GR’s ouster: Speaker urged to name foreign elements



Kavinda Jayawardena

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarian Kavinda Jayawardena yesterday (31) said that the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) should accept the responsibility for creating conditions for public protests that led to the overthrowing of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Gampaha District MP was responding to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena’s declaration that powerful external elements had intervened in the violent public protest campaign.

Referring to Speaker Abeywardena’s claim that those spearheading the protest campaign had threatened to harm him after he refused to cooperate with them, MP Jayawardena urged the Speaker to name the culprits.

Speaker Abeywardena was elected from the Matara District on the SLPP ticket at the last general election.

The SLPP couldn’t under any circumstances absolve itself of the responsibility for the political-economic-social crisis caused by an explosive combination of factors including the slashing of taxes, ban on chemical fertilisers and the inordinate delay in seeking IMF’s intervention, MP Jayawardena said. The health sector crisis created by the continuing waste, corruption, irregularities and mismanagement finally leading to the arrest of health minister Keheliya Rambukwella contributed to the current crisis, MP Jayawardena said. The MP asked whether the SLPP intended to blame corruption also on the international community.

Responding to another query, lawmaker Jayawardena said that the Speaker owed an explanation why he waited for so long to reveal the foreign hand in the protest campaign.

Pointing out that the incidents referred to by the Speaker in his March 21 declaration in parliament happened the second week of July 2022, MP Jayawardena questioned whether the sudden disclosure was part of his personal agenda or SLPP strategy in the run-up to national election later this year.

“We expect the Speaker to name those who alleged to have threatened him when parliament meets this week,” SJB spokesperson said, urging the SLPP to genuinely examine what went wrong without making unsubstantiated allegations against the international community and those who took into streets.

The former UNPer said that National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa and ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who launched ‘9: The Hidden Story’ and ‘Conspiracy’, respectively, in April last year and March this year, had failed to realise that the SLPP caused the crisis.

Perhaps, the SLPP should at least now study the Supreme Court ruling issued last November in respect of the high-profile economic collapse case, MP Jayawardena said, urging the Speaker to go the whole hog. “Now that the Speaker claimed of foreign interference in protest campaign, he should take tangible measures to initiate a proper inquiry,” MP Jayawardena said.

Foreign Ministry, too, should explain its stand on the Speaker’s declaration, MP Jayawardena said, pointing out that it couldn’t remained mum.

MP Jayawardena said that he feared that the ousted President caused himself and his government serious harm by following the advice of Anuradhapura-based Gnana Akka. A modern government couldn’t depend on occult practices and obviously the country paid a huge price for the former President’s dependence on soothsayer Gnana Akka, who advised the government, MP Jayawardena said.

The SJB official said that the issues arising out of ‘aragalaya’ should be dealt taking into consideration all relevant factors namely political, economic and social. The MP said that the Speaker appeared to have conveniently forgotten the SC ruling and he, too, was elected on the SLPP ticket, MP Jayawardena said.

MP Jayawardena said that the 2022 crisis was likely to be a major issue at the forthcoming national election. The presidential election is scheduled to be held in between Sept/Oct,2024 though the UNP and the SLPP is yet to reach consensus on conducting presidential poll as scheduled.