22 October, 2020

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Government Gets Prepared To Take Up The Gauntlet

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Government leaders have been saying that the draft constitution will be placed before the Parliament prior to the budget debate that takes place in November. A new constitution which would require a referendum could prove to be the government’s Waterloo if the people reject it. Last week Chairman of the Public Representations Committee Lal Wijenayake, made an announcement that five of the six sub-committees of Parliament that had been delegated the task of submitting reports on various aspects of the new constitution had completed their work. The Public Representations Committee (PRC), appointed by the Prime Minister with 19 other members, made a special effort in consultations with the general public on the matters connected with the drafting of the new constitution. Chairman Wijenayake assured those who had made submissions to the PRC that their views would be taken into account in the drafting of the new constitution.

The public consultation process that took place on this occasion, even for a limited period of time, was a new development in Sri Lanka. Both the previous constitutions, the ones drafted in 1972 and 1978, were devised by a few persons drawn from politics and lawyers. They made crucially important decisions without consulting the people and ascertaining their views. In 1972, the drafters of the constitution decided to subordinate the judiciary to the executive branch of government, which eroded the concept of checks and balances in governance. The people were not consulted regarding this major change that took the country in the direction of authoritarian rule, which is only being reversed today. In 1978 the constitutional drafters decided to vest super powers in the institution of the executive presidency, which further entrenched authoritarian rule, again without obtaining the concurrence of the people.

Unlike in the past, on this occasion, the government conducted public consultations. There have been concerns expressed about the depth and breadth of the consultation process. The time frame of six months was short. The existence of the consultation process was not well known by the general public and therefore public participation in the consultations at all levels was limited. The exercise was not widely advertised. The members of the PRC had to utilise their contacts and influence to obtain people’s participation. The resources allocated by the government to the consultation process were also limited. But the commitment of those who had been appointed to be members of the PRC ensured that a credible process of consultations took place.

Misleading People

It is worth noting that the 200 plus page report produced by the Public Representations Committee at the end of their consultation is very simply written and clear. It is understandable by those who might not wish to spend too much time studying legal terms. It sets out the major themes of debate on the controversial political issues that have divided the people of the country. It also gives what each of the committee members themselves thought in regard to each issue in order to provide transparency. Wherever the members of the committee could not make a single recommendation, because of their different points of view, they made multiple recommendations which were often at odds with each other. Their goal was to provide the parliamentarians who are designing the new constitution with a sense of what types of thinking on controversial issues exists at the level of the people.

In this context it was unfortunate that the Joint Opposition should have seized upon some of the recommendations made in the PRC report by some of its members, and claim that they would form part of the new constitution. For instance, on the controversial issues of the foremost place given to Buddhism in the constitution, or the unitary nature of the state, or the merger of the Northern and Eastern province, the PRC gave multiple recommendations, as their members could not agree on a single recommendation with regard to those issues. The PRC gave the different views that those who came and made submissions before them said. They also provided more than one recommendation when they could not agree to a single recommendation, and also gave the names of those who supported that particular recommendation. The PRC report leaves it to the Parliamentarians, who going to be the final drafters of the constitution, to choose what they wish from the PRC report and recommendations, or choose something entirely different.

Some members of the Joint Opposition have chosen to behave in an unethical manner by misinterpreting the PRC report. They have made the claim that the government proposes to remove the reference to Buddhism from the constitution, do away with the unitary state and merge the Northern and Eastern provinces on the basis of the recommendations in the PRC report. While it is correct that some of the members of the PRC made such recommendations based on the representations they received from the general public, it is not correct to say that the PRC as a whole, or as a majority, made such recommendations. This was not the majority position of the PRC, which adopted the middle position between continuity and change.

