Written by Staff Writer
07 Nov, 2019 | 9:37 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – A heated debate took place in parliament today (November 07) as a result of the draft of the Bill on Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports not being included in the agenda.
The authority to control state finances is vested with the Parliament, which is considered to be the supreme governing body of the country.It is a prime responsibility which should be shouldered by those who are elected into Parliament, through the mandate of the people. Monitoring the financial transactions of state institutions, corporations and departments is one of the main responsibilities given to Parliament under its authority to control state finances.
There was a preparation to table the draft of the Bill on Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports, today (November 07) however, it was not entered into the agenda. A heated debate broke out when several MPs questioned as to if it was omitted from the agenda based on the influence of certain individuals.
Harin Fernando, Minister of Sports:
“Honourable Speaker, this is a major issue. What we are presenting today, are regulations to eradicate corruption from sports. Please direct your attention toward this. There is an attempt within Parliament to favour those who are engaged in gambling. This was done to remove gambling from sports. This act was passed in the oversight committee. However, what has been presented today are the regulations. There was no quorum last time. That is okay.
The regulations are here but the bill which includes the clauses giving us the provisions to punish those who are guilty, which was done with the assistance of the attorney general. This has never been done in Parliament. What are they trying to do? Delay it. Postpone it. Killing time. To make sure it is brought forward after the 16th. Because someone is attempting to protect a thief. There is a letter by the ICC, it will be tabled by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga.
It shows how much a person who is in this Parliament has looted from this sport. If they do not allow this to be eradicated from Parliament, how can we talk about the country as a whole? What have they done to the Parliament?”
Ajith P. Perera, Non-Cabinet Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology:
“Honourable Speaker, this bill is a very important one. It is important for every sport, just as much as it is, to cricket. All that was left was the bill to be entered into the agenda. At such a time, it was not included in the agenda. However, the gazette which was not approved by the oversight committee was entered into the agenda. What has happened here? Is this a delay? Is this intentional? Or has this been done based on the influence on someone powerful? You need to look into this and report on it. If this was passed today, it would have been beneficial to the country.”
Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation:
“I have been speaking of this since the time it came into Parliament in 2001. Only Minister Harin Fernando had the guts to decide that thieves should be chased away. When that bill has been drafted, please help. I am speaking to you as a sportsman. The sport has been destroyed. That is why the Minister has brought this forward. You all are respectable MPs. That person has been put into COPE by your Opposition Leader. What is the meaning of this? Every successive Minister of Sport was given bribes and this bill being brought forward, was stopped.
Minister Harin had the backbone to bring it forward. Ultimately, the sportsmen will suffer. Sanath Jayasuriya is facing an issue, Avishka Gunawardena has been affected by this. These are players who played alongside us. These players are not at fault.”
JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake stated that the SLPP, the President, General Secretaries of those parties and the Opposition Leader have a responsibility to refrain from appointing people who have allegations against them, into responsible Committees. He added that the very person who is chased out of the Cricket Board has been appointed to the committees as a judge.
UNP MP Prof.Ashu Marasinghe said that the Minister of Sports should be commendable for trying to bring forward this draft with a strong backbone. He added that Arjuna Ranatunga is the person who brought Cricket World Cup glory to Sri Lanka he knows better how gambling destroys sports. He finally added that it was evident how these gamblers misused their position as the Deputy Speaker.
Minister of Sports, Harin Fernando:
“When will we stop this practice of bypassing due process? We regard the Parliament as the place which develops the nation. We did not know this was not on the agenda until I questioned it. However, the regulations which were not in the quorum were included. There are 3 regulations. One is that a report by the Auditor-General should be obtained regarding accounting purposes within sporting bodies, another is a regulation that prohibits any person or any family member of a person who holds a portfolio in a sporting body from being engaged in gambling.
That is the only important regulation that will be passed today. However, we had entered something more important in the bill. This bill was brought to eradicate offences relating to sports. This bill includes a provision that says if a person is found guilty, a fine of up to Rs 100mn and a prison sentence of 10 years can be delivered. Who is trying to prevent this?”
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