Sri Lankan President: Nation cannot prosper under leaders who abandon it during crisis

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Batticaloa

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that a nation cannot prosper under leaders who flee during times of crisis.

He highlighted that if he had not taken charge during the country’s turmoil, the current state of affairs would be dire.

President Wickremesinghe made these remarks during a meeting with United National Party (UNP) representatives from the Batticaloa District on Saturday (June 22), at the Municipal Council Auditorium in Batticaloa.

He stated:

“I had the opportunity to engage with various political and public organizations in Batticaloa. Our country currently faces significant challenges. During the previous administration, I consistently emphasized the necessity of maintaining a reserve of at least USD 3 billion to propel our economy forward. No political party endorsed this stance.

What did the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna have to say about it? We were the sole advocates of this crucial initiative, often dismissed as spreading false propaganda.

Regardless of our political affiliations, we must uphold truthfulness for the sake of our nation’s future. In politics, honesty must always prevail.

Amidst that struggle, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa proposed to Sajith Premadasa to take charge of the country, but they declined the responsibility.

Similarly, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, aspiring for leadership, remained conspicuously absent. It begs the question whether these individuals are fit to lead our country.

Nevertheless, we stood steadfast against adversity and established a government. Presently, the country is emerging from bankruptcy.

During that period, the opposition leveled numerous accusations, urging my resignation from both the roles of Prime Minister and President.

What would have become of the country had I stepped down then? I steered the country through its most trying times.

I undertook numerous initiatives that benefited the people, actions that were neglected during the country’s financial turmoil.

Even amidst the country’s economic collapse, we increased allowances for government employees and worked to double the Samurdhi allowance through the Aswesuma program.

Initiatives were also launched to grant freehold land deeds to those who had no land rights.

In the Batticaloa district alone, I directed officials to issue freehold land deeds to over 27,000 individuals within just two months.

If such measures were achievable during a financial crisis, imagine what more can be accomplished now that the country has emerged from bankruptcy. The time has come for us all to unite, organize, and progress together.”

The event was attended by Senior Adviser to the President on National Security and Head of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Governor of Eastern Province Senthil Thondaman, General Secretary of the UNP Palitha Range Bandara, District Organizer of the UNP in Batticaloa K. Mohan, Organizer of the UNP in Eravur M.A.M. Bilal, Zonal Organizer of the UNP in Batticaloa M.A. Nazar, a group of former UNP local government members, regional organizers, party activists, and other participants.