Right Time

The government’s delayed response to the negative campaign of the Joint Opposition based on their misinterpretation of PSC report has given rise to concerns that the government may not take its observations into account at all. So far there has been no sustained or major public education campaign that is based on the report of the PRC. This would be a missed opportunity for public education on the controversial issues of governance on which the people of the country have diverse views, but which will require a mutually acceptable resolution. The PRC report is not only about issues that impact on inter-ethnic relations, but also on other controversies, such as special quotas for women, the rights of sexual minorities, and the rights of disabled persons. The PRC report, which captures the current thinking in society on those issues, ranging from the liberal to the illiberal, would be an excellent educational tool.

There are some special individuals in the polity who could take up this task. Last week former President Chandrika Kumaratunga took up the challenge of educating the people on the value of federal and secular systems of governance. She did this at a workshop organised by the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation which she heads. Flanking her on the speakers’ platform were Minister of National Coexistence Mano Ganesan and parliamentarian Dr Jayampathy Wickremaratne who is entrusted with the drafting of the new constitution. The former president spoke of the federal system of power sharing as a problem solving instrument in ethnically divided societies, such as semi-federal South Africa and federal Nigeria. She also spoke of the value of secular governance, giving India as a positive example. Those in the audience seemed to go along with what she said, as the question and answer session was lively but not offensive.

At the other extreme, ultra nationalist Joint Opposition leader Wimal Weerawansa is reported to have received a chiding when he met with a leading Buddhist prelate to warn him about the dangers posed to the country by the government’s proposed new constitution. When the Joint Opposition leader had told the Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter the Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala the that the new Constitution would harm the unitary status of the country, it is reported that the Mahanayake had told the parliamentarian that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had assured him that any proposal that encouraged separatism would not be included in the Constitution. Since the Constitution is to be put to a referendum, the monk had told him and the other National Freedom Front members not to be unnecessarily alarmed about it. The indications are that right thinking people and moral leaders are united in the desire to find a solution, and this is the time to take this message to the people. They know that the political problems that hark back to the days of Independence from British colonial rule will not simply go away, but have to be worked at, and this is the best time to resolve them.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    3

    The Best thing to do is for the government to get the parliamentary majority support and for the moment implement the new constitution ,and thereafter present it to the people ,they will need at-least two years to cover the entire population, the Country and people can not bear the hardship of the collapsed economy caused by the past regime by putting the country into a debt of more than a trillion dollars and not to forget most of the funds borrowed has no account , very small proportion has been spent on the country , that too on projects that could have well awaited at-least another few years.

    The best is to put the new Constitutional mechanism to action , how many percentage of the public will really bother to read it and comprehend it? a group will just listen to Wimal and blindly follow suit too, once you have it implemented people can experience the real time benefits and short comings and the government can then at ease make changes and reforming the parts of the constitution without hindering the progress of the country.

    There is an urgent need to implement a new practical constitution that suits all people and is acceptable by international communities which would place a trust on investors and tourists to come in ,no one wants to bring in their money to a Country that has a constitution which was the cause for loss of valuable human lives and a bloody civil war that has ended on the battle field branding Sri lanka with an ugly image of how it was ended , though the war has ended to to date the tears of blood of all people are still wet, instead of healing the wounds more had been inflicted by using racial disharmony and promoting bigotry , the international community is well aware of all that happened , you need investors and tourists both are the very most means to progress ,please do not waste time , get on with it , sometimes you need to make the decisions for the people as leaders , but make sure your constitution has a special provision for continuous amendments and changes until the Constitution is finely set .

    Sincerely hope to see a new Sri Lanka with a new constitution that guarantees security to all people ,freedom , laws to check such freedoms , Hope ,inspirations , the feeling to be proud as a Sri Lankan Citizen , economical opportunities to all those willing to work hard and honestly , and special security to protect the vulnerable by attacks of racists and bigots , the right to choose to live in any part of the country even in a federal state without fear or harassment .
    Translated for Chandana (South Asian Buddhists for peace)

  • 6
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    “In 1978 the constitutional drafters decided to vest super powers in the institution of the executive presidency, which further entrenched authoritarian rule, again without obtaining the concurrence of the people.”

