Policy Statement by Honourable Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the inauguration of the Third Session of the 9th Parliament of Sri Lanka
I was elected as the President on the 20th of last month, as having secured the trust of the majority of the Members of Parliament. Today I am addressing you for the first time as the President.
This House represents the various communities of Sri Lanka. Whether you are Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher or any other ethnic group, you are gathering here as the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
Representatives of the Parliament were elected by people belonging to the various ethnic groups. However we are all Sri Lankans, no matter which ethnic group we represent.
Today, I am addressing you as the President of every Sri Lankan citizen.
Our country consists of communities belonging to different cultures, following different religions and speaking different languages. I defend the right of all of you to maintain cultural practices, follow your religious beliefs and use your language.
I am also constitutionally bound to give Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly protect and foster the Buddhasasana, while assuring all other religions in the country their rights.
We have been blessed with an ancient legacy not only religiously, culturally and socially, but also economically. It has been nurtured by different cultures. That is how the concept of “Satharawaram Deviwaru” is related to Buddhist culture. Today, we are entrusted with the responsibility of building the future based on these ancient legacies.
I took over a country that was in disaster. Severe economic crisis on one side, massive public opposition on the other. However, I decided to accept this critical challenge, on behalf of my people and the country, based on the premise that it is my duty to light even one lamp for the country rather than cursing the darkness.
Today we are facing an unprecedent situation that our country had never faced in recent history. We are in great danger. The country could extricate and be secured from that danger, only if we all face this challenge together as one people. It is vital that the Honorable Members of this Parliament as well as the entire populace contribute with their own strength towards the effort of nation building.
The expectation of all the citizens of the country at this juncture is for all their representatives in the Parliament to work together in order to build the country. If we come together, we will be able to invigorate the nation. If we divide, it will not only harm the people’s representatives but the entire nation.