UNP strives to make Sri Lanka great again – Ravi Karunanayake
By Faadhila Thassim
United National Party’s (UNP) Colombo District candidate, Ravi Karunanayake said he would be the voice for the voiceless and look into the needs of the youth when representing the District in Parliament.
Excerpts of the interview:
If you are elected to Parliament, what difference would you make compared to other candidates?
A: What needs to be done now is electing leaders and representatives who will stand by the people. Thereby I would when elected and when there is an UNP -led Government appointed following the General election in 2020, like to be the voice to the voiceless.
I have been the voice to the voiceless over the past 26 years of my political career so I believe, when compared to other candidates contesting in the general elections, there are certain policies and plans that is beneficial to the country that I would work towards and achieve as I have been doing so far and I will continue the strive and achieve with a great sense of vigour.
When elected to Parliament in 2015, there were certain promises that were made by your Government, were all these achieved?
A: In terms of promises, when we came into power in 2015, we made 100 promises to be achieved in 100 days and I could say, as the former Minister of Finance, we were able to fulfill 88 of the promises in just the first 23 days after coming into power.
The remaining eight or nine promises that were made were also achieved within the next couple of months and except for a few, approximately two or three were achieved during the former Government’s tenure, every other promise was achieved and we made sure that the promises made to the public were fulfilled and this will be continued following the upcoming Election as well.
Regarding the promises that were not fulfilled the last time. Are you, together with your party, intending on fulfilling them if you’ll come into the power after the election?
A: Yes most certainly, I would say in addition to ensuring the promises and targets we hope to achieve within the next couple of years are upheld, we would also ensure that speeding the process by which things are achieved takes place as for example, most Government servants, take far too long in carrying out their duties.
It is therefore vital following the General Election, to have time targeted policies included in the National agenda and responsibilities and duties should be kept moving at a faster rate which would result in steps towards justice for the public as people expect so much from both officials and public servants and so much can be done but all of these are throttled and hindered by certain Government servants who say they cannot do certain things which can be achieved if looked into meticulously.
There have been certain allegations against you, how would you, if elected to the Colombo District rectify them?
A: I believe most of these allegations made against me have come my way in the form of a Political witch-hunt and they are all baseless with no evidence whatsoever. In several other instances, there also have been allegations made against other people, not just in my case. All of these have been settled.
In relation to the Central Bank Bond scam, I was not in charge for the purposes of several of the allegations that has been brought forth against me so what is the absolute reason of bringing us here and making several such allegations against us?
Most of those who have remained in the party are those who have protected the UNP throughout, and these are the very persons that are been politically targeted and those who have betrayed and have currently left the party have been holding hands with former President Maithripala Sirisena and are doing acts to the detriment of the party.
Thereby these are the things that are been evidently exposed today and there are all these new allegations - those that should have been brought up long time back. So why has it taken so long? It is not just me who has been affected by these baseless allegations but my wife and children too, for crimes that we have not committed and for no apparent reason.
There have been several promises made by other candidates. What unique promise do you have on your part and as a party?
A: Most parties in an attempt to gain trust and votes tend to make promises that are impractical and unattainable, most of these parties do not assess how these can be achieved or discharged.
Certain promises include providing
Rs 20,000 per family per month. I would like to ask how they are trying to achieve this pledge at the expense of the country’s economy. There are 6.2 million families in Sri Lanka, which adds up to approximately Rs 124 billion a month and 1.5 trillion a year.
This alone is almost 80 per cent of the total Government revenue so if that happens, and if such payment is made, who pays the Government servants their salaries and pensions? Who pays the capital amortisation for loans? Who’d pay for the subsidies and capital maintenance?
Therefore these unattainable promises should and will be replaced with policy oriented promises. Any anybody making promises to the people in any future election should show how they would achieve what they are trying to do without causing an economic downfall.
Is the reason why several UNPers are ousted from the party because of the support that they have extended to other parties?
A: Supporting a party or candidate of is a complete free choice of any voter. But when it comes to the UNP, all those representing the party has responsibility to adhere to the provisions of the party constitution and those who behaved in contravention to the constitution were purged from the party.
Is the Samagi Jana Balawegaya or any other party for that matter a challenge to the UNP?
A: I do not believe that either SJB or any other party is a challenge to the UNP as we as a party have over the years stuck to our policies and ensured that all promises made by us are achievable and have also been achieved as a result.
For a party whose origin can be traced back long years, any other party is not considered a challenge. We have made our journey clear and have been working towards an established stringent procedure.
How imminent is the victory following the General Election?
A: Victory is imminent and these promises and policies have been formulated based on the belief that the Party would be able to come into power in the General Election after which we would make the rightful difference that this country requires.
What are the other aspirations you as a candidate seek to achieve?
A: One aspect that needs immediate attention is ensuring the future of the younger generation is developed, because the youth are now sick and tired of politicians after everything that they have been put through.
The one thing that the younger generation is looking forward to after every election is how they can be a part of the economy, they look forward to being involvement and that has been one main aspect which has not been getting sufficient attention over the years.
They have lost trust in the politicians. Although the losing Presidential Candidate, Opposition Leader managed to attract several youth votes, however since then, there has been a huge departure from the responsibilities owed to them and the temporary Government in power will certainly not be able to fulfill such aspirations. The cost of living has not been managed, there are no sufficient job opportunities and Sri Lanka as a country has drifted away from the rest of the world.
Thereby considering such shortcomings, the UNP strives to make Sri Lanka great again and the main focus is how this could be achieved and that is why we have to bring innovative policies that are time targeted and prove to the youth, the rest of the country and the rest of the world; that this is the way forward for the country.