Oct 02, Colombo: A special parliamentary session will be held tomorrow to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the First Parliament of Democracy in Sri Lanka.
All arrangements have been made to hold a debate in this session according to a proposal made by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition of Parliament, Speaker of the House Karu Jayasuriya said.
The resolution says the Sri Lanka parliament is the oldest parliament in the Asian region elected by the adult universal vote with an unbroken record of democratic governance and the assembly convenes as an independent parliament proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary, to wish the Parliament and the Sri Lankan people success prosperity further strengthening the democratic traditions, policies and rule of law.
Representing SAARC countries, the Speakers of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, and Nepal will join the session.
Speaker of Pakistan was also scheduled to come but he has informed that due to a debate on an important bill in Paksitani parliament, it is difficult for him to attend the session in Colombo. However, he will attempt to come at least for a short time, Pakistani Speaker has said.
The Association of SAARC Speakers and Members of Parliament was formed based on the idea of SAARC regional speakers on the 15th of June 1992 during the SAARC meeting in Colombo.
Accordingly, Sri Lankan parliament has played a pivotal role in the creation of the SAARC Speaker and MP's Association.
After many, the arrival of the SAARC countries' Speakers and the affection shown to our country by the regional political leaders are a blessing for our country, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said.
"The participation of our neighbors in the event can be regarded as a respect and appreciation for the political leadership of the country and the neutral policy followed," he said.
"We are strengthened by the support given by the President and the Prime Minister for this event."
It is important to look at the past in order to make the future of a home, a village, an area, a country a success. It is worth remembering, as we reconsider, the challenges we faced, hardships, mistakes, and successes.
Recalling the life lost during the past 70 years that saw two failed military coups, two youth insurrections, and a 30-year-long terrorist war, the Speaker said we should pay gratitude to all present and past parliamentary leaders and representatives for the unbroken existence of the democratic parliament despite the troubling period.
However, we also recall the unsuccessful attempts to incite communalism and religious extremism as well as some of the bitter experiences faced by democracy.
It is commendable that amidst all these challenges, the maintenance of community-based programs such as free education, free health service, which people in other countries do not have, continued.
The first 35 years of Sri Lankan parliament from October 1947 to 1982 was held in the Galle Face Parliament. The current Parliament in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte will is in existence for 35 years from 1982 to 2017.
From tomorrow, the present Parliament will have a great responsibility and duty, the Speaker said
"We must all dedicate to build a responsible, law abiding democratic country that provide the right place for the right person for the sake of our future unborn generation," the Speaker emphasized adding that national, religious and political unity should be created
"We can hold different views politically but we can go hand in hand for the betterment of the country," he noted.
There is one fact that should not be forgotten in Parliament. That is parliament of Sri Lanka is the supreme institution.
"In the past citizens honored the Parliament and its MPs. We must take steps to protect this dignity," he said.
The Speaker honorably remembered all the Speakers before him including the first Speaker Francis Molamure, deputy speakers and parliamentary officials.
"Similarly, I offer the nation's honor to those who dedicated themselves to protect the dignity and traditions of the parliament during the past 70 years amidst numerous obstacles," Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said.