`We do not believe in the provision of Unitary State at all, but will recognize sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic unity,` Group Leader Karu Jayasuriya told a media conference at Sethsewana yesterday.
The set of constitutional proposals by the UNP Reformists` Group for providing a stronger devolution package was handed over to Prof.Wiswa Warnapala and SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. In their package the group has dropped the demand to maintain the unitary status of the constitution.
Jayasuriya said that since 1948 Sri Lanka had been stagnating politically,economically,culturally and socially. Paying lip service to national issues the then rulers had driven the country backward. The UNP Democratic Group would denounce terrorism and racialism which had been a canker to the country. The Group would always recognize the identity of different communities without weakening the common Sri Lanka identity, he said.
He said the Group was of the opinion that any sort of solution offered should be acceptable to Tamils and other minority communities and also acceptable to Sinhalese as well. What is offered must not be anything less than what is in the present Constitution. The group recommends that the unit of devolution should be the Province, Minister Jayasuriya noted.
Minister Jayasuriya said that the UNP Democratic group would never belittle the 13th Amendment. There should be an impartial devolution of power between the centre and the provinces and there should be a central list and provincial list. All subjects essential to preserve the sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic unity of the country should be with the Centre.
Engineering Services Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the UNP Democratic Group would do everything possible to strengthen the 13th amendment. Some people had spoken ill of the 18 UNPers accusing that they were mere stooges of President Mahinda Rajapakse and the 18 UNPers never joined the Government to distort the provisions of the true UNP party Constitution. The devolution of power was extremely important and the 18 UNPers joined the government to work out an acceptable strategy to solve the national crisis which had begun to devastate the country gradually.
Minister Senaratne said that the 17th Amendment was subject to several changes and the UNP Democratic Group`s set of proposals would be introduced to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC).The proposals would consist of 20 items. It had been prepared after painstaking studies and several amendments. The introduced proposals would be final, but any amendments or alterations could be done at the APRC to enable it to reach a consensus with a final set of proposals.