The Catholic Bishops’ Conference said, yesterday, that the 20th Amendment should not be proceeded with, in its entirety, and what the country needed was a new Constitution.
In a statement titled ‘The mind of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka on 20th Amendment’ and signed by Rev Dr J. Winston S Fernando Bishop of Badulla and Rev Dr JD Anthony Jayakody, Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo said: “In the wake of the change of government following the Presidential and Elections, the Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka is constrained to share its grave Concern to protect the sacredness of the State that transcends the mutable political and governing bodies, The 1978 Constitution changed primarily the Westminster type Cabinet Democracy to an Executive Presidency. then 1901 Amendments halve been made citing, various reasons. However, one cannot deny that the main reasons have been to ensure economic growth, national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the island nation. Apparently the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution under consideration, does not seem to put forward any other rationale for the move.
“Whether it is an amendment or the drafting of a new Constitution the sovereignty of the people should always be safeguarded and protected. In all probability the contents of the 20th Amendment will find its way into the envisioned new Constitution. It is imperative then to closely examine the proposed 20th Amendment before it is voted upon in the Parliament. The Executive Presidency has been the bone of contention since it was created in 1978. All elected Presidents since 1994 vowed to abolish the Executive Presidency with powers vested in it by the 1978 Constitution and transfer power to the democratically elected Parliament but none had the political will to do so for reasons not Unknown to tire people. We need to emphasize that concentration of power in an individual without checks and balances does not augur well for a Democratic Socialist Republic.
“A two-thirds majority of the members in the parliament based on political parties does not necessarily manifest the true conscience of the people. Therefore, let the entire membership of the parliament appoint an Independent Constitutional Council comprising a majority of men and women of proven integrity from the society who will take care of drafting a new Constitution which ensures transparent democracy, the rule of law and the equality of all citizens It is our view that rules need riot to be changed due to the vagaries and inconsistencies of individual players, but to identify and elect or appoint suitable persons who will abide by the rules to safeguard truth, justice, and the well-being of the country. It is the bounden duty of the democratically elected Parliament to create wholesome governing structures capable of moving this country forward. The drafters must beware to plug the loopholes that lead to multiple interpretations. Greater clarity is needed if the Constitution is to serve the citizenry. Thus the 20th Amendment should not be proceeded with, in its entirety, and instead a new Constitution needs to be the national priority at this moment.”
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
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