Relief for the affected from JVP MP’s salary fund

The JVP has decided to take measures to provide relief to the people affected due to the adverse weather from the salary fund of the JVP people’s representatives states the media unit of the JVP.
Already, the ‘Red Star’ Relief Service Brigade of the JVP is mediating in the task of bringing to normalcy the districts affected by the floods and earth-slips.
The exercise has been launched to provide relief to victims from floods and earth-slips in Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Rathnapura districts. The JVP has appealed to the public to donate goods to be distributed to the affected and hand them over at ‘Red Star’ centers set up in relevant districts.
The JVP also requests the public not to be duped by false news published in Social Networking Sites stating JVP collects money as donations for the affected. The party states the JVP does not collect money from the public for relief work

‘Red Star’ reaches out to the affected

The food and other items donated by masses to ‘Red Star’ Relief Service Brigade of the JVP to be distributed to flood and earth slip victims are being distributed now.
‘Red Star’ was engaged in rescuing people stranded due to floods and many people had to be rescued from very remote places which were not accessible and with much effort.

The General Secretary of the JVP Comrade Tilvin Silva, Comrade Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa MP were among the comrades who were involved in relief work at Kalutara.

Photographs show distribution of goods in Dodangoda and Matugama in Kalutara District, Waralla in Matara District, Medical clinic at Elpitiya in Galle, distribution of goods at Akuressa, a collection center at Siyambalape in Gampaha District:

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‘Red Star’ appeals for dry rations, water, medicine

‘Red Star’ Relief Service Brigade of the JVP, that is engaged in providing relief to masses who have been affected due to floods and earth slips, has appealed to the public to donate dry rations, bottles of drinking water, medicines, boxes of matches, mosquito nets to its collecting centers.
Center of ‘Red Star’ Relief Service Brigade have been set up in Rathnapura, Galle, Matara, Kalutara and Hambanthota Districts. The relief work at Matara District is headed by JVP Matara District Organizer Comrade Sunil Handunneththi MP while relief work in Rathnapura District is headed by JVP Rathnapura District Organizer Comrade Shantha Padmakumara. JVP Organizer for Kalutara District Comrade Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa MP heads ‘Red Star’ relief work in Kalutara District while relief work of the Brigade in Galle District is headed by Galle District JVP Organizer Provincial Councilor Comrade Nalin Hewage. Relief services in Hambanthota District is headed by JVP Hambanthota Organizer Comrade Nihal Galappaththi MP.

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‘Red Star’ brings relief to the affected

‘Red Star’, the JVP Relief Service Brigade, has instantly reached areas that have been affected due to floods and landslides and is engaged in providing relief and making temporary places the affected have been settled in comfortable states the media unit of the JVP.
The exercise is active in providing relief to the affected in Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Ratnapura districts and other affected areas. Members of the ‘Red Star Brigade who are in distant areas have been mobilized by the party and are reaching areas they have been assigned to said a spokesman for the JVP media unit.

Can cabinet reshuffle develop the country that couldn’t be done by government change?

