He invited other political party’s supporting the SLFP and those who are willing to do so in the future to contest as a common front at future polls under the ‘Hand’ symbol. President Sirisena also invited SLFP parliamentarians in the Joint Opposition group to work within the party to form an SLFP led government in the future.“I took over the leadership to form a SLFP led government,” the President added. President Maithripala Sirisena today asserted that he will not bow down to any external threats.The President expressed this view at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) 65th anniversary event in Kurunegala today. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and several SLFP members of the joint opposition did not attend the event. Speaking at the event, President Sirisena said all members of the party must unite to strengthen the SLFP instead of threatening to create new political parties. While observing that some were attacking him both openly and in secrecy, the President questioned whether they were conspiring against him as he is a man from humble background. He pointed out that he is the President who is mostly close to the general public as he came from a humble background when compared to the other six Executive Presidents in the country.“Why are they challenging me? Why are they attacking me? Is it because I am an ordinary small man? Is it because I am the first President of Sri Lanka to have been born in a mud hut? Is it because I am the son of a poor farmer? Is it because I am not part of the traditional ruling class of this country?” he queried.The President also stressed on the need to reorganize the party and form a clean political movement. He said the foundation for a clean political movement is necessary to form an SLFP led government in the future.
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has decided to boycott Parliament sessions tomorrow.UPFA Parliamentarian S.B. Dissanayake said the UPFA will not attend Parliament sessions tomorrow in protest against Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
A student at a top university acted out a rape fantasy he dreamt up while training to be a counsellor for other undergraduates, a court heard.Alistair Cooke, 22, who was in his third year studying geography at Durham University, allegedly raped a 23-year-old fellow student while she was drunk on rum punch, later admitting he felt “shady” about what he had done.Durham Crown Court heard the rape followed exactly the same course as a scenario Cooke invented as he trained to become a counsellor with the university’s Nightline service, designed to help students who were suffering problems. During the evening the woman drank rum punch and gin and tonic and appeared very drunk. She went home upset and couldn’t remember leaving the partyShaun Dodds, prosecuting, Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The entrance gate to Durham UniversityCredit: Washington Imaging / Alamy Stock Photo The incident followed the same path that Cooke had invented weeks earlier.The court was told that training to become a Nightline counsellor involved role play and that other students would pretend to be victims of sexual assaults.Cooke, however, pretended to be the attacker when it came to his turn to play a role.Another student present at the session told the court: “Instead of pretending he had been raped he would talk about how he had followed somebody home, that they had sex and that she woke up in the morning and was weird, that her mates were angry at him and now he was feeling a bit sick.”The court was told he used the same “emotional words” he later used after the real rape.Cooke, who is from the village of Perranarworthal in Cornwall, denies three counts of rape, but Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, told the court the girl was too drunk to have consented.She told the court that she woke up dazed and found she and her alleged attacker were naked in bed.In the days that followed she began texting him to ask for an explanation about what he had done.She texted: “You hurt me” to which he replied: “I am really worried about you, please can you tell me what is going through your mind, I’ve never wanted to hurt you and I feel awful that is how you feel.”She continued: “Why did you ask me who you were?”His reply said: “Because I wasn’t sure how awake/aware you were.”She responded: “And you don’t think there is anything wrong with any of that?”He texted back: “That night I definitely wasn’t in a clear state of mind but I never felt like I got any signals for you that it was wrong. Now I feel it was shady and more in the grey and that makes me worried and a bit sick.”Responding angrily, she texted: “So you let yourself into my house when everyone was asleep, checked I was awake enough to say who you were (after coaxing) and then moved me to my bed to have sex. And now you’re starting to feel it was a bit shady?”He replied: “I’m with friends and have had some drink I will give you a proper reply when I am sober.”She responded: “Maybe you should stop drinking.”The court was told that at the party Cooke took selfies of himself with the girl even though she was too drunk to remember the pictures being taken, leaving the party or getting home.The court was told the picture showed the “extremely tall” Cooke looming over the complainant, leaning in to make the picture appear intimate.Prosecutor Mr Dodds told the jury: “During