- Assures Task Forces do not lead country towards militarising civil functions
- Says Task Forces assisted to control COVID-19 pandemic
In the wake of civil society activists raising concerns about the appointment of several Presidential Task Forces, the Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Sandanaya (SLNPS) yesterday defended the move by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, saying the Task Forces were appointed for observation purposes only.
A group of members of civil society and like-minded organisations last week raised concerns regarding the Presidential Task Forces in the last few months. They also pointed out that all the Presidential Task Force include military personnel and claimed that demonstrated a steady drift towards militarising civil functions of the country.
Speaking to the media at the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) head office, former Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara noted the President was vested with the power to appoint Task Forces to observe the functions of the Governing structure, which he argued would help the Government to address any shortcomings. “Several civil society organisations have raised concerns about the President’s decision to appoint several Task Forces. They even claimed the Government was attempting to militarise civil functions. That is far from the truth. These Task Forces will only observe the functions and that will not influence the functioning of the State,” Nanayakkara opined.
According to him, Presidential Task Forces only consists of retired military officials and argued that they could not be considered as military personnel as they do not serve the armed forces anymore.
He noted the purpose of choosing them was to harness their experiences.
“The Presidential Task Forces helped the Government to successfully control COVID-19 pandemic. However, that Task Force consists of health officials and experts from other sectors as well. Therefore, we cannot say it only consists of military personnel and it is unfair to say these Task Forces are attempting to militarise civil functions.”
Nanayakkara also assured that Task Forces would not exceed their limits but would comply with the law and work according to their official mandate.