4 December, 2020

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Decentralisation Of Power To Provinces Is A Democratic Right

By Siri Gamage

Dr. Siri Gamage

Dr. Siri Gamage

More powers to determine public affairs by the elected representatives in Provinces and Local Government areas should be viewed as a democratic right to be gained by the people living in these areas rather than diluting the powers that the Central Government in Colombo wields at present. The Central Government and its decision-making processes are far removed from the people living in far-flung Provinces and the grass roots level. Though people elect representatives to the parliament and some of them become ministers and deputies in the central government, due to the very nature of the unique political and family culture evolved in Sri Lanka since the 1956 political changes, key decisions in economic and social spheres are made with little public consultations. A top down decision-making process has been in place in the country, particularly after the introduction of an executive style Presidential system of governance since 1978. The current round of constitutional dialogue and associated public consultations are an exception.

Power is best used when it is exercised by elected representatives closer to the home rather than in Colombo.  The more people gain power to determine their affairs closer to places of their living, the more they should be happy because this allows them to have a say in the decision making processes and influence the same in accordance with their desires, needs, and aspirations. Being able to participate in discussions on issues affecting people whether it is in a Local Government or Provincial Council area allows people or electors in these to be stakeholders rather than onlookers as it happens today. However, for such democratic rights to be effective after devolution of power, there has to be significant changes in the political culture that we have inherited from our ruling class over the decades. Otherwise, it could be more of the same. An active citizenry is also required.

To give an example, there is an ongoing campaign by interested and concerned citizens in various parts of Australia, in particular the regions, to introduce and expand solar power to Local Government areas. A small town near me called Uralla in the New England region has decided to go solar 100 per cent. Another small town called Manila has just announced its desire to do so. When people in such small country towns decide to do something about the critical issue of sustainable living and climate change, their elected representatives have to fall in line though the latter are influenced by lobbyists from coal fired power generation companies. Thus we see the introduction of wind farms and solar farms around the countryside in Australia. Such initiatives are gaining momentum due to the intelligent, dedicated and hardworking citizens who work with professionals to bring about changes in the way electricity is generated, sold and consumed. This is a bottom up process where people living on the margins take power into their own hands to achieve a specific community goal with individual dividends. They can do these things because the Local Government Act allows them to make such decisions within their local government areas. If the existing government in Sri Lanka is preparing the ground to devolve more powers to the Provinces and perhaps Local Government bodies within them, people need to embrace such initiatives with both hands. The risks of devolving power to the provinces, reducing currently held powers of the central government appointed Governors etc should not be viewed purely from the prism of Northern and Eastern provinces alone. If we do so, we miss the point about greater opportunities to decide own affairs closer to home through elected representatives and better public consultations.

In this regard, it is useful to read a recent contribution to the constitutional discourse in Sri Lanka published this year by Laksiri Fernando titled Issues of New Constitution Making in Sri Lanka: Towards ethnic Reconciliation, CreateSpace, Charleston, USA. It provides much food for thought and constructive suggestions suitable for a plural and multicultural society. If we deny this pluralist and multicultural reality after the bitter experiences of a separatist war in the last few decades in shaping our constitution and rely purely on Sinhala nationalist rhetoric, then we are doing a serious injustice to future generations and ourselves. As a matured democracy, we should be able to shape a new vision and a constitution for the country in order to travel on a path to prosperity, democracy and reconciliation with political will. If someone argues that the devolution of more powers to the Provinces and reducing powers held by the Central Government is going to reduce the status of Sinhala Buddhists in the country, it is an argument based on a fallacy because even today it is not the Sinhala Buddhists who hold power. Rather it is the political class drawn from all sections of the diverse society and augmented by the state that holds power to rule.

