SLPP remains united and as strong as ever - Prime Minister | Sunday Observer

SLPP remains united and as strong as ever - Prime Minister

21 February, 2021

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in the face of the Covid–19 pandemic, the Government has taken every possible measure to provide all facilities notwithstanding the health-related restrictions imposed to ensure the safety of the public.

As the tourism sector is a vital component of the national economy, President Rajapaksa called on entrepreneurs in the field to get ready to embark on a new journey by overcoming challenges.

At a discussion with the representatives of the tourism sector at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday, February 17, the President said attention was being paid to give priority to personnel such as hotel employees, tour guides and drivers under the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination program. It was stated that there is no need for quarantine service providers when tourists are not tested positive. The President advised officials to take measures to improve facilities for tourists and to take into account the comments made by them when they leave the island.

Pakistan PM’s visit

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is due to make an official visit to Sri Lanka from February 23-24 on the invitation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. During his visit, Pakistan Premier will attend bilateral meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Prime Minister, while several other high-level engagements are planned, including a business and investment forum, and a sports diplomacy initiative.

The Sri Lanka and Pakistan Prime Ministers will preside over an event to sign several mutually beneficial bilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on February 23 following official talks at Temple Trees.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his maiden official visit this year outside the country, will be accompanied by a high-powered business and investment delegation that will consist of business leaders in Pakistan, mainly from the sectors of textile and apparel, pharmaceuticals, agro-food commodities, sports goods, gems and jewellery, auto parts, ICT, construction material and surgical equipment. Arrangements have been made to hold a special program to welcome the Pakistani Prime Minister at the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake.

Media speculation

Deputy Mayor of the Galle Municipal Council Fowz Niyaz, at the UNP District Bala Mandala meeting held in Galle a couple of days ago, had submitted a resolution that Ranil Wickremesinghe should continue to lead the Party and he should definitely represent the Party in Parliament.

A group of former UNP Parliamentarians and a group of members of the Galle Municipal Council and Pradeshiya Sabhas including UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena, Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene and General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara had also participated.

However, there was media speculation that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has not accepted his Party members’ repeated requests to fill the UNP’s solitary Parliamentary National List seat vacancy. UNP General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara had told the media, “We will see. He might accept the seat when the time comes.”


earlier declined the request made to him by a group of Party seniors to take up the party’s solitary National List seat that had been offered to him following the conclusion of the General Election. He had informed them that he was planning to spend his time writing a book and had stressed that there were young members of the Party who were more than ready to steer the political course of the UNP in the coming years.

Tripura CM’s statement

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Udaya Gammanpila said the Government will officially respond to the reports that Chief Minister of India’s Tripura State, Biplab Deb’s statement on setting up a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Sri Lanka, only after Indian Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah or Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces their stance on the statement. Minister Gammanpila told the weekly Cabinet briefing that if Amit Shah is hoping to set up a party in this country, the country’s patriots will never let that happen.

However, the Minister refuting reports, said they have not received any official statement regarding the setting up of any party in Sri Lanka.

He said, “What we got to know unofficially was that Amit Shah has made this statement while having a feast with his fellow members and that statement had then been announced at a rally by a third party. As a responsible Government, we are not ready to react to the statements made by third parties.”

“Take criticism without bias”

The Buddhist Advisory Council has told President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that spending time to respond to all opinions expressed by each person is a waste of valuable time that can be utilised to work and what is needed at present is to take criticisms without bias, and lead the country with his own intellect.

The Maha Sangha at the eighth session of the Buddhist Advisory Council held at the Presidential Secretariat said that whatever the comments made by certain sections of the society, the Maha Sangha and the people of this country have placed great faith in the President.

The Maha Sangha said the people are annoyed by the hateful comments made by some disgruntled elements, who are unhappy because of not receiving privileges and the Government should not get discouraged by the baseless allegations and insults levelled against it by various parties. They requested the President to rule the country in a righteous manner for the remaining three and a half years.

Dream world

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said the coalition partners of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) have every right to express their views freely and fearlessly. Premier Rajapaksa had said that the expression of a standpoint doesn’t boil down to disunity within the rainbow coalition as they are entitled to their views.

He said some opposition members are elated as they seem to believe that cracks are appearing in the SLPP just because a partner in the ruling coalition gave expression to his thoughts.

The Premier had told the media “They are living in a dream world as the SLPP remains united, committed and as strong as ever.” Premier Rajapaksa said without lending support to ongoing efforts to curb the Covid-19 threat, they are anxiously waiting for the downfall of the Government.

