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    Constitutional amendments vital to ensure People’s Sovereignty Featured

    January 04, 2020

    Arrival: The President’s official motorcade was escorted by just two security vehicles and three Police motorcycles sans the usual motorcade and the Mounted Police Escort. It is reported that the President had given instructions to cancel the horse and vehicle parade and the 21 Gun Salute which traditionally takes place prior to the commencement of a new Parliamentary session. (Picture by Wimal Karunathilake)

    Amending the Constitution is essential to guarantee the security, sovereignty, stability and integrity of the country as the existing one had given rise to many problems because of its inherent ambiguities and confusions, said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday.He also said that the reforms would be introduced to the Constitution to establish a strong Executive, Legislature and an Independent judiciary that can ensure the sovereignty of the people.

    He made these observations delivering his Government’s Policy Statement at the inauguration of the fourth session of the Eighth Parliament.The President said the people who elected him to office desired a profound change in the political culture of this country.

    WELCOME: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who arrived at the Parliamentary complex to inaugurate the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament being received by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. First Lady Iyoma Rajapaksa and Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake are also in the picture. Picture by Gayan Pushpika.
    “They rejected political agendas founded on race,” President Rajapaksa said. “The majority of the people proved that it is no longer possible for anyone to manipulate and control the politics of this country by playing the role of kingmaker.”

    He also invited politicians to understand this reality and called upon all to join together in the national undertaking to develop the country and to reject the politics based on petty agendas that have sown divisions in our society in the past.

    The President recalled that the discipline of the members and the debates in the House were rich long ago when he witnessed it from the public gallery as a school child.

    “This Parliament should once again become an exemplary institution where the real issues of the people are discussed, where matters concerning national policies are deliberated on,” President Rajapaksa said.

    He said that in accordance with that programme, “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, placed before the people at the Presidential Election by him contains a national program that was crafted during four years by incorporating his vision.

    The Government had already taken several steps including the easing of taxes that were unduly burdening the public, introducing a high degree of transparency and efficiency to the government administration, and curtailing unnecessary government expenditure.

    “In our policy, National Security occupies the foremost place,” President Rajapaksa said. “We will take all necessary steps to make our Motherland a safe country free of terrorism, extremism, underworld activities, theft and robbery, extortionists, the drug menace, disruptors of public order, and the abuse of women and children.”

    He said the Government’s primary purpose was to create a productive citizen, a happy family, a disciplined society and a prosperous nation. He added that the government’s target was to make Sri Lanka a developed country while being a sovereign, independent nation. He added that it must be safe and peaceful and then only it would be a prosperous nation.

    He also said that during the reign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa it was planned to develop Sri Lanka into the commercial hub of South Asia. The Mattala Airport and the Hambantota Port were built to develop an industrial city and the Colombo Port City was planned to set up to make the country a hub for finance and commerce in Asia.

    “We must carry forward these projects that were designed according to achieve long term objectives,” President Rajapaksa said. “If we work according to a proper plan, we will be able to encourage international businesses to locate themselves in Sri Lanka and supply goods and services to regional neighbouring countries.”

    He added that the government hopes to make Sri Lanka one of the world’s leading nations in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. He pledged to follow a neutral foreign policy.

    “We must strive to maintain friendly relations with every country,” President Rajapaksa said. “However, we can never give up our independence. We must establish an honourable governance that will allow this country to maintain its sovereignty, security, national pride, and deal with all nations on equal terms, without demonstrating weakness in our diplomatic or trade relationships”.

    He added that the country’s unique position has resulted in considerable attention being given towards Sri Lanka in global geopolitics in recent times. “We will never allow other countries to take over our economically significant geographic regions or physical resources,” President Rajapaksa said.

    “It is my aspiration to ensure that the Sri Lankan people will become a proud people with a global standing.”

    He stressed that the country could overcome all obstacles on the path to reaching that goal if all unite as a nation.


    Simplicity hallmark of Parliament inauguration


    The Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament was inaugurated by newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a simple ceremony yesterday.The surroundings of the Parliament complex was decorated with flags but the inauguration was celebrated without the pomp and pageantry usually associated with the ceremony. The 21 Gun Salute which is customary at the event was also not witnessed yesterday.

    Speaker Karu Jayasuriya arrived at the Parliament complex at 9.32 a.m. to inaugurate the new session of the Parliament.Around 9.35 a.m. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived at the Parliament complex along with his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa. They were welcomed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Parliamentary Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake and were escorted along the red carpet.

    In a gesture that demonstrated his simplicity and approach to saving Government funds, the President’s official vehicle was escorted by just two front and rear security vehicles plus three Highway Patrol motorcycles sans the usual motorcade, Military Police and Mounted Police escorts. This was indeed the first time that a President dispensed with this massive ceremonial procession.

    President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and First Lady Ayoma Rajapaksa were welcomed by the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake and were escorted in. They were then invoked Jayamangala Gatha blessings by a group of students from Ananda Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo.

    The quorum bell was rung at 9.55 am and the President arrived in the House along with the Speaker, and secretaries led by the Secretary General. He was seen greeting all Members on both sides of the House in the traditional manner. The President commenced his Policy Statement at 10.05 am and it lasted for 35 minutes.

    All Members of the House listened to his policy statement attentively and Government Members applauded the constructive policies contained in his statement. Around 10.40 a.m. the President adjourned the sittings until 1 p.m. yesterday itself. Thereafter he was escorted outside the House.

    Soon after the sittings adjourned, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe went up to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and greeted him. Many other former ministers, former state ministers and former deputy ministers followed him.

    Many leading Buddhist Monks and other priests were in the public gallery to witness the ceremony while ambassadors, governors, heads of security forces and leading public servants too were among them. A tea party followed the proceedings.

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