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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2702

No tie up with UNP: country should not fall from frying pan into fire – Somawansa Amarasinghe

Colombo, 18 September, ( In wide-ranging interview with Asian Tribune, Somawansa Amarasinghe, said that Mangala Samaraweera, the breakaway fragment of the SLFP, has ruined his future by joining the UNP. He said that the National Congress – a combination of UNP and Samaraweera’s two-man band -- was formed by the desperate UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to grab power. After failing 14 times Wickremesinghe is so desperate that he is prepared to sacrifice his party’s name, its symbol and all what it stood for in the past.Somawansa Amarasinghe: "I am 100% sure that UNP will not have the courage to put forward a no-confidence motion and therefore your question."Somawansa Amarasinghe: "I am 100% sure that UNP will not have the courage to put forward a no-confidence motion and therefore your question."

This statement has knocked on the head the rumours planted by the UNP in the media that the JVP is ready to tie with the UNP. This is the latest fiction floated by the pro-UNP media to boost the sagging fortunes of the UNP.

Here are the excerpts from the interview with Somawansa Amarasinghe:

Asian Tribune: What will be the JVP's position when the time comes for voting in the forthcoming budget?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: We have not taken any decision about Sri Lanka Government's new budget proposals. We will take the decision at the appropriate time. Of course there is strong criticism against the Government; however we have not up to now seen any of those proposals. Once we see the proposals we will take the decision.

Asian Tribune: What is your criticism against the Government?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: Rampant corruption. They have forgotten about the mandate they have received. The country is in crises and they have no solution and as far as now the Eastern Province is liberated and the security of the East can now be guaranteed and the elections for the local bodies as well as that of the Provincial Council in the East must be held without any delay.

So far Government has not come up with any development programs. They are talking about big big large scale projects, example such as highways and others. What is important is that the development must reach the village level. The village level development is important and the government must see that children go to school. The children and people in the village level should be given proper health service.

The Eastern Province is now 30 years behind the other provinces and the people in the East deserves more than what is given to them by the Government at present.

For the last so many years Prabakaran and his outfit - Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has denied education to the children in the East, also health care and development. So the people are handicapped. The Government has to come forward to rehabilitate those people in the east by taking meaningful measure which might encourage the people in Vanni to get rid of Prabakaran and the LTTE.

So there must be a crash development program in the east that might entice the people in Vanni. A thing of this measure will be the real meaning of liberation of the east.

Otherwise, LTTE would be able to convince the people that the Colombo Government is not taking any interest on the people in the North and East- the two provinces. Before this happens, actually before LTTE convince the people as LTTE is the liberator of the people in the two provinces – North and East, Government has to act speedily to counter the LTTE and their malicious propaganda, then only the people who are living in Vanni will leave the LTTE and join the people in the east and in those in the other provinces in the country thus isolating the LTTE and ultimately chase them out. Government must adopt appropriate measures to win over the people in Vanni, and then only LTTE could be defeated with the cooperation of the people and restore democracy.

Asian Tribune : I have to draw your attention again about the forthcoming budget proposal of the Government. Last time you put forward some of your proposals to the government to be included in the Government's budget. Are you going to do the same this time? Putting forward some JVP's proposals?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: Last time we forwarded our proposals, but the Government was not serious enough to consider them. But this time we are contemplating whether there anything good will come out of our proposals.

Asian Tribune: Are you planning to meet President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is also the Minister of Finance and other Government leaders before Government come forward to put up the budget proposals?

Somawansa Amarasinghe: We are going to watch very carefully and see whether this Government is going to do anything good to the people of this country from now onwards up to the time Government forwards its budget proposal. We will be also meticulously going through the budget proposals before we make any decisions to meet the Government leaders.

As you know the cost living is unbearable by the people of this country. Only two or three days ago the Statistic Department published their findings for the last two quarters of the year 2007.

According to those released statistics, there remains stagnation 36 % the difference between the rich and the poor for the past 25 years. That means the successive governments including the present one has failed to address this pressing and important issue.

The 04 % of the population of this country are the richest people. They are being benefited with the 20% income of this country. There is 40 % population below the poverty line. Unemployment is on the increase. In fact 35% of the Advance Level qualified youths are unemployed in the country. They are the worst affected in the country.

Nearly 20 % of the people are able to survive. They the ones called as Middle Class. Balance 36% is bordering at the poverty line and they face the danger of being pushed into those under the poverty line sooner or later.

Asian Tribune: We come to the subject of the present political situation in the country? What is your present stand?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: Our present stand is that we have already begun to organize people belongs to all strata into a National Front, independent of UNP and the present Government. I must point out this is our political measure, an organization which is alternative to UNP and the Government which would form the alternate Government in the country which will rebuild the country democratically, economically, politically and culturally.

Asian Tribune: There are rumors that JVP is to join the UNP to topple the present Government. Your comment?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: It is a blatant lie. There were no talks with the UNP at any time and there is nothing for us to discuss with the UNP.

