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Jasinghe to politicians – “Don’t drag us into your arguments”

ECONOMYNEXT – Director-General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe is asking politicians and the general public not to drag him or other apolitical Public Servants into political tussles in response to claims that he has greenlighted the holding of elections.

In an appearance on the Sunday morning Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation live chat show “Ayubowan” Jasinghe asked all politicians “in the government and the opposition” that they may have their debates “but don’t drag us into them.”

He said that Public Servants like him who have served for three decades have not sided with one party or another.

“We have faced many challenges under all governments and have not run away from them.”

“Remember that there are officers like us who have not done the bidding of any political party,” he said.

“අපි කාටවත් කඩේ ගිහිල්ල නැහැ”

Jasinghe’s robust statement, the video of which has now gone viral, came after Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna candidate Keheliya Rambukwella told a press conference that lawyers appearing in Supreme Court have submitted a letter from the Health Authorities that the election can be held despite the COVID 19 threat.

“They are all trying to postpone the elections,” Rambukwelle a former minister thundered.

Lawyer Romesh de Silva appearing for the President’s Secretary P B Jayasundera in the Supreme Court hearing Fundamental Rights petitions submitted a letter Jasinghe sent to the Secretary saying in effect that the elections process can continue.

“What I have said in my reply is that we can take the election process forward” he said in his Rupavahini statement.

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However Jasinghe said he has laid down conditions.

He has asked the government to Gazette Regulations under the Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance and create “a new normal.”

“These regulations must be marketed and people made aware so they understand that they must follow the guidelines,” Jasinghe said.

“Otherwise in three weeks there will be a major outbreak of COVID 19 and we won’t be able to hold elections or anything else,” he said.

He said that he is not “saying that we have controlled the disease and we are done with it. But we know that if we proceed in the manner we are going at present we will be able to control it better than most other countries.”

“We see various politicians making statements asking us to think of opening this or that. Please let us decide that, we will open up sectors in a systematic way. We have to prioritise this, first things first.” (Colombo, May 25, 2020)