Tamil Diplomat

Responsibility was handed over, but authority was retained: Says NPC Chief Minister

The Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council Justice C.V.Wigneswaran has expressed cynicism over the manner in which power of the Northern Provincial has been nullified.

Chief Minister made this remark while he addressed the special meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Northern Province at the auditorium of the Jaffna Public Library. Minister of  Public Administration Karu Jayasuriya was the Chief Guest.

“Responsibility was handed over to us but the power and authority was retained by the Central Government and the Governor and a few handpicked Government supporting Ministers” He observed.

He further said, “With parallel administrative power bases being setup by the Governor on one side, Governmental Ministers on the other and our officials torn between the devil and the deep blue sea, we were observers rather than severs of our humanity”.

The excerpt of his speech is as follows.

When I refer to the war affected nature of this Province I stress on the special requirements of this Province, special wants of this Province, special characteristics of this Province which are not found in any other Province except probably the Eastern Province which no doubt under the 13th Amendment is part and parcel of this Province. We have a lakh of war widows. Many of them still quite young suddenly becoming the sole breadwinners of their families. We have about 20000 immobile patients whose vertebral columns have been injured. We have a number of human beings who have lost one or more of their limbs. We have so many orphans who need to be immediately rehabilitated and restored to a humane environment and to be given proper education. We have so many of our dear brothers and sisters in this Province who are affected by psychosomatic conditions and who need psychotherapy, who need some words of concern and encouragement which we are unable to provide due to the lack of psychiatric counselling staff. The psycho social needs of our people, livelihood needs of our people, the security situation of our people are no doubt of great concern to us. Even certain areas of our lands and consequently the wells underneath are polluted by waste oil.

When we were elected to the Northern Provincial Council with much fanfare stating democracy has returned to the North and so on what really happened was that responsibility was handed over to us but the power and authority was retained by the Central Government and the Governor and a few handpicked Government supporting Ministers.

We had come in promising good governance, transparency and corruption – free administration. What we experienced was bad governance, closed administration and corruption at all levels. With parallel administrative power bases being setup by the Governor on one side, Governmental Ministers on the other and our officials torn between the devil and the deep blue sea, we were observers rather than severs of our humanity. I am glad our present Governor has already metamorphosed his position to that of a shepherd protecting his sheep, allowing the herd that extra leverage to be free to run about and eat what they prefer, though not to bite on any forbidden fruits. In fact many Governors of the Western Province with whom I was very close and friendly did precisely that during their term of office.