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Sampanthan reminds Prez of meeting that never took place, urges speedy conclusion of new constitution making process

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Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan, in a letter delivered to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has emphasized the need to bring the ongoing constitutional making process to a successful conclusion as early as possible.

 In the letter dated Aug 14, Sampanthan, who represents the Trincomalee District has reminded President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that though a scheduled meeting between him and the TNA never took place, the TNA remains ready to meet him.

The following is the text of the letter a copy of which was also sent to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa: “By letter dated 07/06/2021 I was informed that your Excellency and the Tamil National Alliance would meet on 16th of June 2021 at 4pm at the Presidential Secretariat. On the 15th evening I was informed by telephone that the meeting was postponed and that an early date would be given for the meeting soon, this was confirmed by a further telephone call the next morning. I have subsequently received two letters informing me that the said meeting would be soon re-fixed for an early date. I have received no further communication. I hereby inform your Excellency, that whenever Your Excellency so decides, we will meet with Your Excellency.

May I state that the following, our country since its independence has thus far had three different Constitutions.

1). The Constitution framed before independence by the Government in the United Kingdom based on their own constitutional practices.

This has now changed substantially. Wide powers have been devolved to both Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which are historically inhabited by Scottish and Irish people with their own independent identities. Each of these territories now have their own independent legislatures and Executives Chief Minister and Cabinet of Ministers. They are governed within the frame work of the United Kingdom as per the democratic verdicts of their respective people delivered at regular democratic processes. This is what the Tamil people with their own independent identity have claimed in their areas of historical habitation within a united undivided Sri Lanka through their democratic verdicts for over the past six decades.

2). The 1972 First Republican Constitution enacted within two years by a majority party which was able to muster a two third majority in Parliament without looking for consensus. The Tamil people did not subscribe to the making of the 1972 Constitution.

3). The 1978 Second Republican Constitution enacted within less than a month, by a majority party which was able to muster a two thirds majority in Parliament without looking for consensus. The Tamil people did not subscribe to the making of the 1978 Constitution.

Since 1978 we have been governed under the 1978 2nd Republican Constitution, though this Constitution has been rejected by the people who are sovereign, at every National Election since 1994. We have thus been ruled under a Constitution that does not bear the will or the consent of the people. The Tamil people have since 1956 in their historical habitation rejected both the 1972 and 1978 First and Second Republican Constitution, and they too have been governed without their will or consent.

The above constitute violations of international covenants and instruments to which Sri Lanka has acceded and accepted.

After the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 India offered her good offices to resolve the national issue in Sri Lanka, which Sri Lanka accepted and the Constitution making processes commenced. Conferences, meetings, and discussions took place in Sri Lanka, India and abroad in foreign countries. The government of Sri Lanka political leaders and parties participated.

India, the Co – Chairs comprising Norway, Japan, the United States of America, the European Union and other countries were involved. Several of them made public statements in regard to the processes. The Secretary General of the United Nations and the United Nations Human Rights Council were involved. The Sri Lankan government made several commitments to these bodies in public which are all a matter of record and have to be fulfilled. I will not repeat the same because in my earlier letter I have reflected to same in detail.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted in 1988 this was found to be inadequate and since 1988 every successive government has taken steps and agreed to build on the 13th Amendment to bring about meaningful devolution. There has been substantial consensus derived from these processes.

The Constitution making process should not be delayed any longer. The 1972 and 1978 constitutions took less than 2 years and one month respectively. The present process has been ongoing for more than the past thirty-two years.”



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Explanation sought over Monetary Board Secy.’s sudden transfer

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Rohini calls for social media campaign against govt. move

By Shamindra Ferdinando

 The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has sought an explanation from the government over the sudden removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, K.M.A.N. Daulagala on16 Sept.

Matale District lawmaker Rohini Kaviratne yesterday (19) questioned the rationale behind Assistant Governor Daulagala’s removal. The former UNP MP emphasised that Daulagala had played a critically important role in the Central Bank’s response in the wake of Treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016. Therefore, her removal was quite suspicious and might facilitate efforts to suppress those scams as well as future frauds as well.

MP Kaviratne represented the UNP during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Prime Minister (2015-2019).

Declaring that Daulagaha had been at the forefront of the efforts to create a clean administration, Kaviratne stressed that she was second only to Rohini Nanayakkara of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and earned the respect of all for courageously taking a stand against fraudulent practices.

The SJB spokesperson said that Daulagala, in her capacity as the head of the non-banking sector financial institutions, handled the ETI investigation at the onset (2010-2012) of the probe. In the wake of her recommendations pertaining to the ETI being rejected by the Central Bank, she received a transfer to another section, MP Kaviratne said.

