Heated arguments were the order of the day during the second half of the final day of ‘Budget 2019’ debate yesterday, when State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and UPFA Parliamentarian Nimal Lanza locked horns over Ramanayake’s allegations that Lanza was involved in distributing narcotics.
Ramanayake on 4 April blamed Lanza in Parliament saying that it was Opposition Leader and then President Mahinda Rajapaksa who rescued Lanza from being detained by the Police Special Task force (STF) over alleged narcotic distribution. Lanza was not in the Chamber during Ramanayake’s speech.
Taking the floor yesterday, Lanza made an impulsive speech and vehemently criticized Ramanayake and used unparliamentary language on Lanza.
He went to the extent of using names of animals and demeaning language on Ramanayake. Lanza claimed Ramanayake was responsible for the plight of depositors of the financially collapsed Edirisinghe Trust Investment (ETI).
Ramanayake was not in the Chamber when Lanza began his speech. However, after several minutes, he was seen hurrying into the Chamber. The two then began to verbally attack each other by throwing allegations at one another.
When the argument took a turn for the worse, JVP’s Bimal Rathnayake rose to his feet and requested the Chair to remove schoolchildren who were in the public gallery at the time.
The Chair and UNP MP Velu Kumar warned Ramanayake and Lanza to stop their arguments and stick to the original subject of the debate. He said that unparliamentary language used by both will be removed from the Hansard. However, the MPs continued to bash each other.
Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella reminded the arguing MPs to carry on a decent debate as there were schoolchildren in the gallery.
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