Opinion: PSC hearings on Easter Sunday terror display the strength of Sri Lanka’s democracy

June 7, 2019 (LBO) – The truth is coming out. Dominating the news cycle in the last few days have been updates from hearings by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that is investigating Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday terror attacks.

So far four high profile figures have given riveting testimony under oath, and with access (however constrained by certain political authorities) given to the media and the public.

The Defence Secretary, the former Defence Secretary, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the former Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) have all been questioned by the Nation’s legislators. This testimony of the country’s highest public officials has revealed significant failures within Sri Lanka’s security establishment.

Management of the security establishment, and its shortcomings have been laid bare for the people of this country to see.

The PSC is not a court of law. It will not penalise and may not even result in any legal repercussions for those who may be at fault.

However the truth is coming out. Legislators are doing their job. Public officials are also participating in the process with what appears to be good faith. These select committee hearings are working, and may end up being some of the most important actions of our parliamentarians in history.

The hearings are a bright spot for Sri Lanka’s parliamentary democracy that has come out of one of the darkest moments in the country’s history. The truth is coming out, and the people will decide the political repercussions in an upcoming election.

Governments will always have bad actors. In a democracy there is always the chance of electing a poor or even terrible leader. However, if the democratic machinery works properly, the damage from bad actors can be mitigated.

Just like in Sri Lanka’s recent constitutional crisis, although deep flaws have been exposed in Sri Lanka’s democratic system, the system as a whole has maintained its integrity. It has not broken down.

Credit for strengthening of the system should go to those who passed the 19th amendment, and the checks and balances that have come with it. Credit should also go the parliamentary leaders like the Speaker and the Prime Minister for allowing the PSC to proceed in the manner that they have so far.