29 September, 2020

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A Headless Defence Ministry Or Is It A Supra-Constitutional Defence Secretary?

Sri Lanka is yet to see the appointment of a Minsiter of Defence. It has been nearly a month since the Government was appointed and the appointment of the hawkish Defence Secretary Kamal Guneratne, so far the defence minister portfolio has remained elusive. In the cabinet it is unclear who will bear responsibility as the minister of defence.

Constitutional experts have questioned the legality of the position ‘secretary to the ministry of defence’ when the minister of defence is yet to be appointed.

Despite appointing cabinet ministers, ministers, state ministers and deputy minister nothing has been said so far about the Minister of Defence.

Speaking to Colombo Telegraph a constitutional expert questioned the legality of existence of the defence secretary position without a ministry.

“If you look at the gazette issued its evident that the Ministry of Defence exists. The officials for the ministry have been appointed and functions and duties of the ministry too have been defined. However, it is silent as to who the Minister of Defence is,” she said.

The question remains about who advises the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. A constitutional lawyer who wished to remain anonymous questioned: “Who will give directions to the secretary in the absence of a minister? Does that mean that he is a ‘Supra-Constitutional Secretary’ where he is above the constitution?” she questioned.

The silence about the Defence Minister has resulted in speculation that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will appoint himself as the Defence Minster. However, this will be unconstitutional under the terms of the 19th Amendment which provides that only members of parliament shall hold office as ministers. For this same reason a transitional provision was included in the 19A so that former President Maithripala Sirisena could hold the portfolios of defence, mahaweli and environment, exclusively for the duration of his first term of office.

In his maiden speech to the nation soon after taking oaths, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, “Today I am here before you as the executive president, Commander in Chief and as the person who is responsible of your security as the Minister of Defence.”

“The president cannot appoint himself as a minister of any portfolio. The transitional clause of the 19 Amendment clearly states that the last president could hold the ministries of Environment, Mahaweli and Defence but, this does not flow on to the next presidency,” the constitutional expert explained.

Before the introduction of the 19th amendment the constitution provided that any subject and functions not assigned to any ministers comes under the president. However, this residual power clause was also removed by the 19th amendment.

Therefore it is clear that even if President Rajapaksa does not assign the post of Defence Minsiter that does not mean that it remains with him.

According to constitutional experts this clearly illustrates the intention of leaving the president away from the ministerial portfolios.

If so, where has the minister of Defence gone?

One school of thought is that the intention of the government is to keep the position vacant until the General Election is concluded within the first quarter of next year. If the government manages to secure a two thirds majority in the parliament the 19th amendment can be easily repealed and replaced, thereby even changing the provisions preventing the President from holding any ministerial portfolios.

Soon after been elected, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa expressed his opinion at few occasions while visiting monks that the 19th amendment is a hindrance to governance and has many limitations.

“We can’t even appoint anyone we wish to as we have to go through other channels to do so,” he complained to the incumbent of the Sunethra Devi Pirivena prof. Medagoda Abeytissa thera. (By Anuruddha Singgapuli)

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Latest comments

  • 16
    7

    There will be no parliament until next election. There won’t be an opposition Leader under next election. There is no Defense Minister until next election. CD Chief is dismissed. Other one ran to Swiss. 710 of the CIDs are under watch order. Isn’t it something here telling that there a ceasefire deal exist between Appe Aanduwa & ISIS, against which that all Sinhala Buddhist Modayas has been fighting during the election? When the Slap Party comes with 2/3 in the parliamentary election, then again, Royals will find out the laps in the security details and start to screw up Tamils and Muslims as the way Malay Eagle is describing. That time LTTE will regroup and revive and ISIS will come back from India. Then the Rana-virus will be out on their job of raping, looting, burning, Chemical bombing……… to save the country.
    God save the Wildlife Sanctuary of SinhaLE, Lankawe. Tamils want to go on their path.

    • 10
      11

      Yes be on alert – Lot of monkeys who were scratching and liking the backs of West and their lackeys in Sri Lanka will find the life in Sri Lanka difficult – do not worry so much about LTTE resugence or ISIS acting inSL soil

      • 13
        3

        Rabok, our wonderful future teller, the LTTE buggers are actively working for the Rajapaksas, if you have an ounce of intelligence you will realize that.

