By Laksiri Fernando –
Following is the full interview given by the author to Rashmin Tirimanne De Silva which was published mostly in the Daily Mirror (28 November 2016).
Could you enlighten us on where exactly the constitution reform process of Sri Lanka stands at the moment?
Formally, we are at the middle of the second stage as the six Sub-Committees of the Constitutional Assembly have submitted their reports. Three main stages are anticipated in the constitution making process before proposals go to the Cabinet to become a Constitutional Bill to be presented to Parliament. There is no agreed time frame.
First stage was from January to May 2016 after the Cabinet appointed the Public Representation Committee (PRC) which went around the districts and gathered people’s opinions orally and in writing. Opinions were invited on 20 topics from anyone. That was commendable.
Then started the second stage or the Sub-Committee process based on the Framework Resolution approved by Parliament for the Constitutional Assembly on 9 March 2016. However, the Steering Committee is yet to submit its report to complete this stage. This is a difficult task as there are overlapping proposals and in fact some Sub-Committees have gone beyond their premises to very controversial terrain without necessary caution. It is also necessary, in my view, to allow some time for the citizens to express their views on the Sub-Committee reports before the Steering Committee drafts/submits its report. This will be a Draft Constitutional Proposal.
The third stage is the discussions, debates and proceedings in the Constitutional Assembly as a Committee of the whole Parliament. If the Steering Committee process goes well this would be smooth. All political parties in Parliament are represented in this 21-member Steering Committee. That is where we stand today.
Could you detail explicitly if, and if so, why the present political and social environment so conducive to implement such reforms?
There was a major political change in 2015. It’s potential still prevails although there are some disillusionments. For this change, the civil society and minority participation was exemplary. A President was elected in January 2015 who gave up all authoritarian powers willingly. The 19th Amendment was enacted for this purpose with 215 in favour, only one against, one abstaining and seven absent in 225-memebr Parliament. This was a good omen for an overall constitutional change.
Although the two main parties (the UNP and the SLFP) contested against each other at August 2015 Parliamentary elections, now they are in a ‘national unity’ government. This is the main conducive condition for a New Constitution. Recently, the ‘national unity’ government could muster a 2/3 majority for its Budget at the second reading. This is also a promising sign.
It is for the first time that a constitution making effort in Sri Lanka after independence has gone through a public consultation process. The Sub-Committee process is also extensive and the minority participation within it is also promising.
If you make a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), above are the strengths and opportunities. This does not mean that there are no weaknesses or threats. Those need to be identified and overcome. If I be brief, extremes should be avoided. Instead of too much idealism, political realism should guide the constitution making process. A new constitution must be approved by the people at a referendum. No room should be given to arouse unnecessary fears or doubts, without compromising principles.
The Constitution has been formally emended 19 times and it is our third constitution since we received independence. What does this say about our country?
It says that our country has been through a continuous ‘constitutional disequilibrium.’ At times, through a ‘dangerous disequilibrium.’ The situation after the 18th Amendment was the example for the latter. That is why we need a New Constitution. We were at the edge of losing democracy. This is also one reason why the constitution makers should be extremely careful and should take necessary time without rushing. On the other hand, unnecessary delays also might make a disaster like in August 2000.
Disequilibrium means the absence of harmony. Therefore, there should be harmony to have constitutional equilibrium. On one hand, harmony between people’s expectations/aspirations and the constitution. People expect security and protection personally, and collectively as a nation. People also expect justice and fairness. Therefore, those should be delivered by a New Constitution.
On the other hand, it also means harmony between various institutions within the constitutional system. The Legislature, Executive and Judiciary are the three main institutions at the apex level. There should be harmony between them, while absolutely respecting institutional independence of the judiciary. There are also the Centre (national government) and the Provincial Councils at the horizontal axis. There should be harmony between them as well.
Since constitutional affairs are governed by politics (and adversarial ones) it is too ideal to expect perfect harmony. Equilibrium here therefore means reasonable harmony within an acceptable range. Politics is often defined by power. But it should be for justice. If we move for the latter objective of justice, it wouldn’t be difficult to achieve ‘constitutional equilibrium’ both in theory and practice.
This proposed new ‘Constitution’ has been dubbed the ‘Constitution of the People’ with processes in place to obtain proposals from the public for the proposed constitutional reforms. How important is this?
All democratic constitutions are named ‘people’s constitutions.’ The reality may be different. There can always be a discrepancy between the ‘claim’ and the ‘reality.’ In the case of the ongoing constitution making process, there is however an admirable attempt to make truly a ‘people’s constitution.’ That is how the political legitimacy for the New Constitution could be generated. The role of the Public Representation Committee was outlined before.
Another necessary ingredient for a people’s constitution is lucidity. It should be written in plain language in Sinhalese, Tamil and English. It should be people friendly. People should be able to understand its vision, principles and even the provisions. This is yet to be seen. Sometimes, the drafters make the Sinhala or the Tamil versions more difficult than the English legal drafts. This should be avoided.
There were some discussions in 1972 for the First Republican Constitution. It was well written. However, the atmosphere was not conducive after the 1971 insurrection. Minority participation also was absent. The Second Republican Constitution of 1978 was mainly an elitist product.
The present constitution making process is different. I have never seen an extensive public discussion or debate in the media on constitutional matters such as the present, previously. The Daily Mirror’s efforts are one example. Perhaps it needs to be further strengthened. University communities should be brought into the process extensively. The civil society organizations, trade unions, business organizations, professionals, the seniors, women and youth should take an active part. Then there can truly be a ‘people’s constitution.’ However, some technical matters should be left to the experts.
In light of questionable and controversial “popular, democratic” decisions in the American elections and ‘Brexit’, how can one still defend public participation in governance. Are these instances where Hobbesian ideas of Governance should exist? Or is this the flip side of an absolute form of democracy that no one likes to see?
I think all democratic election outcomes should be respected, except those are completely rigged or forced. That is the way to correct any deviations or flip sides. Therefore, the Hobbesian idea of governance should not prevail. Just because we dislike an outcome, the popular verdict should not be denounced. It is very subjective. In 1934, Hitler forced the referendum outcome through armed groups. Thereafter, referendums were rigged. No such a thing at Brexit or American presidential elections. The discrepancy between the ‘popular majority’ and the electoral college majority in America was because of the electoral system. Electoral systems are not perfect. Those should be improved when defects are detected. This applies more to Sri Lanka in the present constitutional reform.
There are ups and downs in any democratic system. Lesson of Brexit or American election is about how to avoid extremes. If you go to one extreme, the other side might go to the other extreme. The best path is the Middle Path. Even in the present constitutional making process that should be the approach.
If your question is about the required referendum to finally approve a New Constitution, there shouldn’t be any undue apprehensions due to Brexit or American elections. However, the new draft should not go to the extremes of ‘David Cameron’ or ‘Hilary Clinton.’ I am speaking metaphorically.
Reforms focusing on several areas such as the role of the provincial Governor, and the fiscal, administrative, land and police powers of the provincial councils have been proposed. Do you think such reforms will solve issues in the North? If not what reforms would better solve reconciliation efforts?
