Implementing development activities is main duty of PCs and LG bodies – Minister Samarasinghe

Port and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday stressed the importance of strengthening Provincial Councils and Local Government Bodies allocating more funds to them to implement country’s development activities more effectively.

Addressing the media yesterday at the SLFP Head office, Minister Samarasinghe said that the implementation of development activities is the main duty of Provincial Councils and Local Government bodies and the most important duty of the Parliament is to pass legislation. “Some Parliamentarians who do not have a clear idea about the most important duty of them are attempting to play the role of Provincial Councilors and Members of Local Government bodies”, Minister Samarasinghe said.

The Minister charged that Provincial Councils have failed to use the powers already given to them. “They have not yet examined the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to see what powers have already been granted. The SLFP is very clear in its policy to oppose a Federal solution. Such a solution would be unconstitutional and would lead to disturbances by strengthening extremism”, said Minister Samarasinghe.

He said the government would not go beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution adopted in 1987.

“Powers remaining to be granted only within the framework of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution should be granted but not a federal solution,” Minister said. He further said that the Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly is only a document without an owner. It was submitted by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe only as the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly and not as the party leader of the UNP.

Some political parties tried to get political advantages by emphasizing this report as a draft of the Constitution. This Interim Report was only views of all parties and people made during 73 meetings of the Constitutional Assembly. The Constitutional Assembly will meet further to work on the next step to bring about a new Constitution”, said Minister Samarasinghe.

He said that SLFP has clearly submitted its views in the Interim Report and according to that the SLFP would not oppose power devolution within the limits specified in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The Minister said that the SLFP also believes that the Executive Presidency and Executive power that had been exercised by a Provincial Governor should be remained unchanged.

Commenting on Executive Prime Minister proposed by various groups, Minister Samarasinghe said that the Executive President is directly elected by people and each and every citizen has the freedom to cast their vote to select an Executive President. But a Prime Minister is appointed with the majority support in the Parliament. So he cannot work independently. 

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