President’s hands tied by vested interests, says GMOA



by Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday said the President would have been unable to issue a statement on the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) because there were sinister forces within the government, preventing him from doing so.

 GMOA Secretary, Dr Haritha Aluthge told The Island, the statement which the President was to make on the issue would have definitely revealed the government’s stand on SAITM. Such a statement could not be made without revealing the stand taken by the government. However, it was apparent that the government was stuck without a solution for the burning issue.

 There were representatives from several other organisations and groups at the meeting with the President that day. Representatives of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), Ministries of Higher Education and Health, University Grants Commission (UGC), Deans and teachers of state-run universities and parents organisations had also been present at the discussion, Dr. Aluthge said. The GMOA in collaboration with the People’s Movement Against SAITM had also written to the President to clarify the alleged misrepresentation regarding the issue, he added.

The GMOA Secretary said that according to reports the President had appointed a Committee Chaired by Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development, Dr Harsha de Silva to look into the proposals submitted by the Deans of the eight state medical faculties last month and submit a report within approximately 10 days to him (the President).

 However, it would have been better if the Committee was chaired by an intellectual who was not a politician, Dr. Aluthge said.

Dr. De Silva, contacted for comment, confirmed that such a committee had been appointed with him as the head.

The other members included Secretaries to the Ministries of Higher Education and Health, Chairman of the University Grants Commission and the Attorney General’s Department, he said.

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