- Says SL should be allowed to solve its own issues
- Envoys hurriedly ask why he took over police under his wings
- Hints of General Elections before Presidential poll
- INTERPOL issues red notice on Arjuna Mahendran for second time
- PNB, STF, Customs accoladed for raids, drug detection
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that he would be sending three of his representatives to the ongoing UNHRC sessions in Geneva where the issue concerning Sri Lanka would be taken up on March 22 and 23, to impress upon the council to allow Sri Lanka to handle its own problems.
The President said he would be sending former Ministers Dr. Sarath Amunugama Mahinda Samarasinghe and the Northern Province Governor Suren Raghavan as his representatives in this regard.
Speaking to Newspaper Editors and media heads at the President’s House yesterday morning, the President noted that what he intends to convey is that the wounds should not be reopened and dug into and preventing the healing process from taking place. He said such efforts would only prolong the suffering.
Speaking about the Police Department which was taken under his wings recently, The President said when he took over the Department some foreign ambassadors came running and asked as to why he took the police under him. President Sirisena noted that it showed the extent to which foreign diplomats were involved in the country’s affairs. He said that he replied to them accordingly and showed that it was the President who could decide under which ministry institutions should be gazetted. The President added that it was after he took over the Police Department he became aware of the huge problems within it and the suffering that the ordinary police officers undergo. Speaking about the current political situation, President Sirisena hinted at the possibility of a snap General Election before the Presidential Poll that is scheduled to take place at the end of this year. He said there could be a possibility of a General Election since the political situation was unstable and volatile. He said in such a situation where no one has a clear majority, and it was difficult to govern as you had to please the demands of many. Therefore the President said it was better to have an election and form a stable government.
When asked about whether he would contest at the Presidential elections, President Sirisena said that all parties were having its own internal discussions about choosing the candidate and it was the party that has to discuss and decide on the matter. The President said INTERPOL has issued a Red Notice for the arrest of absconding former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran for the second time after hearing an appeal.
He said that Mahendran has appealed to INTERPOL against the Red Notice issued earlier and a Judge was appointed to hear the appeal. After completion of investigations, the appeal submitted by Mahendran was rejected by the Judge. The President said that subsequently a second Red Notice was issued by the INTERPOL.
President Sirisena pointed out that some politicians ask why he could not arrest the former Central Bank Governor as the minister in-charge of police now, he said that he could not arrest Mahendran because he is not in Sri Lanka. The President said he had requested the Singapore Premier’s assistance to arrest Mahendran, since he is a Singaporean. He said his whereabouts are not known and he has no information as to whether he is in Singapore or hiding elsewhere.
Answering a question, the President said that he was unaware if somebody else in Sri Lanka was trying to safeguard Arjuna Mahendran. The President also outlined the new programmes in his campaign against illicit drugs. They include an anti-drug pledge by all the schoolchildren on April 3. It is named as ‘Bakmaha Divuruma’.
Furthermore, the large consignments of drugs confiscated at recent raids, will be dissolved and chemically destroyed under scientific methods in the presence of Magistrates and Judiciary officers in Katunayake on April 1. The President said the campaign against drug trafficking has produced excellent results during the last three months, since he took over the Police under his wing. He thanked the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), Special Task Force (STF), Coast Guards, Customs and Excise Departments for producing good results during anti-drug raids and detection.
Answering a question, President Sirisena said that he had not changed his mind about imposing capital punishment against repeated drug smugglers who continue to indulge in drugs trafficking and peddling while in prison. He said that those who are against capital punishment should understand the catastrophe caused to the young generation by these criminals. When further asked as to when the first hanging of a convicted drug offender would take place, the President said that it would happen and he had a date in mind as well.
The President said the police and other agencies have done a commendable job even without sophisticated technical equipment for drug detection and promised that the best available technical equipment will be procured shortly. Already quotations have been called from the USA and Israel, the manufacturers of most sophisticated equipment.
He said early steps would be taken to recruit more policemen, especially Tamil- speaking police personnel to be posted to Tamil-speaking areas. 2,500 police personnel will be recruited with immediate effect. He also referred to the grievances of women constables and said he would look into their issues pertaining to promotions and transfers.
the President noted that what he intends to convey is that the wounds should not be reopened