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Opportunity Given To Start With A Positive Note - Ravi K (Interview with The Sunday Leader)

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11111InterviewThe government is faced with many criticisms over the investigations into corruption allegations and the economic framework. In an interview withThe Sunday LeaderMinister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said the budget 2016 will be a prosperous one and therefore urged the people to stay positive without being speculative. He stressed on the need to carry out a positive message to the country in order to stop people from ‘cursing the darkness’ as the opportunity is now given to start with a positive note. Karunanayake further added that people need to stop going on a voyage of discovery – instead see with new eyes. According to him, the country was going down a byroad whereas the new government has brought it into an expressway – and people need to buckle down to move forward. 

Following are excerpts of the interview:-

Q: What can the people expect from the budget this time?

A:  All I could basically say is that it is a very prospective budget and people can look forward to the future. They can move forward and catch up with the lost time of the country.  People can finally say that the country is on the move again.

Q: Ahead of the budget, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presented an interim economic framework. What was the need for it?

A: Well, the Prime Minister has to give a picture of what lies ahead of the country and where we stand as we move forward. That is a general overview of the country’s prosperous future. And now it will be detailed and presented.

Q: JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake has criticized the economic framework of the government stating that the former government relied on people like James Packer and the present government is inviting people like George Soros to rally the country’s economy behind black money. How would you respond to that?

A: Ask Anura Kumara Dissanayake if we should rely on people like Che Guevara for investments! He asks one sided questions and we are on the other side. What is for us to do? Does he expect us to work with people like Che Guevara? Ask him to drop names and be realistic. They are in the opposition and they can afford to talk anything. We cannot run the economy like that. We will definitely facilitate a strong local domestic industry without letting anybody dictate. It is completely for the benefit of our people in this country.

Q: Currently, there seems to be a lot of tension within the government. People observed a major split in the government especially in the matter related to the Avant Garde case. People wonder if this will lead to dissolving parliament before the end of its term. Should the people get ready for dissolution of parliament?

A:  What nonsense? We are a two third majority government. Basically, those who ask this question are also absolutely naive. We managed to get rid of a corrupt regime and we are now in power with two third majority government. Any government faces various cracks and has differences of opinion in the settling down process. But we will overcome those and go forward.

Q: Minister Lakshman Kiriella has recently urged the public not to be misled by what they see taking place in parliament on television. Does this mean that the government is alarmed about the heavy criticism directed at the government in parliament?

A: No, it is not the case. First of all it was the government who opened the gate for media to telecast the parliamentary proceedings. Earlier those were more or less closed door discussions. There was a dictatorship. But now we have opened it to media to telecast the proceedings aligning with our principle of democracy.  So we want people not to be hysterical.

Q: Recently in parliament, the JVP also mentioned about a ‘Black Book’ compiled by Minister Mangala Samaraweera and stressed on the need to table it in parliament. Is the government taking steps towards tabling it in parliament?

A: You have to ask that from Minister Samaraweera. We have put out everything that is there. Being in the opposition, they have to ask some questions. Ask them to look at the progress of the work we do. Thereafter they can see the amount of work we have delivered oppose to their speeches that are mere rhetoric.  Before too long they can see the difference.

Q: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that Thilak Marapana was asked to resign from his post for speaking the truth with reference on the Avant Garde case. Could that be true?

A: What is the truth? The truth is that Rajapaksa put the country into a tailspin with corrupt, one-sided, self-centred and family oriented business. We have basically opened them up and put an end to the corrupt regime. He is basically trying to fan the fire and add fuel to the fire.  As for us the Avant Garde operation was corrupt which is now corrected. The investigations will proceed duly under the government.

Q: Despite certain measures taken by the government to release some Tamil political prisoners on bail, the prisoners have resumed the fast calling upon the government to release all of them under an amnesty. How do you expect to find a solution to this issue?

A: If they are not happy with what is being given to them, then let them be. As far as we are concerned we are dealing with the issue in a democratic way. Just because they shout and make a noise, it will not make any difference to the decisions we make democratically. The country’s law is applicable to everybody. If there is a miscarriage of justice, it needs to be corrected but it will not be determined by some detainees who are making demands to the government. People should be positive without being speculative. We need to carry out a positive message to the country and stop people from cursing the darkness. There is now opportunity created to start with a positive note. People need to stop going on a voyage of discovery and need to start seeing with new eyes. People were going down a byroad whereas the new government has brought them into an expressway. People need to now move forward.