Left PA government because Kumaratunga was bent on war - Minister

[TamilNet, Sunday, 27 October 2002, 17:10 GMT]
“Prof. G.L Pieris, Mr. S. B Dissanayaka and I left People’s Alliance government last year because President Chandrika Kumaratunga was bent on war and detested peace. We could have been ministers in the PA government until 2005. But had we remained in the PA regime for the full term of the Parliament elected in 2000, war would have continued in this country. It is in this context that we left the PA and helped form a new government. The war came to an end because of this government,” said Sri Lanka’s Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Mr. Mahinda Wijesekera.

The Minister was addressing a meeting after opening a housing scheme for fishermen in Pesalai in Mannar Sunday.

However, the minister cautioned that a permanent peace is yet to be achieved.

“We are able to visit places like Pesalai because there is no war now. Mr. Pirapaharan and Mr. Wickremesinghel have laid the foundation for a permanent peace. If there were permanent peace Pesalai would certainly become the main fisheries centre ofSri Lanka,” he said.

Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, Tamil National Alliance MP talking to displaced people at Pesalai refugee camp (library photo).
Minister Mahinda Wijesekera visited Mannar Sunday and had discussions with the fishing community in Pesalai and Talaimannar. He addressed a meeting in Pesalai after opening the Victory 100 Houses Scheme for Fishermen.

Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, Tamil National Alliance MP for Mannar who also spoke at the meeting said that Mannar was an open prison in the past and that no Sri Lankan fisheries minister visited the region in twenty years.

Minister Wijesekera had discussions with officials of the political, administrative and economic divisions of the Liberation Tigers at the Mannar District Secretariat soon after his arrival Sunday morning.

The LTTE officials at the discussion were led by Mr.C. Amirthaab, the head of the LTTE’s political division in Mannar.

The LTTE officials told the minister about the problems faced by Mannar fishermen in general. They told him that the fishermen of Mannar should enjoy the same rights as Sinhala fishermen and that the current ice production at facilities in Keeri and Pesalai are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of the fisheries sector in Mannar.

The officials of the LTTE told Minister Wijesekera that a college for fisheries education is a must in the region. They also told him that fishermen in the Vanni should be allowed to take their catch for marketing in Colombo and in other parts of the island through the Sri Lanka army entry points 24 hours of the day without hindrance.

The Minister Assisting Vanni Rehabilitation, Mr.Noordeen Masoor was also associated with the Fisheries Minister in the discussions.

Minister Wijesekera also visited Talaimannar. TNA MP Mr. Adaikalanathan told him that normalcy is yet to return to the people of Talaimannar because the Sri Lanka Navy continues to dominate the lives of the people there and that fishermen there are, hence, unable to ply their trade freely. He said that the Talaimannar lighthouse and telecommunications tower are still in an SLN high security zone in Talaimannar. “The two structures should be returned to civilian authorities with a view to bringing about and improving the day to day lives of the people there," Mr. Adaikalanathan said.


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