“Could a cabinet reshuffle develop the country that couldn’t be done so by a government change? As such, this is only a pseudo play act of Ranil; – Maithri administration. For the last few weeks the topic of the media was the cabinet reshuffle. This did override genuine issues of the people. The cabinet reshuffle was brought in to deceive the masses. As such, instead of taking the country forward this would create several crises in the country. Hence, these rulers, with the policies they follow, can no longer take the country or the people forward. Now, the country needs a change in policies. We call upon the people in this country to come forward for such a change,” says the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka.
He said this speaking at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP today (22nd) afternoon. The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Kalutara District Parliamentarian Comrade Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa too was present.
Speaking further Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, “When this government came to power it promised to arrest all those who were involved in frauds and corruption and to punish the guilty. 2 ½ years have passed since it came to power. The rulers have not been able to fulfill any promises they made to the people. They also reiterated they would find employment for youths. They promised to find ten million jobs. However, the government has failed to find suitable employment for youths. Also, they promised to salvage the country entrapped in a debt trap. However, the country is again trapped in a debt trap. Despite promising that the supremacy of the law would be established, it has been cast aside. Instead, drugs and crimes have escalated in the country. After 2 ½ years of rule Ranil – Maithri administration has proved the promises and agreements to the people have been broken down.
The government should fulfill the needs of the people. Certain faculties of universities have been closed down for several months. There isn’t any solution yet. Children die when police exchange fire with the underworld. Prices of essential items have been increased burdening the people more. Fraud and corruption are rampant and the President and the Prime Minister, instead of solving issues of the people, have presented a play act called cabinet reshuffle to the masses. A statement published in the media said to have been made by the President after the reshuffle says their intention was to create new hopes among the people. These are hopes that would never be fulfilled.
The intention of the cabinet reshuffle is not to prepare future programmes to develop the country and the people. There are several other goals in this reshuffle. One such goal is to create a crooked legitimacy for the SLFP to continue to remain in the government. The MoU between the SLFP and the UNP was for a two year ‘national’ government. However, they have been together for 2 ½ years and have approved all proposals that have been brought in. They are trying to create a legitimacy to remain in the corrupt administration until 2020. The second goal of the reshuffle is to please who are dissatisfied. Tilak Marapana had to resign from the ministerial post as it was revealed he was protecting Avant Garde fraudulent company. After that he never came to the Parliament for more than a few days. He was unhappy that he had to resign from the ministerial portfolio. He has been given the Ministry of Development Assignments to please him. Already, there are several ministers for development. Malik Samarawickreme is Minister of Development Strategies; Sarath Fonseka is Minister of Regional Development. Sagala Ratnayaka is Minister of Southern Development. John Seneviratna has been given a new Ministry called Sabaragamuwa Development. S.B. Dissanayaka is the Minister of Upcountry Development. In addition to all of them Tilak Marapana is appointed Minister of Development Assignments. Is there development in the country with all these ministers of development? These ministries are not for development of the country or the people but for their own development.
Also, in the past John Seneviratna and S.B. Dissanayaka were grumbling. They have been gratified by adding several portfolios. As Mahinda Amaraweera is the Secretary General of the UPFA he has been given a state ministry as well. As such, the reshuffle is not for the development of the people or the country nor is it to solve the issues of the people. Someone can argue that there were allegations against the Minister of Finance and he had to be removed from that ministry. If there were allegations against him he should be investigated and he should be punished instead of giving him a new portfolio. This government has created a new system of punishments. It is to give the perpetrator a new ministry. There are rumours that Ravi is to be given plantations, insurance, Mahapola, Lotteries Board and several other enterprises in addition to Foreign Affairs. Then Ravi becomes Foreign Minister of Economic Affairs. Arjuna Ranatunga has been given the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development. 1/4th of our export expenditure is for fuel. Why is a ministry with a transaction of nearly US$5 billion, a large number of personnel and a large number of retail outlets given to Arjuna Ranatunga who has allegations against him as the Minister of Ports?
Also, despite Kiriella, being accused of having a large number of consultants, coordinating secretaries and committing irregularities in projects, carries on regardless. Nothing has happened to Siyambalapitiya who is accused of irregularities in coal tenders.
Harrison who allowed middlemen to get profits by selling paddy stocks exists without any bother. The Prime Minister who protected bond fraudsters remains in his chair. Duminda, the Minister of Agriculture who wastes Rs.2.4 million monthly on rent for a building has nothing to worry.
As such the reshuffle is not done to remove fraudsters or the corrupt. It has been done not for the development of the people or the country. Changing the Minister of Ports doesn’t change the attempt to sell Hambanthota Harbour or the East jetty of Colombo Harbour. Changing the Minister of Petroleum wouldn’t stop selling oil tank farm to India. The reshuffle would not change any policies of the government.
According to the 19th amendment to the Constitution a resolution to have only 30 posts of ministers and 40 posts of state ministers was passed. When the SLFP and the UNP joined it was decided on 1st September, 2015 to increase posts of ministers from 30 to 48 and posts of state ministers from 40 to 45. As such, this government was formed to share posts and privileges. The cabinet reshuffle also proves it. With this reshuffle the cabinet expands by adding a minister and a state minister. It is the people who have to be burdened with the extra expenses. This would be another addition to the economic crisis the country is already immersed in.
Could a cabinet reshuffle develop the country that couldn’t be done so by a government change? As such, this is only a pseudo play act of Ranil; – Maiathri administration. For the last few weeks the topic of the media was the cabinet reshuffle. This did override genuine issues of the people. The cabinet reshuffle was brought in to deceive the masses. As such, instead of taking the country forward this would create several crises in the country. Hence, these rulers, with the policies they follow, can no longer take the country or the people forward. Now, the country needs a change in policies. We call upon the people in this country to come forward for such a change.”

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“Government tramples mandate to protect illegal degree boutique”

“We emphasize that the government should select whether to cast away its existence by selecting SAITM or save itself by abolishing SAITM. Why does it take so much trouble to protect SAITM when even its existence is at risk? We of the JVP shall rally all people’s forces to protect free education and against privatization of education. The fraudulent SAITM cannot be allowed to exist for ever. If the government doesn’t abolish SAITM we would abolish it by a people’s administration,” says the General Secretary of the JVP Comrade Tilvin Silva.
He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP today (18th). The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Attorney at Law Comrade Sunil Watagala was also present.

