Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2857

“My father was a CEO”- Sajith Premadasa

By A Patebendige

The ‘Yahapalana’ had complete command responsibility for the Easter Sunday massacre of 270 people that destroyed 10 years of absolute peace brought in after 26 years of daily terror. It is now once again in a chaotic state and mortally scared as judgment day closes in. In a panic and with ill grace Sajith Premadasa was made its Presidential nominee. Very soon after, (September 2019) he was chief guest at the National Exports Award ceremony.

The Yahapalana aberration had complete command responsibility for the Easter Sunday massacre of 270 people that destroyed 10 years of absolute peace brought in after 26 years of daily terror. It is now once again in a chaotic state and mortally scared as judgment day closes in. In a panic and with ill grace Sajith Premadasa was made its Presidential nominee. Very soon after, (September 2019) he was chief guest at the National Exports Award ceremony. In his speech, among other ominous things, he said his father one-time President Ranasinghe ‘was not a Chairman nor COO but a CEO’.

Premadasa Senior was the most feared President of SL (1989-1993). Junior says he both ‘strategized’ and ‘implemented’. Pity Junior had to boost his chances by introducing his father. It awakened the people’s fickle but dark memories. Most people who survived his father’s near genocidal and dictatorial rule remember the killings fields, his treasonable conduct with the LTTE and the order to the police and the Army to surrender . The last led to the murder by the LTTE of 774 policemen in the East. Premadasa was not held accountable for surrendering the policemen or their deaths thereafter. He never said sorry. Nobody in the UNP government dared to oppose his treachery.

The people remember how at the start of the ‘CEO’s stint, 60,000 Sinhalese were selectively butchered in 1989-90 by the bestial JVP and the CEO’s assorted death squads. The deaths were in just one year in the Southern killing fields.

The JVP had been outlawed at the time this ‘CEO’ took over. He, hoping to beguile them into joining his near fascist rule, lifted the proscription in Jan 1989. The JVP’s burgeoning terror campaign, ostensibly to protest the arrival of the IPKF, did not abate. This forced him to renew the proscription in a few months. Both sides launched a near genocidal response.

Killer squads stalked the South. When it was reported one day that there were no deaths in SL, some thought there was no one left alive! So what was this CEO’s ‘strategy’? Blood baths? The ‘implementation’ was beyond human belief.

People died at an average of over 150 a day. Even Afghanistan will be hard put to match that today. On a single day in Hambantota 211 were killed by the CEO’s side. The people will not forget the tyre pyres dotting roads and byways and in rural areas of the poverty stricken South. They will also remember the JVPs signature counter stroke - throat slitting with a blade. Implausibly they said they killed in the South to ‘strike’ at the IPK in the North! Later on in Batticaloa 196 ‘suspected’ LTTE, were also killed in one day. The CEO’s grotesque state minister of defence remarked to the person responsible ‘what a shame you couldn’t get a double century this time’.

The CEO’s Mafiosi in the South sent out lists of names of Sinhalese to be exterminated to the military and police. The arrested were ‘destroyed’ within hours. They included an iconic supporter of the poor, Catholic priest Father Michael Rodrigo in Buttala. Over 700 Buddhist monks were also killed by both sides, after being tortured. There was a special torture called Dharma Chakra for monks. There was no semblance of a defence or trial for any suspects or accused.

Military officers who refused to murder were humiliated or sacked by the state minister of defence, a former tea planter, Ranjan Wijeratne. The dismissed included decorated veterans of Eelam One war and the epic Vadamarchchi battle (1987). The only protests made were by members of the Opposition led by Mahinda Rajapakse. He was later arrested. UNP leaders, protected by layers of security hid under their beds. They did the same during the LTTE conflict and also after the Easter Sunday (21/04/2019) bombings. The people were left to fend for themselves and died horridly in great numbers.

A journalist and head of IPS in SL, Richard de Zoysa was abducted, tortured mercilessly and murdered. His body with bullet wounds in his head and throat and with his jaw broken, was dumped (apparently from a helicopter) into the sea off Moratuwa. Many lawyers like Kanchana Abeypala, Liyanaarchchi, Karaliyadde and Sam Thambimuttu were tortured and killed for defending early JVP suspects in the courts. (The LTTE, the CEO’s carefully cultivated later ally, did the same to several Tamil lawyers who opposed the LTTE). After the lawyers’ murders in custody, judicial procedures were dumped. They were replaced by sudden deaths of ‘suspects’ most of who had been brutally tortured first.

