President Maithripala Sirisena said the largely attended and successful May Day rally at Gatambe in Kandy has given a boost to the victorious forward march of the SLFP-led leftist progressive forces in the country. He vowed to transform the SLFP into a pure, corrupt-free, progressive and democratic political force that could emerge victorious. He pointed out that the SLFP was burdened with corruption and malpractices and faced electoral defeats in 2015.
“You placed your trust in me as the President of the SLFP. The people placed their trust in me as the common candidate at the Presidential Election in 2015’’.
I did not take the chairmanship of the SLFP by force. The central committee of the party invited me. “In the last two years, I succeeded in gradually transforming it to a pure democratic party and I thank the senior leaders who extended support to me in this endeavour”.
He said that as the trade union leaders pointed out the working class received many benefits and privileges during the last two years and added that the SLFP is a political party that always listen to the genuine demands of the workers as a party that represents the working class of the this country. “The SLFP policy is to strengthen indigenous producers, workers, peasants, fishermen and other sections of the working class,” he said.
“Today the word labourer is not used. Instead, we call the skilled workers. Today the skilled workforce is an important asset of any developed country,” he said. The government is fully aware of the importance of the people who serve the nation with their labour and is fully committed to ensure their welfare, he said.
Emphasizing the need for communal amity and harmony, President Sirisena said “We cannot build a peaceful country by suppressing other communities.If somebody thinks about his own community, forgetting the other communities, this country cannot be built as a prosperous and peaceful country. How much of our unique Sri Lankan feeling was beautifully displayed in the 1940s when we fought for independence? Our Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders fought against the British rule and won the freedom with unity with each other. But after that they separated for power”.
He pointed out that intelligence, knowledge, ability, creativity and skilled workforce needed to develop a country and stated that “our country has all these elements which needed to develop a country.”
Even though some section of the society blamed that the politicians and the political parties are using the May Day, I believe that the workers and the politicians are not two separate entities,and always the politicians should listen to the voices of the working class.
“Today, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s Youth Front could fulfill its duties and responsibilities in an independent and free environment,” he said and added that there are no ‘princes’ or ‘madams’ and all are equal.
The Government has declared as a policy to introduce 84 days of maternity leave which is currently given to public servants should also be extended to the private sector as well as female shop employees, the President said.
Minister DrSarathAmunugamapresented the ‘Economic Policies’ of the government at the rally. He said the government is totally committed to protect, preserve, strengthen and sustain local agriculture, strengthen local industries, minimize the import of products that could be locally produced and ensure knowledge based, innovative economy and sustainable development. He thanked President Sirisena for the efforts taken to reduce poverty by declaring 2017 as the Year of Alleviation of Poverty and implementing programmes to ensure every citizen is a stakeholder of the economy by opening new opportunities to all.
Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa presented the Environment Policy and two other policies were presented by Ministers Susil Premajayantha and S B Disanayake. President of the SLFP Youth Organization, Shantha Bandara presented the youth policy. The policy with regard to women was presented by Ms Sumedha Jayasena. All of them were unanimously approved.