Aid Conditional on Credibility

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Based on SLPP MP and former SLPP Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana’s statement in Parliament on Wednesday, several more SLPP goons have to be questioned by the CID concerning the attacks on innocent demonstraters at ‘MynaGoGama’ and at ‘GotaGoGama’, Colombo last Monday (9 May). (See also the lead story in yesterday’s Ceylon Today)

  They include Pathirana himself; ‘other’ SLPP MPs, other than those who have already been questioned, IGP Chandana Wickramaratne and Public Security Ministry Secretary Major General (retired) Jagath Alwis.

Yesterday’s lead story quoting Pathirana said that Police didn’t prevent SLPP supporters from attacking peaceful protesters last Monday on the instructions of Public Security Ministry Secretary Major General (retired) Jagath Alwis and IGP Chandana Wickramaratne.

He said they were informed that former Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa would resign and people from many areas flocked to Temple Trees (TT) to bid farewell to him.

Pathirana also said, “I was at TT on 9 May. However, several MPs provoked supporters to attack ‘GotaGoGama.” When some people who attended the meeting were on their way to attack the peaceful protesters, he phoned SDIG Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon and requested him to prevent the attack.

“Tennakoon assured me that Police would prevent the attack. He said Police had placed road barricades. After that I went to President’s House, Colombo for a meeting. While I was at President’s House, former MP Ashu Marasinghe called me and said clashes would be inevitable.

“He requested me to warn the President and to ask for his intervention to avoid the imminent tragedy. I then informed the President immediately.

“However, when the President phoned Tennakoon, he claimed the IGP instructed them not to prevent attackers entering Galle Face.

“JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake is right. It was the IGP and the Public Security Ministry Secretary who instructed Police to let the goons attack peaceful protesters at Galle Face.

“The President then instructed Tennakoon to prevent the attacks. Tennakoon had then informed the President that the IGP had instructed the Police not to prevent the attacks. The President had then responded, “I’m the President and I order you to stop this.” It was only after that that Police used force to disperse the attackers.”  

Tennakoon has already been questioned and so also have two former SLPP Ministers, Rohitha Abeygunawardena and C.B. Ratnayake, while several others, including a sitting SLPP State Minister, an SLPP MP and two SLPP Pradeshiya Sabha members have been remanded till Wednesday (25 May), while SLPP MP Sanjeeva Edirimanna too has been questioned by the CID. But there are also other bigwigs of the SLPP who need to be questioned. The world is watching.

And, until such time there is credible progress by the Government in respect of such investigations, the country may be assured, other than from India and possibly China too, for geopolitical reasons, that there will however be no bilateral aid forthcoming directly from the West and Japan.

Such aid is urgently needed to import much needed essentials like fuel, cooking gas, coal and medicines. But due to their short supplies, because the country has insufficient US dollars, reflected by the fact that foreign reserves have fallen to US$ 1.8 billion by last month end, according to Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor Dr. Nandalal  Weerasinghe yesterday, of which number $ 1.5 billion belongs to a conditional Chinese swap facility. Consequently CBSL expects the country to record a negative growth this year.

Resultantly,  miles and hours long daily queues being formed is the order of the day for months to snap up whatever possible there is. Several ‘queue’ deaths have also been reported and the country is subject to hours long daily
power cuts due to the lack of coal.

 ‘MynaGoGama’ located opposite ‘Temple Trees’ Kollupitiya, was one of two official residences in Colombo of the immediately preceding Premier and former President Percy Mahendra (Mahinda) Rajapaksa where peaceful demonstrations were taking place calling for his resignation, which ultimately happened on 9 May.

‘GotaGoGama’ located opposite the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo is where demonstrations are continuing, calling also for the resignation of Mahinda’s younger brother, President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa.