2 October, 2020

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Better Postpone The ‘New Constitution’ & Focus On The Economy 

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

The Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly has produced an Interim Report on six key issues after 73 sessions between April 2016 and September 2017, without basic consensus among the key partners of political party representatives in the Committee. There were six sub-committee reports submitted before, in November and December 2016, and some of them were more controversial than the present report.

The Report perhaps has tried its best to incorporate alternative views expressed by members on key matters, nevertheless 13 out of 22 members have submitted their ‘dissenting opinion’ in separate submissions. The report is of 26 pages but these submissions run into 66 pages. While the introduction to the Report says these are ‘observations and comments by Members of the Steering Committee on the principles and formulations,’ it does not appear that way. Out of six separate submissions, five are very clearly on behalf of political parties (SLFP, JVP, JHU, JO and ACMC). All these are signed and addressed to the Chairman of the Steering Committee, although the Interim Report is not signed by anyone even by the Chairman. It is fair to say on that basis, the Steering Committee Report primarily represent the views of  the UNP. 

Consensus Building

There is no question that consensus building on a new constitution is not an easy task. However, without consensus, at least between the two main political parties in the government, the UNP and the SLFP, it would be extremely difficult to get a draft through the two thirds majority in Parliament, not to speak of a referendum. When the idea of a new constitution was mooted, the three key areas for reform identified were: (1) the executive presidential system (2) devolution of power and (3) the electoral system.

What transpires from the Report and the submissions is that, there can be possible consensus on electoral reforms, than the other two. Although the abolition of the executive presidential system appeared largely agreed, prior to the begging of the present process, it has become more and more entrenched in the devolution debate. The nature of the state is also naturally embroiled in the same. 

Therefore, one practical suggestion would be to have electoral reforms first, allowing more time and effort to build possible consensus in the future, perhaps after the next elections. Why have a half-baked constitution, when there is a possibility of a better constitution in few years’ time? A constitution for a country should be for a long period. Another reason to make this suggestion is the economy. It is in bad shape. Think about the people and not the elite. There is some ‘intellectual poverty’ in economic thinking. Take the example of the Vision 2025. It is more of a fantasy than a vision. After two years of government, what the country requires is not a wish-list or an academic discourse, but practical steps and action within a viable planning framework. The vision document does not supply such a framework.

Some Features of the Report

There is no doubt that the present constitution is ‘obnoxious’(Bahubutha). However, after the 19th Amendment, it has come to a decent shape. It would have been better, if Sri Lanka had a new constitution by now, especially considering national reconciliation. But it is not the reality. The quality of parliament that was produced at the August 2015 elections is quite poor for an enlightened constitution. There have also been some blunders or hick ups in the constitutional assembly process. The Steering Committee Report does not appear very professional either. Apart from the obvious disputes, the way the disputes are handled does not appear frank or open.

One example is the formulation of the nature of the state as ‘aekiya rajyaya / orumiththa nadu.’ True, avoidance of controversial formulations is necessary in certain instances. However, one cannot fudge key issues. What (some) people understand on a given constitutional feature at a given time cannot be the principle of a constitutional formulation. Formulations should be closer to the existing reality or the expected change. What Sri Lanka at present is a ‘unitary state with devolution.’ If the representatives or the people are ready go beyond for federalism, then it should be reflected in the formulation.    

More dangerous is the way some have proposed to resolve the dispute over the executive presidency. If I am not mistaken, the proposal is to keep the executive presidency until 2025, allowing the present (SLFP) President to continue, and then completely abolish it. A constitution, or even interim arrangements, should be made on principles, but not to suit individuals, however good they might be. If the present President wishes to continue, he should best be elected by the people but not as a constitutional gratuity. This reminds what happened to the August 2000 constitutional draft. After agreed by the two main parties, the SLFP and the UNP, certain interim arrangements were allegedly made to suit the incumbent President. Therefore in Parliament, it was opposed and the document was burnt by the UNP members. These are constitutional manoeuvres, not principles.

As mentioned before, the 19th Amendment undoubtedly is an enhancement of democracy. However even there, the prohibition of dual citizens contesting parliament was introduced aiming at some people, not as a general principle. This has become a major disappointment to many dual citizens.

The above are some glimpses of the situation and not the whole story.

Limits of a Constitution

A constitution is not everything. To believe such is too rigidly legalistic. A constitution is only a part of  a country’s political superstructure. Even in constitutionalism, customs, traditions and practices are accepted. A constitution is also the way you handle the given powers of a particular office or powers as a whole. That is why good governance (transparency, accountability, rule of law, justice, democracy) is important not as a slogan, but as a practice.

President D. B. Wijetunga was different to R. Premadasa. Apart from the 19th Amendment, Maithripala Sirisena apparently is different to Mahinda Rajapaksa. Of course, no one can be trusted fully. Therefore, constitutional and legal safeguards are necessary. However, the country may live with the present for a moment, as a good new constitution does not appear feasible at present. A better opportunity for a better constitution might be created, if there is some patience and no particular hurry. What should and can change at present for the better is the electoral system. Others might be handled through flexibility and political consensus i.e. powers of the President and/or the Governors. An electoral system is something that should be followed to the letter. No conventions are possible. 

Three main issues the country facing today are (1) economic progress (2) national reconciliation (3) enhancement of democracy. The relevance of the constitution in resolving these matters could be counted as 40 to 60 percent, in my opinion, not 100 percent. Let me outline few areas where measures could be done for reconciliation even within the existing constitution.

Handing over all private land occupied by the military, release of prisoners who have no apparent charges, assistance to the war affected in housing, education and employment, and the full implementation of the official language policy could go a long way in addressing reconciliation even without a single change in the constitution. This is just an example. In the broader area of devolution, the proposed apolitical and non-interfering governors or chief minister’s conferences could be implemented even without a new constitution. What is more important, even for reconciliation, is the addressing of the issues of the economy, without neglecting the political.      

Priority to the Economy

It is said that the Prime Minister is so involved in political reforms and constitutional making, economic reforms have got the second place. He is the Minister for National Policies and Economic Planning. An important Deputy Minister has said a growth rate of 4 percent might be sufficient until political reforms are fulfilled. However, the targets announced in the Vision 2025 are quite high, almost impossible to achieve. Complacency, mere pronouncements or wishful thinking is not going to help.

Sri Lanka at present is around $ 80 billion economy. Still the per capita GDP is below $ 4,000. All these calculations are on the basis of current prices. Sri Lanka managed to double her per capita income between 2003 and 2009 and became a lower middle income country with a per capita GDP of $ 2,057. That was within six years. How did she manage to do so? By maintaining a growth rate above 6 percent. However, she has not managed to clearly double her per capita income during the last six years. Per capita income in 2016 was $ 3,835. It was even slightly below the 2015 mark of $ 3,843. After the change of the government there was a policy or planning discontinuity. This was over and above the slowing down of the economy since 2013.

Sri Lanka has not been able to manage a growth rate above 6 percent since 2012. It was mere 3.4 in 2013. It slightly picked up in 2014 as 5.0 percent, but diving down since then as 4.8 and 4.4. This is irrespective of roads and ports development. Most obviously financial mismanagement was the reason for this slump. Because, generally infrastructure projects and development uplift any economy. What is absent at present is exactly the same, while it might be too early to assess the overall mismanagement except the bond scam.

There has been an interesting dispute within the Cabinet over the Colombo-Kandy (Central) expressway recently. The President has given the nod although some of the counter arguments must have been correct. The reason is that this is the only significant infrastructure project this government might complete before 2020. 

Some Lessons

If we take some lessons from the past, there had been two periods when Sri Lanka managed to go above 6 percent growth. First was between 1977 and 1982, when the economy was opened up and Mahaweli programme was accelerated. Then came the war, end of the rubber-rice deal with China, and political mismanagement after the famous lampu-kalagedi sellama (disgraceful lamp and pot referendum).

Second was between 2003 and 2012 (except 2009), when major highways and expressways were under taken, while the open economy and free trade continued. GSP+ also was beneficial for exports, while labour migration benefiting the foreign exchange situation. This was irrespective of the war. An estimated $ 15 billion came to the country from China, over 8 billion being loans and around 2 billion being FDI. What made the nosedive after that period was manly mismanagement, among other factors, after the 18th Amendment.

End of the war boosted the economy. But end of the Rajapaksa era has not done anything similar. Why? It is not only the excessive focus on constitutional or political reforms that has stalled the economy. (Don’t get me wrong. I  am for a new constitution and even wrote a book!, but I am not for a half-baked loaf). There is something missing or wrong in the economic thinking as well. The sole focus seems to be on free trade and free trade agreements, expecting others to emerge automatically. To be brief, a comprehensive economic strategy should need a combination of (1) free trade (2) infrastructure development (2) export promotion and (3) foreign direct investments.

As a small island nation, there can be genuine as well as created concerns over foreign participation. This is an urgent public educational matter that the government should address. Time is running out and rising cost of living and other issues are working against the government. The economic issues should be addressed and resolved not merely to save the government, but to save the country and the people.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    Agreed.

    Name of the game is exports. We are surviving due to remittances from Middle East and of not we are in serious trouble. Also lucky enough to have oil at USD 55.

    Our imports are USD 22 bn and exports are USD 11 bn with a massive trade gap.

    Every businessman should be encouraged to export and govt should get out of all commercial activities. Airlines, ports, insurance, gas, retail, petroleum etc etc

    Other than the critical expressways we should halt building any more for the next 10 years.

    40% of people in agriculture and contributes 10% to the economy !! Need massive reforms.

    Stop recruiting workers to govt service other than essential Services please. Every politician adds non productive workers to the state. Mahinda ramped up govt service from 800,000 to 1.5 million and now it is 1.6 million!! We have one of the highest employment in govt sector compared to total work force in the world.

    What is lacking at the moment is people who can execute a vision. Quality of Ministry Secretaries is shocking !!

    Poor law and order and inefficient legal system is a real drawback to sustained development. All corrupt politicians and officials should be behind bars to clean up the system.

    Secondary and Uni education needs compete overhaul with accountability.

    I am in Sri Lanka and am I dreaming ???

    • 6
      4

      Why put off consitutional reforms as was the case with Maharaja who looted in the name of development projects as nothing help it anymore.

      I think first to bring a constitution focusing SOLUTIONS on all th eproblems being suffered by srilankens is mandatory and timeworthy.

      We should all have the same rights. No more brands we the majority and others are the minorities.

      I hope Mr Fernando would agree with me even if he was one who to have suggested GOTA and MARA to be awarded with DOCTOR titles at that time. Dr Fernando took it long to sense who the RAJAPASHES have been …

      • 4
        2

        Samuel Jayaweera

        “I hope Mr Fernando would agree with me even if he was one who to have suggested GOTA and MARA to be awarded with DOCTOR titles at that time. “

        Are you suggesting Dr Fernando is conspiring to derail the constitution making process at the behest of Dr Rajapaksa and Dr Rajapaksa?