When a coalition partner expresses his views, they are elated that a collapse is imminent as there’s disunity within Government ranks. However, this is far from the truth, he said.

SJB Parliamentarian Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that no regime will betray the country’s war veterans as per national policies. He told journalists in Beliatta, “The forces will not be betrayed and no harm will be allowed to come to them. Whatever the party, it is our policy as a country.”

He said that politicians in the North have carried out many political acts to garner votes. However, not many votes can be gathered from the North by these acts. Therefore, there should not be any fear over such activities which are done for gaining political advantage. Fonseka said, “We do not need to incite racism in the South over these acts.”

Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said, “We will not let anyone from within or outside our parties to attack the Rajapaksas. Some people within and outside our parties are trying to break up the Rajapaksa family.

The Opposition, international forces and the Tamil Diaspora want to do this. We should not allow this if we want to exist.”

Minister Fernando said, “This Government is strong. We all should be alert about people with ulterior motives trying to create a wedge in the Government. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected to the presidency when the country was facing near destruction in every possible way.

“The country’s economic growth rate had plummeted during the previous Government’s rule. Colossal amounts of funds which belonged to the people were stolen during the regime of the former Yahapalana Government through the Central Bank Bond scam. The situation that the country faced during the Yahapalana Government’s rule created anarchy,” he said.

Will not leave Government

Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that he will never leave the Government, however, he added that he cannot say whether the Government will leave him. He said this in response to questions from journalists, following an event in Colombo on Friday, February 19, as to whether he would be able to remain in the Government.

Asked whether any major changes are to be expected in the Government, Weerawansa said that there is absolutely no need for anyone to panic and come to any conclusions. He said, “What we want is for this Government led by President Gotobaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to move forward in good health.”

He said that voicing his opinions to safeguard the country’s national resources is something that he has been doing since joining politics up to now. Asked whether he will be able to remain in the Government with certain groups, Weerawansa said, “I will not leave the Government but I don’t know whether the Government will leave me.”

Woman DIG

The Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus told the media that they will stand for the rights and job security of Sri Lanka’s first female DIG Bimshani Jasin Arachchi, setting aside political differences and that they will fight for her rights until justice is done.


The Chairperson of the Caucus, State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle addressing a media briefing in Parliament on Thursday, February 18, condemned the challenge to the appointment of Bimshani Jasin Arachchi, who was the Director of the Police Children’s and Women’s Bureau. State Minister Fernandopulle, State Minister Dr. Seetha Arambepola, SJB Parliamentarian R

ohini Kumari Wijeratne and the Deputy Secretary General and Chief of the Staff of Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera were present at the press conference.

State Minister Fernandopulle said that her Caucus was very pleased with the appointment of the female Deputy Inspector General of Police and that it considers the appointment of a woman to a higher post in an institution such as the Sri Lanka Police, where the majority is male, as a contribution to gender equality.

While expressing her displeasure over the situation against the DIG of Police, she said if Sri Lankan women were to be recruited into the Police, they should have the right to receive their promotions regularly. The women MPs pointed out that being a woman, it is very unfair to try to lose the opportunity to get higher positions in a certain field.

Deputy Chairperson of the Caucus, State Minister Dr. Seetha Arambepola said, that all women Parliamentarians, setting aside political differences, condemned the involvement of certain groups in legal act

ion challenging the post of DIG Bimshani Jasin Arachchi, and urged all women in this country as well as all parents who wish their daughters success, to unite.

Despite the arrangements made by the National COVID Task Force for Parliamentarians to get vaccinated starting from February 16, some Government and Opposition lawmakers have deferred getting the Covid-19 vaccine as they felt that the opportunity should be given to more vulnerable people.

Opposition MPs Hesha Withanage, Chaminda Wijesiri, Harin Fernando, Manusha Nanayakkara and Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage are among those who have not been vaccinated.

SJB Parliamentarian Hesha Withanage told reporters that he took the decision to refrain from taking the Covid-19 vaccine as the people will be disgusted with politicians if they use their privileges to get themselves and their family members vaccinated.

MP Harin Fernando via a Twitter message had said that he will not receive the vaccine until a million people from among the public have been vaccinated.

Minister Aluthgamage had told the media he had taken a personal decision to refrain from receiving the vaccine, to provide an opportunity for a person from the vulnerable groups identified from among the public to be vaccinated.