Prez urged to formulate national policy on bilateral agreements

by Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) on Thursday appealed to President, Maithripala Sirisena to take the lead in formulating a national policy on bilateral Agreements.

In a letter to the President, signed by GMOA President, Dr Anurudda Padeniya and its Secretary Dr Nalinda Herath, the union warned it would boycott all meetings held regarding the Indo- Lanka Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) unless the government stopped making contradictory statements thereon.

The letter has stressed that the government should refrain from carrying out verbal attacks on trade unions.

The GMOA President and Secretary have recalled the unsuccessful bilateral agreements entered into by governments of the past. In the end there had been no one to take the responsibility for signing them, for advising or for drawing up the framework for those agreements, the doctors have pointed out. The people and the unborn children of this country will have to pay the debts incurred due to such agreements, they have said.

Brickbats were being thrown at the union and its members for voicing their democratic opinions in that regard. The GMOA had held several discussions with the Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrema. The draft copies of the agreements which were put up on the GMOA website were those given by him. But Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe had said that those were false documents and accused the union of carrying out the political agenda of the Rajapaksa Government, the GMOA leaders have pointed out.

Meanwhile, the GMOA Secretary said that the union had met the President and the Prime Minister and the Minister on one occasion with each to discuss their apprehension on a bilateral trade agreement with India without a national policy. The Union Ex-Co had also held discussions three to four times with Minister Samarawickrema on the matter.

GMOA Spokesman, Dr Naveen Zoysa accused the government of promoting a few doctors who had been rejected by their fraternity.

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