AMENDMENTS TO 13TH – REFERENDUM NOT NEEDED – Arun – Paying heavy price due to 13A
Posted on June 6th, 2013

Rasika Somarathna Courtesy The Daily News

There is no need for a Referendum to amend the 13th Amendment (13A) to remove the provision for all Provincial Councils (PCs) having to consent to legislation on matters coming within the Provincial List. A Referendum is not necessary “”…” a two thirds majority is sufficient, “ƒ”¹…”as one province’s decision anyway should not effect the entire country; therefore why should the whole country vote in a referendum to pass this legislation?’, SLFP Batticaloa organiser Arun Thambimuttu asked.

The Cabinet yesterday has proposed to bring in such legislation, the Cabinet spokesman said. (Please see accompanying story.)

Thambimuttu said he was of the view that the country is paying a heavy price for a system, the Provincial Council system, that is nothing but a white elephant. In fact, Thambimuttu said that an organization “Tamils for Sri Lanka” which involves Sri Lankan Tamils from all walks of life, was of the same mindset.

While mentioning that 13A came into being as a result of the Indo-Lanka accord of 1987, he said it was high time to review whether it is working for the country or not. “We feel that it is time for Sri Lanka to evolve a system of governance that suits the country”, he added. He noted that the public at large was questioning the validity of the PC system.

Thambimuttu said “Tamils for Sri Lanka” which he is a part of, was proposing districts to be the administrative units instead of PCs. He said the organization was also calling for Village Councils or Grama Sabhas for people at the grassroots to solve their issues.

Explaining further, Thambimuttu said that his organization was for the formation of District Councils with heads of Pradeshiya Sabhas, Municipal Councils and Urban Councils being involved. “Also one third of the seats should be filled through local elections with an elected district governor being the political head,” he added. He explained that the Provincial Council system (13 A) was not a solution to the issues of the Tamil people and added a solution should be for the nation as a whole and should not be for an ethnic group. “The future of Tamils are intertwined with the future of Sinhalese. History has repeatedly proven this fact,” he added.

Commenting on India’s role in the 13A, Thambimuttu said he appreciated India’s concern for the Tamil people but it also should understand the ground realities in Sri Lanka. He said India’s involvement in Sri Lanka’s constitutional debate may be seen suspiciously by both Tamils and Sinhalese due to that country’s past involvement in the process. Noting that Indian politicians have made several adverse comments in this regard, he said they should understand the anxiety of the Sri Lankan people when Indian politicians make such remarks. He said there were differing opinions among some government members and local politicians regarding the 13A and added that they should not seek outside help to realise their aims.

He said “Tamil for Sri Lanka” a pressure group came into existence as Tamil nationalism had hijacked the agenda of the Tamil community for the last 80 years. He said that parties such as the Tamil National Alliance which proclaim to be the representatives of Tamil people secured only seven per cent of the Tamil vote during the last parliamentary elections. He questioned how the TNA therefore could claim to be the sole spokesperson for the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Thambimuttu stressed that whether PCs should exist or go should be left to the people’s verdict alone.

Thambimuttu said “Tamils for Sri Lanka” has begun an awareness campaign and was working on a proclamation document outlining the relevant history. He added that this will be presented soon to the diplomatic community, including Indian political leaders.

He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Parliament should decide on holding a referendum to let the people decide on whether they need provincial councils established under the 13th Amendment to the constitution or not.

Commenting on the debate surrounding the 13A and PCs, Thambimuttu who hails from a prominent political family in the former conflict affected East said, “there is a simple answer beyond reproach, which is to hold a referendum for the people to decide”.

8 Responses to “AMENDMENTS TO 13TH – REFERENDUM NOT NEEDED – Arun – Paying heavy price due to 13A”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    A referendum is needed IF govt. is NOT SCRAPPING 13 amendment.

    Keeping it with modifications WILL NOT WORK.

  2. jayasiri Says:

    Thank you, Sir for your article. Now this is the type, input, discussions, suggestions the Govt. need at this hour. At least people are getting involved on a thorny issue, pushed down our throats by India.

    To make matters worse India is also implying that their way of governing OUR COUNTRY is the best way. May be the best way for India BUT not for our country & our people. Lately many Tamil nationals from Lanka & abroad
    ( expat community) have expressed concerns and made valuable suggestions to correct the impass.

    This type involvement of all Lanka nationals are what is needed. TNA assumes, and drives home the conception that they are the sole rep of Tamils in Lanka,THEY AE NOT, first & foremost they are the proxy to LTTE & its defeated policies.

    We need policies which are adaptable, acceptable to our Lankan population, including Tamils, Moors, Malays & Burghers. Ofcourse Sinhalese being the majority race, have responsibilities as well as to pursue a path acceptable to majority of all ethnicities of lanka.

    Thank you again….Lankans from Australia, USA, Canada & many oother countries have made many suggestions. This is the only way to arrive at a concencus acceptable to all….~..Another expat expressing his views……J

  3. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    gamsabhaa kramaya needs a revamping and modern touch and should be re-introduced to our administration, which was lost to anglo saxon ungulates system of governance. the ungulate introduced the top – down structure which never worked in a ‘shramadaaner culture’ which existed in sri lanka.
    the vel vidaane – Michael Roberts mentions in his works, was also called a vel panuwa, well it had its demerits no doubt. but distribution of water was a core issue in our agri based culture. the anglo saxon ungulate appointed the agent, who was clueless about rural issues and messed up the whole system and also ungulate purposely neglected the rice paddies and the feeding tanks. in the puttalam district alone the damage was enormous.
    as observed many times an unwise leader does a lot of damage to the country and he needs to be replaced. the man sees unwanted things as wanted and wanted things as unwanted. air ports all over island, a plan by this man, was somehow stopped by wise protests. and two white elephants have replaced the black elephants in hambantota district.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    GODDAMIT!