Asian Tribune: What about Mr. Mangala Samaraweera's statement that JVP is about to join the National Congress which includes the UNP?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: There is no possibility for JVP to join any Congress. For what purpose was the so-called National Congress formed? It was formed to grab the power. The UNP the main partner on the National Congress wanted to grab power. They have lost so far 14 times. Now it is trying to change its appearance. But UNP will never come to power, that is why they are prepared to change the name of the party and the symbol of the party – Elephant. They will do anything to come to power.

Asian Tribune : About Mangla Samaraweera joining the UNP …?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: He says that he has formed a National Congress with the UNP. Before he had discussion with the UNP he invited us and we agreed to meet him. During the discussion we had with him we pointed out that by his affiliation with the UNP he is going to ruin his political future.

Asian Tribune: What is the position of the JVP in case the UNP brings in a no-confidence motion against the Government in the Parliament?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: We must see the content of the motion and its aims.

The most important question we wish to pose is this: What right has the UNP to propose a no confidence motion after having been defeated 14 times during the last few years?

The significant factor that contributed to the loss of confidence in the midst of the people of this country is UNP leader Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe's Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE leader Prabakaran, which almost divided the country.

I am 100% sure that UNP will not have the courage to put forward a no-confidence motion and therefore your question does not arise. We believe that the people of this country should not fall into fire from the frying pan.

But this government has to be repulsed and replaced by the national front which we planned to form and the national front would form a government in the future to rebuild and lead the people to safeguard the territorial integrity, sovereignty and achieve economic development and generate wealth by combining the private and state sector, and also equally distribute the wealth among all the people of the country. These are the minimum consideration of the Government we envisage to form.

Asian Tribune: Are you planning to agitate for holding of the Parliamentary elections soon?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: Why? What for? We are not going to demand for a parliamentary election immediately. Because we see that this government is taking actions about other problems. They are taking limited action against the LTTE. We are carefully monitoring Government’s fight against terrorism in this country.

Asian Tribune: What is your position about All Party Representative Committee set up to look into the ways and means of solving the national crisis in this country?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: We left the APRC because it did not take into consideration the mandate given by the people in the 2005 Presidential election.

What we believe is that according to the mandate given by the people, the APRC has no right to amend the existing constitution to a federal system. But you must understand they are of the candid opinion that the constitution amendment need to reflect a federal form. I don't understand that why they worry about the constitution of India.

Let us gather information from the constitutions from all the countries to draft a new constitution or try to safeguard the present one according to the aspirations of the people.

What we are trying to do is to resolve the national question of Sri Lanka. Therefore we will study all the other countries constitutions, compare the negative and positive aspects prevalent in those constitutions and draft our own one.

Any changes or an amendment to the constitution has to be done very carefully. The constitution should never be dabbled with unnecessarily as it is the supreme law of the land.

For an example the 13th amendment of the constitution was believed to be the solution to the national question. JVP right from the beginning of the introduction of the 13 amendment to the constitution opposed it. What is the position of the amendment now? It has clearly proved that the stand we took was correct beyond any doubt.

The national question confronting the country at present is the outcome of the inequalities among the different ethnic groups in the country. If we accept the fact that there are different ethnic groups in the country and there are inequalities amongst them and there cannot be a territorial solution. Only solutions can be reached by establishing equality and democracy.

Asian Tribune: How it is achieved?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe: The national question is now based only on the existence of inequalities. So we must try our best to get rid of the inequalities that is in the midst of the ethnic groups of this country.

Any step or any amendment to augment or exacerbate the inequalities will not solve the national question that confronts the country.

Asian Tribune: So, about the devolution of powers?

Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe We stand for the decentralization of the administration in the country. What is our position regarding the devolution of power?

Then another question arises – The devolution of power for whom?

By establishing the new centers of power we are not going to solve the problems facing the country. We must take into our consideration that more than 50% of the Tamil populations of this country are not living in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

So take an example- People in Wellawatte are doing well, but there is a language problem. But in fact Federalism or devolution is not going to solve this problem for them. The country's constitution says that Sinhala and Tamil languages are the official languages of this country. So to implement that article in the constitution, to that there must be enough translators in the police stations and in the government offices. This is very easy and can be achieved and can be achieved in a shortest period of time. Other existing inequalities can be solved in the similar manner. The government or the political parties has to identify those problems and then only correct the problems satisfactorily

It must be pointed out that when we launched our JVP in 1960s, our language policy is – All three languages, Sinhala, Tamil and English must treated equally and must be treated as the national languages and all the citizens must be able to learn or settle down in any part of the country. That must be guaranteed by the Constitution.

As far as JVP is concerned Sri Lanka is the homeland of all the citizens of this country.

- Asian Tribune -

Also Read:

1. Somawansa Amerasinghe: JVP is trying to form Capitalist Democratic Government with SLFP

2. Defeat the LTTE, Liberate the Tamils and simultaneously address their grievances - Somawansa Amarasinghe

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