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Tuesday, June 27, 2017
By Shamindra Ferdinando-June 26, 2017, 12:00 pm
Salley strongly regretted President Sirisena giving into Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Samarawickrema’s demand.
Salley named Minister Samarawickrema in the wake of Minister Karunanayake blaming black sheep in the party for his removal at the Sirikotha media conference on Sunday.
President Sirisena in consultation with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe assigned Karunanayake foreign affairs portfolio. Mangala Samaraweeera succeeded Karunanayake as Finance Minister.
Salley was on live TV 1 news line hosted by Faraz Shauketally.Former UNP Working Committee member and one-time UNP Central Provincial Councillor, Salley faulted President Sirisena for not being constant in responding to complaints received from others in respect of some.
The UNPer quit the CPC in March last year.
Responding to a query, Salley asserted that as a result of the UNP-SLFP coalition’s failure to adopt a result oriented strategy over two years after the change of government, the country was in turmoil. The administration had been sharply divided over national policy in respect of vital sectors with various people pulling in different directions.
The yahapalana proponent cited recent declaration made by Premier Wickremesinghe at a meeting with some investors to underscore the crisis within the administration. Salley quoted Premier Wickremesinghe as having requested investors to get in touch with a committee appointed by him without seeking the assistance of the Board of Investment (BoI) of Sri Lanka.
Comparing the ousted Rajapaksa administration and Yahapalana administration, Salley said that the former in spite of waste, corruption and irregularities at every level was able to achieve development objectives whereas ineffectual UNP-SLFP coalition was struggling. The incumbent government hadn’t been able to achieve even the basic requirements, the former PC member said.
Salley flayed the government for the shocking state of mismanagement at every level and further rapid deterioration of the national economy for want of proper strategy. The UNPer asserted that national carrier SriLankan had been severely hampered by ill-fated government strategy.
Responding to another query, Salley said the government had included provision in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to prevent wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa contesting parliamentary polls. They had been deprived of their right to seek office on the basis of them being dual citizens of Sri Lanka and the US whereas dual citizens now hold various positions, Salley said. President Sirisena should decide on dual citizens holding key positions, Salley said. The ruling coalition couldn’t adopt double standards on the contentious matter of dual citizens receiving key appointments.
The outspoken politician said that President Sirisena had caused a debilitating setback to yahapalana ideals by taking over the SLFP to pave the way for those who had served the Rajapaksas to switch allegiance to the new government. Salley faulted President Sirisena for accommodating those who had been rejected by the electorate at Aug 2015 general election through the UPFA National List.
In his interview with Shauketally, Salley faulted the government for seeking to privatize loss making SriLankan without taking tangible measures to revive the airline.
The UNPer also emphasized the need to examine the circumstances under which yahapalana government had made massive payment to cancel state of the art aircraft ordered by the previous administration. Salley said that Sri Lanka should have explored the possibility of going ahead with the arranged transaction and work out a deal with an airline seeking to expand its fleet.
Salley said the UNP leadership denied him promised National List slot at the last general election. "I didn’t go behind anyone seeking NL slot or sought an explanation."
Following the interview, Salley told The Island that Karunanayake losing finance portfolio should be examined against the backdrop of the government turning a blind eye to unbridled waste, corruption and irregularities taking place in every sector. Having supported successful yahapalana campaign against the Rajapaksas, Salley said that he couldn’t believe what was happening now.