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Sunday, 28 August 2011

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Government Gazette

[WEEK IN PARLIAMENT]

Friendly banterthe order of the day

President Mahinda Rajapaksa showing the Government's utmost commitment to restore democracy and pass the peace dividends to the people moved the resolution in Parliament on Thursday to lift the emergency regulations, paving the way for more democracy under normal law.

The President's decision taken to lift the Emergency put an end to nearly six years of rule which governed the country under the special law and opened avenues to change the entire political scenario in the country locally and internationally. Lifting the emergency was another perfect example set by the President to the entire world as a leader who fulfills his promises as pledged for the well-being of the people. The President in his declaration made in Parliament informed the House that he is satisfied that there is no necessity for emergency regulations any more to govern the country.

President in his special statement made in Parliament described the building up of a close coordination between the Executive and the legislature as one of the most important tasks to be fulfilled at this juncture on behalf of the country which was free from the threat of terrorism. The President was confident of the close relationship between the Executive and legislature would lead to further strengthening of country's democracy, good governance and ensure the people's confidence on Parliamentary democracy.

President in his speech explained to the House the ground realities which led the UPFA Government to re-introduce the emergency in 2005 due to the continuous violations of the Ceasefire Agreement by the LTTE and the rapid increase in the wave of their ruthless killings which Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and hundreds of innocent people at Kebithigollewa became victims.

The President pointed out that it was for the first time, an unique opportunity has been created to find solutions to the country's problems within a democratic framework without any threat of terrorist activities. The President requested all Parliamentarians to dedicate themselves to make use of that opportunity on behalf of the country through Parliament. Except some occasional disruptive incidents taking place, no terrorist activity has not been reported in the country since the day of eradication of terrorism. During this period, the Government has been able to conduct several elections by leading the country towards more democratic form of governance. The people have fully endorsed these elections which were conducted in a free and fair manner. President in his speech also made certain remarks as how peace dividends has led the country to achieve a significant economic growth in relation to several key sectors.

After the President wound up his speech, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe thanked the President for making that important statement in Parliament to lift the emergency. He told the House that he would consider this as a beginning. The Leader was of the view that discussions can be commenced to find out solutions for the problems faced by Tamils as the national harmony has been created within the country.

The issue on the development of the Colombo harbour came into light due to certain remarks made by the Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga during the debate on order under the Ports and Airports Development Levy Act. Amaratunga made the point that the Government is not in keeping with the latest development in the shipping industry. He was of the view that the Government would have developed the Colombo harbour before the construction of a new harbour at Hambantota. Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation Dr.Sarath Amunugama who responded to the MP replied in a lighter vein 'Rome was not built in a day' and Amaratunga should realise that Colombo harbour is being developed now and the construction of its breakwater has already been completed.

Parliament sittings ended abruptly on Tuesday after at least 10 Government and the Opposition MPs who were listed to speak at the debate under the Ports and Airports Development Act Levy were not present in the House. Therefore Speaker adjourned the House and called on the UPFA MP Arundhika Fernando to move his adjournment motion but he too was found to be absent. Hence the sittings concluded at least four hours before the usual time of adjournment.

Deputy Finance Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena who responded to a question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, in a state of emotion informed him the country which faced a severe catastrophe over the past three decades has now entered into a rapid development path as the peace has been restored in the country. The Deputy Minister explained how even IMF, World Bank and other international lending agencies have fully endorsed this significant development taken place in Sri Lanka. He told the MP the intention of the Government is to construct new airports and harbours by turning Sri Lanka into a well developed country.

When certain questions were raised by MP Karunanayake, UPFA MP A.H.M.Azwer who made a point of order informed the Speaker that the MP is violating the standing orders of Parliament and requested to conduct a class to teach him standing orders. Karunanayake who also responded to Azwer and told him that every circus has a clown and Azwer does it to the best of his ability.

The UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana in a question asked from Construction and Engineering Services Minister Wimal Weerawansa, alleged the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) attempts to recover the housing loans from the innocent people by throttling them. Minister Weerawansa who responded to the MP said 'The NHDA will not recover loans from the people in the manner as how you throttled your leader'.

An interruption made by Minister Wimal Weerawansa when a question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera from Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena led MP Jayasekera to make certain remarks about Minister. When Minister Weerawansa cautioned about the presence of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Jayasekera replied the Minister should not be worried and that he is mindful of his dealings with the Opposition Leader. The MP told the Minister that he had to be careful of his arch-rival, the Kelani Valley Mayor who was there. The MP told the Minister in a lighter vein 'Remember you had your Waterloo when you tried to reverse his ageing process'.

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