Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says although an invitation was extended to all parties to come forward in unity to address the current crisis situation, they have not stepped forward.
This is not a time to prioritize party affiliations over the resurrection of the country’s economy, he said, delivering a special televised statement today on the country’s economic situation.
“I understand the fatigue of the people who have been queuing for days in the fuel queues and empathize with the pain of our citizens queuing up for gas. I feel that pain,” the PM said.
“We intimately understand the suffering of the people in the face of the skyrocketing price of goods.”
He stated that although the government has extended an invitation to all parties to come forward in unity to address the current situation, they have not stepped forward.
“This is not a time to prioritize party affiliations over the resurrection of the country’s economy. With this call being unanswered, we as the party commanding a majority have taken up this responsibility.”
“We will overcome these challenges,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that 30 years of a terrorist threat and the fear of death that existed among the people of this country was eradicated; not to further endanger the people and to relegate them to a fate of hardship and pain.
“We built highways, modern roads and infrastructure – not so that you can stand in queues on those roads.”
“We built ports, not to suffocate supply chains and halt tankers carrying fuel because we’re unable to pay for It,” he emphasized.
“Historically, we have spared no sacrifice to protect our people from every challenge. As in times past, we will make every effort to overcome this crisis,” he added.
He said the government’s responsibility is to uphold the sovereignty of the people. “We will never take decisions that will undermine the democracy, the country’s governance structure or its Supremacy.”
“We work with that purpose in mind. In politics we are accustomed to letting go,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the chant ‘No 225 in Parliament’ today echoes through the streets. “That immediately translates to a rejection of this democratic system. While it may sound good, I urge you to understand its danger from a historical perspective.”
“I urge our sons and daughters this evening to consider this carefully and protect our nation from once again slipping into a time as dark as that in our history, through these actions.”
He said the government is embarking on an enormous program to overcome the crisis which the country is facing today. Every second spent by the President and this government is used up exhausting avenues to rebuild our country, the PM said.
“This government has historically imbued our farmers with the highest relief packages to aid their industry. However, today the farmers stand against us.”
Rajapaksa said that no matter how honorable the notion of organic fertilizer is, it is not the time for it to be implemented. “As such, we will be reinstating the fertilizer subsidy to once again equip our farmers to optimize their craft.”
The country needs to urgently recover from this debilitating crisis which includes the unbearable cost of living and the requisite shortages, he stressed.
“Even if it is not possible within the next two or three days, we have initiated action to address these crises with the highest urgency.”
“Friends, every second you protest on the streets, our country loses opportunities to receive potential dollars,” the prime minister said. He said the reform that is being sought is currently secondary to the collective responsibility and the urgency that is required to stave off this crisis.
“To facilitate this, we have extended an open invitation all those who have the courage to join us in serving our great nation. Remember that the country right now needs the patience of all of us to endure this hardship a little while currently.”
The PM further said: “Dear daughter, dear son, we know that you all love your homeland passionately. I undertook many miles of protest walks in the past for the sake of the youth who were being oppressed from the violence that was prevalent. However, the infinite grains of sand that I trampled do not begin to compare with the humiliation and insults that my family and I have been levelled with. We can bear it. We can face it.”
“My one humble plea is that you do not harass or insult those who serve in the police of the tri forces who have dutifully served our country.”
“Remember that today you walk the streets without fear of oppression protesting, because those war heroes sacrificed their lives to save this country for you.”
“Keep in mind that these very same war heroes came back to battle for you during the recent pandemic.”
“My sons and daughters, I see how proudly you wave our national flag during your protests, and it fills my heart with joy. However, do not forget those who laid the foundation for that flag to be freely hoisted anywhere in our homeland.”
“Today, despite the many challenges, there is one thing is not lacking -our courage, and determination to once again fight this crisis together. We will fight and we will overcome, as we have in times past.”
Read Full Speech Below:
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s special statement on Sri Lanka’s economic crisis by Ada derana Online