Following my last article titled ‘Sri Lanka needs a new leader and govt. Time to send this failing government home’, there was a huge feedback I received with many of you sharing your views on who you’ll feel should take this country forward.
While thanking each and everyone of you for sharing your views with me, whether it being negative or positive, I have taken into consideration each and every point raised. Today, I would however like to highlight a few issues, on some comments I received where some of you said that Sri Lanka’s new leader should be a new face, apart from the 225 legislators in the current Parliament.
I have always stressed that Sri Lanka is a country which has great potential to move forward and if we work closely with our partner countries in areas of maritime, trade, education sports etc, we have the potential of emerging as one of the most powerful nations in Asia.
Since the end of Sri Lanka’s war in 2009, Sri Lanka indeed has forged ahead to a great extent but unfortunately since 2015, we have taken the downhill road due to the weak policies and political instability in the present government.
Considering the present dilemma Sri Lanka is in, we indeed need a new leader and a strong government to forge ahead again for the benefit of all our citizens.
In 2015, many Sri Lankans were wooed by the election pledges of President Maithripala Sirisena, who stood as the common candidate of the United National Front party. Some of the most eye catching proposals was that if elected, President Sirisena would assure good governance, zero corruption, more freedom, abolish the executive presidency and transform Sri Lanka into an international hub.
Some of our citizens, back then also wanted a ‘new leader, a new face’. And for many, the UNF’s proposals were extremely attractive. However today, four years on, President Sirisena and his UNF government have far from fulfilled their election pledges. In fact through their so called good governance, the government was able to commit the largest fraud in Sri Lankan history through the Central Bank Bond Scam, has compromised with the country’s national security, has faced terrorist attacks, the President and government are at logger heads, almost all FDI’s have been a hoax, the cost of living has sky rocketed, government has excessive foreign borrowings, the youth have been ignored, education has been neglected, unemployment has increased and dangerous foreign agreements are being discussed.
A new leader and a stable, strong government is definitely the need of the hour for all Sri Lankans. Now when we talk of a new leader, it should be someone with experience, a leader who is recognized by world leaders so that Sri Lanka would benefit in attracting FDIs, a leader who would not compromise on national security, a leader with a vision for the youth, a leader who has a strong relationship with all SAARC countries, a leader who is strongly linked to BIMSTEC, a leader who has an economic vision, a leader who can work for the masses as well as the business community, a leader who can uplift the sports sector, the education sector as well as all other sectors of this country, a leader who is not involved in taking political revenge but instead will work for the benefit of its citizens and most of all a leader who will not accommodate any foreign forces who are trying to force themselves here.
When electing a new leader, his/her foreign policy must be well studied including as to how relations with SAARC, Commonwealth and BIMSTEC will be maintained, what the policy towards the west will be, how will agreements such as SOFA and ACSA be tackled, how will the Geneva resolution be handled against alleged war crimes and what is his/her economic vision, what is his/her vision for the business community and vital sectors such as education, IT and sports?
All these policies must be well studied to see if it indeed suits the Sri Lankan ctiizens. Afterall one leader must not be elected just to send the other leader home if not Sri Lanka will be churning in debt and instability with no strong vision or future for our citizens.
The SLPP, at the upcoming Presidential election will elect a leader who can fulfill all these pledges and work to uplift this nation again. Under the strong leadership of Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka indeed made remarkable achievements. The Colombo Port was uplifted, so much so that today, it has emerged as one of the world’s leading ports, roads and highways were constructed which cut down travel time to several parts of the country, roads leading to the northern province were constructed so that businesses in the north also benefitted, the Colombo Port City agreement was signed which in future will attract over 15 billion dollars worth of investments, several leading hotels brands entered the country, tourism was well developed so much so that today Sri Lanka has been ranked among the top destinations in the world, there were several programs to uplift athletes and develop sports, the youth were given a voice, the hardships facing university students were addressed, child labor was eliminated as it was made compulsory that all children must attend school, beggars were rehabilitated and so much more. Our economic growth back then was at 7.5% from the present 3% to 4%.
Then former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa also launched several projects for the benefit of the country. His leading project was the Colombo city beautification project which is spoken about even today. He also provided urban housing for those living below the poverty line, in shanty dwellings in unhygenic and sometimes dangerous conditions and relocated them to safer areas.
For those who feel that electing a new leader, out of the political circle will bring Sri Lanka back on the path to prosperity, well that is not the need of the hour. Whoever the next leader is elected, it should be someone who already is recognized by the world and who can tackle the issues that come our way.
With Sri Lanka’s natural assets and geographic location in the Indian Ocean, we are a much sought after destination. But we need a leader who can attract the correct investments whilst maintaining good relations with all its foreign partners whilst also working for its people. A nationalist leader is what we need.
Sri Lanka indeed will rise. But we need to ensure this time round, we be more wiser with our decision to vote