Former Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday said the Government should not fear international criticism over the issue of the 13th Amendment but should have an alternative if it wanted to scrap it.
Bogollagama pointed out that whatever solution the government had the 13th Amendment should be placed before the people for approval.
He said if the government was of the view that the 13th Amendment did not qualify as a solution to the problem it was time to look beyond such a procedure through consensus among all parties concerned.
Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara on Friday reiterated that the government was committed to protect and uphold the 13th Amendment of the Constitution and added that only a small fraction within the government wanted it scrapped.
“There can be constitutional amendments, but the government will not abolish it because it has already expressed its commitment to the 13th Amendment,” he said.
Former Parliamentarian and President’s Counsel, S.L. Gunasekera claimed it could be abolished only by this government which enjoyed a two thirds majority in Parliament.
He said the 13th Amendment should be repelled as “it is no use to anyone except to provincial councilors, their families, and party hangers-on”.
Gunasekera said even if one were to exclude the North and East one would see that provincial councils have done absolutely nothing for the country. He also blamed the government for its conduct since the end of the war.The reason for the government being reluctant to do away with the 13th Amendment is because like all governments, “it too is power hungry and wishes to remain in power forever,” he added.
Senior Attorney-at-Law Gomin Dayasiri said this government had a golden opportunity to repel the 13th Amendment as it possessed the required 2/3 majority in Parliament.
“It is doubtful whether any future government would enjoy the luxury of a 2/3 majority. As such, this is a case of now or never as time is running out,” he stressed.
Dayasiri stated if the entire 13th Amendment couldn’t be jettisoned, steps should be taken to ensure that Land and Police powers were vested with the central government
By Arthur Wamanan