    I see you have identified THE PROBLEM. Too late.

  • 10
    5

    It is necessary that people should be educated about the new constitution. The Former President Chandrika Bandaranaiyake’s initiation to educate the people about Federalism should be appreciated by all peace loving people. The major threat to the new constitution is now obvious that is the so called Joint Opposition lead by Mahinda Rajapakse & Co. So, the task of winning the people are in the hands of Joint Government forces of major political parties including SLFP,UNP TNA and MC. I am sure the true leftist parties should corporate with them because they were the origins of federalism. The most important things in educating the public are openess, transperancy and Truth. It is important that Sinhalese leadership and Tamil, Muslim leadership go together to all parts of the island and to explain the mistakes of the past and the impact on the people and the Nation, assure the people about their concerns regarding security, equality and law & order and justice system. Expose the motive of the joint opposistion in all fronts.

    • 2
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      I agree Ajith,

  • 9
    8

    Jehan boy is getting jittery. If he thinks Chandrika is good at educating challenge her to have one public meeting to educate the masses and see where the hooting starts and ends. The problem is not the Constitution, it is how Ranil and Sira going about it antagonizing all and specially the Sinhala masses. So anything the government proposes whether good or bad will be defeated to show the peoples anger. Where this government failed utterly was when they naively assumed that the West is going to dole out billions of Dollars to run the economy. Now they have to just come with sorry story about the Rajapaksa debt and taxing all and sundry while helping loosers like Field Marshal to Rs.70m luxury vehicles. The people are not fools they are just waiting for the right time and Jehan getting jittery is all and well understood. For the Government it is not the Gauntlet it will be the noose at the referendum. If you are laughing at it go through to amount of education taking place on the Social Media.

  • 6
    4

    Jehan gets lots of $$$$s to conduct workshops to educate people on the new constitution. Now he has realized that things might not go well. People are fed up with this government. The government is preoccupied with new constitution, reconciliation, missing persons while the economy is going down the drain. These things are priorities for the government because they have to please those who funded the regime change. These things are not priorities of the ordinary folks in the country.

    The ‘Rajapakse Debt’ is another cooked up thing like ‘Rajapakse Hora’. They are using this to raise tax and keep on borrowing more and more making the situation worse. Even in USA, the Republicans had done the same thing.

    MY3 recently stated that the country does not have foreign reserves. If he stopped importing duty free vehicles to MPs, the country could have saved lot of foreign currency but he did not do that. If he cared for the country that is the thing that he should have done. He is more concerned about making the stooges happy rather than the country. He says all the countries are willing to help Sri Lanka after ousting MR. So why not he call his buddies in the west and ask for donations.

  • 4
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    Preparing the masses through enlightening efforts by political leaders of the calibre of Mm Chandrika bandaranaike and Ministers Mano Ganesan is very important and sine qua non. The other leaders have to take a cue and spread this enlightening-effort. ACHANGE OF CONSTITUTION IS NOT A PURE POLITICAL EXERCISE; BUT A DECISION-MAKING ACT OF THE WHOLE People Hence I will Appeal to other leaders of the socirty to contribute actively their share. All the religious and civic leaders must put their resources of personel and talents to do this Service, which Comes only once in a life time.

    • 0
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      Hey Padre LTTE supporter Emanuel, weren’t you on the cheering squad for the LTTE suicide bombers? How is your comfortable lifestyle in the West now? How much is your allowance from the Barack Hussein government? How will you and Rudra stand for election in PTK or in VVT? Wil you contest after coming back? Just wanted to throw this video for reminding the LTTE rump like you(Not the innocent Tamils who were forced to become shields for a megalomaniac fascist) what you supported and cheered. LTTE had every chance to surrender on Jan 8th when Kilinochchi fell and you were getting your asses rubbed by the inferior singalam army. You could have saved so much grief if you pushed for the LTTE to surrender and made calls to tell them not to use human shields.

      Jehan Anna, you were always wrong on the war. always but you get paid thousands of dollars.

