Some nationalistic MPs in the south demand repealing the 13th Amendment in the hope of totally abolishing provincial councils.

By Lionel Bopage – Dr. Lionel Bopage Sri Lanka is already deeply enmeshed with a crony economic system. As a consequence, businesses thrive not by managing risks, but by returns accumulated through nexus between the business and political classes. This is often achieved by state intervention rather than competition. The state exercises monopolist control over resources and money, that is made mostly through profiteering arrangements such as rent seeking. Entrepreneurship becomes stifled with hardly any value-adding taking place. This situation has spilled over into government, the politics, and the media distorting and…

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The strongest voice against 19A today is that of the highly learned Professor Gamini Lakshman Peiris whose leaps to and from political parties and policies is a display of political manoeuvre with hardly any matching.

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is the desire and goal of Pohottuva politics today. It is now more important that the economic crisis faced by the country and people, especially in the Covid19 situation. The strongest voice against 19A today is that of the highly learned Professor Gamini Lakshman Peiris, the GL swinger in governing politics in Sri Lanka; whose leaps to and from political parties and policies is a display of political manoeuvre with hardly any matching. The two-thirds majority the Pohottuva government obtained, thanks…

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Recent judgement by the Indian Supreme Court which held prominent advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court will have grave resonance in countries like Sri Lanka which have a history of stifling dissent through the device of contempt.

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardena (Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena is a civil liberties advocate, a columnist for The Sunday Times, Colombo and served on a Bar Council nominated committee in 2011 which drafted a Contempt of Court Act for Sri Lanka) The recent judgement by the Indian Supreme Court which held prominent advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court will have a ‘chilling effect’, a term used authoritatively by the Warren Court to protect First Amendment rights of speech and expression in the US, beyond India. It has grave resonance in countries…

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Ponnambalam hits back after being advised to be cautious

Parliamentarian Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam today hit back after being advised to be cautious on the statements he makes in Parliament. Former Army Commander and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Sarath Fonseka had earlier made reference to Ponnambalam in a speech he made in Parliament. Fonseka advised Ponnambalam to be cautious and warned Parliamentarian C.V Wigneswaran saying he will face the same consequences as certain others in the past if he undermines the Sinhalese community. Responding to Fonseka’s statement Ponnambalam said that he is very cautious and measured in what he says.…

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Declaration was to try and win the game – Chandimal

Army captain Dinesh Chandimal conceded that he opted to declare the innings when he had a chance to go onto score the highest First Class score by a Sri Lankan in a bid to win his team’s Premier League match against Saracens. The former Sri Lanka captain shifted to Army this season having spent more than a decade with NCC. Leading a young side, he reached 354 not out to go past Kithruwan Vithanage’s record for the highest individual score in domestic cricket in Sri Lanka. There was plenty of…

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Internal strife within ITAK takes disturbing turn

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The “Mathiya Seyal Kuzhu” (central working committee) of the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK) also known as the Federal Party will be meeting today (Aug 29) in Vavuniya. The committee is generally referred to as “Mathiya Kuzhu”(Central committee). The Central Working committee is the key representative body of the ITAK. It comprises representatives elected by each district as well as ex-officio members. The ITAK is the premier political party of the Sri Lankan Tamils of the Northern and Eastern provinces and the chief constituent of the three -party…

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The UNP: Dead or Alive?

Were the United National Party (UNP) and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe really rejected by the people at the August 5 parliamentary election to the extent that the party was wiped out from all districts it contested?    Had the two factions of the party led by Mr. Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa faced the election together, would not the UNP managed to win a few more seats than what the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) led by Premadasa had secured? Would not Mr. Wickremesinghe have fared better than Mr. Premadasa in terms…

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What Will Be the Fate of Religious Minorities in Sri Lanka?

Article 9 of Sri Lanka’s Constitution states: “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana.” The promise to establish a government that upholds the values of the Buddhist Sinhala majority was central to President Gotabaya’s party platform in the presidential and parliamentary elections. Following his party’s win in the parliamentary election, he has begun to take steps towards keeping that promise. The fear is that the president’s commitment to prioritising Buddhism, the government’s majority in parliament and…

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Never Lose Sight Of The Need To Be Objective

By C.V. Wigneswaran – Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP I met a very senior respected Sinhala Politician a day or two ago. He made a pertinent observation. He said my speeches were not vituperative nor abusive. He advised “Never lose sight of the need to be objective”. I truly value his advice. I hate none. But I love Truth. I have come to conclusions about our past after studying certain historical facts. If my conclusions are wrong others must point out the shortcomings in my conclusions. Instead to get upset and abuse me…

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No development projects should be carried out without MY approval, says MP Angajan

A District Development Committee (DDC) Co-Chair wrote to the District Secretary this week instructing him not to implement any ministerial development programmes or authorised projects without his approval in the district. Parliamentarian Angajan Ramanathan, who was appointed as Jaffna DDC Co-Chair last week by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during the Cabinet swearing in ceremony, wrote to the Jaffna District Secretary on Tuesday. In the letter, seen by the Sunday Times, Mr Ramanathan requested the details of projects currently under the implementation process in the District’s Divisional Secretariats. “All projects and development…

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Provincial councils to be scraped?