        Watch this clip by Trevor:

        Trevor Noah responds to Vegas shooting: We do everything ‘to avoid talking about guns’

        http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/353559-trevor-noah-responds-to-vegas-shooting-we-do-everything-to

        Trevor’s comment is relevant to Dr Fernando’s observation that this is not the time to discuss constitution. Okay when is the right time to discuss about it or bring a new constitution?

        Dr Rajapaksa and Dr Rajapaksas were rewarded immediately after the end of war. Why was bestowing doctorate to these criminals was urgent than than drafting of a new constitution which could be a reward to the secular, liberal, … voters who elected the president and the new government?

        Does anyone need more time to stop, mangle, water down, the the new constitution fearing Federalism sneaking into one form or another?

        • 2
          2

          Please dont your ” Dr Title” this way to even name, Dr Titles should safeguard its respect.

          These men to be awarded Dr titles is similar if any high criminals in Waelikada would have been awarded them.

          Their numbers of high crimes they commited and painted them as white are numerous.
          Kahawatta serie killings I remember, but MR led adminsitration STAYED as if he is entered to ECTASSY.
          Even today, those folks have NOT been served with JUSTICE.

          These are POST war killings.
          These killings and others should be discussed here and everywhere to show the REAL nature of Rajapakshes:

        • 2
          1

          Attetion !
          Native Please help us.

          We want to help CHAMPA this way. She is badly in need to see a venerologist. Eunachs affinity to Wimal Buruwanse is no comphresible to us.

          Please provide us her ADDRESS for the sake of MASSES in this country. We need to heal this woman/Eunachs sooner than later.

        • 0
          1

          “Does anyone need more time to stop, mangle, water down, the the new constitution fearing Federalism sneaking into one form or another?” No. We need to kill this conspiracy immediately. Federalism is a demand of the colonial hangover and others on the take from them. Sinhala Buddhists will never allow this heinous conspiracy. You can go back to Belgium if you don’t like it here.

          • 0
            0

            Lanka Puthra

            “We need to kill this conspiracy immediately. Federalism is a demand of the colonial hangover and others on the take from them.”

            Puthra, you have no idea how right you are. You are still suffering from 450 years of colonial rage. So your’s and country’s future is determined by your paranoia and not guided by wisdom. If you are lucky to survive another 100 years you will still be suffering from your paranoia.

            “Sinhala Buddhists will never allow this heinous conspiracy.”

            As little islanders with no brain your Sinhala/Buddhist fascists have a long way to go in proving your right to even live in this island let alone determining the nature and structure of this island.

            Please go away. Go back to your ancestral homeland in South India.

        • 1
          0

          Dear Prof Laksiri, your suggestion to postpone the new constitution and focus on the economy, clearly proves that political reforms for the Tamils to live in dignity and safety in their homeland should be sacrificed in order to uplift the economy of Sinhalese. It is common knowledge that the economic problems of Sinhalese is different from economic problems of Tamils in north and east. How many Sinhalese are there whose houses have been deliberately destroyed by agents of the state and how many Sinhalese are there whose lands have been appropriated by security forces and other communities. As a political scientist you should be well aware that politics and economics are intertwined and inseparable. If there is no political stability, economic advances will not reach the suffering Tamils. First help Tamils to have a home of their own by building houses for them. While several thousands of Tamils are homeless living displaced in Srilanka and India, government is building houses to settle Sinhalese in north and east in order to alter the demographic pattern. How can people used to farming carry on their livelihood if their lands are not returned to them. How many families are without their heads either killed by security forces or being held without trial by the government. Please address to all these issues if you want the Tamils to benefit from any economic measures. Please allow Tamils to live without interference from Sinhalese and they will prosper as how they are faring in foreign countries.

      • 0
        0

        Bring a constitution to solve all the problems faced by everyone..LOL…No wonder SL is in such trouble when we have super duper idiots like this…

        Oi yahapalana gono,

        we cannot solve all the problems by bringing a constitution and there is NO nation that has done that. What SL faces is the normal socio political problems faced by a developing country which faced 30 years of terrorism, ethnic conflict and foreign intervention. To solve most of the probs we need to uplift the socio economic status of the people. The rest will follow. And that is exactly what MR was doing.

    • 2
      1

      Is the article about the ‘New Constitution’? Is the article about our failed economy?
      *
      Is it reasonable to think that the state of our economy has nothing to do with the state of our State?
      *
      Economy is a subject for economists. The constitution is for constitutional experts. We have them in our country. We have some of them outside our country.
      *
      Until Dr. Laksiri Fernando earns a name for himself in those fields his idea or theory would be mere opinion.
      *
      Economy is not independent of the stability of the country. As is, our country is unsteady.
      *
      When the house is in disarray economy suffers. Put back the house in order, first.

    • 3
      2

      Development needs investment. Investments need investors. Investors look for stability. Unfortunately, there is no stability, there is no law and order. There is no security for investors. When you talk about exports we need to analyse what products we can export, are we in a strong position is competing with our cometitors like India and china in the region. The answer is No because our political culture is not in favour of attracting local or international investment. Basic problem is that both two major political partys who can form government do not compete each other on economic policies or social policies but on race and religion policies. For example, in the constitution making the major issue is about the special position of Buddhism. It is a common principle of governance is that the law should be equal to all citizens but we cannot do it here because you can do any crime and escape in the name of Buddhism. What we assume is that the people are against to equality. Is that right assumption? Nobody is willing to test this assumption. If Maithri and Ranil go in public and explain the people that is wrong to discriminate people based on race and religion I am sure 90% of the people will agree on that principle but they will not do it. This is the reality. Development is impossible because we fight each other for power in false promises and lies.