As far as I am aware, there are no final proposals regarding the provincial Governor, land or police powers. I understand that the Sub-Committee on Centre-Periphery Relations has gone little too far from their tasks. The powers of the provincial Governor were in their initial subject areas. In addition, they have considered land and police powers and concurrent list/reserved list etc. It is not a major issue if they had enough time for a proper discussion. As the Report says, “We have rushed through this report due to time constraints.” I believe the Steering Committee might be able to correct the situation.
The following are my present views on those matters. The Governor should represent the President. Although we are moving for a parliamentary system, the President can be elected nationally like in Ireland. The President’s executive tasks should be limited to ‘national security’ and ‘national reconciliation.’ Other tasks should be ceremonial. The Governor’s tasks also should be related to ‘national security’ and ‘national reconciliation.’ All others should be ceremonial. This means the reduction of all other powers from the present provincial Governor.
We must understand that the people in the North have a great sense of freedom. This should be respected and accommodated as much as possible. They should be free from external control. But they should abide by the constitution. With freedom also comes responsibility. My conception to resolve the issues in the North is ‘cooperative devolution.’ We should reduce and rename the ‘concurrent list’ as ‘cooperative list.’ This means the tasks that the Centre and the Provincial Councils should undertake cooperatively.
In my view, land and police powers could be cooperative tasks. Balanced regional development is another way of resolving the issues in the North as well as in other rural provinces (i.e. North Central, East, Uva etc.). Balanced regional development also should be a cooperative task. Many others could be given to the provinces. The Centre should not hesitate to give. As much as they give, they can perform their tasks better nationally. This is better for the country, its development and for the people. The devolution is like division of labour. It improves efficiency and productivity.
Is Sri Lanka a secular state? If so how do we interpret Article 9 in the present Constitution and how should this be addressed in the reform process?
It is difficult to say Sri Lanka is a secular state. Article 9 accords foremost place for Buddhism and mentions ‘all other religions.’ It also assures all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14 (1) (e). There is a balance. I would prefer completely a secular state where religion is considered a private matter. Under the prevailing circumstances however, the best might be to strengthen the balance between the ‘foremost place for Buddhism’ and the ‘equal rights of other religions.’ One way to do so is to qualify what it means by the ‘foremost place,’ and explicitly state that this is accorded ‘without any discrimination’ to other religions. I don’t think it is good to generate a major controversy over this issue. We have enough controversies.
What sort of effect will the Geneva Resolution have on this process and the idea of Human Rights in general?
I don’t think the Geneva Resolution has much bearing on the constitution making process. We have been striving for a New Constitution since 1994. I have not seen any Sub-Committee making any reference to that Resolution. Instead, the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms has taken inspirations from several new constitutions in the world (South Africa, East Timor, Nepal, Ecuador, Bolivia, Kenya etc.).
It is important that the New Constitution anchor its philosophy on democracy and human rights. A great new effort is placed on recognizing and implementing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This effort goes beyond the present fundamental rights chapter of the 1978 Constitution. There is no recognition of these rights in the present constitution. This is beneficial for the ordinary masses. This is what we should emphasize when we go for the referendum. Cultural rights also mean minority rights and group rights. Apart from devolution, a new vision for ‘fundamental human rights and freedoms’ should be geared for national reconciliation. Our conception of human rights is also with human responsibilities.
Many new constitutions emphasize these responsibilities. Ecuador constitution has an interesting phrase: Ama killa, Ama llulla, Ama Shwa. This phrase is traditional to indigenous as well as settler communities. This means ‘don’t be lazy, don’t lie, don’t steal.” It reminds us some of our religious precepts. There is a philosophy of responsibilities along with rights and freedoms. One is not conditional on the other, but goes alongside.
In your personal opinion, what are some key areas of reform?
I think I have already underlined some. To some up, key structural areas are: (1) Devolution or centre-periphery relations also giving emphasis on local government. (2) Reforming the electoral system to make it more democratic and people friendly. Old parliamentary seat system (under FPP) within an overall proportional representation (PR) is possible. (3) Changing the executive presidential system to a parliamentary system. However, keeping a useful role for an elected President is desirable.
Then there should be a clear vision for a plural democratic system, recognizing the multicultural nature of the society in an operational Preamble. It is interesting note that Bolivia calls it a ‘plurinational state’ considering various ‘nations’ in the country. I am not at all advocating it. The state can be unitary with [extensive] devolution. But in a constitution, adjectives [extensive] are not usually used. We have already discussed fundamental rights and freedoms. I wish, if it is called ‘fundamental human rights’ with an emphasis on ‘human rights’ aspect. It is educational and comes closer to the universal norms.
Language rights or issues should be clearly fixed. I wish all three languages (Sinhalese, Tamil and English) be official languages. There should be a ‘language revolution’ in Sri Lanka in strengthening trilingual competence of all citizens, particularly the youth. This is possible under the present-day technology. There should be a special place always for Sinhala and Tamil as national (indigenous) languages.
Independence of the judiciary should be strengthened and ensured. The Present chapter on Public Service is appallingly poor. It should be revised to strengthen professionalism, integrity and independence. Finance is another area which requires reform. Fiscal devolution is also necessary. There should be a new chapter on External Affairs. This is lacking at present. There should be a Code of Ethics for MPs as a Schedule to the New Constitution.
*Former Senior Professor in Political Science and Public Policy, University of Colombo, Laksiri Fernando has newly authored ‘Issues in New Constitution Making in Sri Lanka: Towards Ethnic Reconciliation,’ available at Lake House Bookshop, Liberty Plaza.
Ajith / November 28, 2016
There is no middle path. It should be “correct” or “appropriate” path.
Kumar / November 28, 2016
The President says, as a Buddhist he will make sure that Buddhism is given the foremost place/first class status in the constitution. Sri Lanka is a multi-racial/religious society where the President (irrespective of his own religion/race) is elected by all Sri Lankans to represent all the Sri Lankans regardless of race/religion. How can a President who represents a multi-racial/religious society/country say in public that, since he is a Buddhist he will make sure to give Buddhism the first class/foremost status?
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / November 29, 2016
Tamils want to live in Srilanka as first class citizens in dignity and safety in their lands of historic habitation ruling themselves without any interference by Sinhalese. This can be easily achieved without dividing Srilanka and if you are honest, please advocate it. The powers devolved must be substantial and effective, and none of your suggestions come anywhere close to it. Territory should be demarcated encompassing all areas where Tamils had lived prior to independence some of which had been ethnically cleansed of Tamils, over which you are silent. Full police and land powers are essential for Tamils to correct the injustices done to them by successive governments since independence. No Sinhala government will ever hand back lands appropriated by Sinhalese from Tamils. No Sinhala government will ever bring to justice any Sinhalese who had committed atrocities on Tamils. Tamils need full autonomy to live in safety and dignity achieving justice, which I feel could come about only by international intervention.
soma / November 29, 2016
“All the Buddhists are running amok fomenting hatred and inciting the Sinhala Buddhists to kill Tamils and Muslims”
Convey this this message to Tamil children living in Sinhala areas so that they can plan to move into North?east or migrate to India.
soma / November 29, 2016
The ‘national problem’ for the Sinhalese is more than 50% of Tamils living in Sinhala areas. In case a separate area is identified for Tamils(tail speaking people) Sinhalese want all the Tamils to be relocated there. You are turning a blind eye to this pestering problem and talk only about people in the North and East.