      Wannakam

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ht4ZtEk83g

  • 1
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    Looks like the govt’s priority is to fulfill the promises given to its foreign stakeholders and tiger diaspora in defeating MR than to the people at the elections. Constitution making is not the priority but relief and good governance for the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities in the country.

  • 3
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    Ban Ki Moon is Praising Saudi Arabia which bombs Yeman to oblivion as fighting Terrorism. Yet, actually what they are doing is with the old american weapons, Saudi arabia is producing a West friendly govt there if not a new country.

    Maithraipala sirisena, Ranil Wickramsinghe, CBK and Mangala samraweera are kneeling infront of those masters.

    Jehan Perera is shaking the referendum would not allow civil Society/INGO to be the masters of Sri lanka.

    It is very clear.

    Yahapalanaya has proven enough both the SLFP and UNP are as corrupt as the previous govt. Yahapalanaya get loans every way possible and they dont even have money to pay CTB employees who are to be laid off. Yet, the govt ministers buy luxury cars, Big businesses get custom duty-free imports.

    So, people will respond to the referundum aka next what ever the election not because they understand what the constitution is but they know what a bogus govt this is.

  • 3
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    Patriot ,Yes yes , patio ,agree with you there will always remain a segment who have come down the gutters way generation to generation , who want everything for summa , sell the country ,sell anybody’s mother who cares as long as they get a bottle of Johnson aiya’s ethanol and a bath(lunch) parcel free they will hoot . what else have that particular segment ever done good for the nation? otherwise they will go on a rampage murdering , looting and arson ,all in disguise of nationalism .

  • 1
    1

    The core of the Sri Lankan situation is racism. Doing some horrible crimes and assuming nobody noticed it and saying it is an internal matter shows the whole world the mentality of Sri Lankan Leaders. The impunity with which Tamil genocide is carried out repeatedly and later after making the Tamil rebels world terrorists using the 9/11 terrorism in US to use mass killing weapons to commit the same genocide of Tamils, Sri Lanka still expect the world to have confidence and bring in foreign investment?
    It is not easy to build confidence as it takes decades of hard work for any Country. Luckily for Sri Lanka the British developed the plantation sector that brought in good foreign assets. Sri Lanka began as a rich and envious independent Country from 1948 with both Sinhalese and Tamil living in harmony and developing all sectors. It was during major industrialization from the 50s that Sinhalese started communal violence first in the South and spread to all other cities in other provinces. When British left all major Departments, the navy, air force, army and police were manned equally by Sinhalese and Tamils. Then came the crazy politicians inciting the majority anti Tamil racism to let them murder and massacre the Tamils forcing Tamils from all over Sri Lanka to take refuge in their native Northern and Eastern provinces. Then came the Tamil national parties feuding with the Sinhalese majority parties in power and always getting cheated making pacts for a peaceful existence and the majority Sinhalese parties always ignoring the pacts that could pave ways for a peaceful coexistence. After the Tamils were deprived of their jobs, not only from the forces and police but also from the Departments that employed them and businesses all over Sri Lanka failed for Tamils, the youth who lost even entering higher education after the introduction of racial policy for admissions faced the wall in the North and East. Oppression alone was not enough for the racist parties to win elections in the South. Sinhalese politicians incited hatred of Tamils to compete with other less ant Tamil politicians. Extremism spread among Sinhalese to the extent of allowing the voters a free for all to loot well to do Tamils became the winner.
    Now after the new Governance cosigning the UNHRC agreement there is no genuine attempt to free Tamils from oppression as the same old impunity is not overcome for politicians find it hard to win elections if the racial platform gets dismantled.

  • 1
    3

    PRC list of demands are all fuelled by NGO Dollars.

    Dr Jehan naturally wants them more, than anything else’

    The Constitutional Tutor , whom Jehan places a lot of faith to educate the inhabitants and one of the Trio of this Yahapalana Administration.
    is going flat chat , trying to perform her duties to fulfil the wishes of the NGOs and the Diaspora.

