The enthusiasm from the people has been tremendous with regards to public representations on constitutional reforms, the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms informed.
Chairman of the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms, Attorney-at-Law Lal Wijenayake said that those who had thus far made representations before the Committee ranged from those representing the civil society, non-governmental organizations, retired public servants including Secretaries of Ministries, academics, human rights activists, lawyers and groups of lawyers, disability rights activists, medical doctors, former mayors, trade union leaders, Buddhist and Catholic clergy (including discussions held by the committee with the Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter and the Archbishop of Colombo) to ordinary folk like taxi drivers.
Political parties not represented in the Parliament like the Alternative Group of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and the Nawa Sama Samaja Party led by Dr. Wickremabahu Karunaratne, politicians like Varadaraja Perumal and so called extremist priests like Member of the Jathika Sangvidhana Ekamuthuwa (National Organizations Collective) Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera came, he added.
The public sittings of the Committee commenced from Colombo on January 18, 2016 and since then the committee has been to the Districts of Kandy, Gampaha, Matale, Kalutara and Vavuniya with visits to the North to come.
There have been oral submissions made and oral interviews given along with electronic mails, fax messages and several submissions sent through the website and written submissions which have been handed over to the Committee.
“We met Speaker Karu Jayasuriya at his residence for a long discussion. On February 01, 2016, 20 of us divided into groups of five in order to travel to all districts. We spend two days in one district. On February 02, 2016, in Kandy we finished only at 6 p.m. as we could not deal and cope up with the sheer workload. It was very fruitful. They had new ideas. We have received all manner of opinions. The Jathika Hela Urumaya asked for a time, so in March 2016 we plan to be back in Colombo for three to four days. When in Colombo again, we plan to meet special interest groups like the professionals and the clergy of all religions, faiths and denominations. Even when in outstation, we plan to meet influential people including vast organizations representing member groups. So far, we have not been able to meet students who are studying for their General Certificate of Education Advanced Level examinations. We plan to meet them in each district after bringing them together in one location/place,” Wijenayake explained