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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2555

Minister Devananda welcomes the devolution proposals

Colombo, 25 January, (Asiantribune.com): Douglas Devananda an elected member of parliament from the Jaffna electoral district, who is also the Leader of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party and Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare welcomes Sri Lanka Government move to implement the 13th Amendment of the Constitution.

While thanking Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse for coming forward to implement the devolutionary proposals, he said that implementing the 13th amendment in full may not be the final political solution, but it is a great leap forward towards achieving that goal. He added that it will act as a catalyst for a confidence building process, amongst deferent communities in Sri Lanka.

Minister Douglas Devananda also emphasised that rejuvenating the defunct North and East provincial councils by giving political leadership, will help to ease the day-to-day sufferings of the people living in these provinces to a greater extent. It will also help to build a true Sri Lankan identity.

Given below the full text of the speech made by Minister Douglas Devananda on the occasion of handing over the APRC proposal to President Mahinda Rajapakse at President Secretariat on 23rd January 2008:

His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse,
Hon. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake,
Minister and Chairman of the APRC Hon. Prof. Tissa Vitharana,
Hon. Ministers,
Party Leaders,
Members of APRC and other distinguished guests.

Aybowan, Vanakkam, Aslam Alaikum

It is a historic occasion today in the 60 years of independence of our country, that for the first time under the leadership of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse’s initiatives are being taken to devolve power, in word and deed, to the North and East provinces.

Two decades have gone since signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord. Sri Lanka has seen five Presidents since then. I have taken up the issue of implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution in full as an interim measure, with four presidents, except with J R Jayawardena. I am proud to mention that it is President Mahinda Rajapakse who had finally taken the bold initiative to make it a reality. It is His Excellency’s vision of differentiating the problem of the Tamil Speaking People from that of the LTTE that has led him to take this bold step.

It is my fervent hope that had the Governments in the past implemented the 13th amendment wholeheartedly, and in its true spirit, today the political equation might have been different.

I frequently use a proverb that “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, this is what I wish to say to the Tamil Speaking People and to the critics about the implementation of the 13th amendment. I also use another axiom, which I wish to remind to the Tamil Speaking People at this moment. I quote “Though she weep with the pain of parturition, she herself must bring forth the child”.

Implementing the 13th amendment in full may not be the final political solution, but it is a great leap forward towards achieving that goal. It will act as a catalyst for a confidence building process, amongst deferent communities in Sri Lanka.
Rejuvenating the defunct North and East provincial councils by giving political leadership, will help to ease the day-to-day sufferings of the people living in these provinces to a greater extent. It will also help to build a true Sri Lankan identity.

I am really happy today and thankful to His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapakse for his initiative to fulfil the dream of the late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi who scarified his life for the sake of bringing peace, in the Island nation. I also take this opportunity to thank His Excellency on behalf of Tamil Speaking People for his political will to implement the 13th amendment in full without delay and the actions taken to re-activate the North and East provincial councils.

I also wish to thank the Chairman and the members of the APRC who have contributed a lot to make it happen.

May I conclude with what Jawaharlal Nehru told his countrymen on the eve of India’s Independence in the midnight of 14th August 1947, I quote:

“The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers ; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.” Un-quote.

Thank you.

- Asian Tribune -

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