Ranil reiterates China-led projects in H’tota

Monday, 30 January 2017

Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the government was negotiating with Japan and India to develop the Trincomalee harbour.Addressing a public rally at Saliyapura, Anuradhapura on Saturday, Premier Wickremesinghe explained that the yahapalana government’s efforts to develop the eastern Trincomalee district as well as Chinese funded projects in the Hambantota district and the Colombo Financial City.

Premier Wickremesinghe said that the youth from Anuradhapura and Horowpathana could obtain jobs at the Trincomalee port.

The UNP leader said that the government was in the process of preparing Trincomalee port development plans.

Premier Wickremesinghe reiterated that Hambantota development would continue in collaboration with the Chinese. Alleging that the Rajapaksa govt had been unable to pay back massive loans taken for Hambantota port and Mattala airport projects, Premier Wickremesinghe promised to make them useful. Premier Wickremesinghe underscored that the government could secure required Chinese funding following talks the government had with the Chinese President. Premier Wickremesinghe vowed to implement an accelerated Hambantota development programme with the Chinese.

Premier Wickremesinghe alleged that those who had launched Hambantota projects were opposing them today. Premier Wickremesinghe sought an explanation as to why the previous rulers launched such projects if they opposed them in the wake of the change of government.

The premier was referring to recent public protests at Mirijjawila against the inauguration of the Chinese projects. The police brought the protests under control using heavy handed tactics

Comparing the economic status of various countries in the region, Premier Wickremesinghe said that except Cambodia, Laos and Afghanistan all other countries were ahead of Sri Lanka.

Had Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled the country for another term, even Afghanistan would have overtaken Sri Lanka, Premier Wickremesinghe asserted.

Wickremesinghe said the country was in turmoil today due to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s abortive bid to seek a third term. Premier Wickremesinghe flayed former President Rajapaksa for bringing in 18th Amendment to the Constitution to do away with two-time limit for him to go for a third term.

Parliament endorsed 18th Amendment with a comfortable two-thirds majority

Premier Wickremesinghe chided Rajapaksa for not being able to get on Nugegoda stage SLFP ministers of the yahapalana government. The UNP leader emphasized that there was absolutely no basis for Rajapaksa’s claim that he sought a third term because of Maithripala Sirisena’s challenge.

The PM said that he wouldn’t talk about SLFP matters as he was not a member of that party. However, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid to secure a third term had caused a crisis and the country was experiencing difficulties.

Alleging that the Rajapaksas had destroyed the national economy, Premier Wickremesinghe said they couldn’t achieve post-war development as anticipated by the public. The previous government lacked know-how to address problems and the economy and ended up in dire straits.

The UNP Leader claimed that had Mahinda Rajapaksa won a third term, the previous administration would have resorted to Rathupaswela-type military action to suppress dissent in case of public protests. Premier Wickremesinghe explained measures taken by his government to address economic issues and gradually improve the situation. (SF)