Towards a rational and educated society - Randima Gamage

25 March 2014 04:36 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Randima Gamage, a second time contestant for the Southern Provincial Council election from the UPFA, spoke to the Daily Mirror on his candidacy for the upcoming elections, his vision and allegations against his party. Gamage is an old boy of Royal College Colombo and a graduate in law, having completed his law degree in England.
 




Q: This is the second time you are contesting as a young politician - what difference do you see in the political sphere from the last time you contested?
 There has been a major upheaval in both the minds and hearts of the people. On the one hand this Government under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ensured that the real masses of this country, the workers, the farmers, and all other strata of society have benefitted from the massive ongoing development that the country is witnessing. With the end of the war which ravaged this country for over 30 years we have now seen development that can be only termed unprecedented. During the last Provincial Council election, we as a party consolidated our power and swept through the polls. These elections will therefore be crucial in ensuring that the faith of the people is still with the government and the policies of the President.


Q: But this is the usual rhetoric of the government, and despite all of this, many Provincial Councillors have been accused of various malpractices, including crimes. Isn’t there a deficit in what you are saying?
True, during the recent past we have witnessed and heard through the media and other modes the issues that surround provincial and local council members. What we must understand is that the electoral system of the country results in many negative people being brought into power. This is the trend that should change, and we as a government both at the national level and the local level must strive towards this. The people have to ensure that they vote wisely and elect people who will desist from such acts and only work for the betterment of the people.


Q: Are you repeating this rhetoric or do you actually believe in this?
Of course I believe in this. I believe that the youth should be educated enough, not only academically but in their commitment towards a strong vibrant democracy. I don’t want to keep this confined to an election slogan but I have instead actually worked towards an educated people.


Q: What differentiates you from the children of other politicians who are also trying to get into the Political system?
I can’t give you an honest or responsible answer to that because it is not something I have thought about or analysed. What I could tell you is, even during my last tenure as a Provincial Councillor I have gone to each and every place within this electorate. I have been with the people whom I understand and who understand me. I have never even during the days of my youth, used my father’s powers as a minister because we were never brought up like that.  It continues to this day.


Q: As a Councillor representing the government there is a notion within the opposition that this country is heading towards a dictatorship. Do you think it isn’t?
Of course it isn’t. I understand that just because elections are held consistently, although that is one of the most potent ways of defining a dictatorship or democracy, it is not enough. But in every other sphere, be it the Public Service, Military, Police or any other administrative or executive sphere everyone enjoys autonomy. If this was a dictatorship the representatives of the Tamil National Alliance would not be even permitted to set foot in the country. That’s the same with some of the heads of the NGOs. They go abroad and say everything they have to say not only against the government but against the country but still live with ample security. These notions are trumped up and that is all there is to it.


Q: But isn’t this an illusion - many journalists have been murdered - there is a real clamp down on press freedom. Ministers complain saying that they don’t have autonomy - how could you say it is a functioning democracy?
One thing with regard to the murder of journalists is that we have to first understand the responsible parties. There was a terrorist organisation that operated in this country together with various para  -militaries that operated hand in glove with the LTTE when our forces under the leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa and The secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa defeated them. During that time, many journalists, parliamentarians and human rights activists were murdered in cold blood. How could you point the finger and say that this was the government’s doing? There is a mechanism that is underway and justice I believe will prevail.  With regard to your second question this government is a broad coalition of parties and ministers differ in their views; the fact that a minister is able to say what you are saying, and still remain in the government is ample proof of what a vibrant democracy we are.


Q: Finally, if elected what do you plan on achieving and where do you see the Southern Province at the end of this term?
Youth of my age, under the leadership of Namal Rajapaksa who has spearheaded youth empowerment and many others have come under one flag to ensure that the youth of this country are driven both spiritually and materialistically. I will do everything within my power to ensure that the youth of this province are empowered to the extent that they could make rational choices devoid of any compulsion be it financial or otherwise. I want to see the Southern Province being developed as a hub of the country which is vibrant in commerce and industries.
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