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Over centralization of Power is prime cause for war

Following is the full text of the declaration issued at the conclusion of the People’s Movement for Power Sharing National Delegates Conference 1st November 2008:

We the delegates assembled at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) on 1st November 2008 at National Delegates Conference of “Peoples Movement for Power Sharing” representing the Provinces of Uva, Central, North West, Sabaragamuwa, Vayamba, South Western and East affirm the following Declaration as partners of the “Peoples Movement for Power Sharing “.

We have realized that the over centralization of “Power” is the prime cause of the war the 30 years of war and the national conflict including the under development and poverty that prevailed in the country for decades.

All the political parties and the Government that came to power have failed to take effective steps for the “sharing of power”. Instead, they took further measures to centralize power. With the appointment of an Executive President, under 1978 Constitution, the situation reached its peak level. No elaboration is necessary to explain the fate that the country is facing today.

We who have participated in the workshops on “Power Sharing” for the past 12 months know the value of power sharing as a means to solve the grave political, social, and economic issues of the country. In the past the peoples participation in any issue including constitutional amendments was lacking. Taking all these factors into account we declare that the following measures should be taken for “Power Sharing” in the Country.

1. All the provisions of the Provincial Councils Act passed in 1987 under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution should be implemented.

2. A proper financial mechanism should be evolved to ensure the supply of funds from the Central Government and the resources to generate funds to the Provincial Councils.

3. Powers should be given to establish Province Police Service to help the civil administration and to keep law and order in the area.

4. Subjects like Land, Health, and Education should be devolved to all the Provincial Council in order to bring effective administration and to fulfill the needs of the people of all the Provinces without delay

5. A second chamber consisting of provincial elected members should be established to provide provincial administration in national level decision-making.

6. Supreme Court procedure should be expanded to ensure the rights of each unit when issues come up between and among the devolved units.

7. The public institutional system that serves the people should be separated from political influence so that they will be more independent and democratic.

8. Mechanisms to protect human rights should be established at provincial level and measures should be taken to allow those mechanisms to function independently and effectively.

9. The representations of provincial delegates should be ensured at the national planning level.

10. Laws should be formulated to protect the ethnic identity equitably at all decision making level.

11. The powers of the central {executive} government to dissolve the Provincial Councils should be transferred to the second chamber and the Supreme Court.

12. Through effective power sharing all efforts should be taken to find sustainable solutions to the national issues.

13. Priority should be given to the people living in the provinces when recruiting people in order to pave way for an efficient Provincial Public Service.

14. Independent Provincial Public Service Commission should be appointed.

15. Arrangements should be made to include all the above measures into the constitution and to safeguard the sovereignty of the constitution.

Specific proposals made by the delegates of Regional Conference held in Kurunegala on 13th September 2008.

Uva Province

• The sole right to impose taxes and the right to the ownership to such income vests with the Provincial Council.

• To reduce the number of representatives to Parliament and to increase representation to the Provincial Councils.

• To reduce the powers of the Governor and to increase the powers of the Provincial Council.

• To receive foreign aid with Governments approval ( Repayment by the Provincial Council)

North Western Province

• The present system of elections to the Provincial Councils should be changed.

• There should be 35% of women and also other ethnic groups representation at decision making level.

Central Province

• Implement the Provincial Council Finance Commission.

• Subjects like Land, Health and Education should be given to all Provincial Councils.

• Implement the 13th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution

North Central and Eastern Provinces

• Ministerial positions in the Provincial Council should be granted through the Senate.

• The Central Government funds must be shared with Provincial Councils on the basis of land, population and development.

• The administrative languages in the Provinces must be Sinhala and Tamil and English must be a link Language

• Protection of minorities in the Province must be assured

Sabaragamuwa Province

• Appoint a Local Legislative Commission comprising of 10 members as follows..

• Chief Minister 01, Representatives of the Chief Minister 01, Leader of the opposition 01, Representatives of the opposition 03, Representatives of the Government 03, An Advisor appointed with the concurrence of the chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition 01 (Without voting rights).

• Should remove Provincial Council’s special powers vested with the President

2 Comments

Why make it so complicated?

Start with ISGA as starting point for negotiations, and work towards 13th amendment.

But I do not think there is any Sinhalese Leader who has the 'guts' to talk about ISGA.

Posted by: aratai | November 6, 2008 05:57 PM

Very welcome initiatives!

But the measures to be taken needs refinement!

and I would like to make only a few observations.

• Both the Provincial Council Act No 42 of 1987 and the 13th Amendment to the

Constitution should be implemented.Not the Provincial Council Act under the 13th
Amendment.
• It is not the supply of funds from the centre to the Provinces.
It should be sharing of funds between the Centre and the Provinces
in the true sprit of the devolution.
• Why there must be a Provincial Council Finance Commission/In India they have a
Finance Commission at the state level for sharing of state funds with the local
bodies like Panchayats,
The powers of the Governor should be reduced and the powers of the Provincial Council
increased.

Posted by: Sri | November 8, 2008 03:35 AM

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