    The Tutor who is also an ex Prez and the daughter of the PM who helped make our current CC, wants a Federal ,semi Unitary and Secular one as our Mahavamsa Constitution,

    Bit confusing Isn’t it?..

    The ex President however didn’t know the Sinhala word for Diversification, A dude in the audience had to help her out with her Sinhala Oration.

    Here are some interesting facts about this Batalanada’s and Bodhi Sira constitution .

    Sinhala Catholic Bishop of Srilanka, where the church has over 90 percent Sinhala people, says don’t fiddle with the Religion in the Constitution.

    Malwatata Chapter Boss says to Sinhala Buddhists , “No worries Batalanada Ranil, his chief Dayakaya wouldn’t do it”.

    I can sort of understand Malwattau boss’s stance,

    Catholic Bishop has not only more followers but also the majority of them are battlers, unlike the Worshippers at Malwatta.

    That reminds me what Batalanada told the dignitaries in Colombo the other day.

    That is,” Rajapakasa by not implementing the 13 A after the war, created problems for not only Jaffna Tamils and SLMC Muslims but also Sinhalaese in Malwatta Chapter”.

    May be some knowledgeble Yahapalana sucker can elaborate on it.Because I never heard of Malwatta Sinhalese.

    In the mean time I am wondering how Suren Surendra who threatened to hang the Ex Prez Rajapaksa is now representing the Yahapalana Govt as a delegate of Batalanada Ranil .

    Has Suren Surendran renounced Federal Eelaam for the Jaffna Tamils which most in the PRC demand?

    Or has Surendran settled for a FEZ in the North covering 80 acres where the BTF dudes can put up a permenant Economic, Political and a sort of a Tiger Base for future needs of a greater Eelaam.

  • 0
    0

    It is not the Constitution which bring people together but the Willingness of the People to work together.Is the Tamil Community really committed to a United Srilanka?Have they given up the Idea of a Tamil Elam.Have they ever publicly announced such a Desire.In a small country such as Srilanka ultimate Success is achieved not by changes to the Constitution but by working together to achieve that Goal.But I am so sad to say the Tamil community aspirations are only to form a separate Identity and a separate State with the Connivance of the Global Tamil Forum assisted bu Indian Tamils.Let me be proven wrong

  • 2
    0

    For hard core Sri Lankan extremists depending on racial politics for a living, there is no other way if the Government dismantle the racial platform for winning elections. Great Countries of today took decades to build up trust and recognition. But it takes less than a day or two to destroy that recognition. For the world to have confidence in Sri Lanka, the leaders need to cooperate with International community. Now Sri Lanka is lucky UN is not taking the Country to task for the long time genocide committed on Tamils. Only in the event of avoiding honoring the pledge or riveting back to violence, UN may use all evidence available against Sri Lanka.
    When Sri Lanka got independence it was the envy of all other Countries in Asia. During that time and few years later the majority Sinhalese and Tamils together administered all Departments, Education, Plantation, Private companies, Banks, Army, Navy, Air force and Police without any racial harassment. Came independence, came competitive elections, came the anti Tamil phobia. Crazy politicians found it convenient to use racist platforms to win elections. Tamils depended on employment and the youth were education and employment centered. By the early 70s the Sinhalese majoritarian Governments formed by the racist politicians blocked Tamils from all their traditional way of life, even entering colleges were blocked for Tamil youth. All those escaped the successive genocide took refuge in their traditional home in the North and East.
    Even now after the new Governance cosigned the UNHRC agreement the superiority inherited by the Sinhalese by oppressing Tamils persists among them. All can see even 7 years after the war, they have no shame keeping the Tamils and the elected leaders under the Army and the Governor’s control even though there is a Provincial Council, it is suppressed by not allowing the elected members from administering their Province. There is supposed to be reconciliation with the minorities, but what is happening is antagonizing and oppressing just like it happened in the 70s. Who can help the self imposing superiors to love their own Country?

