‘Intelligent solutions for people’s problems’ | Daily News

‘Intelligent solutions for people’s problems’

Dhanushka Ramanayake, to whom President Maithripala Sirisena handed over his media campaign as the common candidate to make a turning point in the political history of Sri Lanka on January 8, joins the political arena from the grassroots level, contesting for the Maharagama Urban Council from the Wattegedara ward at the impending local government elections.

He is a person with experience in the media field, and an administrator with foreign and local education and exposure. He has vast experience in the media field as former Working Director at Independent Television Network (ITN), Working Director and Board Member at Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Media Secretary at the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, former Media Secretary at the Technology, Research, and Atomic Energy Ministry and as former Media Secretary at the Power and Renewable Energy Ministry. He was also President of Leo Multiple 306 on several occasions and Leo Club Program Advisory Panelist for the Constituent VI which comprises India, South Asia and the Middle East. He also served in the capacity of resource personnel at the panel discussion held in Hamburg, Germany. Ramanayake followed his Master’s degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University and is a graduate of Sri Jayewardenepura University and past student of Isipathana College, Colombo. He commenced work as a clerk at the Kingdom of Raigam in 2006 and left there as a creative executive within a short period to reach high.

Following are some excerpts of the interview with him:

Q: What made you join politics?

A: First, I had been playing a role for the past seven years that had much to do with politicians. I had a chance to observe how the policies of governments and politicians were implemented. I felt the issues and problems of the common people. I had a desire as a child to join politics and I can’t deny that I was frustrated with politics at times too.

However, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka's invitation for me to join politics seemed a golden opportunity. So I promptly accepted it and hope to serve the people.

Q: Is there a reason to initiate your political career from the local government institutions?

A: Yes, although I had worked with politicians, I didn't have the experience of a politician. So I decided to commence from the lowest point and deal with the grassroots level. The most valuable thing is that I get a chance to serve the people in my village, which I think is a great investment for my career.

Q: Politicians have policies and some change policies from time to time. What is your policy?

A: Following discussions with Minister Ranawaka and a study of the area, I launched a policy called ‘Mawatha’ (path). It consists of the strategy to develop Maharagama town area and 50 villages in 41 Gramaseva Niladhari divisions including Wattegedara. The theme is "Let's protect humanity and build up the village". Anybody can access the Danushka Ramanayake website and see what it is and comment too.

Q: What is the strategy you expect to maintain in order to win the people?

A: Nothing, but to serve them. When I went to meet them, I observed their problems. Some of them could be easily addressed just by coordination. Some could be solved even within the capacity of public officials. Unfortunately, those issues have not been addressed. So I strongly believe that there are ample opportunities for politicians to win the people and rebuild the image of politicians.

Q: It’s only a short period since you joined politics as an administrator. How do you see the difference?

A:- I never had timeframes like 8 am to 4.30 pm as an administrator. What I wanted was to finish the project at hand before time. And I did it. Here in this campaign too, there is no difference.

Those days, I had to deal with media personnel and institutions, and the work with officers was minimal. In contrast, now I have to deal with the people in my village, elders, youth and the venerable monks.

This has given me unprecedented knowledge. Although I lived in Maharagama for 32 years, I was exposed to issues that I never heard before by the villagers during this short period. This, of course, is a new juncture in my life.

Q: We have experienced an undue delay in solving issues of the people. Do you have the capacity to overcome this situation as a politician?

A: The maturity in politics is of paramount importance to find constructive solutions for the people. Intelligence and education are a part of this maturity too.

What I believe is that the policies of a politician are an initial step for massive change in the right direction.

With the exposure I had under a successful politician such as Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, and the free education I received in the country, foreign education and experience, I have confidence that most of the issues of my villagers could be solved easily.

Q: Most politicians have great expectations in their career. You must have yours too?

A: My first expectation is to become an urban councillor. Thereafter, I hope to commit myself to serve the public and ensure that they get a better service. If I can become a true servant of the public, this would guarantee a future for my political career. The people would place me where I fit.

Q: What is your message to the people in Maharagama?

A: Maharagama is different from other areas. Maharagama is the city of Buddhist revival. There are around 207,000 people living there, of which most are from the educated class. When the Wattegedara area is concerned, where 1,680 families live, there are 55 professors and those who have doctorates and 455 graduates. This is comparatively a high percentage. What we have to focus is to spread this percentage around entire Maharagama and commence an economic revolution based on knowledge and spread it across the country. I think the educated crowd and others would extend their support to me.

The other matter is that we have an opportunity to remove corrupt people, those who use drugs and liquor, those who insult women in politics at this initial stage etc. Or else they would go further and be elected to Parliament.

This would affect the entire social strata of the country. 



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