      • 0
        0

        SL was a stable country under MR. In fact MR administration preserved the stability of the country even under attacks by the HR industry together with LTTE supporters and pro LTTE media like CT.

        How can we compete with India or even China? Both are countries with huge human resource. We are not in that group. It is the service sector we have to work on……

  • 7
    5

    Postpone? Postponing is not enough. Government should abandon the Separatist Federal Constitution once and for all.

    People voted UPFA against Ranil. Both President’s side and former President’s side act against people’s mandate and take part in Constitutional Assembly to formulate the Constitution. Not a single citizen trust this Parliament. Therefore, we don’t trust their inputs.

    There is a serious democratic deficit in the Parliament. The voice of the general public is not represented by anybody (other than Wimal.)

    If Ranil doesn’t abandon the Separatist Federal Constitution, then the President should intervene and throw it to the trash. I have faith in him in this.

    • 6
      6

      Ranil and his close gang were separatist terrorist supporters since 1977. They are now hell bent on legitimizing separatism and terrorism as there is a close link and it is the same group who are involved in both. Ranil doesn’t care about the future of Sri Lanka. In fact he never cared about the country, troops or lives of people. They are acting as if nothing happened in the last 30 years as they never took part in defeating terrorism.–

      Ranil and this government is answerable for the lives of each and every fallen and disabled soldier if they go ahead with the separatist federal constitution.–

      Military families, their relatives, friends, neighbours and the general public who love war heroes all should come to the street and demand the lives of their loved one’s back, because all those sacrifices which were made to stop the country being divided is in vein if the separatist federal constitution is passed.–

      I give my full support to Military families and if necessary, I am even ready to give them the leadership without expecting anything in return and join hands with Wimal and other patriots in defeating Racist, Separatist Federal Constitution.

      • 5
        5

        Wimal will be a history in lanka politics sooner than later.

        This man shoudl be convicted for all the high crimes he was complicit with his mafia boss.

        The rascal – school drop out, unethical idiot, but an another parasite who would live his fantasies on SLFP should be [Edited out] sooner than later.

        The kind of men should NOT be allowed to abuse lanken politics again.

        JVP sacked him, now SLFP is about to dirve away HIM. [Edited out] has to join his AUNTI THE MOST abusive woman became public by a you tube. Not even street wo,man would add the kindof FILTHY loads as she did.[Edited out]

        • 5
          2

          Sinchoappu

          I can see that you are terrified with Wimal’s returning to his famous relentless, fearless, unceasing fight to protect the unitary state of the country, as seen by the entire country yesterday. Man, he has an unprecedented history of doing so.

          You are not the only one terrified but I saw many headless cockroaches running here and there too.

          • 4
            3

            Champa,

            you are just hillarious man/woman !

            I really dont think Weerawanse would work to protect … UNITARY STATE…

            rather he surely protects his OWN Palace which is evidently built by the BLACKMONEY he is proved to have collected during the high days of LAST BABARIAN Regime run by Mafia King.

        • 3
          0

          Abusive words used in this comment are perhaps in line with your dennam bate journalism.

        • 1
          0

          Sinchoappu

          :D :D :D :D – It took me really a long time to find out who this ‘Aunt’ you referred to as Wimal’s, as I am not a fan of YouTube.

          The “edited out”, but obvious words you used in this comment is proof that SHE IS YOU AUNT, not Wimal’s. Ha ha ha ha ha. I had a really good laugh after comparing both. Man, next time, remember to taste your words before spitting them out.

    • 5
      3

      Champawathie,

      You should be that servile to Wimal Buruwa: I wish WImal would DISSPAEAR from lanken politics. This man has damaged a lot to this nation.
      He is so disgusting and most abusive above the high men in JO.

      I think He can be a good customer to you. But that again your profession makes it like that. But for lanken politcs We wish him away from politcis sooner than later.

      He SHOULD be kept in cage in the rest of life for all high crimes his MOUTH piece has permitted.
      The bugger drama queen has no what soever education but to react that way can only be possible so long MEDIA MAFIA keep the facts and figures of previous govt away from them.
      Wimal should be hung by his balls to feel us ALL better. BASTA:

      • 1
        0

        Punchiburampi

        “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” – George Bernard Shaw

      • 0
        0

        what are his crimes? mental torment on UNPers?

    • 2
      2

      This request is to H.E. the President

      Mr. President

      The NFF Leader, Hon. Wimal Weerawansa, M.P., made a request twice, that his Party be recognized as an individual Party in accordance with Parliamentary precedents.

      Mr. President, you have set an unprecedented example of a leader who genuinely respects and upholds democratic rights of all citizens. I have to grudgingly agree, although there are some hiccups, such as double standards, in general, democracy prevails in the country in great deal on the better side.

      However, I wish to draw your kind attention to the progressive deterioration of democracy in the Parliament, as you seem to be not interested.

      There is a huge democratic deficit in the Parliament. There is no Parliamentarian to voice the public opinion other than NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa. Almost all Parliamentarians now have a habit of presenting their personal opinion or their party/group leader’s personal opinion, totally disregarding public opinion. For example; the voice of the public against the Federal Constitution is not represented in the Parliament.

