Sri Lanka’s New Constitutional Proposals – Comparisons with LTTE’s 2003 ISGA Proposals
Posted on December 15th, 2016
Shenali D Waduge
The ISGA (Interim Self Governing Authority) was proposed by globally proscribed terrorists in October 2003 for power sharing of merged NorthEast province. The proposal was titled “Proposal by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on behalf of the Tamil people for an agreement to establish an interim self-governing authority for the North East of the island of Sri Lanka” These proposals were said to be in lieu of their demand for a Tamil Eelam. The cuckoos in government that agreed to the proposals have agreed to give Eelam all but in name as can be seen by the nature of power the GOSL has abdicated without so much as seeking approval from the citizens of Sri Lanka. LTTE may be no more but their proxy the TNA remains uninvestigated and the question of it continuing the demands under the camouflage of parliamentary privileges cannot be ignored. In comparing the present proposals by various parties aligned to demands similar to what LTTE proposed through the ISGA reveals that we should be in no hurry to pass any new constitution until all demands similar to those made by the separatists even those who are posed as federalists and secularists are thrown to the dustbin as these proposals should not be allowed to make any entry to any proposal that affects the unitary nature of the constitution and the sovereignty of an island nation that should not under ANY NAME be divided, demarcated or devolved. These proposals are simply interim options paving the way for ultimate secession. No one can ignore the case in the Supreme Court challenging the ITAK constitution claiming its aims and objectives are confederal. If so these are aligned to the proposals for the provinces to function as regions with full sovereignty abdicated to them.
- 5 December 2001 Parliamentary Elections – Ranil Wickremasinghe led UNF victory.
- LTTE immediately announces ceasefire
- Norway mediates a permanent ceasefire – CFA signed on 22 February 2002
- September 2002 Peace Talks in Phuket, Thailand
- April 2003 LTTE suspends talks
- 31 October 2003 LTTE forwards ISGA proposals giving a broad range of powers that included right to impose rule of law, collect taxes, run administration, oversea rehabilitation process – everything a sovereign nation does though the propaganda projected LTTE had dropped the Eelam demand.
- Jayantha Dhanapala became the head of the peace secretariat from June 1, 2004 till November 2005 and also functioned as President Kumaratunga’s Senior Advisor.
Please note at the time of the ISGA proposals the NorthEast was not demerged. So LTTE’s proposals were applicable to both provinces though Tamils were not the majority in the East.
LTTE’s proposals also noted that the Tamil people had mandated their elected representatives to establish an independent sovereign, secular State for the Tamil people in elections subsequent to the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976 (Is this really so – a question Tamils need to openly say YES or NO)
What is also laughable is that in the proposals the LTTE claims to have indulged in ‘non-violent and peaceful constitutional struggle’ – who committed over 300 suicide attacks!!!
Features of the ISGA (note the new constitutional proposals claim not to remerge the N&E but is proposing a new demarcation of boundaries)
- 8 districts (Amparai, Batticoloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Vavuniya)
Composition of the ISGA
- Members appointed by LTTE (who will be Tamil)
- Members appointed by GOSL (no guarantee that they will be Sinhalese)
- Members appointed by Muslims (who will be Muslim)
- LTTE must have absolute majority in ISGA (LTTE appointees have to be more than the combined appointees of GOSL & Muslims)
- Chairperson & CEO of ISGA will be LTTE nominee because he has to be elected by majority vote – when LTTE holds majority automatically LTTE nominee becomes Chairperson
- ISGA will appoint Independent Election Commission (in other words LTTE will appoint and LTTE will conduct ‘free and fair elections’ J)
Secularism / ISGA
- No religion given foremost place in NE (note present constitution apart from 2 all other members were in favour of Buddhism not being given foremost place)
- Governance over resettlement, rehabilitation, reconstruction, development including improvement, upgrading, raising revenue, imposing taxes, levies duties, law & order and over land (all elements covered by the 1995-6 GL-Neelan Union of Regions devolution package and recommendations made by committee drafting new constitution)
Separation of Powers
- Justice in NE will be separate (1995-6 GL-Neelan devolution proposals and current proposals advocate same)
- Financial Commission appointed by ISGA (With LTTE in majority – only LTTE approved members will be nominated)
- GOSL has agreed that ISGA is allowed full control over all expenitures
NorthEast General Fund – Under control of ISGA (in other words under LTTE control)
- ISGA will control all grants/loans made by GOSL and all other loans too
- ISGA will control all allocations by GOSL from agreements with states/institutions and other organizations
NorthEast Reconstruction Fund to be transferred to ISGA (in other words to LTTE)
- All grants given to NERF will be determined and supervised by ISGA
ISGA will have powers to borrow, receive aid and trade (GL-Neelan Package proposed same as is the new constitutional proposals to the provinces)
- ISGA to borrow internally & externally, provide guarantees and indemnities, receive direct aid, engage in or regulate internal and external trade.