More than on he fact of devolving further powers to the Provinces, what should occupy the minds of citizens ought to be what more opportunities will they and their elected representatives get after the proposed constitutional changes to have a better say in the matters pertaining to the Provinces? How will the changes allow them to participate in decision-making processes at the Province levels and more importantly Local Government levels? Are the proposals aimed at more grassroots democracy and citizen involvement or strengthening political party influences to the provinces and local government areas through vertical hierarchies? Are there sufficient checks and balances and dispute resolution mechanisms included? Whether the proposed changes will enable the installment of a provincial ruling class aligned to the central ruling class, as it exists today? What political culture changes will be introduced as a result of the proposed structural changes in the constitution? In short, Will citizens in the provinces and Local Government areas be more empowered or less empowered as a result of proposed changes to the constitution?

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Latest comments

  • 4
    6

    To give an example, there is an ongoing campaign by interested and concerned citizens in various parts of Australia, in particular the regions, to introduce and expand solar power to Local Government areas

    How about Aborginal rights there ?

    Are they allowed to ask for anything.

    What you mention as Interested and Concerned citizens are those just White australians folks ?

    How about economics of this power decentralization ?

    right now, we are living on remittances by maids working in the middle east ? Once they don’t bring money, how do you do all these ? It is easy for so-called acadamics, scholars, social activists, special interest groups to propose, bt, you have to talk about economics too.

    How do you solve problem at one poiont when the system breaks down ?

    • 4
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      Quote
      In short, Will citizens in the provinces and Local Government areas be more empowered or less empowered as a result of proposed changes to the constitution?
      Unquote

      Nodoubt, the question above should be answered with YES YES YES.

      Billa – the absolutely wrong view planted in the mindsets of the average of the country should be replaced at least today after 30 long war is no longer there but all the wounds reslted through remain as the same or being subjected to slow mode of changes.

      Anyways, how many countries in the world have proved by today, empowering provincial powers under one central unit has been successful – Germany, Switzerland and all other high world powers have proved it why should not we ONE another poor nation can rely on the thoughts that successful countries/nations have already faced it.

      I think Media men should turn out to be WHOLTE HEARTED srilankens can solve today s problem.
      If Rajaakshe Extremists make every effort to interpret it for their political survivial, the law and order should go against them. … wihtout further delays.
      Aluthgamage or others may woudl do anything and everything to bring former rulers back for their all high profile frauds to be protected and live like as had been before.
      Those men – the social scum turned out to be the untouchable of the country today, they have looted and ruined the nation to core by the time this govt took the office.
      I find it is no means acceptable them to further let to remain uncharged by prevailing laws.

    • 1
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      Do you think -that Aborignes are given no rights ?

      Most of them become cornered just becasue they dont want to integrate or be away from their own addicts.

      The very same is being seen in the country today, whenever we look at most devious forces of Rajaakshes abuse the innocient masses in the country today.

      Now or later some thing should work to crush it at this stage – is my wish. Hope all divine powers will work with the current rulers in achieveing the goals.

    • 8
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      Devolution of power enhances the economy and transparency.

      • 3
        0

        This is clear to anyone and everyone, but not to the masses in the Island called Srilanka.

        They think

        power devolution is 1 to 1 – SEPARATION OF THE COUNTRY….

        Likewise, Germans in generally dont want yet to go to Psyhoclogists feeling that it is only for the most weakened mind sets. .. perception is above everything. But it is said every family is treated by Psychologists in the US.

        • 0
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          First and foremost we must find out as to what are the powers the Sinhalese will loose by Decentralization or devolution of powers.

          Everyone is talking about separation of the country but no one wants to say in PLAIN LANGUAGE (well in all three languages) the losses that will incur to the Sinhalese economically, politically, socially, culturally religiously etc., etc., IF in the proposed constitution there is provision for decentralization or devolution or federalism or worst a-three-states-one-country solution.

          • 0
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            S.K.

            Sinhalese had to bear a substantial loss economically, politically, socially, culturally religiously etc., etc., during 30 year separatist war.

            IF in the proposed constitution there is provision for decentralization or devolution or federalism or a-three-states-one-country solution separatism will raise its ugly head again and the Sinhalese will completely lose everything this time around. The attempt to regain them will make Ealam War IV look like child’s play.

