JVP lambastes Foreign Minister’s positive evaluation of negative Geneva result
By Saman Indrajith
JVP National Organiser and former MP Bimal Ratnayake yesterday said that if the results of the last presidential elections were evaluated according to the math theory used by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to calculate the Geneva UNHRC vote result, President Gotabaya Rajapakasa would have been defeated by 9.5 million votes.
“It is a joke when the Foreign Minister says that the majority of countries, out of 47 nations, with voting powers, supported Sri Lanka. The resolution against us was passed with 22 nations voting for, 11 opposing while 14 others abstaining. That is a different issue. Calculating the 11 and 14 together, counting them as a single block, despite the latter expressively having shown their displeasure at us, to arrive at a total figure of 25 and to state that we have 25 against 22 is hilarious,.”
He said that the results of the last presidential election, calculated according to the same theory would show a result of President Rajapaksa, who won with 6.9 million votes, was rejected by 9.5 million electors. “That way we can count all votes received by all Opposition candidates and all the registered voters who abstained from voting as a single unit to show that those who rejected President Rajapaksa have numerical supremacy. Isn’t it actually a joke to describe those who abstained from voting in Geneva as a group supporting Sri Lanka?”
He said that a considerable number of 11 nations who had voted with Sri Lanka against the resolution were with the government’s leftist orientation. “As a policy they would not support a resolution by neo-imperialists countries such as the UK. Many countries who voted with us in the past, including Nepal and Indonesia no longer do so. How could the government make this out to be a victory?”
The former MP said that the resolution against Sri Lanka contained charges such as harassing minorities and suppressing media freedom by the government. It is in such a context the President stated that he knew how to teach lessons to the press. His statement reminded the world of assaulting, abducting and killing journalists, attacking media institutions, bombing Siyatha and Sirasa TV stations and the white van culture. Can anyone expect a different result?”
Of the 47 nations represented at the UNHRC, 15 are Islamic countries, he said. “Chief of Islamic block during his statement to the Council, raised the Muslim Covid-19 victims’ cremation issue in Sri Lanka. According to him, Sri Lanka is one of the four places where Muslims are harassed in the world. Others are Palestine, Kashmir and Burma. So, we lost 11 out of the 15 Islamic nations. It is the first time Sri Lanka came down to 11 votes in support of her. In 2009, while this country was bleeding with war and over 350,000 languishing in relief camps we had votes of 29 countries only 12 opposed. In 2012, we had 15 supporting and 23 opposing us. In 2013 we had 13 supporting us while 25 opposing. In 2014, 12 countries supported us while 23 opposed. Since 2015, there have been no votes. Now, we have 22 opposing and only 11 supporting us. This gradual decrease is an indication of how our government handled foreign affairs of this country.”
Overtime gravy train for public sector back
Govt. MPs make contradictory statements on state of economy
By Shamindra Ferdinando
UNP National List MP Wajira Abeywardena on Sunday (26) disclosed the issuance of a circular by the Finance Ministry to restore overtime and other payments in the public sector.
The declaration was made in Galle soon after Transport and Media Minister Bandula Gunawardane lamented that the government was short of billions of rupees to pay public sector salaries, pensions, Samurdhi payments and meet recurrent expenditure.
Minister Gunawardena and UNP National List MP Abeywardena addressed the local media after the handing over of several buses to the Galle SLTB depot.
Cabinet Spokesman Gunawardena said that the government needed as much as Rs 196 bn before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and its projected revenue was Rs 173 bn. In addition to that Rs 500 mn was required to settle what Minister Gunawardena called bilateral debt.
Minister Gunawardane said that a part of the first tranche of USD 333 mn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be utilised to pay public sector salaries.
Of the USD 333 mn received so far, USD 121 had been used to pay the first installment of USD 1 bn credit line secured from India early last year, according to State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.
Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera in the second week of August last year revealed as much as Rs 3 bn had been paid as overtime to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers for several months. This disclosure was made in response to a query raised by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella.
One of the major demands of the public sector trade unions on the warpath over the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government’s new tax formula is the restoration of overtime.
Now, Opposition wants Finance Secy. hauled up before Privileges Committee
Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (27) urged Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to act speedily on the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) request to summon Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena before the parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges.
Addressing the media on behalf of the Freedom People’s Alliance, the former External Affairs Minister said that the Treasury Secretary had challenged the parliament by withholding funds allocated in the budget 2023 to the Election Commission thereby sabotaging the election.
Prof. Peiris said that there couldn’t be a far worse violation of parliamentary privileges than a government official undermining Parliament.
Instead of appreciating the intervention made by the Supreme Court to facilitate the delayed Local Government polls, the ruling party had sought to challenge the apex court, Prof. Peiris said, urging Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to fulfill his obligations.
Prof. Pieris said that if the government lacked funds, just one percent of USS 333 mn received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was sufficient to conduct the election.
The ex-minister said that the IMF wouldn’t oppose the utilisation of a fraction of the first tranche of USD 2.9 bn loan facility provided over a period of four years to guarantee the constitutional rights of the Sri Lankan electorate. (SF)
Cabinet nod for fuel distribution by three foreign companies
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera announced yesterday that the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval for allowing China’s Sinopec, Australia’s United Petroleum and RM Parks of the USA, in collaboration with multinational Oil and Gas Company – Shell plc, to enter the fuel retail market in Sri Lanka.
The minister said that each of the three companies would be given 150 dealer operated fuel stations, which are currently operated by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). A further 50 fuel stations at new locations will be established by each selected company, he said.
They will be granted licences to operate for 20 years to import, store, distribute and sell petroleum products in Sri Lanka, the minister tweeted.
Clearview AI used nearly 1m times by US police, it tells the BBC
Second ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka abandoned
Scientists discover water inside tiny beads of glass on moon
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Features4 days ago
Happy Birthday dearest Mrs. Peries !
News3 days ago
Mano says LG and PC elections equally important
News5 days ago
Decorated gunship pilot blacklisted for appearing on political stage
Midweek Review6 days ago
Growing foreign dependency and India’s USD 4 bn lifeline
News5 days ago
No more selling of Hajj visas, assures Minister
Breaking News6 days ago
Property tax to be replaced with Wealth Tax, Gift Tax and Estate Tax – President
Editorial6 days ago
Celebration of debt
Sports5 days ago
Sri Lanka’s flawed ODI strategies