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If JR’s socio-economic reforms were sustained, SL would be a developed country today: RW

17 September 2023 10:09 pm - 37     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


In a message on the birth anniversary of late President J.R. Jayewardene, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said if Sri Lanka had been able to sustain the socio-economic reforms initiated by the late President in 1977, the nation would be a developed country today. 

The President's message was presented by Chamika Mummullage, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President, highlighting former President J.R. Jayewardene 's revolutionary impact on the nation's socio-economic landscape. 

President Wickremesinghe emphasized that challenges such as riots, terrorism and the failure to fully grasp the philosophy, hindered the complete success of these reforms. He also noted that neighbouring countries like India, China and Vietnam, which transitioned from closed and socialist economic practices, had studied Jayewardene’s approach and prospered by adapting their policies to the changing times.

"J.R. Jayewardene embarked on his political journey in 1938 as an active member of the Sri Lanka Congress Party. In 1946, he switched his allegiance to the United National Party (UNP) and assumed the role of Finance Minister in Sri Lanka's inaugural Cabinet. Following the demise of Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake in 1973, J.R. Jayewardene assumed leadership of the United National Party.

“In the 1977 elections, J.R. Jayewardene was elected as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. During his tenure, he introduced the Executive Presidential system through a national Constitution. In 1978, he became the first Executive President and relocated to Jayawardenapura from the legislative capital of Colombo. He dedicated his life to advancing social justice, promoting culture, education and fostering economic development in Sri Lanka.

“Furthermore, President Jayewardene’s political and economic reforms played a pivotal role in modernizing Sri Lanka's social system, transforming it into a modern state. His significant contributions extended beyond national borders as he served as the sixth Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, leaving an indelible mark on the international stage.

“On this 117th commemoration of Mr. Jayewardene, let us honour his noble social mission for the country. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those, including the Secretary-General of the Jayewardene Centre, who has been instrumental in preserving his legacy," President Wickremesinghe said.

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  Comments - 37

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  • Kumara Sunday, 17 September 2023 10:36 PM

    But JR overseen the operation of anti Tamil riots in July 1983 and plundered the country into 30year civil war which brought the economic downfall.

    Tissa Fernando Monday, 18 September 2023 05:56 AM

    You are spot on. JR is the one who destroyed this country by igniting a 30 year civil war, bringing narcotics, prostitution, violent crimes, political thieves, etc. Before JR, majority of politicians were not thieves. After JR , the majority of politicians became thieves. JR and Bandaranayake and with support from JVP completely destroyed this country.

    Lumbini Monday, 18 September 2023 07:20 AM


    Anton Perera Monday, 18 September 2023 07:21 AM

    J.R.Jayawardene’s policies including introducing the Executive Presidency has brought Sri Lanka into this sorry state. The second richest country in South East Asia at the time of independence became bankrupt,75 years later in 2022. J.R. ruined our beautiful country.

    A Patriot Sunday, 17 September 2023 11:45 PM

    Hellow Ranil ; It was only during 1970-77 under Mrs. B's regime, that Sri Lanka exported much more than it imported. Although there were hardships, if we had continued that way, SL would have been a developed country. JR came and started importing too much to keep people happy and destroyed domestic production and also allowed massive corruption by politicians and Rajapaksas robbed US$50.0 billion and destroyed the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Now Ranil Rajapaksa is destroying whatever is left.

    VRAJ Sunday, 17 September 2023 11:49 PM


    Cherath Sunday, 17 September 2023 11:53 PM

    JR in his entire life, looked down and was confrontational with the working classes. Further, his instincts were to treat the common man and woman of this country as mere peasants, who lacked basics of modern day life. He only knew how to address people from a stage or rostrum, but didn't feel comfortable when meeting any of them. . Conversely he directly and indirectly was creeping and crawling before British royalty and other state leaders, white and Asian, like the Ghandis. Thanks to him we have a template for dictatorship in the constitution he drafted. JR was an embarrassment to Sri Lanka, which has a proud history of greatness and great leaders.

    Robin Banks Monday, 18 September 2023 01:52 AM

    We are sick of your self promotion and you if only rubbish. If only I was elected president 20:years ago, Sri Lanka would have been like Switzerland , if only pigs had wings they could fly. Just grant the people their fundemental right and hold an election. We don't have time for mentally impaired fuddy duddies.

    Tinpot president and his senile dreams Monday, 18 September 2023 01:55 AM

    If only you weren't born along with your rajapaksa criminal masters, Sril Lanka would have been a wonderland.

    Immoral president and his degenerate relatives Monday, 18 September 2023 02:02 AM

    If the 1982 riots did not happen, we would not have a civil war that wrecked the country for 30 years. And if you and your criminal friends were not exchanging power, the country would not be bankrupt.

    The senile president Monday, 18 September 2023 02:08 AM

    .Stop living inside your head and open your eyes to reality. Do the right thing by the people and uphold democracy by holding an election. We don't want to hear your nonsensical utterances.

    L Jaya Monday, 18 September 2023 02:20 AM

    This bloke RW boasting his uncle JR's policies and achievements, very similar to MR's boasting his achievements, winning the war with LTTE and no return investments of white elephant infrastructures. Have no other things than bringing past records. JR could not sustain his policies because of his alignment to west and neglecting local issues. RW is following the same path and will end up as an untrustworthy, unsuccessful, unpredictable and self centred leader in SL history.

    Ram Monday, 18 September 2023 03:55 AM

    RW was the PM a few times. why did he fail to implement them. Now signing baila

    DMTM jayaratna Monday, 18 September 2023 04:25 AM

    @Kumara, Mahinda Chinthanaya plundered and ruined the country more than anything else during military operations and even more after the so called victory.

    Abd Monday, 18 September 2023 05:56 AM

    His theory of open economy demoralized local manufacturers and converted the country,one dependent on foreign manufactured

    Bandu Monday, 18 September 2023 05:56 AM

    Useless president. SL had 30 years of war, that's the main reason country didn't develop.

    Banda Iya Monday, 18 September 2023 06:30 AM

    During JRs rule, how many communal violences took place? Playing communal cards was also JRs policies. At least late President Premadasa did something to the country.

    Nimal Monday, 18 September 2023 07:24 AM

    JR and his nephew the pin president were among the many other stalwarts of the UNP who planned the ethnic violence of 1983. Besides, the pin president was an eye witness to the barbaric and horrendous act of burning the much revered public library of Jaffna. Not stopping at that JR went on to ban the leftist parties blaming them for the ethnic violence. This triggered the uprising of 1987/89 turning the entire country into one massive killing field. If JR's dreadful reforms were sustained for a few more months, Sri Lanka would have surpassed Cambodia in extra-judicial killings. The situation then was so dreadful that people who go to sleep were not sure whether they would wake up alive the next morning. By September 1989, Sri Lanka's schools had been is session for just 55 days. This was the proud legacy of JRJ, whose footsteps his nephew is ardently following, suppressing all forms of free expressions and the democratic rights of the people. Peoples have not forgotten these.

    Mahila Monday, 18 September 2023 07:26 AM

    As every human being, JRJ had his GOOD and BAD!? He is remembered as astute Politician of his time, and NO doubt about it!!?? He would be remembered as true statesman than as only as "CUNNING FOX", had his Good endeavours outnumbered the Bad!!!??? Whilst being an admirer of his Stature – a Colossus of his time, Founder member of the Ceylon National Congress (CNC), Political Strategist and quick wittedness in Parliament for 65 years, Truth is that ‘certain salient characteristics’ of a successful Political Leader – absent in certain modes of his Political Operation – Unifying momentum!!!??? Examples 1981/82 Jaffna Library incident and Black July 1983 to name a few!!!???

    Fred Monday, 18 September 2023 07:34 AM

    Opening out the economy in 1977 was good, the way it was done was not good- borrowed money and spendthrift policies with no thought on how it was going to be paid back .I was there. Local industries collapsed when a more pragmatic way was to support them to become better.Too much money and too few goods led to rampant inflation and high land prices which benefited some, not the country which became imporrt dependent.Indians were more pragmatic, patriotic, and hard working did a better job with their resources, results show today But as a politician JR is to be commended, became President of the country, had the backing of Western powers, had international stature, that famous speech

    Fred Monday, 18 September 2023 07:55 AM

    I wish to add JRs local poliicies not great led to many problems all politicians probably failed in this regard no interest in politics

    MirakRajBanda Monday, 18 September 2023 08:17 AM

    Nonsense. Would have been a fascist country.

    Eper Monday, 18 September 2023 08:18 AM

    JR also created the 30 year war by his Black Friday blunder.However his open economy idea was excellent.Our inefficient politicians ruined the country by their fraudulent deals

    UniDon Monday, 18 September 2023 08:22 AM

    since 1978, what we have been following is nothing else, but JR's neoliberalism, its multiple versions. In fact, the ongoing crisis in SL is a manifestation of how neoliberalist economy policy unfolds in the periphery of the global political economy which is now experiencing an economic. downturn.

