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Is the increase in ministries a bribe of 20A?

Date : 2020-Nov-30

The President has once again changed the allocation of subjects to the Cabinet and State Ministries and this is the second time that the subjects assigned to the Cabinet have been changed after the general election.

Accordingly, the number of Cabinet Ministries has been increased from 28 to 28, including the Ministry of Defense, which has not appointed a Minister in charge of the subject. Ministers have not yet been nominated for either of these two ministries. Also, although the President has been given the ability to hold ministerial posts under the 20th Amendment, he has not yet taken over as the Minister of Defense. If the President, who was unofficially the Minister of Defense, officially takes over the ministry, the Opposition will lose the opportunity to ask the question 'Who is the Minister of Defense of the country' and the ruling party will be able to escape the helplessness of not being able to answer that question.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Diana Gamage and Aravinda Kumar, who voted in favor of the 20th Amendment and are currently attending government meetings, will be given state ministerial posts and two state ministers will be promoted to cabinet ministers. If so, it is a symbol of bribery or extortion in order to vote for the 20th Amendment.

Although the President has the ability to hold ministries after the 20th Amendment, the Gazette has not removed the term 'Presidential Office' which was previously elevated to the rank of Ministries by the Gazette for Determining Ministry Subjects. The only thing that has happened is that several government agencies that were under the President's Office have been placed under the newly formed Ministry of Technology. These include the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, the Information and Communication Technology Agency, Sri Lanka Telecom and its subsidiaries and affiliates. In addition, several institutions under the Minister of State Sita Arambepola have been transferred to the Ministry of Technology. The Department of Registration of Persons has also been placed under the Ministry of Technology and it is questionable why.

In addition, several institutions that were unofficially under the Ministry of Defense under the President have been removed and the majority of those institutions have been transferred to the State Ministry of Defense, Home Affairs and Disaster Management which was given to brother Chamal Rajapaksa. The remaining institutions have been transferred to the newly formed Ministry of Public Defense. Sri Lanka Police, National Police Training Institute, Department of Civil Defense are under the Department of Public Security. This is a delay or reactivation of the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government's idea of ​​removing the police from the Ministry of Defense and maintaining it as a civilian affair.

The Sri Lanka Standards Institution has been removed from Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena and the Department of Archeology and our village has been handed over to Minister of State for National Heritage Vidura Wickremanayake. But he was not given our village office premises. The office premises have been handed over to State Minister of Cane, Brass and Clay Industries Prasanna Ranaweera. We should hear about the scientific methodology of providing such institutions and premises from President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa himself, the founder of the Vision of Prosperity.

In addition, the 20th Amendment, if necessary, should ask the President, who passed the Parliamentary Select Committee without the scope for the formation of a national government, whether further gazette notifications to increase the number of ministers under a national government would come.

-Lasantha Ruhunage-