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / November 30, 2016
You are a confirmed racist who cannot understand any intellectual arguments. 90% of Tamils living among Sinhalese are Tamils of recent Indian origin and not indigenous Tamils trans-located from North and East. Srilanka had tried for the past 60 years to get rid of them but has miserably failed. You cannot drive the Tamils working in plantation out because Sinhalese will never work in those harsh conditions and the industry which had been one of the main foreign exchange earner will collapse. If the administrative and economic centers are shifted by proper devolution, then Tamils in public service will move out and Businessmen will establish their head quarters in north and east. If several Tamils due to atrocities by Sinhalese can settle down in foreign countries, I do not think that Tamils who want to live in dignity and safety will not hesitate to move to Tamil areas. Please be warned that if you dare to touch Tamils anymore, you will get the repercussions.
soma / November 30, 2016
I do not believe that a single Tamil will leave south and move north. Two years after the war I asked my Wellawatta Tamil friend if any body has moved out. He said none Machang Even his brother in London is looking for an apartment in Colombo. In fact this is precisely the outcome I wish to see. For there lies the proof that Tamils are discriminated is the biggest lie on earth.
Tamils are Tamil speaking people to us. We can’t be bothered about your caste, religion and date of arrival differences among you for seeking ‘political solutions’ to each sub group.
Federalism is the greatest conspiracy to permanently occupy the South.
Campaigning for a single country where all those who presently inhabit the island are absolutely equal in all respects wth the freedom to live anywhere and exposing hypocrisy and devious manipulations of Tamil racists is NOT racism.
Dr. Rajasingham Narendran / December 1, 2016
Provoke a riot and see the results. Cut your nose to spite your face!
All the Tamils from the north and East, in the south, can be transported by bus, train and ships back to the north and east, never to return. Probably the hill country Tamils will go there too, as many did after the 1977 riots.
Your much cherished dream will come true, but the consequences to Sri Lanka will be a nightmare you have not even seen in your sleep. Will you be agreeable to granting Tamil Eelam then, as propmised many a time in your comments?
The currently unfolding events point to the possibility-for a riot of one sort or other- the likes of Gnanasara and Sumanaratne, and remnants of the LTTE also want one- unless the ruling duo act, without prevaricating.
How idiotic can you be?
Native Vedda / November 30, 2016
Why can’t you just accept you being a racist (ජාතිවාදී)and a ghetto builder cannot see beyond your nose.
soma / November 30, 2016
I can understand your desire to have a separate area in the North for yourself but your desire to occupy the south AT THE SAME TIME is a devilish conspiracy against the Sinhalese.
Campaigning for an undivided single country where all present inhabitants of this island are absolutely equal in all respects with the right to live anywhere and striving to expose stinking hypocrisy and devious agendas of Tamil racists is NOT racism!
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / December 1, 2016
It is not a devilish conspiracy, but a defensive reaction! The Tamils want to have a secure place to run to , when faced with another riot. The once bitten twice shy syndrome! The Tamils are beginning to feel acutely insecure again.
Yes, they come South to seek livelihood and the comforts of modern life. They also know they have to live with feelings of insecurity. Make Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mannar, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, mini Colombos and Kandys, and see what happens.
How many educated , middle and upper class Sinhalese will voluntarily opt to live In the north or east? The Tamils are giving employment today to skilled Sinhala craftsmen and technicians, and they admire their skills, attitudes and quality of work. No one in the north or east will object to their permanent residence there. However, most Sinhalese will not opt to do so, because of lack of facilities and comforts they aspire to.
However, I too will object to State sponsored or instigated Sinhala Colonization of the north and east. I will also object to State sponsored/instigated Tamil colonization in the South.
I sure understand the sinister game plan that has been ubderway for decades, backed by the likes of you, to make Sri Lanka a Sinhala and Buddhist only State-through violence, distortion , attrition, discrimination, coercion,fabrication, absorption and conversion.
I love Sri Lanka as an undivided and peaceful entity, but I want to live on my own terms as a Tamil, who can continue to keep his identity in terms of language, culture, beliefs and roots.
Live and let live.
soma / December 2, 2016
“The Tamils want to have a secure place to run to , when faced with another riot.”
Sinhalese can’t even think of a secure place to run to when faced with Ealam War V. A common reaction among the Sinhalese is ” Api muhudata bahinnada?” – of course “The once bitten twice shy syndrome”. At the time the ‘sole representatives’ were running their administrating in the North the only desire of a Tamil mother was to send the children to Colombo to save them from forceful recruitment by the ‘liberation army’. (These children would then fly through Katunayake without any hindrance and claim refugee status of a western country accusing the government army of torturing them!)
“The Tamils are beginning to feel acutely insecure again.”
Sure. Sinhalese too, at a deeper level. The reason why yahapalana guys are now hesitating to reduce the army presence. This new phase was kicked off by Wingeswaarn declaring “Prabakaran was a hero'”, passing a resolution that Sinnhalese carried out ‘genocide’ against the Tamils and liaising with diaspora who are hyper active courting Western support to divide the country. Emboldened, Jafna people are now openly celebrating the biggest event in the LTTE calender. Tamil political class thrive on making sure that Tamils are on pins all the time. Right or wrong the Sinhalese now feel that they are now faced with two Tamil fronts who are divided among themselves. Hindu/Christian front and the Islamic Front. They fear that a third front from the central hills will emerge once two federal units in the North and East are established.
“Yes, they come South to seek livelihood and the comforts of modern life.”
They are welcome.They are our brothers and sisters. It is their fundamental right to live anywhere, not charity courtesy the Sinhalese. as far as I am concerned they are the mainstay against the Ealam agenda. They give the lie to the argument Sinhalee are discriminatory, genocidal etc.etc. Beneath anti Sinhala propaganda they know that they
can live with the Sinhalese peacefully.
“They also know they have to live with feelings of insecurity.”
Regrettably yes so long as their own racist politicians speak using Vadukodai vocabulary and make Sinhalese feel insecure.
“I sure understand the sinister game plan that has been ubderway for decades, backed by the likes of you, to make Sri Lanka a Sinhala and Buddhist only State-through violence, distortion , attrition, discrimination, coercion,fabrication, absorption and conversion.”
If so how is that their only ambition is to live in the south.
Please take initiative in launching a campaign to educate Tamil speaking people living in the South on this aspect of the Sinhalese. The day you appear to be successful and Tamils start heading towards North will be the proof of these accusations. Your agenda is for 50% to occupy South and while the other 50% occupy the North.
“I love Sri Lanka as an undivided and peaceful entity, but I want to live on my own terms as a Tamil, who can continue to keep his identity in terms of language, culture, beliefs and roots”
Know any Tamil who lost his/her Tamilness? How can this happen in this world of instant communication and Tamil Nadu is just 20km away?
“Live and let live”
Yes, within one undivided Sri Lanka free from ethnic and religious enclaves.
Amarasiri / November 28, 2016
Dr. Laksiri Fernando
“It is difficult to say Sri Lanka is a secular state. Article 9 accords foremost place for Buddhism and mentions ‘all other religions.’ It also assures all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14 (1) (e). There is a balance. I would prefer completely a secular state where religion is considered a private matter. Under the prevailing circumstances however, the best might be to strengthen the balance between the ‘foremost place for Buddhism’ and the ‘equal rights of other religions.’ One way to do so is to qualify what it means by the ‘foremost place,’ and explicitly state that this is accorded ‘without any discrimination’ to other religions. I don’t think it is good to generate a major controversy over this issue. We have enough controversies.”