the evening the woman drank rum punch and gin and tonic and appeared very drunk. She went home upset and couldn’t remember leaving the party.”Mr Dodds said the party host was concerned and went after her to ensure she got home safely as she was speaking in a garbled manner and stumbling in the street, barging into things.She was placed on the sofa at home covered by a duvet, but minutes later the defendant entered the house.Although he told one of the woman’s housemates he was going home, he remained at the property.Mr Dodds said the female student later recalled being in her bedroom and not knowing how she got there.She recalled being completely naked in bed and the defendant being in the room, saying: “It’s Ali. Who am I?”Mr Dodds said the woman told police she recalled the defendant putting on a condom and moving her round into different positions to have sex, some of which were painful.But she said the following morning when she woke, she was “confused and surprised”, as the defendant was in the room, before, “in due course”, he left.Mr Dodds told the court: “She said that whatever happened in that room, it was without her consent.”The trial continues. Other students were unnerved when Cooke pretended to have followed a drunk woman home and had sex with her, using the same emotional language he later used following the real rape, the jury heard.On June 1, 2015 the alleged victim invited Cooke to a party saying she “felt sorry for him as he seemed to be depressed.”Whilst there the woman, who was also studying at Durham, became in her own words “very very very drunk” on rum punch and gin and tonic.She left the party unable to speak coherently and went to her shared house nearby, but Cooke followed her home and let himself in, finding her sleeping on a sofa.The court was told he then asked her to repeat his name to check she was awake enough to have sex, before moving her to her bed where he put on a condom and raped her three times.Three days after the rape he admitted to the girl by text: “Now I feel it was shady, more in the grey. It makes me worried and a bit sick.”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedOp-Ed: A Jaundiced JeffreyFebruary 22, 2018In “Opinion”Letter: Take a stand against authoritarianism or sit subjugated and repressedDecember 12, 2017In “Letters”Op-Ed: The Constitution will always be a hindrance to authoritarianismFebruary 16, 2018In “Opinion” By: Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MPAttorney-at-LawLast week, I examined how a democratic Constitution, with its checks and balances, poses a hindrance to authoritarianism. In order to make the essay pragmatic, I gave real-life supporting examples of how the authoritarian runs afoul of the Constitution. I chose events in the rule of Guyana’s most authoritarian politician, Mr. Forbes Burnham, historically, and actions of President David Granger, of more recent vintage, as illustrations to buttress the main plank of my proposition.That article evoked a spirited response from Dr. Henry B. Jeffrey, in his “Future notes” published on the 21st day of February, 2018, in Stabroek News, under the bold caption: “Nandlall’s flawed political theorizing”. The main reason why I chose to support my thesis with both historical and contemporary events involving prominent political personas was, precisely, to avoid theorizing in abstract. Unfortunately, my efforts failed to either persuade or impress Dr. Jeffrey, who accused me of “extremely dubious” and “flawed” political theorizing.The goodly Political Scientist begun by taking umbrage to my contention that Mr. Burnham recognised very early that he could not function under the Westminster Constitution promulgated by Great Britain, and therefore, swiftly moved to change it, eventually, scrapping it all together. He argues that Mr. Burnham operated for 16 years under that Constitution before his own creation, the 1980 Constitution, came into force. To the extent that the inherited Constitution remained in force for 16 years, Dr. Jeffrey is correct. However, he refuses to recognize the underlying and demonstrable dislike, which Mr. Burnham had for that instrument which resulted in constant, incremental, but fundamental changes, made to the Constitution, which struck at its very foundation during that period.In 1964, when Mr. Burnham took the reins of Government under a coalition, comprising of the PNC and the UF, the head of the Judiciary was the Chief Justice. The incumbent was Sir Joseph Luckhoo, a fiercely independent and outstanding jurist, with whom Mr. Burnham did not enjoy good relations. To a democrat that ought not to have mattered. Not Mr. Burnham. For an authoritarian, there must be complicity, if not subservience, in the judicial branch. In 1966, the Independence Constitution not only brought into being the Guyana Court of Appeal but the occasion was used to create a new office as head of the Judiciary. That of the Office of Chancellor – the only of its kind in the entire Commonwealth other than England, herself! To this office, Sir Kenneth Sievewright Stoby, a Guyanese, then in Barbados, was imported and installed. By these constitutional machinations, Sir Joseph Luckhoo, the sitting Chief Justice and hitherto head of the Judiciary, was unceremoniously demoted! Rather than endure such indignity, this distinguished jurist migrated from these shores and took up an appointment as President of the Jamaican Court of Appeal, where he remained