- Final Cabinet meeting presided over by Maithripala Sirisena ends on friendly note
- PM thanks President for restoring democracy, a sentiment echoed by other ministers
- President too expresses gratitude for ministers’ cooperation
- Explains reasons for Royal Park convict pardon
- President withdraws Cabinet paper submitted last week to make his personal staff permanent
By Chandani Kirinde
Old hostilities were set aside yesterday as President Maithripala Sirisena presided over his last Cabinet meeting, with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other ministers thanking him for restoring democracy.
Wickremesinghe, who briefly addressed Cabinet of Ministers, said that President Sirisena had been in office for 1,700 days, during which time there were close to 3,000 protests, but no one was attacked or killed for participating in these demonstrations.
“Whatever problems we may have had over the past five years, not a single person has been killed in Government-related violence which has never happened under another Government,” Wickremesinghe said.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne as well as several other ministers also thanked the President for restoring “Yahapalanaya” in the country since taking office in January 2015.
President Sirisena, for his part, took time to explain to Cabinet the reasons for his decision to grant a pardon to Jude Shramantha Jayamaha, the convict in the Royal Park murder case, saying that he had adhered to constitutional procedure when issuing the pardon.
He said that allegations that he had accepted money to grant the pardon had been levelled at him but argued that there was no truth to such claims.
“I came for the first Cabinet meeting in 2015 with a sense of contentment and today I am attending the final meeting also with a feeling of contentment,” Sirisena told the ministers present.
The president also thanked members of the Cabinet before winding up his final meeting.
A Cabinet paper that had been submitted to Cabinet last week by the president seeking approval for several members of his personal staff to be made permanent was also withdrawn by him.