Former President and incumbent Patron of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said she would work with the younger generation to reinvigorate the SLFP that was weakened due to the conduct of former President and SLFP Chairman Maithripala Sirisena.
Kumaratunga said so yesterday (2) while making a special statement to mark the 69th anniversary of the SLFP.
Kumaratunga said she had been saddened by the present fate of the SLFP, which was formed by the late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and later strengthened by Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
“I think I am also responsible for what has happened to the SLFP, today. It is not because of what I did, but because of what I did not do. I am the person who revitalised the SLFP, which was on a losing streak for 17 years. The SLFP was able to remain in power for 23 consecutive years because of what we started.”
Kumaratunga said that she had returned to politics in 2015 at the request of the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, a number of political parties and civil society organisations, after a long absence from politics as she needed to put an end to the destruction of the country and where the SLFP was heading at that time.
“Many people today say that I joined the UNP. In 2015, we formed a massive alliance with a large number of civil society organizations and a number of Tamil and Muslim parties. That alliance included both the UNP and the SLFP.”
Although she and a group of others had presented a broader vision in 2015, Sirisena who came to power in 2015 completely had destroyed that programme, the former President said. Both leaders who came to power after her were responsible for what had happened to the SLFP, she said.
Kumaratunga went on to say, “One leader who came to power after me even put my life at risk. At a time when Velupillai Prabhakaran had warned that he would kill me, that leader removed my security within 24 hours. He did all that because I was the only living Bandaranaike family member who could rebuild the SLFP. Also, the Bandaranaike policies of the party were ruined due to various criminals who linked him to the SLFP,”
Further emphasising that a party like the SLFP could not be destroyed, Kumaratunga said that she was committed to strengthening the SLFP with the help of the youth.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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