We will establish a broad front in 2020 – AKD
BY ANURADHA HERATH
Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayaka says "give us power and we will show how to govern". He said that the JVP has planned to form a broad people's front by 2020. "All forces including university teachers, learned persons, intellectuals, artistes, journalists and environmentalists are gathering together to join us. The work required for this is being carried out at present".
Excerpts given below:
?: You were the people, who brought this government into power. Are you regretting?
A: We did not bring in the government. However the argument that it was the JVP who directly contributed towards establishing a new government cannot be avoided.
We intervened in the collapse of the Rajapaksa administration. At the General Election we clearly said that a government will be established together by the SLFP and the UNP. Today, this government exists because of the contribution of those who voted on behalf of Rajapaksa. Therefore this government is entirely dependent on SLFP assistance.
?: In that case does good governance mean something similar to giving ginger and obtaining chillies as the saying goes in Sinhala?
A: During 70 years these two parties have established governments. They have toppled governments. Over a period of 70 years both followed the same economic policy. There is no difference between the existing governments and governments that existed previously even close to the differences between ginger and chillies. Therefore what we require is to build a new alternative power within the country against the political policies which appear to be two types.
?: Are you saying that people should give power to the JVP and see the difference?
A: Yes, give us power once and we are ready to show you how to govern. We are a party that has a lot of experience and correct policies and can identify the pain and sorrow of the people.
?: How could you gain power while having only six members in Parliament?
A: What I first mentioned is this fact. An alternative power is required. We are in the process of working towards this. A number of civil organizations including Professionals, Artistes, Environmentalists, Journalists, Farmers and Fishermen are with us. We are making arrangements to establish a broad front in 2020. You too have a responsibility. Use your pen on behalf of appointing a new people friendly power instead of this government which is against the people.
?: Hasn't the JVP made such a statement at every election that has been held? Will you be able to achieve your goal in 2020?
A: Political transformations do not take place in a series similar to one, two, and three. For example, if someone had said at the end of the year 2014 that the President in 2015 will not be Mahinda Rajapaksa, no one would have accepted it. If someone had said that Ranil Wickremesinghe would be the Prime Minister in 2015 it would have become a joke. We believe that people have rejected both these parties by now. At the same time people now know that this government is tolerating frauds and protecting corruption, while they amass wealth.
?: What is this story that the JVP is trying to remove the symbol of the Bell in 2020, about?
A: The bell is our symbol. It will not change. When we contest the election in 2020 together with a people's force and a broad front if necessary we might contest under a common symbol. We will not discard the symbol of the bell.
?: Although it seems apparent that the JVP is directly involved in and fighting on behalf of problems such as Uma Oya, SAITM and the Hambantota Port, the Joint Opposition is also engaging in an equal manner aren't they? Finally will that victory be attributed to the Joint Opposition?
A: If it is possible to provide some solution to problems that directly affect the people, it will not be a party victory. It will be a victory for the people.
?: So, the JVP is not fighting to achieve political advantages?
A: If we need to gain political advantage, as a party we do many things. Remember all of this is on behalf of the people. Anyone in my party nor have I obtained any benefit at all. Nor will we obtain any. It is only such a progressive party that could build a country.
?: The Joint Opposition too could lay the same claim as you.
A: Can the Rajapaksa gang who stole people's money on a large scale say without any compunction that they are taking to the streets on behalf of the people?
What sort of a joke is that? The Rajapaksa gang has today been made politically destitute. They are acting without any policy regarding their battle and are behaving as if they have lost their way.
?: So do you consider the Rajapaksa team intervening in such national problems as an offence?
A: Intervening or engaging in struggles on behalf of people by politicians or a party group is not an offence. That is their responsibility. However, those who started construction on Uma Oya without calling for any tenders are now shouting against it. Those who launched SAITM, pumped money into it and went to see it are now shouting against it. The Rajapaksa gang which planned to sell the Hambantota Port to the China Harbour Company is shouting against that too. Those who shot at protests, those who murdered protestors, those who split the heads of students are today talking about the freedom of students. As a result today this gang is in a contradictory situation. They are ready to engage in any shameless task which will bring them political advantages.
?: The elections are being postponed daily. Why is the JVP silent on this issue?
A: By now this government has postponed Provincial Council Elections for a period of more than two years.
It is a conflict in the policies of the two Parties that is contributing to the crisis that has arisen between the SLFP and the UNP. Ranil Wickremesinghe is thinking of going for an election within conditions that have been created to be suitable for him, while Maithripala Sirisena wants to conduct an election when the entire fruit has been acquired by the SLFP. With both these becoming unsuccessful, the elections are being postponed.
?: What is the opinion of the JVP regarding the situation today of the government which came to punish fraudsters and corrupt persons?
A: In January 2015 this government was established to punish fraudsters, to stop frauds. However, even before 50 days had passed since the establishment of the Government on 27 February 2015, the Government was entangled in the Treasury Bond theft. Through moves such as appointing Arjuna Mahendran as the Governor of the Central Bank, protecting him, appointing a committee consisting of friends of Ranil Wickremesinghe on behalf of his protection as soon as accusations targeted him, attempting to keep Arjun Mahendran on, in his post even after the end of his tenure, the UNP parliamentarians in COPE engaging in attempts to confirm that no theft had taken place, it is clear that efforts were made to prevent the disclosure of this fraud. At the same time it is clear that behind script preventing punishment of fraudsters is Ranil Wickremesinghe. Although the Government could have taken legal action in connection with this Treasury bond fraud based on the COPE report a latent policy is being followed.
