Another important development this week is the government’s decision to amend the terms of the reference of the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) (revealed in the Sunday Times of August 28) to address Tamil grievances. The move follows the resumption of the dialogue between a government delegation and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). In the wake of this, both the TNA as well as the UNP are expected to name representatives of their respective parties to serve in the PSC. Here is the full text of the new terms of reference and the UPFA parliamentarians who are moving the motion:
“A. D. Susil Premajayantha
Patali Champika Ranawaka
Basil Rohana Rajapaksa
V. S. Radhakrishnan
Select Committee of Parliament to recommend and report political and constitutional measures to empower the people of Sri Lanka as one nation,-
WHEREAS a unique opportunity has arisen for the people of Sri Lanka to unite and work together as a nation towards the economic, social and political development of the country and its citizens;
AND WHEREAS to this end it is opportune to take steps to enhance the unity of the people of Sri Lanka and empower them to take decisions and engage in actions towards their economic, social and political development;
AND WHEREAS a Select Committee of Members of Parliament being a committee of the elected representatives of the people is best equipped to determine the nature and scope of steps to be taken to enable the aforesaid.
This Parliament resolves as follows:
A Select Committee of Parliament be appointed to recommend to this House within 6 months the initiative appropriate to achieve political and constitutional measures to-
(a) enhance the unity of the people of Sri Lanka;
(b) further empower the people to work as a nation; and
(c) enable the people to take decisions and engage in actions towards their economic, social and political development.
2. (a) That the Committee and its Chairman shall be nominated by Mr. Speaker.
(b) That notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 95, the Committee shall consist of not more than thirty one (31) members.
3. The said Select Committee of Parliament is empowered to-
(a) determine its quorum,
(b) summon such persons and documents as it deemed necessary;
(c) examine, on oath or affirmation and person so summoned;
(d) continue notwithstanding the adjournment of Parliament from time to time, and
(e) submit interim reports from time to time.”
In the earlier reference, there was reference to “a unique opportunity” having arisen for people of Sri Lanka to work together as a nation towards economic, social and political development of the country and its citizen. This provision has been deleted and the new provision states “Whereas it is now necessary to devise a constitutional framework in such manner as to ensure that all People’s will preserve and promote their respective identities and live with dignity and security as one nation.”
Also removed is a provision which says “…to this end it is opportune to take steps to enhance the unity of the people of Sri Lanka and empower them to take decision and engage in actions towards their economic, social and political development.” The new provision added is “….such unity will promote socio, economic, political and cultural development of the peoples and the country.”
Also removed are three specific clauses: “(a) enhance the unity of the people of Sri Lanka; (b) further empower the people to work as a nation; and (c) enable the people to take decisions and engage in actions towards their economic, social and political development.” Three new clauses that will replace them are “(a) ensure that all Peoples will preserve and promote their respective identities and live with dignity and security as one nation. (b) enhance the unity of Peoples of Sri Lanka; and (c) empower the People and the country to promote socio, economic, political and cultural development.
The resolution is listed in the Addendum to the Order Book of Parliament as notice of motions for which no dates have been fixed. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa is to announce the composition of the PSC after consultation with party leaders.
- taken form the political column of the Sunday Times