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Justice Minister says international community making inquiries about 22A

 

By Saman Indrajith

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse told Parliament on Thursday that the international community was making inquries from te Justice Ministry about the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill.

Minister Rajapakse said that the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill had been drafted after consulting the leaders of 43 political parties in four rounds of talks. “When the incumbent President was the Prime Minister, leaders of 43 political parties were summoned to his office and we had four rounds of talks. There were disagreements and different points of view. For example, some parties demanded the amendments must be included to prevent the President from dissolving Parliament after the expiration of two and a half years of its term and the period must be stipulated as four years. Some other parties disagreed. We drafted the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill considering all those views,” the Minister said.

He said that the passing of the Bill could prevent some international pressure on Sri Lanka. “Today a resolution against Sri Lanka was passed in Geneva UNHRC sessions. We may suffer negative consequences of that resolution. There is a danger that we may lose the GSP plus concession as a motion to that effect has already been passed in the EU Parliament. More than 500 voted against us. If they implement it, we will lose around 600,000 jobs in the apparel sector. We seek assistance from the IMF. We also read in the media what the IMF discusses with the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry, but there is no such media coverage on what IMF discusses with the Justice Ministry. The IMF, the EU and the UN do not visit the Finance Ministry or the Central Bank so often but the Justice Ministry.

They ask when we would bring about the 22nd Amendment and what provisions it would contain to restore democracy in this country, etc. Now since there are no petrol and gas queues everybody thinks that we are back on track. It is not so. If a fuel ship gets delayed and there would be queues again for four to five days, those who are under the impression that all the troubles are over can see how the people will react. I warn that there had been a time when the MPs had to go into hiding. They could not even attend a funeral or a wedding. Therefore they have to understand that this 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was not an amendment brought for the sake of a single party, a person or for the benefit of the MPs but for the sake of this country and its people,” Minister Rajapakse said.

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