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“The UNP Has No Moral Right To Point Fingers At The Government” – Nishantha Warnasinghe, JHU Spokesman

By Camelia Nathaniel

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) abstained from voting on the No Confidence Motion brought against the government, not because they approved of the actions of the government but because they had no confidence in the messenger, said the spokesman of the party Nishantha Warnasinghe during an interview with The Sunday Leader. Meanwhile, the JHU though very supportive of the troops during the war, did not attend the victory day celebrations last Sunday and instead attended a separate ceremony in Colombo. Many parties within the coalition have expressed dissatisfaction with certain policies of the government in recent times, raising concerns regarding the stability of the coalition.
Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: During the vote on the No Confidence Motion against the government last Wednesday in parliament, why did the JHU abstain, having been the ones who raised the issue of drugs in the first place?
A: We could not vote in favour of either party because we believe that both parties are equally guilty of promoting large scale drug trade in this country. There are ministers within the government and also in the opposition who are known for their involvement in this illegal business.

When it comes to the government they have not taken any action against those involved in the drug trade within the government. Some say that we have no backbone, but it is because we have a backbone that we were able to tell the UNP that they have no right to point fingers at anyone else while they too are guilty of the same offence.

Therefore the best way for us to show our disapproval to both parties is by not supporting either of them.

The JHU is of the view that in order to eradicate the drug menace from this country the government needs to take a better stand. However we don’t think that by moving for a No Confidence Motion against the government, this result could be achieved. Had the UNP brought in a proposal that called for the government to bring in better measures in order to curb the rise in drug imports, then we certainly would have supported them. But their intention was to defeat the government on the pretext of fighting to stop the drug trade. Hence I must say that we are not ready to support them to topple this government.

The government in the past has taken stringent measures to tackle the drug scourge in this country, but in the recent past we have once again seen a rise in the number of cases.

Q: Why do you say that the UNP has no right to point fingers at the government?
A: The UNP has no moral right to point fingers at the government regarding the drug trade because in 1981 they are the ones who brought drugs into this country, brought in casinos and legalized gambling. They also brought down casino kings such as Joe Sim to this country.

Moreover the drug trade was closely knit with terrorism as even the LTTE made much of their money through the drug trade. But with the defeating of the LTTE the drug trade too has been somewhat scaled down. However large quantities of drugs still enter this country.

What we say is that it was the JHU who brought up the drug problem and even pointed fingers at the Prime Minister at the time. At that time the UNP politicians did not call for action to be taken against these people. So how can they now talk about fighting to stop the drug trade? They are just trying to use this opportunity to defeat the government on the pretext of fighting to stop the drug trade in this country. The message is true but we have a problem with the messenger.

Q: Having been a party that very strongly supported the troops, your absence at this year’s victory day celebrations was very obvious. This has also raised concerns that there is tension between the regime and the JHU. How do you respond to this?
A: Every year we have participated in the victory day parade, which was held in Colombo. However this year due to other commitments we were unable to attend the celebrations in Matara. Every year we celebrate the victory day with a special program.

This year our program was organized under the theme ‘Let’s not allow terrorism to emerge in this country again’ and was held at the New Town Hall. Thereafter we had organized a protest to the Norwegian Embassy seeking the extradition of Nediyavan.

This does not mean that we are having any issues with the government or that we are against the victory day parade. Although we did not attend the parade in Matara, we did attend the memorial ceremony that was held at the war memorial in Battaramulla the next day.

Q: JHU Leader Patali Champika Ranawaka had threatened to leave the ruling UPFA Government over differences of opinion on several issues, including the failure by the government to implement the Mahinda Chinthana policy. Can you elaborate on what these issues are?
A: No we have not threatened to leave the government but what we have always done is to point out the mistakes of the government and advice them on how to rectify these errors.

We have raised issues in parliament and at cabinet meetings and we have also initiated public opinion where necessary. We are trying to take the government forward within the Mahinda Chinthana framework. We don’t want to see the government collapse and we are certainly not ready to choose the UNP as an alternative party to the present government.

1 Comment for ““The UNP Has No Moral Right To Point Fingers At The Government” – Nishantha Warnasinghe, JHU Spokesman”

  1. Sanjay

    Stupid, UNP did not rule for last 20 years , take the blame or leave . You do not have any moral right to say this if you are a responsible politician older than 20 years.

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