In Parliament
Speech of Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP in Parliament - April 7th 2015 PDF Print E-mail

Mr Speaker, it is with great sadness that I speak today, for the first time as a Member of the Opposition. Last year I recall a member of the Government saying in a Committee that there was no need for an Opposition when members like me were present. He was being critical, but I am proud of my constant quest for reform, in line with the basic principles of Liberalism.

 

But it is very sad to have helped to have a government elected for the purpose of Reform, and to find no interest in promoting the changes we need to strengthen Accountability, Transparency and Responsiveness to the needs of the people.

 

I can sympathize with the argument that we need more money, but we must also show that we are cutting down on waste. We must show that we are using money to enrich the people, not to win elections. We must make it clear that this government is interested in development activity, not simply in transferring powers from the President to the Prime Minister and then rushing for an election before the main promises in the manifesto have been fulfilled.

 

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Speech of Prof Rajiva Wijesinha In the Votes on the Ministry of Resettlement During the Committee Stage of the Budget Debate, November 17th 2014 (Prepared but not delivered) PDF Print E-mail

Mr Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of the work of the Ministry of Resettlement, and to express the hope that it will accomplish even more in the coming year. Sri Lanka can be extremely proud of its record with regard to Resettlement, which proceeded more quickly than in most other countries affected so badly by terrorism and conflict. When we see the suffering taking place elsewhere in the world, due to extremism – from which we too suffered – but also because of interventions based on arrogant ignorance, we can be thankful that we settled our own difficulties and embarked immediately on reconstruction.


I make no bones about the fact that more could have been done with regard to reconciliation, but with regard to resettlement, and the provision of more than basic infrastructure and services, we have done better I believe than other countries. Of course the achievements with regard to roads and electricity and education are not the work of this Ministry alone, and due credit must go to others too. But perhaps most important in dealing today with the votes of the Ministry of Resettlement, we should note that any shortcomings that remain are in no way the fault of this Ministry.


I should also note the courtesy with which the Minister, the Deputy and the Secretary respond to criticism and suggestions. I have spent much time in the last couple of years discussing issues at Divisional Secretariat level, and I should note that the Ministry is one of the few that always responds with sensitivity to issues that are raised. Most recently they were prompt in requesting information from Seruwawila where the people pointed out that one or two areas had been neglected in the Resettlement process, and I trust they have now provided a remedy.

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