JO accused of facilitating Prez-PM project

Consensus on 13 A likely instead of new Constitution


by Shamindra Ferdinando

The Federation of National Organizations (FNO) yesterday accused the Joint Opposition (JO) of facilitating a high profile political project undertaken by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration to empower the Provinces at the expense of Sri Lanka’s unitary status.

The FNO alleged that the project was in line with Geneva Resolution

Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera, Dr. Wasantha Bandara and attorney-at-law Kalyananda Thiranagama on behalf of the FNO explained the growing danger in the Indian and Western powers’ backed project succeeding in achieving long standing separatist objectives.

Addressing the media at the National Library Services Board and Documentation Center, the FNO team demanded that the JO reviewed its position vis a vis the ongoing constitutional reforms or face the consequences.

An angry Dr. Amarasekera said that for want of cohesive action and the JO misdirected strategy the issue at hand hadn’t attracted public attention it deserved. The Central Bank bond scam and the SAITM issue had earned much more media coverage and public attention than the constitutional reforms process that was surely inimical to the country.

Alleging that the JO, in spite of having a sizable group of parliamentarians under its command had failed in its responsibility to spearhead a campaign against what the respected author called a treacherous project.

Dr. Amarasekera faulted the JO for joining the six Sub Committees that made recommendations to the Steering Committee in respect of Fundamental Rights, Judiciary, Law and Order, Public Finance, public service and Center-Periphery Relations. "We strongly recommended JO not to join the process," Dr. Amarasekera said. Having contributed to the Six Sub Committees, members of the JO had quit them, Dr. Amarasekera said, questioning the rationale in quitting them after the Sub Committees had submitted their reports.

The JO had conveniently forgotten that those reports would form

a Draft Constitutional Proposal for Sri Lanka, Dr. Amarasekera said. Challenging those JO members who had quit the Six Committees to collectively denounce the reports that had been handed over to the Steering Committee, Dr Amarasekera urged JO representatives, namely Dinesh Gunawardena and Prasanna Ranatunga to quit the Steering Committee without further delay.

Dr Amarasekera alleged that the government was giving in to separatists.

Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka thera urged the government to abolish Provincial Council system that had been introduced at the behest of India in the late 80s. Abolition of PCs would make Sri Lanka’s triumph over terrorism in May 2009 meaningful, the Ven thera said.

The thera accused Premier Wickremesinghe of promoting factories at the expense of the agricultural sector. Commenting on the shortage of rice in the market, the Ven thera said that the government was now cunningly promoted imported rice, thereby undermined the local produce.

Ven. Nalaka alleged that Premier Wickremesinghe was even worse than President JR Jayewardene in promoting Western interests. Claiming that a section of the Buddhist clergy, too, had been deceived by the yahapalana government, Ven Nalaka warned of the possibility of members of parliament acting contrary to the national interests.

Kalyananda Thiranagama asserted that the government would adopt a strategy similar to that paved the way for the passage of the 19 Amendment to the Constitution in April 2015. Thiranagama said the government wouldn’t under any circumstances go for a referendum on the proposed constitutional reforms. Instead, it would bring an amendment with the support of the UNP, the SLFP and other political parties. Thiranagama claimed that the UNP’s purported push for a referendum and the SLFP opposition was a farce, calculated to deceive the electorate.

Referring to a statement made by Justice Minister Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, Thiranagama said that the number of ministers, deputy ministers and State Ministers had been appointed contrary to the 19 Amendment as it was originally planned to secure the required support for constitutional reforms. Thiranagama alleged that the JO had been accommodated and cleverly involved in the process to deceive the public.

Dr Wasantha Bandara alleged that President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe were in the process of perpetrating massive fraud on the majority community.

Alleging that the two major political parties had been taking different stand on proposed new Constitution for public consumption, Dr. Bandara said that the eelamists didn’t require brand new Constitution. Instead, they would influence the government to bring in an Amendment meant to fully implement the 13 Amendment to the Constitution. Claiming that would set the stage for a federal state in the North-East region, Dr. Bandara said that the 20th Amendment would be aimed at diluting presidential power to bring a province under direct rule, Weakening of Office of the Governor, elimination of the Concurrent List and the government ability to implement ‘national policy’ all provinces in respect of all subjects and functions.

Dr. Bandara alleged that even a section of the Buddhist clergy would help the government project. They would claim that due to President Sirisena’s intervention, the country had averted a new constitution by bringing in 20 Amendment. Premier Wickremesinghe would be portrayed as the bad man though he would emerge stronger while former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would suffer a setback.

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