Written by Tharushan Fernando
05 Dec, 2015 | 8:07 pm
A seminar organised by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, together with the Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka, under the topic A New Constitution for Sri Lanka Through Inclusive Participation was held on Friday.
President of BASL,Geoffrey Alagaratnam PC, speaking on the occasion:
In Sri Lanka, there is much promise and hype about a new constitution. There appears to be some activity towards this, though perhaps, not at the expected pace or at the expected level of transparency. Our political history should have more than convinced us by now that democracy is too precious to be entirely left in the hands of any politician. Our past will also demonstrate that constitutions of our country, and even amendments, have been hoisted on the country by politicians for their own self-serving, if not, ulterior purposes.
He further stated:
We have come to a significant crossroad. We have confronted abuse of power by those in government and at times unbridled abuse and aggression carried out with impunity. The institutions to protect us have been weakened, if not prostituted, and we may rightly conclude there were insufficient mechanisms to protect us whichever constitution be labeled under. So, we need to get it right, and get it right this time.
Former Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris stated:
There is no doubt that electoral reform is an urgent necessity and there is virtual unanimity in the country that the present system is profoundly misconceived and is the source of many social evils. I don’t think there is any serious debate about it because It is not a good system, and it needs to be changed
He further stated:
The present system also leads to virulent intra-party rivalry. The system brings out the worst in human nature. While everybody agrees that the present system is bad and needs to be replaced, but exactly what do you replace it with?
He also stated:
When it comes to that issue, naturally, lively disagreements.. and that is only to be expected because political parties are concerned with their own interests.
TNA Parliamentarian,M.A. Sumanthiran stated”
I would say that a new constitution must deal with the issue of sharing of power as the important matter. For the constitution of the country to be something that reflects the aspirations of all the people of this country, there must be contentment by all sections and for that to happen, being a republic, every citizen must know that they can participate effectively in government.
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