19 November, 2018

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An Earnest Request To The Sri Lankan Parliamentarians

By Lionel Bopage

Dr Lionel Bopage

Dr Lionel Bopage

To All Honourable Members of Parliament

Support the passage of the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution 

As you debate the above Constitutional Amendment in the Parliament under challenging circumstances, we thought that it is important to encourage you to see to its successful passage.

One of the major political reforms put to the people of Sri Lanka at the January 2015 Presidential election was the abolition of the Executive Presidency. The Presidential Election Manifesto and the various promises made during the election campaign led the people of Sri Lanka elect President Maithripala Sirisena in the belief that an interim national government, with Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, will enact constitutional amendments to abolish the Executive Presidency. Almost all political entities and individuals who supported the ‘Common Opposition Candidate’, with the exception of Pivituru Hetak Jathika Sabhava, had the strongest expectation of fully abolishing the Executive Presidency.

The same manifesto also pledged to: … … abolish the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and replace it with the establishment of independent Commissions in order to secure the impartiality of institutions such as the judiciary, police, elections, auditing and the office of the Attorney-General (p.16). These far-reaching constitutional reforms are fundamentally vital for ‘good governance’ the people of Sri Lanka rightfully deserve.

We recognise that the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution will abrogate the 18th Amendment, and enable the establishment of Constitutional Council and other Independent Commissions. The Amendment also upholds proper procedures for making judicial appointments and recognises the ‘Right of access to information’ held by the government.

In light of the fact that the complete abolition of the executive presidency could only be achieved with the approval at a Referendum, AAGGSL strongly urges all political entities and individuals to support the passage of the proposed amendment, irrespective of their political differences. This will at least ensure partial fulfilment of the aspirations of the majority of the citizens, who voted for establishing Good Governance and enduring peace in Sri Lanka. Concerns of electoral reforms – though important – are secondary for now, and they can be and should be addressed in the spirit of things, responsibly and separately.

The recent Supreme Court decision – that the Parliament with two-thirds majority could (a) take away the Executive powers to appoint judges of the Supreme Court; (b) appoint Police Commission, Public Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Elections Commission and Bribery Commission – gives renewed impetus for the passing of these important amendments.

We urge that you act in the best interest of the country at heart with courage and good will.

Please be advised that the AAGGSL respects the rights and will of all peoples of Sri Lanka, and is committed to supporting the establishment of practicing democracy and rule of law in our motherland. Strengthening democracy and empowering people always receive global recognition.

Yours sincerely

Dr Lionel Bopage – President, Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 2
    14

    “people of Sri Lanka at the January 2015 Presidential election was the abolition of the Executive Presidency. The Presidential Election Manifesto and the various promises made during the election campaign led the people of Sri Lanka elect President Maithripala Sirisena in the belief that an interim national government, with Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, will enact constitutional amendments to abolish the Executive Presidency”
    6.2M VOTES NOW APPEAR TO BE A FLASH IN THE PAN.
    NEITHER SIRA NOR RANIL HAS SHOWN THEY ARE CAPABLE OF MUSTERING ENOUGH VOTES TO SEE CA PASSED.

    SOMEBODY WITHIN THE YAHAPALANAYA WHO IS WITH CLOUT AND OUT FOR VENGENCE AGAINST RAJAPAKSHES ARE SCUPPLING THE PROCESS BY USING THE BC TO DISCREDIT THEM.
    APPARENTLY PEOPLE ARE NOT BUYING THE IDEA BUT ARE GETTING IRRITATED. VENOM, MINDLESS CRITICISM AND BC/FCID ACTIVITIES HAVE NOW GOT THOSE POLITICIANS WHO CROSSEDOVER IN TWO MINDS AS WELL.

    NOTHING NEW IS TAKING PLACE IN THE FORM OF DEVELOPMENT & VENGENCE AGAINST PAST LEADERS IS TAKING IT TOLL.
    AT THIS RATE WON’T BE SURPRISED PEOPLE STORM AN IMPORTANT PLACE.

    Promises at best have almost got drowned due to mindless criticism & vengence & good governance at a standstill.
    new appointments are a big issue.
    Looks like Sira will have to call on USA/UK/Germany to takeover the running of the country.