Speaking further Comrade Tilvin Silva said, “The government deployed police to brutally attack the protest march carried out by students on the 17th  demanding the government to abolish SAITM. University students held this protest campaign for a very justifiable grievance. The government, instead of listening to this justifiable demand carried out brutal baton charges and tear gas attacks. Students were pursued along roads to attack them. Even students who moved away from roads were attacked. The students marched not to fight with the government or the police. Theirs was a very justifiable cause. The government, instead of finding solutions for students’ issues attacked students like criminals. About 20 students were injured and about 10 students have been remanded. We vehemently condemn deploying police to attack the students and demand the government to unconditionally release all students who have been remanded immediately.
Protests have been launched demanding to abolish SAITM and not to abolish free education. Political parties including the JVP, trade unions, students, doctors and parents carry out a struggle demanding to abolish SAITM as it is an illegal institute. The government, instead of listening to the people, is engaged in an attempt to protect the illegal institute. It attempts to crush people’s opposition by suppression. We ask to abolish SAITM not because we have an issue with that institute. SAITM is maintained as a step to abolish free education and sell education. It is not an isolated issue. That’s why it should be defeated. Certain sections of the government are coming out with various arguments to protect SAITM.
When education in a country is privatized the consequences are very severe. Majority in our country lives with relief from the government. The daily income of the majority in the country is less than US$2. Many in our country cannot afford to spend Rs.120 – 125 million for the education of their children. As such, this government is playing with the future of this country. We have come across incidents that have taken place due to private education. A youth was arrested by police for robbing a bank. Investigations showed that he was a medical student of a private university in Russia. A student who could have become a doctor had become a criminal due to poverty. Also, female students who study in private institutes in Europe advertise to sell their bodies. If students have to peddle drugs, sell their bodies or rob banks to pay for their studies we would have not doctors but criminals. This is why we demand the government not to abolish free education. However, the government’s response is arbitrary and despotic.
This is a struggle of the people. Agitations are carried out using the freedom of expression of the people established constitutionally as the government doesn’t listen to the issue. The inhuman government deploys police to brutally attack students who make use of this ‘freedom’. The government’s aim is to protect illegal SAITM institute. SAITM is an illegal boutique maintained by lying to parents, students and with frauds. Now, advertisements are published spending millions  to spread lies. They lie stating they have got the approval of Sri Lanka Medical Council and has got legal status. This institute is also connected with undemocratic acts. A person called Sameera, who held a responsible position in the institute got some people to shoot him. Even after the incident was proved to be a play act no action has been taken by the government against him or the SAITM owners. Also, a grenade attack was carried out against Sri Lanka Medical Council. Those who work in SAITM are like underworld figures. It is an institute maintained with underworld, money and thuggery. This is why people demand the government to abolish SAITM.
The government stays mum while masses, including political parties, students, doctors, parents, demand that SAITM should be abolished. The government should take steps to solve the issue without trampling the mandate and unleashing suppression.
The government doesn’t like agitations. It is scared of agitations. We tell the government, if it is scared of agitations, to find solutions for the just demands of the people. People resort to agitations as the government does not listen to their just demands. No one likes to take to the streets to get baton charged or tear gassed. The government instead of finding solutions is trying to suppress opposition. Agitations cannot be carried out according to a time table or at a specific area. That is good for tele-dramas. The government tries to solve problems by getting injunction orders. This would trivialize judiciary as well.
The government has lost its composure when people justly oppose its failure to find solutions for their issues. Ministers in our country act like they are in a lunatic asylum. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand does. The ministers come out with contradictory statements. They have no interest in solving people’s issues. They mediate only to solve the issues the government has. When there was an issue in the North Central Provincial Council, ministers were removed instantly and new ministers appointed. This could be the issue the President instantly mediated. No commissions, discussions, consultants are necessary to find solutions for their issues. They mediate instantly to consolidate their powers. They mediate to get those in the opposition to their side in one night.
Also, there was an issue in the cabinet. Minister Rajitha Senaratna told the media a statement said to have been made by the President. There was a clash stating there was no such statement. A cabinet spokesman was appointed for the President’s faction and the issue was solved. The government that takes instant decision to protect its power does not mediate to solve people’s issues. Mediation to get down vehicles for ministers is very quick. The government that states it has no money to expand universities has enough money to buy vehicles for ministers. Vehicles are bought for ministers every month. Rent is paid for others’ buildings. Hence, the moves of this government are not on behalf of the people. It is a government that uses resources and money of the country to solve their own issues. The government takes instant moves to give Hambanthota Harbour to China, to sell Eastern Jetty in Colombo Harbour, lands to companies and is taking steps to make a future for the super class it represents.
We warn the government. We emphasize that the government should select whether to cast away its existence by selecting SAITM or save itself by abolishing SAITM. Why does it take so much trouble to protect SAITM when even its existence is at risk? We of the JVP shall rally all people’s forces to protect free education and against privatization of education. The fraudulent SAITM cannot be allowed to exist for ever. If the government doesn’t abolish SAITM we would abolish it by a people’s administration.”

