There is immense controversy surrounding the so-called ‘grease devils’ but the people should not fear as it is not a reality but a creation of the government to extend emergency laws without external interference. The people are asking for the removal of emergency regulations but instead the government has attempted to divert the people’s attention to dubious pranks just so that they can continue to infringe the laws of the country. If the government can defeat the LTTE then defeating the supposed ‘grease devils’ should not by any means be a difficult task, if indeed we are expected to believe that they, the ‘grease devils’ do exist.
Villagers in Kandy have seen so-called ‘grease devils’ being dropped off in the area by government vehicles. I was informed that some of those who had made direct complaints to the police were informed by the police officers themselves that they know who is responsible for the ‘grease devil’ phenomenon and assured the people that it will stop shortly. It is clear that this is a move by the government to sidetrack the people from what is real and that which should be urgently addressed. The government has cleverly utilised this to extend the emergency regulations which should be removed with immediate effect.
The government intends extending emergency regulations just so that they can continue to hold staggered elections. The Sri Lankan constitution and election laws do not permit staggered elections. The only means available to hold staggered elections is through emergency regulations. The government chose to hold the first local government elections in areas where they knew they would have the most amount of success. The second set of elections were held in locations that the government expected to do fairly well, and the third local government elections were in areas that the government knew for certain that they would not perform well.
The UNP would have won the power of a minimum of 35% of the councils islandwide had the elections been held on one day, which is why the government chose to hold staggered elections. History has proven that holding elections in a staggered manner naturally creates bias among the people. During the 56th parliamentary election in 1956 the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) got one seat in parliament on one day during the elections. On the second day of the elections the MEP won all the seats in parliament hands down. It was after this experience that new laws were introduced to not permit a staggered election system in the country. However the government continues to use emergency regulations to their advantage to win elections.
At this crucial time the leaders of the UNP must set an example to the rank and file of the party. If the leaders cannot keep the flock together then they have failed. It is essential for the party to have young people as well as experienced members who can keep the party together. If the leaders are divided, the rank and file will also be divided. Therefore it is of absolute necessity to strengthen the party at this time prior to the elections.