SLPP’s Roshnie De Saram contesting for the Colombo Municipal Council from the Cinnamon Gardens Ward believes that individuals with a professional background should be involved in politics
The Local Government polls are a few days away and contestants are in the process of winning the hearts of people. Contesting for the Colombo Municipal Council from the Cinnamon Gardens Ward is Roshnie De Saram under the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ticket. Roshnie is a proud pupil of Visakha Vidyalaya and sports a qualification in Business and Management from Australia. Belonging to a post-independence lineage of politicians, Roshnie has always been interested to serve the less fortunate. If elected, Roshnie has big plans for Colombo and she shared her views about the upcoming polls during an interview with the Daily mirror .
QWhy did you decide to contest this time?
We need to bring the country back to its former state and it is Mahinda Rajapakse who can do that. I initially supported the UNP, but I want to see change happen and therefore I decided to contest for the first time at the upcoming Local Government Elections.
QThose with professional backgrounds are seldom found in parliament. What are your views on this?
I think it’s very important that individuals with a professional background are involved in politics. Otherwise this country cannot function with people who have a lower level of education.
QColombo has many issues which were promised to be solved. The low-income households are one aspect. Is it right for politicians to make more promises to these people and in turn do nothing?
They are living under very poor conditions. Their bathrooms and other sanitary facilities need to be upgraded immediately. I think we should give them a hand to uplift their lifestyles.
QWhat are your plans for Colombo?
If I’m elected to office I will make some big changes for the benefit of my people. Some of my plans include building houses for those with special needs, eradicating dengue through efficient smoke treatment, implementing a central hotline system for prompt action to be taken; appoint committees consisting of residents, businessmen, environmentalists and professionals to be the voice of each ward. I’m also planning to have a city with an uninterrupted renewable energy system and an efficient health division for regulating food outlets and health services.
QWomen were virtually neglected in the political scene for a long time. What changes do you like to see happening with the introduction of the 25% quota for women?
I think it is one of the best decisions that was ever taken. Women do a lot of multi-tasking and we understand the requirements of every mother and sister. We need more women to be involved in the decision-making process. Mothers run the homes and their livelihoods need to be improved.
QHow important is it to implement infrastructure facilities to make the city user-friendly for differently abled people?
It definitely is a major requirement. When I visited the Wadiya I saw a boy who was begging. He was bent so badly and had no mother or father to look after him. They too need to live with dignity. It is important that they are given a proper place to stay in. They could be involved in self-employed businesses such as the incense industry. Their skills and talents such as artwork and handwork could be highlighted as well. So we need to start community centres as means of empowering them.
QPeople expected a change on January 8. Three years down the line what has the present Government achieved?
Nothing is happening today. Businesses could be improved, charity could be done, but we don’t see anything happening today. We have done our part to help the people, but they aren’t even bothered. I have helped people in my capacity, but today’s cost of living is so high. What we did for Rs. 75,000 back in the day exceeds the Rs. 100,000 limit today. Therefore it’s time to make a wise decision.
QColombo is known to be a UNP stronghold. How will you take up this challenge by contesting from the Pohottuwa?
People say that they are born UNPers. There are educated people making similar statements, but what have they got? I think they are only thinking about themselves and not of the rest of the citizens. Why can’t we change their mindsets? The former President loved the country and had a vision for it. I hope that we will be able to make a change this time.
Q What is your message to the people?
Don’t be selfish. I want to ask people to wake up and vote for what is right. Everyone is dreaming as they are being given big promises. We need to transform Colombo into a sustainable city. In order to do that, people need to be wise in taking their decisions.