Comrade Tilvin Silva responding to questions asked by journalists said, “If people are inconvenienced due to agitations and protests what the government should do is prevent such agitations. It is not by baton charges or tear gas attacks but by solving the issues. It is the government that calls for agitations. The government that invites agitations attempts to put the blame on agitators. The traffic blocks occurred during the agitation due to the police attack; because police pursued and brutally attacked agitators, because police declared war on protesting students. Students had to run along streets as police attacked them with tear gas and baton charged them. Even the public that used roads and streets were inconvenienced due to tear gas. The public was not inconvenienced due to the agitation but it was the police that was responsible for their inconveniences. Hence, we tell the government that agitations cannot be suppressed by baton charges, tear gas or shooting. All those who attempted to suppress people’s opposition with the bullet were sent home.
During Mahinda Rajapaksa regime too agitations were shot at and three people were killed at Rathupaswala. A fisherman was murdered at Chilaw. Another employee was shot and killed at Katunayaka. Despite Mahinda staying at home those who shot at agitators are in prison. These agitations are held not to topple the government. If the government thinks students attempted to topple the government, it would be possible to prevent it by giving solutions for students’ demands. All of them do not ask for the posts of the president, the prime minister, a minister or for vehicles. Their only demand is to abolish illegal SAITM. The problem would be solved if SAITM was closed. Why is the government so hesitant to close down SAITM which is not even a government institute? We would not allow just struggles to be suppressed on the pretext of the excuse ‘attempt to topple government’.
The government has not given what has been asked for. Taking over the hospital is not a demand of the students. Also, entering SAITM to the share market was also not a demand of the students. We have no issue with the hospital. When the hospital is taken over it would be an advantage for the SAITM owner. His target would be fulfilled when the hospital is maintained with public money. When SAITM is entered to the share market the owner could maintain it with public money.
Speaking about MPs selling vehicle permits Mr. Tilvin Silva said, “People vote and send MPs to parliament to develop the country. However, the first thing the MPs who enter parliament do is to sell the vehicle permit they get for Rs. 25 – 30 million. This would indirectly deny the tax the government should get. Getting this money by MPs is a fraudulent act. All MPs except JVP MPs sell their vehicle permits. The government knows that MPs sell their permits but continue to give the permits to MPs as a ransom. If MPs have financial difficulties when they do politics they could stay at home. Some say they need good vehicles as their backbones are worn out. In reality they do not have  backbones. If their backbones get worn out when being driven in a car what would happen to the backbones of people who use public transport? These people come to politics to earn money. They earn from MP’s salary and allowances. Some earn from commissions. As ministers they can earn from contracts. For them parliament is a vein of wealth. Hence, people should understand how they gobble public money.”

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Unity Govt robbed more in two years – Sunil Handunnetti

(Ceylon Today)
sunil_Handunnetti5Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti believes that the current Unity Government, which has been in the echelons of power for merely two years, has fleeced more public funds than the Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency, which lasted for a decade from 2005-2015.

He also said it was up to the voters of the country to decide whether to proceed with the same political backdrop, where it was a shift of power between the UNP and the SLFP, or take a decision to change the political landscape of the country by voting for leaders of a different flavour altogether. The decision is altogether in the minds and hearts of the people, he said.

Here, the COPE Chairman and JVP MP in conversation with Ceylon Today.

?: Now the Presidential Commission of Inquiry has found enough and more incriminating evidence linking former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and son-in-law Arjun Aloysius to the Bond Scam and that Mahendran was personally responsible for manipulating the deals, which was the beginning of the end of the economy. What is the next step and why are the wheels of justice not in motion with all the evidence against him and Aloysius?

