Category Archives: power sharing

Marasinghe’s Book on the Constitutional History of Sri Lanka

Leelananda De Silva, courtesy of Sunday Island, 24 March 2018, where the title runs “Are We Heading Towards Constitutional Anarchy? The Evolution of Constitutional Governance in Sri Lanka (Revised Second Edition)”

n the 1950s in Ceylon, there was the university entrance examination, conducted by the University of Ceylon annually, to select students for entry to that university. There were no G.C.E. A-Levels then. One of the subjects for this examination was called Government. Those who sat for this subject read the Constitution of Ceylon by Ivor Jennings. Jennings was the author of the Sri Lankan Constitution of 1948, and it was first hand analysis of the constitutional provisions of 1948. Jennings was one of the foremost constitutional lawyers in England and he had published the authoritative “Cabinet Government” some years before and also a more popular book called the British Constitution and another called The Law and the Constitution. Undergraduates of that time were fortunate in reading these authoritative tomes by a leading constitutional scholar. Since 1948, there has been little scholarly writings on constitutional developments in Ceylon, especially on the politics behind constitutional changes.

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Our Seventieth Year: Reflections on Sri Lanka’s Independence

Jehan Perera, in Island 5 Feb 2018, where the title is”How to celebrate 71st year of our independence with national unity”
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This year’s Independence Day celebration was marked by a strong effort of the government to represent the diversity of the country’s people in the cultural expressions during the official events at Galle Face. In keeping with the new tradition set by the government in 2015, the national anthem was sung in both Sinhala and Tamil. But more than on previous occasions, the traditional dances and other cultural items that were conducted represented all the communities in their diversities. At the level of the people, this cultural expression represented the reality of the capital city, and also other parts, in which there is a strong representation of all the ethnic and religious communities who coexist in friendship and harmony for the most part. Continue reading

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Celebrating DR Wijewardene and the DAILY NEWS

Lakdev Liyanagama, in Daily News, 3 January 2018, with the title A century’s fruition

The centenary that the Ceylon Daily News celebrates this year is also a hundred years where this newspaper, newspapers in Sri Lanka and indeed the media, in general, have metamorphosed several times over, serving different roles depending on the needs of the day.

“DR’–a classic photograph by Lionel Wendt

A hundred years ago, in 1917, the Ceylon Daily News was born when Don Richard Wijewardene (known as ‘DR’ to all), took ownership of The Ceylonese and re-christened it the Ceylon Daily News. Wijewardene was involved in the movement to gain Independence from Britain and was not shy to use his newspaper for that purpose. In that sense, the Ceylon Daily News had an enmeshed roe in the country’s politics from its very inception. Continue reading

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The LTTE Debacle at Aanandapuram, April 2009

Michael Roberts

 When I interviewed General Shavendra Silva on 19th August 2017,[1] he identified three temporal turning points during the last year of the war (mid-2008 to May 2009). These were

  1. The SL Army’s capture of Pooneryn on 15th November 2008 which finalized the control of the western coastline (Hull 2015)
  2. The SLA’s capture of Paranthan on 31st December 2008.
  3. The SLA’s encirclement and decimation of a body of elite LTTE forces at Aanandapuram in the period 31st March- to 5th April 2009 as the Tigers were assembling for counter-attack.
  4.  Some footsoldiers at the heart of the battle and General Silva Continue reading

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Catalan Today. ITAK Yesterday. A Call to Reflection

Carles Puigdemont Chelva & Amir

Michael Roberts

The demand for independence from a segment of the Catalan Spanish peoples has the potential for a domino effect not only within Spain but also in Europe where the EU already faces the complications arising from the Brexit vote. Apart from the potential inspiration to other provincial dialects within Spain, The French Republic may have to keep a weather eye on their Occitan-speakers in the south –with their well-developed sense of being Occitan  and a claim to the region known as Langue D’Oc.

Any such move could then spark the provinciality of the Breton peoples! That is just one potential instance of what is called “The Domino Effect.” Listen to Joseph Borell at http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/31/europe/catalonia-independence-spain/index.html

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Reconciliation via Cricket and Charity? The Political Ground is a Waterlogged Minefield

Michael Roberts

It is possible that Velupillai Pirapaharan remains a revered leader and symbol of the nationalist drive for Thamililam among some Tamils residing within the island f Sri Lanka today – even though they are circumspect in expressing such thoughts in public. Indeed, it is possible that some Tamils in the island worship him as a deity in the manner espoused in some quarters abroad by Tamils of the diaspora (see image below).

So, how does one measure the political reverberations of the well-meaning efforts towards reconciliation and the bridging of the Tamil-Sinhala divide delineated in several essays presented recently[1] in THUPPAHI?

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Streamline and Avoid Labyrinths in Making the SL Consitution

Chandre Dharmawardana, in The Island, September 2017, with title “Unit of Devolution – look in cyberspace!

It is interesting to read the debate about what the unit of devolution should be. Recent articles, by Dayan Jayatilleke (Island, Sep. 20, 2017) and Neville Ladduwahetty (Sep. 23, 2017) argue for the Province (DJ), and for the District (NL). Interestingly, both the TNA, and their counter organizations pay homage to “the indivisible nature of Sri Lanka”, the “Orumiththa Nadu” and the “aekeeya Rajya”, while also supporting “maximum devolution”, i.e., the opposite objective! In our view, the issue of power devolution to units of government is an obsolete question. However, we discuss them as usual and lastly look at the enormous technological possibilities that exist to leap frog into a system compatible with the 21st century.

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