        • 4
          4

          My ounce says a different story

          • 10
            2

            Rabok, what story is that? A story from Chandamama? Look around the Rajapaksas………mass murderer of the Sinhalese ex-LTTE member Karuna amman and ex-LTTE illegal gun runner KP Pathmanathan are best friends of the Rajapaksas, given STF protection and salaries. If this fact does not bother you, how is a story bothering you? You are a sad fellow. Go and stick your head in a hole and stay there.

      • 1
        3

        Rabok,

        Why do you expect we to be much different from Kathirgamar? Is that possible that you didn’t know it was Kathirgamar who won the war for you guys? Kathirgamar first washed for Chandrika, She ordered to wash for West, to win the war. The he washed for India and and West. Chandrika went out and Old King came. When she was going she told she had won 75% of the war. Kathirgamar started to wash for Old King. He turned around and shot him. Ask Ranil, he will tell you the rest. Then what is the point if you are telling that if we are Tamils we have to be different from Kathirgamar?

        • 9
          1

          Malla
          Please do not be different from Kathiragamar – he is one of the respected Tamil leader who consider himself as a Sri Lankan not as a Tamil – so be like Kathiragamar – I do not agree with what you say about Kathiragarmar – he always stand for his own country – we lost him due to greedy politics

          • 3
            5

            Rabok,

            The problem is when you don’t like, Tamils are washing, but when you like it’s Sri Lanka Bhismanaya was murdered for greedy politics. “Telugu-Nayaka-Tamil-Sinhala-Hindu-Christian-Buddhist “, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias was murdered by Sinhala Buddhists Bald Heads. The Tamil-Christian- Buddhist- Samuel Lakshman Kadirgamar was murdered by Lanakwe parliament. Could you talk on the surrendering, reason, right/wrong of these murders, based on your patriotic washing and Bald Heads’ greedy politics?

          • 6
            6

            Do you want Tamils to forego their self respect for high positions like Kadirgamar. Do you want Tamils to tell lie to protect criminals of Chemmani mass graves, Navali church bombing and Bidunuweva children massacre. Despite all his actions to be darling of Sinhalese, he was denied Prime Minister post and shot dead by Sinhala contract killers hired by a Sinhalese who went on to become the President.

          • 5
            4

            Rabok, the fellow who gave orders to kill Kadirgamar is holding the highest office in Lanka today. He was not shot with a sniper rifle but a pistol at very close range. Go and figure why he was shot? You just gave the answer above.

    • 1
      0

      CT, Author,

      The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

      Is this true for Colombo Telegraph? Just curious.

  • 5
    1

    will kamal become a Sisi one day?Hope gota knows what he is doing and not end up a Morsi.

    ps.while gota is there kamal will be quiet.What if gota dies of heart attack.kamal takes over the country and contests the next presidential election?Don’t give too much power to anyone gota.

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 0
      0

      Shankar,

      The good news is that they all will die. The bad news is that we all have to wait.

  • 4
    1

    Does not GoRa need to be on top of the top most SL consttution , law & order, being beholden to the USA, China, India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabian Goverments?

    As well as to periodically indulge in his pet hobbied of SL Govt’s periodic ethtnic, religious and other cleasing programes as well akin to Hitler”s greed for expansion for greater living space for the Singhaleese Buddhists at the expence of all others?

  • 4
    1

    All in one it is Mahinda Dynasty. Dance to their tune if not go to jail or leave the country We are back to the Kelanitissa period. Singhala voters wanted it. let them enjoy the impact of fall in the status of the economy The Dragon will sallow the country soon.

  • 5
    0

    Minister Guneratne isn’t your typical Buddhist according to the the UN.

    Here’s a Dossier on Minister Gunaratne and his love for…
    http://www.itjpsl.com/assets/press/Kamal-Gunaratne-dossier-final-optimized.pdf#english

  • 4
    1

    Looks like some Lankans had decided not to trust our wonderful “Low and Odor” , hence handed over vital documents to UN Human Rights since 2015-16. It is unofficially confirmed thousands of documents on political killings, kidnap, disappearance and violence had been handed over to UN. This included Pararagasingam MP,s murder, Lasanta,Thaj,Trinco and many others. Not a surprise when Nishantha went absconding the very next day GR told media “he must have gone to Geneva”. which was then followed by Swiss Embassy saga. Now a “lie campaign is initiated”, keeping in mind to follow with the same when the documents are released by UN. Govt suspects Nishantha is not alone in this, hence put the whole CID on watch list. We can frame the Swiss Embassy staff with what ever false charges but it will not bring Nishantha or the documents back. More over it will confirm our routine Modus Operandi. Interesting times ahead for Sorry Lanka. Who would have expected this twist after these many years ???

