We’ll bring victory to a government where fisherfolk are key stakeholders – Tilvin
A government of the National People’s Power, which will be formed very soon, will work to implement a new production economy involving the fishing community as an essential stakeholder in Sri Lanka’s production economy, says General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva while addressing the Kalutara District Fishermen’s Conference organised by the All Ceylon Fishermen’s Federation on the 25th.
He said, “Today, all industries and businesses, including the fishing industry, agriculture, and the country’s economy, have been completely destroyed. This town of Beruwala is very famous for the gem industry as well as the tourism industry. They are all wrecked now. Our entire economy is broken. We live in a bankrupt country. The head of the central bank officially announced that ‘our country is bankrupt’ and we cannot pay the debts we have taken. These rulers are preparing to celebrate the 76th Independence Day on February 4. On that day, shots will be fired into the sea, grand shows will be held, and the president and prime minister will talk about the development of the country, about the things we have got with independence, and how to build the country in the future. All along, at independence ceremonies, it was announced how the country was going to be built. They didn’t say how it was built.
However, after 76 years, the fisherman has been unable to make a living from that industry. People have been prevented from living by any means of production. The tea and rubber industries in the Kalutara district have collapsed. This collapse is not an accident. Especially in the last 45 years, our country’s products have been destroyed. Our rulers took loans, stole and did not develop production lines. We are bankrupt because the loans they took were not settled. We have no foreign reserves. We had to wait in oil and gas queues. That’s because we didn’t have the dollars to pay for it. We did not generate dollars. We had to bring the things we needed and pay the debt with the dollars we had. Since we cannot do both, we have not paid the loan for two years. Because of that, it was possible to bring some goods with the available dollars. We are in a country with no foreign assets. Even if we have great resources that can earn foreign resources, they are being wasted without being used. Should a country fall into this situation?
There are fishermen in the country who know about the fishing industry and are skilled. If the government gives them the opportunity and know-how to harvest from the fishing fields and the facilities, they can earn dollars. Fishing is the largest industry in every country that has access to the sea. Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand and Vietnam have a large fishing industry. We can do several industries from the sea that surrounds the country. The fishing industry, tourism industry, and wind can generate electricity. Our governments have not succeeded in doing them. The areas where we can earn income have been cast aside. There is a suitable soil and climate for agriculture. However, because the government does not provide the necessary support to the farmers, agriculture has collapsed. The men who bankrupted the country say again that they can build this country. People who bankrupt a country cannot build a country. That is true. A production economy was not created. An economy which depended on loans was created. We are experiencing its results. Businesses collapse, and the banks take over some. Some are sold. People are suffering in a destroyed country. We are experiencing a crisis.
A good thing is emerging in this crisis. The people affected by this severe disaster are deciding based on historical experience. Masses are ready now to drive away those ruling groups that maintained the wrong economic system and the wrong politics for 76 years and form a people’s government. Just like the saying ” every black cloud has a silver lining, ” all the forces are now rallying around the NPP.
We are not gathering all these people to get their votes and let them go home. We need to build a production economy in this country. We need to organise the production force that contributes to the production in our country. The fishing community involved in the fishing industry should be organised to win the sea with the new government we are forming. This conference is being held to create the determination to add a large share of the fishing industry to our country’s economy. This government is not ready to give us what we ask for or listen to us. We are not allowed to talk or express our opinions. What should we do? We need to build a new country where all the forces of our country, the fishing community, farmers, working masses, and business people can do their work, where our hard work is admired, and the work can add something to the country. We need to create a new production economy.
We need to form a new government. National People’s Power is ahead in all the survey reports these days. Not only the choice of the majority of people but even the reports of the intelligence department have revealed that we are ahead. Now, those who rule the country are afraid. Because the biggest challenge for them has become the National People’s Power, they are not talking about our policies today but are carrying out landering and mud campaigns. It shows how strong we are as a force.
They say they would get the country out of this crisis, go to the International Monetary Fund, and tax us. They don’t make any sacrifices; they ask us to make sacrifices. University professors and doctors leave the country because they cannot bear the payment tax when earning. VAT was increased by a parliamentary resolution before the budget. The tax, which was 15%, was increased to 18%. VAT has been levied on 94 items that were not subject to VAT earlier. Among those items are school equipment, fuel, fertiliser, agricultural equipment and all essential goods for everyday life. Earlier, taxes were taken from those who used to earn income. Today, those who have no income have to pay taxes. Everyone should get a TIN number for tax payments. In other countries, they take taxes and provide education, health and welfare facilities. In our country, taxes are collected, but allocations for education and health are reduced. Our parents don’t have money, so they have no way to teach their children. There is no way to get some medicine for a disease. It has been only a month since Ranil Wickranamasinghe allocated money from the budget from an expenditure head, and again, he is asking for money from the supplementary estimate for foreign trips and vehicle maintenance. It’s been a year since he became president, and he has gone on fourteen foreign trips. He is enjoying the presidency. He spends money taken from us as taxes.
By destroying the production lines, losing the sources of income, taxing and exploiting us, a gang of thieves is living comfortably and happily. We have a great responsibility before us. The failed fishing industry, gem industry, fallen businesses, agriculture and tea industry should be recovered. To help that, we need to form a government that supports the massive production economy. We need to form a government with the policies and the ability to do that.
This government has humiliated us. We have lost our dignity.. No country in the world gives us a visa. The International Monetary Fund determines our country’s financial policy. We have lost economic strength and economic freedom. We need to build a strong and stable economy. We need to build a production economy and an economy that distributes that production fairly to everyone. Our country has been culturally destroyed. It is full of fraud and corruption. There is no rule of law. Some police officers and the underworld are involved in murders. Police officers are not allowed to wear uniforms and do their job respectfully. The police were subjugated to politics. Therefore, the rule of law must be maintained.
We need to create a people who have compassion and live in brotherhood. Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, national unity should be created among the nations. All those who love the country should come together and rebuild this country. If the country is restored, business will be strengthened, and agriculture will be developed. We will have more money. We can live a good life. Collected tax money will increase.
Today, people’s purchasing power has decreased. When the economy shrinks, the government’s expected taxes cannot be collected. Society becomes better at building a strong economy. Education will not be a problem. By building a solid economy, the people will get its benefits. Is this about the distribution of money? No. A Chinese saying is, “If I give you a fish, I can satisfy your hunger at that moment. However, if I teach you how to catch fish, you can always quench your hunger.” We should create an economy where people can eat three meals a day. We don’t want dependent people. We must build a government supporting them when they courageously stand up.
We need to create a strong economy that distributes benefits fairly. How are the benefits divided? The increase in benefits increases the amount of money allocated to education. You don’t have to spend money on your children’s education. You don’t need to pay for tuition if you do well in school. If the nearest school is the best school, if it is built with all the facilities, our child will go to the village school. The cost is low—no security issues. Children and parents have freedom. We will get free medicine and testing if we allocate more money for health services. That is the policy of the NPP. Today, it has become a racket to give medicine to people after they get sick. We need to recover the country that has been pushed to the brink of a precipice. Our greatest resource is the sea. It has not been touched. There is no fishing trawler or ship in our country. The fishing industry should be made an industry that brings income to the country. A people’s government that creates a strong economy should be established. We need to build a government that will create a national awakening. The only force that we all have to choose is the NPP. Therefore, let’s leave the bankrupt politics aside and trust in our strength and country’s resources. Let’s create national unity. Let’s create a national awakening. Let’s build a new country, a new society, a society where everyone can live happily.”