Wimal alleges Ranil, Sajith, AKD pursuing IMF, India agendas




Sri Lanka’s fate compared with that of Sikkim

By Shamindra Ferdinando

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS) Wimal Weerawansa, MP, said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe, SJB leader Sajith Premadasa, MP, and JVP/JJB leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, MP, were pursuing the same strategy to address the economic crisis.

Therefore, an alternative political grouping was required for those who opposed the medicine prescribed by the IMF to overcome the current crisis, the former Commerce and Industries Minister said.

Addressing a gathering at the Maharagama Youth Centre Auditorium on Saturday (23), the Colombo District lawmaker declared that the ULS represented the interests of the patriotic and progressive electorate.

Alleging that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government, the main Opposition SJB and the JVP/JJB worshiped the IMF, and believed in the IMF remedies, MP Weerawansa called for public support for the only alternative for the people struggling to make ends meet.

Deputy Chairman of ULS and leader of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Udaya Gammanpila, MP, its Secretary and General Secretary of the Communist Party Dr. G. Weerasinghe, the grouping’s main advisor Ven. Atureliye Rathana

Thero, MP, its Deputy Secretary Gevindu Cumaratunga and its Deputy General Secretary G. D. V. Thilakasiri of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) were present  Rebel SLPP MPs, Dulas Alahapperuma, Dayasiri Jayasekera and Roshan Ranasinghe, too, addressed the gathering.

Alleging that at the behest of MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the JVP/JJB had meekly given in to the IMF dictates, MP Weerawansa said that the government was yet to rectify the main cause of the economic crisis. The former minister explained how enactment of Foreign Exchange Act No 12 of 2017 by the yahapalana administration allowed unscrupulous exporters to park export proceeds running into billions of USD overseas.

That law replaced the time-tested Exchange Control Act of 1953, MP Weerawansa said, pointing that those responsible continued with the yahapalana law at the expense of the national economy.

The former JVPer said that the incumbent government as well as the SJB and JVP/JJB had no alternative plans. Therefore, they entirely depend on the IMF’s bailout package and the current effort was to secure the third tranche of the USD 2.9 bn loan facility spread over a four-year period.

Sri Lanka has secured IMF assistance on 16 previous occasions.

Referring to Western sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict, MP Weerawansa pointed out how that country faced the challenge and recorded the highest GDP among the European countries and was fifth in the world rankings.

MP Weerawansa said that ULS would soon reveal how the grouping intended to overcome the daunting economic challenges. Sri Lanka’s recovery plans wouldn’t depend on one individual but a leadership board that was to be entrusted with the overall strategy, the MP said.

The ex-minister said that both the SJB and JVP/JJB lacked appropriate strategy though they sought to deceive the public. MP Weerawansa said that SJB leader Sajith Premadasa didn’t realize the ongoing crisis couldn’t be addressed by distributing buses and making meaningless statements.

MP Weerawansa flayed the government over the ongoing privatization programme. Weerawansa said that privatization couldn’t be the panacea for all our ills. Commenting on the role played by former MP and President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake in the Indo-Lanka dialogue, MP Weerawansa questioned the incumbent government’s strategy.

The former minister explained how the ongoing projects could make Sri Lanka a part of India. Unless the people united against the government and the ongoing Indo-Lanka projects, the day New Delhi took full control was not far away, MP Weerawansa claimed.

The NFF leader compared the current situation here with that of Sikkim that became the 22nd State of India in May 1975. Weerawansa explained the circumstances India intervened in Sikkim leading to the 1975 take over. According to the MP, the ongoing high-profile Indian projects would ultimately cause Sri Lanka to lose her independence. The former Minister alleged that the government, the main Opposition and JVP/JJB cooperated with the Indian strategy, therefore the only alternative would be ULS.

MP Weerawansa claimed that the JVP/JJB had totally abandoned their original ideals and was working closely with capitalists and other interested parties.