Tue, 22 Jun 2021 Today's Paper

Never again yesterday: The CC cannot fail - EDITORIAL

24 September 2015 09:50 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

he new national government, headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday reached another landmark in its journey towards building a new Sri Lanka, when Parliament unanimously approved the setting up of the ten-member Constitutional Council (CC).

The CC is expected to play a crucial role in restoring good governance, democracy, social justice, accountability, transparency and other virtues or values of genuine and vibrant Parliamentary democracy.

The CC headed by new Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will include Minister Champika Ranawaka as the nominee of the President; Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe as the nominee of the Prime Minister; Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran as the nominee of the Opposition Leader, JVP’s Vijitha Herath as the nominee of the minor parties and John Seneviratne as the nominee of the United People’s Freedom Alliance, while the three civil society representatives will be Sarvodaya founder Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, United Nations Human Rights Activist Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy and former Attorney General Shibly Aziz.

Indeed it is an impressive and well-balanced line up though most analysts believe it could have been better if there were six civil society representatives as proposed in the original draft of the 19th Amendment. Most members of the UPFA, which had a huge majority in the previous Parliament, objected to the provision for six civil society representatives apparently because they felt civil society movements were closer to the UNP than the UPFA.

The CC held its first meeting on Wednesday and decided to move fast in  appointing the Independent Commissions. Applications will be called immediately from those who wish to serve on these Commissions and a fair representation will be given to women. It was announced the CC would meet again on October 9 to finalise the appointments to most of the Commissions.

Earlier Speaker Jayasuriya pledged that the CC would within weeks appoint most of the Independent Commissions including the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Independent Commissions for the Police and the Public Service, the Judiciary, the Independent Elections Commission, the National Procurement Commission, which will monitor tenders in the aftermath of multi-million rupee rackets, the National Auditing Services Commission, the Finance Commission, the Delimitation Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

If these Commissions work well, and we see no reason why they should not, it will be a solid foundation for a new Sri Lanka, where democratic structures will be strong and widespread as in the United States and most Western European countries.

Never again will any dictator or family dynasty be able to undermine this structure with anything like the notorious 18th Amendment for which a majority of the MPs, most of them still in Parliament blissfully if not foolishly raised their hands, unaware if not unconcerned of the devastating impact it would have on Sri Lanka.

As the new CC begins work all people of goodwill must wish and say—never again yesterday. In 2001 the then Parliament had unanimously approved legislation for the 17th Amendment which was widely seen as one of the most progressive pieces of legislation since independence in Sri Lanka.

In terms of this amendment, a Constitutional Council was set up during the period when Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister of a UNP government while the SLFP’s Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was President.

That UNP government and the then President did not have a close relationship as President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe do today. Thus the Old Constitutional Council though it made some progress ran into problem after problem including a dispute between the JVP and the TNA as to who should choose the minority nominee.

After Mahinda Rajapaksa took over as President, though he defeated the LTTE militarily, the CC was further undermined or sidelined, as were the Independent Commissions. Then came the death blow with the 18th Amendment in 2010. What happened in the five years after that will be one of the darkest chapters in Sri Lanka’s history with the breakdown of the rule of law, the undermining of the Independence of the Judiciary, the Police, media freedom and other acts which dragged the country towards a quasi-dictatorship.

While not living in the past we need to learn from it. Most people thought their role was just to vote at the elections and allow the politicians to do what they wanted. But now there is a deeper awareness among the people that constant vigilance is the price of liberty. The people, civil society movements and the media are playing an active and proactive role now to ensure that the new National Government will be a government of the people, for the people and by the people.  
See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

  Comments - 0

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 

Add comment

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.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment


GSP+: Isn’t there a way out?

The European Parliament’s resolution on Sri Lanka on June 10 was the second

Is Litro Gas above the regulator?

After an in-house battle among members of the top management of the Consumer

Statistical blunders expose administrative weaknesses

Information helps save lives and during a pandemic a free-flow of vital, accu

Vavuniya tusker’s demise DID TOO MANY ‘COOKS’ SPOIL JUMBO’S RECOVERY?

On June 11 Sri Lanka lost another one of its magnificent tuskers that succumb



See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.