Call to hold a National Referendum to Withdraw the 13th Amendment to abolish Provincial Councils and instead Grant Adequate Decentralized Powers to Districts
Posted on March 13th, 2015

Media Release  GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR PEACE AND UNITY IN SRI LANKA

March 12 , 2015

Call to hold a National Referendum to Withdraw the 13th Amendment to abolish Provincial Councils and instead Grant Adequate Decentralized Powers to Districts

  1. Remembering that the three decade long threat to the break-up of Sri Lanka was averted following the military defeat of the heavily armed Tamil Tigers (LTTE) by the brave men and women of the security forces of the Nation under the able leadership and wholehearted commitment given by His Excellency, Mahinda Rajapakse and the National Government, through a concerted military action which was successfully concluded on May 19, 2009.
  2. Recalling with gratitude the immense sacrifices made by each and every member of the security forces and the fortitude shown by the Nation’s Leaders in safeguarding our Beloved Motherland and regaining the country, and ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity for all our people.   
  3. Being aware of other dangers to the security of the country, her territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, in the wake of the recent Resolution adopted in the UNHRC at its 19th and subsequent sessions held in March 2012, March 2013 and March 2014 requiring Sri Lanka to submit to international pressures in respect of matters pertaining to domestic issues, although Sri Lanka has clearly undertaken to fulfill these to the best of her abilities wherever deemed necessary in the national interest:
  4. India’s stance in supporting the Resolutions of March 2012 and March 2013, and the Indian Prime Minister’s statement wherein he stated that India was joining the western powers, to advance their objective of achieving a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect”,is a cause for concern.

Whereas India and the western powers seek special treatment for the Tamil community, Sri Lanka does not and cannot provide for special treatment for any individual community but seeks to ensure the fullest participation of all communities as equal citizens with all the rights guaranteed by the Nation’s Constitution.

India’s unfriendly acts in the 1980’s which gave rise to Tamil terrorism and highly coercive non-neighbourly strategies adopted by her in imposing an unequal Accord in 1987, and in forcing Sri Lanka to devolve wide powers to provinces in terms of the 13th Amendment, have proven to be an impediment to peace and progress in the island. Retaining large provinces leaves room for unwarranted interference by Tamilnadu politicians to repeatedly ignite the separatist flames among the Tamils living across the Palk Strait in Sri Lanka, such as the holding of a convention recently in Chennai on August 12, 2012 to establish a separate state of Eelam” comprising the northern and eastern provinces of the island.             

  1. Pro-Tamil Tiger groups within the expatriate Tamils have recently sought US and international support for a Resolution that seeks to establish the Tamil community’s presumed Right to Self-Determination by holding a Referendum in the Tamil majority regions of the northern and eastern provinces to establish a separate state to be called North-East Sri Lanka, similar to that adopted in the creation of the new state of South Sudan.

In the light of moves by extremist members of the Tamils living overseas and separatist elements represented by the TNA, the proxy party of the LTTE, we are firmly of the opinion that these avenues available through the 13th Amendment to enhanced autonomy based on ethnicity and future separation which is bound to create friction and new violence should be forthwith withdrawn from the Statute Book.  It is well to remember that the Indo-Lanka Accord was signed during a 24 hour curfew imposed throughout the island and that the 13th amendment was passed in violation of Sri Lanka’s normal democratic processes. We also need to find a better way to reduce the annually recurring expense of Rs.132 billion (US $1.32 billion) and replace it with a more affordable and efficient system of regional governance.

  1. We wish to stress that the window of opportunity that has presented itself following the events in Geneva should be acted upon without delay.  We should immediately begin a process in consultation with the people of Sri Lanka who were earlier denied the opportunity to voice their opinion on the creation of Provincial Councils, by seeking their views through a Special National Referendum to determine the withdrawal of the 13th Amendment and replacing it with decentralized powers to the Districts without the right of merger of two or more districts. We are confident the people will opt to transfer powers to the Districts, that would result in the setting up of more focussed units similar to the Development Councils established per Act No. 35 of 1980, along with considerable savings to the national purse.  This move could be accompanied by some power sharing at the Centre thereby giving an equitable voice to the minority communities whilst enhancing powers of Pradeshiya Sabhas which directly serve the people at the grassroots.
  2. Sri Lanka should embark on the important exercise of making necessary changes to her Constitution not for the purpose of pleasing India or other outside powers by merely tinkering with it to include ad-hoc revisions sought or tentatively taken up at such bi-lateral meetings, but with the primary intent of determining the will of the people and complying with their decision freely taken at a National Referendum. 

