Attempts to exhume the provincial council cadaver: a reply to Mr. Austin Fernando
Posted on December 30th, 2020

C. Wijeyawickrema

To:Members and secretary of the expert committee to draft a new constitution
Minister of Justice
Secretary, Ministry of Justice
Secretary, Ministry of Defence
Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara, Minister, Public Security
Editor, Island Newspaper
Sagara Kariyawasam, (nl)MP, Secretary, SLPP

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Attempts to exhume the provincial council cadaver: a reply to Mr. Austin Fernando


This letter has two purposes:

1. Bring to your attention, a reply that I sent to Mr. Austin Fernando on the topic of 13-A (Part-A); and

2. To present an alternative path on how to handle the political hot potato called the provincial councils for consideration by the Romesh de Silva committee (Part -B).

Part – A

Austin and Orumittanadu

The reply that I sent to Mr. Austin Fernando, regarding his promotion of the, 1996-2000 Package Deal authored by Chandrika-GL-Neelan, and Jayampathy W, who is now hiding in Geneva is attached as a pdf file. In his Island newspaper essay, on Dec.25, 2020, Austin suggests indirectly, that the scheme proposed in the Orumittanadu draft constitution (2015-19), prepared by Sumanthiran-Ranil and Jayampathy, the Marxist, could be copied as a guiding framework by the new Romesh de Silva Committee.

Secret map of the Package Deal

The disastrous Package Deal was an attempt to divide the island into a union of regions, 7 to 11. Main objective of it was to satisfy the desire of Neelan Thiruchelvam to have a mono-ethnic Tamil region, with loopholes to expand and legally link it with the Indian Tamil electorates in Malayanadu. On the other hand, he did not even want to consider the Pondicherry model of allowing Sinhala or Muslim islands within a Northeastern new Tamil region, because it creates a moth-eaten like Tamil map! Thus, Chandrika’s intention was to implement an idea, germinated in 1921/24, fertilized by her father and Stanley de Zoysa in 1957 (B-C Pact), secretly improving it further by Dudley and JRJ in 1965 (D-C Pact), and finally, forced down the throat of JRJ by a car-racing Indian boy in 1987, so that the Eelam dream becomes a reality during her own lifetime. While this plan was progressing, following R. Premadasa, she even offered the NP on a 20-year lease to Prabhakaran. Additionally, there was the P-Tom and ISGA along the path of the infamous 2002 CFA of Ranil.

Why it is necessary to remind all of you few salient points of this history, is that in 2015 Chandrika boasted that the Orumittanadu plan was exactly her plan prepared in 2000! Now imagine, the gravity of the innocent-looking advice offered by Austin who was also a behind-the-curtain administrative supporter of the Orumittanadu drama and the Ranil-Mangala 30/1 Geneva betrayal.

‘You cannot legislate against geography’

13-A is a death-trap that will make the Island of Sinhale, a Palestine in South Asia, balkanizing it into warring pieces, thus ending the 2,600-years old Sinhala Buddhist civilization, a world heritage. So many fact-based essays are available on the Internet demonstrating the dangers of this illegally passed, immoral law. The physical geography of the island, its hydrology, ethnic population distribution map, historical, economic, and political geography, and geopolitics, are all against this plan, which is based on what Colebrooke designed in 1832 as a colonial strategy to administer a rebellious Kandyan mindset.  Still in 1848, there was another uprising with a dozen or more minor skirmishes between 1818-48.

Even in 2021, black-white politicians have not yet digested the truth that in Ceylon (Sinhale) there is no ethnic problem, but a mismanagement issue of spatial inequity and lack of equal access of opportunity. Thus, I did not have the opportunities that Vigneswaran in Colombo or Michael Roberts in Galle had when all of us were in school. From a poor semi-urban village in Panadura, I had to swim against the current. In Buddhism, no two persons are the same. It is the social and physical environment that makes the difference, by providing equal access to realize their different potentials via political decision-making.

Non-majoritarian devolution trap

 13-A, is a devolution-trap” along the lines of how to solve minority problems, nurtured under the divide-and-rule strategy of colonialism to manage ethnic groups, for the purpose of exploiting the resources of the colony. Now, with remote-controlled new colonialism, they come back not with the bible and sword (and bottle)-arrack), but a new strain of non-majoritarian solutions to protect minorities from the majority. Donald Horowitz, who did field work in Ceylon as a Fulbright scholar was the key promoter of this idea. But his concept (linked with Joseph Nye’s soft power idea) failed in all the countries it was applied, and Sri Lanka is no exception. For us, it erupted with a vengeance.  Vigneswaran used the opportunity as the CM of NP to pass two dozen resolutions against the Sri Lankan government accusing it of a policy genocide against Tamils since 1948! Even a simple ‘devolution’ gift by Maithripala to allow the national anthem in Tamil ended up as one more victory for an eternal Eelam fight. Now, it is sung in both languages in the South, but only in Tamil in the North. So much for the fake conciliatory bribes by the Yahapalana crowd. In this regard, I feel that the research paper authored by Dr. G. H. Peiris, on the subject of the failure of federalism as a remedy to ethnic conflicts, and the impractical nature of it as a solution to the Sri Lankan situation, reprinted in the Island Newspaper (September 8-15, 2005) deserves to be translated into Sinhala and Tamil as reading material for high school and university students.

