Proposals for your kind consideration
Posted on August 10th, 2020

Mahinda Gunasekera

By Email_*84, Tambrook Drive
Agincourt, Ontario
Canada M1W 3L9
August 9, 2020

His Excellency, Gotabhaya Rajapakse
President of Sri Lanka
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1, Sri Lanka

Your Excellency,

Whither Sri Lanka under your Leadership

 Let me firstly congratulate you on your principled campaign and winning the Presidential election in November 2019, and able leadership demonstrated in winning the peoples’ mandate at the recent general election with an overwhelming majority.Your effective leadership in containing the Covid 19 pandemic and bringing same under control with the limited facilities available gives ample confidence in your capacity to lead the nation and bring her out of the grip of desperation to a positive direction of development and growth.

 You must be currently inundated with advice from your own party caucus, various experts and other lobbyists who would want you to adopt particular policies and economic models to overcome various problems faced by the country.You have rightly chosen to give an impetus to local agriculture and provide incentives to those who could replace foreign imports with local products of nearly equal or better value.

 I wish to seek your permission to submit a few proposals for your consideration which I trust would be Important and beneficial to the country we love which is our motherland.I am giving below some of the ideas that I have submitted to the Sri Lankan leaders from time to time for their evaluation and adoption:

1.*_New Constitution:_*

*(a)**Retain Presidential system under a unitary structure of government;*

*(b)**Make elected officials subject to judicial scrutiny for their* *actions*;

*(c)**Retain provisions per Chapter II, Article 9, which allows the foremost place and at the same time enjoins the state to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana as prevailing for the past 2300 plus years in order safeguard this vital civilizational pillar, while accommodating all other religious beliefs and practices that arrived later. *

*(d)**Enact Anti-Conversion Bill to prevent exploitation of the poor members of society through offerings of any form of allurement.Conversion only through conviction should be acceptable.*

2.*_13^th Amendment:_*

*(a)**As an interim measure*, *steps should be taken on an urgent basis to amend 13A by deleting Police powers, restoring rights over land matters by transferring the related powers to the Central Government, and revoking the right of two or more Provincial Councils from amalgamating to form a unified__**Provincial Council.*

*(b)**Revoke 13^th Amendment and Replace with Ten Multi-District Councils to which adequate powers may be delegated as opposed to devolved powers directly relating to matters of local interest, while sharing more power at the Centre with the minority communities.**The ideal unit needed to replace the Provincial **Councils would be Multi-District Councils tailored to deal with the common problems affecting neighbouring districts as grouped below:*

*i)Northern Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the
districts of Jaffna, Killinochchi and Mannar;

*ii)North-Eastern Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the
districts of Mullaitivu and Trincomalee;

*iii) North-Central Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the
districts of Vavuniya, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa;*

iv) North-Western Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the
districts of Puttalam and Kurunegala;*

*v)Central Hill Country Multi-District Council to be formed by combining
the districts of Matale, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya;

vi) South-Eastern Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the
districts of Ampara, Batticaloa and Kalmunai;*

*vii) Megapolis Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the*
*districts of Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara;*

*viii) Kegalu-Sabaragamuwa Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the districts of Kegalle and Ratnapura;*

*ix)Uva Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the districts of Badulla and Moneragala; and

*x)Southern Multi-District Council to be formed by combining the
districts of Galle, Matara and Hambantota.

*Some of the powers to be decentralized to the District Councils amongst others to be determined by a competent authority, are listed below for your perusal*:

*·**Licensing of Automobile Vehicles in the district***

*·**General Health and Sanitation***

*·**Local power generation***

*·**Minor roads and bridges***

*·**Administration of District Courts, Family Courts and Local Dispute Arbitration***

*·**Junior Technical Colleges***

*·**Primary School Education***

*·**Special Police to handle Court duties, Traffic control and non-criminal offences***

*·**Welfare services***

*·**Sports and Cultural activities***

*·**Small scale industries***

*·**Agrarian services to localized farming communities*

*3._**_*_*Enhanced Sharing of Power at the Centre: *_***

**Allow for minority representatives to play a role in the decision making process by contributing to the development of policy, implementation and monitoring same through participation in Ministerial Consultative Sub-Committees.In addition, the following senior positions in government may be reserved for minority community representatives**

