20 September, 2020

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Coronavirus Pandemic & The Postponed Parliamentary Election

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa – Prime Minister

The Coronavirus pandemic hit countries like the USA, India and Bangladesh in a situation where their economies had been experiencing strong growth for years. In contrast, Sri Lanka has had to face this crisis in a state of economic ruin. During the five years of yahapalana misrule from 2015 to 2019, our debt burden increased by 71%, the Rupee lost one third of its value and economic growth had plummeted to 2.7%. Furthermore, though we had won the presidency in November 2019 and formed a government, we did not have a majority in Parliament and were not able to get a vote on account passed even to pay off the previous government’s debts to suppliers of fertilizer and medicine.

The financial powers vested in the President under Article 150(3) of the Constitution is the only saving grace in this situation. It was with all these debilitating disadvantages that we had to face the Coronavirus pandemic. After the first Coronavirus patient was discovered on 11 March, we introduced a raft of measures to control the disease including early detection, isolation and treatment of patients, quarantine for those exposed to risk, the tracing of patients’ contacts and social distancing measures. An operation like this has not been seen in our lifetimes. Curfews lasting for weeks on end had to be imposed to prevent the spread of the disease. 

People unable to go out of their homes had to be supplied with essentials like foodstuffs, medicines, and even cash throughout the country. Aid had to be provided to low income earners. The produce of paddy and vegetable farmers and fishermen had to be bought to keep the production process going. The fact that all these tasks were dealt with simultaneously at short notice is nothing less than a managerial miracle. Today, the whole world acknowledges Sri Lanka’s success in containing the coronavirus pandemic. 

The President’s leadership in this regard has to be commended. Our government doctors, nurses, and health service workers have come to the attention of the entire world. The skill and dedication of the intelligence services in tracing the contacts of patients, the efficiency of the armed forces in implementing quarantine and lockdown measures has prevented the spread of the disease. The Police, and government officials at all levels have all contributed to the success of the anti-Coronavirus campaign. Today, our country is one of the safest places to be in the whole world. We have achieved this despite an economy that had been driven into the ground, and an unpatriotic and opportunistic opposition bent on undermining our government at every turn.  

The opposition leader tried to sabotage the anti-coronavirus campaign at the very outset by personally encouraging protests against the quarantine process. Then they tried to undermine government services including the health service with the argument that the President had no power to allocate funds for government services after the dissolution of Parliament. Now they say that the Gazette dissolving Parliament should be rescinded the as the new parliament has to meet before the 2nd of June, and the parliamentary election cannot be held before that. 

The yahapalana government delayed local government elections by nearly three years. Their attempt to postpone that election indefinitely by moving courts failed only because the Elections Commission declared they would hold elections to the institutions that were not involved in litigation. With just days to go for the dissolution of the provincial councils in 2017, the yahapalana government changed the provincial councils elections system to prevent elections from taking place. When the Attorney General held that a two thirds majority in Parliament was required to pass that amendment, they bartered policy for votes in the corridors of Parliament to obtain the required majority. 

As a result of that unprincipled political horse trading, the local government elections law which was passed on 25 August 2017 has 40% proportional representation whereas the provincial councils elections law passed four weeks later has 50% proportional representation! Sri Lanka is also the only democratic country in the world where political parties petitioned the Supreme Court to get the declaration of a parliamentary election annulled. The present scramble to have the parliamentary elections put off is a continuation of that deplorable past. 

Things have to come back to normal sooner or later. In eleven of the 25 administrative districts, there have been no coronavirus patients at all. In another seven districts, there have been only one or two patients, and five to seven patients in two more districts. Only five districts have a high incidence of coronavirus patients.

On 2 March the President dissolved Parliament and fixed 25 April for the poll and 14 May for the first meeting of the new Parliament. Ten days later, when the first Coronavirus patient was found, the President did not have the power to postpone the poll. Under Section 24(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No: 1 of 1981, when the poll cannot be held on the day fixed by the President, the Elections Commission is mandatorily required to fix another day for the poll. They have no power to postpone the poll without fixing another date. Such mandatory legal requirements cannot be ignored on the basis of speculation as to what may or may not happen weeks and months into the future. The Elections Commission should first fulfill its duties under Section 24(3) and thereafter take up for discussion any outstanding issues.   

*Mahinda Rajapaksa – Prime Minister

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  • 20
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    Quote
    Things have to come back to normal sooner or later. In eleven of the 25 administrative districts, there have been no coronavirus patients at all. In another seven districts, there have been only one or two patients, and five to seven patients in two more districts. Only five districts have a high incidence of coronavirus patients.
    Unquote

    It may be that today#s information cover that you have no patients being found on those districts, but how can you know it to be for sure, if the numbers of test have sofar been done is just 5000/22 million of people ?