It has to be secular. A Constitutions should NOT be based on UNPROVEN MYTHS.
Why give Foremost Place to Buddhism, when the “Buddhism” practices in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho by the Para-Sinhala-Para”Buddhist” is not even Pristine Buddhism?
No Foremost Place for Myths, whether it is Para-Sinhala “Buddhism”, Para-Tamil “Hinduism”. Para -Muslim “Islam” or Para-Christianity.
Sinhala “Buddhism” is an insult to Pristine Buddhism.
Sinhala “Buddhism”, based on Marawamsa, is an insult to Buddha.
Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha! By Sharmini Serasinghe
Caution- The following is more suitable for the broad-minded and the wise. Others are kindly advised to pass!
Wonder if ours might have been a wiser, and a more ‘humane’ society, had our ‘ancient’ history, been based on Aesop’s Fables, instead of the Mahavamsa. For if not for the Mahavamsa, the Sinhalese may not have been endowed, with the reputation, of “Sinhalaya Modaya (The Sinhalese are Fools)”!
(The Average IQ is 79)
Dr Laksiri Fernando / December 2, 2016
The following quotation is from ‘Hinduism A Primer’ http://hinduismprimer.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/middle-path-moderation.html
“Truth usually lies in the middle. As long as we are functioning and seeing one extreme or the other, we have not touched on truth. Functioning away from extremes, functioning with harmony with both extremes is the middle path. This also called sama-darsana, samyak darshana. The person who attains this state is called Stita Prajna. This state is described well in 2nd chapter of Bhagavad Gita.”
S.Modaya / November 28, 2016
Hey Prof. The problem is not with the Constitution as such; it is with the corrupt and criminal POLITICIANS and POLITICAL CULTURE in Sri Lanka.
Even the most perfect New Constitution will be useless in the Miracle of Modayas, as long as the Corrupt politicians continue to run the country with a Culture of Impunity and Immunity for their Financial Crimes and Hate Crimes.
Dinuk / November 28, 2016
Quite right SM!
This Constitution making operation is for the US and international Community and to Distract the people from the real problem and root cause.
The root cause of the war in Sri Lanka is corrupt politicians who use Hate speech to delude the people and get votes while distract masses from their (politicians’) corruption.
KA Sumanasekera / November 28, 2016
A bit confusing Isn’t it?..
Prez Bodhi sira wants to demolish himself.
PM Batalnda Ranil wants to do it himself.
Now PM Batalnada’s mate Malwatta Chief says the Prez must be demolished with in five years.
Bodhi Sira’s hired hand, Siripala says no way Batalanada and his TNA mates can expunge Buddhism from the Constitution.
He also says no Federal thing either..
Will Batalanada Ranil call a snap Election , because no way he can have a referendum and get the poor great majority to tick it off as cool.
Or will Bodhi Sira demolish Batalanada Ranil and put UNP Wije as the PM?
Smart money will say the latter is a winner,Because Wije has no baggage.unlike Batalanada Ranil.
And he has some compatibility with our Baiiya population. unlike the Car Permit traders in the UNP hierarchy..
And Buddhism will be safe under him.
And Wije got a double barrel as lethal as Dirty Harry’s Magnum.
Native Vedda / November 28, 2016
KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera
“Prez Bodhi sira wants to demolish himself. PM Batalnda Ranil wants to do it himself.”
Maybe they believe they ought to be the candle of the nation.
“Bodhi Sira’s hired hand, Siripala says no way Batalanada and his TNA mates can expunge Buddhism from the Constitution.”
Why waste time, when the Sinhala/Buddhists have already done a very good demolition job on Buddhism and Sinhalese.
KA Sumanasekera / November 29, 2016
Your Y PM, Batalanada Ranil’s vision and mission is to introduce Anglican Buddhism.
And he has given the assignment to his mate Malwatta boss to do it.
So his Mddle Classes can live happily in the Federal Megapolis.
Because he and his followers hate Mahavamsa Version.
Batalanda said the other day that he wants to increase the Middle Class and enrich them..How cool.
70 percent of the population who are the rural poor have nothing in common with the Malwatta ,
Nor do they have anything to do with him, except travel long distances and put their hard earned little money in to Malwatta coffers.
The main game here is to give the LTTE supporters , their followers and well wishers the Eelaam with all Federal goodies.
Is this new Constitution going to stop the crooks, , the rogues, car permit traders, and numerous other undesirables who are in Kotte now, out of Politics?.
Native Vedda / November 29, 2016
KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera
“Your Y PM, Batalanada Ranil’s vision and mission is to introduce Anglican Buddhism.”
Whatever you have now and practice is Sinhala/Buddhism. All/any changes to Mahawamsa Sinhala/Buddhism should be welcome. However Prof Gananath Obeysekere describes it as Protestant Buddhism. Isn’t it political religion for the urban middle class and petite bourgeoisie?
Where is the pristine form of teachings the awakened one taught to his followers?
“The main game here is to give the LTTE supporters , their followers and well wishers the Eelaam with all Federal goodies.”
Has RW obtained authorisation from Hindians to give LTTE supporters Eelam?
Whats wrong with Federal Goodies? Up until now those who controlled central power exclusively made money out of misery. Let us devolve power and redistribute corrupt power, income, capital accumulation, and make regional leaders wealthy.
KA Sumanasekera / November 30, 2016
It make sense mate..
Why not?..I mean that 5 Billion for just FIL & SIL is a crime Isn’t it?
just imagine all 9 CMs ( or Premiers ) sharing it among their relos and mates.
That is LKR 5000 Million divided by nine . Wonder how much each..
What ever, it is a heck of a lot.. Isn’t it?..
Fathima Fukushima / November 28, 2016
What is in it for Muslims?
Nothing? Then why should Muslims support it?
Paul / November 28, 2016
Why should there be something ‘in it’ for them? Are they looking to make a profit? This attitude is one of the fundamental problems – All people (not only Muslims) looking to see what they can gain out of any situation. Why can’t they put the well being of the nation before their own selfish interests?
Fathima Fukushima / November 28, 2016
If it is the well being of the nation, then the existing constitution is more than enough. There is no need for amendments.
This is not about the nation’s well being. It is about Tamil Nadu people’s interests in SL. And they want others to support it! Madness!
Amarasiri / November 29, 2016
“What is in it for Muslims?”
What is in it for the Native Veddah Aethho, in their own Land, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, occupied by the the Paras, par-Sinhala, para-Tamils, Para-Muslims, Para-Portuguese etc, following Para Myths. Para-Buddhism, Para-Hinduism, Para-Jainism, Para-Islam, Para-Christianity, etc.
So, it is all about what is in it for Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists” only.
Paras, Paradeshis, are the curse of the Land of Native Veddah Aethho and the greatest environmental disaster to befall the Sacred Land.
What About the Original Natives, Native Veddah Aethho? It is their Land. They Came 25,000 Years ago, before any Parasdeshis came. Who is speaking for the Veddah Aethho?
