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Thursday May 23rd, 2024

Sub-committee to draft 20th amendment to Sri Lanka constitution; 19A out, salient features to remain

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s newly appointed cabinet of ministers will appoint a five-member subcommittee to draft the proposed 20th amendment to the country’s second republican constitution. The amendment will effectively repeal the 19th amendment but retain some of its “salient features”, co-cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said.

These salient features include the two five-year term limit imposed on the president.

According to co-cabinet spokesman Udaya Gammanpila, the five-member committee will comprise himself and Ministers Prof G L Peiris, Dinesh Gunawardena, Nimal Siripala de Silva and Ali Sabry. The committee is tasked with reviewing all cabinet papers, notes and drafts already presented on constitutional reform, said Gammanipla. However, no timeline has been specified for the task.

The cabinet has also tasked Justice MInister Ali Sabry with recommending names for a proposed panel of eminent persons to formulate a new constitution.

“[Constitutional reform] was in our election manifesto, it was clearly stated with regard to the 19th amendment. The public has mandated it,” said Rambukwella in response to a question.

The Right to Information (RTI) Act will also be protected, he added.

“Whatever the positive features of the 19th Amendment will remain, but what they have yet to be decided. Today the Justice Minister was empowered to look into it and he will tell the Cabinet from his perspective what should be kept. Then we will decide what to repeal and what to keep,” said Gammanpila.

The minister added that the proposed new constitution would need to be discussed with the public and debated, and called for a homegrown constitution that reflects the views of Sri Lankan citizens rather than the dictates of NGOs.

It is unclear at present when the draft 20th amendment will be tabled in parliament. (Colombo/Aug20/2020

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Sri Lanka plans to expand Bingiriya export zone to 1,100 acres

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expanding an export processing zone in Bingiriya in Kurunegala and plans to link the area with Puttalam with roads and other infrastructure, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

A task force of ministerial secretaries will be appointed to carry out the tasks speedily, following a cabinet paper submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

The Bingiriya zone already has 157 acres and another 282 acres is being developed by the Board of Investment, he said.

Steps would also be taken to acquire 666 acres.

There was no information whose lands would be acquired. (Colombo/May23/2024)

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Sri Lanka has power breakdowns amidst extreme weather

ECONOMYNEXT – The state-owned power utility, the Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last three days due to inclement weather in the island, the power minister said.

“Additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers,” Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera said on social media platform X (twitter).

Wijesekera said consumers could report power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, via SMS to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, or use the CEB Care app, or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk.

The South-East monsoon has seen floods, landslides and strong winds do damage to the utility provider’s infrastructure in the last week. (Colombo/May23?2024)

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Sri Lanka President calls for unity, sacrificing for a better tomorrow on Vesak day

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has recalled a sermon from the Buddha about sacrificing for a better tomorrow, and called for unity to heal and rebuild the country, as Buddhists celebrate Vesak.

Buddhists celebrate Vesak as commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha.

“At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow,” President Wickremesinghe said in his Vesak day message.

“We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day.

“Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. ”

The full statement is reproduced below:

The Vesak festival is a profoundly sacred day for Buddhists worldwide, commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, along with their brethren around the globe, celebrate Vesak with deep devotion. They spend this period engaging in religious observances and venerating the Buddha with fervent devotion.

At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.

We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day. Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. The principles of Lichchavi Raja Dharmaya will guide us in this endeavour.

Let us keep in mind that the primary aim of the Vesak festival is to foster spiritual growth and character development in a world rapidly advancing physically. I wish everyone a blessed Vesak festival.

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