      Mr. President, as someone from the general public who supported UPFA, I have a right to request the “voice of the voiceless in the entire country” be represented in the Parliament by NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa. However, as his Party is not recognized as an individual Party, he doesn’t get adequate time slots to voice the public opinion on a wide range of issues.

      I earnestly request you, Mr. President, please intervene to improve democratic representation in the Parliament in fairness to all citizens.

      I would appreciate it very much, if you would reconsider NFF Leader’s request which was unfairly turned down by UPFA General Secretary, so that he will be accorded with all privileges, rights and separate time slots that are entitled to a Party Leader.

      • 1
        2

        Champooo…

        dont try to abuse it this way. You may have been close to Wimal as one of your good customers. Most Prostitutes in NY city too does it. But never forget the nation here.

        They only want Wimal to be removed from alnken politics, since they are sure today, people s votes have been abused for his personal gains.
        If you would agree with this, ask WImal to come with documents where his ALL ASSETS would have been declared.

        Specially the kind of ones born to JVP have no right to grab the tax payers funds that way, even if he has been the CONDOM supporter of most abusive Mahidna Raja.

        People in this country have every right to raise this quesiton. Also he should bring evidence to be innocient in that MURDER … i mean the young boy s death in his hell house on that day.
        British medical Journal and the several journals have expressed their views on the kind of extra judicial killings on broad day light by some polical goons in the country.
        Wimal is a street gang and his MOUTH PIECE should be sealed off for ever. He is one of the dozens that DESERVE life imprisonment what his cesspit has achieved all the few years of Meeharaka Rajaakshe s govt.

        • 1
          0

          Raritythoughts

          I am sure you were drunk when you posted this comment. But thank you for thinking of Wimal, even when you can’t think straight.

      • 1
        1

        Hey Chumpoo darling,
        Do they have Lemon Puff in the Parliament canteen? Lots of it?

    • 4
      2

      Champa,
      Why you are asking govt to abandon the Federal? Take some petrol and burn hundred tamils, rape all tamil & muslim women and destroy few mosques, burn all businesses owned by Tamils and Muslims as you are used to do over the past seven decades then you can become president to make your constitution.

      • 1
        4

        Ajith

        Why ask me? You can do that by yourself. What you described was what LTTE did for 30 years.

        Your other suggestion is very appealing. Hmmm…..

      • 3
        1

        These men doont know what Federal means.

        They just make it an issue now to join rulers.

        That is it.
        Champa is appointed to do the job for Weerawanse

        Champa will have to face it sooner than later.

        God save srilanka

      • 0
        0

        No i think she likes to send away all the Muslims within 24 hours and then hide behind women and children

  • 6
    2

    Mr.Laksiri fernando.
    Who needs a New constituition at this moment.As i have said few months back Mr.Wikramasinghe doesnt understand and he has lost it.He doesnt start with A.B and C but with X.Y and Z.
    At the moment what Srilanka needs is LAW and order .Then Improving the Economy then a solution to the huge garbage problem all over the country.And thieves from the former and present regime behind bar.Our economic” Osthaar” got different plans ofcourse.He can forget 2020.

    • 4
      2

      Ravi Daniel

      “Who needs a New constituition at this moment.”…..
      “At the moment what Srilanka needs is LAW and order .”

      You have a very clear understanding of both constitution and Law. Could you give us brief lecture on both and the relation between the two if there is any.

      Thanks.

      By the way are you a legal eagle specializing criminal, constitutional, financial, environmental, ………………………… laws?

  • 2
    2

    I don’t agree that the Constitution has come into decent shape. The debate in the world on issues like federalism and devolution has taken giant strides. The fact that we are unable to move on these issues after the war ended suggests that we are a very backward people. That is why with regard to education and economy we are failures. The minorities would do well to concentrate on the rule of law rather than devolution, without surrendering long-standing demands on the latter.

    There is indeed a lot wrong with the Constitution. It doesn’t take much thought to discern that it was and still is meant to keep power within a small primitive group that is for the most part ethnically and class-wise distinguished. The experience of litigation suggests that presidential immunity is a severe obstacle to justice. Those who drew up our Constitution would have known it. In the 1791 French Constitution, although the monarch was inviolable, he was answerable before the law through his ministers. Our problem is that the President could hold several key portfolios on his own.

    We still don’t have any guarantee of a fair trial, which is a right in the European code, which allows decisions by the national courts to be overturned. Take some glaring examples of the absence of fair trial here – The Mylanthanai and the Bindunuwewa Massacre cases – UTHR (Jaffna), SpR 19 – 1. The Five Students Case too was stalled for over 10 years. We remain stubbornly too far from modernity to progress as a nation.

  • 2
    0

    Certainly Mr. Fernando, as James Carville said during the Clinton campaign “it is Economy Stupid”. All the devolution of powers in the world will not give power to the poor as long as they are poor. The island is stuck in (a) back-word agricultural methods: a combination of Medieval technology and Green Revolution high input practices, which is inefficient in both labor and water requirements and kills the environment while making toxic food that is harmful to the local consumer and not suitable for export, (b) uncoordinated and poorly regulated fisheries sector which is not able to take advantage of the vast oceanic resources available, (c) Lackadaisical industrial sector mired in a labor shortage. Until those three sectors are revamped the country will be stuck in the middle ages and no amount of new constitutions will cure the pathos of the people.

  • 6
    0

    Constitution is not what we wante right now. We need to prosecute Ranil wickramsinghe for instigating the Central bank robbery which made mostly NSB and EPF but all other state bansk lose money and making another investment dealer making billions on that. That theft was continuing probably since R. Pemadasa times, Since CBK/Ranil time, it occuered in large scale. Ranil took over the Bank which said he knew that PENT “HOUSE Ravi should not be near a bank. It says, even before the bank heist, Arjun Mahendran was preparing to build a house in Bandarawela or a story something like that.——————- constitution is a fraud. That is for money taken from British and european Tamils. They got caught in it. Otherwise, who gets a LSSPer as an advisor to write a constitution. the supporter is a Tamil christian. Will that go through the parliament.

    • 2
      2

      Jimsofty Dimwit

      “Constitution is not what we wante right now.”

      How about some free rice imported from the Moon?

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    Dr, Laksiri Fernando: You advocate “Better Postpone The New Constitution and Focus On The Economy”. Are you sure this Government led by Ranil & Maithri will consider that proposition that SERIOUSLY? I doubt it very much. There is still some more left in the “BUCKET” to GRAB (e.g. “Bond Scam etc. and very many such “Highways and Byways) and finally it will be a game of “SCRAPING” the bottom. The presentation of the “New Constitution” is the WAY to BLIND FOLD the “Pandiths” and the ordinary masses and DO and ALLOW to do the “ROBBERY”. Don’t you see it happening on a day to day basis with even advancing to “High Tech” robbery using expertise from “Foreign Nationals” and “Dual Citizenship” holders. Anyway GOOD LUCK on your attempts!

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    Yes I agree, and let me come out with an initial response.

    The entire process was wrongly designed.

    The public consultation process is a farce. In their recommendation the members of the public representation committee had revealed their own political bias in the footnotes without any consideration for the actual observations of the public who went before them.

    The six subcommittee reports also did not reflect any professionalism.

    Finally the interim committee report is another disaster with no consensus on any issue even after 73 sittings and with alternate options on every issue and the attachments worsened the situation..

    Oh! did they assemble, had tea and adorned?

    Did they produce a single consensus agreement on any issue?

    They could have started with an uncontroversial issue like fundamental rights and try to arrive a consensus on at least on this issue and thereafter took another issue where bipartisan consensus is possible and built on the momentum arisen out of those exercise.

    Why is that politician play the sole role in the constitution making process. On the contary they should have been debarred and so also the constitutional lawyers who just try to copy from a latest constitution .

    Instead the entire process assigned exclusively to members elected in an island-wide free and fair election to constitute a constitutional assembly and given the task to them.

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    The nature of state is another – “akeya” and “orumiththa”, Is it an attempt to hoodwink the masses with constructing ambiguity intentionally and deliberately !

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      Yeah, there is a huge difference between “Unitary” (Aikeeya) and “United” (Eksath) which shows the difference between unitary system and federal system.

      A Tamil person known to me who doesn’t support Federal Constitution told me that “Orumitta” means governing by consent, like majoritarian rule. (never heard it before.)

      I think what Wimal tried to explain; the difference between “Aikeeya” and “Orumitta” is this. If included, the word “Orumitta” gives the necessary legal power by Constitution to the Northern Province to self-rule according to the wishes of the majority in the Province who are Tamils.

      Wimal is very correct. If so, even the Eastern Province will be government by “consensus – Orumitta” of Tamils and Muslims. It will be like – Rule of tandem Tamil-Muslim under “United Sri Lanka.”. Tamil Separatism is very shrewdly spreading their tentacles. We will lose 2/5 of the land and 2/3 of the sea. (Wimal, I think now I totally and very clearly understand what you tried to say all this time about the word ‘Orumitta”. Terrifying, Wimal. Even the mere thought gives me the shivers.)

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        Almost everyone including Notherners are to UNITARY state.
        So wha tis the purpose of that Wimal led groups to hang on that ?

        Just so he has been that patriotic ? I think the bugger should be removed from lanken politcs will do all good to srilanka.
        I wish all invisible forces to work on the bugger and udaya gonthadipila in coming days. Then we can see it beyond.
        These Champawathi will loose her NUMBER ONE customers in her carrier, but we need a future free from THE KIND O F EXTREMISTS.

        WE WANT WIMAL BALLIGE PUTHA TO BE FREE FROM LANKEN POLITICS., if he can do poltics, every tree climbers should be appointed to Parliament next time.

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    Laksiri Fernando ~ “Better Postpone The ‘New Constitution’ & Focus On The Economy”
    The Lankan economy has two components – the economy serving the well to do and the economy exploiting the “others”. The economy serving the rich and nouveau riche is corruption based and is thriving. The “others” live by sacrificing a family member to servitude in the Mideast.
    The ‘New Constitution’ (whatever it is) is meant to infuse fresh thinking. Media comments and opinions by Lankan lawmakers clearly show that lateral thinking is absent. Nit-picking over translation of a word has become a pastime. One finds almost daily the difficulty of finding the equivalent to common or garden word in Tamil/Sinhalese. The spirit is more important here but that is missing.
    Sorry for concluding that our economy and constitution are beyond repair.

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    As the good Aussies say , Now you are talking mate…..
    I am glad you have finally realized that the great majority of the Sinhalese are Economic Dalits..
    Dr Ranil has to deliver what he promised in his MOU with Sampathar and Surendran……How else can he do it, other than through a new Constitution via a Referendum…
    So Dr Ranil has to hoodwink the 5.2 Million and their Monks to do that.
    The Score Card on Dr Ranil’s Economic Development is not a pretty picture …..Is it ?….Unless you work for Aloysious and Palisena.
    And of course if you are buddies of Galleo Ravi, Sira’s brother Dudley, Kiriella, Senarathana and a whole host of others including Dr Ranil himself who give us Yahapalanaya….
    You scratch mine and I scratch your. is their motto……….. Nice one isn’t it?
    Jayamapathi dude who is in charge of this Constitution making is a genius. …….Isn’t he ?….No wonder he already promised Sira the same Gig to keep until 2025……..

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      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “I am glad you have finally realized that the great majority of the Sinhalese are Economic Dalits..”

      You are right, if every Tom, Dick and Harry stole from the state coffer nothing much left for the state to redistribute.

      Look at you, a proud MR’s b***s carrier who collected some crumbs from him openly boasted to have invested in Blue Chip company, did not disclose as to the source of his investment. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

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        Champa,

        Are you the first cousin of Lemon Puff hero Wimale sakkili Karuppan.

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          J Sri Ranga

          Sangili Karuppan is the official patriotic pimp of Champa.

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        Dear Native……
        Now I know you are not up to speed with Investing in Stocks & Shares…..
        Never mind…..
        Are you working as a personal assistant to Minisier Mangala or Minister Rajitha and his Son, who are the only three who have seen that USD 18 Billion of stolen money which Rajapaksa deposited in a Bank Safe in Dubai (?)………Or is it Lokka’s Marriott I wonder?……..

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          KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

          “Or is it Lokka’s Marriott I wonder?……..”

          That was the investment Dr Gota made from proceeds of stolen gold from the people of Vanni area and VP’s safe.

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    It is not new our learned professor, along with Thero de Silva, his partner in convoluting facts is doing his brain washing with Central Bank figures. These figures were accused as calculated on Ajith Nivard’ s personal computer and loaded to Central Bank. Sadly, learned professor only circles in his own ring. For example, he praised the achievements of Old King and conferred him PhD for war crimes, then withdrew it and now re-conferring him with PhD is Destruction of Economy. That criminal is accused of have sent to foreign banks 25% of the country’s wealth. Anybody knows a,b,c in Economics knows that the country’s current shape is only because of Old Royal’s looting who controlled 80% of the country’s budget. Everybody does know he conducted election two years before the term’s expiration, only because he could not borrow any further. The stolen $18 Billion was imbedded in the contract prices of the capital developments and thus cooked up into the growth of the country. Nobody may really tell that, what the real effect was on the growth of this $18 Billion. Just another example, if school uniforms or cloths were distributed for Rs 600 million, the Central Bank figured records it as the wealth increase of the mass. The accounting depreciation is 2 to 5 years for cloths. So the central bank figure can add to the same year consumption or drag it to 5 years. But the Sil-Redi cost was miniscule and the rest was stolen. The central bank figures include the White Elephant projects. If you bought a house & bank and foreclosed, you lost the installments but you didn’t buy the house. Central Bank didn’t deduct the cost when the Hangbangtota harbor was taken over by the lender. This one loss alone is about 2% of the economy.

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    During depression, Keynes told the British government that the way to revitalize the sagging economy was to government throw money on capital projects. The notion behind that is if $10 was put, before that investment die out, it could create a $50 dollar effect. Keynes assumed that the investment will be rolling within the British consumers and suppliers. Keynes is Capitalist and his theory is based on demand and supply. This is a100 years old theory. (Those, who like to understand the correct Keynesian logic, may read it out elsewhere). There are major challenges posed to this theory up to now, famously by Freedman too. Here a bankrupt communist is mixing it with his own ideas and misapplying it to the loan borrowed from China. The Chinese loans are to supply material and labor by China. It does not infuse money in Lankawe economy, but drain out foreign exchange from the country. In Chinese loan, Keynes’ capital projects argument is only for Chinese government, not for Sinhalese government. Chinese investment produced materials and labor to export to Lankawe. Additionally, the capital project built were White elephants and even those are repossessed by China, with additional pay back as five villages Hangbangtota lands and one Million Visa only for Harbor. The other twos, the Stadium’s and the Airport’s are expected to create additional damages, the extent not yet known. We don’t know the truth on that, but Colombo Pong Cing investments may be embedded in the Central Bank numbers. It is not just a non Lankawe economy, but it can turn out to be very powerful misdirection to the foreign investments wants to come to Main Land Lankawe. There is a good chance the Pong Cing may step on the shoulders of Lankawe and compete with Lankawe in attacking investments.

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      The basic idea of what Keynes said is a “One Time Investment of Government” to start the recovery. Keynes thought he was teaching how to setup a wildfire and let it to burn continuously on its own. So he said “Take a gallon of gasoline and pour in corner of the jungle and rub the matches on the firebox and throw it over the gasoline. Once the jungle catches fire from gasoline, jungle will supply its own fuel after that. No more gasoline pouring over the wildfire to maintain it.”

      Keynes did not propose to the governments (SLFP and UNP after SLFP…) to borrow every year to keep it at 6% nor he did tell the governments to manage the economy in a communist style by interfering into it.

      It is not clear even if highways constructed in Lankawe can come into Keynes theory because the main one was intended to connect the barren land Hangbangtota and Colombo. This is not a fire starter in an economy.

