UNP Presidential Candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he would revise every agreement including the Norochcholai power project entered into by the government after August 25. This was the date when the Supreme Court ruled that a Presidential Election should be held this year.
Speaking for more than two hours at the Organization of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka Mr. Wickremesinge stressed that any mandate given to him by the people was not only to talk to the LTTE but also with the SLFP and JVP. He pointed out that as the President he could only take forward the peace process and would eventually need the support of other parties to find a permanent solution acceptable to all.
Introducing the concept behind a Power and Energy Act Mr. Wickremesinghe vowed that every aspect of energy including supply, conservation and energy security would be addressed. ?The escalating demand on oil and cement is heavily felt on the developing world. So we will be looking at alternative energy sources but there is no such thing as cheap power. If we believe in that we will be just fooling ourselves.?
He said while the formation of alliances was normal in politics the present grouping of parties was worrying him as it had the tendency to ?polarize society to an extent that no middle ground would be available even after the election.? He insisted the modified Executive Presidency would be formulated with the President not holding any Ministries and not being called Excellency.
Mr. Wickremesinghe admitted that he would need to enter into a pact with the SLFP and if that succeeded ?a fairly large cabinet would be formed.? ?It is a question of ?30 more battalions or 30 more Ministries. I think the latter is cheaper,? he said.He insisted there were several regulations that needed to be moved out of the statutory law and the machinery had to be formulated to implement it.
?I can fight corruption with the current laws if the people wish so but don`t blame me if no one is caught. The people seem to have lost confidence in the law and order and to me that is a greater issue than the economy or the peace process.?
Describing all allegations regarding the Millennium City incident as ?nonsense?, Mr. Wickremesinghe explained how no names of intelligence personnel were released to anyone and how Lt. Nilam was safe in a foreign country.
?Major Muthalif was killed due to the lapse in our security network. It was not connected to the Millennium City episode. We certainly did our job. There is no problem with the ceasefire agreement. The fault lies in its implementation,? he said.
Outlining his defence objectives that would remain for at least the next decade, Mr. Wickremesinghe insisted that combined command was essential. ?Objections to earlier attempts to introduce such policies came from within the forces and not from outside,? he said.