Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said politicians must make sacrifices if they genuinely want to serve the people. He said cabinet ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers had concluded the first phase of the National Unity Government in its journey to make Sri Lanka the ‘Center of Excellence’ in the next five years.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat to mark the swearing in of state ministers and deputy ministers before President Maithripala Sirisena, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that all ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers must now spring into action to deliver what the UNP and the SLFP promised the people during the election campaign.
“The formation of the consensual government led by the UNP and supported by the SLFP is a revolution. A revolution because this is the first time in the political history of Sri Lanka that he two major political parties signed an MoU and agreed to serve the people in unity and co-operation. Now we are determined to do our best to lessen the burdens of our people and bring a smile of contentment and happiness to their faces at least within the next two years. This is not something unusual or unbelievable, as many Commonwealth countries have adopted this theory of consensual politics to take their countries more speedily towards progress, reconciliation and peace; and they have been successful,” he said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said the consensual government comprising the UNP and the SLFP was an attempt to see how both parties could cooperate to give the best to the people by putting their politics aside for some time.
Not only the UNP and the SLFP, but also the TNA and other political parties and, in short, all the members of parliament could become stakeholders in this ambitious endeavour aimed at facing the world with courage and respect, he said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe appealed to the ministers and deputy ministers to remain in parliament during sessions to answer questions, as the government was committed to successfully end the ‘Yahapalana’ journey begun on January 8 by President Sirisena .
He told them that endless foreign trips would deflect their attention from the people and, therefore, it would be appropriate if they restricted their foreign travel to a manageable level. He said President Sirisena had made a major sacrifice to change the political structure of the country for good and their responsibility was to give the benefits of that sacrifice to the people and the future generations.(Sandun A Jayasekera)