20 September, 2019

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An Open Letter To The Left Parties And The SLMC

An Open Letter To The Left Parties And The SLMC: Don’t Vote For The Divineguma Bill  

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr Laksiri Fernando

It is quite unfortunate that the Government is determined to impose the Divineguma legislation through a two third majority on the people of the North without consulting them at all through an elected Provincial Council. There is a major difference between the use of a two third majority to pass such legislation with consultation of the people and without consultation. Under the system of devolution, it is like ‘taxes without representation.’ This is particularly so when considering the specific situation of the Northern Province, politically, demographically and historically.

The Bill is inimical to all provinces and Provincial Councils although this was not properly understood when it was hastily referred to the existing Provincial Councils. There are however major repercussions in the case of the North we all should be concerned about. This is the time to correct it.

The Government has completely failed to hold elections for the Northern Provincial Council without any valid reason, even after three and a half years since the end of the war. People are aggrieved about the situation, to say the least. This is a deprivation of a fundamental right that the people of other provinces are exercising. While the majority of the people are obviously in complete disagreement with the Divineguma Bill, they are not in a position to legitimately express or protest, because of the virtual Army Rule in the province. Before deciding on your vote on the Bill, therefore, there are three major issues that you specifically need to consider.

1.      Is the Bill so important to risk another cycle of conflict in the North?

Absolutely not. The impact of the Bill in essence will be like the impact of the Sinhala Only Act or much worse given the recent past history. It is discriminatory on the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese population living in the North. Passing of the Bill and imposing it on the people in the North, by a two third majority, will particularly alienate the Tamil people from the Sri Lankan polity further and give a possible opportunity for the separatist and extremist elements to organize themselves again in the near future. The imposition of the Bill is undemocratic and goes against all the tenets of religious, cultural and democratic traditions of the country.

2.      Can the Divineguma be implemented under Samurdhi as it is done today?

Yes it can. No one would oppose the ‘objectives stated’ in the Bill. But the structures proposed are quite detrimental to the very objectives. There is no reason to create a Super Class Department instead of the existing Authority. More importantly, it is high time to implement all development programs in the country in coordination and cooperation of the Provincial Councils. The present Divineguma Bill not only by passes the provincial structures but also creates different structures at the community, divisional and district levels, completely detrimental to the existing administrative structures of the country. These structures would lead to large scale corruption and mismanagement of funds which are meant to be for the poorest of the poor people.

3.      What are the implications of the Bill passing haphazardly on Devolution in the country?

Implications are quite tremendous. If this Bill is passed especially with a two third majority, it would be the end of devolution in the country. The Bill takes over many functions that could be jointly and cooperatively implemented by the Centre and the Provinces. These are the functions of the Concurrent List. Under this Bill, these functions are centralized and would be implemented bypassing the Provincial Councils. There had been so many clauses directly and indirectly going against the 13th Amendment. The Supreme Court has highlighted the main. Even with the suggested amendments, the Bill will remain in opposition to the spirit of the 13th Amendment and many other fundamental norms of democracy. Also consider the political atmosphere created in support of the Divineguma Bill. The proponents are advocating complete abolition of the 13th Amendment and the Provincial Council system.

There are other background factors that the Left Parties and the Sri Lanka Muslims Congress (SLMC) should take into account not necessarily in any priority order. (a) The rise of intolerance against minorities and minority rights. (b) The curtailment of welfare (i.e. health and education) and the disregard for workers’ and peasants’ rights. (c) The breakdown of rule of law and the assault on the independence of the judiciary. (d) The general deterioration of democracy and the failure to bring a political solution to the ethnic conflict. (e) Violence and violations with impunity.

In the midst of all these developments, if the Divineguma Bill is imposed on the Northern Province, it would be the death knell of devolution in the country. The best option for the country would have been to ask the Government to withdraw the Bill. As it is too late, oppose the Bill in order that the Bill would not receive a two third majority and would not be imposed on the Northern Province. This appeal is made for other MPs as well.

Don’t Vote for the Divineguma Bill.    

Related posts;

Will SLMC And Left Parties Give The 2/3 Majority Needed?

