By Shamindra Ferdinando
State Minister for International Cooperation Susil Premjayantha, yesterday, turned down UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa’s offer to serve as Prime Minister, in a government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Premjayantha said that there was nothing common in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s vision and that of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa.
Addressing the media at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Colombo District MP said that Premadasa heading for a heavy defeat at the forthcoming parliamentary poll was talking nonsense.
The parliamentary poll is expected in late April or early May 2020.
Premjayantha pointed out that in the wake of the debilitating setback suffered by the UNP at the presidential poll, the party was pulling in different directions. Those in Sajith Premadasa’s Camp had repeatedly declared their readiness to work with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa though the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was not interested, Premjayantha said.
A smiling State Minister said that MP Sajith Premadasa, in his speeches, routinely targeted those who backed UNP presidential campaign.
Having bagged vast majority of Local Government bodies in Feb 2018 followed by presidency in Nov 2019, the SLPP was preparing for the parliamentary election, MP Premjayantha said. Attorney-at-law Premjayantha said that they were confident of comfortably winning the general election.
State Minister Premjayantha emphasized that Sajith Premadasa, in his capacity as the Deputy Leader of the UNP and minister in yahapalana administration couldn’t absolve himself of the responsibility for crises caused by the then government. MP Premjayantha said that Sajith Premadasa couldn’t deceive the electorate by propagating lies.
Gampaha District MP attorney-at-law Sisira Jayakody said that the UNP-led administration over a period of four years perpetrated Treasury bond scams twice, in Feb 2015 and March 2016, betrayed the war winning armed forces in Geneva in Oct 2015 and through sheer negligence allowed near simultaneous suicide attacks on Easter Sunday in April last year. Having ruined the country, a deeply divided UNP was battling for its survival.
Lawmaker Jayakody alleged that Leader of the Opposition Premadasa was making a desperate attempt to make ground at the expense of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The MP said that Premadasa Camp’s claim that there could be consensus between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa was inimical to the President.
The SLPP emphasized that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa were a winning team.
Lawmaker Jayakody fired a broadside at the Constitutional Council chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya over what he called a spate of politically motivated appointments. The MP said that the Constitutional Council established in line with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in 2015 had undermined the very system it was supposed to uphold.
Attorney-at-law Jayakody expressed serious concern over the way Attorney General Dappula de Livera handled some of the contentious issues. Reference was also made to the recent instructions issued by the AG to the police to take interdicted High Court judge Gihan Pilapitiya into custody.
During the question and answer session, The Island sought an explanation as to why Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had to request the Governor of the Central Bank to provide the relevant annexures and exhibits along with the five forensic audits; State Minister Premjayantha said that he, too, was yet to receive the reports. Lawmaker Premjayantha said that as a person who right from the beginning asked for forensic audits, he didn’t have an issue.
On the instructions of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Secretary General of Parliament Dammika Dassanayake last week informed Central Bank Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman, that the reports of five Forensic Audits were incomplete without the relevant annexures and exhibits.
The Secretary General has also informed the Governor of the Central Bank as directed by the Speaker to take necessary action to make available complete audit reports to Parliament at the earliest.
MP Jayakody said that those who worked overtime to suppress 2015 and 2016 Treasury bond scams were trying to divert public attention by creating fresh issues. Lawmaker Jayakody pointed out as to how the UNP sabotaged the debate on Presidential bond scam report on the basis a Tamil translation of the report was not available.
He quoted General Secretary of the Communist Party DEW Gunasekera as having said that forensic audits were meant to save those responsible for 2015 and 2016 Treasury bond scams.