    Secondly, also on the west, there are speculations among populations, even if there are no proper signs being given, lot more may have been caught by the COVID-19 virus and may have slight signs such as sore throats – ..no world pioneers hve been able sofa to paint a real picture of this particular virus strain… with the ground information being like that… neverthless you guys in srilanka – an another poor counntry to make SELF GLORIFICATIONs as your head lines news of daily sort is beyond all ethics and morals.

    people to be misled also in such a dangerous backdrop is beyond all ethics.
    :
    You and your brother could well take the DUE steps as of early March 2020 – if your brain cells worked on the line of SAVING the nation by hook or crook… no, sorry, to tell you today, you guys had not the least care being given tot he nation..

    There is besides only one entrance (biggest) into the island nation that is BIA- which became SALON door style curse to your total ignorance.
    Vietnames and Nepals did their best and controlled it with ZERO death tolls, amidst lack of all, but you ballige puthas have failed – that let PEOPLE to be in anxities of unknown nature as of today.

    • 13
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      Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa,
      “The financial powers vested in the President under Article 150(3) of the Constitution is the only saving grace in this situation. It was with all these debilitating disadvantages that we had to face the Coronavirus pandemic. After the first Coronavirus patient was discovered on 11 March, we ..”
      //
      This is FAKE news. You are LYING again, and again, and again, and …..,
      //
      The FIRST Wuhan China-19 virus, renamed COVID-19 virus was from the Chinese in January , F1, along with many other Chinese, who were not properly tested. The people knew better.
      //
      The people avoided the Chinese, got off the bus when the Chinese
      Got into the bus. You are lying habitually.
      //
      President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on March 17, there is no problem with the China virus. Within a week, the Land was shut down.Why do you keep lying?Habit? Because the people are imbeciles, mean measured IQ 79?
      //
      The second wave of the China virus infections, F2, came from Europe and elsewhere, AFTER, the China -19 virus, infected those countries, and they brought it to Sri Lanka by Europeans and Sri Lankan’s returning from Europe.
      //
      Now, the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist” Racists, along with your Govt and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa , and the lying media, are blaming the INNOCENT Muslims for the Wuhan- China -19 virus pandemic.

    • 8
      1

      Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister,

      Why aren’t the police arresting you for lying and fake news, on the China virus? Because, the imbeciles, mean measured IQ 79, don’t know any better?
      //
      A 50-year old woman has been arrested by the CID on charges of posting false and misleading content about COVID-19 on social media.
      //
      Police said the woman, a resident of Nalla, Divuldeniya was arrested on Thursday.

      The suspect woman to be produced in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today.
      //
      Meanwhile, the police said including the arrest of this woman, the CID has arrested a total of 17 individuals for posting false and misleading content on social media

    • 5
      1

      This is a load of lies and misinformation. Economic ruin in Sri Lanka started in 2009 after Mahinda was elected for the second term. There was mismanagement and fraud during the period after 2015, but large scale swindling by Mahinda and his henchmen and gross manipulation of financial system took place during the period before 2015. Huge amounts of money was borrowed from China for white elephant projects during which bribes were taken by Mahinda, the result of which is that the country became debt ridden unable to pay back the loan. EPF and ETF money were misappropriated and some officers like former Bank of Ceylon chairmen Gamini Wickremasinghe who did not approve of it and were helpless to prevent it resigned. If central bank bond fraud took place after 2015, Greek bond fraud and other frauds took place before 2015. Please remember that you and your gang of crooks were let off due the crooked and spineless duo of Ranil W and Sirisena and not because you were innocent.

  • 5
    0

    please send your news me.

  • 19
    2

    This jumble mumble nonsense from SriLanka’s prime minister!
    Why are we surprised when many say SriLanka will be forever a third world nation? If only our voters didn’t love the racist politicking so much, then maybe we could have a chance of digging ourselves out of this indignity.

  • 15
    1

    Beware, here comes the biggest VIRUS. No BCG or Chloroquine will help in fighting this one.

  • 2
    12

    Good call Mr Prime Minister..

    Is Rajan Hoole more important and powerful than our 7 Million Inhabitants?..

    • 3
      2

      7 million? What world are you living? No wonder you are a Rajafucksa supporter!

  • 5
    3

    During the five years of yahapalana misrule from 2015 to 2019, our debt burden increased by 71%

    Before 2015 election if there was no depth then the depth taken after 2015 UNP would have been paid without any burden, the future promisses runs in dept track rise in dept.

