Chief Minister should focus on managing the Council, instead of causing enmity with the Government and the UN
Issuing a statement the Leader of Opposition of the Northern Provincial Council said, “The Northern Provincial Council has completed two years in office. It has proved to be inefficient and inept except in passing resolutions on matters not relevant to Provincial functions. So far about 230 such resolutions have been passed.”
Published below is the statement in full;
In response to a question raised by me in the Northern Provincial Council sitting on 08.10.2015 with regard to a letter sent by the Resident Coordinator of the UN to the Chief Minister, the Chief Minister read out a lengthy statement attacking the UN. His statement accuses the UN as trying to keep the Tamils submissive to the central Government.
The question I raised was whether the Resident Coordinator of the UN sent him a letter dated 28.08.2015 inter-alia stating as follows:
- You had recommended a person as an advisor to the Joined Needs Assessment (JNA), for which they have advised you that canvassing for a pre-selected candidate is untenable. They have also stated that you have pursued the central Government approval for the proposed special advisor.
- You had urged the UN office to advocate with the Government to enable equal partnership with NPC in the JNA, for which they have advised you to directly communicate with the Government.
- The UN has offered to arrange for you and your Board of Ministers a comprehensive briefing on the JNA; unfortunately you have not responded to their request.
- With regard to the Peace Building Fund the UN has advised you to convey all your concerns and comments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- The UN has pointed out their strong disagreement with your comment that the UN is not being sensitive to the needs of conflict affected people.
I also raised the issue that if the contents of the letter were true, why is that the Chief Minister has made such a blunder which led the UN Resident Coordinator to write a letter offending him.
CM’s reply to my question was akin to a Tamil proverb. “When a person was asked the direction to Vaddukoddai his reply was that two areca nuts for a cent”.
The focal point of the question was as to why he canvassed the UN to appoint one of his relatives as an advisor to the United Nations Joint Needs Assessment. (According to media reports the salary for that post was US $ 5,000.00 per mensum).
The said UN letter has reprimanded the Chief Minister for canvassing to appoint a particular person as an advisor and also for his ignorance that any request to the UN has to go through the Foreign Ministry.
In this regard the letter states as follows: “We regret that the appointment of the proposed Special Advisor was seen as an entitlement and discussions to partner with the UN have been held hostage to a positive outcome on this.”
It is unfortunate that the Chief Minister was unaware that official requests to a Foreign Country or to International agencies have to go through the Central Government. Unless the Constitution of Sri Lanka is amended or changed allowing the Provincial Councils to deal directly, this is the practice to be followed, which the Chief Minister as a former Judge of the Supreme Court should have been aware of.
During the first one year of the tenure of his office the Chief Minister was accusing the Governor and the Chief Secretary as causing hindrance for the smooth functioning of the Provincial Council. With the change of Government, this January, they both were transferred out. Then he started attacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resulting in strained relationship with him. Now he is accusing the United Nations. There is a proverb in Tamil that “A dancer who could not dance accused that the stage was not flat”
The Northern Provincial Council has completed two years in office. It has proved to be inefficient and inept except in passing resolutions on matters not relevant to Provincial functions. So far about 230 such resolutions have been passed.
It has failed to pass the necessary statutes. According to constitutional experts about 300 statutes have to be passed by a Provincial Council to make it fully functional on all the 37 subjects listed as Provincial subjects in the 13th amendment. So far the council has passed only four statutes, out which three are still awaiting Governor’s assent.
Not only the opposition members but also the ruling party members were accusing the Provincial administration in public as sitting ducks. There are number of issues the Provincial Council has to attend. Unemployment, housing, providing means of livelihood to the families of war victims and widows are some of the issues the Provincial Council has to focus its attention.
Instead of causing enmity with the Government and with the International agencies the Chief Minister has to concentrate on efficiently managing the NPC.
S. Thavarajah – Leader of Opposition, NPC