The country was facing the danger of being hit by the third wave COVID-19, as some individuals in high position were concerned about furthering their own interest Chairman of the National Movement for a Social Justice (NMSJ) Karu Jayasuriya, told the media in Colombo yesterday.
Jayasuriya said that the NMSJ had no intention of disrupting or criticising the government’s activities during the pandemic situation. However, as a country that respected democracy, Sri Lanka today had abandoned the exemplary measures once adopted to improve the welfare of the people, he said, noting that the government was now focused on fulfilling the aspirations of a few powerful figures.
“Certain activities that are taking place today under the guise of promoting the tourism industry have placed the entire country before serious health risks.
“Ukraine is one of our most respected allies. But at the same time, we must not forget that the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in many other countries, including Ukraine, and especially throughout Europe. Many countries have focused their efforts on mitigating the impact of the rapid spread of a new strain of the coronavirus.
“Sri Lanka needs to address a number of issues prior to attracting tourist. Although Sri Lanka must make the best of its natural and cultural attractions, the government must first and foremost be concerned about the health and safety of our people.
“But what is happening in the country today? According to media reports, even the official tourism authority of the country isn’t aware of the tourists who have been invited from Ukraine.
“The government has taken steps to bring in tourists at a time when many Sri Lankans are stranded abroad having lost their jobs. Many Sri Lankans now wonder why migrant workers, the largest foreign exchange earner, are forced to follow a strict quarantine process, while the Ukrainian tourists are given special treatment.
“Some Sri Lankan women have reportedly resorted to prostitution to earn money they need to return home. What a miserable situation they are faced with. What a painful message for us as Sri Lankans?”
The former speaker also criticised the government for appointing army officers as district coordinators of COVID-19 control initiatives. “The military has objectives and traditions which are different from the public service. Attempts to amalgamate these two result in dictatorships. As a former Army officer, I have a good understanding of the commitment, skills and discipline of the military establishment. The private sector has been able to achieve great results with the help of retired military personnel. But active military service and civil service are two distinct domains. We need to understand that.”
Jayasuriya also said that by repealing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution the government had politicised the public sector again and that it would only hasten the decline of the state sector.
(Source: The Island)