The captured JVP boss Wijeweera after being interviewed on TV by Wijeratne, was tossed alive into the already fired up Borella crematorium around midnight. All those involved in this gruesome killing are well known to the Army. It was a year of unprecedented and stark bestial terror and counter terror. Junior now says he wants to uplift the traumatized survivors, the poor as though they waited 20 years for a Messiah. They want a reckoning and justice that must surely come and not promises of free handouts as though they were beggars. He and his ilk, with utter contempt for all, believe like the JVP, that the masses are born fools.

Not satisfied with running a 60,000 killing field business in one year, the CEO behaved like a card board Sando, expelling a foreign diplomat for objecting to state terror. He then turned his attention and affections to the LTTE. They were terrorists that suicide bombed, shot, clubbed and sliced people from North to south and especially Sinhalese in isolated villages. They also blew up buses, trains, planes, hotels, public and commercial buildings, aircrafts at three (3) airports (Ratmalana, Meenabakum (Chennai, India) and KIA). They shot people praying in temples and mosques in hundreds, Buddhist novice priests (Arantalawa) a Japanese Buddhist priest (Jaffna) Sinhala villagers in the fields and their women and children in their homes at night. They had become the Machiavellian CEO’s hopes for a joint venture partner in SL.

The CEO discovered a novel way to parley with the terrorists to establish his credentials. Treason. In a clandestine operation, he delivered weapons, ammunition, cement and cash (in dollars not rupees- sanctioned by a particularly sinister man in the Treasury) to the enemy LTTE. This became public only years later. This was at a time the IPKF as an ally was fighting the LTTE according to the terms of the Indo SL Peace Accord (1987) and the SL Army in the North was gated. India too will not forget.

With much farcical fanfare, ‘peace’ talks began. All but the CEO knew the LTTE would renege and renew terror at a time of its own choosing. The LTTE wanted the IPKF that was close to defeating them, sent packing. CEO Premadasa perfidiously did his best to oblige, sabotaging, suborning and under cutting the Accord. A new government in India, having had enough of the CEO pocket Mussolini, pulled back its IPKF just as it was poised to deal a mortal blow if not a coup de grace.

Twenty years of bloodshed with a total of 100,000 dead of whom 23,000 were servicemen, followed. No one knows how many died with the weapons and ammo gifted by this treachery and bought with the house maids’ dollars the CEO gave. He never acknowledged his sins. Apparently, the deaths of citizens in their thousands meant little if nothing to him. Junior often said he would explain his father’s actions but after 20 years there is no sign he will or can. He wants the people to believe that his father wanted to split the LTTE leadership. By committing treason!

Armed LTTE ‘negotiating’ cadres were air lifted in SLAF aircraft and accommodated in the Hilton Hotel. They were guarded by the elite STF, a second scar of corroboration with the enemy, the STF carries. High profile convicted LTTE murderers were set free to pleasure and thrill the LTTE. The 3rd round of ‘talks’ with the enemy were held in the CEO’s private residence! High treason indeed.

It appeared as though CEO Premadasa’s ‘strategy ‘was for terrorist leader Prabakaran and him to divide SL and run parallel states as partners. The IPKF bugged out having lost 1,200 men. The CEO then handed over 2 camps in the North, Point Pedro and Vellivetiturai to the enemy who then went one better by cutting the A9 road. There was no objection by the CEO. It would remain cut for another 20 years and led in 2000 the near surrender of completely isolated Jaffna to the LTTE.

The LTTE realized that treason had been committed and the CEO could not turn back. They went for broke and won. In June 1990 they demanded that he hand over all policemen and troops in the East to them, with the ‘assurance’ that they would not be harmed. Only a mental retard could have swallowed that. The LTTE knew. He did. The CEO’s cronies privately believed he was mentally deranged but fearfully fell into line.

Foreign Minister Hameed picked purposely and incomprehensively conveyed the treasonable orders of CEO Premadasa to the police and Army in the East to surrender. The IGP and Army Commander went to Batticaloa by plane and gutlessly passed down these orders without any shame.

The top two Generals in the Defence Ministry did not dare to protest. Seven hundred and seventy-four (774) Sinhalese and Muslim policemen together with Tamil policemen dutifully obeyed that treacherously insane order. The LTTE forced the policemen to dig their own shallow graves and get into them. They were slaughtered in Nazi SS Sunder commando Babi Yar (1943 Ukraine) style in Thandikulam and the Vinayagaparam jungles. The Tamil policemen were set free. That is how CEO Premadasa attempted to keep his dream of sharing SL with Prabakaran. The policemen’s lives meant nothing to him and his slipper lickers.

The Army isolated in penny packets, short of ammunition and no artillery cover but buoyed by its intrepid Eastern Commander Major General Stanley de Silva’s orders to fight to the last man and last round (bullet), fought back and held.

