“Get up + Vote – Our Country, Our Time”

Published : 10:00 am  August 10, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (460) reads | 

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A workshop titled “Get up + Vote – Our Country. Our Time”, a non partisan initiative organized by the Circle for Democracy in collaboration with Sri Lanka UNITES and TNL Radio will be hosted on August 9, Sunday, 2015 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute from 1.30 – 6.30 p.m. The workshop will be open for three hundred public participants and will provide a better insight into key elements such as the Disease of Corruption, the Economic and Social Cost, the Power of Our Vote, Democracy and the Rights enshrined in the Democracy, Youth Leadership etc., The event will facilitate an interactive and brain storming discussion followed by a concert featuring local bands at the conclusion of the workshop. For free registration, participants are requested to please log on to www.GetUpVote.com on or before August 7 since limited space is available.

vote4Addressing a media launch for the workshop on Tuesday, Ragi Kadirgamar, son of late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said that it was vital to raise awareness among the voting population about casting one’s vote wisely at the upcoming general elections. Mr. Kadirgamar said that people were in need of more information although many don’t have the access for it. He stressed that it was their duty to set a platform from which the public could gain more access to information.

“On January 8, we emerged out of a long era of conflict, fear, brutality and corruption. In a time of divisive and often corrupt politics, many voters in this country are disillusioned, and as a result, do not use their vote. I believe the vast majority of Sri Lankans are moderates, law abiding and want to live in peace and harmony.

Our aim is to try and inspire people to stand up and exercise the power of their vote on August 17 by showing them that there is a way for this country to move forward through electing members of Parliament that have certain qualities such as honesty, accountability and humility. We are electing the nation’s caretakers who will serve us for the next four years. We need to do so responsibly and wisely. If we vote for the wrong people, we can only blame ourselves. As a developing country, we are going through difficult times and we expect a lot from our politicians. It is the role of the public to continue reminding the politicians why they were elected by them in the first place” Mr. Kadirgamar said.

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Speaking at the event, Founder of Sri Lankan UNITES Prashan De Visser said their organization will also partner with the Circle for Democracy, representing the youth in the country and would encourage youths to show up at the polling stations. “We are a non-partisan youth movement for reconciliation and have already attracted a vast number of Lankan youths with reconciliation centres opened in Mullaitheevu, Kalmunai and Matara.

The Sri Lanka UNITES is committed to encourage youth to show up at polling stations at the forthcoming general elections. Unfortunately, the younger generation is also plagued with the same disease the older generation has already suffered with. They are overwhelmed by the extensive corruption witnessed in politics. When it comes to election, if we don’t vote for the right people, we will become whom we voted for. We could only blame ourselves if those whom we appointed were not playing a responsible role. We need our youth and politicians to be proactive, optimistic and engaged citizens for the betterment of the country” Mr. Visser said.

Co-Founder of The Sunday Leader Lal Wickramatunge also expressed similar views while stressing that politicians alone were not to be blamed for corruption but those who were financially supporting such cronies also must be brought before justice. “The freedom to vote has been extended to all of you, and it is your bounden duty to utilize it for the betterment of the country. I have seen politicians who have oppressed media, self censorship and so on. Media oppression was one of the foulest aspects we witnessed during the recent past and we cannot let this continue to prevail.  There are people even in the private sector who are backing corrupt politicians and they need to be weeded off” Mr. Wickramatunge added.  

He also said that once politicians are appointed, they should be held accountable for the role they play and constant public debate on the matter should take place as a positive reminder to politicians about the responsible role they play in society. “We witnessed a big change on January 8, and the need to take it forward is important. If you have a legislature full of people committed for one cause, we will realize our potential as a true nation” he said.

Pics by Samantha Perera

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