The government yesterday gave an assurance that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution would be fully implemented.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the media that the government would vest police, land and education powers in the Provincial Councils, including the Eastern province. In line with the Interim Report of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), the government was convinced that a negotiated political resolution of the ethnic conflict was possible through power-sharing.
Minister Senaratne also said that it was the belief of the government that a major breakthrough could be achieved through power-sharing and devolution, and that a starting point was the full implementation of the existing Constitutional provisions. If this opportunity presented to the government by the Indo-Lanka Pact in 1987 to resolve the conflict was not availed of promptly, the consequences would be tragic for Sri Lanka, he cautioned.
Social Services and Social Development Minister Douglas Devananda said all Cabinet and non-Cabinet Ministers and MPs in the government were subject to the provisions in the 13th Amendment. The 13th Amendment would vest police, land and education powers in the respective provincial councils. But, where the Police were concerned, the National Police Commission (NPC) had been empowered to investigate any irregularity, mismanagement, corruption and mal-administration.
Devananda said that interest in the 13th Amendment had been revived under the avowed policy of the present government to fully implement the devolution scheme set out therein as an interim measure until the APRC presents more substantial proposals for power-sharing in the future.
Justice Minister Dilan Perera referring to the implementation of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution said that serious doubts remained as to whether the 13th Amendment represented a realistic or viable framework of devolution that could meet the political and Constitutional challenges.