Saying it was a `national responsibility` to ensure former President Chandrika Kumaratunga security after she steps down from office, the Public Security and Law and Order Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake has called for among others for a 138-strong police contingent and a 50-member commando unit to guard Kumaratunga.
Wickremanayake`s cabinet memorandum of Oct. 31 also called for the allocation of No. 27, Independence Avenue, Colombo 7 to Kumaratunga `since she needs to reside in a house where adequate security can be provided, and to execute repairs thereto in order to ensure security measures.`
Kumaratunga, however, in another cabinet paper had said these premises are meat for her office. There have been reports that she plans to move in to Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar`s official residence, but Mrs. Kadirgamar is still there.
Wickramanayake`s memorandum also called for the allocation of Acland Building in Slave Island, at present occupied by officials of the Presidential Security Division, to be utilized as an office and quarters by the police and army officers who will be attached to the former president`s security division.
He had also asked that all allowances currently paid to this security division be continued and that officers in this unit be paid all other allowances that may be approved in the future for police and army officer.
`It is the national responsibility to provide security to Her Excellency the President even after she steps down as President. I therefore, seek the approval of the cabinet of ministers to provide the services and facilities enumerated....and to obtain financial provisions necessary for the purpose,` Wickremanayake said in his paper.
Vehicles sought for the former president include 4 bullet proof cars, 2 VIP jeeps, 3 VIP cars, 7 jeeps and 2 vans, 1 bus and 18 motor cycles.
In a cabinet memorandum submitted by her, President Kumaratunga had said that under the Presidents` Entitlement Act No. 4 of 1986 she was entitled to official and personal staff.
She had selected No. 27, Independence Mawatha, Colombo 7 for her office after retirement and said: `considering the meaningful role that I propose to play in the public affairs of the country on retirement,` sought a total of 63 staff, including the secretary to the former president and chief of staff, two advisors on political affairs and international affairs, one social affairs advisor, one additional secretary, two private and confidential secretaries, a director of foreign relations and special projects and a host of other officials. She will also want an information officer, cameraman, video cameraman, garden specialist, two garden labourers, five butlers, a cook and five karyala karya sevakas.