The National Joint Committee (NJC) has urged the Government to scrap the provincial council system and do away with the existing proportional representation system of elections. The NJC, while expressing confidence that the Government would fulfil its pledge to remove numerous provisions introduced to the Constitution through many amendments, expressed concern about a reported statement made by Justice Minister Ali Sabry that the ‘provincial councils would not be abolished’. “We have now existed without these provincial councils for almost three years. The provincial councils are white elephants which this country…

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TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Says Party Will Go To Courts Against the Presidential Task Force on Archaeology in the Eastern Province

TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Says Party Will Go To Courts Against the Presidential Task Force on Archaeology in the Eastern Province if it acts contrary to the provisions of the Antiquities Act and usurps the powers of the Director General of Archaeology (DGA). Posted by Administrator on 27 August 2020, 2:22 am By P. K. Balachandran The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has threatened to go to court if the Presidential Task Force on Archaeology in the Eastern Province acts contrary to the provisions of the Antiquities Act and usurps the powers of…

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Tamil Nationalism Has Not Failed; It Is In Hibernation!

By C.V. Wigneswaran – Justice C.V. Wigneswaran Someone asked me: What is your take on the results of the Election in the North and East? Have the Tamil Nationalists failed? My response was: Certainly not. Tamil people have reacted to the selfish policy-less behaviour of the TNA. The erstwhile TNA votes have got divided mostly among the three parties – TNA, Cycle party and us. Some have shown their disapproval of the TNA by voting to the State favoured parties. Many who so voted felt obliged to repay those who helped them…

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One country, one law as eyes set on 13th A

Minister Weerasekara is someone ideologically opposed to power devolution or power sharing. He is a strong believer of the unitary character of the Constitution with central control. He is also someone with a hardline approach in this respect.  The handpicking of him to handle the Provincial Council system speaks for itself as a result. Undoubtedly, the government is bracing for a fresh look at the Provincial Councils which has remained defunct since 2017 due to the  inability to conduct elections over a technical issue in the law.  The Government’s intention…

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Need For Inclusive Nationalism Plus

There were also references to the need to do away with the 13th Amendment that devolved power to the provinces, or at least abolish the devolved powers over police and land. In contrast, inclusive nationalism is consistent with the politics of compromise. Therefore, it is important that nationalism should be balanced by an emphasis on equality-based pluralism for citizens. Where people of different identities share a common space, the state needs to ensure there is equal rights, equal treatment and equal protection to all its citizens. This would mean, for…

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Answering Wiggy’s Racism with Sinhala Racism not the Solution

By Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe The speech of the former Supreme Court Judge, former Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, and the new Jaffna District Parliamentarian, CV. Wigneswaran in his first address to the new Parliament has caused more controversy in the country and internationally than the President’s speech at the opening of the Ninth Parliament. His speech aroused suspicion and fear about creating a new round of ethnic conflict amongst Sinhalese, Tamils , and or Muslims, regardless of race. History is the study of the past.  It’s the exaggerated…

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Moragoda tipped to be next SL envoy to India

By Gagani Weerakoon Former Minister MilindaMoragoda is tipped to be the next Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, government sources claimed. Meanwhile, sources close to Moragoda confirmed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a bid to have close relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will appoint Moragoda with powers of a Cabinet Minister. This will be the first such instance where Sri Lanka is appointing a head of a diplomatic mission with similar powers to that of a Cabinet Minister. Moragoda was a Member of Parliament from 2001 to 2010…

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Two-metre social distancing rule ‘based on outdated science,’ academics say

The two-metre physical distancing rule to curb the spread of coronavirus is based on “outdated science,” a group of academics have said. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, there should be “graded recommendations” for different distancing rules in different settings, they argued. Writing in The BMJ, the team of researchers said this would provider greater protection for people in high risk settings and greater freedoms for people in lower risk settings. They added that this would “potentially enable a return towards normality in some aspects of social and economic life”. Distancing rules should…

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GTF extends cooperation to newcomers, reiterates commitment to partnership with TNA

The UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is ready to extend cooperation to Ahila Illankai Tamil Congress (AITC) and Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK) led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and C.V. Wigneswaran, respectively. AITC won two seats, including one National List whereas the TMTK secured one. GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran told The Island that the grouping would continue to work with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as in the past but would very much like to extend cooperation to the new parties as well. Both AITC and TMTK hadn’t been represented in parliament…

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HAKEEM calls for revision of SJB constitution

SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem called for the revision of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) constitution which he said was drafted hurriedly before the parliamentary election on August 5. He said that this has already been taken up with the SJB leadership.“The constitution of the coalition must be fine-tuned to address the multiplicity of policies and programs of all parties that there might be a unified vision for the country, taking into consideration the views of both the majority and the minority,” the SLMC leader told the Sunday Observer. He said…

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