President reiterates promise to empower Parliament
February 4, 2015 10:20 am
President Maithripala Sirisena, addressing the 67th Independence Day celebrations today, reiterated that he will empower Parliament and reduce the unprecedented powers of the Executive.
The President stressed on safeguarding the achieved victory, eradicating poverty from the country, a national reconciliation and a balanced foreign policy.
The President said the country has not been able to unite the hearts and minds of ethnic groups despite ending a decades-old civil war five years ago.
In his Independence Day address, President Maithripala Sirisena called on all political leaders to ask themselves what went wrong in the 67 years since independence from Britain.
A “declaration of peace” was also read out paying respect to all ethnic groups killed in the civil war with a pledge not to allow violence to recur.
Sri Lanka’s 67th Independence Day celebrations were held from 8 am at the Parliamentary grounds at Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte, under the patronage of the President with the theme Piripun Maubimak - Abiman Heta Dinak (a prosperous motherland, a dignified tomorrow).
Prior to the commencement of the ceremony, floral tributes were laid at the statue of Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake at Independence Square, Colombo at the auspicious time of 7.30 am.
The Independence parade consisted of 5,922 Tri Forces, police, civil defence force, youth brigade personnel and a cultural troupe of 600 also performed at the ceremony.
President Maithripala Sirisena, issuing a message to mark Independence Day, said that the celebration of this 67th anniversary of the country’s Independence is of special significance as it sees the launch of a new era of Good Governance in the country.
The message further reads: “This comes with a new commitment to the unity of our people, to safeguard freedom and democratic rights, and proceed to a future that moves further from the re-emerging forces of colonialism.
The strengthening and progress of peace in our country requires social, political and economic policies that give the highest priority to the needs of the people. This includes social welfare, economic progress, and a determined move towards good governance, which is in keeping with the traditions of tolerance and understanding of our country.
The continuing strength of our freedom that was won 67 years ago, requires the advance of our youth through the acquisition and development of new skills, access to new knowledge and technology, and re-kindling the spirit of freedom throughout our land.
This celebration of freedom is the time to pay our tribute to the security forces that defended our sovereignty and territorial integrity with great sacrifice in the battle against terrorism. It also reminds us of the great freedom fighters of the past from all communities, religions, and ideologies who carried on the struggle for freedom from colonial rule.
This is also the time to remember the spirit of unity that has prevailed in our land through the centuries, and drives us to work hard to achieve national unity in all its aspects, with reconciliation that comes through Metta or Loving Kindness to all.
We remain committed to our policy of Non-Alignment in foreign relations, looking forward to greater friendship with the world community, and international relations that will support our moves for peace, stability, democracy and prosperity.
The progress of our nation in unity and understanding calls for patriotism that not only transcends the barriers of geography and community, but also focuses on the elimination of corruption in all its forms, and encourages genuine service to the people by their leaders.
As we move forward in freedom, let us ensure the strengthening of peace and harmony to bring every success to our children and future generation who will inherit this land. Let us join in a pledge to build a future of peace, freedom and prosperity in the shining light of honesty of purpose and Good Governance.”