Call for repealing 13A: New OPA Chief endorses decision


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Newly appointed President of the Organization of Professional Association (OPA) Benedict Ulluwishewa said that his outfit would soon initiate a dialogue on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Now that the OPA had called for abolition of the 13th Amendment, it would be important to discuss an alternative to the hotly disputed piece of legislature, said Ulluwishewa, an engineer by profession, who has held several key positions in the public sector as General Manager, National Equipment Machinery Organization, Managing Director, Government owned Companies and Executive Director, State Engineering Corporation. He is currently the Chairman/ Managing Director of Ben Hewa Associates Group of Companies.

The new OPA chief was responding to a query by The Island.

Ulluwishewa was inducted as the 32nd President of the OPA at its Annual General Meeting on Oct. 26, 2012. OPA is the apex body for 43 professional associations with a combined membership of over 50,000 professionals from various sectors.

Asked whether the OPA would review its call to repeal the 13th Amendment, Ulluwishewa ruled out the possibility, while stressing the need to agree on a solution acceptable to all. He said he believed that the OPA could play an important role in the process.

The OPA urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to abolish the 13th Amendment last May, alleging that the 13th Amendment was an impediment to national reconciliation.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa last week told The Island that the OPA’s move meant that his move had widespread support among even the professionals. He wasn’t alone in opposing the 13th Amendment, he added.

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