The Vedda Tribe
Slayer / November 29, 2016
One missing among all ‘Para-‘s there. PARA-Marasiri.
21st Century homo sapien / November 28, 2016
There is no middle path to a secular-state. Even if you give equal status to all religions in the constitution, as you seem to suggest, it would NOT make it Secular. Secular is “NOT having any connection with RELIGION (any Religion).
It is like been pregnant. Either you are pregnant or not pregnant – there is no middle path.
Having a Religion or not having a religion is a private matter for individuals. Each and every one of us citizens will decide for ourselves. No government should try to force or influence any citizen to belong to a religion or not belong to a religion. It is not acceptable to have any other view (even as you say ‘Under the prevailing circumstances’) to define a Secular state. If you do that you can call it anything else, but DO NOT call it Secular.
Also you have not addressed the other part of article 9 : “it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana”. Your suggestion for this please? Keep in mind that if the Buddha Sasana or any other religion or Sasana is granted protection or fostering by the state, it would curtail the rights of others and deny them the rights guaranteed by article 10 and 14. Again, there is NO “middle path” here.
After all, just as you say we don’t want another new constitution that would need to be amended 19 times. We need to GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME (as much as possible). We DO NOT want half baked ideas like we had in our previous ones.
It is time to bite the bullet and make some hard decisions.
soma / November 28, 2016
Dear Dr. L.F.
On this 2/3 in the Parliament whom are they trying to fool? Themselves or us? Can these guys tell us what difference is there in the methodology adopted by Mahinda Rajapaksha for his 18th amendment and presently being adopted by Ranil Wickramasinge for his desired outcome? This kind of crocked subterfuges are not applicable for a supposedly lasting document like a constitution for a country – may be ok for the annual budget. People are too well aware of this vote buying process in the Parliament.
Unless a kind of ‘conscience voting’ process is adopted this constitution will remain INVALID. These guys are going to leave us a constitution which people will not respect. This is dangerous.
(Is S.B. Disanayake’s vote morally valid?)
Could you kindly comment Dr.Laksiri?
Gon somapala / November 29, 2016
“Could you kindly comment Dr.Laksiri?”
Dr.Laksiri Never responds to stupid questions from stupid morons.
soma / November 29, 2016
Gon, can you comment on the 2/3 strategy?
Burning Issue / November 29, 2016
You are intellectually dishonest! implicit in your arguments that your subscribe to the theory that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhala Buddhists only and no one else should be allowed to govern! You can deny this but it is in fact your platform. You base your arguments on Tamil people live in the south and at the same time they want Eelam! This is a smokescreen and everyone with an iota of sense will know it so does DR LF!
You equate MR’s comical enactment of 18th Amendment to the current constitution building; this shows that you lost your ability to rationalise! The current government adopted a consultative process of designing a constitution and once passed by the parliament, it will be put to the people to vote on. Is this something you cannot comprehend? You do not see the vast gulf between the approaches by MR and the current government; are you being serious? I told you to grow up before but you have become totally insufferable indeed.
Native Vedda / November 30, 2016
somass wants to build a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto. What else do you expect from him/her? He/she also wants to convert Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims and Christians into Sinhala/Buddhism.
Never expect intellectual honesty from a Sinhala/Buddhist.
Sinhala/Buddhists cannot live in peace. They thrive on perpetual conflict, if non exist they know how to start one.
soma / November 30, 2016
You have got your wires crossed. What I mean is there is no diffrence in the way MR maintained 2/3 in the Parliament with a totally excessive 90+ ministerial positions with all kinds of material benefits and privileges and the implicit promise of evading corruption charges and the the way this govt is maintaining 2/3 is the same (totally excessive 90+ ministerial positions with all kinds of material benefits and privileges and implicit promise of evading corruption charges). He at least dis not not twist constitution as it stood at the time. With the 19th amendment present constitution implies that 30 ( sorry 40?) Ministries are sufficient for functional purposes.
Tell me again how does this argument imply that Sri Lanka belongs Sinhala Buddhists? Are you mad?
Unless a kind of ‘conscience voting’ process is adopted this constitution will remain INVALID. These guys are going to leave us a constitution which people will not respect in view of the crooked process adopted to obtain 2/3 majority in the parliament. This is dangerous. Actually 2/3 of the people must concur – 50% + one vote more is not enough.
Burning Issue / November 30, 2016
“Tell me again how does this argument imply that Sri Lanka belongs Sinhala Buddhists? Are you mad?”
What is the rational for devolving power? You see around world where many countries have voluntarily changed their constitutions in order to recognise diversity and fairness. This is the way to advance democratic institutions. Sri Lanka is doing the same thing; why are so much against it?
Do you have comprehension deficiency? You by denying the Tamils the right to a share of the power; by doing so, you are ensuring that the power rests wholly with the majority; is this so hard for you comprehend? The Sinhala Buddhist chauvinistic argument is that, the head of state, be it a president or prime minister, must be a Sinhala Buddhist. We have heard so much rubbish like this from many people like you. The difference is that you mask your bigotry by hiding behind your illogical standpoint!
The last general election had mandated the present government to endeavour a constitution that will eschew the presidential system and at the same will resolve the Tamil question. The election was won on this premiss. The national government was also mandated by the people. Hence, the constitution building is democratic and congruous with the electoral mandate obtained at the elections. What is your problem?
soma / December 2, 2016
Aiyo B.I. what is happening? I am talking about 2/3 in the Parliament.
Yanne koheda? Malle pol.
Burning Issue / December 3, 2016
Aiyo, Aiyo this is exactly what I wanted to exclaim every time I talk to you. Yes, 2/3 in Parliament is required to pass the constitution and then it is put to the people. If you were to question the 2/3 majority as a result of national government, it is in the interest of the country and reconciliation as opposed to personal gain as far as MR was concerned! Get real soma!
Dr Laksiri Fernando / November 29, 2016
A new constitution must go before the people for a referendum. Therefore, whatever the weaknesses in Parliament, those might be overcome. People have the final say.
I opposed the 18th Amendment not merely because of the way it was passed, but because of its devious objective. I would take my position on a new constitution based on its contents. I am not satisfied like you the way the Members of Parliament are elected or appointed or the way they vote in Parliament. One way of rectifying the situation is to change the electoral system. That is another reason why we need a new constitution. I am not saying that all ills could be rectified with a new constitution. But it could be a new beginning.
soma / November 30, 2016
Thank you Dr.L.S.. You are admitting that you are not satisfied the way MPs are voting in the Parliament but seem to fight shy to express explicitly that the way 2/3 is garnered is a downright sham and a fraud. Who are we trying to fool I am asking again. Definitely not the people of this country who see this gimik as clear as daylight. Now Sir, this is a CONSTITUTION and and not a bill for a pay hike for MPs. Do you honestly believe that your children will respect this constitution knowing the way it was passed.
Let us not beat about the bush. Let us call spade a spade.
Sir, I am not a political scientist. Is there a way to obtain a kind of ‘conscience vote’ in the Parliament? Hope you understand what I mean.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / December 1, 2016
Your ‘thank you’ apart, you are completely mistaken to play with what I have said using words such as ‘admitting’ and being ‘shy’.