      It is only a communist, who misunderstood the Economics theories, when he wanted to invent an excuse to put off the fire set up Yasmin Sooka, is blaming his arch enemy Ranil as sitting and steno graphing the Secret Solution, but not following the Old Royals’ White Elephant examples. The Secret Solution was “100 days promise” to TNA to buy Tamils support at the January, 2015 CC election.
      Yahapalanaya just tried to bring in Foreign Investments (beyond Chinese loans) fooling the foreign investors, but the impunity and lawlessness ruling in the country kept investors skeptical and it did not had the same marvelous success in that, like it had at UNHRC. UNHRC is political place so Aappa Diplomacy worked, but not on with the International Investors for National Carrier, Air Lanka.

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    So the question is why a communist, whose economics understandings are faulty, is defending Old King’s economic performance and trying to misdirect New Royals to that same path? Well he has confessed that Secret Solution (draft) is the reason. His accusation is his prime minister is too busy in steno graphing the constitution and thus missing to lay the bricks for the economy. One of statement in the essay, to enhance his trustworthiness and convincing the readers, is that he had written a book on the changing of the constitution. But disappointingly the motive of writing the book was questioned by many, mainly Tamils who had hope on that process, if that was an effort to derail the devolution consisted of creating Federal States. The sad part is a communist never can be heart felt in her/his talks.
    The next question then why all these dramas by Sinhala intellectuals like Jayampathy, Thero De Silva and the Professor? Though they have been discharging their duties earnestly, the Black Tigress, Jasmin Sooka has caused all this rattling in Colombo. (Let us stray from the lines for second and see a lesson glowing for Tamils. If they have had one Sooka, not the other couple of South African Nobel Prize winning leaders, Tamils would have won their freedom too; But they only had GG, C. Suntharalingam, Kathirgamar, Radhika….) She gave a Cesarean operation to Yahapalanaya and got the baby, the Secret Solution draft, out. Otherwise, as per mother’s wish, it was deemed to go as a still born at its due. As per the Sinhala intellectuals, this draft is a rape child on mother Yahapalanaya by UNHRC by forcing her with investigation of war crimes. So they want to hide the origin of the child and let it to die of starvation.

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    “It is fair to say on that basis, the Steering Committee Report primarily represent the views of the UNP.” Well, parties are different from the one or two members who members participated in the steering committee. If a Sinhala Soldier rapes a woman, is not very Sinhala man doing, though many may like to defend it? Please don’t standardize parties for committee
    when there is a possibility of a better constitution in few years’ time? Learned Professor wants this proponed until UNP-SLFP splits. Nothing is new in that. When is it coming, the one that could not come for the past 70 years? Sinhala Somarama intellectuals are intending to kill one more Banda-Chela pact, of which about 10 had come into the scene in the last 60 years. Is that 70 years are too short for Sinhala Intellectuals to conceive a sincere constitution?
    present constitution is ‘obnoxious, however, after the 19th Amendment, it has come to a decent shape. The constitution worked for Sinhalese 30 years. 18th amendment, the one created by the War crime PhD scared Sinhalese. The Obnoxious 19th Amendment, with is Radhika Council, is invalidating 17A instead of 18A. Until 19A, only EP was protected from punishments for crimes. 19A created a national unity cabinet and forced both parties to get involved in crimes, thus to protect even the ministers from the opponent party’s traps. 19A destroyed the opposition in Lankawe so Yahapalanaya justifiers became the opposition. Never in Lankawe opposition supported government on the than depriving Tamils’ rights. Now TNA kept under control to support anything government does.
    ”Formulations should be closer to the existing reality or the expected change. The expected change is the country to become a Buddhist Samrajya. I think the new name the Dutugamunu Aekiya Rajyayawe is fitting the expectations.

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      Mally,
      Instead of reading Galbraith, Keynes , Friedman , Karl Marx or the latest dude who told something about Economics and Social Conscience and scored a Noble, , why don’t you study Fine Whiskies in the World and Play Golf……Or start a little Bonsai patch at the back of the House……
      What matters in Srilnaka is “Ranilocomics”…….Sell Public Assets to their Elie mates below costs …….
      Refinance the rest at higher Commercial rates from their mates in the West than the Friendly Governments Low Cost Loans ……….. ….
      Collect the cut and pump into Elite mates Bank accounts…..To grow the money supply and increase the GDP…….
      .It seems to be working……Mela & Oneliyas’ Penthouse must be worth at least 4 times, if you bought it off the Plan….
      I did that and I am sitting on a cool 200 % hike…….
      Look at how Aloysious and FIL’s assets ahve grown in just two years of Yahapalanaya…..
      Did you buy anything in Wellala Gardens at least?…….
      I know a few of my mates are waiting to buy in the Federal homeland……But they will have to wait a along time to get the appreciation which the Yahapalana sucking Colombo Elite are getting now…………….

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        KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

        “Refinance the rest at higher Commercial rates from their mates in the West than the Friendly Governments Low Cost Loans ……….. ….
        Collect the cut and pump into Elite mates Bank accounts…..To grow the money supply and increase the GDP…….
        .It seems to be working……Mela & Oneliyas’ Penthouse must be worth at least 4 times, if you bought it off the Plan….”

        “I did that and I am sitting on a cool 200 % hike…….”

        Your uncool 200% hike probably must have come from total crumbs collected from the clan + your charges for b***s carrying service to MR.

        Come on KASmaalam, we don’t need one more Walter Mitty in this island.

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