India foisted the Thirteenth Amendment and with it the Provincial Council system on this country to suit their own purposes - their intervention to stop the Vadamarachchi Operation - and sending their troops by force to our country was not to ensure peace and settle the Ethnic issue, but to my mind, it was to convert Sri Lanka into a protectorate of India – to transform this country into a Bhutan.
As I have stated many times before in many articles, the devolution of power on the same basis as to the States of the Indian Union, soon to be a Federation and perhaps a loose one at that, was absolutely unrealistic, considering just one fact, namely the size of Sri Lanka and the size of Indian States - Let me set out below just a few examples to drive home my point: Our Sri Lanka has an area of 65,610 square kilometres (25,332 square miles), whereas the size of Indian States, which are bigger than many countries in the UN, are as follows:
The devolution which is contemplated in the 13th Amendment was based on the devolution of power to the States of India --- how could such a scheme of devolution be suitable for a country the size of ours.
We have established Provincial Councils under this 13th Amendment in all Provinces of the country though they never wanted it, other than in the North for which it was originally meant as India thought that this was a solution to the problems on the Tamil people; we have of course not been able to establish the Provincial Council there because of the war. A quarter of a century has passed since we established this Provincial Council system in the rest of the country, and what has the country achieved – has it brought any benefits to our people. Quite a few studies have been done by eminent scholars and there has been no wholehearted approval of the system--- it has only bred yet another bunch of politicians, of whom we already have too many and another level of bureaucracy; the system did not advance democracy or development and would be missed only by the politicians with high sounding designations and without doubt would be welcomed by the people, if a Referendum is held tomorrow for there is no doubt that the people would want to do away with the system.
Another aspect which needs to be taken into consideration is the all-important security aspect, which must be given serious consideration in the light of the words and actions of Tamil Nadu politicians. A Northern Province Provincial Council will seek to have a special relationship with Tamil Nadu. In this regard we must be grateful to our Supreme Court for having prevented an unscrupulous ‘land grab’ and de-linked the Northern Province from the Eastern Province, which was never a part of any ‘Traditional Homeland’ of the Tamil community, for had the Easter Province with the Trincomalee harbour been within the jurisdiction of the ‘North-East Provincial Council’ that would have been a permanent threat to the security and territorial integrity of this country.
Now that the government has more than a two-thirds majority in Parliament it should enter into talks with the UNP and all other political parties in Parliament and bring a District Council Bill – (District Councils were first envisaged by the then Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake in 1966). The District Councils could replace the Provincial Councils and bring governance closer to the people .We must not only have District Councils but let us, as the President himself has stated have, once again a Second Chamber as they do in almost all democratic countries, and change this undemocratic electoral system and above all we must have the minorities sharing power at the centre in the Cabinet of Ministers -- let us once again become a model Democracy as we once were.
Comments - 1
Lanka Peiris Friday, 03 May 2013 01:22 PM
Mr Godage, you are spot on. The 13th Amendment must be binned. What exactly is MR waiting for?
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