Alarm bell for the President and all politicians in good faith, in the name of the motherland!
Posted on September 8th, 2022

Dr Sudath Gunasekara. Mhanuwara 8th Sept. 2022.

After all a cabinet by perception is a small cupboard or a small private room and necessarily one cannot call a container a cabinet. Therefore usually, a Cabinet of Ministries has to be small What is more is you can’t have another set of independent ministers from the Cabinet Minsters called State Ministers as we have in this country.

Usually, cabinet ministers are listed in a scientific manner to cover the entire field of governance putting the inter-related functions together to achieve the best coordination and to avoid inter-ministerial conflicts and ensure economy (For eg: Land and Irrigation, Trade and Commerce and Agriculture and Food.)

The present State Ministers are a mismatch and an anachronism 

First of all

Ministers in a Cabinet form of government are usually classified as Cabinet Ministers. Although there are different practices in different countries. In some countries ministers are called Secretaries of State (USA). In UK there are no Junior, Deputy or State ministers. They are called Parliamentary Secretaries. A Parliamentary, Private Secretary (PPS) is a Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom who acts as an unpaid assistant to a minister or shadow minister). On the other hand in Sri Lanka the practice was to call, those who are not Cabinet Ministers Junior or Deputy Ministers, implying that they are junior or Deputies to the Cabinet Ministers working under the direction of their Cabinet Ministers. Conceptually the Deputies are appointed to assist the Minister and also to act for them whenever the cabinet minister, is not available due to absence from the country or due to ill-health or some other reason. But they enjoy more or less the same privileges of Ministers.

In Sri Lanka the term state minister was first used by 1977 to accommodate his chum Ananda Tissa de Alvis in the Cabinet as the number of Cabinet Ministers fixed by law and tradition. Was fixed. Although he was called State Minister in that Government, he enjoyed the powers of a cabinet minister.

The 1987 Constitution, with its frequent and successive amendments became less and less democratic. What is more is   finally it got converted in to a constitution of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians. His successors used and misused it more than often to suit their whims and fancies to meet their convenience. The worst practices were found during the Gotabhaya regime.  Where he appointed his favorite young men and women with no experience to counter most cabinet ministers who were Mahinda’s nominees. He gave more prominence to State Ministers than some cabinet ministers. His state minister didn’t care for a hoot for his cabinet ministers either. Finally, they messed up the governance in the country, paving the way for him to flee the country looking for exile in a foreign country.

 Since under the Constitution it is the cabinet minister who is responsible for the ministry or ministries that come under him. The position given as state minister therefore, is only a decoration for them to enjoy enormous privileges like enhanced salaries, official vehicles and other emoluments for no work done. It is a first-class invention by our shroud politicians to rob the public money. This is why I strongly oppose the appointment of state ministers.

Looking at the way how the Sate Ministers are appointed it appears that President Wickramasinha is also following the same disastrous path in spite of our repeated advice for him to limit the Cabinet to 17 and not to appoint a single state minister in view of the prevailing public displeasure in the government and the appalling economic situation in the country, that call for the highest frugality in governments expenditure.

As a last compromise I would like to suggest that the President appoints only 17 Deputy ministers or 22 the most (3 additional for you and 2 for the Pm as both have a large number of subjects that will be impossible to handle effectively and efficiently by 1 Deputy, under the compulsion to increase efficiency and the speed of the delivery of services to the people.

I have repeatedly pointed out to him (See Lankaweb 29.8. 2022 and 8.9. 2022) the need to limit the cabinet ministers to 17 (for which I also have given a detailed list of functions for each Minister as well.

The way he is going, I think he might appoint even 30 cabinet ministers and 40 state ministers, taking cover under the Constitutions. Mr. President constitution, though it is called the supreme law of the country please remember that Constitutions are made for the people and people are not made for the Constitutions. After all, even the JRJ Constitution says Sovereignty is in the people and it is inalienable’

So, we are the people and you are not. It is the people who elect the President of the country and the Members of Parliament to perform the Executive and legislative functions on behalf the people.

Therefore, I request you to please read my above two letters before you proceed any further and desist from appointing any more ministers whether they are cabinet or otherwise to bleed the nation and bring misery to 22.1 million people in this country who will curse you. I am not pleading you to do so, but I am commanding you, on behalf of the 22.1 million with whom the sovereignty in this Republic of Sri Lanka lies.

 I am afraid whether you are also treading the same disastrous path your predecessor took.

