Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake‘s surprise visit to the Fort Police Barracks quarters at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha exposed the deplorable living conditions of these police officers but more over the other side of former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa‘s beautification programme of the Colombo city.
Miniser Ratnayake who recently also took the Cinnamon Gardens Police Station by surprise when he made a similar visit a few months ago, made this visit this morning accompanied by the Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara and his team of media personnel.
The aired video footage of Minister Ratanyake’s visit uploaded on his Facebook page also exposed the filthy slum type dwelling of its living and sanitary conditions, besides video proof that the surrounding areas of the building is a breathing ground for dengue mosquitoes.
Speaking to his media personnel Minister Ratnayake went on to say that the Fort Police Officers in the past used to be housed in the old Dutch Hospital Building. Now it is where several up market restaurants are situated. They were relocated around six years ago when the building was taken away from them as that particular area was demarcated as part of the Colombo city’s beautification programme, driven by former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. They were then moved to a building called Transworks in Slave Island for a few years. Then they were once again moved out of that location in 2013, when that premise was handed over for the controversial Krrish Development Project to be commenced. The Police Officers barracks was then moved again to the current warehouse where they have been living down D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha since.
Minister Ratanayake continued “I made this visit as I received a complaint about this situation. This visit is not to lay blame on the former regime as even we should have noticed and rectified this situation. We expect a huge service from these officers. We also have an obligation to ensure the correct facilities are provided for the Police Officers. Having said that even the high ranking Police Officers have a responsibility to ensure these conditions are maintained. I visited the barracks of the Police Officers at Cinnamon Gardens Police Station recently and reminded them in writing about the Police regulations. I am disappointed that after three months deplorable living conditions still exists. I have now instructed IGP Jayasundara to ensure that these issues are rectified immediately”. (Jacqueline Senanayake)