Q: You said right throughout that you would be the chief ministerial candidate of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) for the Northern Provincial Council Election. Now the election has been declared. What is your stand now?
I will make an official stand on the election only after the date of the election is announced by the Elections Commissioner. I need some more time to clarify certain matters in view of this election. President Mahinda Rajapaksa does not want to lose the only Tamil Minister serving in his Cabinet representing the North. I am sensitive to that request. Again, I have to be concerned about the political situation. Considering all, I will announce my stand after the day of polling is announced.
I always maintain that the 13th Amendment is the only basis for the resolution of the national question. There are views for and against it. Yet, it is the way forward. I still believe in it. The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is the best forum for it.
Q: But, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is not party to the PSC. Is it practical to find a solution through a process that excludes them?
A: Some parties with vested interests have decided to boycott the PSC process. I am among those who took the stand that an all-party approach is essentially important to find a solution. Yet, the parties, driven by self-interests, have taken a different stand. It is unfortunate. Even without the TNA, we started meeting in the PSC. The caravan moves despite the dogs barking. The TNA wants to adopt time delaying tactics. When the provincial council system was introduced in 1987, the present ruling party was opposed to it as the then opposition. The alliance partners of the TNA also were opposed to it. They called it an outdated system. Today, they participate in the provincial council elections. With or without the TNA, we should take a decision.
Q: What is the nature of political solution which your party proposes to the PSC?
It should be one acceptable to every political party. Today, those opposed to the 13th Amendment also participate in provincial council elections. They criticise the system. In the meantime, they enjoy benefits offered by the system.
Q: For the election in the North, will you field candidates under the UPFA’s betel symbol?
If so, what is the electoral pact?
More than half of the candidates to be fielded for the election under the UPFA will be from my Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP). I will play the leading role in the election campaign on behalf of the UPFA in the North. If the UPFA wins, I will have a say in determining who should take up the post of chief minister. That is with the blessings of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. EPDP is an ally of the UPFA. We are an active and close partner of the UPFA government. We will make an official announcement after the election date is announced.
Q: As a Tamil politician from the North, are you happy with the way the government handles issues concerning Tamil people?
As a party to the government, we are collectively bound. There are different views among the Alliance partners. We raise them at appropriate forums only. We have no open criticism against the government at all. We take decisions collectively.
Q: There were issues about land grabbing. What are your views on it?
There are problems. But, people have been resettled in most cleared areas. Also, the lands released from the High Security Zones have been given back to people. We continue to have a dialogue with the relevant authorities to solve existing problems. Yet, the TNA wants to keep problem festering, for their political survival. Through discussions, we have to address this problem. We look to creating a positive outcome. With our intervention, a lot of land issues have been resettled. We have resettled people in areas such as Wadamarachchi and Kytes.
Q: What do you think about India’s involvement in Sri Lanka’s national question?
Recently, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa went to India for talks with Indian leaders. He knows how to handle issues of this nature. I think the problem will be settled.
Q: There is a school of thought in political circles that mere development work alone will not bring votes for the government in the North. There is a demand for political rights. How do you see it?
These areas did not see any development for years and years. That is mainly due to the war. Today the situation is totally different. Development is taking place rapidly to suit the interests of people. There is a political question though. That’s why we agitate for the meaningful implementation of the 13th Amendment as the basis.
Q: But, once again, the TNA has been categorical that the 13th Amendment is only the minimum basis. They demand an extensive power sharing arrangement on federal lines. What are your views on it?
From time to time, they tell different things. I maintained my stand for more than 20 years. The 13th Amendment is the basis. It is the starting point. The TNA called it an outdated system. When I talk about it and try to solve problems, the TNA is scared. That is why, they start slandering me. I will lead the election campaign. We believe we will win.
Q: In case the TNA wins, what will be the political impact on the country as a whole?
People will not get any development. That is because the TNA will be a stumbling block. They only want to create new problems and aggravate the existing ones for their political expediency.
The international community wants a change of government. They too want the problems to remain unsolved.
Q: Do you think the TNA will team up with the international community to exert more pressure on the government?
In the past, there were many opportunities afforded to the Tamil parties to solve this problem. But, they missed all such chances.
Q: Even some Tamil parties have called the Indo –Lanka Accord a hastily prepared document. They say it is a flawed document. Do you consider it a perfect piece of legislation?
I must say again that I have maintained my stand that the 13th Amendment introduced under the Indo-Lanka Accord is the way forward.
He has avoided mentioning the terror regime of which his party goons are involved. The army exercises 'land and police powers' - not the provincial council. The army also has 'judicial powers' - citizens are arrested and imprisoned in army camps without any judicial process.His goons assist in this.
sathees Thursday, 25 July 2013 01:47 PM
bankroped politician. Soon he will be disposed in garbage by MR
Sellam Thursday, 25 July 2013 04:01 PM
You are correct Sam. furthermore Douglas is only there to show that there is a Tamil Minister in the Government. He has not answered the questions intelligently and wholeheartedly and genuinely.. Example, he lied to the question of land grabbing. 700.000 acres of land in Vali north is still not allowed for the people to resettle.The army is in control. As a Tamil minister is he concerned about them.No. Northern Provincial Elections is no good even with police and land powers as there is a military man as Governor who would throw his weight. Douglas has not said anything about it. He may represent one or two islands in the North but he will be thrown out by the people for sure.
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