“JVP speakers have been trying to mislead voters by saying that there was no point in voting for the UPFA because Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa could lose his civic rights. The public should be vigilant about such falsehoods being propagated by bankrupt politicians. Firstly, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa did not give money to the LTTE. On the contrary, it was he who defeated the LTTE. It was President Ranasinghe Premadasa who gave money and weapons to the terrorists. Secondly, no Presidential Commission has recommended that Mr Rajapaksa be deprived of his civic rights. Thirdly a Presidential Commission of Inquiry cannot deprive anybody of his civic rights unless parliament passes a resolution to that effect with a two thirds majority,” Rajapaksa’s office said in a statement. The JVP leader also said that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s wife Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa had spent Rs. 35 million from the Siriliya Saviya charity run by her to buy a house. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied giving money to the LTTE adding that on the contrary it was he who defeated the LTTE.The former President’s office said that JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had said at an election rally that President Maithripala Sirisena had told him that if a Presidential Commission of Inquiry finds former President Rajapaksa guilty of having given money to the LTTE, he could be deprived of his civic rights. “In an earlier press release, we have pointed out that Mrs Shiranthi Rakapaksa had bought a property in Colombo 5 on a loan. This loan appears in former President Rajapaksa’s assets and liabilities declaration as a liability. Siriliya Saviya money was not used to buy this property. Like other families, the Rajapaksa family also has assets as well as liabilities,” the statement said.The former President’s office said that the JVP, which is spreading these falsehoods, is responsible for causing the deaths of around 70,000 youths and causing damage to property amounting to around Rs. 20 billion. (Colombo Gazette)
“Global policies, programmes and strategies remain unfairly unaccommodating to these very real and true challenges,” criticized Mr. Chastanet, who was among several leaders from Caribbean island nations to address the Assembly’s annual general debate.Indeed, Saint Lucia remains “economically vulnerable to de-risking and the loss of correspondent banking relations,” he explained, referring to the practice by global financial institutions of terminating or restricting business relationships with remittance companies and smaller local banks in certain regions of the world.Small islands and middle-income countries often could not get concessionary finance and their reputations are unfairly tarnished by tax labels.“We continue to struggle under the weight of international frameworks that do not provide an enabling environment for my country to chart an effective sustainable development path, or even to be able to take control of our own destiny,” he continued.He stressed that even with the odds stacked against them, small island developing states and middle-income countries must find innovative new ways to grow their economies while ensuring environmental and social protections.In preparing for the current hurricane season, he explained that because Saint Lucia had to spend three times as much money than it did last season, it imposed a water tax to assist with desilting its dam, a gas tax for road rehabilitation and an airport tax for a new terminal, highway and flood mitigation around the airport.“I cannot delay or ignore critical infrastructure projects, therefore have no choice but to increase my debt burden, I cannot leave my country and its citizens exposed,” he spelled out.“As I speak my country is suffering from the ravages of Kirk, which was on a projected course north of Saint Lucia but changed direction overnight and moved directly over our island,” he said. “This morning Saint Lucia also suffered from an earthquake.”He said that Barbados has also been impacted and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines now lie in the storm’s path – while Dominica, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are still recovering, one year later.He concluded by sharing his hope that as multilateralism evolves, “we arrive at… doing what must be done.”Full statement available here.