?: Even though the Presidential Commission of inquiry into the Central Bank Treasury Bond fraud was launched with much noise, there are accusations that it is just another commission brought to mislead the people. What is your comment?
A: Previously also Presidential Commission on Serious Frauds and Corruption was in operation. That too carried out several investigations. Those reports have been handed over to the President. Whatever the future procedures are regarding those, anyhow, at least when I requested those reports in Parliament I did not receive them.
?: What you are implying is that the same thing that happened to the Presidential Commission on Serious Frauds will happen to the Presidential Commission on the Treasury Bonds issue?
A: Attention from society has been focused on this commission much more than they expected. However, based on reports they provide which have to be submitted to the Attorney General's Department, it should be taken up to the position where cases will be filed based on the accusations. What the people can do is to bring in an amendment through the Parliament, granting authority to this Commission to carry out punishment. I am sure that, that too will not happen in any way. If action is not taken with strong attention and impact, it will be impossible to prevent the same thing happening to this report similar to the older ones.
?: However, a Minister had to go home too because of this Commission?
A: Actually this Commission was established on behalf of obtaining recommendations regarding the loss caused by the Treasury Bond transaction and the action that could be taken against those who were involved in it. The initial responsibility assigned to the Commission has still not been completed. What has happened here is that during that investigation, it was discovered that Ravi Karunanayake who resigned had close ties with Arjun Aloysius who has accusations against him and is alleged to have been involved in that transaction, the payment of rent for an apartment, and use of money not accounted for when purchasing such an apartment, sending of undated letters to Arjun Mahendran are all attempts to cover up this crime. This has been very clearly revealed.
?: Can legal action be taken against Ravi Karunanayake regarding such matters?
A: Yes. That responsibility rests with the Attorney General's Department. There are no documents regarding the money in connection with the house taken as a bribe by Ravi Karunanayake from Arjun Aloysius. Then a doubt arises that that is black money. Accordingly, a Court case can be filed under the Bribery Act, Penal Code and the Money Laundering Act.
?: All of you, who said that Ravi Karunanayake should resign from his post, are now claiming once he has resigned that this is a trick. What is the meaning of this?
A: The first fact is that he should definitely resign from his Ministerial post. So, Ravi Karunanayake did resign. However he resigned and had to resign after everything that took place was revealed and his back was against the wall. That was the only course of action he could have taken. There was deceit behind his removal.
?: Rather than the Central Bank Treasury Bond transaction, the Karunanayake's housing issue became the subject to huge controversy within society.
A: This is similar to an incident when going in search of a murderer in the village an illicit liquor manufacturer is cornered by the Police. When Ravi Karunanayake was summoned the Central Bank Treasury Bond fraud investigating committee he gave answers that were similar to jokes. In reply to questions asked by the Commission, what he said was that it was his wife who knew about the thing.
This is exactly what happened when a statement was being obtained from Basil Rajapaksa regarding the house in Malwana. What is the reason Arjun Aloysius have to provide a house for Ravi Karunanayake? Was there a relationship between the two of them? What this means is that a bribe was given to Ravi Karunanayake who permitted the Central Bank theft to go ahead. The house was purchased for Rs 165 million. The sum for renovation is Rs 54 million. The monthly rent is Rs 1.4 million. They lived in that house for 8 months. Ravi Karunanayake resigning from his ministerial post is not a punishment. He should definitely be punished legally. What he has stolen is your wealth. It is money belonging to innocent people who do not have an income to live on.
?: During his speech upon his resignation Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake said that someday truth will win. What is the opinion of the JVP about such a statement?
A: There are people who kiss the hands of these blackguards who use people's money to increase their own wealth. Ravi, who was revealed as having engaged in a huge fraud, when he found himself up against the wall, takes Buddhism as an example. He talks about the principles of Jesus. Was Jesus crucified because he engaged in theft? He recalls the Holy Quran. I request all religious leaders not to allow room for such fraudsters to use religious backgrounds to cover up their villainous activities. This is a country where there are people who kiss and embrace such blackguards. What a pit our country has fallen into? What do children who see this type of behaviour think? They believe the example of making robbery into a job in order to survive is the best thing.
?: You said that the authority to take legal action against Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake rests with the Attorney General's Department. At the same time, you said that, since the Attorney General's Department represents the government faction, no justice can be expected.
A: Actually the Attorney General's Department represents State Counsel. It should be operated and guided by the government. Today, the government instead of punishing thieves is following a policy of protecting thieves. This government is one that not only did not punish Ravi Karunanayake but the thieves of the former Rajapaksa administration as well. So do you believe that thieves within the government will be punished?
?: What about Tilak Marapona being appointed to the Ministerial post of foreign affairs which was earlier occupied by Ravi Karunanayake?
A: Once Ravi Karunanayake who was accused regarding Treasury Bond deals resigned, appointing Tilak Marapona who was involved in the Avant Garde incident is similar to a game of musical chairs. When one thief stands up the other thief takes over the chair. Previously Marapona was asked to stand up. Everyone was circling the chairs. Now, Ravi is circling until another thief stands up. In the near future another thief will be asked to stand up and Ravi will be made to sit in his chair. Just because a thief changes the clothes he is wearing, the thief does not change. He should be punished.
?: We would like you to mention something about the people's force the JVP is preparing to establish in 2020.
A: We have planned to form of a broad people's front by 2020. All forces including university teachers, learned persons, intellectuals, artistes, journalists and environmentalists are assembling together to join us. The work required for this is being carried out at present.
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