October 17, 2013UNP Chief Ranil Wickremesinghe left on a two-day visit to Singaporeafter a marathon day of discussions that centred on his leadership of SriLanka’s main opposition party on Tuesday (15).
Nearly two weeks ago, the United National Party’s internecine war turned bloody on the streets of Matara. Three days ago, as a belated result of thatviolence, Matara Police sought the arrest of the party’s Communications Chief, aformer Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera in connection withorganising an illegal protest and more incongruously, the petty theft of two megaphones.Samaraweera’s role in provoking the Matara clashes have been roundly criticised by both UNPmembers and the general public for bringing back ugly memories of his days as a minister inthe Chandrika Kumaratunga administration. Yet as he left the Matara Police Station on Tuesdayclutching a plastic bag of his belongings, Samaraweera cut a sympathetic figure.Video footage of club wielding hooligans from both the pro and anti-Ranil factions within theUNP were mostly overshadowed by images of a doddering 70 year old in a green shirt and cap,firing his gun willy-nilly into the crowd. That man was Herman Guneratne, author andconfidant of senior members of the ruling administration. He is the father of one of the UNP’sleading rebels who organised the anti-Ranil March from Matara to Colombo, Attorney-at-LawMaithri Guneratne.Guneratne Junior was recently expelled from the UNP for his role in the violence at Sirikotha,the Party’s Headquarters in December 2011. Remanded almost immediately after he injured atleast three people by his indiscriminate firing, Guneratne the elder now resides at the MerchantWard of the Colombo National Hospital. Ordered to make an appearance at the MataraMagistrate’s Court on Tuesday, Herman Guneratne failed to show up. The fundamentalquestion of why a Provincial Councillor’s father was carrying a loaded firearm into a crowd of would-be peaceful protestors remains unanswered. Greek tragedyIn lightof whathas