Hambantota Port losses cleared in just three years, says PM

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Huge losses running into billions of rupees suffered by the Hambantota Port were cleared in just three years after the current UNP-led government assumed office in January 2015, says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He told a ceremony held earlier this week to pay compensation to farmers in the Kurunegala District, affected by crop failure last year, that the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa had called an early Presidential Election in 2015, because under his rule between 2005 and 2014, the economy had collapsed and many state institutions including the Hambantota Port had gone bankrupt.

Outlining some of the work his government had done Wickremesinghe said “It was we who cleared the outstanding debts and revived the Hambantota port in just three years. The Rajapakssas did not allocate enough funds for education and health, saying there was no money. When we came to power, we found the funds and established the Lagama Pasal Hodama Pasal – Closest school is the best School programme, compulsory thirteen year education for children, tabs for students in the final two years of their schooling. We also developed the hospitals by providing new equipment and free stents and the Suva Seriya ambulance service. The price of medicines sold by the private sector were also reduced by a big margins.”

The PM said that despite the war having ended in 2009, there was no peace and reconciliation in the country. It was after the UNP-led National Government was established in January 2015 that the fear psychosis was eliminated and the people were able to breath with a sense of freedom and peace, as the process of reconciliation was set in motion through implementation of a series of measures.

The Podujana Peramunas Presidential candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa were asking the people for another five year term, but can they achieve in five years, what they couldn’t do in ten years, the Prime Minister queried.

The PM said it was obvious that the Rajapaksas wanted to recapture power to recreate their era of loss making state institutions, plundering of state resources, interference in all public institutions including the Police and judiciary, fear psychosis, tension and conflicts among communities, using white vans to abduct and kill their critics including journalists etc,.

(Source: The Island – By Zacki Jabbar)