Category Archives: devolution

Tissa Jayatillka opens the Rotary Conference on Reconciliation

Tissa  Jayatilleka: “Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka,”  28 March 2017

 Opening comments by TISSA JAYATILAKA at a panel discussion held during the 26th Rotary District Conference, Rotary District 3320- Sri Lanka and The Maldives, on 18 March, 2017 held at the BMICH, Colombo. The following served as panelists: Mr. R.Sampanthan, The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Rauf Hakeem, Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, Mr. Mano  Tittawela, Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, The Centre for Policy Alternatives, Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, Former Vice Chancellor and Professor of Law, University of Colombo.

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The Liberation Tigers’ in Crisis

Gerald H. Peiris, being a reprint of Chapter Six in his Twilight of the Tigers,  Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2009, with Vijitha Yapa Publications in Colombo as local distributors, pp. 151-77 … a reprint inspired by the presentation of Jeremy Liyanage’s Q and A with Karuna in mid-2010.

tamil-eelam  karuna7

The contents of this chapter, except its ‘Introductory Notes’ and the ‘Postscript’, are based almost entirely on an article titled “An Assessment of the Current Crisis among the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” written by me in March 2004 while the events that constituted the early stages of the revolt led by ‘Colonel Karuna’ against the Vanni-based Tiger leadership were unfolding in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.  It was published by the Jane’s Information Group, UK. Written as it was in the context of acute paucity of documented information on the rapidly changing and bewilderingly complex scenario in the ‘north-east’ of Sri Lanka at that time, the article contained a fair amount of reasoned speculation. Here, in this chapter, I have retained the original article largely unchanged mainly for the reason that some of my speculations and predictions proved subsequently to be correct. The changes of the original article made in the formulation of this chapter have involved only some alterations of tense, and the addition of foo-notes for clarification and substantiation, and a ‘postscript’, intended to update the impact of the events examined in the article from the viewpoint of the thematic concerns of this volume.   Gerald Peiris

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Constitutional Reforms in the Melting Pot: Bulathsinghala and Perera

I. Frances Bulathsinghala: “A glimpse into the saga of Sri Lanka’s constitutional reforms,” South Asian Monitor, 24 February 2017,

The attempts by Sri Lanka’s National Unity government to draft a new constitution in order to seek a permanent solution to the long drawn Tamil ethnic question is afloat in the grey skies of ambiguity.

Although six subcommittees on various subjects had submitted their reports based on wide scale public consultations and the Steering Committee had drafted its own report based on the recommendations by the sub committees, plans of presenting the report to the Constitutional Assembly which comprises the current members of parliament, has been stalled.

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Muddles in the Present Kingdom of Lanka

Rajan Philips, in Sunday Island, 12 February 2017, where the title is Constitutional Tensions and Mixed Messages”
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When it seemed that there was nothing left and it was all over insofar as the government’s commitment to constitutional changes was concerned, there were new developments last week that are pleasantly surprising and politically reassuring. The first sign of hope emanated from a meeting President Sirisena had last Wednesday (February 8) with representatives of about 50 civil society organizations at the Presidential Secretariat. The second sign of optimism came from the appearance of External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Foreign Correspondents Association gathering on Tuesday night. A third pat on the back for the constitutional initiative came from former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, but she characteristically made it controversial by compounding it with her opinion on war crimes investigation. Continue reading

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Thomas Meaney, A Review Article, courtesy of the Author and the London Review of Books,… with emphasis by highlights added by The Editor, Thuppahi … SEE www.lrb.co.uk

prabha-with-pistol-2   prabha-tiger

Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World by Steven Kemper, Chicago, 480 pp, £31.50, January 2015, ISBN 978 0 226 19907

Tamil: A Biography by David Shulman, Harvard, 416 pp, £25.00, September 2016, ISBN 978 0 674 05992 4

The Seasons of Trouble: Life amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan, Verso, 368 pp, £16.99, October 2015, ISBN 978 1 78168 883 0

Independence was handed to Ceylon’s elite on a platter. ‘Think of Ceylon as a little bit of England,’ Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke, the first native governor-general, said. This was a point of pride. Don Stephen Senanayake, the country’s first prime minister, remarked: ‘There has been no rebellion in Ceylon, no non-cooperation movement and no fifth column. We were among the peoples who gave full collaboration while Britain was hard-pressed.’ After independence in 1948, Ceylon alone among the former colonies not only retained but promoted the monarchy: the Union Jack flew alongside the Ceylon flag; a new constitution was drafted by a former LSE professor, Ivor Jennings; Colombo debutantes were presented at Buckingham Palace; and, thanks to some genealogical ingenuity, George VI was recognised as the latest monarch in the ancient line of Kandyan kings. While the rest of the empire in Asia smouldered – in India there was Partition, in Malaya the Emergency, in Burma the civil war – Ceylon became Whitehall’s model for the transfer of colonial power. ‘There was no fight for that freedom which involved a fight for principles, policies and programmes,’ Solomon Ridgeway Bandaranaike, the anti-colonial head of state who took power in 1956, said when he reviewed the transition a decade later. ‘It just came overnight. We just woke up one day and were told: “You are a dominion now.”[1] Continue reading

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February 10, 2017 · 1:03 pm

Regions and Centre in Constitutional Gymnastics: Italian Lessons for Sri Lanka

Rajan Philips,  courtesy of The Island. 4 December 2016,where the title reads “Constitutional Reform: Complacent government, carping contrarians and Italy’s referendum” … Emphasis added b Editor, Thuppahi

As Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform proposals are making their way from the backstage into public view, Italy held a referendum yesterday on a constitutional reform proposal to significantly emasculate the Senate in the country’s bicameral system. Coming on the heels of British Brexit and American ‘Trumpit’, the Italian referendum has morphed from being a narrow constitutional question into another occasion for testing the rise of western populism. Like David Cameron in Britain, Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, has quite unnecessarily turned the referendum into a plebiscite on himself, vowing to resign if the constitutional proposal were defeated at the referendum. A majority of Italian voters might just take their PM on his offer and throw him out. That would be a huge victory for Beppe Grillo, national comedian turned populist (political) outsider, and an equally huge setback for the increasingly shaky European Union.

rajans-map    aa1982-referendum

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Constitutional Issues via Architectural Form: Sharp Interest from People, Somnolence from Politicoes

Sanjana Hattotuwa, courtesy of The Island, 3 December 2016, where the title is “Corridors of Power” … with highlighting emphasis inserted by Editor Thuppahi.

I do not recall the exact moment, but I do remember a time when I was so frustrated with the Rajapaksa regime’s blatant disregard for the constitution that I wondered how best I could communicate a critique of power to even those who would vote for, and loved him. This was after the 18th Amendment, late 2010. I was interested in a way to engage with what I hated to see come about, in full knowledge, at the time, that those opposed to what Mahinda Rajapaksa did were in a minority. I had one relatively successful previous attempt which suggested when instead of presenting a contrasting opinion, which can be variously, violently and immediately dismissed, a way to debate the substance of a contentious issue is created, a rather different timbre of engagement ensues.

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