The Monetary Board is responsible for making all policy decisions related to the management, operation and administration of the Central Bank. It comprises Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle, Sanjeeva Jayawardena, PC, Dr (Mrs) Ranee Jaymaha and Samantha Kumarasinghe.

Cabraal, who served as the Governor (2006-2014) recently replaced W.D. Lakshman on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request.

Kaviratne asked who had benefited from the removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board?

MP Kaviratne said that Daulagala had been involved in the internal process following the first Treasury bond scam and the subsequent developments, including the coordination between the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Department pertaining to the Treasury bond scams. Urging women’s organsations, civil society and law abiding citizens to take up Daulagala’s removal through social media, lawmaker Kaviratne said that the issue at hand should receive attention of the parliament.

“The Parliament is responsible for public finance. The Parliament cannot turn a blind eye to what is going on in the Central Bank. The national economy is in such a perilous state every effort should be made to investigate past frauds and thwart future adventures,” the MP said.

MP Kaviratne also recalled the role played by Deepa Seneviratne, Superintendent of Public Debt at the time of the first Treasury bond scam in exposing the then Governor’s culpability. “Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to change the direction regardless of exposure of past misdeeds,” she said.

Declaring that she had no intention of protecting any wrongdoer under any circumstances, MP Kaviratne said that the incumbent government should ensure transparency and accountability in public finance.

Examination of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), COPA (Committee on Public Accounts) and COPF (Committee on Public Finance) proceedings revealed a frightening picture, lawmaker Kaviratne said. Shocking revelations made by the watchdog committee should be examined against the backdrop of overall deterioration of the national economy over the past several years, the MP said.

She said that it would be a grave mistake on the government’s part to blame the current crisis on the raging Covid-19 epidemic. Acknowledging the difficulties caused by the economic downturn, MP Kaviratne said that the country was paying a huge price for unbridled waste, corruption, irregularities and negligence.

The MP asserted that the citizenry could play a bigger role in a political campaign on social media. The vast majority of those who use social media strengthened democratic opposition, she said. Removal of Daulagala could be a rallying point, she said, urging public onslaught on the SLPP government.

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Those responsible for Easter carnage will be haunted eternally – Bishop Galle

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Text and pictures by PRIYAN DE SILVA

The Chief Celebrant of the 114th annual feast of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara, Bishop of the Diocese of Galle, Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe told a virtual congregation that the conscience of those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage would never be at peace and it would haunt them eternally.

 The celebrations of the 114th annual Feast of the National shrine of Our Lady of Matara commenced on 05 September with the raising of the flagstaff and ended on Sunday 12 September. This year’s feast was held in keeping with strict health guidelines sans public participation.

 Rev Dr. Wickremasinghe reiterated that it was the wish of the general public, especially all Christians that those who carried out and those masterminded and those who knew but did not prevent the Easter Sunday carnage would be exposed and Justice served. “It is our prayer that the divine father guides the authorities in their endeavours” the Bishop added

 Rev. Wickremesinghe also called upon every person including decision-makers to heed the advice of the experts and act intelligently to overcome the pandemic.

 The Marian procession carrying the miraculous statue of our lady of Matara. accompanied by clergy and security personnel paraded the town, concluding this year’s festivities.

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Wild jumbos destroy houses in search of newly harvested paddy

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BY CYRIL WIMALASURENDRE

KANDY— Herds of wild elephants raid Ududumbara and Minipe area sdestroying houses in search of newly harvested paddy.

Farmers of Minipe, Hasalaka and Udadumbara keep paddy in their houses as they are without proper storage facilities.

Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon visited the house of a farmer destroyed by elepheants in Kongahaela, Hasalaka.

The victim informed the District Secretary Tennakoon that a herd of elephants including young ones were roaming had attacked his house.

Similar complaints were made to the District Secretary by farmers at Minipe, Hasalaka, Welgala, Ulpathagama and Udunuwara.

The farmers said at least they should be provided with an adequate number of elephant crackers to scare the elephants away. The farmers had to travel about 30 km to the Randenigala Wildlife Office office to receive one cracker each, they said, adding that they needed many more.

District secretary Tennakoon told the farmers that steps would be taken to resolve the issue this year by putting up an elephant  fence around the affected villages of Ududumbara, Medsadumbara, Minipe and Hasalaka sector.

The project would cost about Rs. 100 million. The length of the fence would be about 43 km, he said.

Divisional Secretary of Minipe Nuwan Hemachandra and Deputy Director of Plan Implementation Palitha Rajapakse were present.

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