• In a country, where the PM is also handling youth affairs, we see no bright future for us

    On Thursday morning, Sri Lanka’s new cabinet took oaths in the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena.

    Being a minority government, 30 new cabinet ministers were sworn in, including portfolios given to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Whilst Hon. Wickremesinghe retained his previous portfolio of National Policies and Economic Affairs, he also received the portfolios of Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs.

    Today, the Ministry of Youth Affairs is one of the most powerful portfolios as it handles all issues surrounding the youth of this country. Sri Lanka in particular has much to do to serve our Youth. Out of our estimated 21 million population, around 4.4 million people are aged between 20 to 34 years. This makes up at least 21% of our population.

    On Thursday, when the new cabinet was sworn in, it was extremely disappointing to see this vital ministry being coupled with other vital ministries which comes under the purview of the Prime Minister himself. Hon. Wickremesinghe, surely being one of the most senior politicians in this country, could have appointed a much vibrant, younger minister to this position. When the Prime Minister himself is handling several other vital ministries, one can imagine how much he will contribute towards the youth of this nation.

    Hon. Wickremesinghe himself entered cabinet by being appointed the Youth Affairs Minister under the J.R Jayawardena government. But things were different then. Hon. Wickremesinghe himself was young and he was new in politics. He could exclusively dedicate himself to solve the issues facing our youth and do more to strengthen the youth sector.

    If the issues surrounding our youth today are ignored, which it most probably will with the Prime Minister himself handling it, then there is not much hope for the future of this beautiful island, where the most important citizens are the youth. There is much that needs to be done in economic development, resettlement etc. especially since much has been neglected within these past three and a half years. Therefore the Youth Affairs ministry is bound to gather dust and it is surprising how Hon. Wickremesinghe could find no suitable young MP who could handle it better than himself. If so, then the UNP seems to have no bright future ahead with no one capable of replacing Hon. Wickremesinghe himself.

    Malaysia is an ideal example Sri Lanka could follow. While Hon. Mahathir Mohamed is 93 years old, the oldest serving Prime Minister, his government appointed a dynamic new young Youth Affairs minister, Syed Saddiq, who is 25 years old . In addition to Youth Affairs, Hon. Syed was also appointed the Sports Minister. Malaysia has recognized their true strengthen and their future. Which is why Hon. Syed is the youngest serving member in his cabinet and has received the two ministries which rightfully belong to a young minister.

    For the past three and a half years, under the Wickremesinghe administration, the youth have only been neglected. So many issues surrounding our youth have not been addressed. University students and students from other sectors have been ignored, unemployment within our youth has risen, there concerns have been neglected and ignored while many have complained they see no bright future in this country. If the youth are driven away, then the nation is at risk of a collapse. It is time the UNF administration keep aside their internal issues, and work for the benefit of this country. And not for themselves. Much needs to be done as much has been neglected within these past three and a half years.

    Presently, we see no bright future for Sri Lanka.

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