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The learned Professor in not a so learned article has questioned the right of a foreign national to be the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

He says: “It is obvious that a citizen of any other country cannot be faithful to the Republic of Sri Lanka if there is a conflict between the interest of the country to which he has sworn allegiance and the interests of the Republic of Sri Lanka especially when he has renounced all loyalty to Sri Lanka.”

Then he goes on: “The resulting position is crystal clear. Even if Mr. Mahendran has taken the oath prescribed in the Fourth Schedule, such an oath will have no semblance of validity because he is a citizen of another country…”

The learned Professor quotes the oath taken by those seeking Singaporean citizenship: “I absolutely and entirely renounce all loyalty to any foreign sovereign or State or country…”
And goes on to state: “It is my strong contention that the appointment of a person who has taken an oath or affirmation to a foreign State in these terms…is illegal because he cannot lawfully perform the functions of his Office.”

Now Professor here is the oath taken by those seeking US citizenship. “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen: that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

What have you to say to this?

His argument is twofold.

First, there is an inherent conflict of interest when a foreign national is employed by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Secondly, the Fourth Schedule Oath which all those employed by the Government of Sri Lanka are required to take would, in his own words, “have no semblance of validity”.
At the very outset I wish to point out that not only does the Professor not know his law but forgets (conveniently?) that well over five years or more he silently sat through what he himself now gripes about.

Coming to the Constitution I have not come across any provision that requires ‘public officers’ to be citizens of Sri Lanka.

There are provisions (Art. 89, 91, 92) however, that require Members of Parliament and the President to be citizens of Sri Lanka.

“Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius” Eh professori!

Then there is the case of some who had taken citizenship in other countries but appointed to lie (sic) abroad for us.

What about the foreign nationals appointed as Consuls in foreign lands. Don’t they effect owe allegiance to two States?

On what basis were our Judicial Officers of the Attorney-General’s Department permitted to take up positions in Fiji? Do they not have taken oath of allegiance to Fiji?

Then, of course, how can we forget those dual citizens, one who was charged with the Defense of the realm and yes the other with Development of the Economy ever more than the Central Bank ever was.

All these under your watch or was it the Monitor’s.

Come, come Professor I am sure you have in your vast meanderings heard the saying.
Nihal Ratnayake