    Don’t FINE TUNE the 13th Amendment POISON PILL, REPEAL IT COMPLETELY and DEMOLISH the Provincial Council System by Leaf, Branch, Trunk and Root!

    If the GOSL is RUNNING SCARED, Let the PEOPLE of Sri Lanka REPEAL it in a NATIONWIDE REFERENDUM!

    Rise Up … O Patriots of Mother Lanka … and DEMOLISH this Indian IRON CHAIN that BINDS the HANDS & FEET of OUR Motherland!

    ……………
    President’s right to merge provinces to be repealed
    Stripping of provinical land, police powers not discussed – Keheliya

    by Zacki Jabbar
    June 6, 2013

    The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to repeal the President’s right to merge Provinces, which has been provided for under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing a news conference in Colombo yesterday, said that constituent members of the ruling UPFA had been given time to study the Bill to amend the Provincial Councils Act.

    The proposed two amendments pertained to the President’s right to merge provinces and the requirement that the approval of all provincial councils were required to amend the Constitution, he noted.

    Asked if the government was also trying to strip the provinces of land and police powers, the Minister said that it had not been discussed.

    Rambukwella said that the UPFA had only taken up the proposals to repeal the President’s right to merge Provinces and the consent of all provincial councils to enact legislation.

    At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting the SLMC leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem had asked for more time to study the proposed amendments and it had been granted.

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa has proposed that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSSC) on the National Question be reconvened with or without the participation of the Tamil National Alliance.

    Informed sources said that the President was of the view that if the TNA refused to attend the PSC process, the PSC should continue with the participation of Tamils in the government and Opposition.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    I can’t believe what I’m hearing …. are the BJP Politicians FINALLY getting it … that they can’t get Sri Lankan Tamils an Eelam without ALIENATING and making an ENEMY of Sri Lanka, that would rather BEFRIEND India, if they BUTT OUT of our Internal Politics?

    And here I was PROPOSING that Sri Lanka undertake a FACT FINDING MISSION to India to INVESTIGATE why the “legitimate aspirations” of the multivarious SEPARATIST and TERRORIST groups in India are being suppressed and denied their FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS to inflict MURDER & MAYHEM upon other law-abiding citizens of India.

    If this degree of RATIONAL COMPREHENSION of India’s CULPABILITY for Sri Lanka’s PAIN & WOUNDS persists, I may have to SHELVE my PROPOSALS.

    Well, let us wait and see … after all Indian Politicians suffer from Advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, and do tend to forget what they said yesterday, especially after the Indian elections are over.

    ………….
    India can’t solve Lanka’s political issues: BJP team

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    June 07 (NIE) A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led team, which is currently on a tour in Sri Lanka, has told the war-ravaged Lankan Tamils that India is ready to provide the healing touch but it cannot be expected to solve their political problems.

    Interacting with a wide cross section of political parties and civil society in Jaffna on Wednesday, the leader of the six member team, Rajya Sabha member Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that India was aware that the Tamils of the Northern provinces needed a healing touch and assured them that India was with them.

    However, he made it clear that Lankan Tamils should not expect India to solve their political problems. These would have to be solved by the people themselves through participation in the domestic political processes, he said.

    India did not have a magic wand to solve their problems, he said.

    Prasad also made it clear that India saw Sri Lanka as a friendly country and would never de-stabilize it.

    The six member Indian team, which has a representative of the Shiv Sena (Suresh Prabhu), an RSS official (Ram Madhav), a political commentator (Swapan Dasgupta) and a human rights activist cum advocate (Monika Arora), was presented a kaleidoscopic view of opinions in Lanka’s Tamil-speaking Northern Province. The team met pro-government and anti-government groups separately, besides top civil and military officials.

    Members of the team showed keen interest in the issues the Tamils were facing and asked probing questions. On Thursday, the team met MPs from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) at Hilton Hotel in Colombo.

  6. Senevirath Says:

    EVEN THOUGH BIG MONEY IS INVOLVED A REFERENDUM IS THE BEST . THEN WE CAN ASK OTHERS TO SHUT UP

    IT WILL BE NOT A WASTAGE OF MONEY. BUT MAY BE TWO THIRD IS ENOUGH BUT WE SHOULD NOT TAKE A RISK AT THIS TIME . MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING
    WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO IF NORTH AND EAST POLITICIANS GET TOGE THER AND MERGE BY FORCE AND GET HELP FROM INDIA AND FROM WESERN COUNTRIES WHEN RANIL COMES TO POWER

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    Have the two thirds majority vote at Parliament PLUS the Referendum to REMOVE the 13-A. Then the People of Lanka have spoken loud and clear. It would be Democracy at it’s best. Let it roll !

  8. kiranifra Says:

    Senevirath
    WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO IF NORTH AND EAST POLITICIANS GET TOGE THER AND MERGE BY FORCE AND GET HELP FROM INDIA AND FROM WESERN COUNTRIES WHEN RANIL COMES TO POWER- not If when !!!
    We all will have baila !!!

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