Connect with us


Prime Minister reaffirms Sri Lanka’s commitment towards achieving SDGs



Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, participating in the celebration to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“We are firm in our commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and create a greener and more sustainable environment for the future,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

“I call upon my fellow world leaders to work collectively in restoring compassion back to the eco-system in our respective countries”, he noted.

Due to the prevailing pandemic, the event took place virtually under the theme “‘Shaping Our Future Together.”

In his remarks, the Prime Minister thanked the United Nations for providing support to Sri Lanka in a wide range of sectors and highlighted the importance of member states supporting the United Nations in becoming a “more agile and accountable institution.”

The following is the text of the Prime Minister’s speech:

“Thank you, Your Excellency and the United Nations, for inviting me to participate in the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the U.N. It is indeed an historic occasion, especially given the long-standing partnership Sri Lanka has had with the U.N. for 65 years.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented us from joining you at your office for this celebration. However, I’m glad technology has brought us together virtually.

“I want to start by thanking the United Nations for its support to Sri Lanka in fighting the Coronavirus outbreak. As the world takes on the challenges of this unprecedented global health crisis, it is more important than ever to work collectively on our shared challenges to overcome this pandemic.

“Seventy-five years ago, on a day like tomorrow, the United Nations was created to be a global organization to act as the center of discussions on international cooperation, economic and social development, and international peace and security. It was the optimism of the U.N. Charter that instilled our faith in the U.N.’s ability to create a better world for us and our children.

“The global platform has helped bring world leaders together during some of the most challenging times, such as today. As Member States, I believe we need to support the United Nations as it evolves into a more agile and accountable institution. The world is changing dramatically, and an upgraded United Nations must both adapt and stay relevant.

“Having overcome a three-decade long war, Sri Lanka is on a transformative journey to becoming a more sustainable and resilient country. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all desperately searching for solutions to build back our economies, societies and global networks. We are firm in our commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and create a greener and more sustainable environment for the future. I call upon my fellow world leaders to work collectively in restoring compassion back to the eco-system in our respective countries.

“I appreciate the United Nations support for a wide range of sectors such as health, education, environment, agriculture and food security. One of my most important memories working with the U.N. is when I had the opportunity to work with children, especially after the Easter Sunday attacks and during the pandemic.

“In addition to remaining committed to children’s rights and safety, I remain equally committed to addressing the challenges faced by women and girls, the elderly and the differently-abled, and look forward to working closely with the U.N. Resident Coordinator and the Country Team”.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sajith blames ‘Viyathmaga doc’



Cause of Mahara Prison riot:

By Saman Indrajith

The recent Mahara Prison riot erupted as 120 inmates afflicted with COVID-19 had been taken there from the Welikada prison at the behest of a Director in charge of prisoners’ health, who was a Viyathmaga member, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament yesterday.

“Many explanations have been given by ministers about the riot at Mahara Prison. The number of deaths is not yet known and around 120 are wounded. One minister said that there was an invisible hand behind the clashes. Another said the motive was to bring the government into disrepute internationally. A theory was concocted that prisoners had taken some narcotic tablets called Reverse and they and fought because they wanted to see blood. But the truth is otherwise. The real cause is that 120 inmates infected with coronavirus were transferred to Mahara from the Welikada prison at the behest of a director in charge of prisoners’ health. That director is a member of the Viyathmaga. Those who were transferred to Mahara prison caused a cluster of 183 persons. As the infection spread fast there was unrest and tension. That was the reason for Mahara riots.”

He said that ministers had their own theories, but one day the truth would surface. “I hope that the ministerial committee appointed to probe the riots will conduct an impartial investigation and they will reveal the truth.”

“Prisoners have rights. I do not wish that this country would permit the perpetuation of the killing culture and state terrorism. The government members should keep in mind that there is a concept called rule of law and we all are expected to uphold it. So, we should dump those theories of Reverse tablets and strive to find the truth.”

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera: The health officer in charge of Mahara Prison is not a member of Viyathmaga.

Opposition Leader Premadasa: I did not say so. What I said was that 120 inmates were transferred from Welikada prison to the Mahara prison violating COVID-19 protocols. That order to transfer those had been given by a doctor who is a member of Viyathmaga. I do not mention his name. You can easily find it.

Chief Government Whip Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said that the Opposition leader talked of lofty ideals of prisoners’ welfare but the yahapalana government had failed to construct at least a single prison to ease the congestion in the prisons. “When I was incarcerated by your government, I was in a cell with 51 other inmates. There was no place to sleep. In the Kegalle prison, they put 225 in a hall enough for 50 inmates. The former government pre-occupied with the task of constructing new courts to imprison its political enemies but did not build a single prison for the benefit of inmates.”

Opposition Leader Premadasa: We did not want to build prisons, we built schools. Mahatma Gandhi has once said that when you open a single school, thousand prisons could be closed. We followed that.

Continue Reading


‘It will take four years to ensure quality of drinking water from small projects’



By Saman Indrajith

The safety of drinking water from small scale community drinking water projects could guaranteed only after the implementation of a project to check the quality of water and that would take four years, Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara told Parliament yesterday.

The Minister said so, when Matara District SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana pointed out that although the safety of drinking water from the National Water Supply and Drainage Board was guaranteed the same could not be said of water from small scale projects.

“There are many harmful elements in water such as lead, cadmium and mercury. We know that Water Board supplied water is purified, but water from small scale project could be contaminated with them. It is said that mercury in a CFL bulb has the potential to pollute around 6,000 litres of ground water and causing kidney diseases. This is a dangerous situation. One trillion rupees have been allocated for the Water Supply ministry. Apart from the COVID-19 threat, the biggest threat to the lives of people in this country is from non-communicable diseases. Can the ministry introduce a mechanism to provide each district with at least a single testing unit to ensure the safety of drinking water supplied by the small scale community drinking water projects.”

Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that safety of water from the Water Board was guaranteed owing to sophisticated purification methods employed by treatment plants. He said that it would take at least four years to provide testing units to ensure drinking water from the small scale community drinking water projects countrywide too is safe from harmful elements.

Continue Reading


Teachers’ Union boss Stalin accuses govt of attempting Akila’s failed stunt



By Rathindra Kuruwita

There was an attempt to create a new post, Director General – Sports, at the Ministry of Education and to appoint a political henchman, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin told The Island yesterday.

“According to the Education Administrative Service minute, any appointment has to be made through a competitive exam. However, this post has been created through a Cabinet paper and an SLPP henchman is to be appointed to it.”

The CTU General Secretary said that during the yahapalanaya administration, then Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had tried to appoint a UNP henchman to the post of Director – Sports at the Ministry. Kariyawasam had been compelled to back off due to the stiff opposition of the education sector unions, Stalin said.

“The court has also ruled that people should be appointed in keeping with the Education Administrative Service Minute. The President came into power promising to uphold the rule of law, but this government, too, is attempting to undermine the education system by appointing unqualified people to high posts.”

The post of Director General – Sports would have the same perks of an Assistant Secretary and the person to be appointed was a person representing a government affiliated union, Stalin said.

“95% of unions of the education sector will oppose if the government creates this post for the benefit of a henchman. We will resort to trade union and legal action.”

Minister of Education, Prof. G. L. Peiris was not immediately available for comment.

Continue Reading