Chief Prelate against setting up a casino in Colombo

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Colombo Page: The Chief Prelate Sri Lanka’s Asgiriya Buddhist Chapter, Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Mahanayake Thero has expressed strong objection to the government’s plan to set up a mega casino in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Addressing the visitors at his temple, as the Nawalapitiya electoral organiser of the Opposition United National Party (UNP) paid a courtesy call, the Buddhist leader protested the setting up of a casino hub near the Sambodhi Vihara temple in Colombo Fort.

Expressing fear that casino and other related vile deeds may spread into other parts of the country as well, the Mahanayake Thero, said that he would take to the streets against the spread of casino businesses in Sri Lanka if the government proceeds with the plan to set up the million dollar casino resort in Colombo.

“If the Government, another entity or person is about to start a casino business in this country, I would be the first to take to the streets. This country does not need such games and the Maha Sangha will take to the streets against it,” Ven. Sri Buddharakkitha Thero said. The Thero objected to the Government’s move to offer massive tax exemptions to the Australian businessman for the $ 350 million venture.

Sri Lanka’s Anti Imperialism Movement yesterday revealed that the government had agreed to provide massive concessions to the international casino businessman James Packer. The Government has denied that proposed venture is a casino business and the government had offered any tax concessions that adversely affect the country.

Sri Lanka’s Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has explained that the proposed deal was a venture to build a 400-room star class hotel complex completed with related services including retail shopping, entertainment facilities, fine-dining restaurants, and meeting and convention facilities.