  • 5
    1

    Dear PM.
    I and my fellow residents have been without our staples like rice, pulses, onions, tea etc. I sent emails to Divisional Secretary and Presidential Task Force but nothing is heard. We are indeed desperate. Hope you will take notice of this dire situation. People are at the mercy of profiteers. I live in Boruppa, Gunnapana in Amunugama.

  • 5
    2

    Mahinda old pal
    So everything is hunky dory in SL. The poor had free rations handed out & others had food delivered to their door steps, nobody was left behind, despite the logistical nightmare of ensuring no one falls through the safety net & the sustainability of handouts, the curfew being indefinite.
    SL is the only country, apart from India, which, presumably, followed SL’s example with a curfew (after all, you claim the whole world has acknowledged Sri Lanka’s success in containing the corona virus pandemic) but it clearly did not make any impact on containing the people, apart from causing chaos at bus & train stations with desperate people even walking hundreds of miles to their villages, defying the curfew, social distancing being impossible in a country with so many ghettos. Still, statistically, India has done better than SL in terms of deaths per million or even as a percentage of those infected. Incidentally, are you aware that Nepal & Vietnam, with no reported deaths, has managed without a curfew?
    Now that the pandemic has been successfully controlled & the indefinite curfew expected to be lifted soon, what is the strategy for the economic recovery? Blaming the previous regime for poor financial management is an old record with the needle stuck in a groove. In that context, will you take responsibility for the billions squandered by you on white elephant projects & the mismanagement of the Central Bank with Greek bond losses, failed hedging deals, massive corruption & dodgy deals you & your brother are accused of? In the absence of a credible opposition & a competent alternative, it will be a walk over for your party at the next election, therefore, we have no choice but to let bygones be bygones & forget the past. So, talking about the future, what do you (& your brother) plan to do about the economy post COVID 19?

    • 6
      2

      Yesterday two girls in their early 20s went to a free hand out. For some explanation they were not in the list. By hunger and anger they started a brawl (I don’t know who started what, I but put here media news). Rapist police was sent to their home to arrest them. One of them drank insecticide. Sad point is even that was not in their home enough quantity. She did not die. Now she is in the hospital.

      More than 30, 000 arrested for getting out of homes during curfew. Do one can write here reason the 32,000 risked police arrest and left home? Are all these are only EPDP sand thieves? Whom this lowyer GLP is fooling?

  • 13
    1

    Mahinda,
    You and your brothers do not speak truth. It is a well known fact that you and your family are responsible for the fall of economy. The economic downturn started well before 2015. We cannot forget how you spent National wealth to put out posters around the country and how much bribe you got from China. Previous government spent billions to pay your debts. The opposition said they are happy to work with a president in every aspect of corona. You did not want that corporation and you want a two third majority in parliament to create dictatorship and military government. If the people of the country allow that to happen, then you will not get a chance to even open your mouth.

  • 4
    1

    One family killed 150,00 Tamils & fledged the land of Lanakwe to China to deposit $18B in their foreign Accounts. Now throwing 22M for Coronavirus suck the blood to come back to power. Anybody read above, can you please explain me what is the need this guy is saying as the reason to conduct the election in that hurry? I could not find one line of explanation for which this statement was written by GLP, other than naive attacks on opposition.

  • 7
    1

    Dear Hon.Prime Minister ,
    What are your strategies to protect the nation’s instability ?

    Will you reachout to Arab nations?
    you can use your old friendship.

    We need grants , we need interest free loans, even on short term , we need our Agriculture sect and tea boosted .

    We need to slow down on imports and encourage numbered accounts off shore banking .

    HON
    Prime Minister what matters to me is the Country and right now you are our official.PM.and you have the experience , please use your excellent skill of diplomacy to reach to your Friends overseas and please make sure we do not have a melt down, we won’t survive it it happens( God forbid) it is reality we must accept

    Please let people like me with small Family based NGOS based in reputed nation like Singapore to take some burden off.

    I am.confident my family in Singapore and I can contribute alot given the support and cooperation.