A: Now, the issue is whether the recommendations of the COPE report will be implemented or not. Then, if they are found guilty, Court proceedings will be instituted and the moneys which were a loss to the government, to the tune of Rs 15 billion, would be recovered. The culprits should be brought before the law. These are some of the immediate priorities which have to be attended to now. If they are deemed not guilty, then the economy would have to suffer a loss to the tune of Rs 15 billion. Now, what is left is the implementation of the recommendations or not.

?: What are the other corruption allegations against this government?

A: There is nothing in the surface that is visible. But, the members of the present government are carrying on just as the previous government and they continue to rob. They came to power on a mandate to fight corruption and they have made more money in these two years than the 10 years of the previous two regimes of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The present government has placed the country in a huge debt trap. They continue to borrow to repay the existing debts and they get deep into the mire. Now, it is selling off all the valuable resources and the assets of the country. There is also no restriction of the wastage and this perfidious government is getting unlimited tax free limousines for the politicians and at the same time, they scream that the government is in debt and there is no room for welfare spending. That is how the hypocrisy worked in these past two years.

CeylonToday?: So, do you think that this government is robbing as the previous government or do you think that it is more than the previous government?

A: The corruption is continuing unabated and this government has robbed much more in these two years than the 10-year-old Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. That is the difference.

?: By the scheme of things that is visible today, it is almost visible and predictable that this government will continue till the next presidential and parliamentary polls in 2020. The government has almost two thirds majority and there does not seem to be a risk element for the government at all. So, what is the issue?

A: It seems that there are two sets of people. One segment rules and the other are ruled. So, it is the taxes of the ruled that the rulers are levying and that is what is levied to meet the expenses of the government. The corruption goes on and this seems to be continuing from government to government. It is the people and the voters who have elected these politicians, the very same politicians who have not been able to find a solution to even the garbage issue. If the voters want to have the same hardships, the loans of the country, the taxes and other charges of the government, let them vote for these types of governments and let them suffer in the same manner. If the people also want to have slashes in the education and health services, there is nothing wrong in electing these types of governments.

?: Then, what is the solution?

A: The solution is to change governments like this. It is also the people who elect governments and change them as well. If the people want to change the government, then we are claiming that we are suitable and the masses are also saying this.

?: But, the heart of the matter is that you have not any day won an election and secured a majority. So, how can you afford to talk?

A: So to do that we have to win and that is not something that we have not yet done.

?: But the people and the voters still have scary memories of the carnages that the JVP created in both 1971 and 1988-1989. So, how can you blame them?

A: Then, in that case, let the people remember the antics of the JVP in the past two insurrections and suffer at the hands of the government. Then let the people continue with governments that given them slashed subsidies, give additional taxes, which also promote malnutrition and diseases like dengue, then it is all right to have a government like this. If the people are adamant that they want something like this for the rest of their lives, then there is no alternative. It is as simple as that.

?: But the home truth is that according to the present Constitution, there will be no single political party which will be able to successfully form a government with a clear working majority and that is the form whether you like it or not. There will be the continuity of Hung Parliaments. What is your solution?

A: Then this will be the future and also the country. Who cares? If this is what the country wants, so be it!

?: So, how can you be confident that you can form a government given that you can barely get the minimum number of seats in Parliament which has been the case all these years?

A: Let the people decide. Otherwise, the country will be the same which has been the same for the rest of our lives.

?: If the JVP forms a government will your management of the economy and the country will be the same or will it be totally different?

A: We will have as priority a production based economy and certainly not a beggar economy like this where people are taxed through their noses. The government should be levying taxes from the people after giving them a reasonable income. The people must be seen as stakeholders of the economy. Now, imports are double the exports and this must be regulated. Borrowings should be done only to match the requirements. There should be fiscal discipline. Wastage should be stopped. Corrupt people should be punished. The law should be applicable to all and be seen as fair to all. The environment should be nurtured. Garbage should be managed. Schoolchildren should not be treated by the government as a nuisance. There should be a short-term, medium-term and long-term plan for economic development. Pensioners should not be treated as a liability and there should be a plan to nurture them. The health service should be developed. The politicians should lead by example. We don’t mind if this government does that.

?: Now on a personal note. You are of course a university graduate in Economics. But, are you aware that 146 of the 225 Members of Parliament have not even passed their Ordinary Level Examinations? How do you see this?

A: The voters do not ask these questions at the time they vote and that is not a qualification on the ballot paper either. There is no qualification to become an MP. If that is required Party Leaders should decide on these candidates like the JVP.

?: So, don’t you think that political party leaders should also be held responsible for this abysmal state of affairs?