If you don’t know me well, ask your MAHINDAYA.
soma / December 2, 2016
MAHINDAYA maintained 2/3 in the parliament by creating 90+ ministries and Ranil Sira combo is maintaining 2/3 in the parliament by creating 90+ ministries. This vote buying process involves showering with material benefits, VVIP privileges and freedom from corruption charges .
PEOPLE ARE ALL TOO AWARE OF THIS CORRUPT PRACTICE – IT IS TOO OBVIOUS.
It is strange that a man of your calibre doesn’t want to admit it and worse, got on to the bandwagon attempting to fool the people.
As such a CONSTITUTION passed with the present 2/3 majority will not earn the respect of people and will remain INVALID in spirit.
At the beginning JR thought his constitution is cast in stone and his is the last 2/3 but Mahinda aiya proved that 2/3 in the parliament is the easiest jugglery. The present guys have done it even while the Constitution amended by they themselves says that 30 ministries are sufficient for functional purposes! How clever.
Tamodaya / November 28, 2016
This is all about South Indians and Tamilian diaspora. Why should SL have a constitution they want?
This is a joke of a CON-stitution.
Even Tamils are opposed to the middle path approach. Who are we trying to fool? After all everyone will reject this. It will be a neither here nor there joke of a CON-stitution.
Adrian / November 28, 2016
“The Legislature, Executive and Judiciary are the three main institutions at the apex level. There should be harmony between them, while absolutely respecting institutional independence of the judiciary.”
How can we expect harmony with rogues sitting in the legislature? There is bond scam allegedly masterminded by PM, Duty free vehicles and pay hikes as bribes, AG allegedly working to PM’s times, Justice being a mockery… How can the country expect a decent constitution from them?
However there is one option. Reduce the managing powers of the legislature and vest it in the new ‘Regulatory Authority’ to manage all govt. institutions which the politicians cannot influence or control. Let the constitution then have four apex levels by which we can purify the legislature of all the ‘germs’ and diseases.
Sri -Krish / November 28, 2016
Dr Laksiri Fernando,
This is an academic exercise.
I wish to concentrate only on one matter in your article ie renaming concurrent list as cooperative list as you base your argument innocently on erroneous interpretation of 13A.
I refer to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka .This amendment refers to Ninth Schedule and this Ninth Schedule mentions three lists.
List 1- Provincial l List
List 2- Reserve List
List 3 – Concurrent List
Any reference to the Ninth Schedule and the three lists are only in article 154 R and which elaborate how the Center and the Provincial Councils exercise legislative powers.
The center exercises exclusive legislative power in respect of Reserve list whereas both the Provincial Council and the center could exercise legislative power in respect of Provincial List and the Concurrent List under certain circumstances.
A careful reading of 154R reveals that the power and or authority in respect of concurrent subjects are not shared between the cent re and the Provincial Councils at the same time.
The center could pass legislation in respect of any subject in the concurrent list after consultation with the provincial Council.
Similarly The Provincial Council also could pass statutes in respect of subjects in the Concurrent list after consultation with the center.
If the Provincial Council does not pass any statute then the subjects in the Concurrent list will remain with the center.
If the Provincial Council pass any statute in respect of any subject in the Concurrent List then the power rests with the Provincial Council to the extent of the Statute.
It is noteworthy to mention that only “Wayamba” Provincial Council had passed any statute in respect of a subject in the Concurrent list -environment issues.
The powers are not concurrently exercised by the Center and the provincial Councils in respect of any subjects in the Concurrent List. The word concurrent is misunderstood.
It refers to concurrent legislative powers and nothing else and hence renaming concurrent list as cooperative list is a mistake and irrelevant.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / November 29, 2016
I believe you refer to 154 G and more particularly to 154 G (5) and not to 154 R as you have stated. We all make mistakes in the rush!
On the other hand, it is also possible my brief reference on ‘cooperative devolution’ is inadequate and as it has happened could lead to misunderstanding. This was an Interview. When I said “we should reduce the concurrent list,” I refer to the Ninth Schedule and not to the provisions in 154 G. I maintain this position (reducing the list) in contrast to the proposal to do away with a concurrent list altogether. I don’t think surgical devolution is possible and advisable. When I propose to “rename the concurrent list as cooperative list” I am again referring mainly to the List and not to the operational provisions. However, this reference not merely about a list but about a new concept: Cooperative Devolution.
Lists are about respective powers and functions of the Centre and the Provincial Councils. Of course, to use these powers and functions there should be laws or statutes, in the present case (under the 13th Amendment) and particularly in the case of the provincial councils. You are very much concerned about that aspect. Perhaps you must be a lawyer!
But in redesigning devolution, I begin from the division of powers and functions. And instead of Concurrent List I, propose a Cooperative List.
List 1: Provincial List
List 2: Reserved List
List 3: Cooperative List
It is not just a new name I am proposing, but a new (or not so new!) concept. The meaning also there in the 13th Amendment nebulously, but designed extremely in a legalistic manner in 154 G. A constitution is not just law, but the fundamental law in a country. It should focus more on legal concepts than or before legal provisions. You are right, in a sense, the 13th Amendment does not explain what the hell this ‘concurrent’ means. Therefore, you go to the operational provisions to gather a meaning. My proposal for a ‘cooperative list’ does not emerge from the ‘concurrent list’ but coincides with it. My proposal emerges from the larger concept of cooperative devolution and also linked to shared responsibility. Why do I propose to ‘reduce’ that list? Particularly under the given circumstances, there is some resistance or understandable reluctance.
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / November 29, 2016
I would rather say constitution making should take the ‘High Road’!
The constitution of the USA, even with all the subsequent amendments is a very short document, but embodies the high end principles of good governance and democracy. It is probably the shortest constitution in the world!
Despite the many upheavals and distortions in society during its existence as an independent confederation and a super power,the US constitution has stood the test of time and accomodated democracy, change, progress and freedom. This constitution has stood the US well and the citizens have come to trust, believe and have faith in it. It has become sacrosanct with the passage of two + Centuries.
Our constitutions are too long, too detailed, beyond the comprehension of the people and full of big loop holes and elephantine qualifications and exceptions.
The new constitution we are contemplating is likely to end up the same, by the time our MPs are done with it. It is likiely the electorate will reject it at the referendum, largely because they cannot comprehend it. Much will be made of the details in it that strengthens the trivial at the expense of the profound in the campaigns leading upto the referendum vote.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / November 30, 2016
I fully agree. Now it should take the ‘high road.’ I hope the Steering Committee would do that. As I have pointed out many times, there is a tendency in Sri Lanka to overwrite a constitution. A constitution also means practices, customs and traditions that we create. It can be skeletal (if we have a strong independent judiciary and reasonable and rational statesmen/women). It might be OK to have longer document than the USA, but it should not be a Patherange Jatheke. Many Sub-Committee reports are quite rigmarole.
BBS Rep / November 29, 2016
Dr Laksiri Fernando,
Middle path as expounded by Buddha has failed in Sri Lanka. So will a constitution that walks a benevolent imaginary middle path. The Sinhala Buddhists are in majority. All the Buddhists are running amok fomenting hatred and inciting the Sinhala Buddhists to kill Tamils and Muslims. In such a scenario giving pride of place to Buddhism in the constitution will only strengthen the call of the Sinhala Nazis.
