Sajith: No tamashas to mark president’s first year in office


No tamashas and carnivals will be held to mark President Maithripala Sirisena’s first year in office contrary to claims made by former minister and National Freedom Front leader MP Wimal Weerawansa, says Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa.

"Former Minister Weerawansa on his return to the country after a month long foreign junket has said that the government is getting ready to party for one week to mark the first anniversary of the hopper coup. The truth is that we have no plans to have tamashas, parties or carnival to celebrate the historic power shift from the Rajapaksa regime to Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government," the Minister told a public rally at the auditorium of the Ritigahayaya Maha Vidayalaya at Katuwana in Hambantota last Thursday during a ceremony to distribute housing loans among 852 families.

"Instead we are planning to launch a massive development drive covering 38,000 villages in 14,022 Grama Niladhari Divisions in 320 Divisional Secretariats in 25 districts in all nine provinces of the country during the week starting from Jan. 08. The development campaign starting from that week would continue throughout the year," the minister said.

He said that Jan. 08 marked a change of guard that put an end to casinos, ethanol, heroin, the abuse of children and women and killings. The power-shift had changed the direction this country was pushing towards a precipice. "We saved the country from corruption, frauds and misappropriation of public funds. Former Minister Weerawansa has distributed about 80 ministry vehicles among his friends. Today, there are no such misdeeds. I, as the minister, use my own private vehicle. Not only state vehicles, I have not taken official residence, salary or other privileges I am entitled to. In doing so I have set an example for my subordinates to follow," the minister said.

He said he had been backed by many people during the election campaign and he was grateful to them. "I never used public money to express my gratitude. For that purpose I used funds given to me by donors and wellwishers," Minister Premadasa added.

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