A: Yes. That is very true. They should also be held responsible for this. The criteria that political parties use as their benchmarks for politics is how many thugs a candidate could bring and what kind of money he can give the Party. Those are the criteria they look for and that is very sad. It is the politicians who should be blamed or all these shortcomings and not the people at all.

?: So, don’t you also think that people who have murder charges against them and people who have other serious allegations against them should not be given nominations?

A: I have thought on the same lines. To how many people have I mentioned and shared these views? We have shown the way by example. There is no one in our party who has been elected like this.

?: What are your thoughts on constitutional reforms?

A: That is indeed very necessary. The Executive Presidency should be abolished. This corrupt system of preferential votes should be stopped.

?: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the nation from Galle Face Green on May Day, alleged that the government, through the new Constitution, will be compromising the nation and dividing the country and that all forces should be mobilized to stop that. How do you see this?

A: It was Mahinda Rajapaksa who agreed with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to give the North and the East self determination for ten years and other criteria like that. So, he could not talk at this stage or any stage, and if anyone was there to compromise the interests of the country, it was him!

?: What do you think of the war crimes charges? Does your Party advocate a domestic mechanism or a foreign mechanism?

A: It is indeed true that there was a war in this country. So, it is us who have to decide for ourselves what is best for us as nobody will be coming to our rescue.

?: What are your thoughts on the devolution process?

A: If the government considers the North and the East as two parts of Sri Lanka then adequate power must be devolved to them and also make them live honourably as citizens. That is their right. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that there is cohabitation and there is development equitably in the entire country. The people of the North are not only meant for getting votes at election times. What is necessary is not the devolution of power. The requirement is to provide with their rights. That is all. That is education, health, transport; infrastructure and a whole lot of others include connectivity.

?: But the TNA and the Northern political parties are not content with anything short of self determination. How do you see this?

A: Asking for what they want is their business. Whether to give or not is the business of Parliament. Anybody can ask for anything.

But they must ask it in such a manner that they get it. Some of the demands that they made may be valid in a war environment, but they are not valid in a backdrop which is devoid of war. They must realize that. On the other hand, the southern political leaders should understand the reasons which led to the war and ensure that those causative factors are removed and that there is no repetition at all in that regard. That is the challenge. The TNA should realize that they cannot have the whole pound of flesh and we should realize that we cannot deprive them the whole pound of flesh. The solution should be something in between.

JVP in touch with TNA, SLMC to mount struggle for abolition of Executive Presidency

JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva in an interview with Daily Mirror says his party will make a new political formation with the aim of gaining power. He speaks of geopolitical connotations involved in the Hambantota Port project and the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm project. Excerpts of the interview: 

image_1493662254-2d4cf0d64aQ In the context of current political developments, how does the JVP plan for its activities?  

As for the current situation, we find several issues. The economy has virtually collapsed. The govt is embroiled in a serious financial crisis. It is now opting to auction off the national assets of the country as a way out of this crisis. The Hambantota Port and the adjacent lands, the East Terminal of the Colombo Port, the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm are earmarked for selling off. Apart from the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) to be signed, the govt has inked yet another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India outlining projects to be assigned to India. We are not opposed to mutually beneficial bilateral agreements. Yet, we are against such agreements which are disadvantageous to the interests of Sri Lanka. We do not accept the attempts by the govt to make easy money by selling off the national assets. The JVP has initiated a struggle against this.   
In the meantime, the govt is now trying to repress the public upsurge against it. In one instance, the govt tried to limit protest and demonstrations to a site specified for it. The govt is trying to use force against those protesting against garbage disposal in their localities. Now, we learnt of yet another attempt to create a force to deal with emergency situations to be triggered by strike actions. Then, the democracy is at stake.   
Though the govt promised to abolish executive presidency, it seems to be abdicating its responsibility in this regard now. For the abolition of executive presidency, we initiated a dialogue with the like-minded parties. We have held talks with Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and with the Communist Party. We intend to have talks with the President soon. Governance, by one party after another since Independence, has failed to address issues of our country. We need a novel form of governance and we will work for it.

