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Weerasekera tears into Wigneswaran, Ponnambalam



By Saman Indrajith

State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Rear Adm. (retd) Sarath Weerasekara yesterday challenged Tamil MPs in the Opposition to prove that they had a genuine concern for the welfare of their people.

Participating in the debate on the Vote on Account Minister Weeraskera said that so-called representatives of Tamil people would not even donate blood for the people they represented.  “I ask them if they have ever donated blood for their own people. When the Jaffna Hospital runs out of blood it is the Sinhalese soldiers who donate blood. The Vellalas will never donate their blood as they don’t want the socially disadvantaged Tamils to receive their blood. These are the very people who are talking about the aspirations and welfare of the Tamil people. They don’t have the right to talk about the aspirations of the Tamil people.

We have greater right to talk about the Tamil people. 

Former Navy Chief of Staff Weerasekera said that Rs. 174 billion had been allocated for Defence expenditure at a time when there was peace in the country. He said that after 30 years of war, there was peace in the country and in case that peace was compromised, the government would allocate more from the Vote on Account for defence expenditure.

“The minister said that if anyone was trying to instigate the youth and spread hatred between the Sinhalese and Tamils and laying the foundation for another conflict, then that persons had to be exposed.

On the inaugural day of the Parliament one party leader went out of his way to speak of self-determination and supremacy of the Tamil language. This august Assembly was not a place to decide whether one language was superior to the other. But, one could sympathise with him as a person who was clueless about the true history of Sri Lanka.

“We are a country with a written history of over 2500 years and an even longer Sinhala history. The ruins and historical monuments spread throughout the country are testament to the history of the country based on Sinhala civilisation.  Hence, knowing of this past very well, these statements intended to ignite disharmony should be strongly condemned.  

“Somehow, we must be concerned about his statement about self-determination. If self-determination is given to the North to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamils living in the North, then what about the Tamils living in the South? More than 50% of the Tamils are living in the South among the Sinhalese and the Muslims. Does this mean he is not concerned about the aspirations of the Tamils living in the South or is he fully convinced that their aspirations have already been met? Weerasekera asked. 

“Weerasekera said the particular MP when he was holding a very responsible position in Jaffna, had claimed that the Sinhalese and the Muslims had no right to live in the Jaffna Peninsula. He attended the Colombo Royal College and studied with the Sinhalese, then went to Law College and studied with the Sinhalese, then went on to become a magistrate and High Court judge and became a Supreme Court judge and lived among the Sinhalese and Muslims for 65 years and then had the audacity to go to Jaffna thereafter and claim that the Sinhalese and Muslims had no right to live in the North.

“This MP is eternally insulting the government and the Sinhalese people, Buddhism and the Sinhala language and engages in protests in Killinochchi demanding the removal of Buddhist statues.  He is none other than MP C.V. Wigneswaran. This same MP took oaths in Mulliwaikkal prior to taking oaths in parliament. This spot is where the most intense battle took place. There, many were killed and the battle was for a separate state and him taking oaths at this very spot is a clear manifestation that he too is has the same agenda. Hence, he definitely needs to give an explanation for his actions. As pointed out by MP Manusha Nanayakkara, such racist statements should be removed from Hansard.

“Similarly, MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said that the Sri Lankan forces had committed war crimes and that was the reason why President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had lost the electorates in the North. However, I want to ask him how come the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who commanded the Army during the war, won so many votes in the North when he contested the Presidential election. Therefore, I don’t think his utterances should be taken seriously as they are baseless.

“Although he claims the Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes , experts in the field such as Sir Desmond de Silva, Sir Geoffrey Nice and David Crane, Prof. Michael Newton, Rodney Dixon QC and  Maj. Gen. John Holmespic, after extensive investigations and cleared the Sri Lankan armed forces of war crimes and crimes Minister .”

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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving



Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring



By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest



By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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