  • 13
    1

    Thank you for the encouragement. Right now the greatest challenge that we face is in convincing our fellow citizens that “parliamentary privilege” does not extend to acts of corruption, rape and murder committed by members of parliament and the executive.

    We are also finding it difficult to convince our educated people that no one including the president can be above the law and that the president is not a feudal despot but an elected official of a democratic state.

    So let us see what happens.

    • 4
      1

      Crazyoldmansl You are right.When the Courts issue an order banning a meeting or a demonstration, the police use all sort of power to impose the order. Why was it not done on the 22nd and the 23rd.

      Will the police or a lawyer respecting the Courts seek an order from the Courts on Contempt against all the MPs who participated in these demonstration. There were many lawyers involved why not seek the cancellation of their right to practice as lawyers, and get an order to jail them as was done to S.B.Dissanayake.

  • 9
    1

    Traditionally, Sri Lankan politicians of the last several decades have been largely self-serving opportunists with little genuine concern for Sri Lanka. However, expatriate Sri Lankans yearn for good governance “back home” with the nostalgia for their past youthful experiences. A paradigm change in political thinking must overcome the culture of corruption and opportunism that have pervaded and overwhelmed other values…

  • 4
    2

    The events of the last few days is a clear indication of the low depth we have fallen into.This had been going on since 1977, with a few breaks.This cannot be solved by either the teachers or Buddhist priests.

  • 0
    3

    There were Buddhist Priests as well in the crowd !

  • 2
    2

    We don’t have parliament democracy.Only the hypocrisy of the people elected to parliament prevails now in Sri Lanka. They don’t have any interest for well being of the people, but they are really turn coats who cares only about their selfish gains. Most of them are power hungry they want to amass wealth by hook or crook.They say something and later do something. They really cheat. Its very difficult to change their stripes.
    May God bless mother Lanka.
    pirisudu lanka

  • 1
    0

    Well said

    Your former party is in shambles . Your views?

  • 0
    0

    Very clearly and concisely stated. Thanks, Lionel. Bensen

  • 0
    0

    Lionel Bopage is/was well known, that JVP anarchist-terrorist, who had done immortal damages to democracy governance to Sri lankan state and society.

    While on your act of Terrorism during as leading carder JVP since 1968 to 1985 your involvement of role the public politics, you have done immeasurable damages to democracy structure of Sri lanka was immedicable.

    Now you are asking UNP and other members of Parliament to upheld democracy? Change or amendment Republic Constitution!
    Do you know that UNP-Ranil W.. MS and CBK regime was installed by Indian-RAW, US and UK vested interest of imperialism ,not for that national aspiration of Sri Lankan?

    What do you talk on Democracy living in oversees for many years, who had no sense or feeling People of Sri Lankan?

    You betray large number JVP members and supports, and many of them lost their life in 1971 ,then ran out of the Island ,now your are tie up with new leaders of MS,CBK and UNP-Ranil.W.. back by western and Indian-RAW want to be created Weak nation state by changing constitution?

    Do you know this leadership of gang of three of has sold our nation to Indian, US & UK by misled majority of our people by slogan of ‘good governance’ and ‘Rule of Law’? Do you share with them?

    But your past history proved that is nothing for you!
    Sri lanka current political environment is concern no need such changed under MS regime.

    That is majority people’s view and of Majority democracy says Republic constitution NOT FOR ANY CHANGES TIME BEING.

  • 0
    0

    This refers to W.Milton’s above comment, which reminds me of the Sinhala folk expression: “Koheda Yanne Malle Pol”. This refers to a non-sequitur, Question: Where are you going? Answer: Coconuts in the Bag! Do I need to say any more!

    • 0
      0

      Bope [Edited out]

      Do not preach what you could not practice in the past.

      We all know how destructive of your previous behaviour in Sri Lanka which costed innocent young lives not only once but twice.

      Having a phosphorous life now in Melbourne Australia after making huge calamities and ruined the country from developments and progress. Please be wherever you are rather than meddling in our own business.

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