• Let the people decide

    France is making the rounds on world news today. The media reports that the violent clashes that have called for the deployment of over 89,000 police officers, are a result of weakening economic policies implemented by the Macron Government. “President Emmanuel Macron was elected last year with an overwhelming mandate for sweeping economic reform, but his popularity has fallen sharply in recent months amid accusations that he is a “president for the rich”, a BBC report said.


    French citizens, as reported by the press, want taxes lowered, want jobs for those unemployed and want the cost of living reduced. And as a result, the fuel tax rises have been postponed and other taxes are being lowered.
    The rising violence has also prompted Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to say, “Anyone would have to be deaf or blind not to hear or see the anger.”

    The connection between what French citizens are calling for and what Sri Lankan citizens have been calling for, for the last 3 years, is uncanny – yet the voice of the millions of Sri Lankan citizens have remained unheard.

    Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was sworn in as the Prime Minister in 2015, while not holding the majority in Parliament at the time, assured the people of several incentives and stronger economic policies to uplift the nation and attract larger foreign investments.

    Three months into his ‘good-governance’ strategies, Sri Lanka was subject to the largest financial fraud in the island’s history and possibly one of the worst cases worldwide – the Central Bank Bond Scam. The mastermind behind the scam, Arjuna Mahendran, was appointed as the Governor of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank on the recommendation of Hon. Wickremesinghe, despite strong objections from Wickremesinghe’s cabinet and President Maithripala Sirisena. Yet to date, the former Governor remains at large with no accountability or explanation toward the Sri Lankan people.

    Within these past three years, Sri Lankans were promised more jobs, a lowered cost of living, more foreign investment, and Colombo was to be transformed into a IT & tourist hub, with more infrastructural development and better standards of living.

    The Hon Wickremasinghe & the UNP’s modus operandi to gain leverage at the polls was countless accusations and allegations against the Rajapaksa Government under baseless, fictitious claims, which even 3 years later continued whenever the Hon Wickremasinghe was questioned on the failure of his government to fulfill its promises and mandate. More starkly still was the fact that within the last 3 years the UNP only took forward the projects which were initiated by the previous Rajapaksa government; opening highways and dams which were approved by the fromer government. The country witnessed no fresh projects which would benefit the masses.

    It is the common man, the working classes in Sri Lanka, that felt the failure of the UNP Government the most. During the past 3 years, sitting in the opposition benches, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa has listened to hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans who have visited him and only lamented over the state of affairs under the UNP government.No jobs, no incentives, and each day faced with an ever rising cost of living and taxes. I call upon each one of you, regardless of your party preference, to visit the rural areas and hear the people as they speak of their hardships. Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s economic policies, had clearly failed to benefit the average Sri Lankan.

    The frustration of the people was extremely clear when the SLPP won the Local Council Elections through a landslide victory. The people were sending out a clear message that they wanted Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa back. And this message was the cause of panic among the UNP Government, that purposefully delayed Provincial Council Elections, so as to not suffer yet another humiliating defeat.

    While the French citizens are protesting for their rights, I commend our citizens for having patience, having tolerance. These past three years you all have tolerated enough. It is time you all deserve more, you all deserve better.

    When Hon. Rajapaksa was sworn in as the Prime Minister on Oct 26, he vowed to provide immediate relief to the masses, and provisions were already implemented within a course of a month to give the people the economic relief they deserve. The propaganda of political unrest was propagated once again by the UNP in a bid to plunge the country deeper into instability and prevent, at all costs, the possibility of a general election.
    It’s clear to everyone, UNP supporter or not, why the party would shun away from a general election – because they don’t have the support of the people, because they have continued to fail the people and put Sri Lanka into a volatile economic state that it has never been in before. If the voices speaking out for democracy means anything, should not the will of the people reign supreme? Is it permissible for the UNP to continue to delay and boycott any plans of a general election?

    Let the people choose their government – they have a right to choose the future they want. The future they deserve. The only way forward for Sri Lanka now, is through a general election. Let the people decide.

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