In recent months the debate as to whether we need to continue with the Executive Presidential form of overnment has indeed become a major issue, particularly after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted by this government, and because of the havoc it has caused. The other Amendment that has engaged our attention is the 13th Amendment which was forced upon us by the Indian government, which is even now insisting on its complete implementation. Whilst the principle of devolution of power to the people is the essence of Democracy, some aspects of this 13th Amendment such as the granting of Police powers to Provincial Councils undermines the security of the State and does not even make for good governance nor does it contribute towards finding a solution to our ethnic problem. India is also said to be wanting us to remerge the Northern and Eastern Provinces, without knowing the history of our country; the East, was never a part of any traditional homeland of the Tamil people, this is fiction and an attempt at a land grab--- history has it that it was always a part of the Kandyan Kingdom –there are many archeological sites which are Buddhist places of worship in the Eastern Province which stand as proof.
The Constitution of 1978 was said to usher in stability and growth, it certainly did move this country forward from a 2% growth rate in 1977 to 8% a few years later; not entirely because of the Executive Presidency but more because of the opening of the economy and the influx of FDI, but we have suffered huge setbacks because of the war and the consequent Indian interferences. The Constitution of 1978 has created several other problems and undermined Democracy. The Electoral system in particular has led to corruption on an unprecedented scale; it is inherently corrupt and as stated earlier, breeds corruption.
"There are a few other issues that we need to address learning from the three Constitutions that we have had. Has the Westminster model or the Executive Presidency system achieved the principal objective of Unifying our people and our country?"
Where do aspiring politicians find the money to contest from a DISTRICT --- millions are needed and who has these millions? It’s the ‘Kudu Karayas’ and other rogues; I for one cannot understand why the government is not implementing the Dinesh Gunawardena Report of Parliament, I suppose they must be thriving on the corruption the present system has bred.
There are a few other issues that we need to address learning from the three Constitutions that we have had. Has the Westminster model or the Executive Presidency system achieved the principal objective of Unifying our people and our country? Is it not a fact that these systems have only created antagonism and hate; should we not draw from the experience we had under the Donoughmore Constitution and reintroduce an improved version of the Executive Committee System, where all political parties would share power. Would that not help to end the confrontational politics that has divided our country and our people today. Should we not have a minimum qualification for those seeking to undertake THE most important task of any society --- to make its laws! Should they also not be required to declare their assets and those of their family and we the sovereign people not have a Constitutional Right to Information. We should in any new Constitution have entrenched clauses which cannot be changed even by a two third majority of Parliament clause such as Article 29 of the Soulbury Constitution which protected minorities; let us also protect national institutions and depoliticize them as was envisaged in the 17th Amendment and last but not least let us have legislation to protect the Public Service and the Foreign Service from self-seeking predators.’
Let us ask the people directly as to whether they wish to continue with this present Constitution any longer, let us hold a Referendum and if the people don’t want this Totalitarian Democracy then let us have a Constituent Assembly assisted by our Constitutional experts such as Jayampathy Wickremaratne and give ourselves a new Constitution, yes drawing from our past experience. Today though we call ourselves a Democracy we have only the shell, for the kernel has been removed!