By Ashwin Hemmathagama Our Lobby Correspondent
Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday questioned the Government in Parliament over the lack of a unilateral decision with regard to the 13th Amendment.
Delivering a statement on par with the Standing Order 23 (2), he said:
“The Government of Sri Lanka and the Secretary General of the United Nations issued a joint statement on 26 May 2009. According to this statement, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed his willingness to hold wide discussions with all political parties and to institute the 13th Amendment to bring in long-lasting peace to Sri Lanka.
“On several occasions, the Government expressed the strength of the devolution of power, which would be introduced in the 13th Amendment. Joining India to issue another joint statement, the Government stated on 17 May 2011 that ongoing discussions with representatives of Tamil political parties will help to establish lasting peace and that the 13th Amendment is the proposal which will be used to decentralise power.”
“However, we hear different stories from the Government. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says the 13th Amendment should be negated. Jathika Hela Urumaya holds the same position, issuing a statement on it. Minister Wimal Weerawansa, sending a letter to the President, has requested a referendum to cancel the 13th Amendment.
“Minister Dinesh Gunwardena and his political party also ask for its cancellation. Government media says the same. Has the Government changed its previous position or else do the officials, Government politicians, and media hold a different opinion when compared to the Government? These different statements and ideas tarnish the reputation of this Government in local as well as in international arenas,” added Wickremesinghe.
Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management and the Leader of the House of Parliament Nimal Siripala de Silva in response to the questions raised by Opposition Leader, clarified the Government’s position and stressed on the request to disregard individual comments.