Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he would never agree to the granting of police powers to provincial councils in accordance with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. He said that he had arrived at this decision after having considered the dangers and the challenges it would pose to the security services.
The defence secretary was clarifying the position that had emerged after reports indicated that the NCP elections were to be held in keeping with the 13th Amendment.
He said that he could only advise the government on matters concerning security as an officer and that the government would decide whether to implement them or not.
At present no provincial council exercises police powers, and if they were to be granted such powers in future, such a measure could pose a serious threat to national security and he foresaw a dangerous situation, he said.
If the councils were vested with police powers, a serious situation would arise with regard to the maintenance of law and order, and he feared that even the CID would become ineffective, he said.
The defence secretary said he believed the Cabinet of ministers would consider this matter in its entirety before the proposed elections to the Northern Provincial Council took place. (Ranjith Ananda Jayasinghe)