House fetes cricketers
yet another significant milestone in the history of country's
legislature, Parliament on Wednesday paid tribute to T-20 World Cup
winning Sri Lanka Cricket team for its exceptional accomplishment which
brought pride and international fame to the country.
The vote of appreciation to felicitate the cricket team moved by
Leader of the House and Irrigation and Water Resources Management
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was seconded by Chief Opposition Whip
Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody who welcomed the team at the
visitor's entrance escorted them to the Speaker's Guest Gallery.
As a significant gesture, both the Government and the Opposition
members joined hands to extend their warm wishes to the Sri Lanka
Cricket team during the hour-long debate. This was the first time in
Parliament history that the national cricket team was invited to
Parliament and feted them for their landmark T-20 World Cup victory. At
the end of the debate, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa hosted a tea party for
the cricketers where the parliamentarians and cricketers exchanged
pleasantries and posed for photographs.
The Government and the Opposition members who joined the vote of
appreciation commended the firm dedication and sacrifice by our cricket
team to bring international fame to Sri Lanka after 18 years when Sri
Lanka won the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva
who moved the motion told the House that this victory is memorable as to
pave the way to further strengthen the strong bond and unity of the Sri
Lankan nation as one family casting aside ethnic, religious and other
differences. The players have brought honour to their motherland by
courageously overcoming the challenges they faced. The Minister
commented the decision by the Speaker to pay tribute of the House to our
DNA parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake said when attempts are
being made to divide people colours and religion wise, our cricket team
brought victory to the country for all Sri Lankans to celebrate with
pride irrespective of petty differences. The achievement by our team has
given the strong signal that a country can achieve victory if there is
unity. The example set by the cricketers is applicable to politics too,
Dissanayake commended the significant role played by Kumar Sangakkara
and Mahela Jayawardene in bringing victory to the motherland. He
described this victory as a result of the dedication and team work of
our cricketers. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the
felicitation of our cricket team marked a significant day of
Parliament's history. We should honour our cricket team for its landmark
victory achieved against a powerful cricket-playing nation such as India
specially under a leader like President Mahinda Rajapaksa who loves
DNA parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga hailed Dinesh Chandimal's
decision to step down from the captaincy in favour of Lasith Malinga was
the need of the hour. Ranatunga said this decision by Chandimal is a
perfect example for posterity. When certain powerful cricketing nations
are ganging up to marginalise smaller cricket playing countries, the
victory achieved by the Sri Lankan cricket team has given a strong
message to the world. Deputy Posts Minister Sanath Jayasuriya said that
the Sri Lankans over the past 18 years had been anxiously waiting for
the cricket world cup by our team. The immense sacrifices by our
cricketers have made people's dream come true. After the Government and
Opposition parliamentarians spoke the Vote of Appreciation was adopted.
The current economic situation turned into a hot topic in the House
during Wednesday's debate on a few bills introduced under the Excise
Ordinance. Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjith
Siyambalapitiya who commenced the debate on behalf of the Government
explained with statistics the significant economic growth achieved last
year under the Mahinda Chintana. The Minister explained how Sri Lanka
achieved 7.3 percent economic growth last year and also the significant
growth in agriculture, industries and service sectors.
He said the sound economic policies adopted by the Government have
brought down inflation to a single digit for the fifth consecutive year.
Minister Siyambalapitiya said that the economic policies implemented
under Mahinda Chintana last year had produced tangible benefits to the
UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake queried as to why people are still suffering
if this kind of economic growth has been achieved. He said that the
contribution by the agriculture sector had declined. He said the economy
has faced a series of problems and the debt burden too had gone up
rapidly. Karunanayake said the peace dividends have not been passed on
to the people. He stressed the need to create a national economy
irrespective of party affiliations. Ports and Highways Project Minister
Rohitha Abeygunawardena was very critical of the remarks by Karunanayake.
The Minister queried as to what the people had gained during the 17
years rule of the UNP? When the SLFP handed over the rein of the
Government to J.R. Jayewardene in 1977, there was no terrorist war or an
economic crisis in the country. The UNP was responsible for the
terrorist war in Sri Lanka. The unfortunate incidents such as the 1983
Black July brought about an unstable situation in the country, he said.
Minister Abeygunawardena said there was no proper systematic economic
policy during the UNP regime. Nothing substantial was done to develop
the country from 1994 to 2001. He recollected as to how the former Ranil
Wickremesinghe government attempted to destabilise the country from 2001
to 2004 by signing an MoU with LTTE terrorists. He also briefed the
House on what the incumbent Government had done for the country and its
people over the past nine years.
The Government under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa
eradicated the three decades old terrorism from Sri Lanka's soil. The
Government has launched massive infrastructure development in the
country. The Minister said that the President has made a significant
transformation within the country over the past nine years. If the
economy has collapsed as claimed by the UNP, will the people vote this
Government in this unprecedented manner, he asked.
Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody had to abruptly adjourn
Parliamentary sittings on Thursday due to lack of a quorum in the House.
The Deputy Speaker adjourn the House till April 24.