Masses Well Aware Of Rajapaksa Dictatorship – Ranjan Ramanayake

by  Ifham Nizam

Sri Lanka has gained the lost reputation due to the good governance policy of the government, says Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, Ranjan Ramanayake.

In an interview with The Sunday Leader, Ramanayake says that the new UNP-SLFP government has commenced the investigations on the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunge and Prageeth Eknaligoda which were going nowhere during the previous regime. In the cases of Eknaligoda and Raviraj, some suspects have been taken into custody and the investigations are continuing smoothly.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: The government will be shortly completing one year in power. Are you happy with the government’s performance?

A:  I am not born again. I am very much alive. I have not forgotten the past particularly the atrocities of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Nobody would forget the reign of Rajapaksa and the changes made after January 8, 2015. Masses are well aware of the dictatorship rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa. I have a fine memory chip to pinpoint the behaviour of the previous regime. Murder of popular rugger player Wasim Thajudeen, broad daylight assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Pradeep Eknaligoda and others were a classic example.

Our government under the good government policy started off well with a 100-day programme and continues to win the hearts of all nations and renowned leaders worldwide. This has resulted in gaining the lost reputation. I am happy with the government initiatives. Percentagewise I would say 75 per cent. Understandably everything has its ups and downs.


Q: You mentioned about the focus on 100 days, 100 points. Do you think that move was successful as planned?

A: As I said, our foreign policy has won the hearts of many… particularly Canada, Germany, United States of America, England and Australia. President Sirisena is having excellent relationships with all renowned world leaders, unlike Mahinda Rajapaksa who is good with Myanmar, Swaziland and Libya. We also have an excellent co-operation with G7 countries.


Q:  You said that the present government’s policies would differ to that of the previous government… but it seems your government is continuing with it?

A: We can’t stop projects like Ports City and Mattala… they are not Mahinda or Rajapaksa families’ properties. We have to make use of them for the betterment of the society and for investment initiatives.


Q:  In fact, you stressed on focusing and improving the living standards of the average household? Do you think you had a positive outcome in this regard?

A: Yes immediately after we came to power, we raised the public sector salary by Rs. 10,000 and private sector by Rs. 2,500 though some private companies have to provide it.


Q: You are an admirer of the slain Founding Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge. Are you happy with the ongoing investigation?

A: Yes… everybody knows how Mahinda Rajapaksa did his utmost to hide it or take it into another direction. He went on saying Lasantha had egg hoppers with him prior to his death. This is a planned photo shoot. Despite Lasantha’s elder brother Lal Wickrematunge’s request, Rajapaksa did nothing to investigate because his brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was exposed by Lasantha on the MiG deal. Gotabhaya’s conduct was clear when he asked ‘who is Lasantha’ during a BBC interview.


Q: There are allegations that investigations promised regarding missing persons and the killings of journalists, etc, are not happening as promised. Why?

A: Our government initially commenced as a 100-day government and we were elected to power only last August and all the commissions such as the FCID, Police Commission, etc. were established only after August 17, 2015. During this time we have commenced the investigations on the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunge and Prageeth Eknaligoda which were going nowhere during the previous regime. In the cases of Eknaligoda and Nadarajah Raviraj we have taken some suspects into custody and the investigations are continuing smoothly and the President and the Prime Minister won’t interfere in these investigations.

Further Duminda Silva was taken before courts on charges of cheating in declaring his assets and has been released on Rs. three million bail. Johnston Fernando has six cases against him, Sajin Waas, Jagath Pushpakumara, Prabath of the ports, the former Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunge and Mahinda Rajapaksa, etc. are some of the crooks who are being investigated. Even a former judge is being charged. Therefore if anyone was to accuse this government of not taking action against offenders of the previous government, then they must be delusional.


Q: With regard to the Right to Information Bill that the government promised in order to establish greater media freedom, why this process is being delayed?

A: As promised these pledges will be fulfilled. The people trusted in us and gave us their votes, and we will not let them down and all the promises we have made will be fulfilled. Just trust in us and give us a bit of time.

However we are not like the previous regime and we have ensured full freedom for journalists and we will deliver on our promises. Even journalists who have been writing against the president, he has taken them to his media unit. That is the level of freedom that we have given journalists today.


Q:  Will the right to publish also be included in this bill?

A:  Yes, in all probability I feel that it will. The president has never gone back on his word and he is the only one who even shed the powers of the executive presidency for the greater good of the country. I doubt there will be anyone like him. Therefore be positive and believe in our president and he will deliver all that he promised.


Q: But was it not the UNP that introduced the current constitution and the executive presidency?

