What is the mission that Maithri gave Ranil?

Last Wednesday (1) President Maithripala Sirisena was enjoying a dance recital at a newly opened resort owned by the Shangri-La Five Star Hotel Company in Mirijjawila, Hambantota when a straw thatched hut built at the dancing zone caught fire during a fireworks event.
Stray sparks from a firecrackers display may have ignited the fire after the opening ceremony and the President was just about 50 metres away from the fire.
The Fire Brigade killed the fire before it could spread elsewhere and DIG Southern Province D.D. Wickremaratne ordered an immediate probe to verify how a fire engulfed a straw covered hut.
DIG Wickremaratne told this Newspaper that DIG Galle W.K. Jayalath went to the resort the day of the incident to investigate and report on the incident. He will be looking into any possible breach of security also which could have led to the fire and whether the President was scheduled to visit that hut also as part of his agenda.
The Police are also conducting inquiries to ascertain whether sufficient security was provided at the Hotel Complex by its management during the event.
There have been several breaches of security at functions attended by President Sirisena in the past with the most glaring being a security officer carrying a pistol on the pretext of carrying a water bottle entering an SLFP meeting venue at Angunakolapelessa after the Presidential Polls in January last year.
The President has dispensed with much of the tight security accorded to his predecessors.
He was accompanied to the function by Ministers John Amaratunga, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene, Mahinda Amaraweera, State Minister Dulip Wedaarachchi and CEO of Shangri-La Group of Companies Greg Dogan and officials of the hotel management.
High-profiled ‘no-faith’
While, the fire at Hambantota resort was doused in time, another fire awaiting the government this week as the ‘No-Confidence’ Motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake is all set to be taken up.
The government and the Joint Opposition are poised in pitched battle stances to win next Wednesday’s debate on the six-point No-Confidence Motion filed against Minister Karunanayake.
The government Parliamentary Group headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold a special meeting to discuss the issue on Monday 6 June. This also marks the first occasion on which the SLFP and the UNP will be meeting jointly at a government Parliamentary Group discussion.
Political sources said it was vital to win the ‘No-Confidence’ Motion against the Finance Minister and Monday’s meeting will be crucial for both camps.
The Joint Opposition (JO) which tabled the ‘No-Confidence’ Motion against the Finance Minister is also set to hold two meetings to discuss the debate in advance.
A Party leaders’ meeting of the JO slated for 7 June will be chaired by UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena, in Colombo.
Deputy Organizer of the JO, MP Ranjth Soyza told this newspaper that JO MPs’ meeting is to be held on 8 June chaired by UPFA Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa at 11.00 a.m. at the Parliament complex.
The TNA also discussed the issue at length on Friday to decide on the stance it should take concerning the Motion.
This will be the first No-Confidence Motion taken for debate in Parliament since the Maithri-Ranil Coalition came into power.
While it is slated that Tamil National Alliance will back the government against the No-Confidence Motion even though the final decision is yet to be made.
JVP to say ‘no’
Meanwhile, the JVP is expected to announce their stance on the ‘No-Confidence’ Motion at a Central Committee meeting of the Party this evening (Sunday).
According to party sources they will hold a press briefing tomorrow (6) to criticize government and its economic policy and its delay displayed in taking action against the corrupt.
On the other hand, Leader of the Joint Opposition, Dinesh Gunawardena is busy scheduling meetings with the TNA and the JVP to negotiate with the two parties to get their support for the No-Confidence Motion.
Even though all is not well between the JVP and the Government, a JVP stalwart said that the party’s Politburo has taken a firm decision not to have any discussion with the Joint Opposition in or outside Parliament.
Though the party has not heard anything official from Gunawardena’s end about a meeting for a discussion, they reached this decision the moment the party heard about a possible invitation for a dialogue.
However, even though they will not join hands with the Joint Opposition, unlike their partners in Opposition, TNA, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is likely to vote in favour of the Motion against Finance Minister Karunanayake.
Voice of South Asia
President Sirsiena returned after a successful visit to Japan after taking part in a special meeting on the side-lines of the G-7 industrialized nations’ summit in Iseshima, Japan.
This was the first time that a Sri Lankan Head of State has been invited to the G7 Summit.
