Sharma’s office denying vital information to CMAG Violates Mandate – Canada

Shirani  The Commonwealth Secretariat Spokesman Spokesman Richard Uku has released an official statement giving Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma’s response to a report that his office buried legal opinions commissioned by the Secretariat about the Sri Lankan Government’s impeachment of  Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has received a number of reports and opinions on the removal of the former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

The documents were received following a request made by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat Richard Uku said.

“It is Commonwealth Secretariat practice to ensure that the Secretary-General is as well informed as possible when determining the most effective way in which he can assist in politically sensitive situations,” he said.

However he said communications which are provided in confidence to the Secretary-General are treated as internal documents and protected accordingly.

“It would be injurious to the discretion, and ultimately the effectiveness of the Secretary-General if information of this kind were to be released,” Richard Uku said.

Canada responding strongly to the statement by the Commonwealth Secretariat that legal opinions sought by Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma on the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake were provided in confidence to his office.

“I very much agree with the estimable Mr Uku that ensuring the Secretary General is well informed on sensitive issues is an appropriate Commonwealth practise. But his logic,to the effect that the Foreign Ministers who make up the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group,have no similar right to be well informed makes little sense,” Canadian Special Envoy to the Commonwealth, Senator Hugh Segal said, in response to the statement.

The Canadian Senator told that the new remit for CMAG,approved at Perth in 2011 was very clear. The Perth CHOGM gave CMAG sweeping powers of decision over taking proactive action regarding member states whose adherence to Commonwealth core values were on the decline.

“Denying CMAG ministers vital information,such as the legal opinions on the impeachment issue,goes directly against the spirit of that remit,” Segal told Colombo Telegraph

“Do the Ministers report to the Secretary General,or does he advise them at CMAG?” Segal charged.

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