A secular Buddhist constitution is an oxymoron -not a middle path.
Sri -Krish / November 29, 2016
Prof Laksiri Fernando,
I am sorry about the mix-up. Yes it is 154 G. Please read 154 G in full.
154 G gives flesh to the entire 13A.
Devolution becomes operational through legislation.
Without legislation there is no devolution or Provincial Council.
The Provincial Councils derives their power only through legislation on the provincial list.
If the Provincial Council does not pass any statute on any subject in the Provincial List, then that subject will remain with the center as at present.
The Consequential Provision Act No 12 of 1989 of course creates a different set up. It brings dual power between the center and the province.
Dr Laksiri Fernando, if the Provincial Council does not pass statute on any subject in the Provincial List, then both the center as well as the Province exercise power on the subject simultaneously in terms of the Consequential Provision Act No 12 of 1989.
Then cooperative concept could come into play.
Please read again the Consequential Provision Act No 12 of 1989, that deals with a situation where the Provincial council had not passed and statute.
The Concurrent List is course is a different kettle of fish!
List 1: Provincial List
List 2: Reserved List
List 3: Cooperative List
is not realistic and not practicable not practised by any country in the world including India and Australia.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / November 30, 2016
I derive the concept of ‘cooperative devolution’ from the concept of ‘cooperative federalism.’ A definition of the latter is the following from USLegal.com. http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/cooperative-federalism/ There are similar references and definitions including in Wikipedia. I can refer to books but want to be simple and short.
“Cooperative federalism refers to a concept in which the state governments, local governments, and the federal government share responsibility in the governance of the people. They cooperate in working out details concerning which level of government takes responsibility for particular areas and creating policy in that area. The concept of cooperative federalism put forward the view that the national and state governments are partners in the exercise of governmental authority. It is also referred to as the new federalism.”
It is not difficult to define ‘cooperative devolution’ based on the above as relevant to Sri Lanka. Yes, it is also referred to in Australia as a necessary concept and practice. I learned this first in Canada in mid-1970s. Here we are talking about a new constitutional document for Sri Lanka. But a constitution also means practices and customs. In the USA ‘cooperative federalism’ was invented particularly during the New Deal in the 1930s. It was also nicknamed as ‘marble cake federalism.’
In your first posting, you have referred to Wayamba passing statutes under Concurrent List 33. To me this subject is a perfect example highlighting the need for a ‘Cooperative List.’ Of course, in federal systems where they refer to ‘cooperative federalism’ they don’t have ‘cooperative lists.’ It may come. But for Sri Lanka, it is more relevant given the issues we have. When one rationally goes through the confused lists we have, it is clear that there could be some rationalization. From the present Concurrent List, some can go to the Provincial List, some can go to the Reserved List. But there are some others, which should be handled both in making laws and undertaking executive action cooperatively. Protection of the environment is one.
Richard / November 30, 2016
Dr. Laksiri Fernando, and all forum participants,
Here we all cannot understand all this controversial middle path, Cooperative devolution, or Cooperative list. But I am sure we all understand the meaning of Constitution and the meaning of the word “cooperative”. Cooperative is a word coined with a business or something that we do together. Devolution of power is done by the Center to the province so the province get back its lost powers or get new powers and not vice-versa. By reading the Constitution of Countries like USA and India, we see the Constitution supporting the Countries to achieve good development and dignity. The Constitution in Countries evolve for the benefit of the Country. You cannot find anybody writing nonsense regarding Constitution making. For a Country to be successful Constitution is made by high ranking and responsible experts and not by controversial racist politicians and people. To make a successful Constitution for Sri Lanka, first of all there should be responsible expertise and the misled people and misleading politicians have to rethink a lot.
Sri-Krish / November 30, 2016
Dr. Laksiri Fernando,
Thanks for a well compiled report on Cooperative concept to enhance devolution.
We in Sri lanka had sucessful coperative movement especially in
Jaffna until 1972 when the government intervention almost killed the movement.
USSR also had similar experience with their collective farms.
I agree that we have to seek out of the Box solution for our problems.
But government involvement in a devolutionary framework may be counterproductive.
It will be a new inovation if Sri lanka introduces this concept with a separate list.
We have to be beware of duplication and ommisions.
Let us have more and more discussion on this novel initiative.
Sam Thambipillai / November 30, 2016
What is required is a just path and not a “middle path”.
The writer calls Sinhala Buddhist racism wrongly as “Sinhala nationalism”.
If one analyses the events of the past 60 years, murder of Tamils, grabbing their land, planting Buddha staues, war and Tamil genocide are the symptoms of “Sinhala Nationalism” according to the writer. But they are the unpunished symptoms of Sinhala racism.
What needs to be done is Sinhalese hatred against Tamils should be legistatively banned, but the GSL does not want to do it.
Let us join the International community and ask the UNHRC to enforce its resolution and have its inquiry to do justice for the victims of war crimes for people to know what is SEinhala racism.
Donald Trump will definitely call the UNHRC to do it speedily.
Sri -Krish / November 30, 2016
Dr Laksiri Fernando,
I am still not convinced.
Let this be my final comment on this subject, but I expect a final response from you.
Any institution including devolved units to be successfully run, the following 4F conditions must be met;
1 Functions:- There should not be any ambiguity about the functions
assigned and clearly defined.
2 Functionaries:The officers were also clear about the hierarchy.
They should have only one boss one vision, one
mission; one set of objectives and clearly defined
activities to achieve their objectives.
3 Funds:-Funds should be adequate, predictable and timely. The unit
should have sufficient funds to carry out the
functions given to the unit. You are not sure of the
The Resources should be adequate.
4 freedom: Each institution shall have necessary and sufficient
freedom to function.
Under your scheme, the subjects may constantly oscillate between the two levels. At any given moment nobody knows where one stands resulting in utter confusion like uncertainty principle in Physics?.
The subsidiary principle could not be applied as the subject may constantly move up and down.
Under these conditions it is a herculean task to make it work.
orry to end this discussion with this pessimistic note, but let your expected final response be the final word.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / December 1, 2016
I understand what you have said now. My advocacy of ‘cooperative devolution’ is to highlight the overall cooperative aspect and not to deny in any manner the distinct functions that the Provinces or the Centre should have. Perhaps my reference to ‘marble cake’ could lead to a misunderstanding. I was referring to history where some people opted to name it as such in respect of ‘cooperative federalism.’
There should be a clearly defined and demarcated Provincial List without encroachment from the Centre. Likewise, there should be a clearly defined Reserved List to the Centre. These should not oscillate between the two levels. Then there should be a limited Cooperative List where both the Centre and the Provinces cooperate. I agree with your F1. But I am not sure about your F2. A language such as ‘one boss, one vision, one mission’ etc. are little alien to me. Such a separation of functionaries might not be good. We should keep in mind the people not power alone. I agree with F3 and in fact I have been advocating such fiscal devolution for a long time both in theory and practice. I also agree with F4 and it also should apply to local governments.
The necessity of cooperative devolution emerges not only because of the present circumstances but also considering the future. Cooperative List is necessary at present to handle, economic development, welfare and environmental protection. The window should be open, if we were to move for more and more socialist type of measures. In cooperative efforts or sphere, ‘uncertainty principle’ might emerge, but perhaps not like in the theory of Physics! Now I remember your academic background. This is where human effort and cooperation is necessary to resolve uncertainties.
