It is three months since the tsunami and the regrettable truth is that the government has failed to deliver the goods. A further cause for concern is that the details of funds received and how such funds have been spent are shrouded in secrecy. Parliament must be informed of all details of funds received and how such funds have been spent, said Professor G. L. Peiris when he addressed a media briefing at the office of the Leader of the Opposition yesterday.
Yet another factor is that the President has stated that Sri Lanka did not receive any funds while the Central Bank officially has published the amount of tsunami funds received as Rs. 9,000 million plus and has said that of this sum Rs. 1,301 million was received through the Bank of Ceylon and Peoples Bank.
Further, Minister Mangala Samaraweera has stated that Rs. 7.3 million Euros was received from the Italian government and only 70 per cent of aid pledged by the government of Japan was received. Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. P. B. Jayasundera has confirmed the receipt of US$ 700 million despite the claim of the President that nothing was received, he said.
The part played by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is entirely difficult. He visited this United Kingdom to express his gratitude for the magnitude of the assistance received which he said bad overwhelmed him. However no sooner the President said that nothing was received. He too changed his views and said that `not a penny had been received`. He further said that only toy teddy bear were received in containers and those were of no use. This is a most insensitive statement to make. Does he not realise the emotional satisfaction a child who has been subject to the trauma of losing one or both of his parents will receive by embracing a toy teddy bear. Further the funds received did not come only from the various governments. People also contributed out of their goodness. How will they feel when statements like these over media, queried Professor Peiris.
The maiden budget of the UPFA contained a host of proposals which the government is unable implement due to lack of funds. In addition the tsunami victims are being neglected and people burdened in an unprecedented manner. The President has proposed a referendum at a cost of Rs. 1000 million, a selfish and irresponsible decision to say the least.
Prices have gone sky high and the law and order situation is much were today than that it was then. Not only has the government failed the tsunami victims they have also failed everybody else.
On April 5th UNP will commence its protest campaign at a mass protest at the Lipton Circus. Between April 6 and 11 there will be 50 protest campaigns in every district. The final programme will be a mass protest march from the South to Colombo.