  • 1
    0

    Jahan is a gentlemanly person who doesn’t have a reluctance to appreciate what the others do. Unfortunately, I am not always of that inclination. Under the circumstances of time and financial constraints, there is no doubt that the PRC has done a great job. But what I cannot understand is the way the report is presented. The Report highlighted the most controversial issues (national flag, national anthem and religion) first. Even this was not the order in which people’s submissions were requested. Most damagingly, in my opinion, the members of the PRC gave divisive positions on the issues. For example, on the national flag, 6 members wanted to redesign, while 11 wanted to keep it as it is. This was the same in respect of the national anthem or Religion. On religion, there were 6 recommendations. Only 2 wanted to retain it (Article 9) as it is. 5 wanted clearly a Secular State. And again 10 wanted to reformulate, but in 4 different ways. Prior to the recommendations, of course there were ‘discussions’ about the views expressed by the people or the organizations. But when the divisive positions of the members predominate the recommendations, it is extremely difficult to figure what actually the recommendations or views of the people and their relative weight.

    This reminds me of what my son (brought up in Switzerland and Australia) told me once about Sri Lankan political discourses/discussions. When I was attending in fact a workshop on ‘constitutional reforms’ in 2000 or so, at a Beruwala Hotel, he suddenly visited to see me. Some of the present PRC members were also there. I took him to the cocktail reception after the sessions (abusive, no!). He was listening to our discussions ‘laughingly’ from the side. When I was annoyed and asked why? He said: “Thathi, you people don’t listen to each other’s views, but talk about your own views.” I apologetically said ‘it is because we are intoxicated’ (Api Beelane).

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

      I am all for it, if those NGO funded PRC demands give our Dalit kids in the South also a chance, at least just to go to Switzerland or Australia for a visit, leave alone getting an “up bringing ” there,,

      Now don’t please tell me Batalanda Ranil is working hard to get the ETCA going , along side the Secular Federal Eeelam for the Diaspora, to do exactly the same.

      [Edited out]

  • 0
    0

    Without trying to make the whole country federal and ungovernable why not think in terms of the Scottish devolution? Unfortunately, Dr Jayampathi Wickremaratne is not a fan of asymmetric power sharing. What has a constitution to do with sexual minorities? All successful constitutions lay out basic parameters of governance. Left-wing ideologues should not be entrusted with formulating constitutions. This will become a disaster and Sri Lanka will become ungovernable.

  • 0
    1

    I believe it is far too soon for a new constitution, given the state of flux of the current government, shall I say. Solve the problems under the existing constitution, I say, before going on to anything else.

    In 2020 we should be ready to go for a new constitution with 125 MPS and a few select ministries run by competent people.

    Why not a constitutional comittee to choose the ministers, for example to choose Hon Minister Harsha De Silva as Minister of Finance for example?

    Ban coalition governments.

  • 0
    0

    The new constitution should guarantee equal status for all ethnic groups that live in Sri Lanka as its citizen and equal status for all religions that are practiced by the Sri Lankan citizen. There shouldn’t be any foremost place for majority religion or majority race. All should be equal. This is the most fundamental thing that a constitution in a country with a multi-society should have. If this basic concept is not adopted in the new constitution, then what is the point in changing it?

  • 1
    0

    Bomb Bomb ,New Vanguard , time n tide waits for no man . bulldoze every obstacle and every obstructing oppressor and use your power now in hand do get the Federal system done once and for all .

    Let each State decide what kind of want to system to lay down ,what law is comfortable and suitable and what budget to manage their state .

    If a fair and proper budget is provided for each state and if the people are given fair share of power to question the politicians and equal economy sharing , they will know they will be held responsible too for any misappropriation.

    So this passing the bola game of Sri lanka can be put to an end once and for all . let the responsibility of building the nation be equally shared by the people and politicians and public servants .

