Limit the Cabinet to 30 Ministers: A Private Member Bill from a Young Member of Parliament, Vasantha Senanayake

By  Dhanushka Jayakody

There is a new phenomenon of Private Member Bills and Motions in Parliament recently which have highlighted the need for constitutional and structural reforms. The least controversial initiative was by the Liberal Party which had a motion to amend Standing Orders. This was placed on the Order Paper, but has then been swallowed up in the usual Parliamentary lethargy, because, in violation of the existing Standing Orders, it has not been brought before the House.

More controversial was the JHU’s Private Member Bill calling for amendment of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. Following debate in Cabinet however, which revealed the strong negative feelings about the Billl, it too was not brought before the House.

Now a much younger member, the Hon Vasantha Senanayake, who has recently led groups of young parliamentarians on international visits, has brought forward a potentially more popular Bill. Being a member of the main government party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and elected from the Gampaha District where he organizes Mirigama, he recently handed over a private member bill to the Secretary General of Parliament proposing another amendment to the Constitution.

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Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 3

2. Community advocacy

Diaspora Lanka is frequently asked to advocate on behalf of individuals, groups and organisations on a range of issues. We meet with the hierarchy, officers and staff of government, military, community and religious agencies and commissions to represent or support those who have a concern or grievance. Diaspora Lanka’s “there are no enemies” approach sees all parties as part of the solution.
3. Business development

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Shanaka, Lentil as Anything, prepares for videoing

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Foundations of the rice mill being constructed

3.1 Rice to Riches: daily income for vulnerable women

This is a livelihood program through micro business development in Manthai West Division in Mannar District. It targets vulnerable women – both war widows and returned internally displaced persons (IDPs) – across three villages where relations between Catholics, Muslims and Hindus are strained. A milling operation (rice, rice flour, curry, chilli powders) will provide a daily income for women, helping them back on their feet.

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Project committee members survey the progress

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Walls and roof completed

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Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 2

1. Helping out

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David and family in front of their home

1.1 Heart operation

Frank and Stella Chen from Taiwan contributed AU$1,000 towards an urgent appeal for surgery for Mr David Arulappu, a deep sea diver and father of three school-going children living in Mannar. David is well known to Diaspora Lanka. An ECG confirmed serious heart problems. An angiogram revealed two blocked arteries:- one was 99% blocked and the other – 75%. Due to the severity of David’s condition, he was advised to have surgery in the private hospital system because the public waiting lists were long with no guarantee of an operation soon. As David is unable to work, he and his family have been surviving on the donations of church members. Many have donated towards his operation but local sources of funds are now exhausted, hence the appeal he made to us for the remaining AU$1,380.

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Trilingual Poetry Tour with Prof Satchitanandan, former Chief Executive of the Indian Sahitya Academy

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Prof Satchitanandan speaking at Nalliah Auditorium – Batticaloa.

Three Sri Lankan poets travelled with Prof Satchitanandan, former Chief Executive of the Indian Sahitya Academy, to three different universities for extended poetry programmes. Prof Satchitanandan, a distinguished writer and critic and translator spoke about Indian poetic traditions and also about his work, from which he read to great audience appreciation. This was followed by a discussion involving So Pathmanathan, Ariyawansa Ranaweera and Kamala Wijeratne about Sri Lankan poetry, based on their contributions to ‘Mirrored Images’, the collection of English, Sinhala and Tamil Poetry that had been published by the National Book Trust of India. Prof Amarakeerthi Liyanage who had also contributed to the book participated in the discussion at Peradeniya University, while Dr Major Ariyaratne and Mahinda Pathirana who had supplied translations took part at Sabaragamuwa University in Belihuloya.

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Audience at Eastern University

In Batticaloa the meeting was held at the Fine Arts Department and was attended by local writers as well as students and staff.

Prof Satchitanandan’s visit was sponsored by the Indo-Sri Lanka Foundation, and the tour was facilitated by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration. Many ideas about the important role literature could play in bringing people together were raised in the discussion which Prof Satchitanandan chaired, with invaluable contributions from the panellists who had wide experience through their work as teacher educators and, in the case of Mr Ranaweera, Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The need to promote training of translators was stressed by all, and it is hoped that the Ministry will be able to take
up the challenge.
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With students at Belihuloya

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The panel at Peradeniya

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Academic staff at Belihuloya

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Audience at Batticaloa

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The Panel at Batticaloa

Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 1

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In this edition….
…A three-day “lockdown” workshop produces inspired urban design for Mannar’s town plan
…Visible progress made on the women’s rice mill project
…A community tourism strategy gets the attention of the International Financial Corporation
…Successful overseas volunteer programs in 2013 will generate further ones in 2014

 

The past three months in Sri Lanka have been a mixed bag, of frustration and hampered progress on some of our larger projects and encouraging headway on our more community-level ventures. The political backdrop of this trip was vibrant and at times volatile due to the holding of the Northern Provincial Government elections and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM). The Government was also preoccupied with preparations for the forthcoming return to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in March of 2014.

