliament on one occasion, and at a later time, during a trial held on the matter; Judge Mark Fernando pronounced the verdict that Jeyaraj had insulted the court. It was further stated in this message that it was decided that this could not be done without suspending the standing orders.
According to the information we have, it is said that some group is planning to divert the attention of this cricket crisis by filing a case against Roshan before the court under charges of contempt of court and giving it a lot of publicity.
On the other hand, with Roshan bringing this cricket crisis to the fore, the president was also very upset. That is because Roshan has made several serious accusations against the president and the chiefs of his staff. Accordingly, instead of the Interim Control Committee appointed by Roshan, Supreme Court Judge K.T. A Chitrasiri should be implemented as opined by the president. It was stated in an announcement issued by the Presidential Media Unit on Wednesday evening that the report will be presented to Parliament on Thursday. Many people had introduced this effort of the President as an effort to divert attention from the discussion regarding the Cricket Board.
Meanwhile, another incident took place in the Parliament lobby on Wednesday. That is, two former sports ministers in the opposition surrounded several members of the opposition and criticised Roshan’s revelation.
‘Who will take responsibility if the International Cricket Council suddenly bans cricket in Sri Lanka…?’ The speech of these two former sports ministers made one thing very clear to the opposition members. That is, they are both talking about cleaning the cricket board. There was also a discussion about Namal Rajapaksa who was another former sports minister. An MP from Pohottuwa said that Namal has left for Dubai by now and that Namal will not participate in the debate or voting related to the Cricket Board.
There was no vote
Meanwhile, the best happening of the cricket debate was seen during the voting on Thursday. Here, Sajith clearly informed that voting by name is necessary. The reason for this was a disclosure made by Roshan in his speech to Parliament. Roshan had said that about 15 members of parliament have been accused of being dependent on cricket. Therefore, Sajith wanted to hold a poll in the name of the 225 MPs in the Parliament to show the country that the MPs are dependent on cricket.
But even though Sajith and the opposition asked for a division at the end of the debate, State Minister Chamara Sampath Dasanayake, who immediately stood up as per the previous plan, stated that the government was also in favour of the resolution and stated that it was passed unanimously. The opposition continued to protest and demanded a vote, but the speaker finally said that since both sides were in favour of the resolution, it was passed unanimously. Accordingly, due to the termination of the parliament, it was seen that the country was prevented from the opportunity to reveal the MPs who depended on the cricket institution, who have been seriously accused.
A date for the second instalment of the $1.9 billion loan given to Sri Lanka by the International Monetary Fund has not yet been announced. The financial fund had stated that the government is delaying the second instalment of the loan due to non-fulfilment of the proper payment conditions. In this regard, we have taken steps to report information on many occasions along this belt.
However, this time we are uncovering the latest crisis situation that has emerged based on the biggest condition of the financial fund, the restructuring of foreign debt. Last time we reported on this channel that the Paris Club as well as creditor countries such as America, India and Japan should disclose the agreement made by the Government of Sri Lanka with the Chinese Exim Bank for debt restructuring. However, the government has not yet disclosed the agreement based on a special clause in the relevant agreement. It was read from that clause that neither party can disclose the details of the relevant agreement. Accordingly, the restructuring of foreign debt has now faced a great crisis.
In addition, the International Monetary Fund had recently taken steps to hand over a special report to the government based on governance. Through that report, 3 special proposals had been submitted to the government, and it was stated in the report that these proposals should be implemented immediately.
The first proposal was that the President, Ministers as well as government officials should issue statements of assets and liabilities. The second proposal was to make the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission an independent and transparent body. Although both of these proposals are feasible, the third proposal was quite serious. The third proposal said that the Legislative Assembly cannot be accepted as an independent institution, and since the appointment of high officials is done through the Legislative Assembly, an independent committee free from political interference should be appointed above the Legislative Assembly to review those appointments.
IMF Meet with Sajith
The Financial Fund had taken steps to talk not only with the government but also with the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa regarding these proposals. There they emphasized that only if these proposals are fulfilled, the currently signed staff agreement to provide the second instalment can be submitted to the Executive Council and passed.
However, the government has given the green light only to the third proposal, the proposal to appoint another independent committee above the Constituent Assembly. It is known that the other two proposals have not yet received a good response from the government.
Accordingly, the activities of providing the second instalment by the Financial Fund are currently in a serious state of uncertainty. If things were done according to the prescribed time frame, Sri Lanka is now on the verge of receiving the third instalment from the financial fund. However, due to the non-fulfilment of the conditions and due to the presentation of new conditions, the government is currently in a situation where it will not receive the second instalment from the financial fund.
Sajith is ready
President Ranil Wickramasinghe was preparing to make a special statement before the Parliament this week. It is based on several special factors such as the current economic crisis and the change in the electoral system. However, Ranil decided to postpone the presentation of his speech by a few days due to the fact that Parliament was on fire due to the cricket crisis last week.
However, information was also reported to the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa that the president is ready to make a special speech in this way. In the related discussions, many people emphasized that the President is preparing to implement a cunning strategy to postpone the elections without changing the electoral system. Accordingly, last week, Sajith was also ready to react strongly in the parliament if the President made this speech.
Sajith had also received a lot of information about various individuals and organizations behind the President’s attempt to postpone the elections. Accordingly, if Ranil had made that speech, Sajith would have made a special disclosure in Parliament about these individuals and organizations behind the postponement of the elections.