  • 0
    0

    Although the war was won we lost the battle. On the surface things appear peaceful but there are burning embers underneath. Stoning the trains and destroying the statues are evidence. If the country is to go forward we have to find an acceptable solution to the ethnic problem. Come what may forgetting the next elections thinking only about the future generations the Govt. should go ahead and find a solution. 10000 years ago the world had only one country. The world. Now we have over 200 countries and geographical areas. The world is fragmenting whether we like it or not.

  • 0
    0

    Can we resolve the following problems with the new constitution? Has any member of the public is asking for a new constitution? Who has asked for a new constitution?

    1. Can our fellow citizens and women have a proper meal at the end of the hard working day? Can we get a better salary to meet the day-to-day demands of a family?
    2. Can we resolve the agricultural issues faced by the ordinary goiyya or appuhamy in the village? Can we get a better price for our rice, tea, rubber and coconut production?
    3. Can we resolve the crisis faced by the Sri Lankan society in the following basic human needs?
    Health-Can we get better health care facilities and medicine from government hospitals? Can we provide better education with public schools? Can we get the required resources for the Sri Lankan universities?
    4. Can we live in Sri Lanka without any fear of being robbed or murdered? Can we (Specially women) walk in a Sri Lankan road at night without any fear?
    5. Can we stop the forest degradation and environmental destructions with the new constitution?
    6. Can we stop sending or selecting the Village Rasthiyadu karayas to the Parliament and other councils?
    7. Can we stop sending our women to work as housemaids in other countries with the new constitution?
    8. Can we resolve the traffic jams in Colombo and other cities in Sri Lanka? Can we have a better road network with the new constitution?
    9. Can we increase our productivity with the new constitution?
    10. Can we increase our foreign exchange reserves with the new constitution?
    11. Can we catch the political thieves, who robs our resources and enjoy a luxury life in the name of democracy, and put them in a jail
    12. Can we catch the big business barons and “Jawaram Karayas” who do not pay proper taxes to the government? Can we increase our taxation revenue without putting the VAT burden on the ordinary working class people with the new constitution?

    I can list many more. However, none of these issues can be resolved with a new constitution. What we need is the better administration system. What we need is the better-educated visionary administrators to our parliament and local government councils. What we need is the capital or resources to upgrade our entire infrastructure systems and basic facilities such as health, education, law and order, roads etc.
    I do not want a complete new constitution in Sri Lanka. What I need is a constitutional amendments to fix the minor problems.
    This game of new constitution is an exercise of buying time and forget the major issues faced by Sri Lanka people.
    Can we eat the new constitution?

  • 0
    0

    Jehan Perera,

    Thanks for your article, but..

    On the issues such as federal or unitary, secularism or foremost place to Buddhism, Presidential system/West minister system, there is bound to be disagreement.

    The desirable outcome is an all-inclusive constitution.

    When we talk of inclusiveness, it encompasses all major communities, religious groups, political parties and civil society groups.

    What I have in mind is the possible role of even the Joint opposition and their supporters.

    Two third majority and victory at a referendum may be necessary, but not sufficient without the participation of JO

    If not the leaders of the joint opposition at least their supporters have to be won over.

    This is possible only through tireless efforts of every individuals and groups not to hold on to entrenched positions on any issue but be flexible enough to arrive at a consensus solution without compromising on their basic standpoint.

    Every community, political parties and civil right groups should be able to claim ownership of the new constitution should be final product.

    This is the challenge facing all well-meaning citizens of our country.

  • 1
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    Switzerland has genuine federalism.
    ———————————————-
    Because of a belief that individuals have a right to control information about their personal affairs, Switzerland has a strong human rights policy that protects financial privacy
    ——————————————————
    Switzerland has a positive form of multiculturalism with people living together peacefully notwithstanding different languages and different religions.
    ————————————————————————-
    Notwithstanding my admiration for Switzerland, I don’t plan on expatriating.
    ————————————————————————————
    I’m not rich and don’t particularly see how I will get rich anytime soon. Switzerland is not a cheap place to live

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