Welcome

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The Liberal Party began as a think-tank called the ‘Council for Liberal Democracy’, the first institution to criticize the all embracing statism of the colonial and immediate post-colonial periods. In espousing free economic policies together with wide-ranging political freedoms, the Council, and then the Party, opposed both the authoritarian crony capitalism of the United National Party and the socialism of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Both major parties are now in theory in favour of wide freedoms, but to ensure that these are understood and entrenched there is still need of coherent Liberal activism.

 
A Reform Agenda 8 – Environmental Protection

Sri Lanka needs a National Environmental Policy that can be effectively enforced to deal with current threats. We should not only react, but should develop and implement policies that will reduce risks. In fact the Disaster Management Centre, together with the National Building Research Organization, has developed plans in some sectors. But these institutions need to be strengthened, and given a mandate to ensure implementation of the Risk Reduction Plans that have been produced.


It is also necessary to lay down clear guidelines about the relations between such policy making bodies and those who implement. While the DMC has staff in the Districts, manpower for support has to come from the services, the military as well as the police. Active involvement of village committees is also vital. But in addition there must be direction on the basis of clear authority, which is where the Divisional Secretaries, and even the District Secretary, have a crucial role. This should all be laid down in Standard Operating Procedures, which should be known and understood by all officials, including the Grama Niladharis.


Particular attention must be paid to landslides and floods. The continuing problems in certain areas must be addressed through coordinated mitigation measures. These should include a comprehensive Water Policy, since otherwise many areas are subject to flood during some periods, and drought in others.

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Political Principles and their Practice 5 -The Functions of Government

The present government has made a complete hash of the Cabinet. Whereas we talked in terms of a Cabinet based on rational principles, we seem to have adopted the rag-bag approach instead, with ludicrous combinations such as Home Affairs and Fisheries (whereas District and Divisional Secretariats should obviously have been part of Public Administration) or Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child Youth and Cultural Affairs.


This is ridiculous, but it is inevitable when Cabinets are formed with priority given to keeping people happy, or by those with inflated beliefs in the capacity of some individuals. What a country needs rather is a clear vision of what government needs to do, and how this can be done most effectively. The Cabinet should be based on the needs of the people, not the needs or egos or even simply the seniority of particular politicians.


I therefore present here the Second Chapter of 'Political Principles and their Practice in Sri Lanka', which scrutinizes what government should do, and why.

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Amendments for the committee stage - April 22 2015

April 22nd 2015

The Secretary General

Parliament


Dear Secretary General

 

I have now had a chance to go through the consolidated version of the draft 19th Amendment, which was given to us by the Hon Prime Minister yesterday. The amendments he has included, which will I presume be introduced at the Committee Stage, assuage some of my worries but others remain.

 

I would therefore like to propose the following amendments at the Committee Stage. These are a consolidated version of what I have sent before, omitting those concerns that have been already addressed. The bold numbers are those in the draft amendment, numbers not highlighted are the relevant section in the Constitution. The highlighted and italicized section below any proposed amendment gives the reason for such amendment.

 

I hope this schedule can be made available to all Members on the day the debate begins, and that sufficient time will be given to present them when amendments are taken up.

 

Yours sincerely

Rajiva Wijesinha, MP

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A Reform Agenda 7 – Business Development

One of the biggest problems we face in Sri Lanka is the perpetuation of dependency. We provide more education free of charge than happens anywhere else in the world, and then many pf our graduates have to run behind politicians to find jobs. We claim that we are keen to obtain investment, but we have so many barriers in the way pf setting up businesses that help has to be sought from those with influence to get things going. Admission to schools depends on favours. So does obtaining permission to build or to obtain water or electricity.


The commitment of this government to Good Governance is intended to do away with, or at least reduce, this problem. Certainly we must work on systems to prevent citizens having to seek special treatment to obtain what should come in the regular course of things. That will reduce dependency. But I think we should also acknowledge that we must change the culture and encourage our people, and particularly the younger generation, to stand on their own feet.


For this purpose we should develop a culture of entrepreneurship. People need not only to think that they can manage on their own, but they also need to feel that they will benefit more from doing their own thing, rather than from following a leader and a lead that limit both opportunities and flexibility.

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