            Federal Sri Lanka will need huge military resources to keep it federal.

            If Hindu/Christian Tamils chase away their Islamic brothers Sinhala majority provinces WITH DEVOLVED LAND POWERS will refuse to accept them. Centre will be powerless to intervene,

            Soma

    • 2
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      Dr. Siri Gamage

      RE:Decentralisation Of Power To Provinces Is A Democratic Right

      Yes.

      This is a partial solution to the colonialism and hegemony from the center.

      The US and the Indian Federal and State Systems work that way.

      Closer to the local level, people are more responsible.

  • 2
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    There had been a debate among some Economists of the WB. I cam across the publication in the late 1990s. The opponents were of the view that decentralization of power to resource poor regions will never be productive.

  • 2
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    All humbug – the entire content.

    What we alrady have is a representative system from geographical divisions.

    Overlaping the above there are Provincial councils, Municipal councils, town councils and village councils.

    Entire island is covered with a fixed and mobile communication networks, TV broadcast and Internet access. Media men travel every nook and corner and report conditions of every bush and culvert, talk to people, upload their opinions.

    The very same people who talk about further and further division of political authority are the same who demand North and East be merged and made one bigger province.

    Did anyone say Sampandan, Vingshwaran and Sumathitharan are not fit to represent Jaffna Tamils? Least of all the Tamils in Jaffna.

    The representatives happen to be crooks is another matter.

    Soma

    • 5
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      Soma, if you are honest to you, we have the kind of councils as you said, but none of them are empowered enough to the manner to take regaional deciions by their own.
      In Germany or any other civilized world, things would not have turned out to be the way it is to this date, those provicial councils or the like bodies were not empowered.
      You just hang on with all the extremists make every effort to protect your bum being covered by the stolen billions of Rajapakshes.

      You guys are definitely the wild weeds that we have to eleminate through -round up – if not today tomorrow, then only we can eventhinkik of a better future for all SRILANKENS.
      People will never allow you guys to return for sure, since they are no fools as appeared to be.
      Wait and see, you guys will learn it next few months and years.

      • 2
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        Reminds me of ’89 Bheeshanya period!. No doubt you must have in govt vigilantes.Can you help me to find out what happened to my brother’s 18 yr son?

        Soma

        • 6
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          somaaasss

          “No doubt you must have in govt vigilantes.Can you help me to find out what happened to my brother’s 18 yr son?”

          Probably he is living in Australia as refugee, on dole (government hand out) …. I am sure he would not have sought asylum in Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, …. Zimbabwe, ….

          • 0
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            NV

            You sure have a clue to all those ‘missing persons’ the recently appointed missing persons commission is looking for. Please extend your full assistance.

            Soma

      • 4
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        Simon,

        You cannot reason with soma; he does not present his/her real reasons for objection! Soma is dishonest and suffers from chronic insecurity.

        • 0
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          BI

          “You cannot reason with soma”

          None can counter simple clear logic. Have any difficulty is doing the sum 2+2=?

          Soma

          • 2
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            somaaass

            “None can counter simple clear logic.”

            What is logic?
            .
            1 + 1 = X, X is = 3 or greater than 3 (Synergy)

          • 2
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            Soma is an another cheap labor force for Rajapakshe men.

            Anyways, like that Dayashan – sodomite of BBS experienced it after his return from police custody, Soma too will see it soon:

            All the best for the kind of stupid idiots.

            • 0
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              Don Juan

              Soma is a member of the majority community.

              Soma

              • 1
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                Somo…
                what matter is not your community you belong to. The manner you behave. You sound to be apologetic to MR regime than to the current. That disturbs me really.
                If you have a brain the size of a mustard seed, you would rethink.

