How can a government that cannot name a proper list of Cabinet Ministries govern a country?
Posted on April 19th, 2022

Dr Sudath Gunasekara Maahnuwara

This puzzle came to my mind as I was going through the list of Cabinet and State Ministries published yesterday. Having seen the overlapping and confusion found in the previous lists of Ministries, I was expecting some improvement at least this time. But it was even more disgusting and appalling to see they have repeated the same blunders they did in the past, in naming the new Ministries. I can understand the President making those mistakes as he had no experience or the knowhow in making such lists in the past. He can always take cover under the pretext that it was not he who made it and he had only to sing the list prepared by his secretary. True but surely, he should have the common sense to go through it and see whether it is scientific” as he promised at the elections.

The big question that came to my mind was how can a man who cannot make a proper classification of state functions to be given to his ministers for which he alone has the responsibility to select the correct individuals as Ministers to be in charge of those Ministries. True it is the onerous responsibility of his secretary to do that job. But ultimately it is the man who sign it, on whom the responsibility comes.

Shouldn’t there be a scientific or functional criteria in allocating functions to each ministry. That is what you call scientific.

The next question I have been trying to understand is the difference between a cabinet minister and the state minister. As far as I know there is no provision in the Constitution for the appointment of State Ministers.

Sec 46 of the Constitution provides only for the appointment of Deputy Ministers who are only deputies to Cabinet Ministers appointed to assist the cabinet minister. The idea of having a Deputy I think was to get him trained under a senior, to act in his absence and also replace him if it becomes vacant due to the removal, resignation or his death, so that the smooth continuity of the functions of the ministry will be ensured without any disruption

From what I came to know these State ministers under the present Government are independent. They don’t come under any cabinet minister. I think this is a device invented by Gotabhaya to build up his own team bypassing the old hands of Mahinda. The list of ministers appointed yesterday proves my point. I do not know how they submit cabinet papers on their subjects since submitting cabinet papers is a function of cabinet ministers

This designation of State Minister was originally coined by JR to accommodate Ananda Tissa De Alwis in the cabinet as there was no cabinet portfolio to be given to him as a cabinet minister. Premadasa his successor also had few State ministers outside the cabinet. Ananda, though he was called State Minister was a member of the cabinet as such he had no problem in submitting cabinet papers.

But in the present context where they are not cabinet ministers, I really don’t know how they get cabinet papers connected with their subjects approved by the cabinet

The present cabinet has no minister for cultural Affairs and Industries but there is a state minister for each. Also there is no cabinet minister for Ayurveda. What is even worse is there is no cabinet or state minster for Lands. This clearly shows how confusing and silly these classifications are. I am wondering as to what the presidents Secretary and Chief Advisor are doing. If I were the president, by now, both of them would have been sacked for making me a big joker in the eyes of the public

I am attaching herewith the lists of new Cabinet ministers and State Ministers, so that my reader can verify the veracity of what I have said here.

New Cabinet

1. Dinesh Gunawardena – Public Administration, Internal Affairs, Provincial Councils & Local Government.

2. Douglas Devananda – Fisheries

3. Dr. Ramesh Pathirana – Education and Plantation Industries

4. Prasanna Ranatunga – Public Security & Tourism

5. Dilum Amunugama – Transport & Industries

6. Kanaka Herath – Highways

7. Vidura Wickramanayake – Labour

8. Janaka Wakkumbura – Agriculture & Irrigation

9. Shehan Semasinghe – Trade & Samurdhi Development

10. Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva – Water Supply

11. Wimalaweera Dissanayake – Wildlife & Forest Resources Conservation

12. Kanchana Wijesekera – Power & Energy

13. Thenuka Vidanagamage -Sports and Youth Affairs

14. Dr. Nalaka Godahewa – Media

15. Professor Channa Jayasumana – Health

16. Naseer Ahamed – Environment

17. Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon – Ports and Shipping


State Ministers

 1   Prof. G.L. Peiris – State Minister of Defence

 2   Rohana Dissanayake – State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government

 3   Arundika Fernando – State Minister of Plantation Industries

  4  Lohan Ratwatte – State Minister of Urban Development

  5  Tharaka Balasuriya – State Minister of Foreign Affairs

  6  Indika Anuruddha – State Minister of Housing

  7  Sanath Nishantha – State Minister of Water Supply

   8 Siripala Gamlath – State Minister of Mahaweli

   9 Anuradha Jayaratne – State Minister of Irrigation

  10  Sisira Jayakody – State Minister of Indigenous Medicine

  11  Prasanna Ranaweera – State Minister of Industries

   12 D.V. Chanaka – State Minister of Tourism / State Minister of Tourism

    13 D.B. Herath – State Minister of Livestock

    14 Kader Masthan – State Minister of Rural Economic Crop Cultivation & Promotion

    15 Ashoka Priyantha – State Minister of Trade

   16 16 A. Aravind Kumar – State Minister of Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure

    17 Geetha Kumarasinghe – State Minister of Culture and Performing Arts

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