We need to determine the people’s will in respect of revoking the highly controversial 13th Amendment which was introduced under the previously discussed Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, and seeking an alternative arrangement acceptable to the people.  This of necessity involves the framing of TWO questions to be put to the people in order to ascertain their preferred positions in this regard:

The TWO Questions to be posed to the voters may be phrased in English (with translations in Sinhala and Tamil) as follows:

1st:  Do you agree that the 13th Amendment establishing Provincial Councils should be revoked discontinuing the Provincial governing units?       Yes / No

 2nd:  Alternatively, do you agree that decentralized powers of governance be granted instead to Districts without right of merger of two or more districts?   Yes / No

A simple majority vote in the affirmative on the above two questions given in the Referendum will enable the legislators to uphold the people’s verdict by withdrawing the 13th Amendment and at the same time granting requisite Decentralized Powers to Districts to be headed by an Executive Chairman as determined by the relevant authority.

  1. Our intention is to assist the legislators and the general public in finding the best alternative to the present Provincial Council system of government which is out of favour with the vast majority of the people.  We wish to add our voices to those of the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) and the Federation of National Organizations which have already declared their opposition to the retention of the Thirteenth Amendment and seek its withdrawal in the national interest.

We are a group of concerned Sri Lankans living both overseas and within the country who have throughout the past three decades actively defended the good name of our motherland in the respective countries in which we reside.

Signed:

Australia: Ranjith Soysa, Dr.Gamani Goonetilleke, Kithsiri de Silva, Rohan Bandarage,

Lal Dassanayake, Dilrook Kannangara, Nimal Liyanage, Harsha Perera,

Pium Attanayake, Chanaka Bandarage, Kosala Jayasinghe, Vichara Bandara,

Sanath Mapa, Hiran Cooray, Dr. Palitha Welgama.

Canada:    Mahinda Gunasekera, Dr. Asoka Weerasinghe, Asoka Yapa, Ira de Silva,

Rohan Basnayake, Chitra Mendis, Cyril Weeratunge, Albert Fernando

Bandu Madanayake, Mahendra Wijayasinghe, Sarath Liyanage,

Lakshmi Liyanage, Vijitha Bulathsinghala, Dr. Quintus Ratnayake,

Krishanthi Ratnayake, Daya Chandraratne, Senaka Weerawardena,

Tom Ranga Fernando, Dr. Upul Senaratne, Dr. Dushyanthi Pinnaduwage,

Asoka Pinnaduwage

Middle East: Ajantha Premaratne, Sunil Chandrakumara, Hemantha Piyasena,

Ranjan Domminigae, Yasas Dharmadasa, Sunil Gamlath, Indralal Silva

New Zealand: Dr. Chula Rajapaksa, Mahinda Attanayake

Sri Lanka:  D.L.O. Mendis, Sugath Kulatunge, Lt. Col. Anil Amarasekera,

Dimuth Gunawardena, Shenali Waduge, Senaka Weeraratne, Retd.Maj Gen Lalin     Fernando, Jayantha Liyanage, Bernard Kulatilake, Ananda Weerakkody.

UK :          Douglas Wickramaratne, Channa Lokuliyanage, Devsiri Hewavidana

Dhammika Mawella, Dr. Sarath de Alwis-Seneviratne, Rashantha de Alwis-Seneviratne, Dhammika Siripala, Kamal Rajapakse.

USA :        Dr. Mahes Laduwahetty, Neville Laduwahetty,  Sumith de Silva,

  1. W. Damayanthi, Jivinda de Silva, Dr. Mohan Kumaratne,

Dr. Sarath Hemachandra, Ranjith de Silva, Thilani de Silva, Anjalika I Silva,

Lakmal Boteju, Chandra Fernando, Pradipa Lenora, Prof. Susantha Herath,

Prof. Sunil J. Wimalawansa, Bhikku Mahinda.

Dated:  March 12 , 2015

Reply to:   MG- 84 Tambrook Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1W 3L9

 

9 Responses to “Call to hold a National Referendum to Withdraw the 13th Amendment to abolish Provincial Councils and instead Grant Adequate Decentralized Powers to Districts”

  1. SA Kumar Says:

    a National Referendum to Withdraw the 13th Amendment to abolish Provincial Councils – No point of talking about 13A any more…. Modi confirmed Full implementation of 13A.

    National referendum for Saiva TE & Muslim TE to declare independent or joint with India !!!

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    I wrote a long article years back requesting a referendum. Probably, Lorenzo could remember it, as we were on the same plane then.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    Kudos to GAPUS !
    This is a good start, rather late, but still great ! Get it rolling !!

  4. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    SA Kumar

    NO SRI LANKAN VOTED FOR MODI. HE IS NOT THE LEADER OF SRI LANKA. WHEN RAJAPAKSE GOT FULL SUPPORT FROM THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS YOU WERE IN THIS FORUM STANDING IN OPPOSITION TO HIM FOR NOT IMPLEMENTING AMENDMENT 13.
    NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN THE WORD OF A LEADER OF ANOTHER NATION IS GREATER TO YOU THAN THE WORD OF RAJAPAKSE. ARE YOU A PRO TAMIL TIGER SUPPORTER KUMAR?. DO YOU SUPPORT ELAM? WHAT IS YOUR REASON FOR SUPPORTING AMENDMENT 13?

  5. SA Kumar Says:

    DO YOU SUPPORT ELAM? WHAT IS YOUR REASON FOR SUPPORTING AMENDMENT 13?- I always support full implemendation of 13A & 6A together no less no more this my personal dream for United Mother Lanka & bring Maha veli to Irana madu Kulam – of course since 1948 We both know no SL govt solve our problem from Selava than Amirthalingam now Colombo man CM Viggi tried/Begged no use .
    so now We-Tamils 100% clear our lasting solution is TE. how to do it step by step.
    step 1- Election in N&EP done
    step2- Fully implmendation of 13A
    step3- referendam for N&EP seperation or joint with India (win win – like Putan idea crome to jointed Russia)

  6. Independent Says:

    TNA also want 13A gone. So do that first.

    They want more powers than 13A, Sinhalese will give them more “poweder” later in the usual way. First give them their first demand, that is repeal 13 A.

  7. SA Kumar Says:

    WHEN RAJAPAKSE GOT FULL SUPPORT FROM THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS- agreed but he was not implementing 13A for 5 years but BS with 13 plus (He does not know simple maths 13+ 1 or more is 13 Plus ) also I can not supported MR he killed our 33 years day dream TE & self declare our Thesiya Thalaivar VP !

    only hope We have now Hindhu Nationalist BNP leader Modi gi !!!

    but only sadness in Indian flag instead of Your Lion or our koddiya flag is flying in Jalpam .

  8. Wetta Says:

    Hello SA Kumar,

    You were passionately talking about “Our Problem” and “lasting solution”.

    Can you please explain exactly what is your “problem” that you are looking for a “solution”.

    However the problem you are going to tell me must be a problem none of the other communities including Sinhalese face.

    Also, the solution you are suggesting must be a solution that has been tested and proved to be effective. Any similar solution overseas that is still on-going with thousands of people being killed is not a solution that is acceptable for the sake of short-sighted arm chair dreamers.

  9. Wetta Says:

    SA Kumar,

    By the way, who is this “Modi” that you are talking about? Never heard of such a politician in Sri lanka.

    However if you are talking sarcastically, then of course we had (and still have) lots of “Modaya”s and “Modi”s who were in the parliment. Are you talking about one of them?

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