There are reasons for our silence says TNA

tna-saThe spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), M A Sumanthiran rebuffed criticims of the secrecy surrounding constitutional talks, saying, “there are reasons for the silence we keep”.

“We have the belief that our people would trust us. When the interim report is released, everything will be revealed. Until then, people should keep faith,” he said at the weekend, speaking at an event in Karavetty.

In a message, Mr Sumanthiran added:

“At the steering committee meeting on the constitution, if the Tamil National alliance leader Mr R Sampanthan speaks, the prime minister, the president and all the rest will be quiet. Through such a way, our moves are taking place. Many agreements have been reached. There has been a change in an important matter.

Before that change [or] turning point was reached, one minister from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party said why are you only holding on to this so firmly? In other matters, we have given in. We have given in on everything such as land powers, police powers and on changes to the governor model. We have agreed that greater power should be shared. He asked why are you holding on to this one issue so firmly?

I told him that this issue is important to us. Therefore, we show firmness on this. I do not say that this will definitely happen. We must have contentment that we made the opportunities for this to happen. We are firm that the accusation that this did not happen because of us should not be pinned to us.”

See below for full translation of speech published on Tamilwin in Tamil:

“There are reasons to the silence we keep. We have the belief that our people would trust us. When the interim report is released, everything will be revealed. Until then, people should keep faith. 

In terms of the political solution, many work plans are being expedited by us. However, different sides are putting forward allegations that all matters are being conducted in secret. We accept [this]. Some issues are being conducted in secret. The matters relating to the talks will be revealed soon. We have begun to work in earnest on creating the climate for this.

There are reasons for the silence we keep. We are of the firm decision that we do not speak out about our efforts. If issues such as what we talk about [and] what agreements are reached at the discussion table are revealed, the situation would arise that each party which participated would have to disclose their positions. After things have been divulged, agreements cannot be reached at the discussion table. 

Those who know this would understand. If some matters were not kept secret at certain times, the discussion table would be weakened. There have been many different areas of progress in steering committee meetings, which are currently taking place on the creation of the constitution. The meeting held last Friday was a major turning point. There has been major progress on how the country’s ruling system should be and how the country’s governance structure should be. 

At the steering committee meeting on the constitution, if the Tamil National alliance leader Mr R Sampanthan speaks, the prime minister, the president and all the rest will be quiet. Through such a way, our moves are taking place. Many agreements have been reached. There has been a change in an important matter. 

Before that change [or] turning point was reached, one minister from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party said why are you only holding on to this so firmly? In other matters, we have given in. We have given in on everything such as land powers, police powers and on changes to the governor model. We have agreed that greater power should be shared. He asked why are you holding on to this one issue so firmly?.

I told him that this issue is important to us. Therefore, we show firmness on this. I do not say that this will definitely happen. We must have contentment that we made the opportunities for this to happen. We are firm that the accusation that this did not happen because of us should not be pinned to us.

At the discussion table, it is not only what we do; our activity should be the same. Therefore, in some situation, we say the time is not appropriate. We act in a manner so that the international community or anyone else cannot accuse us that we were the obstacle in reaching this. 

We have belief that our people will trust us. When the interim report is published, everything will be revealed; till then people should keep faith. If questions are being raised about certain issues – will it happen, will it happen – then nothing will happen.

If hope had been lost asking whether regime change will happen last January, then it would never have even happened.” (Tamil Guardian)

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