Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 1 January 2012





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Government Gazette

Sri Lanka’s achievements, a pride to all

Another New Year dawned last night, providing us an opportunity to take stock of our achievements and failures during 2011 and face the challenges ahead.

It is customary for people to look forward to the New Year with fresh hopes, expectations and goals in life for a better tomorrow.

Nevertheless, unfulfilled expectations and aspirations would invariably compel some of us to dismiss such yearnings with scepticism and cynicism.

The New Year is a time for introspection and resolution. Sri Lanka could be proud of its splendid achievements during the past six years, each having its own unique milestones.

Reminiscing the past years, 2006 would certainly go down in the annals of Sri Lanka’s history as the year Sri Lanka launched the worlds greatest human rescue operation to end three decades of misery due to terrorism. The red letter day in Sri Lanka’s history was achieved in 2009. Year 2011 will go down in history as the year in which Sri Lanka launched its first ever super highway, opening a new chapter in the country’s infrastructure development. We fervently wish the New Year would usher in the dream of building a new Sri Lanka through national reconciliation and unity among all communities would be a reality. Over the years, it has been customary to extend New Year greetings. However, the time has now come for us to ponder seriously whether these greetings are limited to mere words. In the New Year, people across the globe would wish one another happiness, peace and prosperity.

Whatever said and done, we could transform these wishes into a reality by living in amity with one another and respecting each other’s beliefs, customs and traditions. Such a mindset is particularly important to all of us in Sri Lanka as we stand together as one nation after three decades of terror which had plagued the country.

Just six years ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was entrusted with the gigantic task of taking Sri Lanka to new heights. It was during January 2007 that the LTTE triggered a series of explosions in buses to cripple day-to-day public life and uncertainty was the order of the day. Today, we are proud of the manner in which the President has transformed the country - from a terrorism-hit nation with an uncertain future to one of the most peaceful countries marching triumphantly towards new economic horizons.

Most people were convinced that President Rajapaksa was the only leader who could usher in peace and this was manifest when the country was liberated from the jaws of LTTE terror on May 18, 2009 due to his inspiring political leadership and the immense sacrifices on the part of the Security Forces.

The path to peace and vanquishing terrorism was an uphill task. Perhaps, peace at any cost would not have been that difficult and easily achievable. But this honourable peace was achieved due to the supreme efforts of Sri Lanka’s valiant Security Forces and the Presidents unmatched political sagacity.

The peace, one and all enjoy today is not a kind of peace which was a defeat to one party or a victory for another. It was an honourable peace, acceptable to all communities in the country and a peace that received the mandate of a majority of political parties.

Its now time for national reconciliation and all communities should unite to develop our resplendent isle and make it the Wonder of Asia. We are confident that everybody would fulfil this aim and build unity, peace and prosperity among the people to live as one family and one nation.

As we celebrate the New Year with our loved ones, we should spare a thought for the thousands of Security Forces personnel on duty ensuring national security. Unlike most of us, these guardian angels do not have an opportunity to celebrate the New Year with their kith and kin.

They spend sleepless nights in bunkers, keeping a vigilant eye at all times to ensure a safer tomorrow. Hence, our New Year thoughts should be with those courageous men. We enjoy this freedom today due to their indomitable courage, dedication and sacrifice. They are indeed the true heroes who continue to protect us in the New Year too.

Terrorism which destroyed community life and crippled the economy over the past three decades is now a thing of the past. Some countries which encouraged terrorism are now filled with remorse for doing so while Sri Lanka at the time battled the overwhelming odds to crush terrorism. People the world over are keen to wipe out the scourge of terrorism and foster lasting peace that would enable all nations to live in harmony.

In this era of globalisation, the international community yearns to dispel war and live in peace and harmony. There should be a spirit of co-existence and national reconciliation. The report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has given food for thought. The Government has made a sincere effort to create a just society where people can live sans fear and suspicion.

It is heartening to note that the Government has taken all steps to have a more fruitful dialogue among all communities in Sri Lanka and the leaders of political parties to make the reconciliation process a resounding success. The so-called peace agents of NGOs with vested interests should not be permitted to harm Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

People from all walks of life look forward to the New Year eagerly with great expectations to give a better meaning to Sri Lanka’s hard-earned peace. The Government has a big responsibility to fulfil the aspirations and develop the country by making the optimum use of the prevailing peaceful atmosphere.

Sri Lanka could undoubtedly take another giant leap forward this year in its successful forward march as one of the fast developing countries. Sri Lanka has shown a commendable economic growth since terrorism was wiped out and the positive trend could improve further, affording a better lifestyle and a secure future for all Sri Lankans.

No outside force could deter Sri Lanka from becoming a developed nation in the near future, if the ongoing efforts of national reconciliation are in place and all Sri Lankans unite as one nation.


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