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President has proposed a government of Sinhala Buddhists by Sinhala Buddhists for Sinhala Buddhists – MP Wigneswaran

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by Saman Indrajith

Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK) Jaffna District MP CV Wigneswaran told Parliament on Friday that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement proposed a government of the Sinhala Buddhists by Sinhala Buddhists for the Sinhala Buddhists.

Participating in the debate on the policy statement Wigneswaran said: “I carry no isms that conditions or motivates me. I have no prejudices against the president on party lines or racial lines. My sole purpose in participating in this debate is to examine the effect the policy statement might have on the people of the North and East.

There is no reference to the decades old problems of the Tamil speaking denizens of the North and East. The North and East whilst being part of Sri Lanka is majority Tamil speaking. It would have been ideal if his Excellency would have had adopted a holistic attitude towards the island keeping in mind the necessity to view the problems of the periphery from the standpoint of subsidiarity.

Nevertheless, let me refer to some of the salient features of the policy statement which we agree with since they form the substratum of the policies of the TMTK which I represent today.  

Firstly, referring to the part of the statement which says the prime responsibility of a people’s representative is to serve the public and I am glad that his Excellency considers our positions as responsibilities and not privileges. That is our view too. Secondly, we are also in total agreement with him that jobs should not be distributed but generated. the generation of job opportunities is the need of the hour. Thirdly, we agree that our basic aim should be to strengthen the local economy and encourage local entrepreneurs to introduce modern technology to increase value addition and the urgent need for organic farming etc.

MP Wigneswaran also appreciated the State Ministers being given monetary provisions to carry development projects. “We fully agree with the steps taken to eradicate waste in all ministries and state institutions.”

Referring to the statement by the president that he would not betray the trust placed in him by his voters, Wigneswaran said that was a commendable sentiment but while carrying out his responsibilities he must be aware of the checks and balances placed on him by law and social expectations. Hence, he said that as India was partly responsible for introducing the 13th Amendment. India should be party to any attempt to change the 13th Amendment. “He cannot do away with the 13th Amendment arbitrarily,” Wigneswaran said.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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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.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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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.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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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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