***. Minister of Tamil Language and Culture***

*·**Deputy Minister ofDisaster Relief and Re-Settlement***

*·**Deputy Minister of Community Development and Social Inequity Eradication***

*·**Deputy Minister of Education***

*·**Deputy Minister of Health Care and Nutrition***

*·**Deputy Minister of Local Government and District Councils***

*·**Deputy Minister of Justice and Law Reform***

*·**Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries*

4.*_Switching from Preferential Voting to First Past the Post on Electorate Basis:_*

*(a)**Political parties should nominate candidates for each electorate as in the past instead of a whole slate for each district*. *It would be useful to specify educational or other work experience requirements to be considered for eligibility to seek candidature for electoral office.***

*(b)**The bonus places or additional seats given to nominees in the National List to which the political parties become eligible could still be determined based on the overall voting strength of each party.*These additional seats could preferably be reserved for enlisting competent persons who are recognized for their outstanding knowledge, technical skills or volunteer services to the larger community.

*5.**_Political Party Names or Labels should not carry a Religious or Ethnic Connotation:_*

*(a)**Political parties with narrow religious or ethnic interests should by law be prohibited from standing for election to the National assembly, as they seek special treatment causing discord and disunity.*

*(b)**One law should apply to all citizens alike in matters of social conduct.*

*(c)**Establish proper guidelines for establishment of places of worship.*

**

*6.**_Ensure Protection of Archaeological and Historical Sites:_*

*(a)**Upgrade the laws relating to the preservation of all archaeological and historical sites in the island, and ensure adequate protection and imposition of severe penalties for desecration or destruction of such sites.*

*(b)**Make the teaching of National History a compulsory subject in schools.*

**

*7.**_Update Animal Welfare Laws and the Fauna and Flora Act:_*

*(a)**Take immediate steps to upgrade the Animal Welfare Laws with due penalties and the Fauna and Flora Act to safeguard the environment.*

*(b)**Strengthen the laws governing the conservation of forests and game parks to safeguard the limited forest cover needed to ease the harmful effect of Climate change.*

*(c)**Resolve the issue of constant clashes between humans and wild elephants due to theencroachment by human settlements obstructing elephant corridors and their foraging grounds.
*

*8.**_ACSA, SOFA and MCC Compact:_***

*(a)**Take immediate steps to terminate the ACSA Agreement and re-negotiate terms more in accord with the national interest.*

*(b)**Reject SOFA as it is a direct threat to National security.*

*(c)**MCC Compact should not be signed as it could lead to the loss of sovereignty and *

*depletion of the country’s territorial boundaries.*

**

*9.**_Other Necessary Legal Steps to be Taken:_*

*(a)**Regulate all NGOs and INGO operating in Sri Lanka and auditing of all accounts as in the case of private companies.*

*(b)**Repeal orAmend 19A by eliminating objectionable clauses including the one that prevents dissolution of parliament even when there is no functioning government.*

*(c)**Amend the OMP Act by removing clauses granting excessive powers to the Commissioners, and delete clauses that grant compensation to wrongdoers that attempt to overthrow legally and democratically elected governments by violent means.*

*(d)**Ensure that the Supreme Court is the superior court and the arbiter of final appeal, and that all other courts are subordinate to it whether it be a special court such as the earlier proposed Constitutional Court.*

**

*10.**_Establishment of an Office of OMBUDSMAN_***

It is felt that a useful role could be played by an *Independent Ombudsmen *who may be authorized to look into complaints of abuse by the state sector or other establishment or person, as a large segment of the people are too poor to litigate or seek redress for wrongs done or perceived to have been done against them.

**

This is by no means complete.I trust you would give due consideration and take steps to implement what ever is possible based on national priorities. With best wishes for a successful term as the President of the nation which hopefully will make great strides in taking the country forward.

Yours sincerely,

Mahinda Gunasekera

**

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