up until his retirement.Republican ConstitutionThe second set of major constitutional alterations came on the 23rd day of February, 1970, with the promulgation of the Republican Constitution. This move legally severed our constitutional relationship with Great Britain and replaced the Queen as Head of State with the newly created titular President, with the head of the Executive being the Prime Minister. Thus, the Govern General, as representative of the Queen, as Head of State, was permanently removed from our constitutional infrastructure. It is this constitutional maneuver which laid the foundation for a merger of the Head of State and head of the Executive into one office, styled, the Executive President, which the 1980 Constitution birthed. This Constitution, as I explained last week, was one crafted to Mr. Burnham’s liking and was brought into force by a fraudulent referendum process.Significantly, it is the 1970 constitutional changes that abolished all appeals to Her Majesty’s Privy Council and removed that Court completely from Guyana’s legal system, making the Guyana Court of Appeal the apex of our Judiciary. The environment was, therefore, created for political interference with the Judiciary to begin.At this juncture, it is apposite that I mention that during this period, there was pending, in the court system, a legal challenge to the rigged 1968 national elections, filed by an elector. Had this challenge traveled all the way to the Privy Council, those elections, more likely than not, may have been nullified. Many believed that Mr. Burnham was not prepared to take such a monumental risk. As history has recorded, Mr. Burnham rigged several elections after that and subverted the rule of law in multiple ways. Therefore, the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council was a very calculated artifice.So, Dr. Jeffrey, while the Westminster Constitution remained in force, in six short years Mr. Burnham systematically uprooted and dismantled certain fundamentals pillars upon which it was constructed. By 1980, it was wholly replaced. I hope I have provided enough evidence to persuade you to my point.Dr. Jeffrey next posits that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) “also ran an autocratic regime and by the time, it demitted office 60% of its own constituency and 80% of Africans did not care for them”. Dr. Jeffrey was a Minister and sat at Cabinet and in the National Assembly for 17 consecutive years in that very PPP Government. I respectfully suggest that he dedicate one edition of “Future notes” to inform what role he played in resisting the PPP’s autocracy. I hope he will not tell us that he was a mere officious bystander. That would not only be incredible but would render him equally guilty by omission. As it regards the latter part of his statement (quoted above), it took a coalition of five political parties, via questionable elections, to remove the PPP after 23 years in Government and yet, only by less than 5,000 votes. Those statistics provided by Dr. Jeffrey, therefore, cannot be correct.Guyana Bar AssociationDr. Jeffrey next attributes to me a proposition, which he labels “absurd” but which I never advanced. He writes: “Furthermore, absurd as it is, Mr. Nandlall appeared to have been suggesting that gridlock does not now exist in the appointment process…”Of course it does. It is in recognition of this gridlock that I posited that the framers of the Constitution also recognised the same and in order to break this gridlock, crafted Article 127 (2). Dr. Jeffrey does not so construe Article 127 (2). Well, I do not know for what else Article 127 (2) was intended, if not to break a gridlock, created by Article 127 (1). He then blames the PPP Government “for not making sufficient effort to use the constitutional reform process to solve the problem”. That it was the constitutional reform process that produced the “problem”, clearly eluded Dr. Jeffrey. In fact, there was no “constitutional reform process” thereafter, for the PPP to “solve the problem”.Dr. Jeffrey then advances the proposition that in his opinion, the President can still lawfully appoint his nominees to act by utilizing Article 127 (2). No, he cannot. Clearly, the goodly Doctor is wandering into territory with which he is unfamiliar. My views aside, the Guyana Bar Association in a recent missive declared that should that occur, the appointments would be “null, void and unconstitutional”.Finally, I endorse Dr. Jeffrey’s concurrence with the sentiments expressed by the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that, “acting appointments for protracted periods are generally inimical to fearless, independent performance” and that “good governance and the welfare of the citizens require that the top judicial officers of Chancellor and Chief Justice be properly filled…” However, I digress sharply from the learned President of the CCJ, who places the solution in litigation. In my view, apart from making declaratory orders to the effect, that such a state of affairs is repugnant to the rule of law, a Court can do no more, having regard to the clear and express language of Article 127 (1). It cannot compel the agreement, which the Article requires. Neither can it substitute itself for those in whom the Constitution places the responsibility to procure those appointments. Should a Court endeavour to do either, it would be turning the Separation of Powers doctrine on its head.