JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake unleashed another volley of salvos at a prolonged news conference on Tuesday (11), accusing Gotabaya Rajapaksa of arrogance that was costing Sri Lankan lives.
Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a “dry shell of a man”, who felt no compassion, no sense of responsibility towards the citizens of Sri Lanka, the JVP Leader charged during an hour-long briefing to reporters.
Health officials were holding back from expressing their genuine concerns and advice in the presence of the President, the JVP Leader said. “They are afraid that expressing such views would lead to a whole other problem,” Dissanayake explained. From opening the island to deadly variants, to the disastrous Covid-19 vaccination drive, the Government had mismanaged the entire crisis, the JVP leader said.
“Health Ministers threw pots in the river or promoted fake witch-doctor cures. This is the result of immature leadership,” Dissanayake charged. At a time when senior public health officials like Dr Anil Jaasinghe, the former Director General of Health Service were needed the most, the President had permitted him to retire when his term could easily have been extended by cabinet until the corona virus crisis had passed.
“Dr Jaasinghe was shunted off as Secretary to the Environment Ministry,” said Dissanayake, while other public health officials were being transferred as diplomats overseas.
Gritting his teeth, Dissanayake said President Rajapaksa was a leader filled with hubris and ego, lacking compassion and political maturity that could help Sri Lanka combat the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
“The President’s arrogant, short-sighted policies have brought Sri Lanka to a dangerous point in terms of the deadly virus – for god’s sake, get off your high-horse, even now,” he charged.
“Who hands over the governance of a country of people to a cold man, a man with no feelings, no empathy, no compassion, dry shell of a man? How can such a person be an effective ruler, if to begin with, he does not feel for his people? It is this failed experiment that is before us today,” Dissanayake insisted.
The JVP Leader told the President to “learn to listen to the experts.” “Learn to accept viewpoints that may differ from your own,” he advised.
Dissanayake explained that he had not taken the Covid-19 vaccine event though all 225 members of Parliament were entitled to receive both jabs.
“Vaccination against Covid-19 is the right of every citizen. As an eligible citizen, I have a right to know when I will receive the vaccine and how I am to go about getting it. I do not want to be given the vaccine because it is a privilege, I can lay claim to as an elected parliamentarian. Every citizen is entitled to it, and it is the Government’s mismanagement, lousy planning and inefficiency that has left citizens high and dry about when they might be vaccinated,” he said.
The JVP Leader had a sombre warning for fellow citizens.
The Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Dissanayake said, had abandoned all pretense of protecting the people from this deadly virus.
“In no uncertain terms, the Government has told the people it does not have the means or the will to keep us safe. It has told us that it is up to us to look after our own protection, because the Government has abdicated this duty towards the people. So I urge people, please take precautions to save yourselves. There is no government here that will save you – that responsibility is now up to each one of us,” he said.
Watch full press conference here: