Rajapaksa govt denying workers’ rights for IMF’s US$ 1.9 bn – Abeywardena

The Mahinda Rajapaksa government claims it represents the workers, but is slowly but surely denying public servants of their rights and privileges, at the behest of the IMF, Galle District UNP MP Vajira Abeywardena, said at a news conference.

The SLFP and its allies accused the UNP of having mortgaged the country to the IMF, but it is they who were doing that, he said.

The UNP scrapped the efficiency bar examination for public servants over 45 years of age, because they had the required experience, but the Rajapaksa government, having hoodwinked public servants with false promises, was gradually stripping them of their rights, he said.

The UNP, also extended the retirement age of public servants from 55 to 60 years, but the present regime is scheming to do away with that as well, he observed. "All these moves are aimed at pleasing the IMF to obtain the US$ 1.9 billion standby facility. Discussions are held in utmost secrecy, to prevent the people from knowing the truth."

Dismissing the government’s claim that it was responsible for the construction of 1,500 houses in Galle, Abeywardena said that the project was started by the UNP and not the UPFA.

Puttalam District UNP MP Palitha Ranga Bandara said that the government claims to have confined the LTTE to one square kilometre in Mullaitivu, but it was preventing fisherman in Kalpitiya from earning a living.

"The Navy recently prohibited 270 fisherman in Kalpitiya, from going out to sea on security grounds. The effect of this is that the thousands who are dependent on them would have to go hungry, while ruling party politicians are living in the lap of luxury. The Sinhala and Tamil New year is just round the corner and the poor fisher families would have nothing to celebrate."

He said that a UPFA politician recently abducted a child over a political dispute, but no action has been taken against the culprit, but if ordinary people did that, they would have been behind bars by now.

"The deteriorating law and order situation in Sri Lanka is directly attributable to a section of the police force doing the dirty work of their political masters, in anticipation of promotions, perks and privileges. The only way out of this mess is to speedily establish an independent Police Commission and all other independent commissions as envisaged by the 17th amendment to the Constitution," he said.

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