    We are not looking for any political favours and we are 100% trabsparent and our services are unconditional answer have in past done lot for three fool hit villages

    Wishing you and HE The President best of health , long life ,The strength to.over come this crisis
    Thank.you
    For whatever has been taken care so far .
    Best Regards

    FAHIM

  • 2
    0

    Pardon. Correction
    We have severed three flood hit villages in the past,
    (interior villages which were left out )
    Regards
    Fahim

  • 7
    2

    Dear Prime Minister. Even people who didn’t, and wouldn’t, vote for you admit that had Sirisena-Ranil were in power, we would now have even more of a disastrous situation with the Covid-19 emergency. At the forthcoming election many of them would abstain and, with a low turn-out, your assured victory will lack legitimacy to some extent. With C-19 causing havoc around the world, Sri Lanka will be in a dire situation for the foreseeable future. Tourism, M-E employment, Garment and other exports, all will take a severe hit. Hardships will be unprecedented. People will blame the government and your popularity will plummet even if you do an excellent job. Therefore, wouldn’t it be better for you to call now for an all inclusive National Government to wade through the murky future? Postpone elections or declare that you’d form a national government with the current or in the next parliament.

    • 4
      1

      @Goonetike ,
      We need more people with your mindset .

      An Excellent proposal , I too feel nervous about this rush to election.

      It is not urgently needed .
      People should feel relatively secured before an election

      I somehow believe elections may have negetative result .

      I am not very sure , but lot of things that is now in place may lead to that .

      Let me be down right honest , someone must tell the government if none of the people will , not even those who are close to them , like what they did during Yahapalana elections .

      People are feeling very insured , from the day they seen militry presence from ministries to traffic operations .

      This is the bitter truth , no matter what,

      Sri Lankans will never favour military style or any kind of Autocrasy , complete socialism , Communism or any kind of religous hierarchy led goverence .

      Almost 90 % of all races will only favour democracy at the end of the day , being an Island folks they will never sacrifice their freedom .

      It’s upto The leaders to make their final decision.

      May peace prevail & AYUBOWAN
      Fahim

      • 3
        0

        Correction .
        People are feeling very
        Unsecured.
        Fahim

    • 0
      0

      GOONATHILAKA,
      where had you been at the time, previous govt ruled this nation ?
      .
      If you were not born yestreday, you know how this BPs of Rajapakshes looted the state to the core and were defeated in 2015. There had been numerous cases that entire opposition filed against them – and many of those cases are still under investigation. Even the incumbent president was alleged to have abused state funds and robbed the state in many occassions. However, they criminals never let former President stupid SIRISENA to do thhe job in compliance with prevailing law and order in SL. All these are known to any school going children alone looking at the manner how that 52day fake cabinet ende dup being losers. Entire world became clearer, that SLPP was a terror organisation led by BP Mahinda Rajapakhes and his criminal men. The manner they demolished and vandalized the PARLIAMENT is not comparable to even with a far poorly held parliament in tribal africa.
      With all these being aware to you, you the kind of stupid people to have the termerity to attack former govt but self glorifying the most abusive men in ASIA is just shameful.
      And so called bond scam of CB was far lower than that of the LOSSES claimed by BP Mahinda Rajapkahe and his wandibattaya Kabral then. With all is becoming clear only, through media misleading, they draged the power. We also remember the manner that NAGAYA story being planted in Kelaniya area how lacks of voters were bought.

  • 3
    1

    Thank you PM for quietly allowing Muslims bury their COCID-19 dead. Good call.

    • 1
      0

      @pathumuthu al -Saud worker’s wiper
      What is your source of this ?
      Cite it here please .

      Scientist are bungling so.is “WHO”

      WHO, we still do not know who ???
      There are reputed news journal that have contradicted WHO claims burials are safe
      There is news item in circulation , that a Thai health official died after contracting Corvid 19 from a Corvid 19 corpses, The WHO or Thai health official have not denied or confirmed this upto now
      So best not to post such comments without proper citations .

      Fahim

  • 1
    1

    Mr.PM, is this article from your own mind or GL Pappas!

    • 1
      0

      @milton
      unwarranted insults.
      do you know that all articles are actually fully edited by those killing themselves behind the PC day and night ?
      so it does not matter who edited The PM’s letter, as long as it bears
      his name and fit to be published , belongs to him .

  • 0
    0

    Dear Hon.PM.
    writing to appreciate your wisdom not to rush into General Elections and opening of Schools.

    Meanwhile, I also hope all parties will shun their political difference at this time, when the whole nation is in various crisis and suport the government to stabilize the Country, everyone must find ways to make foreign exchange inflow and not burden the government and instead form at least temporary relief organizations and feed the poor and needy , so the government can concentrate more on the Pandemic,hope no one plays politics at this hour .

    I honestlty believe the right time for general elections, would be October 2020 .
    The decision is left to the leafers.

    God bless Sri Lanka and its peoplem
    ❤Ayubowan

  • 0
    0

    pardon,
    The final decision is left to
    The Leaders of Sri Lanka

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