                It cant be perfect, there are various kind of stumbling blocks even if you are so clean – and start doing things in that country. THat is for sure the case. I just wanted to pick up some info
                in terms of Dengue.
                Meeharaks that though with and without titles work for those research bodies int he country stay as if they are affected by yakka not updating them. So, we that is to say, the level of the standards govern in that part –

                big talks cant bring us forward, but we have to work.. we have to have rules as it is the case in Singapore, Japan or some european countries wehre even leaving an apple peel being punished with 500 dollars or so.

                We need rigorous rules. Basta

                • 0
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                  Don Juan

                  List down all the negatives of Rajapaksha.

                  Now, prior to 2005 elections if an angel appeared before me and gave me the option to choose between Mahinda Rajapaksha who would completely eliminate Tiger terrorism bringing and end to the 30 year war BUT subsequently rule with all your negatives and Ranil Wickramasinghe who would implement his previous pact with Prabakaran I would raise both hands for Rajapaksha.

                  Such was the agony we went through for 30 long years with no end in sight which the Tiger supporters like you cannot comprehend.

                  It must not be forgotten that the Tamil political masters, supremely confident of their military machine, rejected the RW/VP pact and decided go for the final goal regardless of the cost in blood.

                  I am opposed to any kind of political power devolution to North and East which is likely to create a conducive environment for reemergence of Vadukkodai separatism.

                  Federal Sri Lanka will need huge military resources to keep it federal.

                  Ealam war V will make Ealam War IV look like child’s play.

                  Soma

      • 0
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        Christians and Tamils want to make country for them by dividing other nations.

        In every other place, different nations were united by amagamating different groups.

    • 0
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      Not empowered like the Ministers in the Rajapaksha Government.

  • 1
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    A hugh underground under the table economy has been developed simply based on the larger number of politicians. All these politicians are manipulating and exploiting the system the way they want. Because of that nothing works for anybody and everythings works for politicians. Only a handful busineses are thriving. That economy has reached the no-return level. One way to save the country is send it to bankruptcy and get rid of so many politicians.

    There is a thriving nartcotics, alcohol, casino, prostituion rings operating in Sri lanka and politicians are involved in this. Foreign countries are using these rings to destabilize sri lanka.

    So, you are suggesting this thing probably some one paid you to write this article.

    • 2
      0

      Did you find your evidence YouTube for this one too?

  • 2
    2

    Thank you for the art.
    supporting more Devolution of powers to the provinces.
    majority of our People have fears about devolving powers to the representatives elected from the grass-roots. your experiences outside of Sri Lanka, can enlighten and help our People to advance in more democratic decision making and Quality of life at the grass-root levels

    • 4
      1

      Rev. Father,

      how many of lanken professonals have shared their thoughts in this regards over the years ?

      TOday I have no doubt, they the rulers make every effort foreign experties thorugh their improved diplomatic ties between nations, to achieve the maximum technical support.
      This I happened to read somewhere at the time, Swiss politicians lately visited the country. They woudl definitely be not like fools as previous regime behaved, woudl do anything and everything within the power to achieve the most favourable constitution but empowering the regions.

  • 1
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    The author of this article speaks of “Decentralization” and some, to be specific Fr. Emmanuel speaks of “Devolution”. Have you all considered the two different aspects of the two words? So, what do we need? Is it “Decentralization” OR “Devolution”.

  • 3
    0

    Othiyamalai massacre of 32 Tamils by Sri Lankan military remembered

    Residents in Othiyamalai on Friday remembered the massacre of 32 Tamils by the Sri Lankan military in 1984. Lighting lamps, families who had lost their loved ones came together to remember.
    “My father was listening to the radio. It was only when they caught him that we realized they were the SLA. They caught our uncle at our house. They tore up his shirt in front of us and tied his hands. Like this, the SLA went in twos and threes to every house and caught each family head. On Pathikudippu Road, they saw a tractor. They took hold of the tractor and put everyone they had brought on this tractor.
    They tied up every ones hands and eyes. They shot everyone whilst the men remained still tied. The watching villagers told us, that they put five people, all of them over fifty years old in the back of a tractor. They took off the side doors of the tractor, placed them on top of the five old men and the soldiers then stood on top of the men singing and dancing as they drove away.”

    • 0
      1

      What about murder of 13 SLA by Tamils ???

      IS it OK to KILL Sinhala Army…Is it ???

      Then apply the same logic to yourself….

      What about killing little monks by Karuna Amman in the East …40 odd hacked to death….

      Is it OK…yes..because they are Sinhala-Buddhist….Is it ???

      • 2
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        sinhala_noise

        “What about murder of 13 SLA by Tamils ???”

        What about it?

        IS it OK to KILL Sinhala Army…Is it ???

        Is it okay to kill innocent civilians from 1915 to 2015?

        Is it okay kill Tamils at a cultural festival in 1974?

        Is it okay to kill thousands of innocent Sinhala youth in 1971 and between 1987 and 1990?

        “Then apply the same logic to yourself….”

        Sorry I missed your logic. Please remind me.

        “What about killing little monks by Karuna Amman in the East …40 odd hacked to death….”

        What about little monks being abused by the old perverts who are usually clad in saffron drape?

        “Is it OK…yes..because they are Sinhala-Buddhist….Is it ???”

        However, it is not okay to abuse little monks by the old perverts. What are you doing about it?

      • 0
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        It’s okay to kill Sinhala occupying forces (who harass, torture, loot and rape Tamil civilians with impunity) but not Sinhala civilians in the south. The war was between armed forces who consented to put their lives on the line for their respective goals, so killing civilians by any side is wrong.

  • 3
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    Devolution is a key element in Good Governance

    Devolution fulfills subsidiarity principle
    and
    devolution is inevitable

  • 0
    0

    You have a valid point there. That is “How about economics of this power decentralization “.
    I also have a valid point who contribute economically to the up keep of the following :
    1. Clergies of all the religions in SL
    2. All the politicians regardless of which party they belong to
    3. Up keep of all the armed forces ( which are still expanding and hardly multi racial and multi religious ) during the absense of war.

    4. Patronising the media men / owners
    Who are partial and often distort the facts and create socio economic problems and thus make SL ungovernable.

    Aren’t the above 4 groups and few other similar ones a huge economic and emotional burden on the hard working ordinary citizens.

    Democracy & SL people will never complement each other for another 69 yrs unless Lord Buddha visits SL again.

  • 0
    2

    Decentralization and devolution is a very good way to destabilize Sri Lanka.

    Then Dalits can kill tobacco farmers.

    Sunnis can kill shiites.

    christiand can get rid of Catholics.

    buddhiast can watch the show how their own country has been devided among migrents.

    • 0
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      There are no Dalits in Sri Lanka. Only Govigama and Karava in the south

  • 1
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    Douglas

    ‘The author of this article speaks of “Decentralization” and some, to be specific Fr. Emmanuel speaks of “Devolution”. Have you all considered the two different aspects of the two words? So, what do we need? Is it “Decentralization” OR “Devolution”.’

    Decentralization or Devolution of powers generally refers to unitary constitutions. The central authority here devolves powers to lower levels.The central authority may withdraw some or the entire devolved powers at will. The 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution is an example. It was passed by two-third majority in parliament.This amendment can also be repealed by two-third majority in parliament if the sinhalese opt. If you read ‘Lanka web’ you will find commentators requesting to abolish this 13th amendment very often. For example, UK have devolved powers to Scotland and Wales. UK being a western government never think of withdrawing the powers already given. In Sri Lanka, land and Police powers are there but not implemented. This is the mindset of Sri Lankans. Another example – Former Serbian President abolished Bosnian autonomy and we all are aware of the outcome.

    In federalism, powers are divided between two or more constituent entities by a written Constitution in the form of a state, region or province. Some of the largest federal countries in the world are the United States, Canada, India, Argentina,Mexico, Russia and Australia. Malaysia, Pakistan and Ethiopia are also federal. Recently Nepal has introduced a federal constitution. Switzerland and Belgium are the smaller countries and both operate a consensus model.Both have satisfied the four principles – two primary principles (grand coalition and segmental autonomy) and two secondary principles (proportionality and minority veto) formulated by Arend Lijphart.

    In a federal government, the central and the provincial governments exist on the basis of equality, both act directly on the people within their own spheres of authority and neither has powers to encroach on the authority of the other. The sovereignty in a federal system is divided between the centre and the regions. TNA leader Sambanthan always mentions of the divided sovereignty.

  • 0
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    Assume that is given. Are you going to defend minorities in some provinces from the ultra natioanalist like Wigneshvaran? What are the evidences you have to assure the rights of other people from that sorts of crazy nationalists?

  • 1
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    “Decentralization Of Power To Provinces Is A Democratic Right”.

    Dr. Siri Gamage,

    True, decentralization or devolution does cater to provincial development. However in the Sri Lankan context, the essential components of ‘powers’ vested in politicians have to be placed in some kind of regulatory body so that citizens interests are not abused. A highly organized regulatory authority could audit the politicians corrupt maneuvers, meanwhile however genuine citizens’ concern could be professionally evaluated and carried out with minimal losses.

    Be aware that the influence of deceptive disease spread by MR & the clan is still experienced by present set of rulers and still they are contagious.

  • 0
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    Amalgamation of the states happened and made countries every where to make the country politically stable.

    Sri lanka has to be devided into different states, because the political instability that the country is going through becauce of migrents and foreign religions are not enough.

  • 0
    0

    Well Said Thamarai,

    Let us be practical.

    In the 13A, The word “Power Sharing” or “devolution” was hardly used.

    I prefer to call the provisions in the 13A as power sharing instead of devolution even though it could be changed by a two thirds majority.

    During the last three decades of its existence, there was hardly any serious attempts to withdraw or amend any provisions in 13A.

    Any such attempts were prevented at the initiation stage by the majority Sinhalese themselves, because it benefits the Sinhalese as well.

    All constitutions are manmade, and hence the constitutional assuarances are not really permanent.

    Let us be realistic.

    In the new constitution even if it is unitary if there are separate lists then it is a power sharing constitutional arrangement and it is a necessary and sufficient condition under the prevailing circumstances.

    W cannot expect anything more than a constitutional guarantee and if it is a genuine power sharing deal with enhanced powers to the elected councils at the periphery with central intervention only to prevent separatist tendencies.

    This power sharing is not between any two or three ethnic communities, but between regions irrespective of ethinicity and the center and it is equally beneficial to the Sinhalese in the underdeveloped regions and they will undoubtedly benefit and they will never allow it to be subverted.

    Let us be partners in this endevour

    a new constitution it shall be welcome.

  • 1
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    Well, Thamarai raised some interesting points.

    The Tamil requirement for devolution is not for economic prosperity. Its mainly to ensure the continuation of their ethnic identity.

    Another attempt is so that Tamils are “equal” to Sinhala. That is perhaps why Scotland is mentioned quite often.

    So taking the second requirement, “equality”. The kind of equality that is being asked is similar to what exists between England and Scotland, or Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

    Tamils do not have any civilizational presence that is equal to the Sinhala people. The cultural rights Sinhala people have over these regions far over weight as maps below demonstrate.

    http://jaffnahistory.com/Northern_Province/Sinhala_Villages_of_Jaffna_1695.html
    http://jaffnahistory.com/Eastern_Province/Sinhala_Villages_of_Eastern_Lanka_1695.html

    So on that account alone, the kind of devolution that is sought is not right.

    The Tamils pretty much conned everyone about their heritage in the island. That is how the 13th amendment was enacted that asserts Tamil homeland.

    The problem is its very easy to demonstrate far superior Sinhala cultural rights that negate the phony assertion. I think its called a zero-sum equation.

