Monday, January 20, 2014

Are alternatives to the Provincial Council and Local Govt. worth discussing?

Participatory democracy would be an ideal we should attempt to achieve one day, so that everyone has a chance of exercising a degree of power, not seen in any form of decision making today on the Island.  

People will say why bother? I say we owe it as a bequest for the future. The future is changing so rapidly, that future generations will have to deal with faster, and juggle a lot more than the previous lifetimes put together, and while on the one hand I envy their access to technology, with it comes an information overload, where discipline in making choices, determines what to immerse oneself in, what to ignore and how to sift cleanly and without delay.

Despite the speed with which this technology is changing the way we live and work, the politics is still stuck in the dark ages, and needs a new jolt of lightening. If we can with experience and knowledge of what worked and not, set out the guidelines of people’s government, it will enable a more fulfilling participatory democracy at local level, in much the same way that the village headman made decisions in concert with his leadership council, allowing a level of empowerment and control that will satisfy the elector to extent hitherto thought of as impossible.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution that effectively created the Provincial Councils must be repealed, and NOT amended. It should be replaced by District Councils more like the revised Pradeshiya Sabas except for the highly populated districts such as Colombo, Kurunegala and Gampaha, that may require a split into two or three for the purposes of efficient government. This will create perhaps a total of 30 districts with autonomy equivalent to the combination of Pradeshiya and Provincial have now. The next level of Government, is the equivalent of the newly created ward system, as part of the overhaul of the future Pradeshiya Sabas. This ward will have its own elections every 3 years, which is a sufficiently long period to test the effectiveness of the elected representatives. The latest revision will just a rep in each ward at the PS.

This method I believe is a far superior approach at local involvement in affairs and the district system will by experience and vote bank project those that can contest the Parliamentary elections. I don’t want to comment on a reversion to the old first part the post system for the Parliament to avoid the fashion parade we now have, but something similar is preferable to our current preference system of General Elections.                  

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