By Norman Palihawadane
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that a recent government decision to extend the business hours of bars and allow women to buy liquor and a subsequent presidential directive reversing it were aimed at duping the masses.
“The gazettes lifting the ban came with the approval of the Cabinet of ministers headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. Then President Sirisena cancels the same gazette so as to lionise himself.
Former President Rajapaksa said that he would not think the people could be fooled by such tricks. “In reality, the country has imported more liquor. Ethanol imports have increased. During my time the country imported about 23 million litres of ethanol annually. But for the past two years alone from 2015 to 2017, 50 million litres of ethanol have been imported. The major portion of these imports have gone to the liquor factories owned by Aloysius. The President pretends to be unaware of this.
“Whom are they trying to fool? The issuance of gazettes and the cancellation thereof in quick succession had been planned by the top leaders of the government.”