Q When abolishing executive presidency, there is concern that it would affect the unitary status of the country. It is argued that the loss of Executive President’s hold on the PCs would lead to separatism gradually. How does the JVP see it?
It is not a correct argument as we see. Then, the President, the Prime Minister and the other forces that rallied behind to unseat the former rule, should have seen such a danger before. The abolition of executive presidency is a key election pledge. It is not the amendments the executive presidency that was promised. Actually, the executive presidency cannot protect the country from being partitioned. In fact, separatism raised its head when the country was ruled by executive presidency. The country is safe from separatism as long as people are empowered, democracy strengthened and ethnic harmony fostered. We reject claims for retaining executive presidency by trotting out such excuses.
Q However, if the executive power in appointing provincial governors is taken out, it will give more independence to the PCs paving way for them to become independent units as argued by some government leaders. How do you see it?
If a new Constitution is introduced, a set of provisions will have to be incorporated to prevent the country from being partitioned at any cost. In the present Constitution, there is no provision to take action in case a PC declares independence. We need new constitutional safeguards to prevent the division of the country. It has to be vested with Parliament.
Q How does the JVP see eye-to-eye on this issue with the SLMC and the TNA?
We have discussed the basic points. There is no broad discussion. This is the best opportunity to work out a new Constitution to strengthen democracy and to ensure people’s rights. All the parties should strive to reach common stand rather than sticking to their guns.
Q The JVP, right from its inception, advocated decentralization of administrative power, but not power devolution. Have you deviated from this position in this manner?
There is no change in our policy. We are against any move that leads to the division of the country. Yet, we have to ensure equal rights for all citizens to ensure stability of the country. Rather than making way for the partition of the country, we have to decentralize administrative powers to the lowest possible level.
We have to work out something in keeping with that fundamental position. At the same time, equal rights should be guaranteed for all.
Q How does the JVP subscribe to the Constitution making process in the Steering Committee?
We are a party to it. It has discussed matters both acceptable and unacceptable to us. We believe in bilateral talks with the political parties to identify areas with common position.
Q There are moves for privatization of national assets as you said earlier. This is against the core of the JVP policy. But, there is public perception that the JVP’s role in thwarting such attempts by the govt are minimal. How do you respond?
There are two opinions here. The extremist forces against us accuse us of involving less in this struggle. The govt, on the other hand, accuses us of being oppositional to everything. In reality, and in the past, the JVP stood against the govt’s move to sell out state assets. In fact, we have managed to pre-empt such moves.
We launched the biggest protest against the move to lease out 15,000 acres of land in Hambantota for Chinese companies. We led from the front against the project to hand over a stake of the Hambantota Port. The govt backtracked from its position afterwards. The JVP trade unions were at the forefront against the proposals to lease out the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm.

Q How certain are you that the govt would not forge ahead with the signing of agreements to implement its projects in Hambantota and Trincomalee involving China and India?
We want the govt to stop it. For that, we will make every possible effort. Actually, the country is going through an acute financial crisis. Our manufacturing base is lost.
These are, in fact, the assets to be utilized to boost our manufacturing base. If we sell them off to foreign powers, the situation would be compounded worse. If we develop the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm, we would be able to reduce our fuel distribution cost. Now, plans are in place to sell it to India. Indian Oil Company is involved in fuel distribution here. So for India, it is useful. But it is important that we should build
our economy.
Q Do you see this as part of Indian expansionism once your party had espoused?
This is a policy issue concerning Sri Lanka. We have to look at it that way rather than blaming India. India is actively expanding its trading with the rest of the world. We should also have a policy to get maximum benefit for the country. We should not formulate policies that are in line with other countries. Then, they will have the advantage, not us. We do not have inherent enmity with India otherwise.
Q In terms of geopolitics and also from the JVP’s perspective, how detrimental is it for Sri Lanka to have the Hambantota Port leased out to China and Trincomalee Oil Tanks to India?
In fact, these are assets connected with national security. These projects cannot be compared with other investments such as garment factories and tea industry. The port is an economic nerve centre with a bearing on national security. Likewise, the Trincomalee Port and the petroleum project will definitely have a bearing, not only on economy but also on national security. Energy sector is the most powerful economic tool connected with national security. It should be kept fully within SL’s control. It should not be alienated. Economic nerve centres should never be alienated to a foreign power.

