JVP Propaganda Secretary and parliamentarian Vijitha Herath yesterday alleged that Ratnapura District MP Pavitra Wanniarachchi had been rewarded for her role in the high-profile campaign to impeach Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.
Herath was referring to Wanniarachchi receiving the power and energy portfolio at the expense of Patali Champika Ranawaka, at Monday’s mini-cabinet reshuffle. JHU nominee Ranawaka was given the Technology, Research and Atomic Energy portfolio, which Ms Wanniarachchi held earlier.
Addressing the media at JVP headquarters in Pelawatte, Battaramulla, Herath pointed out that Wanniarachchi had led those who handed over the impeachment motion against Dr. Bandaranayake to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa.
The JVPer said that Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC),
which found Dr. Bandaranayake guilty on some of the allegations made by 117 UPFA members, too, had been rewarded at the expense of UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha, who lost the Petroleum Industries portfolio to Yapa. Premjayanth ended up with the environment portfolio, previously held by Yapa. He was also given the renewable energy portfolio, which was earlier handled by the Power and Energy Minister.
Herath alleged that President Rajapaksa reshuffled the cabinet as he wanted to give a boost to those who spearheaded the operation against Dr. Bandaranayake. He emphasized that the situation at the Petroleum and Power ministries didn’t warrant changes at the top. The JVP propaganda chief dismissed the assertion that ministers Premjayantha and Ranawaka weren’t efficient hence changes necessary.
The JVP said that Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, too, had his wings clipped with Duminda Dissanayake being appointed Educational Services Minister in the wake of a dispute at a recent meeting over the distribution of school uniform material. The JVP alleged that Minister Gunawardena got into trouble due to him taking a position contrary to that of the powers that be.
Herath said that with the appointment given to Dissanayake, there were two ministers, two deputy ministers and a monitoring MP though the education sector was in chaos. The JVPer said that the government had caused irreparable damage to education.
He said that the UPFA’s 69-member jumbo sized cabinet had a 1,035 strong staff, whereas deputy ministers’ staff comprised 280 workers. Of the 69 ministers, two were not in the cabinet, though they enjoyed all perks and privileges given to their cabinet colleagues. The MP said that vast majority of 1,315 staffers were family members of politicians and relatives maintained at taxpayers’ expense.
Herath said that there were 28 Deputy Ministers, though some of them exercised ministerial powers. According to him, those struggling to make ends meet had been forced to undergo further burdens due to a top heavy government squandering public funds.
Herath ridiculed the creation of a new portfolio in the name of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation when ordinary people were finding it extremely difficult to survive due to the spiraling cost of living. The MP said that Kurunegala District MP Jayaratne Herath, in his new capacity as the minister in charge of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation, could provide entertainment to the suffering masses.
Could anything be as ridiculous as appointing a sugar industries minister, he said. The day the UPFA appointed ministers for dhal, coconut and rice wouldn’t be far away, the MP said.
Courtesy: The Island