Meaningful devolution-empowerment of people

Robert Blake, Hilary Clinton, Manmohan Singh, Banki Moon, all these R2P saints fought for meaningful devolution under 13-A or for police and land powers to NPC, according to the father of 13-A plus in Sri Lanka, Dayan Jayatilake. Under this scheme, the demand by Sumanthiran and Sambandan, is for a transfer of legislative power from Colombo in such a manner that it cannot be taken back (forever). Under 13-A, Sri Lanka is already a federal state according to a supreme court decision, and any tinkering by a new set of lawyers would be a case of feeding a cancer to cure it. The devolution path to a mythical Tamil homeland has now to adjust to an expanding lebensraum of Vigneswaran from a thesis of Devanam Piyatheesan in say in 2014 to one of blessings bestowed to the Island by way of five Siva lingams brought during pre-historic times in 2020. Present day actors, politicians as well as constitution-making lawyers will not be available to accommodate such dreams.

Decentralization or empowerment of people

Meaningful devolution should be empowerment of people at the lowest spatial level possible, represented by our Gam Sabha system, based on the socio-economic Trinity of -village- water tank – and the temple. This or the Indian Panchayathi concept was completely missed by Horowitz and other western professors; they simply provide feedback or fodder to the R2P saints lurking in the dark (for example, if Muslim corona body-burning issue becomes another July 1983, American war ships are ready to land marines; one large school building with hostel facilities was declared open recently by the American ambassador in Kattankudy, and a second such school cum camp is on its way. Presumably, such fortress like building is needed to handle any future tsunami threat; this is the ghost of MCC, denied). Sri Lanka’s forced marriage with PCs has proven that it did not save people from politicians’ grip. Instead, local politicians’ class in the South, and a handful of Tamil Eelamists in the North used it as a gold mine gifted by Rajiv Gandhi to thrive at the expense of suffering masses.

Montesquieu standing on his head

Capitalist representative democracy has been a failed experiment in Ceylon. It was mismanagement, pure and simple. For 73 years it was a classic case of the tragedy of the commons. Politicians abused everything and anything they could touch for short-term selfish gain, destroying long-term survival of the country. Party politics is not suitable for Sri Lanka.

What Montesquieu meant was the distribution of the sum total of governmental powers to as many spatial units as possible, and not a strict separation of powers at the center as in the USA, which has now reached a laughable stage of a constitutional crisis. The sovereignty of units at the small is beautiful level is demonstrated by the system of independence of the chief monk of a village temple. As the Ven. Prof. Induragare Dhammaratana points out the surname of a monk is a name of his village.

The majority report of the APRC in 2006, went on to the extent of making a lunatic suggestion of stationing a Tamil policeman in Sinhala villages to protect Tamils in the South! The ethnic distribution map of Sri Lanka is like a scrambled egg. Thus, if what we need is village -level empowerment of people with sufficient self-governing powers to handle their day-to-day affairs, guided by a central government. This egg comparison has now reached an unexpected critical level due to the revelation, that Arab funded Sharia agents are creating Muslim population pockets (with a war of wombs) within or near the Sinhala villages, in a systematic fashion, with a village mosque to be used to store swords, to cut grass on the premises. 

Part – B

Coming out of the well from the mouth of the well

Any new constitutional plan will be dead on arrival, if it is a case of applying lipstick to a pig. The learned lawyers need to come out of their 13-A prison or tunnel and do justice to all based on the Buddhist foundation of the Middle Path. What is the simple solution?

1. Re-demarcate the GSN (grama seva niladharee)  boundaries using natural geographic criteria. Was this what the King Pandukabhaya did covering the entire island or the populated portion of it? Do you believe that Prabhakaran used GSN unit as his spatial planning unit? I saw his land use maps on the Internet at that time.  In New Zealand, local government units are identified using river basin boundaries. This is constitutionally mandated requirement.

 R. Premadasa arbitrarily increased the number of GSN units from 4,000 to 14,000. When river basins (and groundwater basins and irrigation water tanks) are used as boundaries, the number of GSN units would get drastically reduced to a reasonable number of Natural Units (this would send the delimitation commission out of the business of partisan politics; Having 14,000 GSN spatial units is different from having several GSNs in a larger Natural GSN unit). The retired geography professor C. M. Maddumabandara, who possesses a lifetime of knowledge and experience on this subject, would be able to handle this task ASAP, if assigned.

