Amid confusion and conflicting reports with different parties having different agendas and vested interests, Parliament will today take up the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The joint opposition which presented the motion last month says it is based on the Prime Minister’s role in the Central Bank Bond scam.
But UNP leaders say the motion is against the government, meaning the UNP and the SLFP, the Prime Minister and the President. On the other hand, the President and the SLFP have shown that they are backing the motion with the SLFP officially calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister. Whatever predictions or the outcome, Sri Lanka has been hit by instability and uncertainty since the February 10 local council elections and we hope the vote today will help restore stability.
Today’s crucial vote comes two days before the United Nations marks the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. In a statement, the UN says sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play. But one may wonder: what does sport have to do with the United Nations? In fact, sport presents a natural partnership for the UN system.
According to the UN, the right of access to, and participation in, sport and play has long been recognised in a number of international conventions. In 1978, UNESCO described sport and physical education as a “fundamental right for all.” But until today, the right to play and sport has too often been ignored or disrespected.
Sport has a unique power to attract, mobilise and inspire. Sport plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts. Sport is a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote ideals of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice, the UN adds.
Sport encourages individual development, health promotion and disease prevention, the promotion of gender equality, social integration and the development of social capital, peace-building and conflict prevention or resolution, post-disaster or trauma relief and normalisation of life, economic development and communication and social mobilisation.
In the hallowed Olympian tradition, sport has been built on the motto that “When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he will write not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game.” But over the centuries, this great tradition has been trampled upon with money virtually becoming the deity, with the latest scandal being the ball-tampering which led to the ban on Australian Captain Steve Smith, Vice Captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft who tampered with the ball.
Getting back to the political ball game in Sri Lanka, whatever the outcome of today’s vote we need to see a revival of the virtues of sports in our political leaders. Whoever runs the government after today, we need to see the values of honesty and integrity.
We hope the government will act with commitment to achieve the goal of sustainable, eco-friendly development with a vision to achieve a peaceful, just and all inclusive society. Overall, we hope today’s vote will restore stability and take the country out of the present chaos and economic downturn.