By Lahiru Pothmulla
An extraordinary gazette was issued under the proclamation by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announcing the establishment of a 13-member Presidential Task Force (PTF) to build a Secure Country, Disciplined, Virtuous and Lawful Society.
The new PTF is headed by Defence Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Kamal Gunaratne.
The other 12 members are; Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva (Commander of the Sri Lanka Army), Vice Admiral Piyal de Silva (Commander of Sri Lanka Navy), Air Marshal Sumangala Dias (Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force), C.D. Wickremarathne (Acting IGP), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Vijitha Ravipriya (Director General of Customs), Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Jagath Alwis (Chief of the National Intelligence Service), Maj. Gen. Suresh Salley (Director of State Intelligence Service), Maj. Gen. A. S. Hewavitharana (Director of Army Intelligence Unit), Capt. S.J. Kumara (Director of Navy Intelligence Unit), Air Commodore M.D.J. Wasage (Director of Air Force Intelligence Unit), T. C. A. Dhanapala (DIG, Special Task Force) and DIG Waruna Jayasundara.
Senior Assistant Secretary of the Defence Ministry, D.M.S. Dissanayake has been appointed as the Secretary of the Task Force. In the gazette, President Rajapaksa enumerated that the task force was established after recognizing that the security of the country is a key factor in establishing economic strategies and emphasizing the equal protection of the law for the well-being of the people and for building a civilized society.
“Considering that it is essential to liberate the entire society from the drug menace spreading all over the society including the children who are considered as the future of a country, is also a major factor in the social decline coupled with the economic decline,” President Rajapaksa said.
The members of the Presidential Task Force are expected to execute the tasks of:
Taking necessary immediate steps to curb the illegal activities of social groups which are violating the law which is emerging as harmful to the free and peaceful existence of society at present in some places of the country,
Take necessary measures for prevention from drug menace, prevent entry of drugs from abroad through ports and airports and to fully eradicate drug trafficking in the country and to prevent other social illnesses caused by drug abuse,
Take necessary measures to take legal action against persons responsible for the illegal and antisocial activities conducting in Sri Lanka while locating in other countries,
And to investigate and prevent any illegal and antisocial activities in and around prisons.
Accordingly, the task force is authorized by the President to investigate and issue directions as may be necessary in connection with the functions entrusted to it.
The President is also authorized to submit reports to the task force from time to time.
“Further, the Presidential Task Force may issue instructions or request that all Government Officers and other persons requesting assistance in the provision of services comply with such instructions.
I hereby instruct all Government Officers and others to provide all possible assistance and provide all information that may be provided.
And, I do hereby direct the said Task Force to report to me, all cases of delay or default on the part of any Public Officer or Officer of any Ministry, Government Department, State Corporation or other similar institution in the discharge of duties and responsibilities assigned to such public officer or such institution,” the President said.