A:  Yes, as a UNP parliamentarian I do admit that the mistake was made under J. R. Jayewardene’s rule. That is why we should make use of this golden opportunity in order to rectify those mistakes. Even the Prime Minister said in parliament that we needed a new constitution and that we were going to obtain the views and ideas of all segments of society in order to make it fair to all citizens of this country. Hence I have faith that the President and the Prime Minister will give us a solid and fair constitution.


Q: What are the initiatives that the government has taken?

A: Many projects, for instance projects like the Volkswagen vehicle manufacturing plant are being discussed. Under the government led by the UNP, we made friends with all those who we antagonised during the previous regime. Mahinda Rajapaksa had made friends with a set of world-hated thugs like the tribal king in Swaziland, Mahmood from Iran, Gaddafi from Libya and some from Myanmar, etc. On the contrary, our President is having good relationships with Barak Obama, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Minister of Canada and Narendra Modi. Thus, we have built good relationships worldwide including China and Europe. Foreign investors are now prepared to come to Sri Lanka to invest.

Q: Being a star performer in your chosen profession, what made you take to politics and that too, under the United National Party, when your closest relatives were from the other camp?

A: Well, I was engaged in the entertaining industry for quite some time and I was critical of the politicians and politics of the day through some of my movies such as Parliament Jokes, One Shot and The Leader. I received huge publicity, and not only my fans, but even moderate and analytical viewers appreciated them and made many requests from me. Most of them wanted me to directly get involved in politics and bring it back to the correct track.

Around this time, I was privileged to visit Lebanon and spent a few months there during which time I gathered first-hand information on the suffering of our women who go abroad seeking greener pastures.

I visited the Sri Lankan Embassy’s ‘Safe House’ in Lebanon and was shocked to see the suffering of our migrant workers who were quite helpless. After I returned to the island, I took up this matter with the authorities and launched a vigorous campaign to alleviate the suffering of those who were victimised. However, I had to encounter a number of constraints as I was not a public figure then; I was only a film star.

That was the time when Ranil Wickremesinghe invited me to join the UNP and contest the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council (PC) as the Chief Ministerial candidate. I gladly accepted the offer and contested and polled over 132,000 votes as against UPFA’s CM who polled only 95,000 votes.

The second part of your question is, why I chose the United National Party to do politics. Well, I am a person who strongly believes in leaders rather than party policies and principles. I have studied the lives of all our party leaders and I know that there is no other leader who can match Ranil Wickremesinghe in respect of honesty, integrity, loyalty and who possesses an ocean of knowledge on democracy and national and international issues. He has amply demonstrated his capabilities and his true commitment to democracy right through his political career.

As a person who admires and appreciates these qualities, and also as a strong critic of corruption, I was naturally attracted to the United National Party. I have a strong feeling and I am quite confident that we can form a corruption-free and people-friendly administration in the near future under Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership.


6 Comments for “Masses Well Aware Of Rajapaksa Dictatorship – Ranjan Ramanayake”

  1. You are absolutely correct Sir,

  2. Kaputa

    “On Shot” is right and true to his word under the leadership of Mr.(Slow) Hon:PM Ranil we can be sure for a better day. and for Ranjan we are with you all the way!

    • kk

      Ranil knows this man got no brain therefore he can use this man to use his verbal diharia for his davantage

  3. susil

    Ranjan you are a man with guts ,very few people have it
    dont hold back,the entire International community is behind you ,we know that’
    people later on will adore you mate
    unlike the pachawansaaa and other 41 thieves,they will never be happy
    in their mind ,and their conscience is full of shit

  4. lankan

    Is there any need to compare the two governments?It is like asking if hell was better than heaven or if dog pooh is better than milk .it is true Rajapakse was in some or greater ways responsible for ridding the country of the Tiger curse.However he and his family’s behaviour after that event is unpardonable.If we forget the level of death, destruction and theft Rajapakse resorted to after we trusted him with our countries future then we better be dead rather than support him again.Only the crooks who have personal gain rather than the welfare of the country and the people would support these crooked leaders.Our country is truly the Dharmadweepa and has been spared of two curses first the Tiger Demons and then the corrupt Malayalam Kattadiyas the rajapakse family but only after we paid our Karmic debt for what we did to our Tami brothers and sisters in the past. As the country prospers under the Sirisena/Wickremasinghe government as we can already see, the rajapakses will become just a distant memory including his “Pada” yathra with the band of crooks on board. Ranjan Ramanayake is 100% correct.

  5. Brian Perera

    Very precise responses to all queries. Well done Hon.MP for your honesty and sincere commitment to build up our beautiful nation.God bless you.

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