EPDP, PLOTE, CWC discuss Package with Peiris
[TamilNet, Sunday, 12 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The PLOTE, EPDP and the Ceylon Workers' Congress will meet Sri Lanka's minister for Constitutional Affairs and deputy minister for Finance, Prof.G.L Peiris tonight at his residence to discuss the government's latest position on the devolution package.
The three parties are expected to take up the question of the referendum in the east about which the cabinet reached a decision yesterday.
The possibility of placing part of the PA package in parliament by Oct.22 will also be taken up for discussion tonight.
This is a regular dinner meeting Prof.G.L has with the EPDP, PLOTE and the CWC. It has patently not led to any major development in the Tamil political scene so far. But it helps the PA immensely to keep the support these parties extend to it in Parliament secure.
The PA takes a hierarchical approach to its dealings with the minority parties in Parliament.
Meetings with the TULF and the SLMC are handled by the Sri Lankan President herself. The PLOTE is indifferent to this.
The CWC sends a second level leader for the dinners with Prof.G.L and sees no problem with the arrangement as it is represented in the cabinet.
But EPDP leader Douglas Devananda resents it. He feels that being the leader of the largest group of minority MPs in the Sri Lankan Parliament, he should have direct and ready access to the President.
This used to be the case until two of his senior MPs revolted against him and the Sri Lankan supreme court upheld their right to continue in Parliament. The two rebel MPs were also 'granted an audience' with the Sri Lankan President.
Devananda's resentment has much to do with his self esteem than with an eagerness to take up issues in the northeast.
All Tamil party leaders in Colombo, with the exception of the pro-Chandrika faction in the TULF, are generally agreed that nothing, including simple day to day problems, have been resolved thus far through the numerous meetings they have had with President Chandrika Kumaranatunga.
Prof.G.L's dinner meetings basically reflect, more than anything else, the ennui and rote which have inevitably set into the devolution process in Sri Lanka.
It is understood that even the food served at these dinners is as bland and predictable as the subjects discussed.