    Saman Monday, 18 September 2023 08:55 AM

    Do not tell bull shit, everyone knows what happened during his reign, after 17 years of UNP including his 12 years of rule, Sri Lanka push in to backward in every sector, especially the trade balance from 1978 onwards which is negative

    DD Monday, 18 September 2023 09:09 AM

    Absolutely agreed, RW. J.R. Jayewardene was a true hero. He had unique characteristics that set him apart. He could connect with people from all walks of life, from the British monarchy to Oxford-educated elites, from Asian leaders like India's Gandhi to the folks in Kuruduwatte, from Salve Island to the Mahiyangana Vedda community. He understood the heartbeat of the nation. One of his great qualities was his ability to delegate work effectively, like a true leader, ensuring that tasks were accomplished. Look at neighboring countries like India, China, and Vietnam; they learned from Jayewardene's approach and prospered by adapting their policies to changing times. Now, let's support J.R.'s nephews, RW, as they carry forward his vision. Let's unite behind them, march forward without divisions, and continue building on the legacy of this great leader.

    Nimal Monday, 18 September 2023 12:15 PM

    @DD, lmao... what vision are you referring to with J.R.'s nephew? That vision hasn't materialised in the last 40 years during his numerous stints as PM. It appears you are high on something...

    ROSH Monday, 18 September 2023 09:21 AM

    Unelected master debating president making statements about his uncle who is part of his syndicate with corruption, family politics excluding minorities. This master bater needs to stay at home and let young educated generation take over the country. Time has come to let minorities take care of the country. This unelected master bater needed to be master bated in front of the parliament before becoming immortal. We need to build his statue without his trousers put in front of the parliament.

    Nimal Monday, 18 September 2023 10:14 AM

    We'll you've been at the helm for the past year or so, what have you achieved or implemented? Our fellows always come up with some lame excuses and pass the buck.

    Pathmanathan Monday, 18 September 2023 12:57 PM

    In 1982 president election, Tamils in the South and West voted for JR thinking that he will provide a Dharmista governance in which we will be in the safe hands of the UNP. In 1983 JR stabbed us in the back by allowing thugs to attack us and destroy our properties. I have no respect for him whatsoever. For me Rajapkshes are better. During their rule, there were no organised violence against Tamils.

    Dinesh Mr. Withanage Monday, 18 September 2023 01:02 PM

    let me explain the tragedy unleashed by his reform strategy in the country. all traditional exports such as tea, rubber, coconut production, exports and industrial output declined. Through liberalization of trade, imports, abolishment of monopolies, the local industry completely wiped out. Examples, Wellawatta weaving mills, Thulhiriya, Pugoda, Mattegama, Kelani Tyres, Ceylon Steel, Paranthan Chemicals, Sugar industry, Leather Industry, and so on. No words to say about his draconian ideology that shrouded the entire network of social order in the country.

    Cherath Monday, 18 September 2023 02:36 PM

    Something the contributors have not mentioned here. Remember the mass strike in 1980? Some 80,000 workers belonging to an array of Trade Unions demanded a pay hike of just Rs.10. After several attempts to quell the uprising, JR sacked those who didn't report to work after an ultimatum. Over 45,000 workers lost their jobs and some 200,000 of their family members lost a breadwinner. Many took to pavement hawking, driving taxis, door to door selling and begging on the streets. Some committed suicide. All this for asking Rs.10 per month! That's how JR treated his fellow countrymen.That's JR's indelible legacy.

    N V Jen Monday, 18 September 2023 05:04 PM

    During JR's time there were 3 ethnic riots. in 1977, 1981, 1983 burning of the valuable Jaffna library with over 100,000 books plus Ola leaf inscriptions. The war he seeded ruined the country for 30 years with youth from both sides laying precious lives. Can one forget the protests and stoning the Supreme court judges house, appointing criminals as JP's etc. Early stages of dementia for Ranil, I think.

    Wiraj Monday, 18 September 2023 05:29 PM

    True, the credit for open economic policies should go to JR. But it also ruined the local industries. Anything ang everything was imported. Consumerism peaked with borrowed money and loans. This and the war he created eventually bankrupted the country apart from the massive looting by the Rajapakse clan.

    Abd Monday, 18 September 2023 09:52 PM

    @ chirath, if my memory is correct, JR had got increased his salary by Rs.10000, it was the immediate prior reason for demand of Rs 300 that was rejected by selfish JR and his silly reply was for me it’s only 10000 but 300 for each x all employees,it’s too much, and used that as opportunity to break spine of leftist trade unions

    Thalamporuwa Tuesday, 19 September 2023 05:41 AM

    After he expelled more than 75000 striking employees those vacancies were filled by government supporters of that area,I witness one overaged lowly qualified but UNP supporter had given clerical position,

    New broom sweep well! Tuesday, 19 September 2023 08:15 AM

    Going through all these comments, we come come conclusion that Lanka never had a good leader, and will never have a good leader! Why not we try bring in some new faces, in place of old faces we are tired of? How about Wimalaya? or Gommanpilla? or SB? Ranaweera the chilly man of Kelaniya? Or even Pillayan as president. New broom sweeps well!

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