The Government took more than the 100 days it allotted for itself to get the 19th Amendment passed. Better late than never, as they say. Better less-than-perfect than nothing, one might add.
A key element of the 19th Amendment is the Constitutional Council (CC) and more importantly the appointment of its members. What we got is not ideal because it is nothing more than a glorified Parliamentary Select Committee. The saving grace, so to say, is the provision for some non-parliamentarian members. All the more reason to get the right people into the CC.
Obviously the people would like to see men and women of standing, people with unblemished records. People with integrity. People whose public lives have never left room for any doubt regarding their absolute loyalty to the country, its laws and customs, and who have a thorough knowledge of its people, their histories, heritage and culture. People who have energy and intellect.
Some names have been tossed into the hat. Since no decision has been made yet, let us not presume. However, we must at this juncture flag certain traits that disqualify any nominees.
There are questions already being raised in Parliament and in other quarters as well. Important questions. While they focus on individuals they do alert us to qualities and track-records that are worrisome.
Let the appointers be circumspect. If any nominee has ever been part of any exercise to apply the pernicious R2P (Right to Protect) ‘option’ on Sri Lanka, he or she should be disqualified. If any nominee has been implicated in financial wrongdoing, either in a State agency or in an NGO, he or she should be disqualified. If any nominee has deliberately sat on important documents, for example reports on human rights violations, for any length of time for whatever reason, he or she should be disqualified. If people are feeble in body and mind, yes, they should be counted out.
Let the ghosts of the past haunt. In this instance it is a good thing. Indeed it is imperative. Let us remember that the CC will have a big say in who gets appointed to the independent commissions. We cannot have shady men and women positioned to name their friends and fellow travellers to important commissions as would likely be the case.
Let us remember, ladies and gentlemen, that these particular members of the CC will not be elected and therefore they are not beholden to the people. Given that some from the sad lot we call ‘parliamentarians’ will also make it to the CC it is important that we have people in that body who though unelected have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that they are absolutely in concert with the will of the people and whose representational legitimacy is obtained from the lives they have led and the work they have done.
It is not easy to find such people, but that is exactly why absolute circumspection is required. The CC is not a joke. Let the appointers act with sobriety so that no one can lampoon the nominees as, let’s say, ‘The Three Idiots’.
Dear Editor, you say that:-"Obviously the people would like to see men and women of standing, people with unblemished records. People with integrity. People whose public lives have never left room for any doubt regarding their absolute loyalty to the country, its laws and customs, and who have a thorough knowledge of its people, their histories, heritage and culture. People who have energy and intellect." Beautiful Words!But Who is going to decide where to find People like this in Modern day Sri Lanka?In the Last 30 years of Civil War, the young people who grew up then, knew no Culture, other than that of the Rajapakses and their followers.They grew up believing that This was the Road to Success. It will take another 30 years to dispel that Myth!
Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.