Cabinet plays role of culture police to reverse amendments to Excise Law

Thursday, 18 January 2018 00:51 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Concerns of cultural ruin prompted Cabinet Ministers led by President Maithripala Sirisena to reverse the recent amendments to an archaic law prohibiting women from buying alcohol, Cabinet Co-spokesperson and Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said yesterday.

“We have a culture to protect and that is what we are doing now. We have a fear that women in the village will also get addicted to drinking that is why we reversed the decision,” Jayasekara claimed.

His concern over women getting addicted to alcohol was shared by Co-spokesperson and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne who claimed that women in Sri Lanka don’t need the same equal rights as women of western cultures.

“We cannot have the same laws as the West. Gender equality is good for women in Colombo and England, not here (the village),” claimed Senaratne.

According to Senaratne, neither the Cabinet nor the President was aware of the changes that were being made by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

Senaratne also claimed that the move was more of an election ploy than about fixing anomalies in the law, adding that people were not aware of the ban till the amendment was announced.

Further, he said that President Maithripala Sirisena could not allow the amendments as a Government which came into power campaigning for a country free of alcohol.

“We cannot go back on the work we have done. We cannot encourage women to drink,” he said.

He also said that extending bar opening hours would have aggravated the alcohol abuse prevalent in the country.

“In fact we want the bars to be closed on salary day. That would benefit women more,” he said.  

The gazette notification on the reversal of the changes was set to be issued last night, the Finance Ministry Spokesperson told the Daily FT.