  • 5
    2

    It has been only a few weeks, and the nation is once again feeling the tensions, insecurity, fear, and uncertain about which way the country is headed.
    Like new brooms sweeping well, a few token issues have been placed to pacify the masses, so that the breaking of laws will go unnoticed.
    The signs are not good, but hey, the roads will be clean again.

  • 1
    1

    Mallai, Nishantha handing over documents explains why Govt has to revive LTTE terrorism and security threats again.When the documents are exposed our Govt has no options but to follow with routine Modus Operandi to say “these are work of LTTE/Diaspora. Some of the suspects are appointed to respective departments, to avoid further damage and if possible to “damage control”. (changing evidence/records, covering paper trails).

  • 4
    3

    There was a figure head (President Silly sena and Ranils’ close realtive Ruwan Wijewardena) for the ministry of defence during the Yahapalanaya jokers.
    What did they achive?

    Don’t try to teach Mr G about national security.

    All Sri Lankans should stand with the government against extemism and terrorism.

    Any one who takes National security lightly and attempts to trivialise acts of Terrorism should be rejected by the peace loving people of Sri Lanka.

    • 6
      3

      At present there is only Sinhala extremism and state terrorism, which should be rejected by the peace loving people of Sri Lanka, who should stand together against these. Your cardboard veerayas Gota and his gang has been told in no uncertain terms by India, USA, UK and EU regarding accountability to eliminate State terrorism and reconciliation to control Sinhala extremism. They will teach Mr G a good lesson in due course.

      • 3
        7

        GS,
        what about the so called Eelam terrorism that was spread all over the island by that cowardly thug Velupillai Prabhakaran. The cowardly SOB sent the cream of innocent Tamil youth to their deaths while he enjoyed life in his bunker.
        Thank God that Gotabaya Rajapaksa took the bull by the horns and sent him to his Eelam deep into the bowels of the earth.
        Cowards are bullies who know that those they bully are much better than them.
        A bullet was to good for him, he should have been exhibited in a cage and then hung by his balls if he had any ( two).
        Anyway Dr. GS may you enjoy a blessed Christmas in the UK and may the peace of” Our Lord Jesus Christ” abide with you and your family.

        Happy Christmas.

      • 3
        3

        Yes Yes
        wait and see who will learn a good lesson.

        USA UK and EU are still work in progress even

        USA did not learn after getting battered in Vietnam and receiving thusand of bodies of US personnel draped in the Amarican Flag
        Still the idiots are learning

        You LTTE nutcases dont write bullshit – Tamil extremism shuld be rooted out in all its ugly forms – Mr G is the man for the job.

        • 1
          2

          We do not want immigrant South Indian Tamil origin Sinhalised cinnamon peelers telling the indigenous Sri Lankan Tamils who have bene in the island for over 2300 years what to do. The biggest terrorist in the island was not the LTTE but the Sinhalese , all Sinhalese led Sri Lankan government and the armed forces and they still are and the international community knows this.

          • 2
            3

            Rohan,
            This is a Democratic Country
            Cinnamon peelers also have a say
            You facist Tamil Tiger
            If not for Mr G we know
            what you buggers will do to us

            That is the reason Mr G was given a mandate by the Sri Lankan voters.

  • 1
    3

    The president is the commander in chief of the Army, Navy, Air force and Police. In other words all armed forces and police work under him. When you have a defence secretary to deal with every day security of the country, there is no need of a defence minister because at the end it is the president the is the one who makes decisions regarding the security of the country.

  • 2
    1

    Gota is setting up a military government putting secretary’s and chairman’s where ever possible why because he wants to sign the SOFA, ACSA and MCC and sell our land to Americans to setup military camps.
    what happened to the strikes GMOA , railway ,Smurdhi , Port ,customs , teachers ,principals ,nurses petroleum etc etc looks like they have either won there grievances or political agenda.

    I hope Gota will not repeat the same mistakes when leaving office to name few SITAM ,Meetotamulla garbage dump yard , License given to built houses for Muslims in willpathu , Battikclow sharya university , Uma oya people suffered without water , white elephants port and airport Hambantota ,Cricket ground Hambantota , betrayal of the country with port city project giving title deeds for land to china , selling the Army HQ to China selling the land to China ,selling 15000 hectares to american companies and many crimes we have not forgotten there is nothing for you to be proud learn from your mistakes and do a good job for the country.

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