more responsibilities requested for sf

Published : 9:08 am  April 28, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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Leading state TUs criticize move


By Thilanka Kanakarathna   
A move to appoint Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as the Army Commander or the Overall commander for two years, claiming to instill discipline in the country was highly criticized by several leading state trade unions including the GMOA, teachers’ unions and labour unions yesterday. 


“We were forced to go for an alliance with all trade unions with the government decision to appoint SF to discipline the country,” they said.   

The trade union alliance said the government had strengthened the TUs by moving their pawn SF to the battlefield which gave them more courage to get together and reverse the government policy on SAITM and other efforts to privatize state education.   

Addressing a media conference held in Colombo, GMOA Additional Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said the association had discussions with most of the key TUs in the country to work towards defeating what it called the government’s alleged double standards over private education institutions.   

“It is the government that powered TUs towards this major move. Authorities will witness a series of protests and several other trade union actions paralyzing the country’s entire spectrum. All trade unions have agreed unconditionally to support us to safeguard the country’s education,” he said.   

Expressing his views on the matter Lanka Teaching Services Association Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said the government was attempting to suppress the public voice by bringing Mr. Fonseka as the overall Tri- forces Commander, compelling them to take such stern action. He said the second biggest trade union action after 1980 will be held next week shutting down many state institutions including schools.   

“Fonseka was appointed to suppress the general public voice so the government could carry on with their own agenda. We will not let anybody to misuse the country or its resources by letting down the people,” he said.   

More than twenty unions including teachers’ and principals’ unions, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Unions collective, Transport, Electricity Board union have pledged their support on the series of protest to be carried out next week.  


‘No proposal to make SF army chief’


By Ajith Siriwardana  
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday President Maithripala Sirisena had neither proposed Field Marshal Minister Sarath Fonseka to take up the post of army commander or overall commander as reported in the media nor had Mr. Fonseka requested for such a post.  DM_20170428_A001-11

The Minister told a news conference that the President only asked whether Mr. Fonseka could help implement a mechanism to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential services for which Mr. Fonseka agreed.  

“It was discussed at length during the cabinet meeting about inconveniences caused to the people and the disruption of essential services due to the strike launched by trade unions without prior notice. It was said that the situation had arisen due to the overuse of freedom given by the government. The President said a special mechanism should be set up to provide essential services without any disruption. There were such mechanisms even during the war,” he said.  

He said there were no plans to suppress Trade Unions or Strike actions as reported in the media.  
The Minister said it was the responsibility of the government to provide essential services without any disruption and added Mr. Fonseka was asked to formulate a mechanism for that purpose.  

He said the idea was defined in various angles adding that there was no plan to offer him the army commander post or any other military post.  

“He is above the rank of army commander as the Field Marshal. He will help all the ministries as an experienced military head. We did not get his support for government matters adequately. This suggestion is to get his expert knowledge on certain matters. It’s a good move,” he said. 



SB says President was joking

By Chaturanga Pradeep  
Commenting on President Maithripala Sirisena’s ’s request for Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to take up the post of Army Commander or Overall Commander for two years, Social Empowerment and Welfare Minister S. B. Dissanayake said the President was not speaking seriously and was only joking about it.


Addressing the weekly Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) media briefing yesterday Minister Dissanayaka said the request for the appointment of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka for the post of Army Commander was not needed and it was not a serious appointment by the President.   

“I personally admire appointing Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka for the post. After we finished the 30 year civil war, there will be no serious situations except for protests.   

“If there is anything serious we will also get involved without doubt. There is no need of having special units. The appointment is fine to streamline the services of the Army,” Minister Dissanayaka said.  

Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday President Maithripala Sirisena had requested Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to quit the ministerial portfolio and take up the post of Army Commander or Overall Commander for two years to discipline the country.  

There he told that Field Marshal Fonseka was known as a well-disciplined personality in the country and that he would expedite investigations over several issues as well.  

He however said it needed creating Special Acts of Parliament to do so.   
But nothing can be done in the country even if there was a special unit. There is law at present in the country to establish such units, he said.   

“Otherwise the white-van culture should be taken up as the previous regime,” he said.  
However addressing the media, Minister Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa said the request should be treated as a serious matter.  
“Several underhand forces are operational to hinder the development of the country. For that there should be special forces to suppress them,” Minister Zoysa said.  

Accordingly, President’s thought it was a serious thing. The Government should be strong to protect the country.   
“The Government’s main responsibility is to protect the civilians,” the minister said. 
Pic by Pradeep Pathirana



Expect to fulfil President’s request: SF


By Lal S Kumara   DM_20170428_A001-18
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who had been offered a position with the responsibility to execute essential services in case they were disrupted, said yesterday that he expected to fulfil the request made by the President. 


Speaking to journalists at a New Year Festival held in Kelaniya, the minister said President Maithripala Sirisena instructed him to take responsibility in carrying out essential services when they were disrupted.  
“The President made the request at the last Cabinet meeting and it was approved. I told at that moment a discussion is needed to draft a mechanism to implement this programme. I realize the intentions of the President and expect to fulfil them. I will put the country first,” he said.   

At the Cabinet meeting, the President had asked the Minister if he was ready to take over the army to which Minister Fonseka had said ‘No.’ He had again rejected when he was offered a post of a ‘security division head’ by the President.   
“It is only then that the President invited me to take over the responsibility of carrying out duties when essential services were disrupted,” Minister Fonseka said.   

He also said trade unions should focus on the welfare of members without being henchmen of political elements with vested interests.   
“The government will never suppress the rights of trade unions. We will carry out our responsibilities while protecting the country’s democratic nature. We will not go for a military rule. There is no need to do so. There was such an administration in the past but we won’t do such things,” he said.