The foremost freedom one must focus on today is establishing economic freedom in Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday.
Addressing the nation at the 69th Independence Anniversary celebrations at Galle Face, he pointed out that to achieve economic freedom, the country must strive for it collectively along with the knowledge of the educated, new inventions, efficiency of the work force, and the strength as well as the dedication of blue collar workers.
“Achieving economic prosperity is paramount to protect democracy,” he said adding that greater importance and focus will be on the youth of our nation. The president also promised to guide the country's youth who yearned for new knowledge and technology.
President Sirisena said that the main focus should be political stability and social development through a collective effort to rebuild Sri Lanka. “To achieve this task, ensuring religious coexistence and reconciliation is of utmost importance,” he said, adding that the government is committed to achieve this goal.
He called upon all politicians to set an example through good character and lead the way in the country's development. “I believe all government officials will also act in a similar manner,” he said.
According to the President, various opportunistic elements with ulterior motives are attempting to derail the government's plans. “These elements are working against the best interests of our country,” he said.
Sirisena outlined the government's efforts to alleviate poverty calling all Sri Lankans to also join hands in the ongoing process.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, Field Marshal Sarath
Fonseka, former First Lady Hema Premadasa, Government Ministers, Commanders of the Tri Forces, Inspector General of Police, Parliamentarians, Ambassadors and distinguished guests attended the dignified celebration. The President in his speech also paid tribute to national heroes belonging to all communities who strived, struggled, sacrificed and laid down their lives to gain the independence we now cherish. “It is important to remember those leaders” he said, adding that, however, the freedoms we now speak of are diverse and many, such as that of the freedom of humans, speech, media among others.
“The word ‘freedom’ has great significance in every language in the world,” the President said, adding that the concept of ‘freedom’ is understood in a different context today and has changed since the time between 1505 and 1948.
President Sirisena also paid tribute to military and policemen who sacrificed their lives to protect the dignity and sovereignty of the nation during the 30-year conflict.
“We must never forget the lessons learnt from our warring past,” he said.
The Nation celebrated its 69th Independence Day with pomp and pageantry in a dignified celebration held at the Galle Face Green in Colombo yesterday. Held on the theme of ‘National Unity’, the official celebration saw the might of the country’s military through 7,500 military personnel representing the three security forces, Police, Civil Security Department, National Cadet Corps and National Youth Corps, in the National Day parade.