24 September 2017

7 Reasons why Sri Lankan Citizens should reject the New Constitution

1.    This Government has lost the confidence of the People including those that voted for them

a.    Every promise made before elections has been broken
b.    Coming on the ticket of anti-corruption the reality is that the present is more corrupt than those they accused.
c.     A lot of irregularities and illegalities have taken place since January 2015
d.    The manner that Bills are being passed and how MPs are being co-opted to vote for these dubious legislations raises further alarm bells.
e.    Even in the present context when revolutionary parties suddenly take sides with the government and proceedings are stopped until some promised ‘exchanges’ occur – these scenarios should make the People question why this constitution is being hurriedly passed by tapping to MP weaknesses? If rumors prove to be true, this is unethical and immoral and the People must reject this in toto. Bribery democracy is unacceptable.

2.    The bona fides of those promoting a new constitution is questioned

a.    TNA is the LTTE political proxy – it is not absolved of links to terrorists. Until and unless that is done TNA or its representatives (MPs, NPC Chief Minister) cannot be making demands which are virtually in line with what LTTE sought through the gun
b.    Some of the NGO heads have a history of being paid to work against the state. They are earning dollar/sterling pounds to destabilize the country and carry out orders of their NGO masters. Such people cannot determine what goes into or is removed in a constitution.
c.     When foreign envoys are regularly promoting a new constitution – we all must take a step back and wonder why? Why are they more interested in a new constitution than us?
d.    We cannot omit that immediately after the yahapalana government came into power the extremist sections of this coalition openly claimed that the government would give in to their demands and these would be incorporated into a new constitution. Statements by the TNA over years, statements by LTTE, statements government heads had assured the LTTE diaspora are all aligned to the provisions inserted into the new constitution. These are serious malpractices by a government to fool the people by honoring commitments to them in exchange for bringing them to power.
e.    Every individual who has a dubious record cannot be allowed to tweak the constitution to fulfill those who are paying them or their own personal ideologies.

3.    The PM’s credibility is at serious stake. His appointment of the former Governor who is now using the argument that he is a foreigner and cannot be questioned and the Bond Commission stating that this is the biggest financial scam since 1948 denies the PM to be allowed to make another bigger mistake by tabling a new constitution which is making drastic changes to the country’s periphery.

4.    TNA is no representative of the Tamil people. As LTTE proxy, TNA shoulder the responsibility for crimes committed by the LTTE in terms of guilt by association. These allegations need to be exonerated only after an independent Commission investigate LTTE-TNA ties. Moreover, with LTTE committing various heinous crimes upon Tamils, the victims are unlikely to be supportive of LTTE. Therefore, TNA cannot claim to be representative of Tamils. Moreover, it has been proved by TNA Chief Ministers own actions that the Province he has been running as Chief Minister has failed to provide for the people of that Province in so far as the budgetary allocation of funds has not been utilized and gets returned to the Treasury. This goes to show that even the fundamental role of the TNA Chief Minister has not been fulfilled. Moreover TNA has lost several cooperative elections clear indication that the Tamil people are not satisfied with the TNA and they are losing whatever support they had. These dynamics have to be taken into consideration given that TNA is promoting wider powers to the Chief Minister which are likely to be detrimental not only to the province but to the people living in the province and to a larger extent the rest of the country.

5.    Several Tamils have openly come out to say ‘we want homes not merger of north-east or federalism’ and these sentiments cannot be ignored just because some politicians and political parties want bigger control for themselves over the people and territory. Sovereignty is inalienable from the people therefore the People’s will is about the Parliament, above the Ministers, above any Provincial Council, District or Municipality. The Will of the People must be taken to account first.

6.    We are a small island nation. Do we need to be copying systems in countries 10 times the size of us? Federalism is for those countries. Devolution is for those countries. If the entities already given powers cannot handle the powers they control or serve the people to their satisfaction what good is giving them more powers? The Majority of the People are dissatisfied with performance of the Provincial Councils including the Parliament. All of us are disappointed in the manner the country is run from Prime Minister downwards. In such a scenario what good is going to be done in giving each of the same poor-performers more powers?

7.    There are some sine quo non areas that no one can touch especially people whose credibility is at stake.

a.    The foremost place to Buddhism must remain
b.    Sri Lanks’s Unitary character must remain Unitary in the translations of all 3 languages. We hear that there are attempts to insert ‘United’ into the English translation.
c.     The country’s history and heritage cannot be siphoned off and diluted. Its place must remain untouched.
d.    Land, Police, Fiscal/Monetary, formulation of Education Syllabus, International Aid & Foreign Relations, Archaeological sites etc must remain in total control of the Centre
e.    Governor appointed by the Centre is above the Chief Minister & his powers cannot be diluted and passed on to Chief Minister with increased powers.
f.      Federal states need devolution. Sri Lanka is a small island we don’t devolution but only administrative changes enabling provinces to better facilitate the People. At all times the golden rule must be changes must benefit the People not career politicians and their stooges. Demands for power devolution is NOT with intent to serve the People but ONLY with intent to wield more power to the politicians and their henchmen. This is not a healthy scenario and is likely to lead to more trouble.
g.    No Province can be treated inequally and above other provinces. No Chief Minister can be superior to the other Chief Ministers. Presently we see a lot of malpractice taking place. Every envoy that arrives dashes to the North or the East to see the Chief Minister of these two provinces. Every foreign statement is on these 2 provinces ONLY. Every demand being made is ONLY about these two provinces, ONLY about one community forgetting that others were also victims.

Can a constitution illegally and unethically passed be rejected and unaccepted by the People? Can any lawyers take legal action knowing the ground situation?
There is little point appealing to anyone in the international community – not one of them have raised a single voice against all of the corruptions, illegalities and malpractices being committed by Yahapalana Government which is quite shocking given their clarion calls before January 2015 for good governance and anti-corruption. Goes to show the international community are equally corrupt.
Where is the Joint Opposition? Do they seriously think that the people who are disappointed with the present government are waiting to accept them with open arms? People are not fools now. Every voter is now a disgusted voter. Every member of Parliament has disappointed the People irrespective of the party they belong to. We are maintaining a bunch of opportunist, greedy, power hungry and selfish MPs who think only about themselves and not the country. Rhetoric on the country, the Armed Forces and the place of Buddhism and heritage are simply stage performances to woo voters. Where is the leadership by those not party to the yahapalana illegalities? Why are they not rallying people against the proposed new constitution? People are not going to be coming to any future May Day rally or walk if at this crucial juncture action is not taken to stop something as dangerous as a new constitution being passed.

 Shenali D Waduge