The Sri Lankan leader was also warmly received by US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Addressing the meeting, President Sirisena said his government wanted to take Sri Lanka to development by opening doors for the best path to peace and prosperity.
He also briefed G7 leaders on the steps taken to bring about a revolutionary change in governance and to build reconciliation among communities.
However, it was not clearly stated as to why the Sri Lankan President was invited for the prestigious event and it was made clear to President Sirisena only at the lunch table.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while hosting lunch, bent towards President Sirisena and whispered whether he was aware as to why he was invited. He said: “You are the voice of South Asia now. And, this is how we give you that recognition.”
PM entrusted with a mission
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was entrusted with a ‘heavy’ responsibility by President Sirisena. That is apart from his task to take the economy forward. And, this time the Prime Minister was entrusted with the task of getting the Sri Lankan community living in the United Kingdom to vote in favour of Prime Minister David Cameron’s stance to stay in the European Union.
The referendum to decide whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave, now known as Brexit will take place on 23 June, 2016 and the ruling party is putting its weight on winning the ethnic minority’s vote in its favour to stay in the EU.
The UK Government in a leaflet distributed to its citizens on as to why UK remains in the EU stated that:
On Thursday, 23rd June there will be a referendum. It’s your opportunity to decide if the UK remains in the European Union (EU). It’s a big decision. One that will affect you, your family and your children for decades to come.
The UK has secured a special status in a reformed EU:
we will not join the euro
we will keep our own border controls
the UK will not be part of further European political integration
there will be tough new restrictions on access to our welfare system for new EU migrants
we have a commitment to reduce EU red tape. The Government believes the UK should remain in the EU.
This leaflet sets out the facts, and explains why the Government believes a vote to remain in the EU is in the best interests of the people of the UK. It shows some of the choices the UK would face if there were a vote to leave.
The EU is by far the UK’s biggest trading partner. EU countries buy 44% of everything we sell abroad, from cars to insurance. Remaining inside the EU guarantees our full access to its Single Market. By contrast, leaving creates uncertainty and risk. The EU’s Single Market has over 500 million customers and an economy over five times bigger than the UK’s. The Single Market makes it easier and cheaper for UK companies to sell their products outside the UK, creating jobs as a result. Being inside the EU also makes it more attractive for companies to invest in the UK, meaning more jobs. Over the last decade, foreign companies have invested £540 billion in the UK, equivalent to £148 million everyday.
If the UK voted to leave the EU, the resulting economic shock would put pressure on the value of the pound, which would risk higher prices of some household goods and damage living standards. Losing our full access to the EU’s Single Market would make exporting to Europe harder and increase costs.
Millions of UK citizens travel to Europe each year. The EU has made this easier and cheaper. EU reforms in the 1990s have resulted in a drop in fares of over 40% for lower cost flights. From next year, mobile phone roaming charges will be abolished across the EU, saving UK customers up to 38p per minute on calls. EU membership also gives UK citizens travelling in other European countries the right to access free or cheaper public healthcare. Some argue little would change if we left the EU. But there are no guarantees UK customers would keep these benefits if we left.
With this task in hand Premier Wickremesinghe already held discussions with the Tamil National Alliance and already works out a plan to hold pocket seminars to address the Sri Lankan community including the Tamil diaspora in UK to get their support.
He also wrote to UK English newspaper pointing out as to why UK should remain in the EU, and how important it is for the ethnic minority to vote in favour of UK Government’s decision.
Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe also held discussions with Indian Prime Minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and they too had pledged its support in campaigning with Indian communities in the UK.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, had earlier expressed his support to Prime Minister Cameron in his endeavour to remain in the EU.
UNP-SLFP juniors
come together
Meanwhile, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the Government are to get together at Committee Room 2 at the Parliament on Tuesday (7) to discuss their problems.
Ever since the Unity Government was formed after 17 August 2015 General Election, the grouse of Cabinet Ministers not giving adequate powers and responsibilities to State and Deputy Ministers remained.
It reached another level when President Sirisena revealed to the Cabinet that a State Minister who was extremely ‘hurt’ offered his resignation. It was also revealed the said State Minister also left the country after handing over the letter of resignation.
As President Sirisena asked the group to give him in writing the powers and responsibilities they expect to get in their respective portfolios, it is expected the group will decide and list down everything on Tuesday.