Minister of Fisheries and Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Leader Douglas Devananda yesterday (28) said in Jaffna that he had urged President Ranil Wickremesinghe to devolve all powers to the provincial level.
While addressing a media briefing, he further stated that all the powers of the provinces that were taken over with the Executive power granted to the President should be handed back to the Provincial Councils.
Furthermore, Devananda stated that he has a dual role in this regard, as both a representative of the Cabinet sub-committee to resolve the Tamil national ethnic question, and as a leader of a political party at the all-party conference.
“I have emphasised to the President that powers that were devolved when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was created should be handed back to the provinces,” he added.
Devananda also noted that he is ready to work with the Tamil parties who can act in a transparent and practical manner in matters related to the political aspirations of the Tamil people.
“It is a success to my political career since the 35-year approach of the EPDP is now being followed by the other Tamil parties as well, which is that a political solution to the national ethnic question should start with the 13th Amendment and be taken forward,” he added.
Meanwhile, addressing the all party conference on 13 December, Devananda said: “I strongly believe that I have the right to talk on behalf of the Tamil community because for more than 45 years I have been involved in that. So, I have the right to talk. First, I agree with Tamil National Alliance Leader MP R. Sampanthan that until May 1987, I had one opinion, and that I now harbour a different opinion. Now, discussing reconciliation, I want to term it national reconciliation. After the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement, the Tamil community received many opportunities. Unfortunately, they have misused these. I have the right to talk about that.
“We have to settle these issues with the 13th Amendment. For the last 35 years, we have been advocating to start with a political solution, with the 13th Amendment. First, we should start the reconciliation with all communities and then we should go further. We don’t need to go for a new Constitution because if you want to go for a new Constitution, we need a two-thirds majority and a referendum. At this juncture, for this country, it is impossible. First, we should start with the implementation of the 13th Amendment and through that, we can settle all issues.”
Accordingly, further discussions are scheduled to be held on the matter from 10 to 13 January 2023.