Cabinet Ministers

            Name   Portfolio

1. The Hon. Ranil Wickramasinga President   Minister of Defense

Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization

and National Policies

Minister of Technology

Minister of Women, Child Affairs

and Social Empowerment

Minister of Investment Promotion

2.          Hon. Dinesh Chandra Rupasingha Gunawardena, M.P.(Hon. Prime Minister)          Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs,

Provincial Councils and Local Government

3.          Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, M.P.       Minister of Ports, Shipping

and Aviation

4.         Hon. Douglas Devananda, M.P.          Minister of Fisheries

5.         Hon. Achchige Don Susil

Premajayanth, M.P.    Minister of Education

6.         Hon. Bandula Gunawardena, M.P.     Minister of Transport and Highways

Minister of Mass Media

7.         Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella, M.P.      Minister of Health

Minister of Water Supply

8.         Hon. Amaraweera Mahinda, M.P.      Minister of Agriculture

Minister of Wildlife and Forest

Resources Conservation

9.         Hon. Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, M.P.    Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs

and Constitutional Reforms

10.       Hon. Nalaka Jude Hareen Fernando, M.P.      Minister of Tourism and Lands

11.       Hon. Ramesh Pathirana, M.P.             Minister of Plantation Industries

Minister of Industries

12.       Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga, M.P.         Minister of Urban Development

and Housing

13.       Hon. M.U.M. Ali Sabri, M.P.    Minister of Foreign Affairs

14.       Hon. Vidura Wikramanayaka, M.P.    Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious

and Cultural Affairs

15.       Hon. Kanchana Wijesekera, M.P.       Minister of Power and Energy

16.       Hon. Ahamed Zenulabdeen Naseer, M.P.      Minister of Environment

17.       Hon. Anuruddha Ranasinghe Arachchige

Roshan, M.P.                                                Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs

Minister of Irrigation

18.       Hon. Maligaspe Koralege Nalin

Manusha Nanayakkara, M.P. Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment

19.       Hon. Tiran Alles, M.P. Minister of Public Security

20.       Hon. Kachchakaduge Nalin Ruwanjiwa

State Ministers

Jagath Pushpakumara – State Minister Foreign Employment

Ranjith Siyambalapitiya – State Minister of Finance

Lasantha Alagiyawanna – State Minister of Transport

Dilum Amunugama – State Minister of Investment Promotion

Kanaka Herath – State Minister of Technology

Janaka Wakkumbura – State Minister of Provincial Councils, and Local Government

Shehan Semasinghe – State Minister of Finance

Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva – State Minister of Agriculture

Thenuka Vidanagamage – State Minister of Urban Development and Housing*

Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon – State Minister of Security

Rohana Dissanayake – State Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs

Arundhika Fernando – State Minister of Urban Development and Housing*

Vijitha Berugoda – State Minister of Piriven Education

Lohan Ratwatte – State Minister of Plantation Industries

Tharaka Balasuriya – State Minister of External Affairs

Sanath Nishantha- State Minister of Water Supply

Indika Anurudhdha – State Minister of Power and Energy

Siripala Gamlath – State Minister of Highways

Shantha Bandara – State Minister of Media

Anuradha Jayaratne  – State Minister of Justice and Prisons Affairs

S. Viyalendran – State Minister of Trade

Sisira Jayakody – State Minister of Indegenious Medicine

Piyal Nishantha De Silva – State Minister of Fisheries

Prasanna Ranaweera – State Minister of  Small and Medium Scale Industries Development

D. V. Chanaka – State Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation

D. B. Herath – State Minister of Livestock Development

Shasheendra Rajapaksa – State Minister of Irrigation

Dr. Seetha Arambepola – State Minister of Health

Cader Masthan – State Minister of Rural Affairs

Ashoka Priyantha – State Minister of Home Affairs

Aravind Kumar – State Minister of Education

Geetha Kumarasinghe – State Minister of Women and Child Affairs

Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan – State Minister of Rural Roads Development

Dr. Suren Raghavan – State Minister of Higher Education

Diana Gamage – State Minister of Tourism

Chamara Sampath Dassanayake – State Minister of Primary Industries

37.Anura Paquel – State Minister of Social Empowerment.

Few comments on this list.

There are two State Minister of Urban Development and Housing in the above list.

No state ministers are appointed to Land, Industries Foreign Affairs, Cultural Affairs Labour, Ports trade Commerce, Environment, Public Administration and Trade and Commerce. The allocation of functions to State ministries is chaotic and clumsy

They are also not assigned to cabinet ministries

The fact these state ministers have to be provided with Ministry Office, security, buildings, Ministry Secretaries with support staff, official vehicles, drivers and fuel, official bungalow s in Colombo with all other facilities it is going to cost the government additional expenditure amounting to billions of rupees, just to maintain these ministers for no service or work done to the country.

It becomes far more serious and rather criminal to spend such enormous amount specially at a time like this where the nation is going on the rim.  Therefore, it is not late even now for both parties, the President on the one hand and the ministers on the other to rethink over this whole issue and voluntarily resigned from these posts limiting the cabinet to 17.and embark on a far more patriotic programme to rescue the country and the nation out of the difficult times we are going through as nation. with no cost to the people.

I wish wisdom will dawn upon our politicians! at least now, before all of us get sunk in to the bottom of the Indian Ocean, never to return again.

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