The Sunday Leader

Above The Cabinet, For The People

  • National Executive Committee

By Waruni Karunarathne

The National Executive Committee that Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) proposed met last Thursday and discussed matters related to the suggested constitutional reforms.

The committee consisted of the leaders of the coalition parties discussed at the meeting several key issues of the 100 day programme brought forth in the election manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena. Including President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Minister Champika Ranawaka, Sarath Fonseka, Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan and Minister Rishad Bathiudeen met last Thursday for the initial round of discussion.

At the meeting, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake discussed the timeframe under which constitutional reforms will be made and as to how the proposals for reforms will be presented to parliament. The meeting also focused on the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the National Drugs Policy/the National Pharmaceutical Policy Act  and other legal issues that have been the concerns of the coalition. The members of the committee further discussed establishing a system to investigate and taking action against those involved in corruption – and preventing malpractices through a powerful Auditing Commission.

Even though the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) refused to hold any cabinet position in the new cabinet, they came forward to work in the National Executive Committee which is to monitor the implementation of the reforms that the new government suggested with their 100 day programme.

JVP comrade Nalinda Jayathissa told The Sunday Leader that the National Executive Council was proposed to monitor the 100 day programme of the new government and it consists mostly of party leaders that came together to support President Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election. After receiving presidential consent as well as other party members’, the National Executive Council commenced its work last week.

“This council will monitor the implementation of the proposed activities of the 100 day programme – mainly the constitutional reforms to make sure that the 18th Amendment will be repealed and the 17th Amendment will be brought back. This process will pass the Right to Information Act,” Jayathissa added. The JVP reminded that there was a huge talk about charging the people who were involved in corruption during the election campaign and the council is expected to make sure that those who have been involved in corruption will be brought in front of the law. For that purpose, he said that the Bribery and Corruption Commission should be made effective and in addition there needs to be a commission that has power to take actions related to bribery and corruption cases.

The JVP reminded that with the 100 day programme the new government has promised to bring relief to people. “This commission has to make sure those promises are kept- the promises such as salary increments, price reduction of the essential goods. During the 100 days, the National Executive Council should push the government to ensure these activities in the programme are implemented,” Jayathissa added. The council is also expected to set up technical audit committees and ensure that the constitutional reforms are done in this effect. However he explained that the mandate of the council is to monitor and guide the process but not to implement the activities. He added that the parliament needs to implement certain work while certain ministries and other institutes have to implement others- the National Executive Council will represent people and their hope, and ensure that new government achieve its target as promised.

“This is not a constituted institution but it can act above the cabinet and make decisions. It has the ability to influence cabinet decisions and take decisions above the cabinet. But the council will not interfere in activities of different ministries. Looking into the activities of different ministries is a responsibility of the relevant ministers,” Jayathissa added.

Attorney-at-Law J.C Weliamuna said that forming one executive committee to look into reforms by combining all the committees, comprising JVP and TNA as well, is a good idea. However he added that he had no idea as yet about the structure of the council. He said that at present it was being discussed at the highest level.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that his party leader R. Sampanthan, is representing at the National Executive Committee. He added that some refers to this committee as an advisory committee and some refers to it as an executive committee or a political committee and according to his understanding the purpose of the committee is to look into the implementation of the 100 day programme. He said that Sampanthan already took part in a meeting of the National Executive Committee held mid last week. However according to him, even though the TNA is in support of repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing back the 17th Amendment and other suggested changes in the 100 day programme, there is a difference of opinion within the TNA about the programme as it does not have any provision on addressing the Tamil national issue. He added that Sampanthan may be in support of the suggested changes but there are some within the TNA who have concerns related to this matter.

Even though the TNA is in support of the suggested changes, Premachandran added that the TNA does not have to accept everything that this new government offers and that is why they refused to accept cabinet ministerial positions. “If we are going to accept their portfolio we have to support them in term of everything which is not possible as far as the TNA is concerned. The TNA would only support the government from outside for those actions that will benefit the people – and will not support to any other matters,” he added.

According to him, the TNA do not expect that the new government will address the Tamil national issue within their 100 day programme and there has not been such promise made – and therefore they will have to discuss with those who will come to power after the general election. “SLFP and UNP are going to face the general election separately and under this circumstance we do not know who will come to power. At that point we will have to discuss with the relevant parties the Tamil issue and see what their position in order to extend our support – what we have right now is a temporary condition,” he added.

He explained that the concern related to lands, missing persons, resettlement and political prisoners continue to remain the TNA’s prime issues. According to him, the TNA has already taken up these concerns with the new President, Prime Minister and even with some members of the advisory committee and will continue to bring them up till these issues are resolved.

3 Comments for “Above The Cabinet, For The People”

  1. Ma Per

    Good to have the JVP and people like Pazthali Ranjan Ramanayake, Arjuna Ranatunga, some of the TNA and Muslim party representatives also in this coommittee to investigate crimes and corruption. QUICK AND IIMMEDIATE ACTION IS REQUIRED OTHERWISE THESE SHARKS WILL SLIP AWSAY AMD BE PROTECTED BY THE COUNTRIES TO WHICH THEY HV FLEED. IF THEY HV ALREADY ESCAPED, THEN THEIR SRI LANNKAN CITIZENSHIP SHD BE CANCELLED SO THAT THEY MAY NEVER RETURN TO SL.

  2. Kingsly

    It is vital for the new cabinet to display simplicity and openness. Sadly the previous govt sole intention was to have luxuries at the expense of the poor masses and plunder the nation. They were given a blank cheque by those who probably had no clue of good governance. While his maintenance alone was Rs 8.6 billion more than the British queen. In addition his pool of vehicles costed more than Rs 5 billion. Recent news indicated that 700 vehicle belonging to presidents secretariat is unaccounted. Ministers had fleets of vehicle many more than 10- with vehicle each for wife, children, brothers, sisters and rest of the family at state expense including petrol and maintenance. THIS SHOULD STOP as rest of the family are not govt. employees. They also had security of more than 40, some to take kids to school and wife to do marketing !!!. Why? There is no war. Prohibitive costs decimated Lanka for luxurious life styles of hundreds of so called ministers.

    Let there be standards. Let them lead by example. Let them NOT zoom past like aliens but stop at yellow pedestrian crossings. Get them back down to earth!! Each minister should not have more than 1 official vehicle. Minimise security. Billions could be saved for the poor with such measures.

    At the same time, let them show that they care. Let them feel the life of ordinary citizens of Lanka. This means using state facilities just like any other citizen. Let the health minister go to govt hospitals and take treatment like ordinary citizens with out resorting to posh private sector. Let the minister of transport, even at times use public transport. First hand information, experience is vital to improve such services. Prevent ministers influencing decisions of the state sectors purely for their gains. Just like national advisory council just formed, let their be advisory councils in all state institutions. Let them appoint professionals based on standards to manage state establishments, not political uneducated henchman and family members.
    Let the ‘Yahapalanaya’ felt in all sectors of govt. starting with exemplary life styles of the president and ministers!!

  3. 700 hundred veichles used by the president,one to travel, 2nd car for to sleep, 3rd car for birtroom for him, night he sleep with woman specisl air conditation car,the president srilanka xmr Rajapaska must take action against him send to jail 100 days program,

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