D.Nimal / December 1, 2016
The Christian Democracies politics advocated by writer mainly undermined National Sovereignty an Island for partition that which for the Tamil Eealm state by and large that directed towards that
Neo-con political agenda by petty bourgeoisie concept of the rude methodology of “Democracy”. and its “Devolution”.
This type of so-called “devolution package” is NOT that remain any part of world under US Hegemonies domination of countries, this is not that suited country like us.
We are still under the US global hegemony, that bully People of Sri Lankan by Asian pivot policies of US expansionism in Indian Ocean Countries to be partition of Island for the Tamil State for New puppet regime in North -East of Island.
We do not want remain such new-colonialism proposed constitution by writer, its UNP mixed up that New Liberalism alliance with CBK and MS governance was installed by 2015 January 9th “Rainbow revolution” by the blessing of USA, UK, some EU countries and Japan and Indian -RAW.
The proposed “NEW” constitutional changes of that New local alliance are the deal is subject control by power sharing with TNA and JVP separatism and anarchism; result of that will definitely looted our prevailing PEOPLE’S Democracy and their Sovereignty.
What ever political term and conditions advocated by writer that his Middle Path between ongoing constitution and proposed New are not really that “NEW”.
Indeed the ultmailtaly aim of Devolution is nothing that of actually partition Island For “Tamil rough State” by hoodwink majority of People and get their consent by hook and crook.
This is Days of grace period that “new” constitution by Debit note nation Democracy.
By and large UNP-Ranil.W… CBK of Neo Federalist of Old SLFP and New UNP leader of MS are working towards the day and night get political manipulating to by passes New Political package to surrender nation sovereignty to USA and Indian hegemonies once and for all.
People of all nationalities Sri Lankan could not get trap into old politics of by UNP new proposals are more or less dead stock of Democracy.
The Elites are advocated “New Constitution changes” not the Interest of whole nation, but they are working personal gain by invisible perks.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / December 1, 2016
You try to use a Marxist jargon, but pathetically fail because of your religious bigotry and ethno-nationalist mindset.
You talk a lot about ‘national sovereignty’ and saving the country from separatism. But have we ever heard about a D. Nimal when the LTTE was rampaging? Where were you then? You are not against separatism, but against Tamils. It has nothing to do with Marxism or Buddhism. Your ideology and feelings against Democracy is extremely clear. Don’t try shadow boxing against other countries and expose your inferiority complex or lack of knowledge on international affairs.
Why are you so frightened about a new constitution? Is it because if it is inaugurated, the authoritarian politicians who dominate the masses on the pretext of sovereignty, nationalism and religion would go to the history’s dustbin? Why are you defending JRJ’s dictatorial constitution?
soma / December 2, 2016
“Is it because if it is inaugurated, the authoritarian politicians who dominate the masses on the pretext of sovereignty, nationalism and religion would go to the history’s dustbin?”
Instead to be replaced by racial , fundamentalist, regional tin pot political thugs on the pretext of ‘devolution’ for minorities creating ethnic and religious enclaves providing the basis for legitimized division among the people and Balkanisation of the island?
Sri -Krish / December 1, 2016
Dr Laksiri Fernando.
Only one clarification
What i meant by one boss,one vision, one mission is that the functionaries should be clear whether they are working under the Center or the Provincial Council.
For Instance,The Divisional Secretaries are central government staff and get salaries from the center and as a consequent their loyalty is to the center , when they are given Provincial subjects also,the Provincial subject receives step motherly treatment.
Under Cooperative feralism as you enunciated a similar situation arises if the subjects are under dual authority.
D.Nimal / December 1, 2016
Writer is born out of Christin + Trotskyist that mixed politics of petty-bourgeoisies roots aliened with Western Liberalism by aim of serve for USA and Western ideological orbit.
You voice is NOT that the People voice, it is voice of quantum of that US hegemonies think-tank; that the trend of anti-Marxist Elites by your race suicide of those who want to be divided people of all nationalities of Sri Lankan by which is aim of colonialized our Island.
When we are opposed so-called “devolution” that proposed by you and UNP right-wing of that division of People that ‘Divided and Rule’ by USA New colonization ,that you want brand that we as “Nationalist”.
The motto “devolution package” that proposed by writer and their current UNP neo-con liberalism, which we have comes to down that Rating of National sovereignty, Territorial Integrity ,an Independent and Democracy norms-Sri lanka.
Under the Imperialism headed by USA there is key deficiency of the Sovereignty and Democracy by UNP led-right-wing has now totally parlayed the majority rule in Parliament democracy that accepts procedures since 1948!
Look at how is that UNP leadership working on inside the Parliament?
Take example minority leader become Leader of Opposition-TNA and JVP Anarchist-Terrorist of 6 members of Chamber become chief -organiser of Parliament .
Is the way that Parliamentary sovereignty that working metholodlgy? The writer living on Range of Indeterminateness of shifting bourgeoisie democracy and Imperialism of USA in that the stage of Moribund Capitalism era of decaling system of bourgeois democracy in Global scale.
Writer’s the rate of growth of Constitutional Democracy has come to very bad end; but he is still living on myth of ‘Constitutional illusion’ of Neo-con politics by the “Good Governances” advocated by UNP -Ranil W.. CBK and MS that the line of irrational behaviour by undemocratic values in their’ governances’ in day to day running state of affairs since 2015 January 9th.
You little knowledge of about Marxism not sufficient to answer crux of matter of democratic task of revolution led by masses of people’s point of view.
I advice you to read “….Certain Features of Historical Development of Marxism” by Lenin’s theses.
Is that rationalization of majority democracy by Writer and UNP Neo-con politics of Democracy ?
What type of Middle path you are talking from proposed UNP “New Constitution” changes?
You are meddling People’s Sovereignty by reciprocal of “new” constitutional illusions!
We are not in position to cater for USA hegemonies ambitions in our Island by the “divided nation” and partition of land by on Racial basis of Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese.
That is not my line of politics.
You said I am living in small world, I have no experience of International politics ? May be!
That is your reading and your outlook of metholodlgy of Trotskyist is fundamentally metaphysis. It is adventurism.
Your politics of constitutional is born out Narrow line of neo-liberal democracy have nothing to do with social justice.
You are totally deviated from Marxism by join new -liberal club of politics by USA the vested interest of renewal of Neo-colonial politics in Sri lanka.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / December 2, 2016
Haven’t you read about Lenin on the national question, self-determination and federalism (Switzerland)?
D.Nimal / December 4, 2016
My reading of Marxism and Leninism NOT that confined to iota of vast collecting works of Lenin.
Even I live more years to come it is quite impossible, me to that reading of Leninism, that required need more years to come .
The New Global order will be base on Leninist Internationalism.
The days are not that far?
You can understand of my reading by writing.
The Swiss in country base on Financial Hub of Black Money of all over the world.
Swiss is Financial Hub of US led domination of Finical Market in Globe.
Their(Swiss) self-determination is cannot that compare with Lenin’s Theory of Self-Determination.
Your approach and analysis all issues by and large an abstract phenomena politics of Neo-Liberalism .