The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says the Parliament Select Committee appointed by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to make proposals on constitutional reforms, will have no credibility whatsoever as there are no opposition members of Parliament in the committee.
TNA leader R. Sampanthan, in a statement, said that the TNA resisted pressure to join the PSC to bring about constitutional reforms until a clear agenda for the Committee was set.
He says it is now clear the agenda is to incrementally water down the already-limited provisions of the 13th Amendment, first by rendering the PC List superfluous and second by restricting the freedom of peoples to determine administrative boundaries through Parliament and finally, by removing all constitutional provisions on the devolution of land and police powers.
“There is no doubt that the proposed PSC will be the vehicle to achieve the above objectives,” he said.
Sampanthan says the attempt by the Government to weaken the 13th Amendment comes despite its continued commitment to India and the UN to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in full, and go beyond and build upon it so as to achieve meaningful devolution.
“The Government has reportedly decided to bring some of these amendments as urgent Bills and refer the others to the PSC,” he said.
The TNA leader also noted that Professor Tissa Vitharana, who headed the APRC and who kept inviting the TNA to the PSC from 2011, has been left out of the PSC while Minister Rauf Hakeem, who told the Indian Parliamentary delegation last year that he will act as a bridge between the Government and the TNA at the PSC deliberations has been left out and Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who only last week invited the TNA to confidently come into the PSC on the basis that he would support us, has also been left out of the PSC.
“Finally we wish to state that in the absence of any Opposition member of Parliament, this PSC will be nothing but a sub-committee of the Government Parliamentary Group and not a Parliamentary Select Committee and will have no credibility whatsoever,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)