Colombo : President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday vowed to fight against corruption which he said has an adverse impact on Sri Lanka’s economy as the country celebrated its 70th Independence Day. Britain’s Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, was the chief guest at the 70th Independence Day celebrations.
This is the first time that Queen Elizabeth’s son other than Prince Charles has visited Sri Lanka. Charles was the chief guest at the 50th Independence Day celebrations in 1998 and later made two separate trips to the island nation.
The ongoing local election campaign had its effect on the celebrations as Sirisena in his speech chose to deal with his anti-corruption drive in his address to the nation. Sirisena in the recent weeks has taken Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) to task while campaigning for the February 10 local council election. He has openly criticised the UNP for corruption, an allegation stemming mainly from the report of a probe he ordered on a scam connected to the issuance of bonds by the Sri Lanka Central Bank. Sirisena said “patriotism has a new definition which is financial discipline”, in an obvious reference to his local election campaign theme.
He said that corruption has become one of the main impediments to the progress towards prosperity, which is the aspiration of all citizens.
He said bribery, corruption, fraud and malpractices are having the most adverse impact on the economic independence of the country and all the politicians should fulfil their duties in an exemplary manner. The president said that there were adverse repercussions due to the implementation of personal agendas in development strategies.
“There is a requirement of a national movement against corruption in order to establish a clean political culture and such a collective movement must be mobilised with the participation of the intellectual community of the country,” he was quoted as saying by Colombo Gazette. He also paid tribute to the members of security forces who made immense sacrifices to defeat the LTTE.
He pointed out the need for communal harmony among the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher communities to build the nation.