Main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya Leader Sajith Premadasa flanked by General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara and MPs Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and Dr. Harsha de Silva at the media briefing yesterday
By Darshana Abayasingha
Main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday reiterated that an interim all-party Government led by his team can provide solutions to current economic crisis and once again called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down since latter and Prime Minister do not have the support of the people.
Premadasa stated the President, nor the present Government and the Prime Minister hold the confidence of the local or international community and are therefore unable to provide solutions to the crisis as promised.
“We have solutions to this crisis. Let us form an all-party interim Government led by the SJB where we will address the primary issues of the people, and within a short period of time seek the people’s mandate through an election and bring about political and economic stability to this country over a period of five years,” the Opposition Leader said.
Premadasa said that President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe have failed to deliver on their pledges to restore stability and requested the two leaders to relinquish power before dragging the country deeper into a mire. He stressed the SJB has the necessary skills and resources for the cause.
Joining a media briefing, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, said though Prime Minister Wickremasinghe pledged to bring in up to $ 5 billion in support for Sri Lanka, he has failed to bring in these funds and the only aid that was received is the Indian line of credit.
“The international community and The World Bank are all calling for a stable Government in Sri Lanka, and what’s happening here is akin to musical chairs, whilst 11 people have died in queues and hospitals run out of medicines,” he said.
Madduma Bandara said the party and its leader are ready to assume leadership of the country and asked the President and the Prime Minister to step down.
SJB MP Dr. Rajitha Senarathne said UNICEF has listed Sri Lanka on seventh in a list of countries facing malnutrition and added that though the Prime Minister has stated that he will not let citizens go hungry, he is unaware that citizens are already missing meals and required nutrition.
Senarathne asked if the President was given a mandate to drive people to starvation, and if this was so he could stay on for the remaining two years to achieve that objective. “The people of this country are suffering because of one man and people need to decide if they will send him home and revive this country,” the MP stated.
SJB MP and Treasurer Dr. Harsha De Silva laid the primary blame for the prevailing economic crisis on President Rajapaksa. He has appointed a new Prime Minister to find solutions to the problems, but a month later there are no signs of any solutions, he charged. De Silva pointed to the IMF discussions that began in Colombo yesterday and noted there is no certainty when the organisation may agree to provide a program of assistance to Sri Lanka. He noted the SJB had first warned of the need to consult the IMF back in 2020.
“The only way out right now is through an all-party interim Government that can work out solutions over the next two to three years, and we call on the President and the Prime Minister to make way for that change,” he said.