Sri Lanka’s ruling United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe defended the new appointments in his party following concerns raised within the party.
In a statement, the Prime Minister and UNP leader said that many of the younger members of the team have involved in driving the process of organizing the United National Party forward to enhance the day to day functions of the Party.
As such, he says a number of appointments were made and mmong those who have come forward to take on responsibilities for the party are Nawin Dissanayake who was appointed as the National Organiser of the Party, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam who was appointed as General Secretary, Harin Fernando, who was appointed as head of mass-communication campaigns, Harsha de Silva who appointed as Treasurer and Ajith P. Perera who was appointed as Trade Union Secretary.
Wickremesinghe said the new energy and approach that they bring will undoubtedly pave a strong way forward, together with the Deputy Leader and the Assistant Leader and with their commitment and untiring efforts, there can be no doubt that the party will progress.
“We intend to allocate new responsibilities to the Deputy Leader in order to further strengthen our journey to victory so as to drive the process of organizing the party towards the success. We also intend to create new posts by appointing a Secretary and Assistant Secretary to further strengthen and organize the party. We hope to give more opportunities to young Members of Parliament to help drive forward the party’s mission. We are aiming to give specific responsibilities to each of the Members of Parliament and with this in mind we are developing an initial procedure to do this,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the UNP supporters, who have faithfully backed the United National Party, even through the most difficult of times, must be given high priority. He said that there remain a number of unresolved issues with the UNP supporters that must be addressed. Furthermore, he says there are cases where justice has not yet been served where UNP supporters have faced injustice and he pledged that appropriate and immediate action will be taken regarding all these issues.
“You may ask why we have taken action to re-organize the party following the local Government elections. The United National Party is a party that listens its supporters and the people. We are a party that considers people’s opinions, attitudes and responses. We have accurately read and identified the message given to us by the people in the last Local Government elections and we are acting to implement the necessary changes. In order to achieve this we have made use of several Committee reports. The reports were reviewed by a committee that was elected by Members of Parliament, and following discussions, recommendations were presented at the working committee meeting held recently,” he said.
Wickremesinghe also said that by reorganizing the party at the wish of the people the UNP has demonstrated that the United National Party is the only political party that is flexible and people focused.
“There are people who have criticised our re-organization, and there are those who have made light of this process. But none of them worked towards bringing our party to victory during the last local election. In fact some of them actively worked against us. Some of them had the hidden objective of destroying the Party. However, we should not worry about their agenda. What we must instead focus on is taking the necessary action to strengthen the party with increased commitment,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said that discussions and convention have always been the means of resolving the problems in the UNP.
“Where possible, we always work to come to a common agreement on any issue, whether this involves the working committee or our Members of Parliament. It is the proud tradition of the United National Party to respect all views, even controversial views, until a final common decision has been made. It is the duty of the true supporter to understand these traditions and to preserve them,” he said.
He also said that the process of reform and reorganization does not end with this and the UNP has taken a policy decision to implement the suggestions mentioned in the Ruwan Wijewardhane Committee report. He says the UNP will take action to bring relevant constitutional amendments as well.
Accordingly, he says the UNP will elevate more new faces to the level of the leadership and to bring in young blood to strengthen the party further, adding that the group of Members of Parliament, the working committee together with the newly appointed officers will implement the plans with the utmost commitment and effort. (Colombo Gazette)