    Even though you think you won, the substance is not there to sustain the thing when judging from other angles. Tamil children are going to know their parents conned everyone.

  • 0
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    None of these issues will become non-issues if Donald Trump said so.
    The bottom line is these issues are made relevant simply because the US says so.

  • 2
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    “Decentralisation Of Power To Provinces Is A Democratic Right”

    You are correct Siri;
    That is, if Democracy means Government For the Welfare of the People!

    What is happening in Sri Lankan Politics, is more Rights and Allowances, (Bribes) to elected Politicians!

    • 1
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      You are absolutely correct. It is the politicians who are creating all the problems for their existence.
      They can only create problems. BUT they do not know to solve any problem.
      So before we think or debate about devolution or decentralization,
      we must think of diluting the existing powers of the politicians, reducing to the maximum possible their income through politics (Trump has said that he will draw a salary of ONE dollar),their right to directly speak to the public servants and to insist that they put it in writing whatever they want to say to the public servants,Their term of office be restricted to two consecutive terms followed with a break of two consecutive terms so that there will not be “professional politicians”.

      Our country will have a very bright future.

      • 1
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        “…..to insist that they put it in writing whatever they want to say to the public servants…”

        But Sie K, how can Politicians lay the Blame on Public Servants when Things Go Wrong, if they put their Illegal Requests in Writing?

  • 1
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    Reforms in the Centre are also needed but how to achieve such reforms in the structure of government which is large and burdensome to the public, mainstream political parties and their modus operandi, and the corrupt political culture? Criticism and oppositional activism alone cannot yield desired results. A third force comprising all concerned citizens banding together is necessary to map out a path for creating a critical,innovative and foot on the ground type political action. Such a force blessed by civil society organisations need to field their own candidates chosen on the basis of virtuous qualities rather than how much political capital is accumulated over time in forthcoming elections. Otherwise we keep criticising whenever an idea is presented and go away until the next opportunity comes for further criticism.

    In terms of the devolution debate, we have to consider the need or otherwise if three layers of governance for a tiny country like Sri Lanka. Political machinery can be a very cumbersome vehicle for sustainable development while keeping our sovereignty,cultural identities, and freedoms. By following the neoliberal,free market economic path, the country has become a dependent one to foreign powers and the capital. We can see where the country is heading economically with demands by China for 15000 acre economic zone in the South. In 1971 the JVP used to talk about Indian expansionism. Today they are not even thinking about Chinese expansionism and how our ruling class is quite happy to succumb to such expansionist demands without thinking about long term consequences. To secure such expansionism and the dependent,free market economy tied to foreign capital investments, the ruling class may impose a a Singapore style ,autocratic state instead of preserving the democratic rights we still enjoy. This is inevitable. Therefore, in the current round of constitutional dialogue, we need to be open minded about the challenges the country face, support innovative thinking and civic action for a better system of governance and political culture plus a future while preserving our natural resources,environment,cultural identities etc. in this process of futuristic thinking,we have to think about Tamils and Muslims plus others as partners rather than enemies. Sinhala Buddhists also need leaders who are virtuous, visionary,and consensual. Listen to talks by Dr. Gamini Abey on new interpretation of Buddhism available via Y tube. Unless there is awakening by all communities concerned about the economic dependence, political and cultural subservience being created in the name of globalisation to world powers and global capitalist economy, incremental loss of national identity in the face of growing influence of entities with vested interests, and the dangers of expansionism and further globalisation, we will be drawn further into conflicts among ourselves while the ruling class enjoy further and further privileges business as usual. Our problem is not Tamil or Sinhala or Muslim. It is not even devolution of power to the provinces or the constitution with minor tinkering. The problem is the large,costly, and in genuine ruling class that does not deliver on the promises they make before coming to power and treat citizens as some creatures to be ruled not governed. The public at large is misguided at election times with various promises and incentives only to be fooled for next few years by succumbing to the demands of multinational corporations and big powers.We will need a change in direction sooner rather than later but where is the leadership for changing the system of governance,not the constitution?

