The government needs to formulate a comprehensive programme of work for the North and East. The government needs to work with the elected representatives of the people, Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan said in Parliament yesterday. He was joining the Second Reading debate on Appropriation Bill 2017. The Opposition Leader said that there are sixteen TNA members and they are ready to work with the government to accomplish that task.
He said that the North and the East had been a much neglected area both before and after the war and the basic needs of the people such as rehabilitation, housing and livelihood including farming, fishing and animal husbandry should be fully met in 2017. “The suffering of these affected people cannot be a continuing phenomenon,” Sampanthan said. “People are tired of waiting patiently,” he said. He said that everybody in this country wants this country to be governed in keeping with the tenets of democracy.
Quoting article 21of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Opposition Leader said that everyone has the right to take part in the government of this country, directly or throug freely chosen representatives. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures. The will of the people as expressed in periodic and genuine elections by universal and equal suffrage shall be the basis of the authority of government. In terms of our constitution, the term of office of Parliament and the President under the earlier terminated law in keeping with the Constitution is six years. Under the 19th amendment, which the President who was the instrumental in introducing in Parliament, he reduced the term of the President to five years. Though he had been elected by the people for a period of six years, according to the 19th Amendment passed in Parliament after the January 8th Presidential election, the term of office of the President was reduced to five years.
Quoting what Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in his budget speech ;“we will continue to progress in the noble endeavor to strengthen democracy, fundamental rights, reconciliation and development for lasting peace, freedom and national integration. Fundamentally, the country is guided by a new vision of lasting peace, built on mutual respect and dialogue. To cement this process, we have formulated an ambitious reforms agenda encompassing all major spheres including social, political, economic and international relations. This national government of Yahapalanaya will focus on reforms to the constitution, restoration and strengthening of the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.” “The government is committed to giving this country a new economic, political and social future,” Minister Karunanayake said.
“The main political parties which have ruled the country since independence should come together to frame a Constitution for this country with the consent of other political parties and the people of this country. It will be based on the maximum possible contents within the framework of a single, undivided country. There were three constitutions earlier. The first constitution of 1947 was framed by the colonial rulers,” Opposition Leader Sampanthan said. “The second Constitution 1972, framed by the SLFP and six alliance partners without the consent of the other major political party, the UNP and all the political parties substantially representing the Tamil people and the third Constitution enacted in 1978 was framed by the UNP without the consent of other political parties, the SLFP all the political parties substantially representing the Tamil people,” he added.
“The 1972 and 78 Constitutions were partisan and framed by one political party with a few alliance partners without the consent of other political parties of the country more particularly without the consent of Tamil parties. It is anticipated that for the first time within the framework of a single, undivided country, the constitution evolved on the basis of a wide consensus will emerge and this Constitution will reflect the will of the people of this country and be the basis of the authority of government, as it was mentioned in article 21 of the Universal declaration of human rights.
For the first time in the history of this country, the political parties substantially representing the Tamil people, particularly the North and the East of the country will be a party to the constitution making process,” Sampanthan added. “This would enable the realization of the future vision for this country which was enunciated in the budget speech of the Finance Minister,” he said.