Geneva meeting seems more important to President – Wiggy

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Leader of Tamil Makkal Koottani (TMK) and Jaffna District MP, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, speaking about his recent meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, said it appeared that the impending Geneva meeting in September was more important to the President rather than solving Tamil problems.

The MP said although the President assured them that he will take action to implement the 13A, they felt the invitation was to join the Government. 

“We met him along with our Party senior member S. Selvendra at 4.30 p.m. on 10 August 2022 at the Presidential Secretariat. The Prime Minister was also present. The President explained to us at length his plan of governance which included a Parliamentary governance committee giving a greater role to the Provincial Governors. His idea was that all MPs from Provinces must govern the respective Provinces under the Chairmanship of the Governors in terms of a National Agenda. He referred to Austria as an example. (His example was inappropriate. Austria is a Federal Country).”

Further discussing the grabbing of lands in Provinces by Central Government Ministries, MP Wigneswaran said the President agreed that there no forestry land should be grabbed by Ministries and they should focus on preserving the environment in each Province. The President has said, if needed a maximum of two acres could be taken over by the Government.

However, Wigneswaran has responded that no land should be appropriated by the Central Government in the Provinces except with the consent and concurrence of the respective Provincial Government. “There was no response from the President to that,” noted the MP.

Regarding National Schools, the President has reiterated that 50 National Schools were enough for the country not 1,000 but Wigneswaran had  pointed out that no Provincial Schools could be taken over by the State and that their Alliance has already filed action in this regard.

“The President appeared to be in a hurry to rope in Jaffna MPs to be part of the Government, I suppose to showcase to Geneva! I don’t blame him. The Government has so far ignored its obligations to the UN as per Resolution 46/1,” MP Wigneswaran pointed out.

“He wanted me to share a document which outlines the proposal on how money could be channeled into the Country from the Diaspora. It became apparent to us, while discussing with him, that his plan was to strengthen the Central administrative control of the entire Country totally ignoring the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

“I pointed out to the President that the Tamil people in this country expect the government to take speedy action to attend to their requests, submitted by all Tamil National party leaders, which included the release of political prisoners, action to trace the missing persons, stop the activities of various government departments to grab Tamil lands and stop persons trying to build Buddhist temples in Tamil homeland with the help of the Military and so on.

It was also pointed out that in order to enable the Tamils to give political leadership and governance over their Provinces, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution should be implemented in full as a temporary measure, until satisfactory constitutional reforms are made. “We told the President that until this process is started in earnest satisfying the Tamil people, we will support the Government from the Opposition. There was no question of our becoming a part of the Government,” MP Wigneswaran outlined.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan