By Ratna Bala –
Honourable President, Prime Minister and Leaders of all political parties,
Political wisdom, courage and commitment by the people and the leaders made it possible to emerge victorious proved again toughest nut of all can be cracked by peaceful means when all Sri Lankans come together united by cooperation and consensus. It’s a powerful message to the world and us that progress can be made by peoples collective resolve without violence. It’s time for celebration.
I would like to appeal to all our leaders to help our President to use all his powers to make this coming Sinhala/Tamil New Year a memorable day for everyone to feel proud for what that they have done by contributing to bring a full moon spot light over Sri Lanka to place it in the positive history of the world. I am sure our ex- president will acknowledge course of events and come to terms to accept peoples wish as it happened by spiritual blessing of triple gems to protect the country from his failures to promote genuine peace after winning the war. Let this New Year begin with big bang of love and peace.
I am sure all peace loving Sri Lankans craving to see democratic values get deep roots in our motherland, for posterity to prosper, would feel very proud if our president could declare following measures for the New Year as reconciliation and rejuvenation for celebration.
- Increase the percentage of GDP allocations to all provincial councils to give additional financial resources to devolved powers and promote better participatory role for people in governance.
- Promise to promote social audit systems to minimize corruption
- Remove existing Prevention of terrorism Act which violate many basic human rights and replace it later with consensually agreed internationally practiced PTA to prevent terrorism.
- Release all prisoners without direct link to terrorist act arrested under PTA and Emergency law. Believe in our children, generosity and magnanimity can only promote same virtues in them. They don’t need to be in jail any more. Please let them join their parents and children.
- I am very pleased to hear recently our PM have said he will do everything possible to stop our daughters being sent to Middle East as housemaid for better balance of payments. There are many reports of violence, torture, rape, death many regrettable sad stories. Please declare we will do everything possible to save them from torture and losing their dignity and find alternative avenues of jobs for them.
- Reaffirm the commitment to upheld media freedom and your conviction to stop discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and caste to establish equal rights and equal opportunity to all Srilankan citizens.
- Sri Lankan Diaspora can contribute significantly to promote prosperity in their motherland. They need reassurance and recognition as part of the family. They should be given special preferences for their contribution to transfer investment, knowledge, skills and experience to benefit their own people. Introduce long term easy work permit for Srilankan born foreign citizens to come back to work in the country and extend the duration of stay as visitors to six months.
- Productivity of the country depends on health of the people. Enormous amount of their productive time is lost people get exhausted to get medical care when one person ill in the family due inadequate local health centres. Promise to initiate UK NHS model GP service which can provide better health service closer to people’s home in every village and town. Diaspora doctors are willing to help their colleagues in this endeavour. This will create thousands of professional jobs to our people and maintain quality of health service at village level at international standards. We can make millions of poor hard working people happy and healthy in return maximize productive power and increase working man hours to benefit the nation. This will have added benefits of reducing the crimes related to alcohol, drugs, domestic violence and improving the education of children.
- Women and children in our country need further measures to protect their rights and well being. If I am not wrong many children in our orphanage centres have parents. Due to poverty and poverty related violence and crime these children were taken to orphanage centres. Amount of psychological trauma these children and parents facing are not well known. Housing and employment are main contributory factors. Promise to give priority to unite these children with their parents by providing necessary provisions.
- Promise to provide long term assistance to all disable people and help to promote their alternative strengths and skills.
- Promise Women headed families given necessary help to maintain their dignity and livelihood.
- Promise to empower more women as Members of Parliament, Ministers and Provincial council members.
Although others may know much better than myself, of other urgent needs of people, with deep felt passion wish to see these measures happening soon in our country to bring smile and hope to many hearts. It’s my humble believe this appeal will contribute to bring more attention to these issues in this New Year. It’s more than possible with these measures our leaders would trust each other more in the New Year and act with courage without fear and suspicion to solve major problems.
Above all I am confident that with the help of all other political leaders and members of parliament our honourable president with his promising words and genuine deeds will reassure everyone to look forward for better future and celebrate the New Year with hope and happiness.
Wish all Sri Lankans a Very Happy New Year!