- ISGA to appoint Auditor General (GL-Neelan Proposed same)
- Created to carry out administration in districts with powers delegated by ISGA
- District Committees will function directly under ISGA (LTTE control)
- ISGA to appoint Chairpersons & members to committees
- ISGA will have full control over all administrative structures and personnel in NorthEast (in other words LTTE will control all administration in the 2 provinces)
- ISGA at its discretion can create expert advisory committees in areas NOT LIMITED TO – economic affairs, financial affairs, judicial affairs, resettlement and rehabilitation affairs, development infrastructure and essential services. (in short majority LTTE controlled ISGA will rule NorthEast while the GOSL and Muslims look on as members!)
- ISGA holds power to alienate and determine use of ALL LAND in NorthEast that is not privately owned
- ISGA to be responsible for resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced civilians and refugees (so it is not terrorists who are being rehabilitated but civilians and rehabilitation by the terrorists J)
Marine & Off-shore resources
- ISGA to control marine and offshore resources in adjacent seas and will hold power to regulate access
Natural Resources & Water
- ISGA to control natural resources in NE region. Existing agreements related to natural resources will continue but all monies due under such agreements to be paid to ISGA. Future agreements will be through ISGA.
- GOSL to agree on distribution to international requirements.
- Independent Election Commission appointed by ISGA
Facts remain stubborn for those unwilling to accept truth
Tamil Homeland theory and the claim of a historical homeland of the Tamil people is nothing but a myth given a Goebbels twist (say a lie long enough and people begin to believe). The same ethnic group cannot evolve in two different countries – i.e. Tamils cannot evolve/originate in both South India AND Sri Lanka. If Tamils evolved or originated in Sri Lanka then those born in South India have to be referred to by another ethnic name and vice versa. Both these ethnic groups are claiming for self-determination and homeland though South India’s started before the initiative began in Sri Lanka. This quest cannot be inter-twined or incorporated into any constitution to satisfy the aspiration of an ethnic minority that has no historical basis to claim homeland in Sri Lanka. LTTE claims the Tamil people mandated their ‘elected’ representatives to establish an independent sovereign, secular State for the Tamil people by the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976 – but who or how was LTTE mandated?
You have to wonder at the mentality of the leaders and the officials who actually endorsed the LTTE agreement totally disregarding what the implications of the agreement meant.
By signing the 2002 ceasefire agreement, Sri Lanka had placed a terrorist organization on par with a national army. No other country in the world had done so. LTTE had a carte blanche with territory to call their own and the October 2003 ISGA proposals were to seal their Eelam in all but name.
For some good fortune the then President suspended Parliament after taking over the ministries of Defence, Interior & Information when the then PM Ranil Wickremasinghe was overseas.
What kind of government agrees to give monies from the SL Govt consolidated funds to the LTTE controlled NE when the amount of money is not even determined?
What kind of government agrees to give non-state actors money that is given by multi/bilateral institutes?
What kind of government agrees to violate the country’s sovereignty and internal affairs by following a procedure similar to Bosnia by appointing an ICC member for arbitrations between LTTE and SLG?
What kind of government agrees to allow a globally proscribed terrorist group to borrow internally and externally, provide guarantees and indemnities, receive aid directly and engage in internal & external trade?
What kind of government would agree to allowing LTTE absolute majority in the ISGA and give no quota to the Sinhalese who comprise 7 out of 10 people in Sri Lanka
What kind of government allows the LTTE to be head of the ISGA, and appoint all important positions
What kind of government agrees to remove the foremost place given even by colonial rulers to Buddhism without which the country would not be what it is today. The island was built following the doctrines and principles of Buddhist governance for 2600 years.
What kind of government agrees to allow a terrorist organization to head a Financial Commission wherein the GOSL is bound by ‘good faith’ to implement its recommendations?
What kind of government agrees to take loans (and the people have to pay the interest) but the money is given to LTTE controlled ISGA?
What kind of government abdicates all state land to a terrorist organization?
What kind of government agrees to remove its army from 2 provinces and give power to LTTE controlled ISGA while the GOSL has to compensate owners?
What kind of government agrees to allow LTTE controlled ISGA to take control over marine and offshore resources when LTTE ran its own merchant fleet and LTTE’s illegal network continues to exist?
What kind of government allows to give LTTE controlled ISGA to control all natural resources in NE?
A government given a carrot of USD5billion would agree to abdicate its sovereignty!
What is poignant about the ISGA and its comparisons with the present proposals for the new constitution is that the TNA told Donald Camp Deputy US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs that LTTE wanted a written undertaking that the GOSL would give priority to the ISGA.
These examples are lessons that we cannot afford to erase from memory. The players are the same. Their demands have not changed. They are simply sugar-coated to come repackaged under different nomenclatures. These clauses are very much alive in the current proposals being toyed and it is most likely that some carrots will again be thrown. We have seen how Santa is going overboard flooding MPs with gifts when people are fighting to make ends meet – rice is now sold at Rs.95 a kilo!
Not surprisingly the response of the international community
Some of these characters are today drafting the new constitution!
Shenali D Waduge