SPEAKER TURNS DOWN RAVI’S request

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya turned down a request by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake to make a special statement in Parliament yesterday on the grounds that it does not come under the purview of a Privilege Matter or Personal Explanation.

The Speaker, rejecting the repeated requests by the MP, stood his ground that he could not allow the MP to make the statement as per the Standing Orders. He asked the MP to abide by the decision of Parliament.

Former Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who was in the House with a ten page prepared statement in hand, insisted that he wanted to read out certain sections of the Bond Commission report. “I secured a copy of the report through an RTI application after a payment of Rs 5,000.Why cannot I read it?” he questioned.

The Speaker told MP Karunanayake that he may speak on the Bond report on the date Parliament takes up the debate in that regard.

“I don’t understand as to how this Parliament does not provide an opportunity to speak when the privileges are impacted. I have very clearly and emphatically mentioned that I would be making a statement today. I am lost for an answer. The Parliament staff came up with flimsy answers. After 24 years in Parliament I see an absolute case of injustice. I must be told as to why I’m not permitted,” Karunanayake complained.

Karunanayake argued that precedence showed that MPs had been allowed to make similar statements in the past under Privileges. “We came to usher in good governance and I have always acted in line with good governance principles,” he commented.

The Speaker said it was very clear that the statement does not fall under the Privileges. “That is the explanation that I can offer you. I am saying this to you with due respect for your seniority,” the Speaker replied.

“If you do not allow me to read out my statement in the House, I will send it to all the media and websites telling them that this was what I was going to disclose,” warned MP Karunanayake.

“That is your decision. I act according to the Standing Orders and I have the final responsibility with regard to them,” the Speaker replied.

Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardena said they would like to hear what MP Karunanayake wanted to say on the content of the Bond report. A heated exchange of words occurred thereafter between MPs Karunanayake and Gunawardena which ended up in insulting remarks at each other. 

 

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