- Says programs such as Enterprise Sri Lanka meant to strengthen people will create 1 million entrepreneurs
- Asserts 13th Amendment has become a laughing stock today
- Emphasises maximum power devolution should be implemented within a unitary state while further strengthening 13A
UNP Deputy Leader and Minister Sajith Premadasa says that although some internal crisis are seen inside the UNP to those who are not well-versed in democracy, it is really the party exercising true democracy.
Asserting that the freedom to have different opinions was a symbol of democracy, he pointed out that such opinions were shunned and shut down only in an authoritarian regime.
Minister Premadasa, who participated in the Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition on 9 September as the Chief Guest and addressed the media at Mutraveli Grounds in Jaffna, further stated that the subsidised loan scheme which was being implemented on a concept of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had paved the way for the common man to achieve his or her economic goals without holding them as distant dreams any further.
“They are provided with the facilities from necessary skills up to the required capital. Such interest subsidised loans are granted under easy conditions and low interest rates. Therefore, under this scheme, the aim of the Government is to create 100,000 entrepreneurs; it has the real potential of creating one million entrepreneurial opportunities.
“On my way to this exhibition venue, many people asked me various questions about the Tamil people’s issue. My stance is not to say one thing when going abroad and make a contradictory statement after returning to the country. We had certain leaders who went to India and stated 13th Plus and having returned home turned it to 13th minus. My stance is to solve this issue through maximum devolution of power within a unitary state. But I should reiterate one important point. This issue could be solved only by the empowerment of political, economic and social issues. If anybody belongs to any racial community feels that he or she is a second class citizen or that they are inferior to that of the other communities, the solution that we talk about would not be found.”
Premadasa said Provincial Councils were introduced as a solution to this issue, but it was not implemented fully. “However, the 13th Amendment has become a joke today. Therefore, we should strengthen the Provincial Council system,” he noted. “Our stance is clearly announced in the policy statement publicised before the Presidential Election in 2015. That is maximum devolution of power within a unitary state. There is no change in that stance even today.”
Speaking on state of affairs within the UNP in relation to the party’s presidential candidate, Premadasa said: “Certain factions are attempting to emphasise that there is a division within the UNP with regard to nominating its presidential candidate. Of course, those who are not familiar with the word ‘democracy’ could see this situation as an internal crisis within the party. But democracy means itself the freedom to have different opinions. There are certain political parties that do not tolerate diverse opinions, because the way for such opinions has been controlled inside such parties.”
State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne and Jaffna Mayor Emanuel Arnold were also present.
Minister Sajith Premadasa who opened the Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition in Jaffna met with the leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), including TNA MPs M.A. Sumanthiran, Mawai Senadhiraja and several others. Wickramaratne also participated in the meeting with the TNA members.