  • 0
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    Listen Dr. Gamage…,

    Thinks hard about this problem…..

    IF there is an Ethnic problem in Sri Lanka…HOW IS DEVOLUTION OF POWER GOING TO FIX THE PROBLEM….

    ALL you will be doing is to put it in a BLACK BOX and forget about the ETHNIC ISSUE.

    IF there is NO ethnic issue then Devolution is good for managing local issues locally and national/common issues centrally.

    BUT, if you try to solve an Ethnic ISSUE with Devolution you will end up mixing National and Local issues creating or exaggerating the exiting crisis…eventually leading to ethnic separation…..

    ====> Called Bhantustan creation….Balkanisation…etc…

    Anyway if Tamils are given North and East as a homeland as mentioned in the Indo-Lanka accord.. then please you intelligent people let us know where is the SINHALA homeland (Sinhale)

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      Think hard. How did the ethnic problem crop up. It is not natural. It is man made.
      Think of solving the problem created by the politicians to enhance their way of MAKING NOT EARNING Money easily.

      Create a problem between two people and then go there as a supporter of one party and ask your friend to go as a supporter of the other party and both of you together rob both parties with sweet words. That is politics of today in this country.

      As President Premadasa said at the next birth you might be born in a Tamil family or in a Sinhala family or a Muslim family and then what will you do, taking for granted that this ethnic problem continues to that day.

      Why should we try to make the other our servant or slave? Why not make him our comrade?

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      Very simple. It goes without saying – The rest of the Island.

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      sinhala_noise

      “IF there is an Ethnic problem in Sri Lanka…HOW IS DEVOLUTION OF POWER GOING TO FIX THE PROBLEM….”

      Think hard about the solution…..

      I know it is difficult for you see beyond your nose.

      “Anyway if Tamils are given North and East as a homeland as mentioned in the Indo-Lanka accord..”

      Where on earth does the Indo-Lanka accord say North and East are Tamil homeland?

      FYI

      Here is an excerpt of the accord:

      Indo-Lanka Accord
      Colombo, 29 July 1987

      1.1 Desiring to preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka:

      1.2 Acknowledging that Sri Lanka is a ‘multi-ethnic and a multi-lingual plural society” consisting, inter alia, of Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims (Moors) and Burghers:

      1.3 Recognising that each ethnic group has a distinct cultural and linguistic identity which has to be carefully nurtured:

      1.4 Also recognising that the Northern and the Eastern Provinces have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory with other ethnic groups:

      1.5 Conscious of the necessity of strengthening the forces contributing to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, and preserving its character as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi- religious plural society , in which all citizens can live in eqality, safety and harmony, and prosper and fulfil their aspirations:

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    Thamarai: Thank you. I raised this issue of “Decentralization” and “Devolution” because in Sri Lanka these two terms are conceived in different ways and concepts, in order to “Manipulate” varying “Agenda” of persons engaged in political arena. You and I know what these two terms mean and how these function in various countries in different fields and in varying spheres connected with public life. In support of this view, I would request you to see how, whether, it is “decentralization” or ” devolution” is discussed. This whole process of “Sharing” or “handing over” is debated mainly connected with ETHNICITY ( Sinhala; Tamil; Muslim; Burgher; etc). Some ask: What will happen if these functions are given over to North and East. Why we cannot have these functions and what is the problem South and West has in giving these functions to us. Why only to them, we too should have these, and so on and on. What is the underneath principle in all these questioning? Nothing but to be meet “Different Goals” of different GROUPS. There is no UNITARY approach but DIFFERENTIATION. In doing all these, we have to make a very thorough analysis of the “Political Maturity” of these GROUPS and from the day this 13th Amendment came into being, we have found out where we are heading. This erosion of Political Maturity has been clearly demonstrated by all the Provincial Governing bodies and it has as date become an unmanageable “MONSTER”.

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