Sleepless Nights For Pro-Devolution Parties- Two-Thirds Ghost Haunts

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Everyone who is for the resolution of the ethnic issue should join in pressurising all parties that are for devolution- SLMC,CP, DLF, CWC, EPDP etc and Ministers and MPs like Rajitha Senaratne, Dilan Perera, John Seneviratne, Maitripala Sirisena, Digambaran, Prabha Genesan, Sri Ranga not to vote for the Divineguma Bill. Thank you Professor Fernando for this.

  • 0
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    An eye opener to all traitors who claimed that they are leaders of the Left.

  • 0
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    All minorities should oppose this bill which is yet another attempt by the Rajapakse, JHU and NFF axis to impose chauvinistic central rule on the provinces. There is a combined effort by this axis to call for the withdrawal of 13A and impose Divineguma.

    This is specially in the aftermath of the Eastern PC polls. The delaying tactic in having the Northern PC is also with ulterior motives to deny the Tamils of choosing their reprentatives.

  • 0
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    You cannot make it clearer than elucidated here by Prof Lasiri how vital it is to defeat the Divinegma bill. This bill shows how Rajapaksa is trying to rule over the tamil people by diktat – not giving them an opportunity to express their views on such an important matter. Rajapksas’s intenton is transparent – denying the tamil people any hope of devolution of power as he promised to them and the outside world during the war. The Indians, as usual, have again been smacked in the face by Rajapaksa. As the professor says this is an imposition on the tamil people akin to the Sinhala only act and shows how Rajapaksa has failed to learn any lessons from history.Regime change s the only hope not only for the tamils but also for all the people of Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    Professor,

    I beg to disagree with you

    Your argument is based on a false hypothesis.

    You assume that the Provincial Councils benefit only the minorities and the Sinhala people will not be benefited at all.

    Devolution is one of the key elements of Good Governance.

    Devolution enhances participatory democracy.

    All people irrespective of ethnicity will benefit by devolution.

    Your argument is not at all different from that of JHU.

    Jhu belif that devolution is only for minorities and it isagainst sinhala majority and therefore it is a foreign conspiracy.

    If 13Ais implemented in letter and sprite then and only then the benefit to the entire community will be apparent.

    Again divineguma will affect the provincial List, not the concurrent list.

    The difference between concurrent list and the Provincial list relates to legislation ie statutes to be passed.

    In the case of provincial List, the provincial councils are entitled to pass statutes on any item in the list whereas when it come to concurrent list both the Provincial Councils and centre could pass bills or statutes adopting certain procedures.

    The procedures are elaborated in 154G. Please 154G paras 1,2,3,4 and so on to get a better clarification.

    I belief irrespective of ethnicity every Sri Lankan should oppose the divineguma Bills and ensure that it is revised to accommodate the needs and aspirations of all people.

    Let there be sharing of power and responsibility between the Centre and the Provinces.

    Thank you.

  • 0
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    How honest are you Dr.Laksiri Fernando when you object this ‘ Divi Neguma’ Bill ? Would you have stuck to this stand if there was no link to the 13th Amendment ? Honestly, you would not have cared.

    But as it is, how did 13th Amendment become important here. Because you fear that the moment it happens, 13th Amendment will lose its power.

    What does ‘Divi Neguma’ bring for people ? – Empowering the lowest income groups.( Samurdhi is not such a thing.It creates more unproductive people ). In other words, it is to increase productivity at the lowest income level.

    What will 13th Amendment bring ? It will be a never ending line of problems.Why erect fences and negotiate for rights to use Natural Resources ? Create a problem and start looking for answers ?

    Singhalese and Tamil people got on very well.Those sickly politicos of both Singhalese and Tamils blundered and J.R.took the cup.

    What this country needs is a chance to have ever lasting peace and equal opportunities for people.

    • 0
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      Ananda Ariyarathne says with good intention:

      “What this country needs is a chance to have ever lasting peace and equal opportunities for people.”

      “equal opportunities” is a loaded western phrase which doesn’t mean anything in Sr Lankan context.

      What the people need is a right to own their belongings, including, freedom, safety, security, democracy, right to land, preservation of their identity, rule of law, accountability, ……….and the right to kick their leaders out of their comfy offices.