A highlight of this period was having 15 overseas volunteers work alongside local counterparts on a range of projects. Although our town planning initiatives didn’t quite go according to plan, Diaspora Lanka brought out 11 Australian planning professionals who assisted to fast-track the Mannar urban development plan. Two volunteers came from Estonia to work on a community tourism strategy and an English-based activity program, while two further volunteers from Vietnam and Australia focused on establishing an ‘English as a Second Language’ (ESL) program.

Other pleasing developments included the progress made on establishing a rice mill so that women made vulnerable by the war can earn a daily income and the establishment of the Computerizing Mannar Villages initiative for children and youngsters in two more remote areas of Mannar.

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“English for Young Learners” – Students awarded by Governor – 21 April 2014

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“English for Young learners” has been a successful program to promote use of English language among young generation.The teaching methods adopted in this program are very productive and user friendly, thus the students are able to understand the theory quickly.”

The students who have completed the “English for Young Learners” – A course conducted through CSR Project of Lanka IOC to the school children in Jaffna were awarded by Governor of Northern Province GA Chandrasiri. A ceremony in this regard was held on 21st April 2014 at Veeramani Iyar Stadium, Kopay Teachers’ College. The Governor participated as chief guest and awarded the students.

Lanka OIC has organized this six – month English Course in partnership with ‘Glorious Jaffna Foundation’. 150 school children who completed this course were awarded with certificates.

Secretary to the Governor L.Ilaangovan, Managing Director of Lanka IOC Dakbala, The Director of Glorious Jaffna Foundation Tharindu Amunugama and The First Secretary of Indian Consulate, Jaffna Suresh Menan also participated at this ceremony.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2898:english-for-young-learners-students-awarded-by-governor-21-april-2014&catid=85&Itemid=20

 

Foundation stones laid down in Atchuveli Industrial Zone – 16 April 2014

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“The project will be implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India with an estimated outlay of Sri Lankan Rs. 192 million (US$ 1.7 million). The completion of the project is expected to provide a boost to economic activities in the Jaffna Peninsula and generate local employment, both direct and indirect, for about 2,000 people.
It is also expected to lead to flow of significant investments to increase production capacities in the sectors of textiles, plastic and leather products, food processing, agro-based industries, oil and fibre products, etc., thereby resulting in better utilisation of local resources.

The project will be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development of the Government of Sri Lanka. Necessary technical expertise and project management services will be provided by the United Nations (UNOPS).”

An event to lay foundation stones for three factories in the Atchuveli Industrial Zone was held on 16th April 2014. Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda and Governor of the Northern Province GA Chandrasiri participated as chief guests and laid down the stones. Indian Consul General, Jaffna V.Mahalingam also participated at this event.

A plastic pipe factory, a fishing net factory and a factory of Hemas are to be constructed in the zone. This industrial zone is being established with the 225 million rupees financial support of Indian Government and 50 million rupees financial support of Sri Lankan Government.

This project is expected generate many job opportunities which will benefit the local residents at various categories.

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http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2890:foundation-stones-laid-down-in-atchuveli-industrial-zone-16-april-2014&catid=85:min-gs&Itemid=20

A delegation of lectures and students of Rajarata University paid a three days educational tour to Northern Province – 31 March 2014

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A delegation of lectures and students of Rajarata University Management Faculty paid a three days educational tour to Mannar and Jaffna districts. They visited many attractive places in the respective districts and made field studies. They also visited the resorts in these areas.

At the end of the tour, they met the Secretary to the Chief Minister of Northern Province and shared their experiences and views. They learnt the tourism based activities which were carried out in the past by the NPC Administration and future plans from the Secretary to the Chief Minister.

During their visit they had a discussion with the Secretary to the Chief Minister S. Thiruvakaran on 31 March 2014 at Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Jaffna. Lectures of Rajarata University Management Faculty Mr.Manoj Samarathunga and KTLUS Dayangana and final year students of Tourism and Hospitality Management bachelor degree participated the discussion.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2856:a-delegation-of-lectures-and-students-of-rajarata-university-tourism-department-paid-a-three-day-educational-tour-to-northern-province-31-march-2014&catid=69&Itemid=18

Army Organizes New Year Festival for Children at Konapulam

Children of Konapulam had a day full of fun when the 513 Brigade assisted by the 14th Gemunu Watch (14 GW) organized a New Year festival on Monday (14) at Konapulam grounds.

A large number of children participated in the festival which included many sports and games for them. Villagers in and around Konapulam supported the Army in organizing this New Year celebration.

Commander Security Force Jaffna Major General Udaya Perera, General Officer Commanding 51 Division Brigadier Chula Abenayake, Commander 511 Brigade Colonel Priyanka Fernando, Army and Police personnel and a large crowd of villagers witnessed the event.

Rev. Fr. Wasantha Kumara of Inuvil Church, Divisional Secretary Thelippalai Mr. Sri Mohanan and District Secretary Santhilippay Mr. S. Muralitharan were among the invited guests.

http://www.cimicjaffna.lk/Cimicnews_2014_04_15.php