Q The JVP played a pivotal role in installing this govt. How do you compare this regime with its predecessors?
It is true that the JVP played a key role and it was accepted by a majority of people as 6.2 million people voted against Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was part of our struggle. The next struggle is to form a progressive govt by defeating the current regime. When compared, we do not see much of a difference between the present and the former regimes in most aspects. Only difference is that this govt is fragile. The former rule had central control. The President, the PM and the Cabinet belonged to the same party at that time. Today, it is different. The President is from one party and the PM from another. As a result, there is no strong decision-making. At the beginning, the govt was less repressive. It is now attempting to suppress dissent against it. The previous govt resorted to privatization, and the current regime does the same too. Both the govts went for borrowings. We find corruption and frauds under both the regimes. However, there is some breathing space in terms of democracy under the new govt. It is also shrinking now.
Q Traditionally, there are two main parties that had ruled this country. One could be ousted from power with the support of the other only. Then, how could the JVP form a new govt independent of these two parties?
The political situation is building in favour of a different force, as we see. Only the capitalist parties called the shots. When one capitalist party was in power, another capitalist party was the main opposition.
Today, both the main parties are in the govt. Then, only the opposition parties can get together to unseat the govt. The MR group cannot attract people again. As a result, the JVP is ready to fill the vacuum. We will make a political formation. It is not a mere political party. It will be a combination of all stakeholders – academics, professionals, artistes and others.
Q There is a public perception that the JVP chooses political strategies in a manner that is advantageous to the UNP. Your party tends to criticize the MR faction more aggressively while trying to protect the UNP-led govt. How true it is?
It is not true. It is an allegation made by the Rajapaksa gang. We built criticism against the MR rule and it cannot cleanse itself of its past wrongdoings. Alongside, we have logically built criticism against the present rule. Only the JVP exposed the Central Bank Bond scam to the country first. The COPE investigations were done successfully under the chairmanship of JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti.
The Joint Opposition moved a ‘No confidence’ motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The JVP also voted for it along with the JO. But MR did not vote. Literally, the MR clan had acted to safeguard the govt, not us, in spite of lashing criticism in public against the incumbent regime.

 

JVP condemns bomb attack on SLMC

The JVP has issued a press release condemning the bomb attack that has been carried out against Sri Lanka Medical council (SLMC).
JVP press release states “It is not difficult to understand the intention of the bomb attack specially, while the struggle against SAITM is moving progressively forward and when Sri Lanka Medical Council has taken a very correct stand in rejecting the SAITM illegal medical degree shop.”

Full text of the press release:

Vehemently condemn bomb attack on Sri Lanka Medical Council!

It has been reported that Sri Lanka Medical council has been subjected to a bomb attack. Firstly, we condemn with abhorrence the cowardly act. It is not difficult to understand the intention of the bomb attack specially, while the struggle against SAITM is moving progressively forward and when Sri Lanka Medical Council has taken a very correct stand in rejecting the SAITM illegal medical degree shop.
The authorities in SAITM, on various occasions, engaged in such underworld acts and the government was very silent regarding such violations. The intention of this latest attack would be to threaten members of the Sri Lanka Medical council. Hence, the incident should not be allowed to be taken lightly.
While demanding the government to hold an impartial investigation regarding the bomb attack on Sri Lanka Medical Council, We emphasize that we would never allow SAITM struggle to be weakened with such cowardly attacks or by attempts to divert the attention elsewhere.

press-release

Wesak Day message of the JVP

“The duty and the responsibility of all Sri Lankan Buddhists is to distance themselves from all dissoluteness so that the economic, cultural and moral degeneration could be ended. Also, we wish Sri Lankan Buddhists would, on this Wesak Day, resolve to eliminate all obstructions that have been placed against building an environment that would genuinely help in forming human lives according to Lord Buddha’s teaching and to create such a society,” states the Wesak Day message of the JVP released with the signature of the Leader Anura Dissanayaka.
Full text of the message:
Wesak Poya Day, the day Buddhists all over the world accept as the day in which Lord Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Nirvana took place is important to Buddhists all over the world. This day is commemorated, venerated and honoured by all Buddhists.
Lord Buddha’s teachings that help the society to progress include cooperation, working for reconciliation and righteousness. Undoubtedly, most of the virtuous qualities that exist in the Sri Lankan society have been nurtured by His teachings. Sri Lanka was known as ‘Dharmadweepa during the period these teachings and policies were followed and protected.
However, at present Sri Lanka, despite the day begins and ends with Buddha’s teachings there is no reduction to the number of crimes. Buddhist teaching vividly shows that the number of criminal activities escalate, virtuousness and morality degenerate when the country and the people are economically ruined.
The rulers who fictitiously show they protect Lord Buddha’s teaching but deceive masses by not taking steps to develop the economy so that the standard of life of the masses could be raised which would prevent crime, robbery and immorality . As long as these rulers who lack foresight rule the country Sri Lanka becoming a ‘crime-land’ would not be prevented.
In such a situation the duty and the responsibility of all Sri Lankan Buddhists is to distance themselves from all dissoluteness so that the economic, cultural and moral degeneration could be ended. Also, we wish Sri Lankan Buddhists would, on this Wesak Day, resolve to eliminate all obstructions that have been placed against building an environment that would genuinely help in forming human lives according to Lord Buddha’s teaching and to create such a society.
Anura Dissanayaka
Leader,
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
10,05,2017