The LTTE negotiating team in the Hilton hotel in Colombo would have expected to be arrested and incarcerated. Instead they were air lifted to Jaffna in a SLAF plane as though some sort of feverishly invented convention or customs demanded they be delivered to the killer Prabakaran. All this was to save the CEO’s delusion of peace. For him it was just a gamble. The 774 policemen and everyone else were expendable.

In the history of mankind such a betrayal of one’s own country by its very leader, CEO or not, has never been heard of. It could be conjectured that even if there were 1,000 or 10,000 policemen or troops or more this CEO Premadasa was ever willing unhesitatingly to sacrifice them for his own unholy purposes. These were his ‘strategies’ and ‘commitments’.

The CEO’s macabre reputation was such that when the LTTE shot dead former Minister Lalith Athulathmudali in Colombo and senior military officers including Generals Kobbekaduwa and Wimalaratne and Capt Jayamaha SLN among others were blown up in a mine blast in Araly in Jaffna, the ‘CEO’ was spontaneously but wrongly accused of collaborating with the LTTE to kill them.

The CEO’s son talks pretentiously if not pompously today of signing ‘agreements’ on the basis of ‘cost analysis and benefits. His father must have done the same- the ‘cost ‘being the blood of thousands. The ‘benefits’ being the division of SL with a terrorist leader. Actually, the cost was treason and the benefit were for the CEO.

The monumental infamy, treachery, treason, perfidy and criminal lunacy of CEO Premadasa are probably unmatched in world history. He cannot ever be forgiven.

A horrible fate caught up with the CEO, his brutal State Minister Wijeratne and police officer Ronnie Gunasinghe who tortured, murdered and disposed the body of Richard de Zoysa. They among many others were blown apart by the LTTE in different places. Instead of national mourning, but predictably, there were unrestrained celebrations. They were almost as raucous when Prabakaran’s death was announced in 2009.

It is ironical that Junior has promised that FM Sarath Fonseka will be ‘in charge’ of security and defence. It was only a few days before that FM Fonseka spoke of the spate of betrayals by the CEO father. Later he rubbished junior’s extravagant, puerile and silly promises. Was this offer then an attempt to avoid responding to FM Fonseka? Or has national security, that was a joke to the Yahapalanas since 2015, become a crucial issue now? It was downplayed even after Easter Sunday. No one, President, PM, IGP or the military were held responsible.

Both Fonseka and the CEO shared the unhappy fate of being suicide bombed by LTTE agents lurking in their own closets. Fonseka survived. He could tell Junior a thing or two about leadership though. While CEOs take decisions that affect livelihoods, military leader’s decisions affects lives. When officers give orders to armed soldiers there is no room for errors of judgment. Someone could end up dead. It is doubtful that CEOs ever have the same awesome responsibilities that military officers constantly have in operations. No CEO ever makes tougher decisions. CEO Premadasa not only tried and failed miserably and committed treason too. Should junior hand over to Fonseka instead to avoid a replay by someone who thinks he is a carbon copy of the CEO?

Junior makes an emotional recall of his father being around when a free bun and a glass of milk were given to school children. Is this a ploy to shut down his father’s infamy, disloyalty, deception and responsibility for the deaths of many thousands of innocents, mostly poor?

There is thus a danger of that CEO’s treachery being condoned, forgiven and forgotten if Junior ever becomes ‘CEO’. That may be part of his ‘strategy’ and ‘commitment’. If so, it would be an insufferable and mortal danger to SL.

Premadasa Junior while rolling out an assortment of inducements by the day, should remember that successful CEO’s look after all their people, not just a part of or a targeted group. They build enduring organizations, make an impact on their people, and preside over innovations that change things outside the organizations walls, are resilient during a crisis and have a successful financial performance. They do not sacrifice or mislead their people for their own selfish or diabolical ends. Or keep the silence of the grave when the unexpected happens and lives are lost in hundreds or money is stolen in billions waiting for others to face the consequences. Few if any, other than junior, mention that CEO who stabbed SL and its military, police and innocents in the back.

“If one thing defines a great CEO it is his connectedness to the organizations he runs. He does not measure his pay and privileges against former CEOs. He must cultivate a true corporate ethos – united and combined into one. While the organization depends on the CEO than any one individual as only the CEO can make really big decisions, it depends on the CEO’s understanding that his role still represents less than 10% of the total puzzle.

Much depends on him but it is not about him” (Anon). Ranasinghe thought it was all about him only. Does Junior think so too with his incessant bombastic cry of ‘This Sajith’ will ….., and ‘ Sajith won’t? Could SL survive even a 1% replay of CEO Ranasinghe? Junior must have 50% of the CEO’s genes. Let us all pray.

- Asian Tribune -

Sajith with his Father Ranatunga -
diconary view
Share this