2nd Lead (adds corrections)

TNA MPs boycott as Trinco celebrates Sri Lanka's independence

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 February 2004, 12:20 GMT]
"When peace talks resume, I firmly believe that hopes of everyone yearning for a permanent end to conflict by reaching a just and enduring solution will be achieved", said the North East Governor Major General Asoka Jayawardene addressing the country's fifty sixth Independence Day celebration held in Trincomalee Mc Heyzer Stadium Wednesday morning.

Independence day celebration in Trinco
NE Provincial Secretaries with Chief Secretary and the chief guest Governor, Government Agent are seen in the pavilion at the Independence Day celebrations held in Trincomalee Mc Heyzer Stadium.
Five parliamentarians of the Trincomalee district Messrs R.Sampanthan(TNA), K.Thurairetnasingham (TNA), M.S.Thoufeek (SLMC), M.K.A.De S.Gunawardene (PA) and M.A.M.Maharoof (UNP) did not attend the event.

Earlier the Chief Secretary of the NEPC Mr.S.Rangarajah and Government Agent of Trincomalee Mr. Gamini Rodrigo received the chief guest Major General Jayawardene when he arrived at the entrance to the stadium. Later he was taken in a procession to the stadium with the band music of the Rajkeeya Vidyaloka Vidyalaya in attendance.

The General Officer Commanding for Trincomalee district Major General Sunil Tennekoon, Deputy General of Police for eastern region Mr. Neville Wijesinghe, parliamentarian Mr.K.M.Thowfeek, Senior Superintendent of Police in Trincomalee Mr.Upali Hewage and representatives from the Sri Lanka navy and Sri Lanka Air Force also participated in the event.

The chief guest hoisted the Sri Lanka national flag and took the salute of the police parade. The march past and band parade of eight Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim schools was held.

The Government Agent Mr. Gamini Rodrigo gave the welcome address.
Independence day celebration in Trinco
The chief guest Major General Jayawardne (with garlands) being received by the band leader. (l-r) DIG eastern region Mr.Neville Wijesinghe, parliamentarian Mr.K.M.Thowfeek, Governor with garlands, Government Agent Mr.Gamini Rodrigo, NEPC Chief Secretary Mr.Rangarajah and Trincomalee district senior Superintendent of Police Mr.Upali Hewage.
Major General Asoka Jayawardene, in his speech, said, "Every effort must be made to ensure that the memorandum of understanding and the ceasefire continue to be respected by all parties. This will enable us to carryout the development activities that will benefit great majority of people in the north and eastern provinces.

"All communities must unite to create partnerships, with respect for others' culture, customs and traditions, in friendship, building up mutual confidence without looking for divisions along racial, religious and political lines.

"However, there still may be a misled minority who may still believe in violence and hatred. The majority, who are aspiring for peace and goodwill, must courageously advise others that the path to peaceful co-existence can be only achieved through mutual respect, patience and restraint," Major General Asoka Jayawardene said.

Independence day celebration in Trinco
Guests are taken to the venue with Trincomalee Rajkeeya Vidayaloka Vidiyalaya band music in attendance.

NEPC Chief Secretary Mr.S.Rangarajah said in his speech that the NEPC formed to find a solution to the ethnic conflict has been functioning for the last fourteen years under trying conditions without sufficient funds for development. Resource shortage has been an ongoing issue, he added.

"Since last year, with the ceasefire in force, NEPC is able to provide its services to the people. About three hundred irrigation tanks, major and minor have been rehabilitated at a cost of about 620 million rupees thus ensuring better irrigation to paddy cultivation. 1030 km long rural roads and 270 km long provincial roads have been rehabilitated at a cost of 283 million rupees. 230 new school buildings have been constructed in war-ravaged areas in the province at a cost 220 million rupees. 1010 million rupees have been spent to rehabilitate about 41350 displaced families in their own lands," he said.

Independence day celebration in Trinco
A section school students and their bands at the Independence Day celebration in Trincomalee.

"We have to do more in the sphere of development and rehabilitation. We have a long way to go to fully recover from the destruction caused by war. People can be better served if an administrative structure with greater devolution of power is created," said Mr.Rangarajah.

Parliamentarian Mr.K.M.Thowfeek said people need peace with freedom. People cannot enjoy peace without freedom. All should rally round irrespective of their differences to defeat the forces working against peace.

Trincomalee town Divisional Secretary Mr.S.Arumainayakam proposed vote of thanks.


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