Minister Douglas Devananda back flips on 13th Amendment?
Posted on August 7th, 2009

Written by Sellakapu S Upasiri de Silva

 Minister Douglas Devananda (DD), is a very strong supporter of out going (sacked) Permanent Representative for the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Dayan Jayathilake (DJ). DJ is up-until now is the main spokesperson of the group trying to influence the President to implement the Amendment 13. But the Minister Devananda has let down DJ in a dramatic manner when the Minister DD gave an interview to   the Sunday Times by back flipping on the questions about Tamil grievances and the implementation of the 13th Amendment. 

 The interview conducted by Chris Kamalendran and reported in The Sunday times of July 26, 2009, is mind boggling as Minister Devananda avoids giving truthful answers to most questions put to him. He wanted to join the Coalition for the polls but he refused to join the SLFP as a member. He wanted to eat the cake and at the same time he is trying to keep the cake for any future use. If he gives up the leadership of EPDP then he will loose many privileges as well as the position of Chief Minister. But if he contests under EPDP then he will loose the election as well as the Chief Ministers post.

 13th Amendment  

 On the question of implementation of the 13th Amendment, this is what he said: “An election should be held soon in the North similar to that in the east. It should be just a poll. Full powers should be granted to the provincial councils. Two third majority in parliament will not be needed for this. This would help to find a solution for political rights”.

 The sixty four million rupee question is has Tamil people in the North lost their political rights and their privileges, if not why we need to find a solution. What are the political rights Minister DD is talking about? Is Minister DD is not enjoying political rights? Is other Tamil MP’s in the TNA not enjoying political rights? Are there any political wrongs done by others other than their own Tamil people like LTTE and what are these political rights? Holding elections for Municipal Councils in Jaffna and Wanni as soon as the LTTE is annihilated shows how the GOSL is allowing the Northern people to enjoy their political rights.

 He further says that “13th Amendment can be seen as the starting point for those who are left with nothing“. North had every thing and lost every thing not because Amendment 13 was not implemented, but due to myopic politicians who advocated the division of the country, and the Jaffna boys taking arms against the democratically elected government. He further says that “Sri Lankan History shows especially in the South, the opposition opposes anything put forward by the government. There will be some opposition to this move too but I believe the government can implement it”.

 Why South oppose the implementation

 The South consists the majority community, and they never objected to when the Jaffna University was establish or the best trains service was directed to Jaffna or even when the Cement factory was constructed at KKS. Why? The South thought it is another part of the same country, and people from south also can live and work in the North. But, the implementation of the 13th Amendment,  forced on the Sri Lankan population by Indian government by using Military Force, is opposed by many in the South including the politicians, not because it is not the starting point to provide every thing for those who are left with nothing, but because, it will divide the country on ethnic lines, and another terrorist uprising will be eminent and the poor Tamil citizens may become trapped again..

 Those who are left with nothing

 Implementation of the 13th Amendment may not solve all the problems for those Tamil people who are left with nothing. But it will allow people like Minister DD and Mr. Ananda Sangaree to achieve their political goals. Those Tamils left without anything will never get everything even the Government implement the 13th Amendment.

 Look at the South, Colombo Province, Galle Province and all other provinces where Provincial Councils are operating, they are just a waste of money, and  a breeding ground for corruption.  It is a known fact among every contractor in the NCP that no other contractor can get a contract other than the three construction companies belong to the Chief Minister.  People who don’t have any thing will end up having nothing even in the South. Schools run by the PC’s are not functioning well because unqualified supporters of politicians are appointed as Education Directors and other staff. Students in these PC areas, after a very hard struggle graduate from a University and cannot get a job, without the support of the Provincial Member or the Chief Minister. So how can the poor people who are left without anything can get something from the implementation of the 13th amendment?

 Tamil Grievances   

   According to Minister DD there are only three priority areas that need to be addressed immediately. They are; the settlement of the people in IDP camps in Wanni. Opening of the A 9 road, and for the public to use it without any hindrance. Northern Council polls, soon after the resettlement of IDP’s.

 If these are the grievances of the Tamil people, why bother to implement the 13th Amendment. The Central government is now settling the IDP’s as and when the land is cleared. According to information nearly 50,000 IDP’s are now settled within these 40 days. A9 road is open now and the government is trying to secure the safety of the people as some LTTE terror carders are still in the Wanni. The government is now proceeding with the Northern Polls other than the Provincial council polls.

 When the government settle these priority areas then there will be only few minor grievances of the Tamil people if there are any, and the GOSL can solve them without implementing the 13th amendment for the sake of peace in Sri Lanka.

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