With the lowest civil administration unit demarcated as a natural spatial unit (that means language/religion/race-blind), the identification of political/administrative units needed for all other functions/purposes becomes a simple enterprise. For example, in the case healthcare, now there are 354 MOH units in the island. What if their boundaries are aligned with Natural GSN boundaries? Thus, by aggregating Natural GSN unit as required, educational, police, postal, disaster management etc. could follow the sustainable development model. On the civil administration side, a collection of Natural GSN units would become a divisional secretariate and they in turn forms the district secretariate.

On the front of representative democracy one or several Natural GSN units could be a Jana Sabha, where a set of representatives are selected on a non-party political basis. Even otherwise, the 346 Pradesheeya Sabhas and their wards could be based on the basic building block of Natural GSN units. Parliamentary electorates would also have natural boundaries. MCs and Urban/Town councils have wards identified on this basis.

Private needs/wants and public aspirations

Meaningful empowerment of people at the Natural GSN (Jana Sabha) level is the answer to Modi or anybody or Dayasiri Jayasekara, SLFP MP, who thinks that we should hold PC election because of the power of India. This has been the favorite tune of Dayan Jayatilaka for decades. Such shallow fears are unwarranted. If Modi wants Hindi as the Indian mouth to the world, if Tamilnad is forced to learn Hindi by administrative fiat, if the Indian water development plan is reaching Tamilnad with a nuclear power plant already located in the southern tip of Tamilnad, and if he takes Jammu and Kashmir back to an Indian Union, how could he tell us to pave way for an Eelam in this island? Yes, India forced Nepal and Bhutan to dance on the Indian tune, because of their land-locked location, Mody cannot interfere if we follow the Buddhist principles of governance.

Once, Kumar Ponnamabalam was asked to list any problems that Tamils are facing, which are not faced by other communities in general, he was hesitant and said, we Tamils have aspirations. The private needs and wants of an individual (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) are different from aspirations, which are public or politician-created dreams or myths. The trouble with aspirations is that different aspirations of different communities are always in conflict with each other. For example, why does a small town like Kattankudy need over 60 (?) mosques? The fear of Tamils from Tamilnad pouring into a self-governing federal unit called NPC and pushing southward at the borders, is a life and death issue for the Sinhalese. Bill Clinton once said if each ethnic group is given a country there will be 5,000 states in the world. Local and global Eelam supporters believe Sri Lanka with its black-white politics is an easy target to achieve their aspiration of a Tamil state with the Prabhakaran flag and a UN seat.

But, the Sinhalese, Sinhala Buddhists, who did not invade or harm any other ethnic group (1983 clash was a results of JRJ’s Just Society junk, while the IGP, DIGs and even the Chief Justice were Tamils) would not object allowing Tamil politicians to achieve their cultural, social, and economic aspirations, so long as it is not a cover-up for an Eelam dream. The use of language-blind, religion-blind, and race-blind, civil boundary demarcation system spatially, is the guarantee needed to erase the fear of balkanization the island. Similarly, an Eelam-bound mindset of a person, politician or a group wearing a Thesawalamai dress, could only be erased, if he or she begins to see the ground reality that there are no spatial units anymore, based on language or religion. This plus compulsory Tamil and Sinhala language exams from grades 4 to10 would end this game started during 1921-4.

2 Responses to “Attempts to exhume the provincial council cadaver: a reply to Mr. Austin Fernando”

  1. aloy Says:

    What is the point in making constitutions if thing do not happen according to current constitution( to be put into effect by the executive and the judiciary)?. This is what Hon. Ranjan has been saying in the house day in and day out.

    The former Prez himself said in public that so and so CJ asked him to continue with him as CJ, and he will bend the law as he wished; and he did not do so. After a lapse five years we have now sent him to the highest body in the world, the UN, without any shame (hirikithayak nethuwa) after getting approval of all commissions and committees. Nobody said a meek.

    We are a shameless set of people in the eyes of the civilized world. Under these conditions who will even come and invest here unless they have some other design?.

    So, please do not waste people money and time by asking a muslim to make laws for a Buddhist country like SL.
    This what C.Wije should say, to my mind.

  2. Ratanapala Says:

    Austin Fernando the Catholic has a propensity to creep into any land issue in Sri Lanka. His infamous history of working against Sinhala Buddhists is not an unknown. We still remember how he along with Paul Perera the Catholic chased away Sinhala Mahaweli settlers in the eighties. Since then he has incessantly worked for devolution in Sri Lanka and in doing so for the Provincial Councils.

    The empowerment of the Provincial Councils while bringing power to the Tamils and Muslims in the North and East respectively also will make way for the making of a separate province for the Catholics in the North Western Province – Kristhu Raajya!

    Although the Cardinal and ordinary Catholics are at peace with Buddhists and Hindus even outwardly, Austin Fernando is the now dormant Catholic Action in motion! It still has enough venom and the propensity to harm the future make up of Sri Lanka! A viper in the grass to watchout!

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