  • 0
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    I think Laksiri is going to ask political asylum in Australia very soon. This is what people do when the make a background to claim asylum that they are “under threat in SL.” He writes some biased self-interested piece of “you know what” and then publish it in at lease 4-5 news outlets. He never made this allegations when he was happily employed at Peradeniya. I bet he is making a grand plan if he has not already done so. Laksiri, get real I know your left wing. Do not try to fool us. Why should any of these political parties should adhere to his suggestion, are they his private property. These parties have their own constituencies to listen to.

    • 0
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      Ho ho ho ho.thesEhese parties have their own constituencies to listen to?

      These parties and their MPs don’t have any support among the people mate. They are in parliament hanging on the kurakkan shawl of Rajapaksa. These parties have dumped their cardinal principles when they decided to join Rajapaksa’s gravy train.

      People like Prof Laksiri have seen the light after being supporters of Rajapaksa in the past. Many educated people are deserting Rajapaksa after witnessing how he is trying to become a dictator. So, it’s time for you to see the light too mate.

  • 0
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    I think giving the control of this huge sum like 80 Billion Rupees to one person who himself and his brothers have a history of pilfering money is unacceptable. Moreover they will definitely use this funds for their political aspirations to hold on to power. I don’t know how they don’t feel ashamed even to bring a proposal of this nature. Aren’t we living in the 21th century or in a pre-historic time.There should be a stop to corruption and pilfering and it should start from this Divineguma bill. I fully agree to you Mr.Fernando.
    Mean while I want to know if the CJ impeachment trial will be telecasting live in the international TV and in the computer Web.. I know UNP requested and want to the outcome of it. If anybody have any info.

    • 0
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      Jayantha says

      “I think giving the control of this huge sum like 80 Billion Rupees to one person who himself and his brothers have a history of pilfering money is unacceptable.”

      Rather than annual payments to the clan could you not agree with them a sum as the full and final settlement so that the people can get on with their daily lives without any distractions.

      Please find a honest(?) person who can be entrusted with negotiations on behalf of the people.

      The only problem is you must find a way to get pass clan’s guardian angels, India, USA, UK, China, Russia……..Tom, Dick and Harry.

      • 0
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        Native Vedda, I think all I wrote and guessed is correct. You are also a part of the pre-historic clan not knowing what good governance is. Where are you writing these from…..Is it from Amazon jungle or Namibian dessert…or from bottom of the ocean.

        • 0
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          Jayantha

          Please read my comment again.

          You will learn one or two things from my comment.

          I am sitting on a tree collecting honey. What else would a Vedda do in the island that once belonged my ancestors.

          For your information Veddas don’t live in Amazon jungle nor in Namibian dessert and not from bottom of the ocean.

  • 0
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    The arrogance of MR knows no bounds.In his haste to get the people’s power into the hands of the family and disempower the people Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims he will blindly bring forth bills endangering democratic rights of the people.In this attempt Sri Lankan society is divided on ethnic boundaries to please the Sinhala majority to go with the GOVT.As Prof Laksiri Fernando has over and over again highlighted this will only benefit the Tamil extremists to validate their point that the Sinhala Govt will not devolve power to the Tamil and Muslim people.As happened in the past decades there will once again rise the issue of seperatism.When that happens due to the folly and arrogance of MR Iam sure the International community will not be supportive of the Govt as was the case with the war but will carve out an independent State similar to what happened in Sudan Sinhala majority beware before supporting MR.

    • 0
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      Sunila Mendis says:

      “The arrogance of MR knows no bounds.”

      The stupidity of Sinhalese knows no bounds for putting him in the office not once but twice.

      Please stop blaming MR, blame yourself for keep electing the parties which has no concern for people but their own unlimited greed to satisfy.

    • 0
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      I fully agree with Ms.Mendis. This is a wake up call to all to think long term consequences and broadly think of where the govt. trying to take us.There should be some serious thoughts about this since international community is watching our action plan.

  • 0
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    Tissa, Vasu and Dew will certainly vote for the Bill.You can’t expect anything better from Hakeem, Mother of all opportunists! You are, Laksiri, asking feathers from a tortoise!

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