Inaugural meeting of EPC:
Pilleyan calls for unity
Pilleyan and Hisbullah peruse the day’s agenda.
TRINCOMALEE: Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai
Chandrakanthan in his inaugural speech at the maiden session of the
Provincial Council yesterday strongly urged his colleagues to shed all
differences and unite to transform the multi-ethnic East into a prime
example of a pluralist democracy based on ethnic harmony.
The Chief Minister better known as Pilleyan said democracy in the
East was gained at a price with thousands of lives being lost to a
conflict which plagued the Province for over two decades.
Thus petty political rivalry should be thrown out of the window to
make way for the Eastern resurgence to fulfil aspirations of the masses
who had undergone enough suffering for over two decades under
suppression, the Chief Minister said.
The maiden session of the Eastern PC got off the ground with a simple
but fitting ceremony in the Capital of the East yesterday with the first
sitting taking place after the traditional singing of the National
Anthem and hoisting the National Flag.
However the conspicuous absence of the main Opposition United
National Party was a spoiler and its decision to boycott the first
sitting was roundly criticised with the lone JVP member Wimal Piyatissa
describing it as a shameless act.
The JVP member said the UNP had boycotted the first sitting citing
election malpractices for getting defeated, and that they had no right
to do so as the God Father of election manipulations. The first sitting
of the Eastern PC was represented by only two Opposition members - one
from the JVP and the other from the TDNA.
Thus both Chairman and Deputy Chairman posts were filled without a
contest with Trincomalee District UPFA members H.M. Mohommed Faiz and
M.K.D.S. Gunewardene getting elected as Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
Both posts which went through uncontested were proposed by the Chief
Minister and was seconded by Eastern PC Minister M.L.A.M. Hisbullah.
UPFA member Hassen Moulavi was appointed Leader of the House.
The newly elected Chairman of the Council H.M. Mohommed Faiz in his
maiden speech while urging all to set aside memories of a bitter
competition at the elections called on the House to set an example to
the whole world with a united approach to rebuild the East.
Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pilleyan), EPC
Minister M.L.A.M. Hisbullah and Deputy Chairman M.K.D.S.
Gunewardene at the flag raising ceremony.
Pictures by Ranjith Jayaweera
Calling this as a red letter day for the East, Hisbullah in his
speech said all members should commit themselves to protect democracy in
the East which was gained under trying conditions.
He said that it was important to defeat some devious machinations of
a few who were trying their utmost to destabilise the East by engaging
in violent acts intended at flaring up ethnic tension.
Hisbullah described the twin factors such as having an abundance of
resources and the distribution of all three major communities in
substantial proportions in the province as a winning combination which
should be utilised to propel the East towards glory.
He also emphasised that the East had enough violence during the past
two decades and the Council had a responsibility by the Eastern polity
as elected members, to ensure the people's main aspiration for a
violence free atmosphere and that the Council should commit itself to
achieve this goal.
Most members of the Council aired their opinion during the session
with all speaking on the same lines such as ethnic harmony and
development to put East back on the right track.
The House adjourned around noon with all members attending the
customary tea party.
Later the newly appointed Ministers took time to meet staff and
commence their work in the respective Ministries. The Eastern Provincial
Council is scheduled to meet again on June 11.